If you are running any kind of e-commerce store, you understand the pain of attracting new clients and retaining the old ones. This is not like a brick and mortar store where you get to interact with your client face-to-face.
It’s also not like a brick and mortar store that they have to walk past every time they go out for coffee. You have to work at getting them onto your site and then convince them that you are a trustworthy company and not one that will take their money and run.
Social commerce can be a lifesaver here. Whether you have a simple store one Bay or your custom site that can compete with Nike sales volume, social commerce is something that you need to get right.
Statistics show that clients who are referred via social media spend on average between $37 and $65. It might not sound that huge, but it is money that you have not really had to work for. And, considering that 87% of shoppers admit to using social media in their buying decision, you could be losing a lot of business by not having a social commerce plan.
There is also the potential for referred business that you have to consider. 71% of shoppers prefer to buy products if their friends have recommended it. Social media can be a real goldmine as a result.
Look at it this way – I buy a funky new sweatshirt. I love it because it is high quality, and because it fits really well. My friend might have seen the same thing and been hesitant to purchase because she couldn’t try it on first.
My friend sees me post pictures of myself in my sweater and talking about how well it fits and how comfy it is on social media. She is convinced, and she buys it as well. In turn, she posts pictures to her other friends, and the cycle starts all over again.
If you have an e-commerce store and you ignore the principles of social commerce, you are heading for trouble. The good news is that embracing social commerce usually requires little more than a shift in the way you look at things.
Start by building a relationship with your clients and welcoming all their feedback – both good and bad. Bad feedback can actually be more useful if you want to improve.
Then work around what your clients and potential clients actually want. Find out which social media sites they mostly hang out at and see how you can add value to those exchanges, without coming across as trying to sell all the time.
Positioning yourself in this manner will make it possible for you to see not only the current trends but learn to recognize upcoming ones as well.
This is a common problem.
Entrepreneurs spend weeks working on their websites, SEO and traffic, just to discover there’s no sales.
I’m Maggie, an ecommerce expert at Rock Paper Copy. I specialize in website & SEO optimization for ecommerce businesses. In this article I will show you why your website is not converting and how you can boost sales through the right SEO optimization and link building.
What is Conversion?
Let’s define “conversion”. According to Nielsen Norman Group, “the conversion rate is the percentage of users who take a desired action. The archetypal example of a conversion rate is the percentage of website visitors who buy something on the site”. Example: An ecommerce site is visited by 100,000 people during one month. During that time, 2,000 users make a purchase. Thus, the site's conversion rate is 2,000/100,000 = 2%.
Ideally, you’d want a healthy 2% conversion rate [2 sales per 100 visitors]. In this article, I’ll show you how to do just that with the right link building strategy. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Website SEO Optimization
When optimizing your website, you perform a keyword research to find the best ones for your industry. If you’re not sure how to do it, please check this video: Advanced Keyword Research Tutorial.
Keywords can drive the most relevant visitors, boosting your conversion rate.
So, if you are selling rubber ducks, you’d want traffic from people looking for this particular product. Therefore, you’d be using keywords such as “rubber duck, bath rubber duck” etc. This way the people who will find your website will be interested in your merchandise.
But, at the same time, not all keywords will bring you visitors who want to buy. Strange, but true.
You see, people browse Google for different reasons.
Some are bored, others are researching, and only some are shopping online. And we can divide those who shop even further due to their buying pattern: for example I shop with intent to buy - I don’t like browsing, for me it’s a simple task: I look for what I need & I buy it. But, others love browsing and comparing prices.
This is a topic for a separate article, so we won’t analyse it further here, but it’s just to show you that even if you get the traffic from people looking to buy, it doesn’t mean they will buy at their first visit.
Quite contrary - according to “the rule of seven”, it takes on average seven times for a person to come across a brand before they decide to buy. Not all visitors convert right away, but that’s not necessarily bad news. All you can do is to drive the most relevant traffic, to keep the conversion at a healthy level.
I’m going to show now you how to do it - even if you are only attracting “window shoppers” in the beginning.
Let’s revert to the rubber ducks example - when typing “rubber ducks” in Google, people can be searching for images, funny stories, clips of dogs taking baths with their favorite toys, not necessarily shopping. For you, in order to convert, the best traffic would come from people looking to make a purchase.
But how to make a distinction?
You do it with your keywords.
Imagine: what words would you use in Google to see funny pictures? Perhaps something like: funny rubber ducks, rubber duck in bath, and so on.
But, if you wanted to buy a rubber duck, you would use different terms: buy rubber duck, rubber duck free shipping, non-allergenic bathing ducks etc.
See the difference?
These words are used by people wanting to make a purchase - we will refer to them as “converting keywords”. You can take a full advantage of it when optimizing your website.
In order to attract visitors looking to buy, you need to use the converting keywords in your content. So, make sure to optimize your website using these phrases.
Step 2: Use Converting Backlinks
But that’s not all - when working on your external links and backlinks, make sure to use the converting keywords as well. You see, this is how the traffic you acquire will come from people looking to buy.
How do you do this?
Optimize your backlinks. You see, the backlinks [links from other websites to yours], when done right, have defined anchor texts.
See this: seo optimization is an external link to our SEO Monthly page. The anchor text is “seo optimization” as this is our target keyword. But, you could optimize the same link like this. Can you see the difference? The second option is less likely to bring you the defined traffic.
Don’t forget the text around the backlink - it’s good for conversion too. If someone writes an article about SEO services, and links back to your site, woohoo, it’s a bomb. You are being recommended by another website specializing in SEO - for Google, it’s a sign of trust and authority. It will help you improve your rank much faster.
So how do you acquire these converting backlinks?
Well, ideally you create an awesome content people will love and want to share. For example, if you created a blog post “100 SEO optimization tips to help you get to Google page One in 2018”, and people loved it, they would mention it on their blogs and link back. This is fantastic link building strategy.
Step 3: Join Discussion Groups
Another way to boost your conversion - and that’s something that works really well for me - is to participate in the discussion boards on your topic. For example, as an ecommerce expert for Rock Paper Copy, I specialize in Shopify platform. By being active on the Shopify Forums, by answering questions and giving advice, I build my trust and authority.
When relevant, I link back to my website [using optimized backlinks], but also link to other external resources - e.g. an article on the Shopify blog showing how to add related items to a product page. This adds authenticity and willingness to help to my answers [I don’t post just to promote my services].
I focus on helping first, and link to my website as a secondary task. Shopify forum drives steady converting traffic to my website.
Step 4: Become a Content King!
Another way of boosting your conversion is to create a content on a specialized topic. By content I mean:
and so on. You see, you have to build this multilayer customer acquisition strategy.
Be active, be out there!
You never know where your customers might find you, so you have to be active on as many platforms as possible [at the beginning at least, over time you can test which ones work best and then focus on these; let’s not forget the 80/20 rule - Pareto principle - 20% of our actions bring 80% of the results].
What works for me:
But, I also post on Quora, Google+, Instagram, discussion forums, LinkedIn and probably dozens of other sites. But, by checking the Google Analytics and Weebly stats [my website host], I can discover which ones are driving the most traffic.
If I see that a platform is not performing, I ditch it and spend this time on a site that drives traffic.
This way, my efforts gradually become more focused, I don’t have to do hundreds of different things that might not work for my conversion.
Also, by focusing on 2-3 platforms at once, I can really develop my presence there. People prefer brands that post regularly - it builds trust and authority. It’s better to be active on three platforms, than do mediocre job on ten platforms, as in the end none of them will bring the results, while you will be working 10+ hours a day.
That’s why Pareto principle is so effective.
Step 5: Blogging vs. Conversion Rate
Now, as soon as you start blogging, you’ll start attracting people reading the articles. That’s great! Your traffic will boom. That’s why I recommend hosting a blog on your website, and not on Wordpress.
But at the same time your conversion will suck, as people will visit your site just to read the articles. Don’t worry - if your visitors won’t buy right away, they will remember you - you gave them a valuable tip, and now they trust your authority. However, you can still turn readers into buyers.
I’ll share with you a conversion method that worked for me - and will also work for you.
Convert Readers into Buyers
Try this: create a helpful blog post and publish only an excerpt on your website [let’s say only first two paragraphs]. Then, offer the full article on a subscription only - so people have to join your mailing list to read it. This way, you build curiosity and offer a full content in an exchange for the email address. Bingo!
Set it all up in advance, so once people click to subscribe, they are being taken to the full version of the article - so you won't have to do unnecessary work. Store the email addresses on your newsletter platform and your hard disk.
Now, remember to stay in touch - send regular updates, offers and news.
This is how I drive 40% of my sales - read on to find how you can do it too!
Step 6: Befriend the Email and Boost Your Sales by 40%!
Don’t be afraid to send emails - people have subscribed to your mailing list and want to hear from you! Don’t think people hate emails - see, there’s a difference between a junk mail and email that adds value. Make sure that your emails are adding something to your customers’ lives. Check how I’m structuring my emails [and, on a side note, I send emails everyday]:
I send five emails per week [Monday to Friday, at 8am CT].
Two emails share an external source, such as an article on how to optimize Facebook ads or drive free traffic. These topics are of interest to my customers [they add value].
Other three emails promote my services, such as: website critique, SEO optimization, or video tutorial.
But, these emails are worded to highlight the benefits, not just to sell.
See the typical subject lines:
40% Sales Boost
So you see, the nature of the emails is: “how I can help”, not “buy now, order today!” I focus on giving value. I can confidently say that newsletters drive majority of my traffic and are responsible for 40% of sales.
Emails are a perfect conversion tool, as they put you in your visitors’ consciousness - remember the rule of seven? People need to see your brand! Then don’t delay sending those emails.
Newsletter is my primary source of referred traffic - please see the Google Analytics chart below:
Step 7: Embrace the Video
Videos - now this is a powerful conversion tool! I discovered the potential of videos, when I started creating YouTube clips on a regular basis. They trigger much bigger response than an article.
You see - people love embedding videos on their own blogs. Many users prefer videos - this kind of content is more digestible and engaging than text. Only yesterday, when I searched for brand mentions [typing in Google link:rockpapercopy.com] to find all current backlinks, I discovered a bunch of websites featuring my videos.
So where did I find them? Mainly in content hubs and SEO blog. As I always add a description to all my clips, it showed below the embedded videos, linking back to my website. Score! It’s an easy way to earn backlinks and trust. Videos are powerful!
Don’t be shy with videos; I admit they can be overwhelming at first, but it’s worth trying. I started by doing screen recordings [so I didn’t have to speak to the camera], and only after a while, I was confident enough to try face recording.
Make sure that your videos are compact [for some reason people prefer watching six 5-minute videos, than one 30-minute clip].
You don’t need any special editing tools [I don’t use any], or expensive software. I record all videos on my Mac [with built-in microphone and camera], using QuickTime Player [free app] to capture the recording and share it to YouTube. The process is straightforward and uploading a 3-minute video takes about 30 seconds.
Once the clip is on YouTube, it’s being processed, and you can add the final touches: a custom thumbnail [I create it with Canva.com], tags and unique description [don’t forget to use your converting keywords and link back to your website].
SEO optimize your videos
Now, this is an important part, although I admit, I don’t do it every time. Run a basic keyword research before writing a video title. You need to know what people are searching for - and it can put you in a top spot in YouTube search results.
The videos where I added converting keywords are performing better. I tend to do it with more important videos [the ones I want to promote]. And for good news, after the research, you can use the same keywords again with your next video on the related toic [just tweak the title a bit].
For example, when I created two videos about blogging for SEO, I found that “create a blog” is quite a popular search, much more than “blogging”, which I would personally use. So, for the two videos I added titles:
“Create a Blog - Why Blogging is Important for SEO” and
“Create a Blog - Why Blogging Can Help You Get to Google page one in 2018”
See the difference? The target keyword is there, but in a different context.
Step 8: Share the Comments
Another great way of driving relevant traffic is through blog commenting. This works really well for me.
How does it help a conversion rate?
Well, that’s the tricky part. The comments you place on other blogs can help you boost sales, as long as they add value, bring another point of view, and enhance the article.
Imagine you are selling fibre towels and stumbled upon a blog post listing the benefits of cotton towels over fibre towels. It’s a perfect place for you to highlight benefits of fibre towels, as long as your comment is constructive and helps readers [to pick right]. So you can tell about how fibre towels are quicker to dry and take a little space, which make them perfect when traveling.
This is a very constructive way to compliment the article, without criticizing cotton towels. This kind of comment is likely to be accepted by the moderators and published, as it adds value to their readers.
Remember however - in order for your comment to send you a backlink goodness, you need to include a link to your website. You can mention, that you are currently offering 10% off all fibre towels and link to your collection page. This link is 100% justified, as you are giving the readers a chance to purchase the item they want. Perfect way to build organic backlinks.
There’s another approach to blog commenting, which I am discussing in the video below, click to watch it now:
Don’t limit yourself only to blogs. You can comment on Quora, YouTube clips, Yahoo Answers, Google+ posts, Reddit, Houzz, and more.
There are other great platforms you can try:
and more. I use them the most, and with the right strategy, they can boost your conversion.
As you can see, not all traffic is equal! So don’t panic about low conversion [especially if you are blogging], just brace yourself for a backlink challenge. Apply the link building strategies discussed in this article, and let me know which one are you going to you try first?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below [and don’t forget about the backlink!] - thanks for your time.
Not sure where to start?
I discuss these strategies in greater detail in my 25-part Conversion Course I am currently working on and which will be available online soon.
Subscribe to get 50% off this course now:
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Freelance Content Strategist. Helping brands find a right voice, one story at a time. Passionate about animal onesies, meaningful conversations and well-spoken people
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