eCommerce Basics: Branding, SEO, PR and More

By Team AmeriCommerce - Updated On 2/6/2020

In the very early stages of your Ecommerce store your focus should be set on building your brand and getting as much exposure as you can.

But if the only people to know about your store are your friends and family then what steps can you take to make your first sale?

Check out our guide to find out...

Get socially active

When it comes to building your brand, your social profiles are a great place to start. You need to show the world what you're about, and social media gives you the freedom to do that. To attract people that want to buy your products you need to start posting content that specifically targets them. You should aim to strike a balance between posting shareable content, and hitting your followers with promotional posts so you can encourage sales.

Take action: Shop around for a good social media management tool so you can take care of all of your accounts in one place. The best platforms will help you curate content, give you analytics on how well your campaigns have performed and provide metrics on how engaged your followers are.

Create an SEO strategy

Search Engine Optimization (SEO), is something that you must invest time into if you want to attract people to your store. You can invest in paid for ads, or try and attract organic visitors – but we'd suggest utilizing both of these techniques in order to drive the most traffic to your store. If you check out Google Adwords you'll be able to set up ad campaigns and do keyword research to help direct traffic that will convert.

Take action: Set up a Google analytics and Adwords account to get a birds eye view of your store so you can see where your web traffic is coming from and how well your campaigns are being received.

Put in some PR work

A store launch is a great opportunity for publicity, so set an official launch date and send out a press release. It's hard to get publicity from a press release so you need to make sure it's newsworthy and that you target publications that would be relevant to your product.

Another great way to create a buzz around your store is to approach journalists, bloggers and entrepreneurs who are influential within your industry. These influencers will have a large following to their blog and on their social channels so by encouraging them to link to your store, can be a great way to gain exposure.

Take action: Send influencers a free sample of your product to encourage them to blog about it across their social channels.

Start creating content

Did you know that website conversion rate is nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters, than non-adopters? Content marketing is highly regarded as one of the best techniques that you can use to increase your reach, and improve your conversions.

When it comes to creating content, you can choose from plenty of options including e-books, infographics, product videos etc, but if you're in the early stages then you should start by setting up a blog. Blogging can make a huge impact on ROI, but for this to work, you need to be creating posts that appeal to your audience.

Take action: If you don't have one already, create a buyer persona so you know who you are targeting. Next, go back to your keyword research and find out the search terms that your customers use. Once you have this information you can create content that is based on those search terms.

Using this technique will not only help with SEO, but it will attract more leads to your store as you have created content that aims to answer their problems.

Build your email list

According to this report by Direct Marketing Association , an impressive 66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing campaign. There's no denying that an email campaign can help with conversions, it's just a case of building that list in the first place. Although it may seem tempting, we don't recommend buying a list of contacts as it wont be targeted and you'll just end up annoying people.

Take action: Create valuable content such as an e-book and offer it free next to your email sign up button. That way, you know that you're building a targeted list of contacts to your email list. Once you have a built up list, hit them with exclusive offers and deals so they feel valued as a customer and are more likely to buy.

Run a contest

A contest is a great opportunity to build up your following and drive plenty of qualified inbound links to your store. Giving away your product also gives the winner (or winners) the chance to try out your product and if they like it, become your customer for life. Social media is the perfect place to run a contest, and you will find plenty of third party tools to help you manage it the whole process.

Take action: Set up a landing page for your contest with all of your T&C's and an email sign up button so you can build your leads. It's also worth putting relevant offers on your landing page so you can encourage more sales.

Integrate with other tools

There are plenty of tools and plug-ins that you can integrate with your store to help speed up your sales cycle. According to this HelpScout post , 3 in 5 Americans would try a new brand or company for a better service experience. Providing exceptional customer service doesn’t cost a lot, and it can really help improve conversions. Integrating with tools such as LiveChat gives you the ability to talk to your web visitors so you can answer any questions and help them on their way to purchasing your products.

Don't limit the places that you sell your products either. Integrate your store with Amazon, eBay, and even Facebook so you can make it really easy for people to buy your stuff!

Take action: With everything from Facebook Shop, Amazon Marketplace, eBay and LiveChat, check out all of our apps and add-ons to see which integrations would work best for your Ecommerce store.

Streamline your shopping process

The last step that we recommend is to make it really easy for people to buy your products. Your shopping cart process can make a huge difference as to whether people continue through to your checkout page. In fact, Baymard Institute found that on average, 68.07% of shopping carts are abandoned – so make sure you tackle this problem early.

There are many reasons as to why people leave including slow loading times, not enough pricing methods, or that extra costs were added at the checkout page...

Take action: Give the customer plenty of payment choice; use a fast server so you don't have page load problems; be clear with extra costs upfront including tax and shipping – and if you can, offer free shipping to encourage more sales.

The rest is up to you...

We hope that this post has given you plenty of food for thought on how you can take action today and start making your very first sales! Good luck with your new adventure - and if you need further help pushing your conversion rate then check out our pro-grade ecommerce tools today !  

About the Author

Team AmeriCommerce

We're a bunch of nerds, a few cat people, several musicians, numerous gaming addicts, countless beard aficionados, and possibly a hipster or two. Since 2005 our team has been building one of the world's most powerful E-Commerce platforms designed to do stuff other platforms can't.

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January 24, 2015 12:25 PM
Great back-to-the-basics post.
Craig Bickford
January 25, 2015 7:14 PM
I really love the tools, articles, and informational courses you guys offer here. They're very well put together and easy to understand and this refresher in some of the ecommerce marketing basics is no exception. Well done!
January 25, 2015 7:14 PM
I agree with Keri, this is a great reminder of the basics of running a successful online venture. Two of the tips above that I've utilized a LOT lately have been: Being active on social media & running contests. These two methods go great together. By offering products or services up as prizes - and tying in Likes or Shares as a stipulation - you are guaranteed to amp up your customer involvement & your credibility all at once. Not to mention the incredible potential for viral advertisement! Another great post.
Geanie Kehr Roake
January 26, 2015 3:30 PM
You've made some good suggestions here, and many are pretty basic and easy to accomplish. I've started a blog, and ran a contest which was successful. If you do decide to start blogging you need to post often and tailor your content to your audience, but also make it interesting, otherwise no one will read it which won’t help your business. One thing I've discovered is that even though everyone wants to have a blog these days, not everyone likes to write. Since starting my own blog, I get requests to write articles for other people’s sites - under their name of course. It works for me – I earn a little extra money and they get great blog content. (The above is not my real name – just so no one thinks I’m advertising).
Alex London
January 26, 2015 5:34 PM
I wish I'd read this when I first set up my online store last year, it would've saved me so much time and frustration in trial and error! For me, offering free shipping gave a huge boost to my sales completions. Really great guide!
Anupam Rajey
February 6, 2017 8:38 AM
An informative article, indeed! You have rightly pointed out the importance of having a large email list based on your target audience. I personally believe email list is one of the most important marketing channels. And the best thing about email list is its effectiveness. People may forget to check their social channels, but they always check their emails. The larger our email lists are, the more ROI our marketing campaigns will yield. I’m going to send this article to my email list.

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