How to Make E-Commerce Work in a Non-Viral Industry
E-commerce is big business. According to a 2016 report from the US Census Bureau, it is growing steadily in all markets - from manufacturing to retail and wholesale. In fact, e-commerce shipments represented 60.9% of all manufacturing shipments in 2014.
What’s the dream of any e-commerce entrepreneur? To see their product go viral.
That’s because e-commerce companies put so much effort and expense into digital marketing. Social media accounts are constantly reviewed and updated. Blogs are endlessly written with fresh content always in steady creation.
All with what goal?
Social reach. Viral sharing. Sales.
But what happens when you know your company’s best-selling product isn’t about to go viral? What if your customers want and need your product, but aren't excited about sharing that fact across their social channels? Can you still make this into a thriving e-commerce business?
Definitely. Use these tips to take a challenge and turn it into a tremendous opportunity.
Become the Expert
You need to position your brand as an expert in the industry. If you’re marketing a product that isn’t about to go viral, chances are there are not many resources available to your potential customers. You can leverage that to build one of the most valuable assets: brand loyalty.
You must recognize that customers are looking for brands they can trust. Brands that understand them. They want more than just a good product.
Your e-commerce business must offer beneficial information and a message that resonates with potential customers. There are two main ways you can do this:
You already know that adding a blog to your e-commerce website is a must. It helps drive traffic to your site through SEO. Of course, traffic is critical to growth and sales. But don’t overlook a sizable opportunity to share helpful information with your customers through your blog.
Instead of outsourcing blog writing to someone who doesn’t know anything about your products, consider writing them yourself. This approach - at least at the early stages of your e-commerce site launch - helps give your brand an authentic feel.
Show your potential readers that you understand their unique problem. Detail how your business has prepared a product that can solve it. Explain the benefits of your products without directly marketing them. This will help you develop a strong brand relationship with customers. That leads to loyalty and long-term, sustainable growth.
Never underestimate the power of your email subscription list. Do all you can to build it.
Once you do, don’t just blitz subscribers with direct marketing emails. Show them you are an expert in the field. Share valuable content related to your products and industry - articles, infographics, case studies, etc. - with them.
One of the best ways to maximize your email efforts is with a drip marketing campaign. Create a series of emails that are automatically sent in sequence to specific customers.
Here is one way to use a targeted drip marketing campaign to reach a select portion of your audience: new customers.
Create an email campaign that begins when a new customer makes their first purchase. It should follow a logical order that sticks to your goal of establishing your brand as an industry expert.
- Thank your new customer for their purchase. Add a link to a blog post on how to get the most out of the product they just bought.
- A few days later, send another email. This time, explain how to combine their new product with others on your site for better results.
- Follow with an email about your best selling products. Include social proof - like reviews from customers or industry influencers.
Don’t Obsess Over Social Media
You know your products are not going viral. You know your target customers are not about to share their purchase with all their social followers. So don’t make this a priority, even if it seems to go against the digital marketing advice you get.
Remember this fact: the success of your e-commerce business is measured in sales, not social shares.
Sure, it’s nice to see your customers are sharing your products on Instagram or retweeting your business all day long. But what actually counts is that they visit your site and make a purchase.
Yes, social media is a powerful tool modern entrepreneurs should use to build their businesses. And yes, even non-viral products should still be marketed across social channels. Just don’t make this your focus if you’re in a non-viral industry.
The time and effort is far better spent on blogging and email marketing. Those are personalized marketing streams. They create a direct link between you and your potential customers. They feel private and individual - exactly the kind of connection you want to make when your product isn’t especially shareable.
Turn Non-Viral Products into E-Commerce Success
E-commerce does not depend on viral sharing for success. Rather, it takes smart marketing and a keen understanding of your target customers.
Don’t be intimidated by the idea of marketing your non-viral products online. Instead, use your entrepreneurial spirit to turn a challenge into your company’s greatest strength.
Position your brand as an expert in the industry. Develop a beneficial blog and powerful email campaigns that personalize your marketing efforts and inspire brand loyalty in your customers.
All signs point to continued growth in e-commerce sales for years to come. Will your business be a part of that growth? Take a smart and creative approach to your marketing efforts now. You’ll be able to continue enjoying your business’s success well into the future.
David Porter is Marketing Director for Brickell Men’s Products - high performing natural skincare and grooming products for men.