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Google Tools used to promote a local business online in Manchester

Online Marketing is at the heart of using Google Tools

If you are a local business with a good looking website but are disappointed with the number of client inquiries, online bookings or customer orders then you are not alone!  It comes as a surprise to many small business owners just what is required to promote a local business online.

Having recently faced exactly the same concerns from one of my clients, I thought it would be of value to share the steps I took and Google Tools I used in order to promote a local business online in Manchester.

 Google Tools used to promote a local business online

The above diagram illustrates that it required setting up and connecting no fewer than FIVE Google services and knowledge of Google Authorship in order to:

    • Build reputation for the client to be seen as a credible thought leader in her business sector.  It required developing a Google Plus profile and implementation of Google Authorship in order to appear correctly on the Search Engine Results Pages – SERPS.
    • Use of Google Places in order to promote the local business online in Manchester on Google Maps
    • Advertise the business locally, setting up a Google Adwords pay per click campaign.
    • Measure & record website visitors & conversions using Google Analytics.
    • Ensure Google approval of the website, technically speaking, which requires use of Google Webmaster Tools in order to test on-page factors such as Page Load Time and whether your site is optimised for mobile devices.

As I often say, none of this is rocket science.  It just takes time, patience, paying attention to detail and a few cups of coffee…[hr]

So if you think I can help you – or someone you know – then please get in touch.

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Mapping the customer journey to online purchase using SEO, Google Adwords & Google Shopping

Mapping the customer journey to online purchase from initial Discovery through to Shortlisting and Decision Making reveals a useful framework using SEO, PPC & PLAs to attract and convert customers on your ecommerce site.

In Discovery phase, customers are looking for ideas and inspiration; a search for “best wireless headphones” or “latest mens winter coats” are best met by serving up information, resources, case studies, tips, videos & photos. These require well written content rich articles and are the classic domain of search engine optimisation “SEO”  in the modern age.

In Shortlisting phase, customers narrow their searches to specific BRANDS & CATEGORIES looking to identify suitable products such as “aptx bluetooth headphones” or “Burberry wax jackets”.  Pay Per Click “PPC” Google Adwords is best suited here, using keyword search to serve up text ads that take customers to specific category landing pages within an ecommerce website.

In Decision phase, customers have decided which products they are interested in buying and are researching products, models, price & availability.  These product specific long tail searches such as “Sennheiser MM450-X headphones” or “Barbour Bedale wax jacket” are best met by serving up Google Shopping ads.diagram mapping customer journey to SEO, PPC and PLA's

By considering what information to present at the different stages of the customer journey to online purchase provides a useful framework within which SEO, Google Adwords & Google Shopping each play an important role in meeting the customer’s search objectives.

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Setting Yourself Up For Success in Multi-Channel Retailing

Are you undecided whether to sell on the marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay or ETSY or to stick to selling on your own website?  Or maybe you are already selling on these marketplaces but have fallen into the trap of getting Bad Feedback! What are the key ingredients for multi-channel retailing success?  How can you avoid the customer service pitfalls?  And what can be done to improve customer communications by email or text messaging?

The practicalities of multi-channel retailing soon add up: Selling across Ebay, Amazon and your own website, across multiple marketplaces and countries, possibly with local language translations, with differential pricing can all quickly add up to becoming quite a lot to manage and a potential customer service headache…

IMHO, the two most important criteria to focus on are:

  • To set clear, accurate & unambiguous delivery goals: Next Day Delivery if possible.  But 3 days an absolute maximum…

  • Clear, accurate & unambiguous customer communications, both from yourself and your preferred logistics / delivery partners.

And if you do successfully meet your customer’s purchasing & delivery expectations then you will be rewarded with that all important Good Feedback.

Both Amazon and Ebay look at your Feedback ratings and are ruthless with retailers who fail to achieve good ratings & reviews: There is nothing more painful than being kicked off a marketplace.  It damages your reputation & business, it takes ages to recover lost revenues and is a very time consuming process to get reinstated.

In order to achieve good feedback your product sales, inventory availability, order processing and customer communications processes have all got to be automated, thought through and joined up!!

  • Inventory management across all your sales channels is a must.

  • Having a single Pick, Pack & Dispatch order processing process is really important.

  • And integrating courier tracking details into your customer communications really valuable.

In order to achieve all this your business needs to include multi-channel software automation, dispatch management and in some cases a CRM system in order to manage your customer relationships.

In summary, embracing multi-channel ecommerce is quite an undertaking.  But it is far better to anticipate the inventory management, order processing & customer communications challenges rather than wing it and hope that you stay lucky…

[quote]My ecommerce consulting and CRM advice shines the spotlight on your multi-channel software automation requirements, Pick, Pack & Dispatch order processing processes and use of CRM to manage customer relationships.[/quote]

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What is Your Multi Channel Ecommerce Strategy?

Ecommerce Consulting Services

One of your key decisions is to decide on your  multi channel ecommerce strategy. Do you want to prioritise sales on your own website or focus on building sales using Ebay and/or Amazon? What are the key factors to consider when building a multi-channel ecommerce business?  What revenues can you expect from each channel? What are the software & operational issues to be considered? And how do you retain margins and avoid a race to the bottom against other online retailers?

For me, eCommerce should be a three legged stool generating sales from your own website, Ebay and Amazon.  Being too dependent on one leg is a real risk to your business, but the pro’s and con’s of selling multichannel often involve retailers in a complex set of marketing & budgetary decisions.

The financial benefit of selling on the marketplaces is that Amazon & Ebay offer you a fixed “Cost Per Acquisition” CPA business model.  You pay a final value sales commission on results meaning that you can plan your sales campaigns knowing what your costs & margins are.

  • On Ebay this varies according to category – but including PayPal fees this can typically add upto approx 12%

  • On Amazon the final value sales commission can typically be 15% but again, this varies on the services you choose.

There are many advantages to attracting shoppers to your own websites, not least because there are no sales commissions to pay, you can set your own T’s & C’s, work on developing your USP’s, promote special offers, offer loyalty & reward schemes and concentrate on turning new customers into repeat customers.

But here’s the gottcha:  Google advertising runs on a Cost Per Click “CPC” business model, not a final value sales commission, and because the CPC costs are committed before any sale is completed, the cost of winning a new customer is a variable cost.

Therefore, you do need to tune your Google Adwords or Google Shopping campaigns to control campaign budgets, but it is a skilled and time consuming process.  ”ROAS” or Return On Ad Spend is the all important ROI metric to focus on.  Well managed campaigns can be run at a 10% Cost of Sale but I’ve also seen many Advertising Campaigns run away with 20% & 25% CPC costs – which is a strong incentive to plan your Google Advertising campaigns carefully.

So which is better?  Selling on your own website or relying on Ebay and/or Amazon to do the selling for you?  Having engaged with many online retailers over the years, the most popular strategy is to attract shoppers back to your own website if at all possible.  But there are many shoppers out there who trust Ebay & Amazon and so retailers ignore the incremental revenue that trading on these marketplaces bring at their peril.

My ecommerce consulting helps you to build, manage and execute your multi channel ecommerce strategy, focusing on customer acquisition which are unique to your business, developing products, campaigns and special offers to attract and retain customers.