In the recent years applying e-commerce solutions has become irreplaceable for any business. The main reason is that if your business is not present in the web, you are going to be knocked out of competition even if you apply a large quantity of traditional marketing strategies. And this is mainly because of spatial and temporal factors. On occasion, people may not be at their offices so that you can meet them and represent your product, but you can find people in the Internet at any time, a lot of them. Also, people can’t be everywhere at the same time, but they can surely be active on various platforms simultaneously in the net. Illimitable time and space are the two major privileges of online marketing, let alone the numerous online marketing strategies that formulate the backbone of Internet marketing. However, not every strategy can be used in relation to any business. Whether you are a startup or a medium business owner, or whether you sell physical products, online or offline services, the marketing strategies applied may differ to some extent. Nevertheless, the points that are going to be covered in the scope of this article are practical and useful for any kind of online business – both small, medium and large. What unifies them is that all of them are smart solutions indispensable for any business growth.
1. Making a website compatible with mobile devices
The Internet is overwhelmed by researches on the importance of making a mobile-friendly website. Let’s just look at an infographic illustrating one of those researches.
So, the necessity of making a website compatible with mobile devices is now out of suspicion. If a website is not suitable to be viewed on a smartphone, the business supported by it loses a lot of traffic. Did you know that there also exist some tools with the help of which you can check up whether a website is mobile-friendly or not? Google itself has a test called Google’s mobile-friendly test which can be used to see if a website is optimised for mobile devices. An important point to consider is also the fact that Google will drop a website’s rankings in search if it isn’t mobile-optimised. Thus, as the number of users of smartphones is increasing in percentage year by year, it has become a necessity to make websites convenient to use on mobiles. On the infographic presented below, you can see the growing tendency of mobile usage during the years from 2013 to 2017 and the prospects for growth during the following years.
Taking into account that manufacturers can’t stop creating newer devices in the future, developers have created a method called Responsive web design allowing to customize web pages to show up on various devices, both existing ones and those yet to be manufactured. The programming language used for this purpose is CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) that can be applicable to any Extensible Markup Language (XML) documents but most often it is used in relation to HTML and XHTML web pages.
2. Optimization of a mobile app to be visible on app stores
In a century when more and more people start surfing the net through mobile devices it has become a necessity to create a mobile app for a product or service. If a business person created an app and it was accepted by an app store, next he/she is recommended to do optimization of the app so that it is visible when app store visitors search to explore useful apps.
Thus, let’s have a look at several factors influencing an app’s position
- Including keywords in the title and in the description
- Having positive ratings and reviews
- Increasing the number of downloads
Ensuring the first point is in the hands of entrepreneurs whereas for the other two factors – getting positive reviews and ratings and increasing the number of downloads, it is vitally important to actively promote the app to make it visible to site visitors. So, having an app and not promoting it is the same as having a website that is not being optimized and promoted to occupy high positions on SERPs. Let’s have a look at some strategies through which every business person can successfully start promoting and spreading the word about their app.
- considering less famous app stores in addition to the most famous ones
When researching app stores with the aim of determining where to include an app, it is recommended to consider both the well-known and the less famous ones. For example, you can search Google for app stores and find a lot of options to be considered.
- Using the social media platforms for promotion
When speaking of promoting a business online, there is no way to exclude the social media because in case somebody does that, they will lose huge traffic. Here, consider multi-channel marketing as a brilliant opportunity. Especially valuable are social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Surely, these social media platforms are excellent networks not only for promoting apps but also can be used to promote a website.
- Placing app download links on a website
A business person having an app for mobiles, probably also has a website in the same niche. Surely, they don’t want to lose the audience that is more inclined to using either computers or mobiles. So, what they need to do is to use their website to represent their app. They just need to make a small icon – the same they use on app stores or place a link to download on their website.
An important point here is not to cheat website visitors. When placing the icon, one should always make sure not to mislead visitors by confusing them. As an example, very often you enter a website for downloading an antivirus software, but the icons placed on the website are so confusing that you just end up nervous not being redirected to the necessary page. One should always keep in mind that acting in this way places reputation in danger.
- Turning to app review websites
If one searches the Internet right now, they will discover a huge number of websites that promote apps by reviewing them. It is just necessary to turn to them presenting the functionalities and privileges of an app and if the offer is accepted, the website will take care of reviewing the app thus promoting it.
- Making attractive icons and taking screenshots
What is an attractive icon? There is a proverb saying “How many people, so many opinions”. What is attractive to me, may not be attractive to another person. In spite of this, there always exist some trends in the market. For instance, world-famous stores use two or three colors on their icons. There may be more than three colors and some of their hues, but the basic colors used on an icon are two. Moreover, these two colors are often contrasting to each other. To get a better idea of modern icon design trends, look at a screenshot of the apps of world-famous stores.
I am sure this screenshot illustrated my point and helped you to get a better idea of modern icon design trends. Indeed, a lot has been spoken about the importance of screenshots for illustrating practical aspects. In fact, usage of screenshots is a powerful method to illustrate different researches in a comprehensive and all-inclusive manner.
- Making seasonal and other event-related sales
An e-commerce business can’t do without occasionally making seasonal and event-related sales. The latter can be sales related to both company events and customers’ life events like birthdays. You may question how one can know the birthdays of customers. Well, this strategy goes hand in hand with email marketing campaigns. So, the first method is just asking customers about their birthdays during the correspondence via email stating that the information is needed it for making special offers. The second variant e-commerce store owners can use is applying a shortcode pop-up which gives an opportunity to display WordPress plugins’ shortcodes within pop-ups. Thus, I would recommend a business owner to search for, say, Ninja Forms plugin on WordPress, install it, add a custom birthday field into its form, copy the shortcode after completing it and paste it into the shortcode pop-up. After filling in all of the necessary fields correctly and inserting the pop-up into a page or a post, there will appear a compact and beautiful window like this:
This way, two strategies are applied – gathering emails for informing of the sales on special events and collecting birth dates of customers to make sales in relation to their own life events. Thus, having the email and birthday database, it will be as easy as a pie to inform subscribers of any noteworthy events and any updates.
To recap, if you are a beginner wishing to kickstart an online business, you need to get to know a lot of marketing strategies and choose the ones that best suit your budget and the type of your business. So, whether you are going to sell physical products or online/offline services, the online marketing approaches should be different. And finally, never get disappointed and always keep in mind the following inspirational quote by Lao Tzu: “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. I am sure you have already made your first step to success, so are ready to meet new challenges.