8 Ways Ecommerce Websites Are Missing Out On Potential Audiences

When you run a physical store and focus on in-store sales, your reach can only grow so much. If you have a good location then you can feel confident that you’ll always get some visitors, but no amount of providing exceptional service will magically find new shoppers to buy from you. This isn’t the case in the ecommerce world, however.

There, if you want to sell nationally, or even internationally, you can — and this gives you incredible scope from a practical standpoint. Even massive online retailers such as Amazon still have room to attract new customers. Tweak your digital marketing and you can discover fascinating new audiences to win over.

It isn’t easy to reach those new audiences, though. You need to put in the hard graft to achieve it, and some businesses don’t make the commitments they should (whether due to ignorance or intimidation). That’s not a mistake you want to make, so we’re going to explain why new audiences matter so much, then run through 8 ways in which ecommerce sellers are missing out on potential audiences. Let’s begin.

What are the benefits of attracting new audiences?

Putting your efforts into optimising your site and making it user-friendly will reap many rewards and generally help grow your business. As an ecommerce seller, you know all too well just how important it is to have a professional site that runs smoothly and meets your audience’s needs. But no matter how much you put into that process, your reach will be limited, and one day you’ll notice that new customers are few and far between.

 

Coming up with a strategy to attract new audiences will greatly expand your pool of potential customers, giving you fresh opportunities to make sales, enter new markets, and earn the kind of customer loyalty that organically drives recommendations. Let’s dig a little deeper into why finding new audiences should be a priority for you:

It’ll increase your sales

As we just noted, the biggest and most consequential benefit of attracting new audiences to your ecommerce site is that it’ll deliver a significant sales uplift. While it’ll always be important to retain your existing customers, finding ways to attract and impress new visitors will support your growth and ultimately allow your business to reach the next level.

There’s also a fundamental issue with the framing of new customers versus existing customers. The former should become the latter, with new audiences being sufficiently impressed by your operation that they choose to stick around. It may be true that a little audience research will uncover a treasure trove of potential buyers eager for what you offer.

Additionally, the more sales you make, the more insight you’ll gather into what people are looking for — and with those sales spread across distinct audiences, you’ll form clear ideas about which tactics and markets will prove most fruitful for your expansion efforts.

It’ll boost your brand awareness

Brand awareness is essential when launching new products or helping consumers differentiate your business from your competitors. Reaching and selling to new audiences will establish your business as a worldwide entity, increasing your credibility, boosting the performance of your advertising campaigns, and simply making you more memorable.

And however much we try to convince ourselves that we only care about product quality and price, it’s clear that people’s buying decisions are influenced by brand identity. If your brand seems unfamiliar, prospective buyers will be wary — but if your brand is recognisable, people will be perfectly willing to purchase from you and view you as a go-to choice in your niche.

It’ll drive website traffic

Successfully attracting new audiences means more traffic to your website — and the more visitors you receive, the more sales you’ll make. That’s simple enough. But even the traffic that doesn’t directly produce sales is valuable in some way. Every click can work to boost your site’s performance in the SERPs, for instance, or give you valuable analytics data.

If you’re struggling to convert visitors, having more data can help you figure out where you’re going wrong — and when you opt to carry out some A/B testing (a service like Optimizely can help with this) to see which versions of your pages perform the best, having access to a greatly-expanded range of shoppers will ensure that the results are significantly more meaningful.

It’ll help you outperform your rivals

Even if you already feel satisfied with the performance of your website, there’s a huge reason why you should attempt to capture new audiences: your competitors are hungry. If you’re not implementing tactics that your rivals are using to great effect, you’ll soon be falling behind. Do some research into other sellers in your niche. Which people are they trying to reach? Use this information to direct your activity.

How are online retailers missing out on fresh audiences?

With all that said, let’s get into the heart of the piece: eight things that ecommerce websites are doing wrong. If you can address at least some of these issues, it’ll make a big difference.

Their websites aren’t technically adequate

Everyone who arrives at your website should have a seamless experience from start to finish, and a key element of that is technical performance. All the links should lead to logical places. All the content should load in the right order. All the pages should appear quickly without error. At this point, there’s really no excuse for poor website performance — yet there are still plenty of retailers that fail to recognise just how much technical factors affect their fortunes.

It makes some sense when you consider that platform decisions are generally made at the startup stage when budgets are highly limited. The average entrepreneur just wants to get their store up and running while keeping the costs down. When they grow the operation to a respectable size, though, they’re reluctant to change anything in case it breaks. Unfortunately, new audiences won’t view your business as a plucky startup. They’ll expect full professionalism.

If you’re in that position, you need to weigh the inconvenience of technical changes against the damage that can be caused by sticking with a lacking foundation. Page optimisations can help, but you may ultimately need to invest in faster hosting. If you can find the budget, consider going for a managed service such as Cloudways ecommerce hosting (the included Cloudflare integration offers great security at no extra cost). Alternatively, if you’re using a closed-source system such as Shopify or Wix, look to move up a payment tier or two.

They’re not investing in SEO

There’s a good reason why so much has been written (and continues to be written) about search engine optimization (SEO): it’s phenomenally important. Yet despite this wealth of content, there are still many sellers that know nothing about it (thinking only that it’s good to be “top of Google”). They simply assume their products will be found, and don’t question it.

But even if you have great products at great prices, you still need to work on your SEO, because good rankings are never guaranteed — and there will likely be other terms you could rank for. By tweaking your existing posts and writing some new ones around long-tail keywords, you might be able to reach some very different people.

How do you expect your target audience to find your website through search if it’s not optimised? A well-thought-out and strategic SEO plan can expose your business to a whole new audience, leading to more leads, increased profitability, and superior brand awareness.

They’re not embracing video content

Video content is impressively potent, particularly when you’re trying to reach younger people. Instead of reading blogs, they might subscribe to various YouTube channels and watch videos posted by the people they follow on social media. And speaking of social media, a crisp-looking video post will always get more attention than text posts around it.

Some brands still avoid video because they think it’s hard and expensive to produce and edit, even though a modern smartphone can record solid footage and there are plenty of free video editing tools available online. Some simply aren’t sure what to record. At a minimum, you should create product demo videos that will work well in social channels, and think about creating some talking-to-camera guides that can establish your company’s expertise.

They’re not using Facebook Ads

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is very common, and many (or even most) ecommerce websites use it, but they’re most likely to use Google Ads because it’s been around longer than other options. What they should be using in addition to it is Facebook Ads. The immense reach of Facebook and its incredible targeting options give it unrivalled potential.

Using those options, you can pick out very niche audiences that might be interested in what you’re offering, and roll out some purpose-built ads to entice them. This allows you to run distinct campaigns simultaneously and compare the results, giving you a strong idea of which audiences most warrant your marketing budget.

Facebook in particular has some killer stats. With around 1.9 billion daily users access, the platform can unlock huge business growth opportunities when used properly. A great addition to Facebook’s Ads Manager is the ability to separate your cold audiences (people who haven’t interacted with your brand before) from warm audiences (those who’ve already seen your products and can therefore be retargeted).

They’re being too safe on social media

Yes, it’s perfectly reasonable to be intimidated by the power of social media users. It’s hardly unknown for a company to make a joke in questionable taste and end up having to apologise profusely while it’s held up as an example of everything that’s wrong with the world. Even so, many ecommerce brands are too anodyne on social media.

You need to be different to get noticed. If everyone else is being serious, lighten up. If all your rivals are trying to show how cool they are, focus on coming across as professional. And if everyone else is producing bland content, do something interesting — even strange. You don’t need to cover controversial topics to grab attention. Just take some creative risks.

Overall, social media is one of the most powerful tools out there for business owners. If you create engaging, informative and intriguing content, you can build a community and connect with new audiences. It only takes one exciting social media post to go viral, and you could be looking at thousands of new customers heading directly to your store!

They’re not incentivizing referrals

Even brands with super-loyal customers need new ones whenever they can get them — that is, assuming they want to grow and not just stagnate — yet they focus on reaching them with their marketing. That can work very well (we’ve looked at some options already), but it isn’t the only way to find new customers. You can also let your existing customers do it for you.

I’m talking about referrals. Some sellers only care about making sales and forget about making their customers happy, but the latter is absolutely vital for sustainability. Not only will happy customers stick around, but they’ll offer genuine recommendations — often to people who will only try new companies if they come recommended, making them inaccessible otherwise. Once you find ways to reward those who bring in referrals, you’ll start to see more of them appear.

They’re not using email marketing

Do you have an email marketing strategy in place? If your answer is no, this is one area that could truly benefit your ecommerce business. Email marketing generates the highest return on investment (ROI) so while new tactics such as video campaigns are great, sometimes the most long-lasting methods are the most effective.

Adding a simple email sign-up button on your website is enough to see great results (if you’re providing high-value content and not spam, at least). If you’re sharing the benefits of a new product or an upcoming sale, a successful email marketing campaign will keep people interested in your business.

They’re not learning from Google Analytics

Free to use, Google Analytics offers a range of tools and features to measure your website data. It’s important to not only follow your website traffic but also interpret it accordingly, breaking it down by locations, channels, popular pages, and more. This information will help you determine where you should focus your efforts to attract a given audience.

For example, if your ecommerce website operates internationally, you can look at your website’s traffic split between different countries and subsequently decide where you’d like to grow your audience. If you don’t understand your traffic well, you can’t meaningfully proceed.

On the whole, there’s so much you can learn from Google Analytics. Doing what you can to take advantage of this system will empower you to optimise your leading pages and take steps to cater your website to fresh audiences.

Ecommerce offers so many opportunities that it’s a waste to leave some of them on the table. Keep these common mistakes in mind as you seek to grow your business, and shape your strategy accordingly.


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