While there is little marketers can do about the upheaval caused by changes to search engine and social media algorithms, there are tweaks you can make to your online strategy that can impact consumers' decisions.
Constant improvements to your online store has become the standard survival tactic to improving the performance of your online business. But creating an eye-catching storefront and publishing engaging content is merely the tip of the iceberg; eventually, the Web becomes saturated with trite strategies.
Ambitious businesses that want to set themselves apart from their rivals have to look for alternative solutions that provide users with a reason to visit your website and buy your products. And that requires more than standard search engine optimization (SEO) philosophy.
Here are five ways to improve your online performance without relying on search engines or social networks.
1. Ask product managers to market products.
Statistics show that 96 percent of new businesses fail within the first 10 years. The reason for so many insolvencies is not always because the business has a poor product or fails to deliver excellent customer service, it’s because they do not position their product effectively in the current climate.
To mitigate the risk of such failure, firms need to implement a product process framework, which is overseen by a product manager responsible for identifying potential marketing hurdles and finding solutions in line with your business objectives.
Product management reduces the risk of product failure and increases the efficiency of product development. The role not only involves careful study of the current climate (user-behavior, technology, emotional needs, etc.) but also a projection of future markets.
Without insight to potential obstacles, businesses will struggle to adapt to change, and changes are inevitable. Flexible systems need to be put in place, and products need to evolve with consumer demands.
Successful product managers look at the bigger world view and determine how their products can improve the life of their customers.
2. Require closer collaboration between departments.
How many firms actually integrate their departments into a tight-knit team that works seamlessly? Not many. Reading the same email does not necessarily mean your staff is singing the same song.
Close collaboration between the product management team, sales team, marketing team, designers and writers ensures you are delivering a consistent brand message to the right people.
Targeting current marketing trends presents the biggest opportunities, but there has to be an evolution in the marketing process and the development of new and improved products in order to satisfy consumer needs.
Constant dialogue between departments can help identify new trends in each discipline, such as new designs, SEO updates, customer behavior, algorithm updates.
3. Create a rich user experience (UX).
Online consumers are demanding and have little patience. They are not prepared to hang around and wait for websites to load, and they won't spend time searching for something they cannot find within a few clicks.
UX has become the No. 1 priority for search engines, which means it should be at the top of your to-do list as well. According to Forrester Research, nearly 50 percent of visitors leave sites when they cannot find what they are looking for.
The information architecture of a website has to be easily understood. By studying data analysis and using heat map technology you can determine how visitors are using your site and highlight areas for improvement.
4. Showcase premium products.
Consumers have also become lazy and indecisive. So much so that they cannot be bothered to choose a product when there are too many offered.
A new study reveals that having to make a decision is mentally exhausting, and modern consumers are more unlikely to reach a conclusion. Furthermore, online shoppers - especially millennials -- don’t know exactly what they want.
So rather than stressing out your visitors, offer them a curated selection of your best choices. Explain what they can expect from each product, and tell them which product is best suited for them.
5. Increase data protection.
With the increase in cyber crimes, online businesses are urged to improve Internet security to protect consumer data. A spate of recent high-profile attacks has included the CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter -- all having their personal accounts hacked.
The publicity stunts performed by security firms promoting their services underlines how easy it is for cyber criminals to accrue sensitive information. Even Apple, which is staunchly denying the FBI access to an iPhone 5 used in the San Bernardino terror attacks in order to protect customer data, is not infallible. iCloud accounts can be unlocked.
Governments are stepping in and are in the process of providing comprehensive information to protect businesses from cyber crimes. To enhance your reputation and increase trust with your customers, online security is a pressing issue.
Understanding consumer purchasing habits and identifying emerging markets enables you to position products to the right audience and raise the profile of your brand.