Define Your 2018 E-commerce Marketing Goals
The online world moves fast. Each year, it’s a good idea to consider the goals you have for your website to see if they need some updating. For an e-commerce website, some goals will always stay consistent, but others will evolve or change completely year by year.
This year, here are a few good goals to consider setting for your website.
1. Increase relevant traffic.
Increasing traffic is probably a familiar goal for you. For pretty much every website, accomplishing whatever it’s meant to do requires people visiting the site. But not all traffic is created equal. If your marketing is bringing in traffic, but it’s mostly made up of people who will never have a need for your products or services, then it’s not doing you much good. For instance, a B2B software company probably wouldn’t benefit from a huge amount of traffic if most of it was coming from teenagers
In addition to continuing your marketing efforts for raising traffic, this year take some time to analyze if the traffic you’re getting seems to match up with the target audience you’re trying to reach. In the Audience section of Google Analytics, you can find a lot of information about the kinds of people visiting your website, including:
- Demographic information like age and gender
- Interests they have, based on their other browsing information
- Geographic information
- Tech information like the device and browser they use
That can go a long way to helping you figure out if you’re reaching the people you’re trying to. If you find that you’re not, then it’s time to rethink and refine your marketing efforts to make sure they’re more targeted moving forward.
2. Grow your email list.
Getting people to your website is a big part of being successful, but getting them to come back so you can form an ongoing relationship is even more important. One of the best tools you have to do that is your email list. When someone opts into your email list, they’re opening the door to ongoing communication with your brand – which is a big deal! It’s no surprise that email marketing has one of the highest conversion rates of the main online marketing activities.
That means that one of the best ways to improve your website’s success in the coming year is to put more of an emphasis on growing your email list. You can do that by offering deals to your customers for signing up, promoting it on social media, and including CTAs throughout your website urging people to subscribe.
And make sure you keep the emails you send relevant and useful so you keep those subscribers once you get them. They’re too valuable to lose lightly.
3. Provide visitors a personalized experience.
Each of your visitors is a unique person who interacts with your website in their own way. Technology now makes it possible for you to track how people interact with your website and customize their experience on the site as they go. You can suggest items that are similar or complementary to what they’re looking at, or deliver up content on topics that are related to the piece they clicked on.
One study found that providing a personalized web experience for visitors can cause an 18% uptick in sales. When you make it easier for people to see the parts of your website that are most relevant to them, it increases their chances of having a good experience and continuing their relationship with your brand.
4. Make your website responsive.
By this point, the reasons to make your website mobile friendly are well known and if you’re reading this, you’ve probably already taken that step (you have, right?). In the coming year, Google’s planning to roll out mobile-first indexing, meaning that their algorithm will give greater priority to your mobile website in determining rankings.
That means you want your mobile website to have the same content and information on it as your desktop website, just visually optimized for a mobile screen. Making your website responsive is one of the best and easiest ways to do that. And in general, make it a goal to make an effort to pay attention to your mobile experience and make sure your website is easy and intuitive for people on mobile to use. Mobile’s not going away and is likely to continue to become more important with every passing year, so you have to treat it like the priority it is.
5. Go beyond blogging.
By now, a lot of businesses have blogs – and that’s usually a good choice. A blog is a powerful marketing tool. But because there are so many blogs out there already, making your content stand out is increasingly hard. One way you can shake things up a little this year is to consider other types of content to explore. Branching into podcasts, videos, or interactive content can help you supplement the blog content you have now and may enable you to reach a new audience.
Taking a broader approach to your content strategy by bringing in new format types also allows you to get a better idea of what your customers respond to. Some of the content may fall flat, but some of it may perform even better than your written content did. By experimenting with new forms, you can come to understand your audience even better and continue to refine your efforts based on what works for them.
6. Partner with influencers.
With so many blogs and social media channels for people to move between on the web, getting your content in front of people is one of the biggest marketing challenges businesses consistently face. One good tactic for reaching more people is developing relationships with people and platforms that already have a large audience.
That could be by creating affiliate marketing relationships with influencers, by guest posting on their blogs, or by collaborating with them on projects. Whatever form it takes for your business, working with influencers can help you catch the attention of new people in your target audience and get them back to your website where you can work on building a relationship with them.
7. Increase sales.
For e-commerce businesses, this goal will remain consistent in all years. For your website and business to thrive, you have to be making sales. Everything else on this list is designed to help make that happen, but you should also look to your own analytics from past years. Figure out what tactics have worked the best for getting you sales – not just traffic or email signups (which matter too), but marketing activities specifically led to sales.
While there are general trends each year that should guide what you try, the most important thing you should look to is what’s working best for your particular business. At the end of the day, your business is unique. Only you can work out what makes the most sense for you and your audience. Analyze your metrics and design your marketing plan to optimize doing more of whatever is getting you sales now.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.