What Is The Number One Thing Holding Your Ecommerce Inbound Strategy Back?

By Rodney Laws | Ecommerce

Aug 14
Ecommerce Inbound Strategy

Inbound marketing has been growing in importance for a number of years now. Ecommerce companies are using it more and more to direct targeted traffic to their stores and convert that traffic into customers.

But something is going wrong with your campaign. It’s not working out as you expected, but you don’t know why?

Let’s take a look at the different areas of your inbound strategy so you can pinpoint what is stopping yours from taking off.

Lay the Foundations

Before we look at the key stages of inbound marketing, first you need to lay your foundations. Get these in order because it could well be that you have not sorted out the basics, and this could be holding you back.

And before we even look at these, there’s one thing you must do: Define your goals.

You should have a clear idea about what you want to achieve and who you are targeting. That means creating buyer personas, deciding on what your product offering is and your unique value proposition.

What are you offering that is different? What does your store do that other stores do not? What are your revenue goals?

The 3 Key Stages of Inbound Marketing

Once you’ve got your foundations in place, there are three general stages that make up your ecommerce inbound marketing strategy. One or more of these could be holding back your inbound strategy. Let’s dive in.

1. Traffic

Arguably the most important part of the whole inbound strategy is to generate traffic. Without traffic, you don’t make sales. Simple. So you need to drive a regular stream of traffic to your store.

For many ecommerce stores, this is the biggest challenge of all and where they place most of their focus. But how do you do it?

There are many ways to drive traffic, but organic search is one of the most important. By implementing an SEO strategy, you can drive targeted traffic to your site from all around the country and beyond whether you’re based in Los Angeles, New York, or anywhere else in the world.

This involves (among other things) creating product pages optimized for the right keywords, generating links to your site (often through publishing valuable content), and getting higher up in the SERPs. 

You must take all of these factors into consideration when you are setting up your website because it can be a very time-consuming exercise to optimize after the act. If you’re building your website with WordPress then I recommend adding the Yoast plugin to your ecommerce store. It’s not just a time-saver, it’s a business maker.   

But SEO is a long slog. It can take months to start generating real traffic. If you are putting all your efforts into your SEO, this could well be why you are failing to generate the traffic you need.

Enter paid traffic.

Inbound marketing can accommodate paid traffic, even though it is more often focused on free traffic. You want to get in front of your customers at the moment they are looking for the products you provide, and this is where AdWords can be a fantastic generator of targeted traffic. The problem with this is that it can be expensive.

AdWords also provides you with crucial data for your SEO. You can find out the keywords that drive sales, the landing pages that convert, the advertising messages that get results. You can test and improve, you can even launch a retargeting campaign.

Paid social is another option. Using ads, you can target the specific people you want to reach on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, reaching out to the people who are most likely to buy from you.

There is also organic social to consider. By sharing content, getting involved in conversations, and engaging with your customers, you may be able to generate more social traffic to your site. All these together are where you will start to get targeted traffic.

2. Conversions and sales

If you are focusing just on traffic, it could be that your inbound campaign is failing because your pages have not been set up properly for conversions and sales

This involves converting visitors into email subscribers and making direct sales in your store.

This is a huge topic, but it involves:

  • setting up landing pages for your ads
  • converting not just into sales but into email leads so you can continue to target people
  • optimizing your checkout process
  • using a site search function to make it easier to find specific products
  • experimenting and testing to find out what is working, then improving on it
  • making it easier to find your bestsellers
  • converting visitors from your blog posts, perhaps by using content upgrades

It will also involve factors like optimizing the overall experience including a good mobile experience, a fast-loading site, and clear and intuitive navigation.

This is a very real concern if you’ve hurdled the web design part of your ecommerce business, opting instead to buy one of many ready-made ecommerce sites that are for sale.

While it saves you time by you not having to build your own online store, you might lose out on that essential optimization process. 

If you’ve chosen this business model for your company, you’ll need to carry out a CRO audit – something which is also useful for you to do periodically even if you’ve built your website from scratch. Some of the things you need to cover in your audit are: 

  • Layout and design 
  • UX
  • Analytics 
  • Content 

A few quick wins that will enhance your conversions and sales are:

  • Posting video tutorials on your website 
  • Simplifying your checkout process
  • Using multiple images of your products 
  • Adding a live chat function to your website
  • Making sure you have multiple payment options
  • Incorporating user reviews

Services like Unbounce and Qualaroo can help you scale your CRO efforts.

3. Repeat Customers

If you are generating traffic and conversions, you are well on track. But there is one final area to consider: Turning your customers into loyal brand advocates and repeat customers.

We all know that repeat customers are far more valuable. You’ve done the hard work of turning them into customers, now take advantage of that. You need to delight them, and you can do that by:

  • Providing incredible support
  • Asking them about their experiences
  • Offering to help if something has gone wrong
  • Sending them valuable content direct to their email
  • Providing personalized suggestions
  • Giving them special offers unique to them

Show them that you care and you want their experience to be positive. Do this, and you’ll soon have customers who will be singing your praises—and doing their bit to bring in new customers. Referrals are gold. Make use of them.

If one of the areas detailed above is lacking, the whole inbound strategy will be ineffective. If you’re not driving traffic, or not driving the right type of traffic, your strategy will fail. If you’re not converting visitors, your strategy will fail. If the customers you convert don’t become repeat customers, your strategy will fail.

There’s a good chance that one of these three areas is holding you back. So take some time to go over your entire strategy. Study your analytics to work out what is working and what is not working. Pinpoint where your inbound marketing strategy is not working, then fix it.

Then you too can take full advantage of one of the most effective marketing strategies available today.

For even more guidance on starting, building and running an ecommerce business, take a look at my dedicated guides page and blog for the latest tips and how-tos.