Jun 22
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When starting an e-commerce store, it is important to build a brand along with building your company. While it is easy to start an ecommerce website, actually selling your products can prove to be a challenge. As brand loyalty is declining, it is more important than ever to build a strong brand that customers can trust. People like to buy from people they like, and creating a positive, unique brand image from the get-go can help you with customer retention and sales in the long run.

What is a brand? Everyone has a brand, whether you work to create your ideal brand image or not. This goes for small companies, big corporations, and even individuals. For your e-commerce business, Seth Godin summarized what a brand should be as this: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another”. Taking that information, you want to craft your brand to appeal to your customers in the most positive light. By formulating your brand ahead of time, you can control the message you are sending customers and foster a solid relationship from the very beginning.

Create a brand persona: Creating a brand persona can be a helpful way to make sure that you keep the same brand image across all of your mediums. This defines how strict your policies are, the tone in which you talk to your customers (casual, formal, friendly, or firm) as well as your visuals (what colors are you using, do you have photographs or graphics, etc.). As part of your brand persona, you will want to come up with a mission, company values, company vision, and your purpose. A mission is the essence of your business, For example, Patagonia has the mission statement “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.” This speaks to not only their products, but their desire to help the environment. Your company’s values are the principals that will guide you. They will help you make decisions that are best for your business, and help you grow. Vision consists of your ideology and where you predict your company will be in the future. Finally, your purpose will explain to customers why you created your business and why you continue to do what you do. These will help guide you as you create and develop your company, and allow customers to know what is important to you. Creating a buyer persona for your brand will also help you determine the type of customer you are targeting.

Distinguish your brand: Chances are, someone else on the market is selling a similar product. Find what makes your product or service stand out from the crowd- do you have different sizes or levels to meet customer’s needs, are your prices better than average, do you put extra emphasis on customer service? Whatever it is you do best, make sure to let customers aware so they can experience it for themselves. Be confident in your product or service, and offer customers a satisfaction guarantee to ease their minds. Casper mattresses sets a great example of backing up their product with both a lifetime and satisfaction guarantee. Not only do they offer a 100 day mattress trial, but all of their mattresses come with a lifetime warranty. They also include many happy customer testimonials, including pictures from their Instagram featuring happy customers on their new Casper mattresses.

Make sure you are aesthetically pleasing: First impressions matter. When potential customers are looking into your brand, they want your website, social media accounts, and your packing to match your product and brand image. Taking time to decide on fonts, photo styles, and a color scheme can make a huge impact on your brand image. For example, if you are running a large financial firm, you do not want to have bright colors such as pink as your main color. However, if you are a makeup company primarily targeting women (such as Benefit Cosmetics) a pink website and fun fonts might be perfect for the brand image you are trying to project. You logo should also reflect your brand image and be easily recognizable. Coca-Cola sets a great example with their logo- it is simple, easy to recognize, and even when people change the words it is still recognized as the “Coca-Cola font”.

Remember, your brand is a reflection of everything your company stands for and hopes to accomplish. Your brand image can grow and change as your company does. By letting the personality of the company founders and employees shine through, it will be simple to build a brand that your customers love and respect.

Jun 15
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Building a website is not only an excellent way to show off and sell your product, but a great way to let customers get you know you as a brand. While getting to know someone in person can be difficult, getting to know someone online provides even more of a challenge. Thankfully, creating a well-written, informative About Us page for your company allows customers and potential customers to connect with you virtually. While many companies do not answer the questions customers are looking for in their About Us pages, or do not include an About Us page at all, having quality content can help boost and help customers feel a connection with your company. Here are four tips to help you show off your brand in the best light possible.

Make sure to promote your company without boasting too much: If all you talk about on your About Us page is how great your company is, customers are going to question the validity. Your company’s accomplishments are something to be proud of, and it is good to make customers aware of them, but do not let that be the only part of your About Us page. Share some information about when you were founded, the company size and culture, projects, and clients. By giving customers a look into a more personal side of your company, they are likely to feel more of a connection. Think of writing your About Us page as telling the story of your company. Use a tone that reflects your brand, make sure it lines up with the rest of your website, and is a good mix of accomplishments and company history. Tiny Coffee House does an excellent job of accomplishing a good balance of these components.

Have balanced visuals: People have different preferences- some enjoy watching videos, while others would prefer to read about a topic. Having a balance of pictures, videos, and text is crucial to having an ideal About Us page. Creating a video to display on your About Us page is eye catching, and a great way to show off your brand’s personality. It allows you to show website visitors around your office or production areas, introduce them to a CEO or President of the company, and give them a taste of how creative your company can be. If you choose to make a video for your company, make sure that is not the only medium on your page. Being able to fit all the information you want to share about your company in a short video is quite a challenge, and having a video longer than two minutes is one customers are less likely to watch. You can also share pictures of your office, culture and employees, or share info graphics. A couple of paragraphs about your company, who you are, and your mission are also good to include. With the mix of different mediums, you are sure to catch customer’s attention and show them the information they are looking for.

Use a Call-To-Action: Conversions are not something to be overlooked, and your About Us page is a great opportunity to invite potential customers to take action. While potential customers are vising your page, they should have access to links to your social media accounts (invite them to view and follow all of your pages with easy access links). In addition, invite them to sign up for a newsletter if your company has one, or an email list. Allow your About Us page to drive your visitors to other areas of your website as well, and remember to have call-to-actions throughout. Creating links to other pages in your website, or previous blog posts, also encourages visitors to explore your website and get a better feel of the company.

State facts: Do not claim to have something that you do not. Let customers know why your product or service is the best, and play up the best parts of your company. Misleading customers, even if you are not actually lying, is certain to drive customers away and get your company negative reviews. Instead, play up your strengths. Choose the areas where you shine and explain why you are the best choice. Customer testimonials can also be included, to let potential customers read unbiased reviews. Showing your website visitors that people like them are pleased with your product is a good way to help you gain trust and credibility.

Remember, your About Us page is a chance to connect with potential customers (or even someone interested in working for your company) so let your personality as a brand shine through. Make sure you are informative, positive, and filled with value to the customer. Your company is great, so do not be afraid to get creative and give customers a look behind the scenes.

Jun 8
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Any company that has a digital presence knows how important it is to drive organic traffic to your company’s website, and this is especially true for ecommerce companies. Filling your customer’s needs with a product or solution is a significant part of your company’s success, but you need to be able to reach your target audience in order for your company to thrive. While traditional marketing efforts such as email campaigns, affiliate marketing, and social media are still very effective, sometimes they are not enough. Making sure that your website is optimized for search engines will increase relevant traffic and help increase sales. Here are 5 tips on the best SEO (search engine optimization) practices.

Have a good meta description: A meta description is the little snipit that summarizes the page’s context. Meta descriptions are one of the most important ways you can get your site index and rankings up. With so many competitors, having a clear, concise meta description and title helps put you ahead in search rankings. Typically meta descriptions consist of 160 characters or less. This allows potential customers to get an idea of what your web page has to offer before visiting the site to get an idea of if it is relevant to them or not. Because the meta description is often the customer’s first impression of the web page, use your 160 characters wisely.

Use keywords wisely: Google uses an algorithm to decide what pages are most relevant to their user’s search queries. Make sure when optimizing your pages for SEO, that you include key terms that users will search for. You might have the most relevant content, but if users cannot find your website on a search engine, your great content will be irrelevant to them. Using keywords that are unique and relate to your content will help boost to you the top of searches, and allow more users to see your web page. If Google picks up that you are copy and pasting the exact same content on to all of your pages, your SEO will be penalized.

Use internal linking: Internal linking is linking another page from your website to another. This is important because it allows search engine algorithms to see these keywords as stronger. It also allows you to give users easy access to other pages on your website that are relevant to them. By having an internal link, they are more likely to visit other pages than if they had to browse your site on their own to come across the information.

See what works for your competitors: If your competitors are ahead of you in your search rankings, chances are they are doing something you are not. Using websites such as Monitor Backlinks help you see what websites are linking to your competitors,so you can find a way to get on the websites that they are on and you are not. Learning from their techniques helps you boost your own company by seeing what potential customers are looking for, and where they are looking for it.

Write high-quality, relevant content: Although this should go without saying, it is important to remember to give customers the content that they are looking for in order to do well in SEO. Typically, customers are searching these three categories: I want to do something, I want to know something, or I want to go somewhere. When users search these topics, Google ranks them by relevancy, then by popularity. By creating high-quality, relevant content, your web pages are likely to reach the top of the list, allowing more users to find your website.

SEO is always changing, so it is important to stay up to date on Google’s algorithms and policies. If you keep producing relevant products and articles, you will be able to expand your companies reach and bring in new customers. SEO is something that is fairly simple to do and invaluable for your business.

Jun 1
Reading Time: 3 minutes

 

Retaining customers is not an easy task, but it is important to maintain your business. Having a happy and consistent customer base helps to show new potential customers that your product is worth their money and time. Gaining new customers is also expensive, and you want to grow your customer base, rather than spending your time and money trying to keep a consistent customer base.

Customer Lifetime Value, or CLV, is a good way to measure the predictable repeat purchase rate of a customer. Customer Lifetime Value adds value to your company, since you are cutting down the expenses of attracting new customers. Some websites have analytics for your store that allow you to view your CLV, otherwise you can find tutorials on how to calculate CLV yourself. Loyalty Programs are a tried-and-true way to keep your company’s customer retention and CLV high.

A study by Colloquy ran a survey to see why customers were interested in joining a loyalty program, as well as why they decided to stay or leave. Unsurprisingly, most customers decided to join a loyalty program to either gain points, miles, or to receive a discount on a product or service. Customers were more willing to stay when the program was easy to use and had points and services that benefit them.

So how can you start a loyalty program for your ecommerce company? Finding commonalities between your most loyal customers is a good place to start. Do they choose similar shipping methods, gift wrap, or items from a specific designer? Make sure you observe and track what these customers like and offer them intensives based on their buying habits. For example, you could offer customers 20% off or free shipping if they subscribe to your email list or spend a certain amount of money on products. Incentives for purchasing milestones can encourage customers to come back as well. Reward customers for writing reviews, sharing your product or service on their own social media channels, and for referring a friend.

Once you have done some research on your best customers and what they have in common, you can start to design your loyalty program. To start, make sure your loyalty program is easy to sign up for. If customers have to fill out an extensive form, they are less likely to join your program. Allowing customers to sign up through their Facebook account is a good way to gather their information while saving them time. Make sure that customers understand the rewards program and what they are signing up for. Programs such as Starbucks Rewards card lay everything out clearly for the customers- how to earn points, what you get on each level of membership, and how many points you need to move up to their top level. Starbucks rewards also make it easy for customers to gain and redeem points- all they have to do is pay using their Starbucks App or a registered Starbucks card to gain points from any purchase, and they simply have to notify a barista when paying to cash in their free food or drink reward.

You will also want to make sure that you give your customers worthwhile rewards and bonuses so they will continue to stay loyal to your company. Delta and American Express teamed up to create a popular credit card program that allows users to gain “sky miles”. Sky miles gained can be cashed in for plane tickets on Delta flights. By signing up for the credit card and spending a set amount in your first few months, customers get bonus sky miles as a welcome gift. If a friend refers you to the program, then you can get even more welcome sky miles, and your friend gets a bonus as well. This is a good example of not only giving customers a worthwhile reward, but also utilizing a referral program and customer retention.

Loyalty programs are easily customizable to your unique business. It might help you to research your competitors to see if they offer loyalty programs, and offer similar competitive benefits. Loyalty programs help with customer satisfaction, customer retention, increased CLV, and new customer referrals. Customers love the chance to share products and services they love they love, and it’s even better when they benefit from it. Reward your customers for being loyal to you and they will return the favor.