Have you ever thought about creating an online store but don’t know where to start? Or perhaps you’ve launched an online store but aren’t getting the sales you expect? If so, you’re in luck because we’ve got you covered, with this post discussing the essential software components required to run an online marketing store successfully.
No discussion of successful online stores would be complete without mentioning e-commerce platforms, the software that powers online stores and allows them to function online. There are many platforms, each with their unique benefits, which we’ll discuss a little later on in this post. For now, it’s essential that you pick a well-known and highly-rated e-commerce platform to get the most from your store’s potential.
Besides e-commerce platforms, another essential piece of the puzzle is a payment processor. A payment processor takes all the credit card information (the CC details) you provide and processes the payment on your behalf. They are responsible for ensuring the validity of the credit cards you provide (ensuring you aren’t a fraudulent actor) and dispatching the payments to your bank account. PayPal is one of the most popular payment processors used by online stores and gets a lot of attention for being easy to set up and use. If you have a PayPal account, then all you need to do is create a business account and add your e-commerce store to it. Once this is done, you can make sales using PayPal without having to manually verify your credit cards each time you make a sale.
What if your customers want to make a purchase but don’t have a PayPal account? In that case, you’ll need to look into other solutions such as 2Checkout or Stripe, the latter of which is an all-in-one solution that provides you with a simple way to receive payments without having to set up a PayPal account.
If you’re looking for a free solution to create and edit content (such as product descriptions and images) for your site without needing to touch a line of code, then you should check out Content Management Systems (CMS). Some of the more popular and user-friendly CMS platforms are Shopify, WordPress, and BigCommerce. Each of these platforms provides you with an easily-accessible back-end where content is managed and edited via a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) visual editor interface. The great thing about these solutions is that they’re all free.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is vital for any business, but is especially important for online marketplaces where you interact with customers on a regular basis. In order to create and nurture relationships with your customers, you’ll want to set up a CRM system to track and monitor the interactions you have with prospects, existing customers, and potential new customers. Some CRM platforms are designed to be integrated with e-commerce software, allowing you to map your contacts (customers and potential customers) and follow up with them via e-mail.
Marketing Automation is the use of algorithms and software to automate marketing tasks, freeing up time for more effective activities. Some of the more popular solutions for marketing automation include HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Salesforce Marketing Cloud. Each of these solutions provides you with a single, integrated platform where you can create customized automated email campaigns, track the performance of your marketing efforts, and analyze the results of your campaign. Some advanced features within these solutions make it easy to set up automated email campaigns based on customer behavior, segmentation, and engagement levels.
There’s a saying “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” and this definitely applies to online marketing. In order to measure the results of your campaigns and determine which ones are most effective, you’ll need to install analytics software. Some of the more popular solutions include Google Analytics and Adobe Analytics. Google Analytics provides you with information regarding the website visit, while the Adobe Analytics solution provides you with the ability to track store behavior, including sales and traffic.
You can install these analytics solutions via a WordPress plugin or using a Google Analytics account within your Google Ads dashboard. Once installed, you’ll be able to track the success of your campaigns via dashboard widgets that provide easy access to essential website metrics such as traffic, product searches, and conversion (sales).
Personalized Email Communications
There’s one more piece of software we need to cover before we can move on to the next phase of your e-commerce SEO strategizing, and that’s personalized email communications. Email marketing has become a popular way to promote businesses and websites due to the ability to target the right audience and the convenience of being able to communicate with customers via a messaging system (email). As a marketer, you’ll want to look for a solution that allows you to segment your lists so you can send personalized emails to the right audience without having to re-send the email to everyone on your list.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is, in simple terms, the process of getting traffic from the search engines (such as Google and Bing) to your site. The primary goal of SEO strategy is to increase the number of visitors to your site who actually end up buying your products or subscribing to your services, as opposed to just stumbling upon your site by chance.
To achieve this, you’ll want to get involved in the process of obtaining backlinks (links from other websites to your own) and engage with other marketers on social media to spread the word about your products. Some of the more popular solutions for SEM include Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Amazon Ads.
To make your customers feel like you truly are a trustworthy and honest business, you’ll need to provide them with stellar customer support. Unfortunately, this means you’ll have to spend a decent amount of time answering questions and dealing with issues as they arise. Luckily, there are a few solutions that can help you automate some of this so you can focus on the more important tasks of growing your business.
Live Chat is a way of providing immediate customer service via chat software that’s accessible via a website or mobile application. Many brands and businesses have recognized the value of live chat support in order to establish trust and credibility with potential customers, resulting in positive customer experiences and brand loyalty. Some of the more well-known live chat software platforms include Zendesk, Microsoft Teams, and ChatterBot.
If you’re looking to reduce your workload while still establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, then you should consider investing in virtual assistance. With virtual assistance, you hire an assistant who lives and breathes the internet and customer support, taking over the tasks that you don’t want to, or simply don’t have time for. Some of the more popular virtual assistants include Google Assist, Amazon Virtual Assistant, and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) Automation.
Mobile marketing is the use of mobile phones and other mobile devices (i.e. tablets, laptops, etc.) to access the web and various apps. Since the mobile marketplace is so large, it’s the perfect place to target potential customers. You can create short-length video messages that are fun and engaging, and use various apps to connect with potential customers where they are and encourage them to visit your site.
The great thing about mobile marketing is that there are so many platforms, tools, and tactics to reach your audience. The bad thing is that your audience is constantly changing, so you’ll need to stay on top of the trends to ensure you’re reaching your target audience and engaging with them on a regular basis.
Finally, we’ve arrived at the section of our guide discussing video SEO, which is simply the process of increasing the number of views and, therefore, the exposure your videos receive on the web. In order to do this, you’ll want to integrate videos into your content ecosystem, utilizing platforms like YouTube, Google Video, and Facebook for video distribution. Ensure that your video content is of a high quality and uses engaging storytelling to build a relationship with the viewer, as videos of this nature tend to be remembered for a long time.
Once you’ve got your video content posted on your preferred platforms, it’s time to begin promoting your videos via social media channels, email marketing, and, of course, the web.