Common eCommerce Mistakes | Lack of Strategy, Goals or Action Plan – Part #2
Ecommerce has become a $2.0 trillion dollar platform, with expectations for it to double in 2020. While digital commerce experiences massive growth it is still less than 10% of all retail sales. With this massive growth comes a set of unique problems. With all the technology at play the gurus are still dealing with an imperfect platform. This is evidenced by a recent research report that shows shopping cart abandonment averaging 69%. Armed with that information you should know that your ecommerce platform is critical to your survival.
We know that people love to shop, they love to buy – they do not like to be sold. Shopping and browsing online attribut greatly to shopping cart abandonment. Pricing pressure and competition attribute heavily to this consumer trait. To some degree this is beyond your control unless you have unlimited purse strings.
What can you control when it comes to an ecommerce site? You can focus on the most common mistakes businesses make with their ecommerce web site.
In this article we are going to focus on one that we see with our new clients almost every time. The lack of strategy, goals or action plan.
Lack of Marketing Strategy
Most venture capitalists, when surveyed on what they see wrong with most entrepreneurs, is the lack of a detailed marketing strategy. Entrepreneurs and small business founders fall in love with their product and themselves. They have a very difficult time understanding the process of getting someone to part with their money. It is estimated that nearly 50% of all business are doing digital marketing without any clearly and written defined strategy.
Marketing is not simply defining the competitive landscape and then advertising against it. It means defining what target market would have a need that you can economically satisfy with your offer, creating advertising problems that speak to that need and audience and managing that process with competitive analysis and solid conversion metrics.
A marketing strategy is the written plan that generates awareness and brokers attention for the products and services you intend to offer. Marketing strategy encompasses surveying your target audience and learning the demographics they share. Assessing the pains, problems and needs they have which may be satisfied with your core offer – then listing those so that quality content can be created which will draw traffic to your offer. Marketing strategy requires a deep look in the mirror. This is where you define your business's strengths, weaknesses, economic external opportunities and outside threats (SWOT).
The lack of a marketing plan does not mean a business cannot experience great results. It means that a company cannot measure or manage what it does not document.
Any company managing their marketing without a rigid set of goals or a written strategic plan is clearly missing opportunities to improve the performance of their marketing team.
Where do you start?
- Take a complete assessment of your processes, systems and capabilities that are within your budget.
- Assemble the key performance indicators that you track that can be directly tied to your marketing efforts.
- Gain the buy-in of ownership and key management. They must become champions and invest appropriately.
- Rank and grade your team's core competencies and skills.
- Determine how well your marketing and customer order process are integrated.
- Survey your customers to gain a clear understanding of their experience with your online order process.
- Study your analytics so that you understand the cross-channel journeys and the impact they have on your digital investments.
After decades of experience analyzing hundreds of digital marketing plans for companies of all sizes, sectors and scopes we have learned exactly how to create a clear digital marketing strategy. The process is not difficult and you more than likely have it in your head. What you are most likely missing is a methodical way to execute on your plan so that others can learn it too.
What should your marketing plan contain?
Once you have thoroughly vetted your current or planned customers and identified their common demographics and needs, now you can begin the strategic approach to digital marketing. Your marketing plan should contain:
- A written list of segmentation targeting so that branded content can speak about your online value proposition. How else can you be “found”? This content needs to make the prospective consumer feel like you get them. Your content will help build authority, aid your SEO and enable you to repurpose it across multiple marketing channels. Assign writers who can speak to your targeted audience and never stop writing.
- A schedule to publish your content on your web site in the form of blogs, sales pages and more. Promote your content on search engines, social media networks and other complimentary industry sites. At this stage make sure you are tracking the number of followers, fans, visitors and links to your content.
- A consistent plan to create lead generation pieces from your published content and make sure your published content is laid out in such a way that is accomodates lead generation forms or pixled pages.
- Funds for advertising, retargeting, marketing automation and copywriters.
- A team of people who seek the permission of thrilled customers to publish their experience with your products and services.
Make sure your marketing plans define your opportunity as you see it and that those opportunities are backed by economic research. Your digital marketing goals will be more believable if your goals and objectives align with the lifecycle of your best customer. Inbound marketing can require a heavy financial investment and we are certain those dollars were not easy to come by. Be smart with your plan, set your goals and take action to achieve them. Your ecommerce site will perform better when you start with a well crafted marketing plan before you set prices, source the product or even choose your site layout.
In our next article about common ecommerce mistakes we are going to drill down deeper into a planning content used in marketing.
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