Inbound Commerce: how to use Inbound Marketing for ecommerce
Inbound Commerce consists of using Inbound Marketing strategies, such as content production, to make an online store sell more
You, who are looking to use the internet to sell more, have certainly heard of Inbound Marketing, right? What you might not know is that this methodology, which consists of a set of strategies to attract and convert customers using relevant content, can also be applied to online stores.
This adaptation of the methodology has been called Inbound Commerce. In this article, you will learn what Inbound Marketing is and how to apply Inbound Marketing to your ecommerce to increase your sales. Check out!
What is Inbound Commerce?
Before understanding what Inbound Commerce is, let’s remember the definition of Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing, or attraction marketing, consists of a series of strategies that, together, aim to attract and convert customers.
For this, a widely used tactic is the production of relevant content, which should attract consumers, without the company having to actively pursue them. This content is distributed across multiple channels — it can appear on Google, on social networks, on your website. Thus, consumers find your business and are interested in it.
When all this is applied to a virtual store, then we have Inbound Commerce.
Understanding the shopping journey
When we talk about Inbound Commerce, an important concept to keep in mind is the purchase journey, the path that a customer takes before closing a deal.
The buying journey has 4 steps:
- learning and discovery
- problem recognition
- Solution consideration
- Buying decision
Let’s think of a practical example. Imagine that your smartphone has battery problems. You search Google and find, on a blog, some tips to optimize its operation and improve its lifespan.
At this point (learning and discovery), you are not thinking about buying a new device, but looking for a solution. From this doubt, another post on the same blog catches your attention when talking about the features that a smartphone needs to have to maintain the battery and also provide better use of the main applications. Now you have recognized a problem.
From this idea, you think about buying a new device and start the search for comparisons and differentials to find the ideal product (considering the solution).
At that moment, you have already chosen the best one for your needs and started the price research, that is, the moment of the purchase decision. In an ecommerce, the value, discount, shipping and even payment terms are decisive to differentiate your online store.
Is it easier to understand this scenario? You need to nurture learning consumers by identifying the problem and considering solutions before focusing only on the final step in the process. That’s because most of them may not yet be ready to put the products in the cart.
What is an ecommerce sales funnel like?
With the buying journey in mind, you also need to talk about the sales funnel. The steps in the funnel are related to the purchase journey.
The sales funnel is a strategic model that shows each step taken by the consumer, until making the purchase. This process consists of following the customer from the moment he learns of a solution sold by your company until the closing of the deal.
At each stage of the funnel, you need to think of strategies aimed at potential customers who are at that point in the journey.
The sales funnel has 3 layers:
- Top of the funnel: This is the part of the funnel where the potential customer is not aware of a particular need or problem they have, so they are not looking for any specific product or service. Therefore, it cannot be considered as a “customer” yet. At this stage, it is important to make the visitor discover a need and take an interest in your company to move towards the middle of the funnel.
- Middle of the funnel: this is where the future customer has already discovered that they have a demand or problem and is looking for a solution. He intends to buy a product or service but is still unsure whether or not to hire it. At this time, he researches more about the solution that companies offer and decides whether or not to purchase your product or service. When you make the decision, you move to the next step: the bottom of the funnel.
- Bottom of the funnel: This is the phase of evaluating your product or service. The future customer makes comparisons with other companies and chooses the best alternative. Then complete the entire process, making the purchase.
Keeping the funnel concept in mind and implementing it within an Inbound Commerce process is what results in increased results. Once you understand what the user is looking for, what their pains are, at what moment they are interested in your company, you will have ways to convince them to buy.
How to attract and convert new customers using Inbound Commerce?
As Blue World City said, Inbound Commerce consists of a set of marketing strategies in which your efforts are directed so that customers come to you, instead of you going to them.
From this point onwards, your e-commerce must have a content strategy to attract consumers who are still in the early stages of the purchase process, that is, who are researching but have not made the decision.
For this, conversion mechanisms are created to attract those users who are not ready to place the order.
See 5 tips on how to attract customers using Inbound Commerce:
1. Define who your target audience is and produce materials of interest
Inbound Commerce is a way to win over your customers so that your business generates value for all those who follow your work. It provides mechanisms for you to captivate your audience.
The first step is to define your target audience. Identify what you like, how you act, how you behave, what you read, how old you are, where you live, etc. From this information, produce materials to delight your audience and sell in a natural way.
Here are some ideas for materials you can produce to strengthen your brand and, consequently, increase your e-commerce sales. They should be focused on each step of the sales funnel, as we talked about in the previous topic.
- Production of eBooks: One of the ways to deliver quality material to your target audience is to produce an eBook. For this, you must choose a theme and produce content that is interesting and related to some product you sell in your e-commerce.
- Webinar: is a kind of digital conference with one or more guests who talk about a certain subject, with the participation of users through comments. Interaction between attendees is limited to chat only, so they can chat with each other or send questions to the speaker. You can use the webinar to promote a new product of your e-commerce, to give a free class on any subject that is related to your audience’s interest, among other features.
- YouTube Channel: Another interesting way to impact people is through videos. It’s very simple to create a YouTube channel and produce content for your audience, and you can do this by filming with your own mobile device! The idea behind the YouTube channel is to deliver something of value to your audience.
2. Create a blog and use Landing Pages optimized for conversion
One of the best strategies to promote your online store is to have a blog linked to it. After all, people are looking for information related to the product even before choosing the brand.
The blog provides the opportunity to attract the attention of your audience and generate new sales, but for this you need an Inbound Marketing strategy to know who the target audience of your ecommerce is and what the most suitable content is for them at each specific moment.
To be well-positioned when a person searches for a term related to your business, it is necessary to know and implement SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategies, which is a set of processes aimed at increasing its relevance to search engines, through improvements in the content and the architecture or code of your site.
In addition to blogging, another strategy is to make use of conversion-optimized Landing Pages. The purpose of these pages is for the user to perform an action, which can be clicking a button, watching a video, registering their email address, etc.
In order for your Landing Page to have a high conversion rate, you must:
- Explore and explain the main advantages and differentials of your product or service;
- Use real testimonials from people who have been or are still your customers;
- Illustrate the page with images and videos, making it more pleasant and informative;
- Have a responsive Landing Page that fits well on any computer, cell phone or tablet;
- Use short and objective text blocks to facilitate the user’s reading;
- Have a well-positioned Call to Action (CTA).
The Call-to-Action, by the way, and the key point of the Landing Page: that he will make the User to take the decision to perform the conversion. Therefore, when defining calls to action, pay attention to:
- Make the action simple, keeping the Call to Action visible and highlighted on your page;
- Use catchy phrases such as “download the eBook”, “download it for free” etc.;
- Create a sense of urgency, with phrases like “download the eBook now”, “contact us today”;
- Make sure which points on your page call the user’s attention the most and insert the Call to Action in these places so that it can be the center of attention;
- Test it out to see which version converts best: change colors, words, size, etc.
3. Automate Inbound Commerce
Use a tool to manage your Leads, automate email flows and produce Landing Pages. The automation tool allows you to define a series of emails that will be sent to people who have registered on your website.
This flow of emails will bring you closer to your audience, as it is a resource that aims to nurture and qualify Leads as a way to prepare them for the purchase of a product or subscription to a service, all at the most appropriate time.
The automation allows you to send emails like “hello, I saw you didn’t open the last email I sent you” or even “I saw you downloaded eBook X, I would like to know if you had any questions”. So, be sure to implement email flow in your business, after all, it will save you time and money.
The definition of the email flow is very particular, that is, each ecommerce knows the best way to nurture its Leads, the best content to send and the products or services that should be promoted.
A problem that afflicts most people who have an ecommerce is shopping cart abandonment. The most common reasons for giving up the purchase are:
- Confused checkout: extensive registration, elements that distract the user’s focus, etc.;
- Inability to save items in the cart to complete the purchase later;
- Few payment options;
- Cost of freight.
To solve this problem, make adjustments to the items we mentioned above and implement marketing automation to interact with those who opted out of the purchase.
Through a tool to manage your Leads, you will know if there is a person logged into your ecommerce that is showing interest in a product, if she is simply visiting the page for that product or if she is putting it in the shopping cart. This way, you will be able to “tag” that user in your database.
Once this user is marked, you will be able to send automatic emails to him, encouraging him to make the purchase or offering help to clarify any doubts that have prevented him from purchasing.
Another way to increase the number of sales of your online store is to work with products related to what your customer has already purchased. You can automate this process by periodically sending related offers via email.
Also automate product review and testimonial collection. A few days after the carrier confirms delivery of the product to your customer, trigger an automated email to him asking if he liked the product and invite him to leave a testimonial on your page.
This will increase your customer engagement with your online store. Testimonials are important to encourage other people to make a purchase from your ecommerce.
4. Drive more traffic to your ecommerce
Even if you create a perfect structure for your virtual store, you will still need to attract people. Today, we segment the main traffic channels into organic and paid. The distinction between them is quite simple: in organic, we don’t have to pay anything to receive a click or visit from a person. In paid, we need to make an investment to attract people and receive visitors interested in what we advertise.
For paid traffic, the most used by online stores is Google Ads, which allows several formats within its ad network.
We can, through the Google platform, advertise by keyword, when in the search engine, displaying information about a product, the well-known Google Shopping, which is one of the great lockers of new conversions, because when a user searches on Google for the name of a product, he probably wants to see the value and know where to buy this product.
Facebook Ads and also a very common acquisition channel in virtual stores. In this case, it is important to focus on two steps to promote an online store:
- Create ads focused on products, using traditional publications or the carousel model, which allows you to advertise up to 5 products, increasing the exposure of offers;
- Attract Leads, using the webshop blog as a traffic target. Thus, it is possible to make more people aware of the content and learn from the brand, which results in an increase in authority and, consequently, more people subscribing to the website’s newsletter ;
- Use of strategies such as lookalike ads to search for new Leads with a profile similar to that of your current customers.
The remarketing and a form of advertising used to strengthen the memory products that were not acquired on a visit to the site. Once the user has left the page, an ad will fire to display the item on other sites’ banner spaces. The idea of remarketing for ecommerce’s is based on “chasing” the user with products.
Don’t forget about social media! Your ecommerce needs to appear where people are looking for answers, opinions and suggestions about what to buy. So, take the opportunity to strengthen your online presence.
Start by monitoring the big networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and find out what your audience would like to know. Use your social networks to interact with your audience and whenever possible indicate articles from your blog, eBooks, webinars etc. in order to convert users into Leads.
5. Define your goals and analyze the results
Finally, you must ensure that the different steps and points of contact with your future customers are monitored so that you can measure and optimize the results achieved.
The first step is to identify the metric corresponding to each touchpoint in the consumer journey, which metric can be used as a KPI (performance indicator) for this touchpoint. The 3 most common points of contact are:
- First contact – top of the funnel: acquisition of visits. The most basic metric for evaluating traffic acquisition channels is website visits. This index brings another of equal importance: the bounce rate, which allows identifying the level of adherence of pages and traffic channels. With this information, it is possible to know if the user is interested in continuing to browse the site or if he is scared away from it;
- Beginning of relationship – middle of the funnel: acquisition of Lead. To measure this moment in the consumer relationship, it is ideal to create goals to represent the acquisition of the Lead. One of the possible goals is to create a record for newsletter registrations. Thus, the metric will record the conversion of a visitor to Lead, data that can be compared with pages, traffic channel and conversion rates. A high conversion rate will tell you more effective pages, channels and CTAs to convince a visitor to share their email with you.
- Closing the first sale – bottom of the funnel: converting into a customer. The first sale doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the first purchase by a consumer on your site. It may be the first purchase of a product that he has not yet purchased, resulting from the end of an automation flow.
Remember that the more complex the processes that encompass your virtual store (registration, exchange, labeling, inventory control, cash flow control, delivery, billing, etc.), the more complicated it becomes to manage all of this without making mistakes that can result in your customer’s dissatisfaction.
How to apply Inbound Commerce to B2B e-commerce
Commerce between companies in the online medium brings advantages for distributors and suppliers, streamlines relationships, saves time and increases productivity. As B2B usually has a longer shopping journey, this is the perfect opportunity for Inbound to act in ecommerce to generate qualified Leads.
In B2B, impulse purchases are almost non-existent. This means that it is necessary to take the consumer between the stages until the sale, albeit in a faster way considering the online medium. Applying Inbound Commerce to B2B is the best way to establish authority in the industry, ensure good Leads and route them to purchase.
Inbound Commerce will establish your identity and positioning in B2B ecommerce with punctual actions and real results. But how?
How many sales do you want to achieve in a month? Which billing? What conversion rate? How many leads do you want to get? What ROI do you want to achieve?
Give a number, know how to measure for your business and set a deadline.
Don’t forget that Inbound doesn’t happen overnight: it’s about creating authority over time with ongoing, objective tasks.
Know who your audience is
It is from the definition of the audience or persona that you will know which voice you should give to your brand, which words you will use, what impression you will make with your brand.
Also from this definition, it will be possible to create personalized messages, with clear information for the main doubts of the niche.
By publishing content relevant to your audience, you can become an authority in your industry.
For B2B, this point is the most interesting. That’s because B2B purchases are based less on price and more on quality, relevance or relationship.
The search for suppliers is more specialized and takes into account the company’s understanding of the subject.
With a well-performed SEO, well positioned content and relevant keywords indexed, your company can be found as the market leader in the online medium.
In B2B ecommerce, the customer will have more time to go through the recognition, consideration and decision phases as they carry out more in-depth research. Have automated actions and conversion means for it at every step.
Prepare content to present the main problems of your audience in the recognition phase, indicate materials to solve these problems through your product in the consideration phase and present your solution in detail in the purchase decision phase.
After the conversion comes another very important step for B2B ecommerce: loyalty. B2B, in most cases, has longer-lasting customers, who are looking for suppliers with whom they can build a longer relationship.
This means you must have active support for current customers and effective loyalty strategies.
Keep in constant contact bringing value to those who are already by your side and realize how much Inbound Commerce is valuable to your business.
Inbound Commerce consists of using Inbound Marketing strategies, such as content production, to make an online store sell more You, who are looking to use the internet to sell more, have certainly heard of Inbound Marketing, right? What you might not know is that this methodology, which consists of a set of strategies to attract and convert…