Updated: Jun 19, 2021
Constraints produce focus, creativity, and innovative out-of-the-box solutions to get the job done.
Over the last 12 years, I've worked with multiple startups across the globe. There have been so many changes with new tools and platforms coming up every year, but the core elements and frameworks of successful growth marketing remain the same.
As a marketer for several brands and companies, I can honestly say that it was not easy. It was pure hustle and hard work to get things done. I know that having the right strategy and methodology to implement, I was able to help Renaud air, an international e-commerce company from $0 to $200,000 in just 30 days.
Here’s the story.
We had no marketing budget.
I was hired to bring growth to the company. However, I had no large-scale budget to work with.
Budget limitations, however inconvenient it may have been, was the spark that led me to consistently test out ideas on how to further increase inbound traffic, build our email list, increase conversions, and ultimately increase monthly online sales.
I set myself a target of $100,000 which was possible, but right in front of me, I had the challenge of working with an e-commerce website that had multiple SEO errors, high bounce rates, low conversions, and dipping online sales.
I understood quickly that I had to be efficient given the resources that I had to work with.
So let’s start off, shall we?
1. Review Analytics to Set Benchmarks
In all organizations and consulting projects that I work with, I first thoroughly review their analytics data and what insights it could bring. Analytics provides me with a numerical and visual snapshot of all their online activity.
Some of the metrics that I check that provides value for me when benchmarking are the following:
Interactions per visit (Pages/Sessions)
Return Visitor Conversion
Value per Visit
Lead Generation Costs (Cost per Conversion)
> Analytics & Benchmarks - know which channels drive in customers and sales
Once you know which metrics are the most valuable to track and have set goals for your site, it’s important to have benchmarks that serve as a comparison point for your website’s analytics. Benchmarks that you should reference include the goals you set for your website’s performance, your own website data over time to measure growth and industry standards.
Benchmarking against industry players is another important step to figuring out how your site measures up, site-wide. One way you can find industry benchmarks from real data is in Google Analytics with a feature called Benchmarking. The tool allows you to compare your website’s data to that of other companies within an industry. It’s the closest thing you can get to compare your analytics to those of your competitors.
2. Website Optimization & Search Engine Optimization
Now that I’ve seen how the company’s analytics and reviewed the data on past performance for customer acquisition, retention and sales. I needed to review the website where almost all customer engagement and see the health of the site in the eyes of Google.
Website optimization is important because it helps your website visitors be more successful with their visits to your website. When you optimize your website you are making it easier for your site visitors to accomplish those tasks. And since this is an e-commerce company, the platform itself should provide the best possible experience for the customer from the homepage to the post-purchase stage.
I am a big supporter of proper Search Engine Optimization. SEO still matters, and having a clear-cut strategy is more important than ever. It’s an essential component to successful digital marketing efforts, and it can be the difference between attracting tons of website traffic and getting lost among the billions of other sites on the Internet.
I believe that having your website optimized and up to Google’s (ever-changing) standards Organic traffic still plays a major role in customer acquisition. If your website is optimized, indexed, and ranked by the relevant search engines, then your website should rank for those target terms and still show up organically.
3. Customer Survey
Know what customers love about your brand and what they don’t like about your brand.
At this stage, in terms of data and analytics, I already know the performance of the site has been up to this stage. In order to lay the proper groundwork for growth,
There must be a proactive approach to collecting customer feedback that ensures you never stray too far from the needs of your community, even as those needs evolve.
Customer feedback is a powerful guide that can give your marketing team insights that chart a path forward for every part of a company — from product through UX and customer support. That’s especially important when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Customer feedback is essential to guide and inform your decision-making and influence innovations and changes to your product or service. It's also essential for measuring customer satisfaction among your current customers. Getting a handle on how customers view your product, support, and the company is invaluable.
Tap into the information that your current email list and audience are willing to share. Getting customer feedback about your products and services
Knowing what they like and dislike, what are the current pain points and needs that the company needs to address. Add value content that your customers need to reduce friction
Early on, try to identify customers who give your brand a high rating on an NPS (Net Promoter Score) survey and are willing to promote your brand to friends or family.
4. UX - Review Heatmap Tools and videos to optimized content.
Reviewing Heatmaps and Live Visitor Recordings
Analytics and spreadsheets can provide a lot of valuable insights. However, there is something even better. The use of heatmaps and live visitor recordings to watch real-time customer behavior when interacting with your pages.
A heat map uses warm-to-cool color spectrums to showcase which page elements got the most user attention. This tool allows marketers to identify if there’s any friction on the page that’s causing a hindrance in the conversion process.
What is Friction?
Friction in marketing terms is any part of the conversion process that makes a visitor less likely to convert. Using Heat maps can show elements that could be causing friction, so you can run A/B tests and improve page conversion rate.
You can judge how effective a web page is by analyzing a heat map on the following two things:
What part of the page do the visitors engage with?
What actions are happening? What are visitors clicking?
I had to personally go through each heat map and customer video to see what’s preventing visitors from converting.
5. Conversion Optimization
Customer’s Mindset: Don’t Make Me Think.
By reviewing heatmaps and live visitor recordings, I was able to see which portion of the product page that visitors would hover and stay for a couple of seconds, but also see the click path on what information that the visitor was looking for.
> Less Friction
It was evident that there were not enough payment gateway information and shipping policies. Visitors would constantly check the site for payment information and shipping fees. It was evident that that information needed to be visible. So we made adjustments to include the information.
> Scarcity Effect
The scarcity effect to increase conversions is based on FOMO – fear of missing out. Limited stocks - – all the triggers use FOMO and influence the visitors’ behavior. This is primarily taken from Booking.com’s playbook of using scarcity to increase conversions.
6. Reactivate Email List Customers with Email Campaigns
Email marketing is not as fancy as social media marketing, but every business knows that a good email list is the lifeblood of any business.
Your subscribers are your best customers. If not, they would have unsubscribed a long time ago. By residing in your email list, the subscriber has initiated the non-direct conversation with you. It is now a relationship. They expect to hear from you. If you do it well, they’ll want to hear from you as often as you have something to share with them that makes sense.
Also, email subscribers are known as openers and clickers. Known to you, that is. The act of subscribing to an email list is intent-personified. Someone who does this is more likely to click on the links in the messages you send them, leading them to purchases or site visits that will make you money.
7. PPC Bidding on Competitor’s Branded Terms
Really? Yes, you can bid on your competitors’ branded terms. In fact, consumers may just be searching for your competitor because they don’t know what else is out there. Just make sure to follow certain best practices when taking this route. It may not be right for everyone, nor in every circumstance, so do your due diligence and research your competition accordingly. Just follow Google’s Trademark Rules to avoid getting penalized.
8. Business Development: Partner with Relevant Organizations
Referral networks can bring huge value to your business. You may not know all the helpful connections your business contacts have, so cultivating a strong referral network is important. It allows you to reach corners of the market that your business may not have been able to reach otherwise and to break through all the noise in the market.
In our case, we had collaborations for cross-promotion advertising campaigns with local communities to increase awareness and to bring in additional traffic. And it worked as referral traffic brought in 7% of total sales.
9. Keep Your Visitors inside the funnel - Offer Low Hanging Fruits
> First Time Visitor: Provide 10% OFF Discount Coupons for Incentives for 1st Time Shoppers
We set up a popup that welcomes a first-time visitor with a special offer. As soon as they put in their email address, they instantly get their discount code. This definitely worked as we saw an increase in opt-ins for discount codes and also purchases from first-time visitors.
> Abandon Shopping Cart - 5%OFF Discount Coupons
Cart abandonment is a problem for e-commerce companies. The average eCommerce store loses over 75% of its sales to cart abandonment.
After seeing this bottleneck, and with a large number of visitors abandoning their shopping cart, I had to implement this to recover potential loss of sales.
10. Use Your Best Customers to do Referral Marketing - Give 20%, Get 20%
If you can recall step #2, I mentioned that getting customer feedback is key to any campaign. If you can identify a high NPS audience, segregate that email list and focus on nurturing that group.
Post Purchase Referral
We sent bi-monthly emails to repeat customers that encouraged and incentivized them to make a referral. We had call-to-action to direct -customers to the page of our website where you explain the perks of a referral program and present them with the opportunity to share their referral link. In most cases, customers are receptive and most excited about a product right after they purchase it.
If your startup or online business is lacking traffic, conversions, or low sales, remember that it doesn’t take much to grow your business. Growth doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg. You can use several tactics I mentioned. In fact, most of the tips I mentioned above only require time and hustle to get it done. The combination of all these factors led to more inbound traffic and sales-generating growth engine that consistently
Campaign End Results:
Organic traffic exceeds by 6,000 visitors
Conversion Rate: 13%
Email Marketing contributed 15% to online sales
Shopping Cart Abandonment Recovered: 28% of online sales
Total Monthly Sales: $200,000+
2 Year ARR: $4.8M
Just keep hustling!!
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