ecommerce-inbound-marketing-tacticsInbound marketing is a fairly new discipline -- and one that many marketers have struggled to effectively adopt. Have you tried implementing inbound practices that just didn’t work? While there is no exact science to ecommerce marketing, the techniques and tactics we use have been proven. So, why do some people fail? Let’s take a look.

Blogging—We Tried That 

Everyone says a business blog is one of the most important components of your website. You need it for SEO, content for marketing automation, etc., right? Except, you already tried that, and nothing really happened. Weren’t you supposed to experience 55% more visitors or something?

If you did attempt a blog for your ecommerce site and just didn’t see results, there’s a good chance you made one of two rather large mistakes. First, you concentrated too much on keywords and not enough on providing quality content. Keyword cramming hasn’t been a successful technique for years, yet many still focus on getting their 1% keyword density in each and every blog -- even if it makes it sound like it was written by a robot. Go back through your failed blog; read with fresh eyes. Did you actually care about helping anyone but yourself when you wrote those blogs? Could readers really get the information they needed?

If you did concentrate on quality information when writing your blogs and still didn’t get anywhere, you probably made the second biggest mistake: giving up too soon. Inbound ecommerce takes time. Your goal is to reach 300 or more pages on your website, with all of those pages filled with quality information, before you’ll see the promised results. If you simply wrote 5 blogs and quit when no one bought anything, you didn’t fail; you simply didn’t try.

Here at HubSpot we tend to say that blogging is like jogging -- it's hard, consistency is very important, and it takes some time to see results. If you want to build a healthier marketing strategy, though, you need to stick with it.

Social Media—We Tried That

Social media could be your biggest and best marketing tool. Nothing else gives you the ability to reach out to an ever-widening circle of current and potential customers. Still, if you never really saw a return on your investment of time and effort, you may be convinced that social media simply doesn’t work as well as everyone says. Or, maybe you just did it wrong.

Social media is meant to be social. If you used Twitter and Facebook to simply blast your latest specials or show off your spring catalog, you missed the most important aspect. Without interaction, your potential customers feel like a captive audience to all your self-promotional tweets. You simply weren’t listening. To put it another way, you change the channel during commercials, toss out the coupon section of the paper, and hang up on telemarketers, right?

If you were determined to interact with customers through social media and still saw little to no results, there’s a good chance you weren’t giving each platform the necessary time. While there is no proven formula, some things are simply understood to be true. Social media takes time. It also takes dedication and attention to detail. You may have posted at the wrong time, turned people off with bad grammar and spelling, or irritated followers by posting the same things over and over. Is it possible you did too little and expected too much?

PPC—We Tried That

Pay-per-click sounds like a real winner of an idea, doesn’t it? Set up advertising and then only pay for the people who click on your ads. What about this could possibly fail? Well, as you seem to have discovered: everything. It’s true that PPC ads can bring you a lot of business, but if you don’t plan well, you could end up with one of two possible results. First, the campaign could go so well that you find yourself facing a bill for thousands of dollars more than you’d intended. Or you could see absolutely zero results.

PPC ads do still rely on keywords, and you have to bid for them. When going up against hundreds or even thousands of competitors for those keywords, only the strong (and financially secure) survive. You may see your ad show up here and there, but unless you’re able to toss a lot of money at your PPC ad, you probably won’t appear during peak hours or on high-traffic sites. If you’re determined to try PPC ads again, consider some keywords that you won’t have to fight for. You may experience better results.

Security Seals—We Tried That 

Abandoned shopping carts happen for many and various reasons. One of the most common is that buyers feel unsafe sharing financial information. Adding a security seal to let them know their transactions are protected is a great way to gain back the trust you might have lost. 

So, what if you did add a security seal and still experienced the same number of abandoned carts? First, don’t let it bother you too much. After all, 99% of first-time visitors have no intention of buying anything anyway. Next, consider the placement of your security seal. Do you only have one image on the bottom of your webpage? If so, consider adding one to the checkout page. Let buyers see as they’re entering information that their financial information is secure.

Of course, your security seal can’t be your only line of defense against abandoned carts. If fact, you shouldn’t be playing defense at all. Instead, go after those buyers with a personalized email campaign. You’ll see much better results if you’re playing offense.

Which brings us to our final failure:

Personalization—We Tried That 

Ah, personalization. So many statistics show buyers want a relevant shopping experience. That means you must personalize every aspect of your marketing, right? So, you went above and beyond to create the most relevant and personal shopping experience ever and then saw zero results. Or worse, you saw negative results. What could possibly have gone wrong?

Before you head back to a generic way of thinking, consider the level of personalization you offered. Were you giving buyers the impression you knew everything about them right off the bat? An email that reads “We see you live on Smith Street in Fargo, North Dakota, so you might find these snow tires handy” is definitely personalized. And also creepy.

Maybe you should keep that personalization but apply a more natural approach. Get to know your customers the same way you do friends—a little at a time. Too much too soon is overwhelming, and not enough makes buyers feel unimportant. If you get it just right, you’ll notice a difference right away.

Are you willing to give some of these tactics one more shot? We certain these techniques work, as long as you do them correctly. What other must-do’s have you tried that didn’t work out as planned? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll discuss possible ways to overcome past failures.

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Originally published Apr 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated January 19 2023