This guest post was authored by Bree Dietze, a Search Marketing Specialist at Volusion.
Dramatic shifts are taking place in the world of digital marketing.
If you’re finding yourself within a more competitive landscape, unable to attract new customers to sustain your business, you know it’s time for a change.
But where do you begin and which marketing tactics are best for you?
Today’s customer acquisition strategies are diverse, personalized and continually evolving.
Let’s discuss how you can use your marketing strengths to capitalize on new customer acquisition.
1. Organic Optimization
Although Amazon and various other shopping avenues are rapidly on the rise in popularity, we can’t neglect the foundation of any healthy marketing campaign.
Search engine optimization isn’t anything new, but getting Google to rank your site for relevant keywords just isn’t as easy as it used to be. That’s because search engines have spent a lot of time making innovative advances to help prioritize for the customer’s experience.
Google now uses hundreds of signals to determine your site’s ranking position within the organic search results. These include everything from your domain’s age to your Text to HTML ratio.
Keywords provide valuable context clues for search engines and give site owners a measurable data set to work with. That being said, search engines today are smarter and more intuitive than ever.
Instead of focusing on every possible variation on a keyword you wish to rank for, use those keyword ideas to craft functional content that implements relevant phrases naturally.
“While Amazon’s search engine is important for shopper conversions, Google is still the number one organic search engine. The biggest advantage brands get when they optimize their website to rank organically is the ability to engage shoppers at every point in their journey to purchase.”
-Leanna Kelly, Growth Marketing Manager, Web & SEO at CPC Strategy
The more content you can provide, the more information search engines can index. Regularly updated content provides positive ranking signals that can help to improve your organic position and helps establish trust and authority.
Serve up engaging blogs, resource pages and solid product information to your prospective customers.
When other sites provide links back to you, some of their positive signals are passed on. This helps your organic search position.
As with most things in life, it’s quality over quantity when it comes to backlinks — so stay away from content mills, mass directories, and sites that aren’t relevant to your industry.
With so many websites online, search engines want to prioritize. You can improve your load time by ensuring your images are optimized, by nixing outdated design concepts such as flash files or slideshows, and by reducing the number of products loaded per page.
A logical site structure will not only provide a better user experience to customers, it’ll also allow search engines to gather better information about your site. Eliminating 404 errors, reducing bounces and offering clear contact information is just as important as providing regular content and offering competitive pricing.
“You want to create clean URLs so the search engines can easily understand them and users can quickly identify page themes.”
–Tom Heppard, Senior Specialist, SEO at Elite SEM
Organic optimization lays the necessary foundation for online visibility. Make optimization an ongoing process and periodically revisit your research to uncover changing search trends.
Whether you optimized your site last year or only once within the last decade, there’s always room for improvement.
2. Social Media
Even if you’re not an avid social user yourself, your business can greatly benefit from a social strategy.
Social engagement signals trust to prospective buyers, and can position your company at the forefront of consumer research with meaningful insights and answers to their most pressing questions.
Not sure where to start?
Use the data you already have to create a list of personas you should be marketing to. Using your best predictions, you’ll be able to start pushing your brand out in front of the right audiences to build out profitable acquisition strategies.
Business owners who invest in targeted social ads often find a boost in both organic and social traffic as brand awareness improves.
With Facebook, you’ll be able to create ads based on customers’ interests and get valuable insights into your and your competitor’s strategies.
Online shoppers want options, and social platforms like Instagram are happy to fill the niche by allowing site owners to seamlessly weave purchasing options into their posts and stories.
But to start, you’ll need to grow your Instagram following. Create two to three original posts per week, spend at least 15 minutes engaging with other users, comment and reply to comments and follow other accounts that are relevant to your industry.
Pinterest has millions of active users, and unlike other social platforms, its content isn’t ordered chronologically. That means your pins are virtually evergreen.
According to recent data, 90 percent of Pinterest users say that the platform helps them to decide what to buy when they’re just looking, and 66 percent of users claim they actually make a purchase after coming across a branded pin.
Want more? Give your Pinterest posts a boost with Rich Pins. Rich Pins pull valuable product data such as the price and your website name to make it even easier for shoppers to purchase your products.
If you’re a small business owner looking to increase brand awareness while engaging with customers in a transparent way, give Twitter a try. Twitter is a free platform that many businesses utilize in the same way they would a customer support channel, giving clients the power to leverage their questions and concerns publicly in an open forum.
Follow your competitors to see what they’re up to and easily stay up to date on the latest trends in your industry. Twitter offers plenty of advanced search features that’ll help you find tweets related to your products and services, so everything is right where you need it.
Targeted ads, regular social engagement, and new content will help you to cultivate new connections for customer acquisition.
3. Paid Marketing
Pay-per-click ads give your brand immediate exposure within the search engine results page. And in today’s highly competitive marketplace, that’s an attractive angle.
When creating ads, you’ll decide which keywords you’d like to appear for.
But creating a profitable PPC campaign isn’t always easy. Between keyword relevance, quality scores and your monthly budget, it often pays to loop in a professional to manage your PPC campaign for you.
Shoppers love utilizing the Shopping feature to find the products they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. This is especially true for shoppers who are closer to the purchasing end of the shopping cycle and want to compare decision-making influencers such as product price or shipping costs.
Unlike PPC, Google Shopping doesn’t use keyword bids to decide when your products should display — it uses Shopping feeds that pull the product’s information such as the title and description. Because the number of products you have in your store directly correlate with the number of ads Google will produce for you, the more products you have, the better.
Amazon is more than a shopping site, it’s a search engine. You’ve probably started your product search on Amazon at least once or twice, and with good reason: Amazon provides a fountain of valuable information about a wide range of products, and its customer reviews make it one of the most trusted ways to research and find whatever it is you need.
Listing your products on Amazon is a great start to diversifying your customer acquisition strategy. But if you really want to influence where your products will appear in the search results, you’ll need to craft your product titles and descriptions carefully and with intent.
Because Amazon works similarly to other search engines like Google, it should be no surprise that keywords are a vital component of its A9 product algorithm. Choose your keywords carefully based on trends and suggestions, but be aware of over-using keywords, which can have the opposite of the desired effect.
Amazon Sponsored Products
Want to get your products in front of a wider audience? Amazon’s Sponsored Products appear at the top and bottom of Amazon’s search page, and function just like the PPC ads you can purchase from Google or other search engines.
Setting up Sponsored Products will provide you with plenty of additional exposure, giving prospective customers an opportunity to discover your products when they otherwise might not have.
Sponsored product campaigns can be set up in two ways: automatically or manually.
To start, we recommend using Automatic Targeting, which uses your product information to find relevant keywords on your behalf. Although this ultimately provides you with less control over your listings, choosing Automatic Targeting can provide you with additional keyword insights you might otherwise have missed.
Similar to other PPC campaigns, the success of your Sponsored Products campaign will depend largely on which keywords you include. Once you know more about which keywords are appropriate for your products and which keywords convert the best, you can confidently build out your Manual campaign by bidding on keywords individually.
Amazon’s Sponsored Brands
Sponsored Brands (formerly known as Headline Search Ads) are customized banner ads displays that can be linked to your branded page, your best-selling products or your custom URL on Amazon. Sponsored Brands display at the very top of Amazon’s search results page, providing you with a ton of additional visibility.
Similar to Sponsored Products, these ads use targets keyword campaigns to help you drive relevant traffic to increase your conversions. As an advertiser, you place the bids and are charged on a cost-per-click basis.
Attracting new customers in today’s competitive retail market requires an ever-evolving omnichannel strategy that’s geared toward meeting the demand and expectations of a new generation of online customers.
Leveraging available data, understanding buyer behavior and adhering to best practices will allow you to capture consumer demand using both organic and paid initiatives.