80% of eCommerce businesses will fail within their first two years of business. If you’re an eCommerce business owner, that’s a staggering and disheartening statistic that probably keeps you up at night. It’s especially discouraging, because you’re likely already overworked and spinning your wheels trying to make it all come together.
You have inventory to manage, customers to maintain, a website that must run like lightning, when are you supposed to find the time for marketing? Beyond that, there are currently between twelve and twenty-four million eCommerce shops active today. How are you supposed to get ahead? How can you compete with twenty-four million other people?
With marketing and business advice varying from expert to expert, it can be challenging to determine how you should spend your time and budget. Instead of focusing on all things you could do, we’re going to break down the three things that you shouldn’t.
If you can avoid making these three eCommerce blunders, you’ll be well on your way to beating the odds.
Mistake #1: Lacking a Focused Strategy.
With marketing, you can’t just go in blind. Instead, you need to create a well thought out strategy for reaching your goals. Start by identifying your target demographic. Who are your customers, and what resonates with them? Build all your marketing materials around this target demographic. If you need help identifying your target demo, try creating a buyer persona. (Hubspot has a great free tool to help you).
After you know who your potential shoppers are, create a marketing strategy that makes sense for them. Do your buyers hang out on social media? Create a plan to advertise on social media. Do your buyers come mostly from Google? Perhaps you should focus your strategy on SEO (search engine optimization) or Google PPC ads.
Once you nail down your demographic and get some clear goals in mind, it gets easy to see which areas of marketing are worth your time and which aren’t. Then, it’s about creating a focused strategy utilizing the marketing paths that make sense for you.
Mistake #2: Failing to Optimize.
Your site is your storefront. If it doesn’t look amazing, why would people want to shop there? You’ll want to make sure that several aspects of your website are optimized.
For one, 67.2% of eCommerce shoppers are shopping on their cell phones. So, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you’re missing out on a lot of potential business. Additionally, site security and site speed affect customer experience and search engine optimization efforts. So, if your website is slow or lacking proper security, you’re setting yourself up to fail.
“Finally, if your eCommerce store isn’t set up to track analytics, you’re missing out on critical data to help you grow. Ensure that you have enabled some sort of analytic tracking throughout your eCommerce website.” – Marla DiCarlo of Raincatcher.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to Test.
Any marketer who guarantees results on the first try is lying to you, because marketing isn’t cut and dry. Sometimes, the first thing you try works, but sometimes it flops. That’s okay. That’s marketing.
The part of marketing no one talks about is the testing. No matter what you’re doing to market your eCommerce shop, you’ll want to test it. Whether it’s a landing page, social media post, email, PPC ad, or web design, you’ll want to run a few tests and track the results.
For instance, try split testing a product landing page. Send some traffic to one page, and some of it to the other. Then, see which page converts better. You can do the same with ads, emails, and social media posts. You need to track every dollar you spend on marketing. Open up those analytics and look at the data.
See what’s making you the most money and get rid of things that aren’t. Keep testing until you’re positive that you have the best marketing machine for you.
Bonus Tip: Be Easy on Yourself.
Running an eCommerce business is rough. Make sure that you aren’t taking on too much and that you’re taking breaks along the way. You’re going to make mistakes with the marketing side of things, and that’s perfectly normal.
Be easy on yourself. You have some tough odds stacked against you. However, if you avoid these marketing mistakes and stay committed, you’ll be well on your way to eCommerce success.
Andrea Erickson is a marketing and business writer. She specializes in writing content that helps business owners learn how to sell a business, how to value a business and creation of exit planning strategies so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.