Secure Your Sales With Google for Free During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Secure Your Sales With Google for Free During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2020 at 4:20 pm    

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The current COVID-19 pandemic has brought a sense of doubt to just about every retail sector in America. The shelter-in-place orders have closed the doors to many physical stores that are now relying on digital sales and curbside pickup to stay afloat. 

Consumers, many of whom are staying at home as essential businesses are only allowed to be open, have flocked to purchase goods online, including everything from essential products to apparel to kid’s toys. If one thing is for certain amidst these uncertain times, however, people still enjoy a good shopping spree or bargain find. 

The Benefits of Marketing With Google

The key for businesses–for those who find themselves working with a limited scale of what they are accustomed to–is to continue engaging with these customers by implementing a strategic digital marketing plan.

That is where we believe digital marketing can separate your business from your competitors.

The silver lining of the coronavirus pandemic and utilizing a solid strategic content marketing strategy, is that Google will now show search results primarily consisting of free listings in an effort to help retailers connect with potential consumers. 

This is crucial because Google is the tool that buyers use to access countless shopping searches that affected businesses have in stock but are not necessarily discoverable online commodities.

What You Need to do in Order to Benefit

For those retailers who have been impacted, Google’s “freebie” is a lifeline to sell their merchandise to millions of people who need digital access to their shopping desires. Retailers can maximize potential sales by emphasizing their content marketing plans as well as their products, with the help of their paid digital marketing and Google’s free listing search to work in tandem and draw from a great reservoir of consumers. 

It is worth noting that if you are already employing Merchant Center and Shopping ads, you don’t have to do anything to take advantage of Google’s free listing. 

Those retailers who are new to developing Merchant Center ads can maximize their profits by working with a digital marketing agency that can walk them through the do’s and don’ts of the onboarding process that will develop over the course of the next month or so.

Google and Existing Partners Have a Variety of Tools to Help You Track Products and Inventory

Google’s adjustments will take place in America by the end of April, and the search giant is looking to expand the service worldwide by the end of the year. Local retail merchants will have access to Google’s help center to understand information regarding how to engage in free product listings and Shopping ads.

Google is also partnering with PayPal to help merchants synchronize their accounts, which will help your onboarding process run smoothly and ensure that you are getting a sound search engine results page (SERPs) for your business. 

It would be a smart move for merchants who wish to maximize their digital footprint to align themselves with an affluent marketing agency that can outline an efficient plan that utilizes search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, and an appropriate digital marketing campaign that will enhance this great resource Google is offering to merchants all across America.

How to Set Up Google Merchant

Signing up for Google Merchant Center is as easy as having a Google account in hand and entering your business information in merchants.google.com. Everything from your business name to minor nuances like your timezone and familiarizing yourself with
guidelines can be filled out in this section. Reviewing the terms in the Merchant Center will help you on your way to start ranking on SERPs, which is going to help your organic traffic and overall sales.

Cobalt Digital Marketing understands how to navigate businesses through this time of uncertainty and implement an effective digital marketing strategy to go along with Google’s new objective of helping retailers sell products online for free to maximize your business on all fronts.

Our Cobalt Formulaᵀᴹ can help your business get back on track while helping your customers find you!

 

 

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Holiday Hustle: Fantastic Tips to Start Prepping Your Digital Marketing Plan Today

Posted on Sunday, October 7th, 2018 at 2:03 pm    

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Preparation is the key to success and this rings especially true for businesses and e-commerce companies looking to make the most out of the upcoming holiday season. While consumers might not start making their purchases until late-October, it doesn’t hurt to already be on their mind with the right messaging.  

Of course, you’ll want to temper any heavy holiday messaging until the holiday season gets a closer. But if you already have your plans laid out well in advance, the transition between your non-holiday digital marketing plan to your holiday marketing plan will be seamless and your promotions will be much more effective.

The last two months of the year are notably crucial to your business, with the National Retail Federation noting that 20 to 40 percent of yearly sales for small and mid-sized retailers takes place during this time frame. Within this two month period, there are a couple of specific days that you’ll want to target including:

  • November 24, Small Biz Saturday:
      • In 2016, 112 million consumers supported Small Business Saturday by shopping and dining out.
      • Total spending reached approximately $15.4 billion in 2016.
      • 72% of consumers reported they were aware of Small Business Saturday.  
  • November 26, Cyber Monday:  
    • In 2017, Cyber Monday sales reached a record $6.59 billion. (CNBC)
    • In 2017, Cyber Monday mobile sales reached $2 billion in a 24-hour period. (CNBC)
    • Cyber Monday sales increased by 16.8 percent from a year prior. (CNBC)

While these three days are definitely worth recognizing, there’s still plenty of joy (and sales) for the remaining holiday season, especially for e-commerce businesses:

  • Online shopping totaled $108.2 billion during the 2017 holiday season. (Adobe Digital Insights)
  • During the five days between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, shoppers spent $19 billion. (Adobe Digital Insights)
  • Retailers had their best holiday season in 2017 since 2011. (EMarketer)
  • 2017 saw a 17.8% increase in retail e-commerce sales. (EMarketer)
  • E-commerce sales are expected to expand by 15.3% in 2018. (EMarketer)
  • Mobile sales will account for 52% of total sales. (PracticalEcommerce)

If you’re ready to get in on the action, your catalysts at Cobalt Digital Marketing have some fantastic holiday marketing strategies to keep your holiday season Grinch free.

 

See Green on Black Friday

Black Friday is a hectic day and will require everyone on your team to be on the same page to handle the high volume of customers. If you want to make the most out of the day, you should start by:

  • Organizing for any major sales and preparing your inventory to ensure that you’ll have product favorites and the staff to effectively pull off any event you might hold.
  • Build anticipation beforehand by creating a teaser campaign that includes ads geared towards special products you’re going to have on sale.
  • Make sure that your website speed is up to par. If you’re dependent on online sales, a lagging website can be disastrous for your Black Friday. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly as well.
  • An email marketing campaign is a necessity. Just make sure to target past and potential buyers.
  • Developing landing pages can complement your email marketing campaign. Keep things general enough so that a single landing page can work for the entire holiday season.
  • Regardless of the season, social media should always be in your digital marketing plan. Posts should highlight products, sales, answer questions, and provide insight into your product (lifestyle pictures always work wonders, too).
  • Include a countdown timer on your website to drive the urgency of your Black Friday sales. Even a stock count can keep customers on their toes if they know a specific product is limited.      

 

Small Business Saturday To-Dos

Small Business Saturday is the perfect tool to promote your business for the busy holiday season and into the new year. There are a number of tactics that can be used to drive sales including:

  • Remind people about Small Business Saturday through social media, email newsletters, and website banners.
  • Offer sales that run before Small Business Saturday and until after Cyber Monday to keep customers coming in after the day passes. Plus, you’ll be able to better manage your inventory and have a clearer view of what items customers want.
  • Offer a special service or product like free gift wrapping, a limited-edition product, or a special menu item that big companies can’t match.
  • Make sure your website is mobile-optimized since 64% of shoppers use mobile search on smartphones before heading to the store.
  • Post plenty of visuals on social media and don’t just tell people about sales.
  • Make sure you have enough staff on hand as this may be the first experience with your business for many new customers.
  • Millennials love local businesses, so your local business should love millennials – target them.
  • Offer a fun and joyful environment if you have a brick-and-mortar store. Free refreshments, treats, and family-friendly activities are always a good choice.

 

Make Cyber Monday Spectacular

Your digital marketing strategy should be developed early enough (think NOW) in order that the transition between these prime shopping days is as smooth and seamless as possible. You’ll definitely want to utilize some of the same strategies on all three days (i.e. plenty of heavy social media coverage on your sales and special items) but you can also enhance your marketing strategy for Cyber Monday with:

  • Cyber Monday specific promotions are a must and a great way to get consumers excited about any special items that might be on sale only on this day.
  • Contest and giveaways build excitement and have the added benefit of helping you collect data that can be used for email marketing campaigns or to tweak ad copy to better meet consumer expectations.
  • Cyber Monday is a mobile mega-day, so make sure your site is mobile optimized. In 2017, Cyber Monday saw over $2 billion in mobile shopping alone. Don’t miss this opportunity.
  • Millennials are the biggest Cyber Monday spenders and you’ll want to target this demographic group.  
  • Recommendations and reviews need to be in place. Today’s shoppers are savvy and often base their decision to make a purchase based on reviews of your company and products. Offer some benefit to clients to leave you a positive review (think discount).
  • Place a countdown on your product pages to let clients know when an offer is beginning and ending. A time-sensitive sale can encourage customers to make the purchase immediately rather than hold off.
  • Don’t be afraid to surprise customers and extend your sale. Cyber Monday is not the end of the holiday season and extending your sale can work wonders to remind clients who haven’t made their purchase to get it done.
  • Retargeting ads is one of the most effective tools that you have in your arsenal. Most website visitors will pay your site multiple visits before making a  purchase; these leads simply need to be converted and targeting ads are just the thing.

 

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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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The Time is Now: eCommerce and Your Business

Posted on Friday, April 6th, 2018 at 7:16 pm    

[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.0.74″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat”]Let’s talk numbers.

Statista has some very jarring stats that any reasonable business person should really take into consideration. Global retail eCommerce sales are expected to land just below $3 TRILLION this year. (Yes…that is trillion with a T.)

But that’s not all. That number is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. That’s a mere 3 years away. That’s also an anticipated 246 percent increase from 2014.

Seems like easy pickings, right? Not without the proper e-commerce marketing plan in place.

Whether you’re in the process of expanding your business or developing your eCommerce website, there’s plenty of data-driven trends and techniques that you can use to your advantage to ensure your eCommerce marketing strategy is getting you sales.

[bctt tweet=”Global #ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. #CobaltDigitalMarketing” username=””]

Some E-commerce Basics

If you’re a beginner to e-commerce, let’s run down some of the basics. E-commerce websites are essentially websites where businesses and their customers can participate in a transaction of goods or services and payment. Nowadays, there are plenty of eCommerce platforms – such as Shopify – which allow merchants to design and develop websites, market, and sell their goods to consumers around the world (or nationally if chosen).

Another form of e-commerce focuses on mobile devices. With mobile e-commerce estimated to reach 70 percent of all traffic this year, it’s safe to say that mobile has already become the preferred method of e-commerce shopping and payment.

While the most common form of e-commerce website is retail, there are various types that are sure to meet your business’s needs (and they come with their own little acronyms):

  • Business-to-Business (B2B): This form of e-commerce occurs between companies (e.g. a parts manufacturer that sells their product to car manufacturers via an online sales portal).
  • Business-to-Consumer (B2C): E-commerce between companies and individual consumers (e.g. online retailers such as Amazon )
  • Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C): E-commerce between consumers that generally requires a third party to assist with the transaction. (e.g. eBay)

A few more non-traditional forms of e-commerce can include:

  • Consumer-to-Business (C2B): Businesses pay consumers for online real estate on the consumer’s website (can include social influencers on various forms of social media).
  • Business-to-Government: E-commerce business between businesses and government bodies or public administrations.

Whatever type of business you may have, you’ll do well to utilize an e-commerce platform to – at the very least – get your name out there. With 56 percent of in-store purchases influenced by online activity, an e-commerce presence will help get you in front of the right audience.

[bctt tweet=”#mobile #eCommerce is estimated to reach 70% of all traffic this year, becoming the preferred method to shop online. #CobaltDigitalMarketing ” username=””]

E-commerce Marketing & Channels

Naturally, if you have an e-commerce site then you will want to promote it to raise awareness about your brand and products or services. This is where e-commerce/digital marketing comes into play.

Using the right digital marketing strategies and channels will allow you to do a number of things including:

  • Drive traffic to your site
  • Convert shoppers
  • Take control of your brand image
  • Grow your company
  • Improve customer experience
  • Improve product(s) based on customer preferences

Effectively marketing your e-commerce company gives you the competitive edge you need to improve your revenue stream. Getting to this point, however, is going to require you to take full advantage of the proper marketing channels. These are crucial tools that will help build your brand and get you in front of your potential customers.

The most effective channels for eCommerce include some internet giants – like Facebook and Google – as well as techniques that thrive on organic traffic generation. These eCommerce marketing channels include:

  1. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) – This channel works through data, keywords, and strategy. The two largest players of this channel are – surprise – Facebook Ads and Google Adwords. Both systems can provide you invaluable data (if you know what to look for) to help you adequately target your market – but it literally comes with a price. Search engines earn money on a per-click basis, so each keyword or phrase involves you bidding on those used to create your ads.
  2. Search engine optimization (SEO) – SEO is the technique used to boost your organic results across search engines, with the the most important being Google. Ranking high in organic results requires a combination of digital marketing best practices including meaningful and frequent content creation, social media engagement, on-page and off-page SEO, social media engagement, and other factors.
  3. Retargeting – This can be a really powerful tool when used correctly. At its basis, retargeting allows for you to advertise to users who have already visited your eCommerce website. Cookies follow users as they browse the Web and allow for retargeting ads to appear when they search keywords related to your product.
  4. Email marketing – Email marketing is still a valuable weapon to have in your repertoire. Whether it’s reaching out to potential customers about abandoned carts on your site or targeting current and past customers about new items and sales, the right, personalized email marketing can help you achieve your goals. Just make sure to spend some time on them.
  5. Display advertising – The only way to get your name out there is to get you in front of an audience. This is where display advertising shines. This form of marketing is essentially purchasing online real estate. These advertisements appear on other websites and can include banners, sidebars, and other visual advertisements.
  6. Content marketing – This is the common thread that ties in all of the previously mentioned channels. One of the strongest forms of marketing, the right blog, content piece, video, or engaging quiz can really draw customers to your eCommerce site. Make sure you always give your content its just due.

These channels all play a role in your larger digital marketing scheme and should work in unison, providing you the advertising advantage you need to drive traffic to your online store.

What’s Happening in the World of eCommerce Marketing

The world of eCommerce can be a competitive one, so it’s best to strategize and use effective industry practices to place yourself in a position for growth.

Because the online world is ever changing, however, it requires you to constantly be on your toes to keep up with the latest industry trends. Search engines (read: Google) are frequently changing their algorithms, and advertising platforms change their requirements and stipulations. This means that you have strike the right balance between proven tactics and emerging marketing channels.

Doing so doesn’t have to be too much of a challenge, though. Let the good folks at Cobalt Digital give you a bit of insight into what’s happening in the world of eCommerce marketing in terms of established strategies and burgeoning methods.

What to Execute

  1. Design for sells. A poorly designed website with horrible user experience (UX) functions can really put dent in your sales. Intuitive and easy navigation, solid product descriptions, plenty of meaningful and quality visuals, and an easy ordering process will help improve your online store.
  2. Product reviews are essential. There’s no way around it. It’s estimated that more than 88 percent of online shoppers take reviews into consideration. This can be especially beneficial (or harmful) for small, local businesses. Online reviews are becoming increasingly important for businesses (and consumers), so make sure to offer a reward for a review. If you happen to get that occasional bad review, make sure to respond in a timely manner (and take it as a learning experience).
  3. Mobile optimization. This is a hot term in the digital world for a very good reason. There are 125 million U.S. consumers on smartphones and 62 percent of smartphone users have a made a purchase on their mobile device within the last 6 months. Of course mobile optimization doesn’t only mean having a site that’s mobile ready. Your website will benefit from plenty of visual content (here’s looking at you, video), easy navigation, easy-to-fill-out contact forms, tap-to-call phone numbers, and ease of purchase tools.
  4. Engage, engage, engage. There’s plenty of opportunity for you to actively engage with your audience. Whether it’s through social media, email newsletters, featured blogs, online promotions, and other touching points, keep your engagement fun, honest, and personal.
  5. No more cart abandonment. This is the top fear of any eCommerce business – the dreaded abandoned cart. While the number isn’t written in stone, most studies place cart abandonment between 55 to 80 percent. Regardless, even having HALF of all your shoppers leave your site without completing a purchase should motivate you into action. Email recovery campaigns, wishlist reminder emails, pre-order specials, and adequately managing out-of-stock orders will help reduce the number of carts abandoned, generating much more revenue for your business.

[bctt tweet=”Cart abandonment can reach 55-80% of your sales. Let #CobaltDigitalMarketing secure those sales for you with our proven Cobalt Formula™. ” username=””]

Trends to Watch For

While certain industry best practices (e.g. mobile optimization) are gold standards and a necessity for any new or established eCommerce business, there’s also new trends and advancements in technology that change the landscape essentially every year. While you won’t want to jump at every shiny, new tool, it doesn’t hurt to experiment with them either.

A few of the more intriguing trends to be on the lookout for include:

  1. Voice Search – According to an estimate made by ComScore, more than 50 percent of searches will be voice-based by 2020, and mobile is playing a major role.
  2. Chatbots – Chatbots are quickly becoming the go-to solution for customer service, sales, and for providing information. Because they can essentially function 24 hours a day, chatbots act as the perfect option for a customer base that wants an immediate response.
  3. High-Quality Videos – Showcasing your product through high-quality video gives potential clients exactly what they need to understand its functionality and design. Plus, videos offer the ability to tell a story much more efficiently than a strictly text-based ad.
  4. Social Media – While not new, social media platforms are constantly changing, and digital marketers constantly develop new means by which to use these channels. Take, for instance, the Facebook changes that took place earlier this year. Business profiles were going to take a backseat to family and social ties; what we took from that was the importance of developing an actual community around your product or business. Simply selling your product through Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to be enough. You’ll have to reach new audiences through social media influencers and effective branding.
  5. Brick-and-Mortar –  There’s still plenty of value in a traditional brick-and-mortar store, and tying it in with your eCommerce site can prove to be worthwhile. You’ll need an adequate tool that can gather data from your social, mobile, online purchases, in-store inventory, analytics, and various other sources to find the correlation between your eCommerce marketing and in-store purchases. This can help you better define your ads and marketing scheme, ultimately creating higher-conversion and sales.

Ready to get your eCommerce hustle on? Cobalt Digital Marketing has the expertise, experience, and solutions you need to get ahead of the pack.

Our proven Cobalt Formula™ integrates social media, website design, PPC, content, SEO, and email marketing to harness the power of the internet and get you tangible results. Contact us today to get started on the road to eCommerce dominance.
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Our Cobalt Formula™ can help your business prosper, reach one of our catalysts today at (866) 224-5705.

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