This isn’t just a global trend - more than 22 million South African shoppers are clicking “add to cart” at least once a month.
According to a January 2021 study by Deloitte, only 34% of South Africans felt safe shopping in brick-and-mortar stores. Amongst the myriad of reasons to move online, health and safety has prevailed as the leading cause of the shift in buyer behaviour.
The rapid growth of online trade can be likened to a modern, digital gold rush. Prospectors from every walk of life have snatched at the opportunity to build strong online brands and change the way that they earn an income.
For those who would like to join their ranks, Jessica van der Westhuyzen, digital and performance marketing manager at OneDayOnly has offered her three most valuable insights to ensure your e-commerce journey gets off to the best start possible in 2022.
In her role at OneDayOnly, Van der Westhuyzen uses data and tech platforms to tell brand stories and create winning growth strategies. Her experience has been in leading teams and companies in digital strategy, digital transformation, and the adoption of martech platforms.
Before you can begin building your site, connecting with your consumers on social media, or investing in Google Ads, you should have a fully fleshed out, comprehensive digital marketing strategy and business plan.
First off, identify the who, what, where, when, and how (WWWWH):
Who is your audience?
What are you offering them?
Where are you going to connect with them?
When are you going to connect with them?
How are you going to connect with them?
This will act as the foundation for both your digital marketing strategy and your business plan as a whole. Start with your goals, your unique selling points (USPs), and key objectives for every section of your business.
It’s nearly impossible to strive for success without a clearly identified set of goals and a definition of your business as a whole.
Mobile has consistently held the top spot as the preferred web browsing medium for most internet users, holding the lion’s share of all online traffic at 54.8% as of the end of the first quarter of 2021.
It’s for this reason that you need to make your website mobile-first.
“The term mobile-friendly implies that your desktop-optimised site works on mobile – don’t fall into that trap! Even if your website works on mobile exclusively, you’re catering over 50% of potential traffic, so focus your attention there,” advises Van der Westhuyzen.
Ask anyone with experience with SEO and they’ll tell you that SEO is a journey. Unfortunately, no one ranks on the first page of Google on day one.
While it’s impossible to realise SEO success overnight, the journey is a whole lot easier with a powerful content marketing strategy.
The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined-audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
They use three words in their definition that you should focus on:
Valuable: Make it valuable to your audience. Your content marketing strategy should identify content that your audience will use – not just read. If your brand sells running shoes, don’t just release content about your shoes: include posts about how to prep for marathons, do warm-up/ warm-down stretches, and so on. By doing this, you offer your customers value beyond your product offering.
Relevant: As they say, “stay in your lane!” It’s easy to get side-tracked when generating content ideas, but you should always keep your content in line with your brand’s core offering. Much like the example above, if you sell running shoes, keep your content running related. A post about scented candles might not resonate with your audience.
Consistent: It’s great to find your niche when it comes to your content marketing, but just as important (if not more so) is to ensure that your content is distributed consistently. Don’t confuse consistency with frequency – it’s okay to post once a month if that’s your capacity but stick to that schedule. It’s no use posting every day for two weeks, then dropping off the map completely for two months. Space out your posts, work out a schedule that suits you and your audience, and stick to it!
Pro tip: Build an email subscription button into your website to ensure that your audience stays up to date on your newest content.
Van der Westhuyzen concludes, “I think that the most important thing you can do, once you’ve done all the leg work, is to trust in your hard work. Don’t try to change your strategy prematurely. Use your analytics, but don’t think that success will come overnight. It takes time – you have to remain consistent and build strong relationships. Once the dam breaks, you’ll reap the seeds you’ve sown through your hard work.”