• Ecommerce Startup
  • 5 Ways To Make Your Website More Trustworthy

    5 Ways To Make Your Website More Trustworthy

    With any new relationship, trust is always the first emotion we need to feel toward each other in order to move forward. In this case, your customer needs to be able to trust you before buying something from you. They need to trust that you are who you claim to be and your products are what you say they are. But how do you get a complete stranger to trust you when they probably know nothing about you? This post will cover 5 ways you can gain a customer’s trust just by using your website.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • Guerrilla Marketing: 4 Ways It Can Help Your eCommerce Store

     

    Guerrilla Marketing Instantestore

    You’re probably wondering how guerrilla marketing can help your eCommerce store? Of course it can! There are so much possibilities when it comes to marketing. Just because you have a store online that does not mean you have to limit yourself to only doing traditional online marketing (eg: social media, SEO, email marketing and etc).

    “Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with your marketing.” – Mike Volpe

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  • Cutting Edge Techniques
  • How Instagram Can Help Online Selling – Malaysia

    how to integrate Instagram onto your ecommerce website

    Instagram is a great social media platform to use when it comes to marketing and online selling – Malaysia and of course other parts of the world too. What’s cool and unique about Instagram is that it allows you to share as many pictures as you’d like with captions on your mobile device with your followers. Also, according to an article written based on a survey by the Malay Mail Online, Malaysians are the most active Instagram users in Asia Pacific.

    This article will tell you how you can use Instagram to help benefit your business.

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  • Ecommerce Startup
  • 9 High Impact eCommerce New Year’s Resolutions For You To Master

    We have prepared nine eCommerce new year’s resolutions ranging from easy to challenging and being proficient at any one will have significant impact on your ability to drive success to your eCommerce ventures.

    Nevertheless, as with any worthwhile endeavour, each will require persistence and consistency. Get cracking!

    1. Learn Re-Marketing    

    Save more abandoned shopping carts this year by developing a full cycle re-marketing system. Segment your shoppers into their respective groups based on their actions (or non-actions) and present each group with relevant messages that urges them to complete their transactions.

    Have you ever visited an online store and then for weeks after seen that brand appear on your social media feeds and all across your regular news and shopping sites? That’s re-targeting at work. It’s part of a full re-marketing strategy.

    simple image of remarketing process

    eCommerce presents the opportunity to offer a uniquely personalized experience to shoppers and is what sets us apart from brick and mortar stores. Test different tactics with each group and find what works best. New users who abandon their carts are likely to respond to promotions like first-time purchase discounts.

    There are also those that visit your store multiple times and check out several different products, without making a purchase. You’ll want to monitor such activity and have separate campaigns with different messages for each of these user segments.

    You also have the option of setting up automated re-marketing via services like Retai.ly which takes care of all the re-targting advertisements and helps you close sales from dropped users.

    2. Master a Social Media Channel    

    Think of your social network pages as a person, rather than online applications. Behave as though it is an actual human by interacting with people, making friends, and as with the offline world, don’t be afraid to make (a few) mistakes.

    Share your joys and hopes and apologize for your shortcomings when they do occur.

    Pick one social platform that you want. They each have their particular area of expertise with which to increase your skills.

    Master Facebook

    Image of facebook logo with the words Mastery underneath

    For example if you want to try social ads, Facebook is where its at. You can build very robust campaigns and bolster your marketing prowess through Facebook advertising.

    Facebook has a tonne of options besides paid advertising. Join groups and engage with the communities, or create your own. Have you created events on Facebook before?

    In fact, if you choose to be a master of Facebook, you’ll certainly have to take some time off your regular schedule to explore every nook and cranny on the platform. That way you’ll have a working idea of what sort of options you have available.

    Jon Loomer has without question the top resources for mastering Facebook. If you’re looking to master Facebook marketing, go learn from the best.

    Master Instagram

    Image of Instagram logo with the words mastery underneath

    Instagram is great for those who are visually adept to showcase aesthetically pleasing visuals. However, even if you are design impaired (like myself…), it’s a very forgiving platform to improve your eye for design. The platform comes with a myriad of filters and tools to help you craft appealing images.

    You can take your work to even greater heights with the help of third party online image editing software like Canva and Piktochart, which enable even untrained amateur designers to make stunning images that IG champions will appreciate.

    Master Twitter

    Twitter logo with mastery words underneath

    If you are a wordsmith then you will find Twitter to be your cup of tea. Twitter is all about honing your copy writing skills in 140 characters.

    You can pair each post with images as well to tell an even more compelling story, but the real challenge is being able to craft the perfect message with just those limited characters.

    That said, Twitter is no one trick pony platform. For example, you should create your own category lists like “Influencers”, “Ambassadors” or “Collaborators” and add relevant people to them. These lists can then be used for anything from content curation to content promotion, or any other creative ideas you might conceive.

    Master YouTube

    Youtube logo with the words mastery underneath

    This is the platform for you if video content is your thing. It really doesn’t take a lot of learning before you have your first video up.

    Video is where the bulk of audience engagement lies these days and YouTube is the place people go to search for videos.

    Product videos do very well when placed on your product pages, and it also helps drive traffic to your page since people searching for product videos on Youtube (and other video platforms) will be able to follow links back to your site.

    During the typical customer journey, people will search for reviews and tutorials of the products they are shopping for, so concentrate your efforts on those types for your product pages. However, don’t let that stop you from creating less promotional and more artistic videos to share with your audience, especially if they are relevant to your business.

    Should this be your chosen mastery it will prove worthwhile in the long run as mastering it means by the time you have several dozen videos created, you will likely also have learnt as many new video editing and directing techniques.

    All that on top of the numerous ways to promote your content and engage with your audience.

    3. Adopt a New Technology    

    Whether it’s a back-end software to make your life easier (and grow your business), or a front-end app for your customers benefit, pick one and get it working at its fullest potential.

    This can be anything from:

    These technologies can be implemented with minimal effort (and minimal results), but to reap entirely the rewards of your investment, you should take the time to grasp how it works, learn the best practices and test it out yourself.

    Wikipedia page being heatmap tracked

    For example, implementing an analytics suite for your eCommerce store may seem like it requires comprehensive technical knowledge, but highly visual Drag’N’Drop software such as Mixpanel make the tasks achievable for even those with minimal tech savvy. At the end of the day you’ll have a ton of data shwoing how shoppers experience your site and which areas you should take steps to optimize.

    Flash sale modules don’t even require much back end implementation, but learning best practices and how to implement them so both you and your shoppers enjoy the maximum benefit requires time and experimentation.

    Learning to track and analyze link clicks will help you optimize your social media performance by showing you which posts get the most clicks. Eventually you will graduate to site wide tagging with a tag manager(the sort used by big league eCommerce players), but you’ll surely have someone or a team to implement it properly.

    4. Blog Regularly   

    If you plan on only one undertaking throughout 2017 OR if the idea of expressing yourself by educating/entertaining people interests you, this should be it. Your blog content can be in any form, from a traditional written blog, to videos, image galleries, or even podcasts if can manage it.

    Blogging is part of the content calendar, but I like to plan it separate from other content since I’ve done enough of both to know how to integrate the two efficiently.

    Picture of someone blogging

    For example I always leave space in my social media post schedule for when I know I’ll be publishing blog content so I can promote that instead. Sometimes I decide that the promotion of blog content will not be part of normally scheduled social posts but will be in addition to it.

    The thing about blogging is that I spend most of my time promoting the content than creating it, so it reaches as many people as possible, thus driving more traffic to the site. So when I suggest blog regularly, I don’t mean to endlessly create content.

    Rather, the entire cycle of blogging starts from research, moves to creation, then to publishing it. But it doesn’t end there, as this is when you begin relentlessly promoting it.

    I use services like Epicbeat and Buzzsumo for finding types of content that people share a lot so I can figure out what I will create, as well as finding influencers I can reach out to on social media when I’m ready to promote to people who would find my content worth sharing.

    dashboard view of epicbeat search

    Keep in mind that although blogging and regular content updates have a significant impact on your search engine rankings, blogging for SEO is a long term goal that requires commitment and consistency to see results. Don’t jump in expecting to deliver an immediate surge of traffic to your site through blogging alone.

    Have a look at other popular blogs both within and outside your niche. Besides giving you ideas about content and styles, it will keep you motivated and inspired to continue throughout the year.

    5. Participate In Yearly Event Promotions   

    Companies that leverage social events like valentines, children’s/father’s/mother’s day, school holidays, and Halloween have the advantage of staying in topical conversations.

    I usually see F&B companies take the lead with topical promotions, but anyone can get in on it, even eCommerce merchants. February 5th is Super Bowl Sunday, consider creating a promotion that takes advantage of the amount of exposure the event receives, with a football theme or offering promotions related to the game.

    Earth Day on April 22nd is when you could show your support for our collective home by donating a percentage of profits to earth-friendly causes, and remind your readers that by shopping online they are also helping to reduce their carbon footprint.

    By planning and consistently running specific promotions centered around such events, you are building brand awareness by being in hot conversations. Planned correctly, you should also see increased seasonal spending with your brand.

    6. Add To Your Omnichannel Presence    

    Infographic of omnichannel marketing

    Take the time to grow your brand on previously untouched channels. If you’ve never sold on Amazon before, now is the time to think about being a merchant on their platform. Or if you’re in the arts and crafts market you could do well on Etsy.

    When the time is right you will even want to take your business to the physical dimension, but for now, just make sure your brand is visible everywhere on the internet.

    You should be being willing to sell anywhere and everywhere that there are customers willing to pay you for your products. The other benefit of having multiple sales channels is that you won’t be left in the lurch if it fails for any reason.

    7. Be Transparent    

    Next time you tend to non hush-hush business operations, consider documenting or even live streaming it as an event.

    Lady live streaming on her mobile phone

    In the past I worked at an IT hardware distribution company. Every time we got a new shipment of products in, it was cause for celebration because our target market would get really excited about new arrivals and updated stocks, especially if they had been waiting for new supplies.

    Our CEO would take photos of the delightful new goods and post it on our media pages himself because it was so effortless to engage in such an rewarding manner with our audience. It wasn’t a time where live streaming such events would have been a priority enough to go through the hassle of setting it up the tech for it, so photos sufficed.

    Now, technology has advanced to the point where all you need is your phone and you can live stream events that your audiences will enjoy: a behind the scenes look at what goes on with your business.

    This sort of content gives life to your organization. The human touch will help you seamlessly engage with the public you want to reach because sharing your routines gives your audience a glimpse into the actual human beings behind the products and services you offer.

    8. Champion Lifestyle Product Images    

    Every product makes a promise to the buyer: to change their life for the better. Before buying, however, people want to see how -and in what context- a product is used. If you choose to improve your product image aesthetics, then start by adding lifestyle images to your product pages.

    Lifestyle product images sell a customer on a piece by helping them visualize it in context since they display your product features in real-time. The common white backdrop product image won’t tell a story.

    Image of a drone against a white backdrop

    The DJI Phantom 4 is shown clearly against the typical white backdrop. It’s a good quality image but without context it lacks the ability to evoke emotion, or convey any meaningful information.

    Holding a drone up to show scale

    In this case the Phantom 4 is displayed with context! Looking at the image you can clearly see the size of it, which I couldn’t from looking at just the first image.

    Imagine if this were a thermostat or desk and all you had was the first shot. You make the purchase but when it arrives it might not fit in your space. Having a lifestyle image would have given you the information you needed to decide perhaps it would be better suited elsewhere.

    This is information you can help customers to glean from product images. After all, eCommerce merchants need to make up for the lack of tactile fulfillment that physical retailers can offer.

    drone in action shot

    When you want to take it to a whole new level, these sort of lifestyle images -ones with the product in action- have the ability to inspire emotion and imagination in customers. Someone viewing it will start fantasizing about possibilities and envisioning scenarios of how they would use it if they had it themselves. Powerful indeed.

    Have a look around J!NX store. They do a fine job of:

    • Choosing product images (with large display size)
    • Inviting customers to share their own product images via gamification
    • Gamifying the entire eCommerce experience for their visitors.

    woman wearing a product

    If you’ve an abundance of energy, produce and add several lifestyle images, then go a step further and devise a plan to get your customers on board by hosting pictures of them with their purchases. You can entice customers to participate by gamifying the process or rewarding them for each post they make, but really, gamification is an entire topic of its own.

    Finally, our last new year’s resolution is pretty fun to plan, isn’t difficult to execute, and will have meaningful effect on your marketing and audience interaction…

    9. Plan Your Content Schedule    

    If you enjoy planning and keeping activities organised, there’s a good chance you already have a content schedule in place. If not, this could be your time to start, at least for keeping your social media organized.

    I limit each period(month or quarter) to a maximum of two general themes. For example if running a baby/motherhood website, I’d focus on mothers as well as families during the month of May (women’s day), and dedicate November for content focused on children (children’s day).

    As with a blogging content calendar, be topical but also try to stay relevant to your industry.

    I use a simple Google spreadsheet to plan and keep track of everything, but you can use Excel if you prefer. Personally I hardly do anything on local (being a digital marketer and all) so I use Google Sheets. I find it sufficient for these sort of tasks since it’s live, shareable instantly, and I can link between documents, sheets and presentations easily.

    Spreadsheet of social media content plan

    This is our yearly outline sheet. In it I include periodic themes and schedule the minimum amount of content to be produced. Since this is a new year resolution post, you may find it helpful and motivating to see your progress. To that end I’ve included two rows that show completion rates for each month as well as a yearly summary.

    Add whichever channels you produce content for and determine your posting schedule. If you’ve no idea how much you can take on, don’t worry. Start small and do what you can. If you are already pressed for time there’s no point planning for 10 posts a day if you’re not able to execute it.

    Instagram and Pinterest are not strong channels for us so eventhough InstanteStore does have official accounts on those platforms, I don’t plan for content promotion on those channels. I prioritize tasks to leverage where our strengths lie, and you should too. So if you find IG effective to reach your audience compared to Twitter then prioritize that and add it to your plan instead.

    Things like videos take more time and effort to make, so I schedule it more conservatively, perhaps once a quarter or even a year. A webinar could double as the video content so I schedule it for before the video content.

    detailed monthly plan sheet

    On the following sheets are the monthly views that go into detail about the daily activity for each month, with auto-updated counts for total of posts per month. Remember I said I can easily link between documents? This is where I do just that.

    It’s an immense quality of life perk that each item on the monthly view is linked to the my content creation slides (I just happen to use slides) for easy reference, and it takes me to a page like this one:

    Google Slides used for content planning

    This is the crafting bench, so to speak. I use Google Slides as a canvas to draft concepts and the content copy, as well as come up with ideas for the post visuals. The image above shows the final result of a fully drafted post. In this case the posts are the pre-emptive messages before the actual blog post, which is the one you are reading right now.

    With the entire year mapped out, it will free up the rest of your calendar for other priorities, or even leisure! You don’t have to create content for the entire year right away, but having a structured content plan in place will help you stay ahead of deadlines while keeping your mind clear and focused on your goals.

    These are merely examples of how we plan our content calendar. You’ll discover your own methods and preferences and tailor your content schedule to suit your own style once you find your groove   = )

    Once again, thanks for reading our eCommerce blog. We hope you’ve found it valuable. We’re looking forward to becoming the top eCommerce blog of 2017 (and beyond)!

  • Grow Your Store
  • Finally A Proven Method To Increase Your eCommerce Holiday Sales

    Are You Using THE ONE Proven Tactic to Boost You Black Friday Sales By Up to 320%?

    It’s that time of the year again!

    Did you know that there are less than 4 days before the biggest sales period of the year? Both Black Friday & Cyber Monday are set to rake in the lion’s share of sales this season as holiday shoppers scour the web for the best deals.

    So is your eCommerce store ready for the year end shopping galore? What have you prepared to OFFER your customers?

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  • Ecommerce Web Design
  • 3 Painless eCommerce SEO Stylings from a Wizard!

    Ah, search engine optimization. I have a strong love-hate relationship with the artform. I’m certain its true for anyone who has the will to dabble in the arcane craft of SEO.

    Alas! SEO for eCommerce websites is even more complicated and mystical than traditional SEO. In the everlasting quest for the holy grail of Google’s first result ranking, many throw our hands up in despair and resign from the task altogether. Some persist doggedly, adamant that SEO “must-be-done”.

    Fewer still go about it in a practical & time efficient manner, tackling the problem with a mixture logic and creativity, never actually enjoying it.

    Of course, InstanteStore comes with a built in “SEO Wizard” to help you take care of the back-end and technical aspects of SEO, like Schema implentation. There are still practices that you should undertake to build upon that foundation.

    I’ve been studying a whole bunch of eCommerce websites, so I’m sharing several good and bad trends I’ve noticed among merchants in 2016. The craft may seem mysterious in theory, but practically, the execution is often straightforward.

    What Search Engines Want

    The most common issue I notice when browsing shopping websites is the amount of duplicated content. This usually stems from having multiple product pages for variations of the same item. Fix it by making sure all variations (size, colour, material) are on the same product page and displayed via drop-downs or radio buttons. We know search engines are contemptuous of duplicate content, providing zero value to audiences. So let’s make this a forbidden practice. The tech exists for this fix, hence a technological obstacle is no excuse for it.

    Chalkboard saying No to duplicate content

    An even weaker version of the duplicate content affliction is copy pasting supplier product descriptions, often to the point where many merchants have the same exact copy. I’m glad to report that it’s not something I notice much anymore, but it does happen so I’m just letting you know: this is sooo forbidden, there should be a wall of “NOPE” around it. If your products suffer from contentimus duplicatitis, do whatever it takes to make it original. Hire a copywriter if you must to make sure your product pages don’t contain copy that anyone else has.

    It’s not efficient to create unique copy for thousands of product pages though. Instead, using your web analytics tool (you have one right?), pick your most popular product pages for original content.

    What People Want

    Another problem I often encounter is the worrying lack of search query optimization. Unless you sell iPads or a popular product, don’t use product names as your search indicator. Instead target the product type: tablets, insect repellent, autumn chrysanthemum arrangements, Halloween cookies, etc.

    Think about what the shopper is searching for-what they actually type into search engines when they begin their digital journey. This will help determine the kind of language used to reach your pages. So if your insect repellent is called “Bugone”, maybe people will be more likely to find it if you optimized for the search term: “bug spray”, or “insect repellant”.

    A google search query to demonstrate shopper intent

    Search engines (and people too) love it when a page matches the users intent exactly. It’s logical. So if a page matches a shopper persona, it should show up when a person in searching for information. If a page matches a buyer persona, it should be listed when the person is ready for product options.

    #Winning 2016

    Atop a meadow of clouds, perched firmly at the top of SERPS is Polyvore. It’s a fashion shopping site, where they know their audience well and the social tech they favour. They have thus given shoppers the ability to create bundles of products, making up their own styles that they can upload so other users can browse and shop. Users can also interact with other bundles and share them across social media.

    Image of user content Polyvore website

    I’m pleased to say that I’ve noticed an increase in merchants opting for user generated content. This is great for SEO because it means older indexed pages are regularly updated, letting search engines know that your pages still have activity and thus are still relevant. Up till recently, user generated content was mostly in the form of user reviews and testimonials. As companies like Polyvore show us, there’s more than one way to skin this dragon!

    User generated content is beneficial in several ways:

      Your community will contribute content of their own, cutting down a chuck of your workload. A community interaction is a healthy one.

      As mentioned above, new content keeps your pages refreshed and indicates activity to search engine bots. It’s why online forums do well at SEO.

      The community your create benefits from it as well because they get recognition for putting together popular outfit ensembles, creating an enjoyable user experience.

    J!NX clothing give their shoppers the ability to post pictures of themselves with their new loot, and earn rewards for it too:

    Image of user content on J!NX product page

    A quick and simple fix for user generated content is to add social media feeds to your most popular pages. This is a good strategy if you don’t have much engagement on your site but have a responsive audience on your social media channels.

    *Remember that people want to engage with brands they see, so don’t hold back. On social media you should be tagging your posts with relevant people, and make use of those #tags to get your content in front even people who would otherwise not be able to see your content.

    Which brings us to…

    Social Media Marketing. SEO is no longer confined to making search engines like your pages and content. It’s now more important to make your content visible (and popular) on different channels on the web, because people who engage with your content are indicting to search engines that your content is relevant. Hence the more people engage with it, the more priority search engines will give it.

    Picture of social media apps

    It’s the reason you’ll see outdated content on the first page of many results, because it was once the most popular result for a search, and nothing new has come along that is as popular, even if there are more relevant contemporary piece available.

    These channels include the various social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube (yes!) as well as community forums.

    In the past, back-links used to hold a lot of weight in SEO ranking, so much that internet marketers hacked the system and created lots of artificial links a ranking boost. Given enough effort a page could rank number 1 on Google with a day or two. Naturally this led to a poor experience for the user, and so things aren’t as simple anymore.

    So my suggestion is this: the next time you are on Facebook, spend a few minutes to join a group relevant to your market and promote your own content with a link and a few words about it. I’m not even talking about a blog post-though it can be. I’m talking about a specific product. I say start promoting a product you personally use because it will help word your promotional post in a fluid and genuine manner. Use that as practice before writing about products you aren’t as passionate about and springboard yourself into a natural rhythm.

    I picture of 4 facebook ecommerce groups

    If you do this for a single piece of content on multiple groups, across various social networks, you will start to get in front of many eyeballs. That’s a great first step. Once your foundation is solid, audience engagement will be an easier obstacle to demolish. If you can only spare time to promote one piece of content to one group, once a week, that is infinitely more than getting zero social signals. So do it for as long as you can before losing yourself to the void…

    The key to tying social media with SEO is the user engagement. The goal is to have lots of people sharing your content over a short period of time, which is the “virality” factor that a social media marketer so intensely craves. It isn’t necessary to go all Ice Bucket Challenge every single time. What works in the long run is the cumulative effects of content promotion.

    Image of a person in green being dumped with a bucket of ice water

    As with anything digital, always be tracking and analysis your traffic, your search terms and your rankings. Figure out what’s working and replicate the process from there. A methodological process will ensure you start getting results faster.

    And that’s all folks!

    As you can gather, social interaction has a significant role in contemporary SEO, although many traditional tactics do still carry weight. It’s all about the ratio of importance the engines assign to each ranking factor.

    Doing SEO by bolstering my social media marketing efforts works well for me. It covers all my priorities: achieving KPI goals, what I have time for, and what I enjoy. Try something yourself and see what works best for you based on what you can manage to get done.

    Mastering SEO isn’t for everyone, but it doesn’t mean only the most seasoned practitioners are capable of conjuring clever spells. You’ll see that most of the time you’ll be getting incremental results over long periods of time. Once in awhile, stars align and magic wills itself into being without much help, resulting in a massive surge of traffic, engagement and popularity. It’s an incredible rush to see it happen before your eyes as weeks and months of work pay off all at once!