Your budget is essential in running your online shop. Whether you are at the beginning of your e-commerce journey or you might be a veteran looking to optimize their profits, we’ve put together 5 essential and easy tips to optimize your e-commerce budget for a successful 2022.
1. Ensure you have a goal/ plan to work towards
This might seem obvious, but before you get excited for all the things you could do, you should establish achievable and well-defined goals for 2022.
You shouldn’t limit these goals to your budget - rather, the goals of your overall business. Ideally, you should set up monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. For those of you who have even higher ambitions, 3 year or 5 year goals are a step forward.
“What do I want to achieve with my e-commerce business in 2022?
How do I define success with my e-commerce business in 2022?
What did I not manage to do in 2021 that I want to do this coming year?”
There is no right or wrong answer; it depends on what you want to achieve with your budget. Also, make sure that your goal is SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely). It’s not enough to say that you want to spend $200 in October from your $1000 yearly budget. A Smart goal would be:
“I want to spend $200 throughout the month of October 2022 on hiring a freelance content writer to create the copy for my Black Friday campaign”.
Regardless of whether you achieve these goals or not, they are important in setting a structure and support for your online shop.
2. Not everything is about ads
Everyone is crazy about ads, as if they alone are the formula to success. While they might be worth the investment for bigger companies, you should carefully consider the size of your business and your competition. If you don't have the money or willingness to spend on an online ad strategy, it's likely that you won't get a good ROI. Bigger businesses have huge budgets, and are thus prioritized by the networks.
Before jumping aboard the online ads train, have a look at inbound marketing techniques. Here’s a few quick, non-expensive tactics that you can do instead of ads:
A. Optimize your website for search engines (SEO),
B. Write attractive content, such as relevant descriptions and interesting blog articles
Or allocate some budget to hire a freelance writer, in case you believe yourself not skilled enough.
C. Create a social media account, but use it properly after you’ve gained some traction
This helps in gathering social proof and recognition.
D. Start a referral scheme
When someone buys from you and they recommend you to a friend, offer them a small discount - if budget allows.
E. Ensure your customer journey is well defined
How pleasant of an experience do your customers have when shopping on your website?
F. Answer any questions
Spending time with your existing customers is more important than any money you might spend bringing other people in.
If you do decide to advertise online, consider your audience. Are they the kind of buyers who spend a lot of time online and engage with ads? If so, do you want the ads to succeed in engagement or conversions? Afterwards, think about where your audience spends most time. Would Instagram ads be more efficient than Google Ads? Finally, be mindful of the changes for the third-party cookie that will commence in 2022 - these will affect the personalized reach online ads have today.
3. Invest in a few essential e-commerce tools
Your e-commerce platform might be able to do everything, from processing orders to sending automated emails. However, it has its limitations - and there are tools that do certain things better.
Chosen as a Shopify Staff Pick, this app is a must-have for any e-commerce store owner! It offers precise profit analysis, seamless integrations with ad & shipping platforms, and easy access to your entire business' data. BeProfit keeps you updated with all your relevant metrics and helps you make informed decisions to optimize your profitability. It features custom reports, marketing performance insights, cohort analysis, and more.
Klaviyo is one of the most popular e-commerce marketing automation platforms out there. Their pricing is affordable, based on the number of contacts you have. We recommend using them for all your email communications and forms. Klaviyo also offers personalized profiles of your customers, which are useful when it comes to proper segmentation and sending relevant campaigns.
Gaining your customers’ loyalty and trust will become easier when you enable product reviews and testimonials on your shop. Trustpilot is the right tool for that, chosen by millions of e-merchants around the world.
An online shop that uses instant communication, such as live chats or chatbots, is many steps ahead of one who doesn’t. Gorgias is an excellent tool to talk with your customers, manage support tickets, or automate conversations.
Tidio Live Chat
Tidio is a well-round communication tool providing a live chat, a chatbot, a ticketing system, and a set of AI tools for customer service. The live chat widget is easily customizable and can be added to a website without any coding. It does a great job providing stellar customer service, comes with multiple pricing options (including the freemium version), and can be integrated with all eCommerce platforms.
Make room in your budget for an analytics tool like Google Analytics, Hotjar, Mouseflow, or Fullstory. These tools follow your visitors’ actions on your website, so you can make data-informed decisions in personalization and segmentation.
For Shopify users, Rewind deserves a special mention. This tool creates backups of your shop so you don’t have to worry if something fails or is deleted.
This isn’t your usual Search Engine Optimization tool. When people search online for what you're selling, Doofinder makes sure they find your store and get there fast. Their search capabilities expand from human to AI, from visual to voice, and so on.
4. The importance of an optimized U.I
No matter your budget size, your website is probably the most important aspect to invest in. A well-designed and responsive website is the first step in creating a good first impression and encouraging people to return. Here's an extensive and detailed list of the best website creators out there.
After you decide on a website creator or platform, consider the following:
- Does the platform you host your e-shop on have a good deal of website templates? If not, set aside some of the money to hire a freelance designer.
- Do all of your products have pictures or videos of them? If not, make sure you personally take them or hire a photographer.
- Do all of your products have accurate descriptions? If not, make sure you write the text or hire a freelance content writer to do them for you.
- Is your shop’s layout clear? This requires you to have optimized shop categories and menus. For example, if you’re selling athletic wear, you should categorize clothing and shoes differently in your website navigation map.
- Is your site responsive? Ensure that your users have a seamless experience on your shop. If you notice any problems, you can speak to your e-merchant platform support or hire a freelance dev.
- Is your site fast? Loading times have a direct impact on the abandonment rate of your visitors throughout the funnel. Make sure your store’s loading times are optimized, so you don’t lose any customers on the way!
5. Consider on-site videos as an alternative to intrusive pop-ups and cluttered product descriptions
Marketers are all over video creation and for good reason: everyone consumes it. 2022 will be no different.
It’s possible that you’ve also thought of including videos in your e-commerce strategy, especially in social media posts. While this type of content is useful for engagement and building awareness, they’re not that successful in actually converting leads.
However, you can leverage your existing videos (if you have any) or set aside $5 of your budget to display on-site videos and increase your conversion rates.
One of the biggest setbacks people have in creating videos is believing this requires a huge adjustment of the marketing budget. In reality, on-site videos are one of the biggest favors you can do to your budget. They only require a phone, some good lightning, and a charming presence!
Have a read through this article on some tips & tricks on how to quickly make some videos and get the best results from them, all with little impact on your budget.
Want to test on-site videos for free? Try here.
Thumbnail Illustration by Anna Antipina from Ouch!