Selling products online, whether that’s handcrafted jewelry, or premium pet products, isn’t for the fainthearted. Order processing, customer service, social media — it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the endless whirl of to-dos and unexplained error messages.
But fear not — you don’t have to be a tech ninja in order to run a successful online business. In fact, thanks to modern innovations like no-code online store builders and easy email platforms, even the most committed ‘technophobe’ can make their online store into a huge success. Founding your own e-commerce brand is a great way to become a digital nomad (read how these women did it).
Still afraid of the more techy side of e-commerce? Fear not — here are some easy hacks and tips to help you thrive, not despair!
- 1 Digital marketing — simplified
- 2 What do I need to ‘do’ to my content?
- 3 Do I really need technical SEO for my store?
- 4 Integration: building your online e-commerce store as a central spoke
Digital marketing — simplified
Automation, link tracking, campaign metrics, influencer reach — digital marketing for your store can leave you pulling your hair out… and that’s before you’ve even sent out a single email.
Instead of getting overwhelmed by all the platforms out there, concentrate on the things that you can do well and that will resonate with your audience.
Know who you are targeting
Selling to an audience of parents? Recognize how busy they are, when they are likely to be active online, and get to know their online purchase and content consumption habits (audience research). Do the same for each of the customer groups you’re hoping to target. This knowledge will help you quickly decide where your efforts are best spent.
Focus on creating campaigns and ads that are timely and compelling. Instead of investing in generic ‘catch all’ campaigns, get super focused with audience targeting. This will allow you to simplify your campaigns and create messaging that will convert better.
Marketing tools you’ll need
There are loads of marketing and advertising tools you can use to improve campaigns, but for the first instance you can start with the basic options provided by Facebook, Adwords, Pinterest, Instagram etc. They’ve got everything you need to succeed — and they are the perfect way for online micro-businesses on a budget to boss their marketing — no fancy programs needed!
What do I need to ‘do’ to my content?
Online sales are driven by content marketing, but what makes for good content that drives sales?
People get caught up in the idea of content marketing, and assume that there is some secret ‘formula’ to great content. The truth is that there is no simple way to define what great content is: it entirely depends on your audience.
Spend more time listening and engaging with your customers, rather than figuring out how to create the ‘perfect’ blog post. If your content is well-written, targeted, and timely, then the few ‘techy’ bits you will need to do will only enhance what you’ve already created!
If you want to ensure that your content is well-formatted and easily found, here are the key things you need to know:
1. Use HTML formatting
Use HTML formatting like H1, H2, and H3 headings, as well as formatting like bold text and bullets to make your copy easier for people and bots to digest (bots constantly crawl the web and help organize online information).
Use pictures to break copy up and remember that people scan web pages in the shape of an F.
2. Know your keywords
Be aware of how you use your main keywords, and always try to see whether you can answer any user questions in your content: this will improve your chances of ranking for relevant search queries. Maybe some FAQs or product guides?
3. Too many visuals? Include extra information
You will need to include some extra information, especially if your content is mainly visual. This will take the form of alt texts, tags, titles, and other metadata — all of this can be easily managed through your content management system (you can simply follow the instructions given by plugins like Yoast).
4. Promote your work
You definitely need to promote, promote, promote. In fact — spend more time promoting, less time creating.
You have to get out there and speak to website managers and media publications — a casual email or a tweet is a great way to start a mutually beneficial conversation, but there are also good PR tools on the market that can help you organize contacts and conversations. These PR tools are worth considering if you’re getting serious about a brand launch.
Do I really need technical SEO for my store?
SEO is a multifaceted digital discipline, but it’s often misconstrued or badly explained. Technical SEO isn’t a form of obscure wizardry: it will help your store perform better online.
Here are the main ways that technical SEO can help improve your store (and you will be happy to know that a lot of this you can either do yourself, automate, or easily outsource!):
1. Website speed and security
You need a website that’s both fast and secure. Website security software can help automate day-to-day security management, and there are loads of speed plugins that work at the click of a button.
Invest in a SSL certificate to ensure payment and customer details remain protected — it’s an easy thing to do, and there are plenty of tutorials and guides out there to assist you.
We recommend using A2 Hosting – this is who we use to ensure that Women Digital Nomads stay up and running all the time!
2. Information architecture
A.K.A how your website is organized. From breadcrumbs to logical URLs, there are plenty of little ways to make your store more navigable.
Don’t get bogged down by all the jargon, and focus on making your website easy to use. Can people find products quickly? Do your product categories make sense? Customer experience should be your first priority.
This can be influenced by the number, power, and relevance of inbound backlinks. Never purchase links in bulk, or pay for low quality link building — you are better off focusing on promotional activities like PR or content marketing.
The main gist of technical SEO? Making your site easy to use, and ensuring that the backend code is healthy and can be easily analyzed by search engines. The good thing about modern e-commerce is that most environments you’ll use already have a lot of great SEO functions in-built as part of their standard package.
Integration: building your online e-commerce store as a central spoke
Tech is REALLY bad when it doesn’t work — so you need to focus on investing in systems that talk to each other.
Favor popular options over obscure ones, and don’t commit to a new service or subscription until you’ve had a chance to test it out first. There’s no point in paying for a year’s email marketing service in advance, only to realize that it doesn’t match up very well with your customer or inventory database.
The best way for non-techy people to manage their e-commerce businesses? Integrated data systems.
Sounds scary, but all it really means is that you are better off purchasing a powerful e-commerce system that can handle finances, order management, customer service, marketing, blogging, and everything else all in one.
Having to go out there and constantly pay for extra plugins and services isn’t cost-effective, and it will drain your energy as you’ll be constantly having to learn new systems.
If you’re not into the idea of running your own store — start by selling on marketplaces like Etsy, Ebay or Amazon. It’s still a ton of work, and you’ll need to work double time to create a credible brand, but at least you won’t have to worry about running a website (yet).