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We all love a little retail therapy, but retailers trying to market their brand online could wind up needing another kind of therapy altogether.

Digital marketing for retail is constantly changing and evolving. It never stands still. From the introduction of new marketing channels, to Google updates punishing old SEO tricks, it seems like there’s always something to learn about internet marketing.

It’s a challenge, and that’s exactly why we love it; but it’s also why we’re asked a lot of questions by our clients. Here are 5 of the questions we get asked most and the answers we give to them:

  1. Who should I be targeting online — and where can I find them?

Unlike TV marketing, bus ads or billboards, digital marketing is a two-way conversation. The internet has given consumers a voice; and even more power to influence their peers. It’s the job of the retailer to join the conversation and win them over. But who should you be talking to?

The answer can be found through demographic research and the creation of audience personas.

Google Analytics can do a lot more than tell you how many visitors or sales you’ve had. The demographic information available can tell you about your customers; their age, sex, location and much more.

Once we know who these people are, we can look for more just like them. We can identify the circles they inhabit online and ensure that your brand is visible there. We can make content that they’ll like or need and we can build a relationship of trust before winning their hard earned cash.

  1. What online channels are most important to my marketing mix?

There are so many ways to promote your brand online, but depending on the nature of your business, some will be more successful than others, and thus a better use of your marketing budget.

With attribution modelling, we can analyse the value of your digital marketing channels and decide what percentage of your budget they’re worth.

Some will drive more relevant traffic with a higher conversion rate to the site. It might be PPC, organic search or programmatic display ads. These highly targeted banner ads can be placed in front of web users with the same browsing habits as your customers.

Whatever it might be, attribution modelling helps us to analyse all sources of traffic and make better use of your retail marketing spend.

  1. What about social media? How do I get the best out of my profiles?

So we’ve talked about internet marketing as a big conversation between retailers and their customers. Social media is one of the best ways to have your say.

Major social networks offer sponsored posting models which allow you to position your content in front of your target demographic. Interesting or funny content can prove extremely popular on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Even retailers with less than glamorous products can capitalise on the things that make them unique.

Of course, the mistake some brands make is talking a lot but failing to listen.

Social media sites should not only be used as advertising platforms but customer satisfaction tools. Even negative comments should be responded to in a helpful, constructive way.

  1. How do I sell more products online?

Several years ago, it might have been enough for an SEO to drive traffic to your site. Nowadays, a good agency will want to ensure that this traffic is relevant to your business and likely to generate revenue.

That’s why conversion rate optimisation, or CRO, is right up there alongside SEO in the typical marketing mix.

With seemingly simple changes to your website, you could encourage visitors to make more purchase. It might be a changed call to action. It might be a simpler checkout. It might even be a different colour checkout button.

There are a lot of variables when it comes to getting conversions. Load time is a big issue. Mobile optimisation is even bigger. More people are shopping online than ever before and if your shop doesn’t look right on their smart phone screens, your retail business will lose out.

You’ll also stand to lose out in the rankings, since Google has announced an algorithm update set to affect more pages than any Penguin or Panda update before it. As of 24 April, sites that aren’t mobile optimised won’t appear prominently in search. That’s as good a reason as any to get with the times.

  1. When will I rank for the word “t-shirt”?

It could be “t-shirt”. It could be “car”. It could be “spoon”. Every retailer is trying to sell something. The problem with organic search is that a lot of other brands are selling those things too, and the first page of search results for really generic search terms are typically taken up by the biggest global brands.

Challenger brands and new stores have to understand that, in the short term, their best chance of organic visibility with longer tail search phr ases, which reference the type of t-shirt, the year and model of the car, or the shape of the spoon.

Content is key to appearing for long tail keyword searches but Google will penalise sites which stuff their banal content with keyword soup. Google wants users to find content that is useful. It has to have meaning and it has to help the user with their search.

That’s what Google is there for after all.

For more insight, please call our dedicated retail team on 0800 011 9270.

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