How do you really gain awareness and convert customers online?
When there are so many brands on different social media platforms trying to reach customers – how do you differentiate yourself and stand out from the crowd?
During a live webinar, Moon Juice marketing team talks about their e-commerce and social marketing strategies. This blog post is a summary of that discussion and some of my thoughts.
When you are a small brand just starting out, you don’t have big budgets to spend on social media advertising. You may not even have the budget to employ agencies to develop great videos and marketing copy for your products.
So, what’s the hack that you can do? Moon Juice suggested that you should get people sharing your products on social media for a discount on their next purchase. Because, when people are trying out something new and they love it, they will talk about it.
Come to think of it, this is making use of word-of-mouth marketing and get your existing customers to engage. When you launch a product and got your first batch of customers, your customers can be the one who advocates for your brand. Provide incentives such as discounts for next purchase when they share your products and reviews on social media is a cost-effective strategy.
Firstly, real customers’ reviews are more authentic – these are consumers who tried and tested your products, not advertisers who got paid to praise you. So, the power of persuasion is much stronger. According to the theory of social proof, when more people are endorsing and reviewing your brand online, new consumers are more likely to trust their reviews and purchase from you.
Secondly, it saves a huge amount on your marketing budget. User-generated content is far more effective than advertising. You don’t need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to marketing agencies to run campaigns for you – just focus on developing or bringing in innovative products, and let the fire catches on its own.
According to Moon Juice, when it comes to online sales, you really need to keep in mind 3 KPIs: (1) traffic, (2) advertorial value, and (3) conversion value. Anything you do that can help in these 3 areas to promote your online retail business.
Traffic is all about how you can bring new people onto the site, hence you must work on the SEO and various social media strategies to drive fresh people into the sales funnel. But you also need to monitor your conversion rate so that people are not just visiting your site, they are buying too.
So, testing is necessary to optimize your campaigns and get the most out of the budget spent. Every weekly or monthly, it is recommended to track those KPIs and watch the business to understand the relationship between strategies, actions and results; and then tweaking it here and there to get the best out of your marketing efforts.
When asked about what works for them, Moon Juice says that it’s always good to encourage people to buy more in their purchases. In traditional retail stores, retail assistants will always recommend other related products so that customers leave the shop buying more than 1 item. For example, if a customer is looking for eyeshadow palette, then the retail assistant will recommend eyeshadow brushes or lipsticks that will go well with the eyeshadow colors.
The same goes for your e-commerce store – set up recommendations so that it’s related to the item that customers put in their cart and get them interested; create custom bundles or exclusive sets that have a higher retail price but also provide a higher value; go for geo-targeting so that you can suggest items that are relevant; or provide samples to encourage next purchase of that item.
Monetize your social media platform as people who are following you shows that they care for your brand and products. Consumers have a question in mind: “Why do I want this product?” Hence you need to answer that question for them by creating content that are informative, educational, interesting and compelling.
Create re-targeting campaigns to focus on people who have visited your site because it gives a signal that they are interested to know more but somehow did not make a purchase. So try hitting on them again to garner that interest by constantly testing out different subject lines and content, and eventually convert them to real customers.
Last but not least, after all the marketing and sales effort, what’s next?
In the retail business, we don’t just take care of the front line and neglect the backend. When you start to see results and increase in sales for your retail store, you need to leverage on retail management systems to keep everything under control.
Inventory management is the first thing to look out for because you want to meet consumers’ demand quick instead of being out-of-stock and consumers lose interest as time goes by. Hence when you had a successful marketing campaign, make sure your stocks level match the demand when it’s high instead of bringing in too much stocks when demand dies down.
The same goes the other way as well: if you have slow-moving stocks that you want to sell fast, make use of your marketing tactics to clear those stocks off the shelf, such as include them in exclusive bundles or offer a 50% discount as a second purchase. Yet without a good retail management solution, to obtain in-depth knowledge of your inventories and make forecasts can be a challenge.
When you garnered enough traffic for your e-commerce site and physical retail stores, the next step you need to take is to enhance your customers’ loyalty so that they will be your long-term purchasing customers. Offer customer rewards program to entice them to spend more in your shop as they earn points and rewards and receive discounts or exclusive offers.
The bond between your brand and your customers should not just be kept online where they were just followers of your Instagram or Facebook, but also manifest it offline where they foster a relationship with your brand. To attract customers and build your brand is the job of the marketers, but to keep your customers, there are a lot more to do than marketing.
The entire operations internally determine how customers feel when they interact with you. Any hiccups within the process, will increase the challenge for customers to deal with you. What we need to do is to decrease that challenge, reduce that uncertainty, so that customers feel confident to place their first order and their subsequent purchases.If you find this information helpful, do subscribe to Ari’s blog and feel free to contact us to find out how Ari can improve your retail business.