76% of French companies have a website and 74% are present on social networks (AFNIC study). An encouraging figure, and one that shows the enthusiasm of entrepreneurs for online services.
However, success is not always there for these VSEs and SMEs!
Indeed, Internet commerce, because of its relative youth (about twenty years), still suffers from a large lack of knowledge of good practices in this area.
Once again, KNOK STUDIOS fly to your rescue to enlighten you on the mistakes you should not make when it comes to your online business!
# 1: Allocate an insufficient web marketing budget
According to the conclusions raised by the AFNIC study, one of the main problems of VSEs / SMEs in their web strategy is simply a lack of investment:
- 61% of VSEs / SMEs spend € 300 per year only on their online presence
- Only 7% exceed the 5000 € mark
In these conditions, difficult to take off sales!
And yet, the growth potential is huge: more and more consumers are going online to consume products and services. In 2017, 85% of French Internet users made an online purchase, ie 37.5 million people.
It is therefore time to arm ourselves with the means to capture this market! And for that, we must provide an adequate budget, simply.
To estimate the budget necessary for your internet activity, there is no magic formula, but remember this:
- Companies spend an average of 5 to 10% of the previous year’s turnover on marketing expenses (up to 30 or 40% for luxury brands).
- On this global marketing budget, you can easily allocate 20 to 30% of your resources to the Internet: it will not be too much, especially since the expenses on the internet are often less important than on other channels (press, radio , TV, display).
# 2. Spend the whole budget on one expense item
A serious online marketing budget must always focus on several major axes, and not be limited to a single item of expenditure.
It is up to the Marketing Project Manager to balance and readjust each month the various existing communication channels so as to get the best returns on investment.
Here are the areas to invest in to succeed:
- The creation or update of your website
A website needs maintenance.
In the same way as your shop, it must be clean and tidy, but also lively and up to date with the trends. Like an austere or old-fashioned shop, a “buggy” or un-updated site will scare your customers!
Remember to launch a new version every 2 to 5 years, and in the meantime, to feed it with new content as well as relevant offers. Pop-ups, banners, articles, videos, promotions, loyalty programs, flash sales, etc … are all tools to boost your site.
Remember the days when your business simply paid to be in the directory. Well today, nothing has changed in substance, except that the directory is called Google!
But of course, it is not enough to pay a fixed amount to Google for you to appear on the first page! Today, only 38% of SMEs consider themselves to be well-positioned in search engines.
It is important to understand that SEO is an investment and a long-term job, requiring tests, optimizations, and a thorough follow-up to achieve the best results
Like you, we are very much solicited by emails.
Should we for that reason give up on emailing? No!
Thanks to advances in data protection, we are already receiving fewer unsolicited emails and it is easier to unsubscribe.
Hence the value of offering a newsletter that brings a real plus to your customers!
By subscribing freely to your newsletter on your site, the user gives you the opportunity to send him regular news. Be worthy of his trust!
Look after the presentation of your emails, apply a nice and adapted visual identity, and above all: Make it a valuable offer! Discount codes, quality information, or whatever, your email should be of interest and be thought through.
A question must guide your approach: Would you like to receive the email you send?
Animation of your social networks
Social networks such as Facebook, Instagram or Linkedin can bring you a real mass exposure. However, it is a matter of allocating the appropriate means.
Whether it is paid advertising or the publication of content by a Community Manager, you must again have a real reflection and real research on your image and on the speech to effectively reach your target.
In practice, these communication channels are too often neglected and managed in a hurry. In this case, better not to communicate at all: a poorly thought publication or an advertisement could have a negative impact on your brand.
Privilege quality to quantity, and remember that you must be consistent with the identity of your website and your brand.
As discussed above, online advertising consists of other major parts of the display of banner ads on other sites, as well as Google Adwords ads.
These ads make it possible for you to be present on keywords for which you are not well-referenced, or to make yourself visible to populations that are not yet doing Google searches for your products or do not use social networks.
Target your clients’ interests and be present in the media they use. Also, use “Re-Targeting” techniques to display your ads on the screens of people who have already visited your website or purchased your products.
#3: Not measuring your results
One of the other main problems faced by companies is the measurement of their turnover done on the Internet.
Indeed, nearly 60% of respondents in the AFNIC study do not know how much of their turnover is made from the Internet! Yet for 10% of them, the Internet accounts for 30% of their C.A!
If companies do not directly see the impact of their investments, one can understand their reluctance to continue their efforts.
Here are our tips to remedy this problem:
In the case of an E-Commerce store:
In the majority of cases, all transactions are directly recorded by the site. A statistical area is available, as is the case on our WooCommerce sites, and tracking your sales is then a breeze.
You can also open a second bank account, exclusively related to your online activities. So, you can’t go wrong.
In the case of a showcase website :
It is essential to set up a solution to track the origin of your prospects. In a CRM or other, keeping track of their origin is essential. This will prevent you from unnecessary expenses on channels that do not pay enough!
As a personal example, I started my web career in 2010 at a real estate developer company. At the time, I worked with the sales team to follow the files of requests that I received on the site.
By setting Google Analytics goals and cross-referencing data with the receipt dates of contact forms, I could determine if my client was coming from:
- of a Google Adwords advertising campaign
- of a social network (Facebook or others)
- of a web banner campaign (in online media sites)
- of an external website
Thus, I managed to determine very precisely the cost of the acquisition of a prospect or a customer, and that allowed me to invest more in the most interesting channels.
In addition, salespeople did not hesitate when they received a call to ask the prospect how they had become acquainted with our brand.
Beyond requests for contact or quotes online, do not forget that a website is also an opportunity to communicate a phone number and generate calls.
#4: Your website is not mobile-responsive
In 2023, you can no longer ignore the importance of mobile internet traffic. Indeed, depending on the site, mobile traffic can represent 30 to 60% of your visits!
Therefore, having a responsive site is a must, and the development of a separate mobile version or even a dedicated application is an almost mandatory step in the development of your business on the internet.
Indeed, according to the FEVAD, more than one in five online purchases is made from a mobile phone.
But beyond purchases, all other consumption habits are impacted by these technologies:
- 61% of consumers use a mobile to track their purchases on the Internet
- 57% to research a product
- 52% to search or locate stores.
In an increasingly competitive market, users have become very demanding about mobile accessibility. A site not adapted to their screens, too slow or not intuitive enough, or ergonomic risks to harm your business, but otherwise, a mobile site well thought out is an investment that pays and will pay more and more!
If you have the means, call a UX / UI expert. He will fully consider the user experience of your target audience to optimize the visits and conversion paths of your site. By identifying the profile of your users and having them thoroughly test your website, the UX / UI expert will create the perfect site for your customers!
#5: Neglecting the “Blog” or “News” part of your business:
Only 37% of the respondents to the AFNIC study create high value-added content about their company.
Why? Is a “Blog” a gadget?
Certainly not, and here are the main reasons why you have to look after this space on your website.
Show that you are a dynamic company
The pace of publication and the date of your last article will tell a lot about the activity and dynamism of your company. Regularly published content will be an excellent signal sent to the user, and will show that your company is not “asleep”, but in fact in activity, and especially up to date with the news.
Provide proof of your seriousness and expertise
By publishing articles that provide real information about your company or industry, you’re placing yourself as an expert. This shows your mastery of the subject and promotes confidence in your business.
Improve your SEO rankings
Blog and news articles have the primary advantage of updating the index of your website. For example, you tell search engines like Google that your site is active. An active and regularly updated site will always be privileged in the rankings!
The second advantage is that you will be able to create content whose central themes will aim to catch up on certain keywords or to further develop an idea that one of your pages tackles briefly. This will attract new traffic and complex keywords.
Give material to your social networks
Having a News and Blog updated is also one of the best ways to animate your social networks (Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook …) and vary your types of publications.
#6: Forgetting your role as a seller
One of the benefits of E-Commerce is to be able to remove some costs, such as shop rent, or vendor salaries. Well, it used to be (to a certain extent, of course).
Today, online customers are just as demanding as in the shop and will go from one site to another at the slightest annoyance. That’s why you have to pamper them, make yourself available, and be able to direct them like in a real shop.
In addition, this will allow you to limit the number of product returns. Studies show that 30% of products purchased online are returned by the buyer, against only 10% for physical shops.
Our advice to best serve your visitors:
Give information, all the information
An e-shop is the best place to publish a lot of information about your products: data sheets, user manuals, delivery times, stock status, etc.
Where a physical store customer can take control of the item and speak to an advisor, you need to be able to offer this service online as well and make sure you provide all the necessary information about your products to lead your visitors to an informed purchase.
General Sales Conditions (with Return and Refund Policy) and a FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) will be faithful allies. Explanatory videos as well as customer testimonials will also be much appreciated by Internet users, and will favor your conversion rate.
Install a chatbot plugin online
Now commonplace, these plugins allow you to instantly contact an advisor in your store and are increasingly expected by your customers.
If these chats can be automated thanks to artificial intelligence (less expensive), nothing will ever replace the know-how and contact of a real person. Think about it!
Again, the role of the Community Manager
Outside your site, be equally available! Many people today will ask questions or make comments about your services on your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook account.
Be there to follow everything and make yourself noticed for the quality and responsiveness of your customer service.
#7: Neglecting the security of your website
While online shopping is on the rise and has become customary for a large number of Internet users, there is reluctance in all ages and population classes. Showing that your site is at the forefront of security technologies is therefore a must to give them trust.
Our advice on the subject:
Make your Legal Terms and Conditions of Sale clear and easy to find
Make sure they comply with the law, invite your users to read them, and place them so that they can be viewed from any page of your site (eg: in the footer).
Do not forget your SSL certificate
The SSL certificate is the device that displays a small padlock and an HTTPS address in your navigation bar. It is the guarantor of the security of information exchanges between your website and the visitor’s browser.
Many web hosts offer this service free of charge, so you have no more excuses for not complying with it!
However, be careful: all these SSL certificates are not equal in worth. If a basic certificate is sufficient for a showcase site, we strongly recommend that you use more secure encryption solutions for E-Commerce sites.
Consult your bank
Call on a specialized professional advisor to guide you in setting up online payment solutions for your website. He will inform you about the best methods of securing payment.
Protect your databases
To avoid getting hacked, choose complex administration passwords.
If you use a common solution such as WordPress / WooCommerce, change the URL of your admin panel to make it harder for malicious people to access it.
You can also install modules to enhance the security of your site by various means (Ex: limit the number of login attempts).
#8: Believe that one can do everything alone, or that one can rely only on internal resources.
This is a fatal bias, and we hope that through this article, you will understand that if you want to succeed online, there is no secret: you need to call on experts.
The network administrator, the computer scientist, or even the webmaster of your company will never have the necessary skills for the good development of your internet activity. It’s just not their job! To make an analogy, it is not because a butcher works in contact with animals that he will be the right person to look after your sick cat.