Set your e-commerce free from advertising dependency and get a more sustainable business using these in-depth how-to tactics.
Have you ever felt like a mouse on a spinning wheel trap, depending on your advertising investment to have a few sales?
Some brands are addicted to this process since it seems a no-brainer.
You pay 💰to get traffic and generate 🤑 sales.
That’s not a bad tactic. However, to become dependent on this process is not a good strategy.
➜ What if the price goes up?
➜ What if your ad account gets banned or blocked?
➜ What if the bidding war gets so rough that it dilutes your margins altogether?
Look, no e-commerce or online business can thrive without a marketing strategy to boost your reach and get new potential customers. Advertising is important for that.
What it’s dangerous is when you only focus on getting new customers and reaching more people without a long-term plan to have some sort of backup.
It drives me crazy when I see brands investing huge amounts of money into a short-term goal like getting an immediate sale and not thinking medium-long term.
‼️ 𝙎𝙤, 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙙𝙤 𝙖𝙗𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩 ⁉️
Free your E-Commerce from your Advertising dependency
Use that traffic to get 1st party data which will allow you to keep reaching them without paying as much.
1️⃣ 𝗥𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗿𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, when you have your audience’s permission.
It’s usually a cost-effective tactic since you’re only targeting people who have already shown an interest in your brand to have visited your website.
Depending on the pages they’ve visited, you can even show personalised ads, which will bring better conversions.
Also, the bidding has a different algorithm, and you can use less expensive locations.
2️⃣ 𝗘𝗺𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, to grow your list.
Yes, the performance marketing channel is by excellence.
Get their email, and you won’t have a third party between you and them. You only need to pay attention to your deliverability and the sender’s reputation.
This is an asset for a long-long time if you treat it right.
3️⃣ 𝗣𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗡𝘂𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿, for SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc.
There’s no better way to engage in a conversation or to keep in touch with your alerts, notifications or sales promotions.
Integrating into a marketing automation flow is a gold mine, and again, no gatekeepers as long as you have everything in order.
👇👇👇👇👇 EXTRA 👇👇👇👇👇
4️⃣ 𝗔𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗹𝗶𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸𝗲𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴, for regular flow and as a backup.
With this, you don’t collect 1st party data until the visitors reach your website, but it’s a great alternative when advertising platforms are going through a bidding war or worse.
With the proper affiliate network, you can establish a steady fee and create a relationship with the best traffic sources for your business.
𝗟𝗔𝗦𝗧 𝗡𝗢𝗧𝗘: For E-commerce or other online businesses, the actual return of your investment comes when you focus on retention and getting your customers to keep buying. Having their contacts to be able to do that is vital.
Activate Retargeting in Your E-Commerce
If you bring a ton of people into your E-commerce is very important that you have every pixel tracking of every platform you’re using for retargeting. You can’t retarget without tracking who visits your specific pages and having your audience’s permission to do this under GDPR compliance.
To not bore you more than you are already 😅 I’m going to focus on just one platform of retargeting, and then you can extrapolate to others. Does that make sense for you?
BONUS TIP: Use a tracking tag manager like Google Tag Manager, Matomo Tag Manager or any other alternative in the market. It will save you some time and boatloads of code on your website or landing pages, and it will be easier to manage all the different tags in one place.
One of my favourite retargeting platforms out there is AdRoll. Among their best features is that you’re using just one platform to run the retargeting in many different networks like Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and 500+ more.
Implementing the Pixel
This is important. Without ensuring the pixel tracking fires on every single page of your e-commerce store, you can’t define proper dynamic ads and fully enjoy the retargeting relevance.
Before being fired, you must have your audience’s permission according to the GDPR. That means your tag can’t be pushed into your visitor’s browser until they click on accept the advertising and profiling cookies over your cookie bar.
NICE TO KNOW: You can also integrate your store directly with AdRoll if you’re running any of these e-commerce infrastructures: Shopify, WooCommerce, Wix, BigCommerce, and Magento.
Activate it Manually or Dynamically
You can start creating your rules now that you have the tracking set. For instance, you can create segments based on the topics or categories of products they’ve visited.
To activate this, you just need to define rules where people who visit the category action movies will have this tag.
Then, you can create advertising, particularly to people within that segment.
Remember that you shouldn’t think of these ads as traffic generators as you’re doing with the acquisition mindset of new visitors. These have already been impacted before by your ads.
Now, it’s time to keep your storytelling and focus on the benefits you’ve not showcased before.
Another marvellous approach is by creating dynamic ads. And these are the real winners, most of the time.
These ads have the exact product they showed interest in before and can even pre-populate your shopping cart with those products when they click on that banner.
Things you Must Be Aware Of
The tricky part is usually when retargeting ads start showing when they shouldn’t. For instance, when that jeans advertising keeps showing up even when they already bought it.
This is when rules come to your aid. These dynamics usually use this kind of framework: IF THEN ELSE.
In English, it means that you must define rules of engagement with these ads like this:
- IF the visitor has seen products and hasn’t bought them yet, THEN show this dynamic ad with product pictures, product descriptions and Call to Action (CTAs), ELSE if they already bought it or [any other rule that makes sense to you].
If you don’t have a fallback, it will burn your money with unnecessary views and annoy your audience.
The same can happen when the same people are targeted by different campaigns simultaneously. If there isn’t a helicopter view over your customer’s journey touchpoints, you may end up annoying them more than nurturing them into buying from you.
BONUS TIP: Don’t think about retargeting only for first purchases. You can use the same technique to cater to current customers who have bought a product and show other products that match it. The famous cross-sell, up-sell and down-sell.
Tips for Collecting Subscribers
I was baffled by how much budget was wasted by always advertising their brands through our permission marketing databases at the company I managed and never collected subscribers to themselves in the process. 🤯
That’s the definition of insanity. Yet, it keeps happening today!
Well, no more.
Let’s dive into the process of collecting more subscribers to your list without annoying them too much in the process and ruining a few sales.
1️⃣ IMPULSE or THOUGHTFUL?
It’s important to define what kind of products you sell from your customers’ perspective. Are your products defined as impulse buys or something that needs research to determine the best value for money?
Because collecting your visitors’ email addresses without disturbing their buying process is critical to avoid losing sales.
The best way to find your best-performing tactics without messing with your sales is by A/B testing.
What are you offering in exchange for their email address?
It’s almost a must-have to offer some kind of first-purchase discount even though I’m not so fond of that method.
It dilutes your margins and gives a sense that your products are over-valued. You don’t see luxury brands doing it, for instance.
Depending on what you’re selling, you could offer something cool that you can dilute your investment into a massive buying—for instance, a mouse pad that you buy by the thousands precisely for that reason.
It’s essential to make A/B testing before deciding the best perk among a few hypotheses.
Ufff… I know. We all hate them. 🤷♂️
But we can make them less intrusive. The option I’ve seen work every time is exit-intent or time-triggered pop-ups.
Exit-Intent pop-ups only show up when your mouse is making a move to close your window or to the address bar. However, it doesn’t work with mobile screens since they can’t track your finger moves.
Time-Triggered pop-ups are based on a time limit before they pop out—for instance, X amount of time of inactivity. Action triggers like after X amount of scroll is also a good tactic.
You can find a great example of these pop-ups in the document attached to this post.
4️⃣ TOP BAR or FOOTER
Highlighting a specific section (or duplicate) like a top bar CTA in a different colour or a space in your footer on every page is safe and not intrusive.
Again, a copy with a reasonable offer does wonders for conversion.
Anyway, this is a new set of ideas you can use to collect more subscribers with your E-commerce Advertising investment and get an asset instead of focusing only on sales.
5️⃣ STOCK REPLENISHMENT ALERTS
Sometimes you have low stock of products, the right size of products or pre-orders in-store.
That’s when you should have a simple email field asking if people want to receive a notification alert when you have the product again.
Now, you can’t use that email address to send a newsletter because they’ve subscribed to notifications of that product, not your Email Marketing.
But, you can send them a “thank-you” email telling them they will receive an alert as soon as the product is available AND ask if they also want to be subscribed to your regular newsletter not to miss other chances.
Also, on the thank you page, after they insert their email for notifications, you can ask the same thing and quickly add them to the list.
6️⃣ IN THE BUYING PROCESS
You may think that once you get their email address to make the order, they’re giving you the right to put them in your newsletter.
Don’t go that way. That’s why sometimes you get a ton of unsubscribes or spam complaints. They want to make an order, not signing up to your list UNLESS you ask them politely.
Place a checkbox explicitly asking if they want to subscribe to your newsletter to receive the very best offers and new collections.
You’ll get fewer subscriptions but more engagement for sure.
7️⃣ NEW COLLECTIONS ADVERTISING
You know those teaser banners you usually have on your homepage letting everyone know that a new set of products is coming in a few days?
Those spaces are usually really appealing and create the momentum needed to make them feel they can’t miss it.
What happens when they click on that banner?
Most of the time, they don’t go anywhere. 🤦♂️
They’re just there to inform, which is nuts.
If you have done the work to make it, why not create a special page of content to show what people can expect AND place a newsletter sign-up box to stay in the loop of when you launch it?
Wait, don’t worry, I’ll start a new set of this series tomorrow about chatbots and messaging apps.
However, this is also a tactic that can gather your visitors’ email addresses if “it asks” for it. 😅
Confused much? 😂
Ok, let’s give an example.
You arrive at this shop through an advertisement of some sort. You’re scrolling and seeing some products, and then the little chatbot asks if you want any assistance.
Almost like a real-life experience when you go to a mall. 😉
If you don’t answer, it can ask if you want to leave your email address and benefit from XYZ (see the previous post about the offer).
9️⃣ COLLECT THEIR MOBILE NUMBER.
And why is this important, you might ask?
Are we going to cold-call these people?
The all-purpose of collecting their mobile number is for your brand to be able to keep in touch through SMS, WhatsApp, Telegram, or [insert messaging app of your desire here].
You can go even further and ask if they want to get in touch through a messaging app that doesn’t require a phone number, like FB Messenger or Slack. It all depends on what you’re selling and your ideal audience.
➜ HOW TO COLLECT THEIR MOBILE NUMBER?
If you’ve been following this week’s latest posts, you can check how to collect their email address for Email Marketing. It’s pretty much the same techniques, but with slight variations.
The best way to collect this sensitive data is when it makes sense in your E-commerce store. This means that chatbots and direct connections with WhatsApp APIs are more relevant to asking for their mobile number.
🔟 NOTIFICATIONS AND PROMOS
The direct messaging approach shows better results when you use it in specific cases. For instance, notify your customer about a back-to-store item, a shipping change, or when you have a time-limited promotion.
If you use it to send pitchy marketing messages, you would get a higher blockage or unsubscribe.
1️⃣1️⃣ SECONDARY CONTACT
Having alternative contact information is also important when you’re having problems getting a response from one channel, like email. You can ask through SMS or mobile messaging app if they have changed email or are getting it.
1️⃣2️⃣ CONVERSATIONAL APPROACH
One of the best use-cases of these mobile channels is to start and engage in automated conversations supported by real people in the background who can jump in at any moment needed.
That, combined with data collected through their navigation behaviour and their email marketing engagement, can work wonders to remove frictions and fears before buying.
How to make different channels communicate or have access to additional data sets? Through APIs (Application Programming Interface), you can make software tools “communicate” with each other.
On many occasions, I’ve built entire marketing automation customised platforms that relied on API connectors between different tools to make a cohesive structure to nurture the customers’ journey.
1️⃣4️⃣ CHOOSE BETWEEN PARTNERS OR IN-HOUSE
It’s essential to define if you prefer to use an in-house affiliate platform with complete control or use an affiliate network to manage your affiliate program.
Depending on your e-commerce store size, I would recommend using a third-party network.
Because you already start with thousands of potential affiliates enrolling on your program and start promoting your products.
You also avoid many worries, time-consuming processes to maintain the tracking of everything and your time-to-market.
1️⃣5️⃣ MAKE IT SUSTAINABLE
And I mean to all parties. Make sure you have an affiliate program that affiliates will find appealing to promote, AND you still have good margins on every sale.
You may determine which you include in these programs if you have products with high margins and others with less. However, many E-commerce stores opt to include everything to make things easier, and the bottom line still compensates for the investment.
You want to give enough time for these programs to run since the actual volume starts to happen after a few months and your affiliates find the best way to promote your products.
1️⃣6️⃣ BE CAREFUL WITH FRAUD
One of the main complaints about affiliate programs is when they’re used to committing fraud.
For instance, when you’re using a non-sophisticated affiliate platform already built with the latest fraud alerts, you may end up paying a lot for bogus sales or attributing sales to an affiliate when it was others doing it.
That’s another reason to choose to use a third party since your provider will ensure that they will already cover most of these cases. Even though no bulletproof systems exist, they have entire teams and alert systems preventing this from happening.
1️⃣7️⃣ AVOID A ZOMBIELAND
Most of the affiliate programs I see through e-commerce brands it’s like Zombieland. They’re still active subscriptions, but the promotion and materials have been the same since it started.
It’s important to keep nurturing and giving new promo materials to keep things pumping your way. Make it part of your content plan agenda.
Affiliates are people. You may use a platform, but there are people at the other end, and if they like you better, they can boost your brand even when you have a lousy collection that converts a bit worse. So reward them regularly.
If you check my profile, you’ll see that I’ve worked for Kwanko a few years back, so I’m entirely biased by suggesting that you should reach out if you’re interested. The team there is top-notch, and they have worldwide coverage.
Documents you can Download per Tactic
You can download each document by clicking on it. There’s no gated content over here. 😉
I hope this helps you get better at these strategies and tactics.
Please subscribe to my newsletter if you don’t want to miss the following posts.