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More than an online store or informational resource, your website is often the first experience visitors have with your brand and products. The images your site contains directly affect the overall perception of the quality of your products and perceived trust in your brand. This is even more critical for high-end retailers and manufacturers who sell premium and luxury brands.

Product photography — impacts brand perception

  • determines the perception potential existing customers have about your brand and will significantly influence purchase decisions
  • influences how long visitors will stay on your site, conversion, and repeat visits
  • must speak to your target market and their values to instill trust in your brand
  • can make your brand stand out from your competitors and help establish you as a leader in your industry

Ultimately, high quality professional product and lifestyle photography that captures the right look and feel of your products will increase your customer loyalty, brand image, and sales. Do you have current imagery to build brand value? Is it the right message? Our clients tap into on our in house photography studio and digital design services. We welcome conversation, enjoy the creative process, and look forward to any challenge. 877.276.2402 or info@eporia.com.

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If you’re an experienced online marketer, you know the old saying of; “If you build it, they will come”, is not a reality. You will always need to be making an effort to build your brand online if you want to see significant results. Simply having a great website with lots of good content isn’t enough.

Social media offers an incredible opportunity to increase your online presence, website traffic, and ultimately your sales (without the costs of online marketing methods such as pay-per-click advertising). However, making your social media efforts produce results requires ongoing effort, and you should be prepared to set aside at least an hour a day to actively participate in your chosen social media activities.

Your social media efforts should be focused on encouraging others to share in positive interactions with your brand, such as ‘Liking’ you on Facebook, and other sharing methods such as ‘Repinning’ your products on Pinterest. Keep in mind that the more the search engines see others interacting with your brand via social media, the more favorably they will view your site.

Social media can also provide more results for your brand in search results. For example, when someone searches for your company name, they could find your website and your social media profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, your blog, and more. This can be very valuable in gaining new business from people who aren’t familiar with your brand. Searches for your brand name that result in links to your website and your social media profiles can go a long way in instilling trust in your company with potential new customers. This can also result in more ‘Likes’ on Facebook, ‘Follows’ on Twitter, and other valuable social media interactions. All of which further shares your brand with others and tells the search engines that people are talking about you, which will ultimately help your search engine rankings.

The more you participate in social media, the more places there are for people to discover your brand, visit your site, and possibly become new customers. If social media isn’t already a key element in your online marketing mix – it needs to be.

What are you doing on a daily basis to increase your online presence?

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People use the internet for three primary purposes, which are research, shopping, and entertainment. Targeting all three of these search intents (in a manner that fits with your brand) can significantly increase your website traffic and sales. As a rule, the more interesting, useful, and relevant your site and related content are, the more likely visitors will share it with others.

Here are three easy viral marketing ideas for you to consider:

  1. Create an interesting or fun community around the topic of your business. Keep in mind that this does not have to be done on your website. Such communities can be created with social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or even a blog.
  2. Provide content rich research information on your site. Think in terms of info such as how-to information or terms and definition glossaries related to your offerings. These types of information are frequently shared with others online and can help create more valuable traffic and links to your site.
  3. Give people something fun to do online. Think in terms of what makes sense for your business. Fun things can be as simple as photo galleries related to events your company participates on your website, to sharing photos on Pinterest of your products and company activities. Both of these are pretty easy to set up and can create more opportunities for people to share you with others.

The ideas above may take a little time to implement. However, they are well worth it considering that they can drive more qualified traffic to your site, encourage people to tell others about you, and help you gain valuable links to  increase your search engine rankings.

What are you doing to get people to tell others about you?

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With Black Friday right around the corner, the holiday shopping season is rapidly shifting into full gear. According to Forrester Research, online sales for the 2011 holiday season are expected to hit $59.5 billion which would be a full 13% increase over last year. With this said, the 2011 holiday season offers online retailers significant sales growth opportunities.

The following tips will help you create an online shopping experience that’s conducive to increasing sales for the holiday season. So if you haven’t already applied all of the following recommendations, there is still time to start taking advantage of them.

Dress Up Your Online Store for the Holidays
Adding holiday themed banners and ads to your site can help increase holiday sales since they convey to your shoppers that your site is up-to-date and ready for the holiday season. Dressing your site up for the holidays also naturally encourages your site visitors to think about shopping for friends and family on their shopping list.

Enticing Holiday Promotion Offers
Actively promote your holiday promotions by email and with on-site ads that reinforce your offers. Make sure that the products you promote are popular items that will convert into sales and that they include strong offers such as free shipping or percentage off discounts, since these types of offers convert at higher rates. Also, make sure your holiday promotions have strong calls to action and that they direct shoppers to landing pages where they can immediately take action and make the purchase. Keep in mind that many holiday shoppers turn to the internet for both simplicity and savings. Make sure you’re giving them a great reason to buy from you now and make it as easy as possible!

Promote Suggested Gift Ideas
Develop a department on your site that’s focused on gift suggestions and promote it throughout your site. The reason for this is twofold. First, many of your visitors will come to your site to shop for themselves and by seeing the suggestion of gift ideas they may be further influenced to make gift purchases for their friends and family as well. Second, many visitors will land on your site who are actively gift shopping and the easier you make it for them to find gift ideas quickly, the more likely they will be to buy.

Product Images & Content that Sells
Review your product images to ensure they showcase the perceived value of your products. Consider adding additional product images as applicable that offer alternate views of the product. Lifestyle shots can also help increase your online sales. People naturally relate to products they see other people using and enjoying. Also, make sure your product descriptions are well written and address the questions your site visitors are most likely to be concerned about before making a purchase.

Up Sells & Cross Sells
Suggestive selling is a powerful marketing tool that can increase your online sales immediately. Up selling and cross selling should be applied year-round and further refined for the holidays. For example, if you offer a product and related up sell products are available, make sure to offer the up sell items as suggested items. Also, if you have products that have add-on accessories available, make sure you’re offering the add-on products as cross sells. Don’t leave these valuable sales opportunities on the table.

Work Your Social Networks
Let your social networks, such as your Facebook friends and Twitter followers see that you’re in the holiday spirit. Add holiday related content to your wall posts and tweets. Consider updating your profile pictures and backgrounds (where applicable) to incorporate holiday themes. You may be pleasantly surprised by how many people will end up connecting with your site due to creating this top of mind awareness that you’re there for them for the holidays. Also, don’t be afraid to occasionally promote offers through your social networks such as special coupon codes for your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. You might be surprised at how many of them will appreciate this and share these with others.

Dressing up your website for the holidays and providing enticing holiday promotions will generate more interest in your site during the holiday season and ultimately more sales. Make sure you’re maximizing your selling opportunities by suggesting great gift ideas, refining your product content, applying effective cross sells and up sells, and actively cultivating your social networks. Creating an effective holiday presence requires some extra planning and work, but the potential rewards are well worth it. And if you’re doing it right, it can be a lot of fun for both you and your customers.

Happy Holidays!

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Although there are many elements that must work together for search engine optimization marketing to be effective, the SEO page title is among the most important. Effective SEO page titles tell both search engines and searchers what your web pages are about.

When writing SEO page titles, it is important to make sure you’re targeting the right keywords for the page you’re optimizing, while at the same time writing them in a way that will entice searchers to click through to your site from the search results.

Your SEO page title will ultimately determine whether or not a searcher will be enticed to click on the search result for your site. After all, when you do a search on Google, you scan the search results and click on the ones that make the most sense in relation to what you’re searching for. With this said, you need to put extra thought into writing SEO page titles that will rank high in the search engines for your most important keywords and that will convert from searches to clicks.

Keep in mind that your SEO page title acts as the synopsis of your web page to both search engines and potential visitors. Therefore, your SEO page title must be clearly focused on the topic of your web page. As easy as this sounds – most people have a hard time writing effective SEO page titles because they over think the process.

Let’s say you have a product page on your ecommerce site which offers a contemporary black leather sofa made by Natuzzi. When people are asked to write an SEO page title for a page such as this, it is common to see SEO page titles such as ‘Discount Living Room Furniture & Sofa Sets’, ‘Leather Furniture, Sofas, Chairs & Ottomans’, ‘Leather Living Room Furniture & Home Décor’, etc. If any of these examples have made you raise an eyebrow you’re doing good, since none of them will be effective for the keyword searches for ‘Contemporary Leather Sofa’, ‘Black Leather Sofa’, ‘Natuzzi Leather Sofa’, or other combinations directly related to the specific offering.

An effective SEO page title for the example of a contemporary black leather sofa by Natuzzi would simply be, ‘Leather Sofa, Contemporary Black Leather Sofa by Natuzzi’. This would be the choice for the following reasons.

1. More people search for ‘Leather Sofa’ than they do for ‘Contemporary Sofa’, ‘Black Sofa’ or ‘Natuzzi Sofa’, which is why the first words are ‘Leather Sofa’ to reinforce this most important keyword phrase.

2. The rest of the SEO page title of ‘Contemporary Black Leather Sofa by Natuzzi’ is chosen to achieve two goals. First to create an SEO page title that is meaningful to searchers so they know what the content of the page is about before clicking on the search result (which also increases conversion). And second, to tell the search engines the most important information related to the product being offered, which in this case are style, color, material, type of product and manufacturer.

SEO page titles for other topics may not be as obvious to write as in our example. However, in most cases they will be just as easy if you simply look at the core topic of the page you’re optimizing and write an SEO page title that clearly describes what the page is about. For example, if you have a web page about Napa Valley wine tours your SEO page title should include the phrase of ‘Napa Valley Wine Tours’. A web page about golf lessons at a Seattle area golf course should include the phrase of ‘Golf Lessons in Seattle’. As simple as this appears, many people get hung up on trying to brainstorm what they should be writing for their SEO page titles, when the answer is literally right in front of them on the page they are optimizing.

Keep in mind that as with our example of the contemporary black leather sofa by Natuzzi, the most important keywords of ‘Contemporary’ ‘Black’ ‘Leather’ ‘Sofa’ and ‘Natuzzi’ must also be included in the meta tags and within the text content of the web page. By writing keyword rich SEO page titles that directly relate to the topic of the web page you’re optimizing, you will be able to increase your search engine rankings and click-through rates to your site (provided that the rest of your SEO elements are properly optimized).

When was the last time your reviewed your SEO page titles in comparison with the content of your web pages?

More SEO advice

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The results of a recent Integrated Solutions for Retailers survey indicate that the majority of its readership intends to invest in an eCommerce or web development solution in 2010. The survey also made it clear that value and return on investment guide the search for new providers.

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The art of effective cross-selling (offering related items) and up-selling (suggesting more expensive alternatives) on your product pages can make a significant difference in the overall sales volume and conversion ratio of your ecommerce website.

Effective Cross-selling and Up-selling can Increase:

  • Average order totals
  • Conversion rates
  • Exposure to higher margin items and best sellers
  • Awareness of the depth of your offerings
  • Overall customer satisfaction by helping to find the product or service offering that best meets your visitor’s needs

Cross-Selling Dos

  • Only feature highly relevant items such as accessories directly related to the product offered or as an alternative of the product
  • Use personal words such as “you”, opposed to “we”. For example, “You Might Also Like”, not “May We Also Suggest”
  • Choose items that sell well and have higher margins whenever possible
  • Keep you cross-sells down to three suggestions. This seems to be the magic number to create interest while not overwhelming or distracting your customer from making a choice
  • Whenever possible, show the most obvious choices someone would want to go along with their purchase such as a matching necklace to go along with diamond earrings
  • Continually test your cross-selling tactics and work at improving them for maximum effectiveness
  • Look through your order history to find proven cross-sell items. For example, previous customers often bought product “A” when they bought product “B”

 Cross-Selling Don’ts

  • Never, ever, show items that are not “directly” related to the main product
  • Don’t show items that are out of stock unless backorders are available – Note: During the holiday shopping season, try not to cross-sell anything that isn’t readily available
  • Don’t use cross-selling to simply try unloading unwanted inventory. The goal is to maximize your overall sales totals and conversion rates. Unwanted inventory can have its own area on your site such as a Clearance or Specials section
  • Don’t try cross-selling big-ticket items. As a general rule the incremental cross-sell/up-sell should be 10-25% of the price of the original item on the product page

What Do You Think?

Everyone seems to have their own ideas about what cross-selling strategies work best for their ecommerce business. What do you think about cross-selling as an online marketer or customer? Have you had success increasing sales or buying products due to cross-selling? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

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