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SEO

SEO for Shopify: SEO process and plan

SEO

When you start a new store, it must be overwhelming with tons of work and knowledge. SEO is one of them but you should know the basic of SEO upfront so later on you don’t have to worry about the mess you leave behind at the beginning.

SEO itself is such a huge field for a starter. At the beginning I spent days and months looking for some materials letting me know what exactly a SEO-er does when they have a project, a website to work on. I ended up drowning in 1000 pages and videos of fragmented answers. So I decided to share with you the process of SEO and the free tools that we have to use along the way.

First, SEO is about improving ranking of your webpage on search engine results page. In order to do so, you have to optimize your site based on the search engine secret algorithm. Yes, it’s a secret, they also modify it gradually.  It’s lucky enough that most of the big ingredients are known. These main ingredients are: keywords and their placements on the page, the popularity and trust of the page (mostly based on backlinks), the quality of content (how users react with your content, will they stay for long to thoroughly digest the content, or bounce away quickly).

Step 1: Analyze the SEO website

If you are an absolute starter, you should start off with integrate Google webmaster tools. Google analytics for your Shopify store, then analyze your online shop.

  • On-page factors: Keywords, internal links, site speed
  • Off-page factors: Building backlink

– Create an XML sitemap and submit it to Google and Bing through your Webmaster Tools accounts you just created. All Shopify stores automatically generate a sitemap. (www.yourstore.com/sitemap.xml)

– Use Google Webmaster Tools to check for 404/500 errors, duplicate content, or any crawling errors.​

You should play around with Webmaster tools at this stage and if you site has any marked red problems by Google, you should go back and forth to fix them.

If the site is no longer a newbie, you can go ahead and analyze it deeper with the criteria listed in the table in step 2

Tools to use: Google webmaster tools. Google analytics

Step 2: Research keyword

Keyword research has one simple goal: to get you to understand how your visitors think and talk about your product or service. “Talk to your customers in their language.” Their language, not yours. Just imagine a Math professor teaching a group of 5 year-old kids, and you would know what I mean.

The advantages of identify main and ‘sub’ keywords are listed below.

  • Build a structured website, and content
  • Know what your customers are looking for
  • Help your customer find you, increase valuable traffic to your site
  • Save time SEO-ing Keyword nobody search for

A good keyword list should be built on products/service, customer insight, competitors, experience, etc.

Tools: There are so many tools out there but you have to start simple. Start with your brain by writing down the words people use when talking to you about your products or services.

You should ask yourself question like:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What are you going to offer them?
  • Why would they be coming to your site?
  • What do you want them to do on the site? Which actions do you want them to take?
  • What word they would search to find you?

Once you have the list, you can use tools like Google Trends, Google suggest, and use Google keywords planner to expand it. I usually use those tools in that order to gradually expand the list.

Besides, you can always take advantage from analyzing your competitors’ websites. It not only serves the purpose of taking keyword ideas from them, but also helps you benchmark your business.

seo benchmark

To complete this table, you can use: SEOquake, SEMrush, Spyfu, etc. (You can download this table with the link at the end of the post).

By combining the list of keywords you find with your own mind, and SEO tools like Google Trends, Google suggest, keywords planner, SEO quake, etc., you will have a list of short and long, main and ‘sub’ keywords for your site.

There is one thing you should bear in mind that you can’t be dependent on these modern tools as they are more often wrong than right on search volume, especially with small niches. You’ll only know real search volumes if you start advertising for these terms in Google AdWords, but not everybody will have the budget or need to do that.

Another tip for building keyword list is that if you find some keywords that are very competitive. You should find all the keywords surrounding that topic and use these later for a “keyword clustering” technique. This process is very well summarized by an info graphic created by Elliance:

Keyword clustering

The result of this stage is to get a list of keywords that covers all the terms that your ideal customers would use to search for you.

Step 3: Build website and landing page structure

After finding the keywords, it is critical to distributing them in different pages. Each page will serve the purpose of SEO-ing a few keywords. Normally a single webpage should be optimized for 1 or 2 keywords only.

Site structure is a science and an art. You should bear in mind the 3-clicks rule which clarifies that most of customers are patient enough to get what they found in 3 clicks. You should structure your site as simple as possible. If a customer has to click more than 3 times to the end of your conversion funnel. You should consider simplifying it.

Site structure

Determine which keywords are your most important ones and make those your top-level pages. You can do this in Excel: each column represents a level of your site, each row a page. Take a site selling fruit juice as an example. This looks something like this:

Keyword list

The structure of your Shopify site will be as follows.

Shopify site structure

Step 4: Write, and build website content

Your content should be written for both human and search engine crawlers. It has to be unique, and valuable while optimized for search engine. All the actions to optimize the keyword placement on the page to make highly recognizable for search engine crawlers are called SEO on-page. SEO on-page tasks mainly include:

  • Ensure you are using one, and only one, H1 tag on your pages.​ H1 (header 1) tags often used as the main headline for a page and they usually contain the page’s main keywords.
  • Ensure H1 tags are used before other header tags (H2, H3, H4).​Your header tags should be used in a hierarchal order. For example, H1 tag text above H2 tag text and H2 tag text above H3 tag text, and so on.
  • Keep your page titles under 70 characters so they aren’t truncated in results.
  • Write good page titles that are human-readable.​ Make sure they include the keywords you are trying to rank for but don’t over­ optimize or make it a string of keywords.
  • Keep your meta description under 150 characters.​This is the text under a page title in a search result. Ensure it clearly describes the page and also include keywords but again, don’t over optimize. Each page’s meta description should be unique.
  • Ensure you include a keyword in your page URL.​ Again, don’t overdo it.
  • Keywords are placed in Image Alt tags and names
  • Keyword density just under 3%, keyword on top of the page is usually more valuable for page ranking.
  • Limit the use of Flash and table
  • Include share button on social
  • Use No-follow link to decrease linkouts
  • High loading speed (check at https://tools.pingdom.com/ )
  • Including Breadcrumbs (help customer identify where they are on your page)

Search engine prefer fresh content so you should frequently update your site content.

Step 5: Build linking structure

  • Build internal link. It serves 2 purposes:
  1. Lengthen the time on-page
  2. Help crawler crawl your website easily

Build internal link SEO

  • Build backlink:

“Content is king and backlink is queen” is a famous quote in SEO-er world. Backlink is the link that points to your page. Backlinks indicate the popularity of your page. However it is not number of backlinks that matters but also the quality of backlinks matters. Your page is more likely to rank higher if your backlink is from a site working in the same or related fields with high trust score already. Building backlinks is a daunting task, it is not only time consuming but also costly. If you increase the backlink number aggressively, it is risky that your site is fined by search engine and won’t appear on their search result page anymore.

Step 6: Analyze the result

Do weekly check for keyword ranking, traffic, conversion.

Tools to use: Rank Tracker, Google analysis

These above steps can be summarized as in this infographic.

Plus: an example of SEO plan https://goo.gl/1sBBsT

 

5 must-have email campaigns for online store

5 must-have email campaigns for online store

5 must-have email campaigns for online store

Email is still one of the most important channels in successful online selling, especially when you just start your online store and have a tight budget for marketing. Email has a variety of usage. Whether you want to welcome new shoppers, offer them enticing deals and discounts, remind them about the products they’ve abandoned or any of our innovative strategies above, email marketing is a very powerful tool. But due to its versatility, it is complicated for beginner to find a starting point for their emailing campaigns. We have found 5 emails that every e-commerce store must have. If you are an online retailer and new to email marketing, it is for you.

Welcome email

It must be familiar to you to receive welcome emails, but you might be shocked by these statistics “The average open rate for welcome emails is a whopping 50%” (Marketing Sherpa) and they typically have 4x open rate and 5x the click-through rate of other mailings (Experian). Retailers that send a series of welcome emails see 13% more revenue than those that send just one. (Internet Retailer 500). Welcome email is a real chance; you should let people know about you right when they’re most interested in hearing from you.

Checklist for welcome emails:

Target: Newly-registered email subscribers or first-time buyers

Timing: a few minutes after email subscription or first purchase (The delay is critical: it makes customers feel the email is not an automatic email but a real welcome from a real person)

Content: In your “Welcome Email”, you should let them know more about you, enough to build trust and interest about you. You should send it from the store founder’s personal email address, not the general sales or support emails

Additional advice: You should limit your email content to a readable length. If you have so many things to say, please send your email in a series, but try to avoid bombarding your customers with your emails. No one likes a person that keeps talking about himself all the time.

Cart abandonment emails

Cart abandonment is a real disaster, but it happens. If you are in any online retailer society, I bet you will hear about it all the time. And the number one advice from experts is always about following up emails. These emails will act as reminders to bring shoppers back to complete the purchase.

It is simple and it works. According to a Marketing Sherpa survey of over 2000 Americans, 51% of people who ever left an item in an online shopping cart find reminder emails helpful with 6% saying they always complete the purchase after receiving the message.

Here is an example from SimplySupplements. They not only reminded me that I still have items in my cart but they also offered me free delivery and free return as an incentive to complete my purchase.

Cart abandoned email

Checklist for cart abandonment emails:

Target: Added Item to Cart but didn’t check out users 

Timing: 1-3 hours after the Added Item to Cart event is tracked depending on your site’s average shopping time

Content: preview of items in cart and link to check out (you can also add personalized recommended items in your email)

Additional advice: If the first email didn’t work out. You can send another one after 24 hours, possibly with an incentive like discount offer. And it is also effective to send them other personalized recommended items as in Dot & Bo example below.

Cart abandonment emails have an average open rate of 30%, and revenue per email is between $1-$3. Adding the second or third email can be quite effective as Dot & Bo saw a 400x increase in campaign revenue with a two-step abandoned cart workflow.

Cart abandoned email with recommendation

Purchase confirmation and shipping

These emails reaffirm your customer that their order is succeeded and it is looked after now. They are really important in terms of customer care. It is even more crucial when you find out that

For every 100 receipts you send, you can make an average of $25 of extra revenue with no extra effort. (Conversio)

Not bad for an automated email, huh?

While the order confirmation email is an additional way of utilizing the above (such as offering discounts, encouraging engagement, etc), it’s also a way of pacing your customer’s expectations. Here is SimplySupplement dispatch comfirmation email, which I found a good example. Despatch onfirmation email from SimplySupplement

Checklist for purchase confirmation and shipping emails:

Order: order confirmation, dispatch confirmation, out for delivery, delivered

Target: checked-out customer

Timing and content: Rights after these actions are taken:

  • Check out: send them an order confirmation as a receipt and expected arrival date.
  • Order is dispatched and out for delivery
  • Order is delivered

Additional advice: It depends on your business that you should send all these above emails or not. But the whole idea is that you tell your customer to relax and wait for their items to arrive. You can also take advantage of these emails to upsell or cross-sell.

Retention

Yes, it happens. Some of your customers just don’t come back. Either they’re a massive fan and purchases again every week or more likely, they’ll fall off the grid within a few months. Obtaining a new customer is 5 times more expensive than keeping an old one. So you have to make extra effort to bring them back by implementing the retention email campaign.

On average, we see open rates of 25-35% e-commerce companies. It’s always worth reminding previous customers you’re still thinking of them (even if they’ve moved to a competitor). Here is an exmaple from Memebox.

retention email from Memebox

Checklist for retention emails:

Target: inactive users or customers in a period (about 30 days for an online store)

Timing: when 30 days has passed since last purchase

Content: latest items or re-engagement offer (coupon code, items, new features) invites dormant users to come back and rediscover why they fell in love with your product or store

Additional advice: Repeat every month. Wait 1 day. If email is not opened, send another email or push notification. Repeat every month.

Date triggered email

Only 24% of online businesses send date triggered emails such as delighting customers with birthday greetings and other anniversaries like membership subscription date (Internet Retailer 500). According to ClickZ, birthday email can lift conversion rates by 60% over other email messages with the same offer. These emails make your subscribers feel special and give them a reason to spend that extra birthday money with you. It is also a good way to warm up your relationship with customers.

Like real birthday or anniversary celebrations, you should offer your shoppers a gift that they can’t pass up like discounted items or a free gift with their next purchase (See how to do it with Free Gifts App). This way you are adding sales while celebrating an important occasion with your shoppers.

Checklist for date triggered emails:

Target: Birthday celebrants and membership anniversaries

Timing: Consider sending the following sequence:

– A pre-email, few days before the event 

– The day of the event itself

– A post-email, few days after the event

Content:

– Be sincere and in a celebratory mood

– Include a compelling call-to-action like “Treat Yourself” or “Pamper Yourself”  

– Create sense of urgency by offering discounts and freebies

Additional advice: The more personalized the email is, the better result it can conduct. So, you can try offering your customers with the customizable products or the one that recommended for them.

Conclusion

Finally, emails that get opened and clicked through are those that are tailored to suit the recipient’s interests. The extent to which an email is personalized, defines the ROI the channel is able to generate for you. These 5 automated emails above are a good start.