You just launched a beautiful new e-commerce website for your client, handed them the keys and trained them on how to manage products and customer purchases. With the exception of a few post-launch support requests, you vanish into the night like Batman ready to take on armed thugs, or more likely, the next client project.
But the relationship doesn’t have to end there - nor should it. Your client just purchased a powerful business tool from you. Sure, they can now accept payments, but are they truly set up for success?
They didn’t hire you to build a website for shits and giggles: they want to make money. But running a successful e-commerce site is a beast with its own set of rules, and most clients don’t even know the basics. The last thing you want is to leave your client with a website that doesn’t bring in customers. They won’t know why it’s not working, and they may even blame you for it ("I knew the buttons should have been fuchsia!”).
Here are 7 essential services you should be pitching to set them up for success (and get more out of the relationship while you’re at it):
1. Setup Advanced Analytics
Most e-commerce platforms have built-in analytics that show you how many purchases customers make, the value of the purchases, and what your monthly/weekly revenue is. Between that and Google Analytics traffic, that's usually enough to satisfy most clients. But if that’s all they have, they’re missing out on a lot of information that could help them improve their business.
For starters, there’s more you can track with Google Analytics than mere page views. Your clients likely won’t know how to set this up, so it’s a great value-adding service offering. Start by setting up e-commerce tracking and/or conversion goals which will let you do multi-channel funnel marketing.
“Knowing how many visits it takes, on average, before a conversion occurs is a very powerful metric. Knowing how many visits it takes, in conjunction with the most commonly traveled path, as well as the average day lapse and specific keyword/PPC/direct/search engine details, this is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.” — Caleb Donegan
Another great value-add is using a third-party app to track advanced metrics. I highly recommend KISSmetrics since it’s built for e-commerce and SaaS businesses, and lets you know more about your individual users and customers, set up cohort analysis and much more. By tracking individual events and properties, you can run much more in-depth and valuable reporting than with just Google Analytics.
The more you understand about advanced metrics, the more you can help your clients with their businesses. Tracking metrics properly after launch is the first step towards helping your client with additional marketing services.
2. Increase Targeted Traffic
Every client wants traffic, but if your client isn’t a marketer, getting visits to his online store is going to be tough. Many people have the “if I build it they will come” mentality, but we all know that’s complete bullshit.
Also, just because you can get people in the door doesn’t mean they’ll buy, and buying is what it’s all about on an e-commerce site! The traffic needs to be targeted in order to generate revenue — it has to be composed of people who are serious about buying.
Hopefully, you already learned about your client’s target audience when you were designing their site. Even if you did, here are some additional questions you should ask:
What websites/blogs do they often visit?
Who are the online influencers they already trust?
Where do they hang out on social media?
Knowing that, you can craft a strategy to bring them to the website using various marketing channels.
If you aren’t a specialist at something like AdWords, you can either sub-contract it out to one and earn some commission off the top, or read up on how to do it yourself. If you want to learn, a place to start is to read the excellent Quick Sprout in-depth guides written by Neil Patel:
3. Increase Page Speed
We all know page speed is important, but consider these facts:
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
A 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
Share these stats with your clients and explain that optimizing for performance is an ongoing service that will deliver them a return on investment.
If your client agrees to pay you to optimize for speed, consider these basic tips:
Install YSlow and see where any of the bottlenecks are.
Cache your pages to limit the amount of database queries needed.
Compress your images.
Limit the amount of HTTP requests.
Increase the amount of memory on the server.
These are just the basics tips you may already know or have done, but also consider some more advanced methods.
4. Landing Page Optimization
You’re bringing targeted traffic to your client’s now fast-loading website. That’s great, but do they convert when they get to the page?
Clients usually think home page means landing page. In fact, a website should contain many landing pages. The more targeted a landing page, the more likely a user will convert. What does that look like for e-commerce businesses?
People will often find an e-commerce site by searching for a product term, clicking a search result and arriving at a specific product page. Product pages essentially are your landing pages. How do you optimize those for your clients?
Start with the following:
Understand who the target buyers are through research.
Craft the product pages in a way so that if the user arrives from a search they will be exactly where they expect to be. You can do this by using SEO keywords in the main headline.
Remove visual clutter, use beautiful product shots, and write clear, compelling copy that include benefits over features. Apple does a great job at this.
Write a strong call to action.
Include trust signals, like customer testimonials, security badges, or logos of brands who’ve bought the product.
These are just the basics. Once you have those nailed, A/B test using a tool like Visual Website Optimizer, which lets you easily run experiments on your headlines, calls-to-action and other elements on the page.
If you’re looking for a good place to expand your landing page optimization knowledge, here’s another in-depth guide from Quick Sprout.
5. Mobile Optimization
We all know mobile is big, and you probably already built your client’s e-commerce website using responsive design or a mobile cart. Now it’s time to dust off your hands and never look at it on a phone again, right? Wrong!
Due to budget constraints, we’ve all been guilty of providing just the basics when it comes to responsive design. We may have tested on a device or two and then never looked at it again. But let’s remember, mobile is HUGE. It’s expected to take over internet usage this year and even as far back as 2012, 10% of all retail purchases were made on a phone or tablet.
Showing your client the metrics on how many users are on mobile devices will help convince them to let you provide further optimization, which will maximize the investment they get from their website.
The best place to start is to test the website using a wide variety of devices, browsers and internet connection speeds. See what it’s like for visitors using an old Blackberry Torch (God help them).
Don’t just look at the product pages, actually go through the entire payment funnel, enter credit card details and complete a purchase on a phone to see what the real experience is like. Chances are there’s going to be a lot of room for improvement.
6. Funnel Optimization/Reducing Cart Abandonment
You’ve set up advanced analytics. Now what do you do with all this data? Of course, you try to identify where the holes are and fix them.
Optimizing a single landing page is one thing, but most e-commerce sites require several pages in order to convert a visitor into a buyer. They may start with a product landing page, click the add-to-cart button, continue browsing, check out, confirm their order, enter shipping information and finally enter their credit card details. That’s a lot of steps to take, and a lot of potential roadblocks a user may encounter.
First learn where users drop off within the purchasing funnel, then uncover why they drop off and how you can plug the leaky funnel. Showing your client the data is a compelling reason for them to hire you to fix the holes.
Let’s say you identify that the credit card details page has a low completion rate and users drop off at that point. How do you fix it? The first step is to get inside a user’s mind. To learn why users do what they do, use qualitative data, which is the opposite of hard numbers and metrics.
Perform user-testing on the page, using a service like UserTesting.com watching test users interact with it and ask them questions like “How do you feel when you get to the credit card page? Does it feel trustworthy? Why or why not?”
Ask real users questions on that page using a service like Qualaroo.
When you think you’ve narrowed down the “why”, you can design a solution. For instance, if most users felt that the page wasn’t secure, you could display security badges or lock icons.
You can also set up automated triggers that email users who abandon their carts and give them a quick way to get back to it so they can complete their order.
Here’s another Quick Sprout guide, this one on Conversion Optimization, which will help you learn more about the subject.
7. Improve Retention
You’ve helped your client over many months to drive traffic to their e-commerce site, optimize the site for page speed, mobile users, landing pages and conversion. Showing how much money you made them deserves a firm pat on the back accompanied by a pint of beer and just the faintest pinch on the ass.
But there’s one more thing you can do.
Even if your client’s e-commerce site is performing amazingly, how do you tap into their database of past customers to maximize revenue and upsell opportunities? That, my friend, is called retention, and it’s the last piece of the puzzle.
Your not-so-secret weapon here is email marketing. Your client may have a simple email newsletter they send out to their list once a month, but that may not be cutting it when it comes to getting repeat buyers. You want to personalize the emails so customers feel cared for and that the information is tailored to them.
Since you’re a smart developer (or at least you’ve got one on your team), you already know how to associate a customer’s record with the products and categories they purchased in the past. When you have that data, all you need to do is integrate it with an email marketing tool like Campaign Monitor, which provides API hooks for you to keep their subscriber list up-to-date and segmented.
Let’s say your client sells clothing online. You’ll have data on all their customers like category of product (hats, shirts, pants, shoes, dresses, coats) and location (from shipping data). Using just those two data points you could segment your list in Campaign Monitor. For example, if a past customer lives in Australia there’s no point emailing them about winter jackets in December.
Personalized email will also enable you to build on other retention strategies, like rewards programs, promo codes, contests and birthday freebies.
Use these ideas to maximize revenue you get from your clients over the long term. Even if you’re not a seasoned marketer, chances are you know way more about them than your clients do and can actually execute the strategies to earn them more money.
Designing, building and launching a new e-commerce site is a big project on its own, but launching a site and turning it into a profitable business are two different things. If you can convince your client to keep paying you month-after-month to grow their revenue, you’ll have more impressive work in your portfolio, better case studies and testimonials, and ultimately, happier clients.