Three Phases to Online Success10-May-2011 So you may have an online shop or you have grand plans for one, or maybe a membership website where users subscribe to valuable member only content and you sit back and reap the rewards. I hear so many of these ideas and when they come to me asking for help I have to tell them that it will require work on your part if you want a successful website.
When your site is first launched you may have great expectations of having hundreds of new customers visiting the site and reaping the rewards.
The reality is that the building of a new site is just the beginning, after the site is live that is when the hard work of marketing and building a database of visitors to start converting them to customers.
There are three main phases to building a customer base and marketing your online shop.
Phase 1 - Get visitors and build awareness
Phase 2 - Add Newsletter grow visitor base
Phase 3 - Add E-Commerce and cross promote
Phase 1Basic CMS site with content pages and a newsletter capture box with marketing around building the newsletter list.
This phase is about adding content on the site and building a solid visitor following focusing on online marketing like:
- Add new content regularly
- Change the homepage regularly to introduce new content
- Twitter when you add new articles or blogs
- Search Engine Optimisation during the build and growth of the site
- Bring discussions from social media back to the website with links
- Create a YouTube Channel and add the video to your homepage as well as have a video page on your site
- basically building the site up and getting visitor popularity.
- User comments on News articles
- Forward to a friend on each page of the site
- Ability for users to connect with you on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, FourSquare etc
- Site Search
- Photo Galleries
- Adding new articles and updating the homepage with them
- Newsletter subscription box with auto responder
- Contact us form
- Ability to add pages
- Plus much more
Phase 2Introduce a Newsletter and if appropriate online bookings
This phase is about interacting with your users, building your newsletter list in preparation for strong marketing effort when you add e-Commerce.
Send out regular newsletters to build hype around your products or services, incorporate any press articles or other mentions about your products or services.
- Always have a large button on all newsletters to enable users to forward to a friend and give them a reason to do so
- Create a page for each therapist to highlight your expertise at each centre with the ability to book.
- Announce a VIP club with special Launch offers when start selling online
- Create a waiting list to be notified when products become available
- Incorporate reviews or testimonials and invite newsletter recipients to provide reviews by clicking back to the website and submit review.
- Get Video testimonials if you can
- Ask customers to tell their story on how your products or services have helped them, link them back to comment on the website
- Ask them to participate in the website and what they would like to see on your site, surveys or questionnaires
- Routinely give them a free offer or tip on how to use your products or services and ask them how they have used them
You can create an Email Series so when a user signs up for a specific topic you can have a series of emails 1 per week or 1 per day for the length of the series. Like an online training course. You can even have links back to the website for users to subscribe to member only areas for exclusive information.
Start cross promoting you products or services, monitor your website stats and when your site starts to get popular you could sell advertising.
Phase 3Add e-Commerce
This is the fun stuff.
- The basics:
- Prove your site is secure, reassure at every step eg on the products page and the home page
- Make sure they can contact you easily, preferably with a street address, provide many methods of contacting you, not just a mobile number.
- Provide at least 5 photos if it is a product and plenty of information as you want to remove all doubt about purchasing
- Provide offer on shipping, 80% of sales are abandoned once they find out the cost of shipping eg $10 Flat fee on all shipping within Australia
- Provide Fast Shipping eg 24 hour delivery for the above reason.
- Add testimonials relevant to each product on the product page preferably right near the "Add to Cart button", they are on that page, we need to push them over the line to purchase
- Provide Clear shipping and returns information and display prominently on the products pages
- Provide quantity discounts the more they buy the more they save
- Loyalty users of the VIP club can get regular replacement stock every couple of weeks or months and it will be direct debited to their account as an extra service. They can be notified by email their repeat order is due and invited to add extra items within 24 hours to the order for no extra shipping costs.
- Routinely offer free shipping maybe once every 3 months or so with a discount code in the newsletter, with a forward to a friend option
- Trial pack or free sample, if you can offer this put it front and centre on the home page with cross promotion throughout the site.
- Once a person orders in the Tax Invoice that is emailed to them offer them a discount on their next purchase with a discount code to ensure their loyalty
- 2 weeks after the purchase email them asking them how they are finding the product or service and would they comment on the website about their experience during the purchase process, delivery, and how the product or service is helping them. Or if they are unhappy give them the opportunity to tell you.
- Featured products on the home page each week
- Sneak peak of new product with link to reviews or articles
- Promote Gift Vouchers