Setting up shop online is only half the battle for an ecommerce business. After the exciting setup phase comes the demanding early expansion, as you struggle to get your brand in front of as many eyes as possible and encourage the traffic that will keep you going and establish your brand as something special in the digital ocean. To keep up the momentum, many online marketers turn to cutting-edge ecommerce marketing tools, some of which have the potential to turn today’s small brand into tomorrow’s world-beater if used properly. Digital marketing has grown so rapidly that literally dozens of these tools have sprung up to help brand managers attract and manage their following as if they had full-time staff devoted to growing the business. Whether your brand has just been launched, or you’re looking for a few of the top digital marketing tools to drive your next expansion phase, here are some of the best marketing tools for ecommerce businesses on the market now:
Using Boostfy is like hiring a smart talent agent who can represent you on Instagram and return decent feedback on how well your latest marketing push has been going. This app uses reasonably clever AI to like and follow other accounts based on hashtags you’ve used in the past. It also offers tools for fine-tuning operations, such as blocking specific users and avoiding unpalatable images you’d prefer not to have associated with your brand. Using a cunning mix of targeting algorithms and user-specified filters, the app can selectively approach other, already-established accounts and connect you with some serious Instagram influencers, which is basically a no-cost way of signal boosting your messaging.
Board Booster was devised to get individual Pinterest users around the site’s bewildering featured-pin algorithms, which determine what gets seen. Pinterest never divulges the details of how this works, but it strongly suspected that preference is given to users who post a variety of content, at regular intervals, over a period of many days to ensure a steady stream of (presumably) interesting pins. This isn’t always how humans work; imagine finding 25 excellent pins on a certain topic, such as devil’s food cake recipes, and wanting to share them all at once. This may actually hurt your placement with Pinterest, because it looks to the site’s agents as if you’re spamming content. Board Booster fixes this by letting you store up those great finds and scheduling their publication in a way that will help you get seen and followed. Think of this app as a pocket you can dump a bunch of phone numbers and notes-to-self in, and then retrieve them when they’ll actually help you.
Autopin.co works a lot like Board Booster, in that it can schedule posts and updates for your Pinterest account, but it’s a little more comprehensive because it also automates your likes and follows, lifting some of the social media marketing tasks off your shoulders. Using a convenient web-based interface, Autopin can follow and unfollow other users, add and remove comments, and even invite other users to your groups. Perhaps best of all, this app can manage up to 10 accounts at once, which really streamlines your work if you manage the social media profiles for other ecommerce businesses (agencies), in addition to running your own brand online.
Using SEMRush to inform your social media strategy is like hiring a spy network that can keep you abreast of what your competition is doing right and advise you on ways to promote yourself even better. This tool analyzes your current online presence and offers suggestions to improve your current reach. Once you’ve done that, the app uses a web crawler to discern what the most successful brands in your industry are doing (i.e.: times when they post, platforms they use, linking strategies, etc.) and delivers a handy report for you to digest and improve upon. With almost real-time tracking and results reporting, SEMRush has quickly become one of the favorite tools of the world’s leading online brands – if only to keep up-and-comers from stealing all their best moves.
Deep Crawl recognizes that the internet basically runs through Google now, and so it works to help you optimize your site for Google’s search algorithms and place a little higher on the results pages when your public looks for you. Using a vast web of digital arcana, this web crawler can audit your site and suggest technical SEO improvements, teach you about your own site’s architecture, and help you recover from Panda and Penguin penalties imposed by Almighty Google for this or that offense.
Google Analyitcs is the grandad of marketing tools. Using a super-simple interface anyone can understand, Google Analytics shows casual users where their marketing strategy is working, and where it needs help. Further down, the tool delivers professional-quality reports on site traffic, visitor sources, and behavior on the site to drive better conversion ratios. Maybe best of all, it’s fully integrated with AdWords, so if that’s a source of revenue for you, you’re probably already familiar with some of Analytics’ metrics.
Google Search Console
If you’re serious about being online, a working knowledge of Google Search Console is eventually going to be unavoidable. This tool, which is tied to your Google account and requires a sign-in before you can use it, helps users analyze click traffic from casual browsers and test whether Google’s algorithm can properly read your site data for search results. The console doesn’t do much for you by itself, but the information it provides may be invaluable, especially for new and small-scale businesses.
Bing Webmaster Tools
Bing Webmaster Tools does for Bing users what Google Search Console does for everybody else: it analizes and helps you optimize your site for easier discovery through searches. One nice feature this tool offers is a free mobile optimization tool that helps desktop webmasters enter the burgeoning world of mobile sites and potentially drive sales among younger and more smartphone-savvy customers.
Mail Chimp is an automated marketing app that sends out over 10 billion emails a month for its subscribers, many of whom opt for the limited free version of the service. By directly targeting a potentially unlimited base of customers, Mail Chimp may be one of the most cost-effective ways of putting your name and a call to action in front of your audience.
Different brands appeal to different sorts of customers, and not all of them behave the same way on social media. Hootsuite helps you work around that unpredictability by scheduling your social media posts (on virtually every platform out there) for times when they’ll have the highest engagement and conversion rates. Running through an easy-to-understand dashboard, this tool also helps the novice arrange some smart cross-posting, in the event your Twitter followers are active in the morning and your Facebook followers only stir in the early evening.
Getting a lot of followers on Facebook and Instagram is great, but Soldsie takes digital marketing to the next level by making it possible to buy products directly from your brand’s social media accounts. With Soldsie, casual browsers can find your social media page, take an interest in what you’re selling, and then place an order by clicking a button. This greatly streamlines the sales funnel by cutting out the call to action and letting customers buy from you without having to click over to your product page.
Some online retailers are great at writing content, while others are good at marketing. Neither of these skills is a guarantee of good design sense, which is why Canva offers tools to make an attractive presentation for your brand without the years it usually takes to become a good web designer. Using this app’s intuitive interface, even a total novice who can’t draw can compile color schemas, digital photos and pleasing font choices to present a brand in the light that best suits it.
Lucky Orange lets you do something incredibly useful and informative: this alternative to Google Analytics offers a playback feature so you can watch exactly how a user accessed your site and what they did when they got there. Eschewing Google’s rather complex interface this tool uses a dynamic heatmap and other visual tools to effectively let you stand over your visitors’ shoulders and watch which bits of your site were the most effective and interesting to them, and which got very little attention. This brings a massive advantage to webmasters planning a site redesign, as well as to ecommerce brands that just need a little tweak to streamline the flow from landing pages to checkout.
Adobe Stock offers digital marketers a powerful design tool. Drawing from an inventory of over 40 million stock photos, this service lets subscribers search for and open images right in their Photoshop window, manipulate the watermarked images at-will, and then buy the license when they’re sure they like the results. Because Adobe owns the rights to every photo in the catalog, it can offer users the chance to alter images before purchase, which makes finding the right picture for your marketing materials a lot safer and more productive.
One of the most important elements of a good SEO approach is getting reputable sites to link to your content. This signals to search engines that your site is helpful, relevant and safe for visitors. Buzzstream helps you get those links by analyzing social profiles and contact information to find influential partners for you. Then, it saves your emails and project notes, which streamlines your interaction with those partners. Finally, it can even reach out on your behalf and request a link, which gradually builds up your all-important credibility to the search engines.
Wistia is a kind of YouTube for professionals, with smooth, ad-free streaming on any device, guaranteed. If your brand depends on video presentation, such as a tutoring or lecturing service, Wistia can host either your full content or samples for customers to peruse. The service offers detailed analytics to help you track engagement and fine-tune your approach to maximize follow-through from site visitors.
Similar Web takes advantage of the incidental nature of web browsing by helping users drift from one site into another, very similar, site they might be interested in. This service, which has been quietly directing traffic on the internet and in app stores since 2007, uses an array of web crawlers and direct-search tools to find relevant content providers and refer them to users in a way that users find natural and helpful. As an ecommerce marketing tool, perhaps its biggest plus is the detailed analytics it offers sellers who want to know where their customers come from.
Nothing beats the bang for your buck that comes from a well-placed share or retweet from a major social media influencer. Influencer marketing may be the most productive form of digital commerce promotion. BuzzSumo helps users find the best content shared by those popular influencers and get their brand noticed by orders of magnitude more people than ordinary media channels ever could.
GA URL Builder
Google Analytics URL Builder is a potentially powerful tool for adding parameters to your URLs and tracking the success of your targeted marketing efforts. With this tool, you can effortlessly track the sites your advertisements are appearing on and see how successful the links in your targeted emails are at driving traffic, versus the links you post on Twitter and the banner ads you’ve put on your blog.
Contests and giveaways are a great tool for promoting brand awareness online, and Rafflecopter aims to make organizing and running such events as easy as copy and pasting. The service allows ecommerce businesses to choose a number of fun prizes, set the parameters for entry (such as following you on Twitter), and then pick the winners and distribute the prizes.
AdRoll maximizes the impact your advertisements have by delivering personalized ads to likely-looking customers. The platform uses a prospecting and retargeting system to seek out people whose demographics seem to make them a good fit for your brand, and then it bids for ad space wherever they go, across all devices, to place your ads where they’re most likely to generate a sale.
Unbounce is a premium WordPress plugin that lets you quickly build landing pages, optimize them for search placement, and then upload them to your site in a few minutes with no coding at all. The service uses a variety of templates to effectively create a paint-by-numbers page with pre-optimized tags, parameters and meta data that can put your brand higher on the search results page and drive conversion from a larger funnel than you had before.
Mention keeps the proverbial ear to the ground across multiple social media platforms and listens for your brand’s name. Every time a member of the public happens to bring you up on Twitter, Pinterest, or any other platform, Mention finds the reference and alerts you with customizable notifications, so you know how your reputation is faring in the digital wilderness.
Nothing spells “amateur” like having lots of elementary spelling and grammar mistakes on your site or in your social media posts. Grammarly fixes that by scanning through your content for spelling gaffes, misplaced commas and even annoying instances of passive voice. All this helps you present a more positive and confident face to the public you’re trying to influence.
Unlike the other tools on this list, which focus on finding and drawing in new customers, Click Funnels goes to work near the end of your sale process, when customers are checking out. This plugin scours your customers’ browsing and purchase activity on the site, and then it offers related products or services in an effort to upsell them before the transaction is finished. In this way, the service can significantly drive up the value of each sales visit and widen your margins per sale.
So there you have it! What tools am I missing that you use to help grow your ecommerce business?