Generating inbound leads for your ecommerce site can sometimes be challenging. Unless you have a marketing budget the size of giants like Amazon, Walmart, or Overstock you need to be focused on how you bring in clients. You need a plan that fills in the gap between incoming prospects and converting customers that is affordable and repeatable.
That is why inbound marketing is such an important part of any ecommerce site’s marketing mix today. Rand Fishkin described inbound marketing as “the practice of earning traffic and attention for your business on the web rather than buying it or interrupting people to get it.”
It removes the desperate struggle to find the right prospects for your business with a system that can bring in raving fans who want to purchase your products. In essence, you are not searching for clients, but building a sustainable business.
Before we outline the steps you need to take to acquire new leads, keep in mind one thing. It is all about the list. How you grow, build, nurture, segment, and market to that list is at the heart of all your inbound marketing efforts. None of the steps below matter if you do not take the time to manage your list effectively.
With that being said, let’s discuss the three steps to generate inbound leads for your ecommerce site:
Step 1: Attract Traffic.
During the TV era, marketing would go as follows. Raise your hand in the air as loudly as you can and stuff as many commercials down the throats of consumers as possible. For a long time, this in your face campaign worked wonders. After all, this was also the era of uniformity, modernization, and industrialization. Everything had to fit in a neat box, including the television sets. In today’s society where we have more than three major television stations this no longer works.
Think about it this way: Every minute, 300 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube. To put this in perspective, Foxtel Cable has approximately 1000 channels altogether. They create over 24,000 hours of content for these channels each day. YouTube creates the same amount of content in only 80 minutes. The amount and variety of content is dizzying in comparison to television. It also speaks to the idea that to attract the right audience, we need to vary our approach. Using various strategies like blogging, search engine optimization, social media, and mobile marketing help businesses reach the right target audience.
By creating this content, you not only drive traffic, create value, and pique their interest in your services. This all happens from the benefit-driven content you create to generate prospective clients.
Step 2: Conversions matter.
Once you create that inbound funnel, you need to move your audience into your sales funnel. This can vary depending upon the person, but the key here is to create an automated email product that can contact your prospects based upon their needs. The challenge is most ecommerce sites do not personalize those messages for their target audience. For example, in a recent study Email Fail: An In-Depth Evaluation of Top 20 Internet Retailer’s Email Personalization Capabilities showed that 70% of marketing executives thought it was very important to use email for their business. However, only 17% of them took the time to personalize these messages.
That is probably on average the top 100 online retailers in 2011 sent out an average of 177 emails over the course of the year. That is roughly 3-4 emails per week, and something many retailers cannot get away with. That much email can be considered spam.
Step 3: How can you turn customers into raving fans?
When it comes to raving fans, no one does it better than Amazon. They know that people come to their site, not only because they want to purchase something. Instead, customers want to feel secure in the purchases they make, and be surprised to find other items they were not even expecting when they went on the site. Amazon is hard to beat when it comes to scalability, product suggestions and user-generated reviews.
If you want to grow, then you need to add your own network of brand evangelists, influencer networks, and loyal customers. How do you do that? Well, remember that email list we discussed earlier? This is the lifeline for your business. Start using automated email software that nurture relationships with your list. Specifically, use event triggering software where prospects who take specific actions, like purchasing your product are removed from another list and placed into your buyers list.
By hyper-segmenting your email list, you can provide the type of personalized experiences that today’s customers crave. Amazon knows this. That is why they are the $88.99 Billion elephant in the ecommerce space. Pair your email marketing with intelligent social media campaigns where you can monitor and interact with prospects and customers on social media. The more you can connect with customers across different channels, the more you can leverage your marketing efforts. That is why the content marketing you do on your blog and in videos that we discuss in the first step matter. You are hitting people on different levels with your inbound campaign.
How does your ecommerce stay competitive in today’s marketplace?
You start to become a company of value through the content and information you provide to your prospective customers. This information is an in to get them to trust, know, and like your brand. As long as you follow through and keep providing value, then you can keep driving inbound leads to your business.
Let us know what questions you have as you provide value to your clients. What worked best? What worked least? Why? Give us a Shout, so we know what has worked and not for your inbound lead generation.