Website Issues Can Cripple Your Marketing Results
Have you ever thought about how the strengths of your online store are going to drive the success of your marketing campaigns? Or questioned how any site deficiencies could negatively impact your marketing and revenue goals?
Having a great store may not transfer directly into marketing success. But having one that doesn’t provide the required foundation will directly reduce the performance of even the best marketing strategy.
Marketing an e-commerce store is tough enough without encumbering your campaigns with a store that isn’t converting at the level it should.
In this article we present a checklist and tips to make sure your Shopify store is effectively converting your marketing dollars and efforts into conversions and purchases.
This may all seem overwhelming but reach out to us if you’d like some help or guidance. Drop us a note by filling in our contact form and letting us know the best way to reach you.
Shopify Store Issues Quickly Become Marketing Issues
When planning how you’re going to market your Shopify store and your products, start by looking at your site through the critical lens of whether it’s going to assist or hinder the performance of your marketing and advertising campaigns.
Here’s a checklist of things you should review as part of a Shopify store audit to ensure your marketing dollars are returning the results they should:
- Are your store’s products well presented, with strong images.
- Does the product title capture the essence of the product; is each product described fully so potential purchasers know exactly what they are buying?
- Are your Shopify product options properly mapped to Google’s Attributes? If you have custom or unusual options can these be mapped to Google Attributes? Shopify only allows three options; depending on product type, Google Shopping requires many more.
- Are your variants for each product grouped, so Google Shopping can present your products with all available options in a dropdown (like on your site). Otherwise Google will show every variant as a unique product (not the best user experience).
- Is your primary image on your product pages a lifestyle image? Is your secondary image a clean product shot on a white background with no props or accolades? These are your two most important images for each product, so make sure they attractively show off your products to consumers. Be consistent; every secondary image should be on a white background. That’s because some marketing platforms like Google Shopping insist on images on a white background with no overlain text; and no photoshopped backgrounds.
- Include additional product images on your site to give potential purchasers a good idea of what they will receive when they purchase. Include videos that add value where practical.
- Are your products competitively priced? Online shoppers will compare!
- Are your shipping costs reasonable; do you have a reasonable free shipping threshold? Shipping is one of the two most important factors in determining if a user shops at your store. If your product margins are good, consider offering free shipping on all purchases and remove this as a purchasing constraint. Or set a threshold for free shipping that encourages the purchaser to add another item to their cart to qualify. What your direct competitors are doing should also factor into your decision.
- Is your checkout process seamless and easy?
- Does the Buy Button stand out? Is there a clear call to action when users arrive on one of your pages.
- Is your shopping cart easy to access and does it present a clear picture of what the user has added?
- Are the payment methods/charge cards you accept shown on your site (e.g., at the bottom of each page or on your shopping cart page)?
- Is it clear what the purchaser will pay, that taxes are charged if applicable?
- There should be no surprises when the purchaser is on your checkout page. Collect the minimum information required to fill the order and avoid any extra steps that may cause users to abandon their cart (note: if you’re using Google Shopping be aware that Google does not allow your site to verify users’ email addresses when creating an account/making a purchase; they can and ultimately will suspend your Google Merchant Center account if you do).
- Give the user the option to receive marketing emails. Permission should be granted positively (by ticking an opt-in box), not negatively (by unticking a pre-ticked box). This is the legal standard in many countries; check your country or any state/province requirements.
- Is your site SEO optimized? Search Engine Optimization is all about improving your position on Google’s search engine results pages (SERPs). First page position is what everyone aspires to achieve. When you search your brand name in Google, you are pretty much assured to come up on the first page, unless your brand name is a very common one.
But what about when users search for your products or your blogs? Because search engine rankings are derived from your site’s content and organization, it’s up to you to get your site in the game. Why is this important? Well, consider that 75% of searches begin on Google, and 67% of clicks are for the first 5 listings on the first page!
Does your site meet Google’s page load thresholds, especially on mobile devices. Google will penalize your ranking if your site is slow, and eliminate it from search results if it is too slow. Study after study have shown that more and more users abandon sites as page load times progressively increase beyond 2 seconds. Google’s New Industry Benchmarks for Mobile concluded:
“Here’s the good news. Since we looked at mobile page speeds last year, the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page has dropped by seven seconds.1 The bad news is that it still takes about 15 seconds, according to our new analysis. That’s far too slow when you consider faster mobile site speed makes people view more pages on the site, convert more, and buy more on most brand sites.” “Our data shows that while more than half of overall web traffic comes from mobile,3 mobile conversion rates are lower than desktop.4 In short, speed equals revenue.” Check out the full report here.
Check your site speed here.
- Are your titles and descriptions written to include the search terms users will be using when looking for products like yours?
- Are your pages repeating and reinforcing your keywords (without aggressively repeating any one keyword on each page)? The latter could cause Google to penalize you for “keyword stuffing”. Keyword selection is all about getting qualified traffic to your site, so focus on the keywords that really describe what you offer. You can research keywords using a number of tools including the Google Ads Keyword Planner and other free tools. There are also many affordable tools such as Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest which also has a free level.
- Is your site easy for users to navigate? Keeping it simple will make it easier for users to move around, and increase the length of time they stay on your site which will improve your site’s time-on-page score with Google.
- Can all your pages be discovered by the search engine crawlers? Crawlers access your site and follow the links to index all your pages. Poorly mapped pages will not be discovered. Good tools for evaluating how well your site is being crawled are Google’s Search Engine Console and free tools like Screaming Frog. Keep your site structure simple but if it is overly complex, consider submitting a sitemap which contains links to all your pages using a sitemap generator.
- Do you have strong landing pages? Your product pages will serve as landing pages for Google Shopping ads; Google’s Free Product Listings; and Facebook Remarketing. This makes our points about product page design doubly important. For other campaigns, where the user will be directed to your home page or a custom landing page (e.g., featuring products for a promotion or seasonal event), conversions will be heavily influenced by the strength of that page.
- Do you have or are you in the process of building a strong base of product and customer service testimonials? If you are planning to advertise extensively on Google, using Google Reviews (a free Google service) will fill this need. In determining your Google site result ranking, up to 10% is based on online reviews. StreetFightMag.com reports that up to 89% of users aged 35 to 54 put as much faith in online reviews as their friends’ recommendations, so reviews are critically important.
- Is your refund and returns policy spelled out on your site (typically on a separate page)? Your policies will project whether you’re a site to be trusted (or not).
- Check the policies of each marketing platform you’re intending to utilize regarding your use of purchasers’ email addresses they pass to you. Shop on Google, for example, doesn’t allow you to use a purchaser’s email address for marketing purposes unless the purchaser has checked the appropriate tick box on Google’s checkout page.
- Do you have a “Contact Us” page? Google Shopping requires that you have two of the following three contact methods listed: email address; phone number; street address. Again, when users know how to contact you, they will tend to see you as a responsive business they can trust.
- Do you have an “About Us” page that explains what you do and the passion and commitment you bring to connecting consumers with your products.
You may think of most of the above as “site” issues. But deficiencies in any of these areas will quickly become big “marketing” issues. That’s because your site and its presentation of your products are the foundation on which your marketing and advertising programs rest. Cut corners and you’ll be negatively impacting how well your site will convert once you get users there.
Deficiencies in the areas we’ve discussed above will directly impact the performance of your campaigns (by turning off prospective customers who visit your store); your costs (by forcing you to pay more for impressions and clicks); and weaken your organic traffic (forcing you to rely more heavily on paid campaigns).
The take-away: review your site carefully. If you’re using an outside agency to help on the marketing side, get them to review it. Otherwise, engage an expert, so you can have a second set of eyes look things over. It’s extra time and effort but any expense will be offset by stronger conversions.
The truth is that “pay me now, or pay me later” applies when it comes to ensuring your site is optimized for success.
If hiring a marketing agency is an option you’re considering, Engage an E-Commerce Marketing Partner or Do It In-House? explores the steps to get ready and to find the partner who can help you succeed.
Check out AdAmplify’s Managed Marketing Services for an overview of some of the programs we offer.