Social Selling & Digital Commerce
The world of digital commerce is a complicated place. We are frequently asked not only by our clients for advice or opinions on the newest platform, industry news, or trend, but by community members, like local business owners, as well. Digital commerce is competitive and tough, which is why so many online merchants are turning to affiliate marketing. Let’s take a deep dive into the world of Digital Commerce, and how Social Selling can fall into play along the way.
Before We Begin:
Consider the physical commerce model, like a storefront window full of your products. Now imagine that storefront is your website, and your customer can now judge your entire company with a 2-second glance. Welcome to the e-commerce universe.
Now take a moment to think about the last website you visited. Perhaps this visit is based on a recommendation from a family member, a friend, or someone that you met that you valued their opinion. When you went to the site, did you make an effort to discover more about the company? Did you visit more than just the home page? Now, contrast that to a website you visited on your own from an Ad on Facebook or Google. How much did you investigate? Don’t be surprised if you found yourself more trusting of the recommendation vs. the ad sourced interest in the site, it’s pretty common. People, including ourselves, are inherently more trusting of people they know, trust, and share some sort of a connection with, especially in researching a purchase. Keep this in mind as we move forward, as it may help build a better understanding of what kind of an impact an Affiliate can have on your marketing strategy, versus the now-traditional digital style of marketing of bought ads, etc.
Digital Commerce Demystified
Let’s get acquainted with a few basics that will help us differentiate between a successful e- commerce website and an unsuccessful one. It’s important to have an understanding on some common terms in the industry that we will be using. For those of you in “The Know,” feel free to skip this section. If this is your first time getting into the data of your website, stick around and learn some terms that will enhance your overall web user experience.
e Rate: The percentage of visitors to a particular website who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.
Conversion Rate: The percentage of visitors to your website that complete a desired goal. This goal could be making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or even just viewing a certain product.
Acquisition: When looking at the traffic on your site, acquisition tells you where your visitors originated from. This could be from search engines, social networks or even referrals from other websites. This information can help you determine which online marketing tactic that you are currently using that bring the most visitors to your website.
User: Users are individual people who have initiated at least one session on your website during a specific date range. This is, in part, an estimation as a single individual who can also visit your website from multiple devices.
Session: A visit to your website, whether from a new user, or a returning user on any device.
Pageviews: The number of times any page has been rendered to a user that visits your website.
Social Media Marketing - Done Right
Now that we’ve covered the basics behind measuring success of a website, let’s discuss a huge piece of the pie, Social Media. We hate to be the one to break it to you, but there is no “magic bullet” | “secret sauce” | “one size fits all” that will immediately change your whole world. Social interactions in the digital world are just as complex as in the physical world, and we are going to provide you with some good base information. How you use this information will be what sets you up for success.
There is one thing among all others that rules the roost of digital marketing, and that is content. On the World Wide Web, quality content is king. The more your organization can get accustomed to documenting everything your business, does the better. This content, when properly organized, serves as the ammunition that your affiliate representatives use in their belt to share your product in a manner that is in-line with your brand guides. A truly good website serves as the main vault for all of your content that can be shared out in smaller pieces with links back to your site for the complete info. As a part of your website strategy, you should look for different ways to create content, and although what you end up with depends on your industry, there are some easy options to consider.
Blog - Arguably one of the masters of content creation, a blog will serve as an SEO hub for your website.
Product Details: A good product setup should include a product summary, detailed product description, product specifications or technical data, multiple product images, and/or product videos.
Don’t be afraid to have like products, or product ratings available, just ensure that your site is being monitored for correct content.
Press Releases: Creating press releases and announcements for your company are key for showcasing your efforts and successes. As a plus, you get to use your own words to showcase your achievements.
Recipes: This idea can go a lot further than just companies that create a food product. Do you make a product that cooks food? Does your product complement food? Feel free to think outside the box here as the idea of a recipe section for your site is just a form of sharing different uses of your product.
Company News / Reviews: This area of the site can be combined with your press releases, however you should have a specific section that features reviews left by previous customers and/or clients that detail their experience with you and your business.
Employee Profiles: Many companies overlook this area of their site. You may think this is not as important, but the people and their story add a face to your brand. As an individual, it is easy to disregard or ignore an inanimate company, however it is very difficult to not fall in love with a family of people working together in a common purpose. Let your people tell their story, have fun, be fun! Let your customers into the lives of the people that make your company great.
Customer Testimonials: A great content builder for your website and expose potential customers to what it is to be a customer of your brand are effectively done customer testimonials. The key here is “effective.” A simple list of client testimonials is not enough to give credence to your brand. The proper use of testimonials is either allowing existing customers to review your product, or gathering well written testimonials and pairing with images of your customer. Adding the image of your customer adds to the cost of implementing this tactic, however this extra cost goes a long way to build content. Make sure the messaging is on brand, short, and genuine.
Now that your organization is producing an adequate amount of content to market your products or services, here comes the fun part: dissemination of the content. This is where the strength of a robust affiliate program shines bright.
Good content can be used to fuel a field of affiliates to market your products. But what is an Affiliate, exactly?
Affiliates are avid brand advocates who act as your boots on the ground, sharing their experience with your brand with people that they come in contact with everyday, which can aid in reaching difficult target markets. They should be encouraged to share your website and social media posts when and as often as necessary. Give them a little bit of content, allow for some personalization, and they can really help boost both brand awareness which can lead to increased revenue. There are many different ways to accomplish this, any where from connecting with influencers, building an engaged preferred customer group, or even allowing for subcontracted distributors of your products.
Be mindful though, that as you build this group of affiliates they can be your strongest advocates or your strongest critics. As you build your brand, you must be willing to stay true to your mission and culture. Believe it or not, a good affiliate takes a part of your brand and incorporates that into their persona. They can begin feeling that your brand and your products are a part of their personality, and therefore your brand represents them. Step outside of your core values, defy your own principles, and they will feel personally injured. This can be the strongest part of a brands’ arsenal and should be given proper respect.
Looking to start an Affiliate Program and need help? Contact us and we’ll do our best to help you get started.