Online shopping is a thriving market. In fact, retail ecommerce sales worldwide are forecasted to nearly double between 2016 and 2020.
To project this growth further, during an April 2017 survey 40% of internet users in the United States stated that they purchased items online at several times per month and 20% said they bought items or services online on a weekly basis. Not only do the volume of online sales show optimistic figures and projections, but web and mobile-influenced offline sales are forecast to increase in the coming years.
So, with those types of stats, as a small business you are probably wondering how you can make a “splash” in the online world compared to bigger businesses with larger budgets.
Well, whale, whale, we have an article for you! In this article, any “fin” is possible to make your website stand out with these website marketing strategies and ideas!
Let’s take a dive and allure some customers!
Website Marketing Strategies for Your Small Business Website
Before we get into some of my favorite small business website strategies and tips, I wanted to share a short and sweet checklist of essentials you should be trying as a small business to market your website and get the word out about your business:
- Host a seminar, workshop, or event
- Speak at events for free and streamline your presentation on your website
- Publish content regularly to your blog
- Host a webinar
- Make your blog available on the Kindle
- Be a guest on different media sources
- Publish guest blog posts on industry relevant blogs
- Comment on other blogs of influence
- Be mobile friendly
- Start a podcast
- Publish an online or email newsletter
- Article submission to print publications
- Host a website linked contest or giveaway
- Consistently improve your website through testing
- Add new, valuable resources to your site often
- Publish videos on YouTube and other video platforms
- Write a published book
- Advertise in print publications
- Advertise with Google Ads
- Advertise with Google image/banner ads
- Advertise with Facebook Ads
- Create an active Facebook page
- Create an active Twitter page
- Create an active Instagram page
- Create an active YouTube channel
- Write and share business success stories
- Apply for awards and recognition
While this list is chock full of things to do, this isn’t all of the different ways you can market your website and it will ultimately require you to test which work for your retail business. All you need to do is get thinking, get creative and share quality content!
Now that we went through some of the basics to “reely” get the juices flowing, let’s take a look at some of the essentials in more detail.
Mobile Friendliness and Google AMP
People are increasingly spending more time on their smartphone, so if your website is not mobile-friendly, then it might as well not even exist! Mobile-friendliness is important for SEO but also for happy user experience which are two extremely important factors to your website conversion success.
In fact, conversions fall by up to 20% for every second delay of mobile page load time. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance for businesses to go over their entire mobile website and make sure everything functions properly.
To help, one thing to focus on is Google AMP.
AMP, which stands for “accelerated mobile project”, is an initiative by Google that aims to drive faster mobile page loading to ensure that users are able to view the content they’re searching for as fast as possible.
AMP-optimized sites feature a lightning symbol next to their URL in a Google search (an indication to readers that the content will load quickly) and—while Google hasn’t confirmed that AMP optimization is incorporated into its SEO algorithm—when you consider that a significant percentage of the websites that make it to the first page of results are AMP-enabled, you have to wonder about the strong correlation.
Search Engine Optimization
According to research from Web.com, the average small business owner doesn’t use search engine optimization or really understand what it is and how it works.
What a load of CARP…those business owners are really missing out!
SEO stands for search engine optimization. It’s a process that uses certain best practices to rank well with search engine algorithms which determine how far up on pages a website is listed.There are a number of factors that play into how well a website ranks organically.
A few of the most common include:
- Content quality
- Website optimization
- Mobile optimization
- Interaction to your website from social media
- HTML formatting
While keywords and links have consistently stood out as the top two most important ranking factors for SEO, it takes a lot more than just keyword stuffing and using random links to build up your SEO standing. 61% of marketers say improving SEO and growing their organic presence is their top inbound marketing priority and competition is high and long-term effort is required to see real results.
So, SEO is web marketing’s secret weapon as strong SEO strategies help drive more traffic and, therefore, more customers to websites.
Writing great content is only the first step of a successful website marketing strategy. You need to analyze how your website content is performing and keep adjusting it over time to get the results you want. A/B testing one of the best including the use of form optimization, heat maps and session replays so you can see how viewers interact with your website.
A/B Testing is exactly what it sounds like. You take item “A” and you test it against item “B.” You then gather the data, and you are able to tell who is the victor. As a business owner, you will want to test content messaging, website design and CTA’s.
Testing in crucial throughout your business’s career. People are not stagnant, so why would your business website be? Business should change with the growing trends of your target audience! Always consult your website data—it’s your source of truth to exactly how users are engaging your website and content.
If you want to learn how you can create a strong A/B testing strategy see our article here.
Going hand in hand with A/B testing is website design.
The reality is, a lot of businesses start their website process thinking it needs to be a complete masterpiece when in reality, it doesn’t need to be a complex website at all. They key is knowing the website your target customers need to engage with!
Knowing how a website is to be used should be the first step in website design for any business. If a website is mostly going to serve as a digital business card be sure to display meaningful information, a blog, a subscription service and your business information.
A full-scale development team might not be needed, so make sure you do dive in too deep, especially when you don’t have to!
Leveraging existing frameworks like WordPress, Shopify, Wix and Squarespace can help get small businesses moving fast all while keeping owners sane. Using premade website platforms like those also help you save money for marketing like SEO, cost-per-click ads and other revenue-driving strategies.
Once a revenue stream has been established, you can then go back and test more complex designs and interactive elements!
Speaking of interactive elements, your website should have some! (But not enough to take away the message and experience you want your customers to have)
Whether it’s video, 360 images, hover click motion icons or click-to-reveal buttons, interactive content is a fun website design strategy that is guaranteed to get potential customers talking. The more people share your website, the more website traffic you will get, which equals higher conversions and—if your website is optimized for conversions with strong calls to action and enticing content offers—you’ll see an incredible return…fast.
So, for example, AnimalStockholm created the brilliant website TrumpDonald.org that allowed viewers to trumpet Donald Trumps hair whenever they wanted. This went viral during the Presidential election debates as who doesn’t want to see that terrible birds nest of a hair just FLY! (Oh political angst)
They also visually shared the URL to have people remember their site. Simple and fun!
Imagine if a website like this had valuable information attached to it that got people to register to vote, click on a page tab that informed voters on policies or other helpful information. The interactive would attract people to become educated!
Like this example, you can create eye-catching and mind enchanting interactive elements that will get your potential customers buzzing about you, all while learning about you! Creating value with sometimes a hint of fun will make your experience memorable!
Visuals matter, but more importantly quality images matter to a successful ecommerce or retail website.
The perceived value of your products and the trustworthiness of your brand is often judged on the quality of your visual content. That means having high-quality, beautiful product photography can go a long way towards driving sales for your business.
Think about the last time you were shopping online and came across a bad product photo. It most likely led to negative thoughts and therefore did not convert you!
The problem is, quality images can also take a lot of time to load which can also hurt the user experience. So, where is the balance and help? Well, luckily there are tools like ImageOptim (for Mac) or RIOT (for PC) to speed up your website and visual downloads.
Page speed is a significant consideration for Google when ranking your site in search engine results and customers love a fast website. As a result, optimizing your images is an easy win for SEO. Large images take a longer time to load, so decreasing the size of your image files means your website pages will load faster and images are more likely to successfully appear.
When your website moves faster, customers are more likely to stay on your site and click through more pages, all while enjoying the beautiful images you present! Forget the plugins and optimize your visuals for speed and quality!
Influencer marketing can be a powerful tool that focuses on using these social influencers to drive your business message to a larger market instead of marketing directly to them yourself.
Social proof matters to people. These days, brands have trouble developing strong trust with their targeted audiences. Nielsen reports 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals—even if they don’t know them—over brands.
That online trust equals sales for you, so use ’em on your website! Also, be sure they attach your website information to their created content— always backlink!
Interviewing influencers in your niche and turning those interviews into blog posts will allow you to leverage social media to get in front of new audiences.
Not only will influencers typically share the interview with their own networks but, if you ask that influencer who their mentors are, you can give their mentors “shout outs” on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to get even more social media mileage out of those blog posts, resulting in more traffic to your website.
I mean, who does not want to listen or read FREE content directly from your favorite motivational speaker, Youtube Star, Fashion Blogger or Marketing Guru?!
I raise my hand high and so will a lot of your potential customers!
Ever browse through a website, click out the tab and later see ads featuring some of the items you were browsing? If so, you have been remarketed to!
Remarketing has become one of the most important tools in a digital marketer’s toolbox as it helps people move towards final purchasing. Remarketing allows you to track users who have visited your website—without a purchase or action—and shares your ads on other websites. Think of this as the ultimate digital stalking, products will stay on your mind and follow you!
This remarketing strategy increases brand awareness and usually helps with conversion!
Sadly, many people will spend a lot of money on paid search, but will not compliment it with retargeting or display campaigns…what a loss for your website conversions!
If your marketing budget is really thin, start with search intent retargeting on AdWords. Retargeting is often the safest investment you can make as the traffic has already been on your website, which means something about your business has already resonated.
Video is so hot right now, so why not use it in your website marketing?
When it comes to product videos versus product images, a lot of ecommerce businesses choose to exclusively use images. Ecommerce video is typically more expensive and time-consuming to create than images and often requires specialized equipment and more in-depth editing.
However, despite these challenges, ecommerce video is still worth it—every time. Ecommerce video most often takes the form of product videos, which are used to showcase value of the products you offer and drive sales. But, video can easily be created to support your blog posts, business information pages, FAQ, testimonials and many more! (heck, many sites are even doing live videos of their products being worn or used to show fit or showcase).
For example, the Veggie Spiralizer is a great product that promotes healthy eating, but looking at the website product photos can only do so much!
Pampered Chef took it a step further and created a really helpful 101 video to showcase the product and help potential veggie spiralers see how easy it is to use.
Like them, creating a video for your website pages and blog will help your audience connect with you more because they will be able to see and hear you on camera as opposed to just reading what you wrote. Video is way more engaging these days and you will see drastic results if you share quality video content.
Blogging and Guest Writing
If you are going to get your business out there, you need to literally get the word out!
Whether it’s blogging for yourself or writing guest blog posts, they are both worth your time as it establishes you as an expert in the field. Guest blogging is a very powerful way to do the following things:
- Brand promotion and increasing credibility.
- Tapping into a blog’s traffic source and driving readers back to your own website.
- Building relationships with readers from other blogs and communities.
Research reporters who cover stories on the media outlets your customers read can be a great resource to start with. If it’s a story or platform that seems down the alley of what your company does then submit them an article!
Don’t be shy as they are always looking for leads and content to post, what could hurt? There is no harm in asking a reporter or content manager if they are open to contributing writing ideas. If you truly are an expert in the field, then give them something juicy to publish. Make sure the publication links back to your company’s website and get the new traffic!
PRO TIP:Use social sharing buttons! Make your content easily shareable by placing easily accessible share buttons.
“Studies show people are discouraged from sharing when it’s difficult to do so. BrightEdge found that prominent social sharing buttons can increase social sharing by 700%! Make sure your blog has these types of buttons and hopefully the publications you choose to collaborate with do as well!
Believe it or not, Pinterest is more than just a “girly” website that features mason jars, burlap, feel good quotes, decadence and clothing inspiration! It is a sophisticated and visually stimulating opportunity for you to marketing directly to active consumers and direct traffic to specific website pages! Not only that, but its a diamond in the rough of social media creating properly optimized pins, keyword-rich descriptions, and high-quality images can actually help your pins rank in search engines.
While Pinterest isn’t quite as big as other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, it can be a special place to promote your products and services—especially when it comes to ecommerce. Using Promoted Pins, you can drive a ton of high-quality traffic to your site which can result in big conversions!
If you have not considered using Pinterest PPC ads for your online marketing, you totally should for the following reasons:
- Ads that look and feel natural in the platform which is less aggressive compared to other PPC advertisement placement.
- Reach a receptive audience that is looking for products and services they can love.
- Ads can have a continued performance as Pinterest uniquely saves visuals for later viewing and retrieval.
- Pins can drive potential customers to specific website pages you link!
Interested? Learn more about how to create Promoted Pinterest ads on our article here!
You want to attract more potential customers and convert them into buyers? You can warm them up by inviting them to educational workshops.
Are you a business that works in natural oils and supplements? Have people come to a meaningful workshop that helps them understand the type of nutrients they need, create healthy supplemental schedules, etc. By helping potential customers, they will usually want to reciprocate not feeling like they were forced to.
Workshops are not like the dreaded pampered chef or mary kay parties that force people to buy…workshops solely help and educate. If you want to add a soft sales pitches, create discount cards you can have at the event and the website URL you want them to visit for the products you used etc.
If you do a good job at being helpful and educating, they will most likely want to purchase items on their own without your pressure!
Clear Call To Action
Potential customers need direction. Luckily, you can always provide a clear call to actions all over your site.
- Offering a sign up for a newsletter?
- Inviting them to follow your business on social media pages?
- Download content and documents for their education or purchasing process?
- Sending them to other pages on your site?
Whatever the action you want customers to take on your website, be clear, concise and creative with your wording! Avoid generic terms like “click here”, etc.
Research for the best call of actions you can have on your site and incorporate the most profitable ideas to offer your audience a compelling reason to complete your intended action!
Big Fish Always: Website Marketing Made Easy
Your website plays an important role in generating more sales and growing your bottom line. As a small ecommerce and retail business, you truly might feel like the small guppy amongst the big whales of businesses but with these website marketing tips, you can become the big fish in your industry pond.
Try out some of the expert tips in this article for yourself and find the best strategy and website marketing ideas for your site.
What do you think? Did we miss out on your favorite website marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments!
Cydney is a polka dot wearing business owner, photographer, cupcake enthusiast and writer, who through her work, shares her personal passions about visual marketing, branding and business strategy.