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Inbound Marketing Strategies for E-commerce Startups

20 November 2012

One of the growing concerns for e-commerce sites is the high rate of shopping cart abandonment. According to Clickz.com, approximately 25 percent of shoppers who abandon their carts during the transaction never come back. This means only 75 percent of potential customers become leads. That is where inbound marketing comes in.

Inbound marketing involves taking care of customers that may not buy on their first visit. Nurturing these non-transactional customers will improve the conversion rates for your e-commerce site.

What is Inbound Marketing?

There are two types of marketing strategies: inbound and outbound. Traditional outbound marketing techniques involve using paid advertisements, publishing press releases and paying sales personnel to contact potential leads. This technique is more involved and persistent and, at times, can irritate potential leads. Inbound marketing involves earning the lead’s trust by publishing useful content, interacting with potential customers using social media and so on.

E-commerce Sites Need Inbound Marketing

Not all customers complete their purchases during the first visit. A number of studies have concluded that up to 75 percent of shopping carts are left behind before the transaction is completed. Here are some of the top reasons for shopping cart abandonment:

• Completing the transaction at a later time
• High prices
• Change of mind
• Process takes too long
• Asking too many personal questions

1. Find out why your customers are leaving their carts behind

Neglecting to find out why potential customers are abandoning their shopping carts means losing out on a large percentage of potential leads and customers. There are several ways to nurture potential leads without bombarding them with sales offers. This includes sending free product information or newsletters. To offer these resources, gathering the customer’s e-mail address and sending the download link for the requested product information is key.

2. Provides potential leads with other options besides buying

There are still ways to reach out to non-purchasing customers, even if they have not left their contact information with your company. A lot of customers leave the website prematurely if they do not feel ready to purchase at that moment but are not given any other alternatives except to buy immediately. One technique is to educate customers and provide them with information on what products can help satisfy their needs. Helping customers help themselves is one way of interacting with potential leads and improving conversion rates.

3. Save money

Outbound marketing techniques are expensive to execute. Consider how much money it takes to buy a newspaper ad or create a commercial for television and compare the cost with publishing content online. Instead of opting for ads or airtime, consider blogging instead. Aim to publish at least one blog per week. Each blog piece should be of high quality and discuss a topic your potential customers would be interested in. Once the content has been published, start promoting it on social networks. This may take more effort to execute, but your leads will be better targeted.

4. Targets qualified customers

Inbound marketing is more effective in reaching out to its audience. Television ads may be seen by millions of people, but only a minute percentage of this number will be interested in the product being advertised. Publishing content online caters only to those who are interested in the product being featured in the article. With inbound marketing, potential customers are qualifying themselves to know more about the products your company is selling.

5. Establish a name and reputation

People are drawn to personalities and brands that can provide them with valuable information that can enrich their lives. E-commerce sites that are known to consistently produce valuable content will gain a reputation within the community and the industry as an authority for a specific niche.

How E-commerce Start-ups Can Use Inbound Marketing

Develop and Invest in a Blog

E-commerce sites should think about publishing a blog with unique and amazing content on a regular basis. It is recommended your blog be put up even before your business becomes established. Blogs are great avenues to publish content that potential customers would find useful or interesting. The same blogs can also be used to establish and maintain a community of followers. Producing content that people would find valuable is key to establishing an e-commerce site.

Sign Up for Social Media

Another way to communicate with potential customers is by opening accounts on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Social media websites allow brands and people to communicate with one another. The medium also allows various forms of content to be shared between networks easily.

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