Digital Marketing & E-Commerce on a Budget
As part of our blog, we have recently launched TOADBusiness: A place where we share some of our business insights for Start-Ups and young entrepreneurs. We asked Dider Penine to give us the low down on digital marketing on a budget for this article.
Many would-be entrepreneurs fall into the same trap when it comes to trading online, they pay a lot of money for a web designer to design a great site and expect the sales to come in from day one.
Unfortunately, it rarely works like that and many others soon find the world of eCommerce can be an almighty dose of reality that you were least expecting. Many entrepreneurs have learned the hard way, and below is a summary of what Didier has learned building an online eCommerce website.
If you are wanting an eCommerce website, do not simply give your brief to a designer and let them do the rest. Where things appear on your homepage are absolutely crucial to the conversion rate of your visitors and whether they are likely to return. Just like a supermarket, every essential part of people are looking for should be in a certain place. It is essential that it is designed by someone who understands eCommerce from the start or you will have to redesign it later at great expense.
Take a look at this personalised champagne website as an example. Everything is now where it should be according to eCommerce experts. The top banner is small and contains all the crucial elements like contact details, logo, and the menu. The rest of the site is the prime retail area which should have buying buttons channeling the user to a sale. Previously, the logo took up 1/3 of the homepage with fewer buying buttons, and the social media icons were down to the bottom, essentially all the basic rules were broken.
Be sure to invest in great photography of your products, and go for lifestyle type images if this suits your target audience. After all, when it comes to selling, the image is everything your potential customer will base their decision on. You don’t have to spend a lot on a studio session, you can take your own and send them to a professional to edit, all of these from the above example was done by a freelancer on Fiverr, at a fraction of the cost of taking them to a studio.
Driving visitors to your site will either cost you a lot of time or a lot of money. After using paid adverts Say It With Champers was badly burnt, with over £1000 advertising spend a month with little return. Many people have given similar stories, the account manager will recommend various actions or tactics which prove very costly with little return. In many industries account managers are sales target driven, so it could be argued their advice is geared towards making the individual spend rather than have a successful campaign.
However, the lack of sales early doors meant Dider had time to spend on learning SEO and stated ‘it was crucial for the long-term success of my website’.
SEO takes a lot of time but to outsource and can come at a high cost, with both on and off-site being a continual process. SEO can take a lot of time but was the turning point for this business with it now appearing prominently under many keywords, content, and links that drive referral traffic to the site.
Analysing data from Google Search Console, Keyword Planner and Analytics also helped them understand what content was required and tailored the website accordingly.
Other free resources include directories, many of them have low volumes of people using them but you do get some traffic, and importantly many will give you a backlink which in turn helps your SEO.
Social media is of course massively important and crucial for building your brand. LinkedIn has proved the best tool in this case (but be sure to look at your own business and target audience when deciding what social media platform will suit you best).
On LinkedIn you can more easily work out your target customers and find them via the search tool and network. According to the business owner, ‘two of my biggest customers have been a direct result of this networking’.
SayItWithChampers profile has about 14,000 connections, all of which are target customer types, and they receive a spike in website traffic from doing posts from the connections clicking on the link that was posted.
Facebook and Instagram are good for attracting the general public and also businesses. Twitter is particularly good for responding to requests - often a blogger will be looking for a product to review for an occasion, in return for sending a product you will receive a feature with a link back to your website.
There are many websites out there that will sell your product for you. This does not necessarily mean eBay, Etsy or Amazon (although these can be great too). Websites that brand themselves as a one-stop place to shop, like Not on The High Street for example. There are countless versions of these around and many of them are looking for suppliers and new products. They do of course take a commission but price the product accordingly and it can prove an extra stream of income with no setup fees.