You've got the products. You've got your shipping down to a science. You're ready to start selling, but you're missing one thing.
You know how ecommerce works, in theory: drive traffic to your site, people will love what they see and buy, and soon you'll be sipping a piña colada on a beach while the money rolls in like the Caribbean tide. The only problem is, it's not that simple.
You need to get the right people to your site for the right reasons. Qualified traffic, in other words. And that comes from a little thing we like to call a sales funnel.
Building Your Ecommerce Sales Funnel
You might already be familiar with the concept of a sales funnel—something that will drive your audience from initially capturing their attention to finally making that first purchase.
(image source: adespresso.com)
Here's your typical sales funnel. The same basic model works no matter what you're selling, from information products to ecommerce—you need to create awareness of what you're offering, increase your audience's interest, lead them to a decision, and convince them to take action.
There are some specifics to an ecommerce funnel that require some careful attention, though, so make sure you construct with purpose! Over the course of the next few posts, we'll take you from the top of the funnel on down to give you a clear path from first steps to ongoing sales.
Generating Awareness of Your Ecommerce Offerings
Making a sale is all about communication. You communicate with your customers in a way that demonstrates value and builds trust, and they buy from you. Simple, right?
But before you can start communicating with your audience of potential customers, they have to know you exist.
SEO. Keyword research. Organic search. Paid search. Guest blogging. Hashtags. They're all tactics for introducing yourself and your brand to a new audience—all tactics to build awareness.
The first step in building your customers' awareness of you is for you to build an awareness of your customers. What search terms are they using? What social media channels are they on? What blogs do they read and what websites do they visit?
There are hundreds of ways to build awareness, but organic search is a great place to start. According to one bit of research, organic search drives 51% of all web traffic, and another study suggests that 60% of supposedly "direct" traffic is actually driven by search results. If you can rank highly in organic search results for key search terms, you'll find it easier to get guest blogging opportunities and possibly even lower the cost of your paid search and paid advertising campaigns.
Organic search is driven by content. Blogging, video testimonials, and other media you can create and publish on your site to create value for your niche will all help boost your search profile. You can use the same content for social media sharing—on your own pages/feeds and through paid placement or sponsored content—and build your awareness even more!
Once you have some content in place on your site and your social media channels, PPC ads and paid search are good ways to build awareness. Google Product Listing Ads, a specific type of paid search for ecommerce businesses and products, average about 1.5x the click-through rate and 23% more conversions than plain text ads, so this tactic should definitely be on your list, too.
This first stage of your ecommerce sales funnel is just about getting in front of your customers. Once you're there, you still have to get noticed and build interest, and you may only have a fraction of a second to do it. Want to learn how to use that slice of time to your advantage? Stay tuned for Part 2 in this blog series on the Sales Funnel!