Starting an online business is not easy. There are plenty of tasks to be done in only so much time. On top of that, many tend to fall into the trap of finding shortcuts to success. This is often a result of misconceptions and myths floating in the market.
There are a few online business owners that resort to using marketing ‘hacks’ or ‘tricks’ to improve their sales. What they overlook is the fact that these practices do more harm than good.
There aren’t any concrete rules written on a stone when it comes to eCommerce. It is a tricky market to track and scoop out what actually works.
eCommerce has come a long way in the past few years. The more this industry grew, so did the number of gurus spreading several mendacious tales based on ‘secrets to running an eCommerce store without lifting a finger’. Hence, you must understand the difference between right and wrong, the myth and the fact.
In this article, we will be busting a few myths that surround eCommerce SEO and marketing that can hamper your progress.
Myth 1: eCommerce marketing drives instant results
There’s nothing instant in the world of marketing. Developing a strategy takes time, implementing it takes more time, and driving results is perhaps the most time-consuming step of marketing.
If you come across a certain individual offering you a quick one-month marketing strategy that will bring you desired results (which is mostly increased sales), run. As far and as quick as you can.
You don’t want one-time-buy customers. A quick, reckless marketing campaign might bring you that.
Any high-quality eCommerce marketing strategy is developed with an intent to brew slow but strong customer relationships. Developing this marketing strategy and planning effective campaigns in itself is a task that often takes longer than anticipated.
Such strategies will help you create a long-lasting impression on your customers. The main aim is to imprint your brand’s name in the minds of the consumers so that even if they are not planning to buy the products today, you will be the first name that strikes their minds when they do.
Myth 2: Target everyone with your marketing efforts
This is a practice that is followed by plenty of eCommerce stores. However, every single person is not your target audience.
The more you niche-down and target a specific audience, the less competition you will have to tackle. Targeting a particular niche also helps you easily identify the pain points and cater to them precisely. This helps to boost the overall value of your product.
Finding the target audience also enables you to keep the prices that are suitable for you as the competition will not be as high. When you are truly solving a problem of that particular niche, they won’t mind paying a little higher price for the products that you’re offering.
The deeper understanding you get of your target market, the better it will pay off in the long run.
Myth 3: If targeting older generations, avoid social media
It is a common misconception that social media is best used when targeting a younger audience.
Indeed, getting used to new platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is often seen as a task by the older generation. However, they are as excited to learn about new technological advancements as any other millennial out there. The only difference between the two is what they do on social media.
For the older generation, social media is a lot more than a source of entertainment. They use the pieces of content to find information that is useful to them. This is where your blogs and long-form content will become relevant, while the younger generation is more inclined to snackable content.
Your eCommerce marketing strategy shouldn’t be age-focused. Go beyond that. Find ways to connect with your audience, irrespective of what age group they fall into.
Myth 4: All you need is a website/social shop
A website is indeed the most crucial and indispensable tool for an eCommerce business. But does that mean you only need a website or a Facebook/Instagram shop and your store will start selling? Certainly not.
Getting a website built is merely a stepping stone. You might share it around your friend circle but don’t expect to get any sales. They are not your target audience, and you cannot just expect your audience to find you on the web.
This is why developing a well-thought eCommerce marketing plan is important. When you strategize, your aim should be to build a connection with your audience and gradually bring sales.
The best way to start is by creating an Internet buzz before you launch your website. If done right, it can bring you the desired results and help jumpstart your business.
Myth 5: eCommerce marketing and advertising are synonymous
More often than not, marketing and advertising are used interchangeably whereas the truth of the matter is that eCommerce marketing and advertising are two different aspects. They have different strategies, plans, purposes, and even goals.
eCommerce marketing is about working on a brand’s presence and visibility. It is about launching a product to the marketplace and helping the target market understand why you are better than the rest. Marketing needs your time, effort, resources, and a lot of creativity.
Advertising, on the other hand, is about what message you are looking to portray with your brand. It is a part of your marketing plan. You use advertising to reach your ideal audience in your pre-planned marketing strategy.
Advertising is an expensive and less effective undertaking. Those who are starting out often see ad campaigns as a practice that needs significant investment. Thus, it is often suggested a brand should market before they advertise.
Marketing is about sharing the clear goals and the purpose of the company with the audience. It goes beyond generating a few sales.
Myth 6: eCommerce marketing needs expensive ad campaigns to work
This is probably the most common myth that plenty of business owners believe. However, it is far from the truth.
eCommerce marketing strategy does not necessarily need considerable investment. Instead, it needs quality content that is delivered to the right people. It doesn’t have to be expensive, it just needs to be done right.
Of course, you can start running ads without putting any effort into developing an online presence. But there are challenges that you will come across that money won’t solve. These could be finding the channel that your target audience uses or making sure your ads are getting enough attention.
If your audience doesn’t know who you are and you run an ad campaign, the entire pay-per-click campaign will be more expensive for you. Getting your customers to click on your ad rather than the websites that are ranking organically will be more challenging than you anticipate.
This is one reason why your eCommerce SEO needs to be on point.
Hence, before you spend money on expensive ad campaigns, try your hands on developing a strategy that makes your brand visible.
Myth 7: You don’t have to care about customer privacy
This is not only wrong but completely unethical.
When you have an eCommerce website, you will have customers entering their bank account details. Not only that, but they will also be required to enter their name, email address, home address, and more.
Primarily, you need to build trust among your audience so that they don’t hesitate to enter such sensitive details when logging in or checking out your website. It is with effective and well-planned marketing that you slowly build that relationship and trust.
Secondly, those who are tech-savvy would raise the question of where their details are being used and how you are ensuring that such information is being safeguarded.
Myth 8: You only need to do SEO once
If you think you only need to add keywords to your content to rank your page and then, leave it be, think again.
The main job of SEO is to help make your website gain more visibility i.e. rank better on the search engine results pages. You have several other competitors that are working on their SEO to surpass their competitors and rank well. The day their SEO starts working, your website will be pushed down the ranks.
Hence, it is vital for you to understand that SEO is an ongoing process. It is not a one-time deal.
Also, search engine guidelines and algorithms are ever-evolving. With every new update that’s brought to the market, you need to make sure that you are optimizing your website accordingly.
Myth 9: Quantity matters more than quality
Churning content worth thousands of words for your eCommerce website will become irrelevant if you are not offering your audience what they are expecting.
You should be working on creating content that is SEO friendly as well as user friendly. User-friendly content entails relevance, value-added information, and scannability. If you are sharing articles or blogs filled with keywords but they hold no relevance to the users, your content is not offering any quality. Thus, neither impressing the search engines nor the users.
You should always make sure you are choosing quality content over quantity.
There are three stages that can be taken into consideration when planning your content for your eCommerce marketing campaigns. These are awareness, consideration, and conversion stages.
The awareness stage is when you make the customer become aware of your presence, the consideration stage is when you share additional information related to your eCommerce store that helps you stand out from your competitors, and the conversion stage is when you let the users know why you are the best.
Additionally, here is how you can ensure the quality of your content is at its best:
- Using high-quality backlinks. You can use a free backlink checker to find the links that are there on your competitor’s website.
- Make your content more skimmable.
- Divide your content into different headings. (H1, H2, and H3)
- Optimize your content for the web.
- Use strong but relevant keywords. Also, make sure they fit naturally into your content.
Myth 10: If you want to sell more, lower your prices
If that were true, no brand would ever be inaccessible for customers, irrespective of their economic status. That also means no business would ever be in profit.
When you put a price on your products, you have certain costs of production and several other pricing factors that play a role in determining the same. Lowering your prices would often lead you to sell your products at a loss and not many can afford to do that.
Selling products at lower costs where you are not able to make your ends meet will also demotivate you as a business owner.
Instead of lowering your prices, focus on targeting the right customers. If your customers find something valuable, they would already have an expectation regarding their investment in the same.
If you want to target high-end customers but charge less prices for your products, your brand will be considered inferior to them. For the most high-end customers, if a product is ‘branded’, it needs to be expensive.
Hence, lowering your prices would never be a good marketing strategy. It will bring you more harm than good.
Myth 11: Google Ads improve organic rank
Google Ads is one of the most commonly used marketing tools in the eCommerce industry. With the help of Google Ads, you can rank on the top of the SERPs, provided you win the bid.
That being said, Google Ads, in no way, help give your organic ranking a boost. Paying to rank on the SERPs will only help you so much.
In addition, even if you rank on top of the SERPs, getting the traffic would still be a challenge if you are not marketing your eCommerce store properly. This happens because the core of marketing is trust-building.
If you cut costs and time in marketing your eCommerce store or optimizing your website, building that trust would be next to impossible. As a result, your customers will visit the website that they have already heard of or they have already purchased from.
Making the customers switch would be challenging.
Myth 12: Your visuals do not need optimization
If you are selling something online, your visuals matter more than you can anticipate. The visuals and the product descriptions are the only information your customers will have of your products. They can’t touch it or feel it before making a purchase.
Thus, the visuals that you upload need to be of high quality. But does high quality mean you upload large-sized photos and compromise your website’s speed? Certainly not.
In fact, SEO today is highly dependent on the quality of your multimedia content and website speed. Image optimization is what will help you tackle this challenge.
With image optimization, you not only keep the quality of your image the same and improve the site speed, but you also make your website more inclusive. This happens because adding alt text to your images is an important part of the image optimization process.
Alt text also allows you to rank on the ‘Google Images’ for certain keywords, making it a useful practice.
Myth 13: Use as many keywords as possible
If you are still stuffing your website content with random and irrelevant keywords, you are still living in the 2000s. SEO and Google algorithm has evolved in recent years.
Stuffing content with as many keywords as possible is now considered a blackhat SEO strategy. This means that instead of applauding your ‘SEO efforts’, Google will now penalize your website.
When you stuff your content with keywords, it makes the content less useful for the users. Today, the Google algorithm favors those that have websites that are first made for the user and then for the search engine.
Hence, it is important to use keywords that make sense in your content; keywords that fit naturally.
Myth 14: It’s too late to begin
Time is never a factor that should be taken into consideration when you finally decide on following your dreams.
All you need is determination and precision to create an eCommerce store that can transform lives. Let go of such doubts that you have to be of a certain age or have a certain credit balance to provide customers with value-added and high-quality products.
What you require is a plan and the willingness to give it your best shot. Just make sure you have a strategy that is all set to be executed before you take this step.
To wrap it up, eCommerce marketing is often considered time-consuming. There is no lie in that, it does take time.
But the truth of the matter is that eCommerce marketing is also one of the most helpful ways to turn a profit when done correctly. Now, in order to do it correctly, you need to move on from believing the myths about the industry and give it the time, effort and thought it deserves.
Vaibhav Kakkar is the Founder and CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing services and development solutions. Vaibhav believes in building systems over services, and has helped scale up agencies from scratch to niche-leaders with million dollar turnovers.