SEO for Online Shops – The Monster FAQ!

You have an online shop, and you have questions about SEO? Then you are right here! Welcome to the Monster FAQ on SEO for Online Shops.

Basic questions

If you already know your way around, feel free to skip these questions. But I tried to shed some light on aspects that not everyone knows. Maybe there is something for advanced users too!

How does search engine optimization work for online shops?

Phew, there is usually a lot to do. But to put it roughly, you try to achieve several things:

  1. Your shop should be accessible and legible for Google. Google (or any other search engine) needs to recognize that it’s a shop and what products it sells.
  2. The shop should deliver the best result for the user on this topic, i.e. also give the user exactly what he was looking for.
  3. The shop should have a good reputation online. This works mostly through links from other useful websites. Google also evaluates other signals such as social media and the like.

What SEOs do now is to improve the online shop on these three points. Everyone does it differently. And everyone sets different priorities. While some swear by link building, other shops optimize technically such as page loading speed down to the last detail. Still, others focus on the content of the website and offer the user the best experience. Since it is an algorithm, there are several ways to get there. In the last few years, the first final points felt to have become more critical, the first point lost relative to the others. You should always keep an eye on all three to get the best results.

Is search engine optimization prohibited?

No. Neither Google nor the legislator has anything against search engine optimization – on the contrary! Google even wants you to make your website more readable – this will make your work more comfortable, and the search engine will find good results faster – which will help users and ultimately make them more satisfied with Google.

However, some techniques violate the so-called webmaster guidelines. For example, if you artificially procure links (for example, by bribing other webmasters with money instead of getting real recommendations to link to your website, you can book advantage for yourself in the short term. However, there is one at Google own team that takes care of exposing these techniques. If you get caught, you may be deliberately downgraded a few places or even flipped entirely out of the Google index so that you may be accurate accomplishes the opposite of what you want.

Apart from this, techniques such as the purchase of links and the setting of links in forums for advertising violate the Unfair Competition Act (UWG). Since you don’t want to show Google that you are buying links, bought links are rarely awarded. Unfortunately, many search engine optimizers – especially agencies – still buy links today. This works mainly because of the principle “Where there is no plaintiff, there is no judge”. If you do something big here – as is currently the case with Instagram influencers with unmarked advertising – then the link buying industry is in bad shape.

How long does it take for my online shop to have good rankings?

To make it short: It depends a lot on the market environment, the desired keywords and your website. Generally speaking, SEO is a matter of months to years, not a matter of weeks. There are some techniques – such as optimizing titles and descriptions – that can affect very quickly (i.e. in a few days or weeks). But if you want to gain trust with Google with a brand new domain, you should plan for a long time. However, initial successes can be visible very soon – especially for niche keywords that do not have a high level of competition.

Why does SEO seem so crucial for my shop?

For most websites, SEO is one of the most cost-effective channels for high-quality visitors – despite the work that you have to do yourself or for which you have to pay an agency or a freelancer. You get targeted visitors with SEO who googled for “Buy blue hiking pants XL”. Anyone who offers such hiking pants (and has matching pants and a beautiful online shop) will have a good chance of buying them. Many high-quality visitors can only be obtained via Google Ads. Google Ads is excellent too, but usually costs more per order (compared to SEO). That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t book Google Ads – most shop owners run SEO and Google Ads at the same time.

But you don’t have to do SEO. Some shop operators rely 100% on Google Ads. Others go full offline marketing with flyers and Co. That also works, and SEO is just one channel out of many.

If you want to sell a product, also consider whether you don’t want to just do it on eBay, Etsy or Amazon? The fees there are high – but you save the costs of an online shop, marketing (mostly) and many other things. Likewise, SEO doesn’t make sense if you have a completely new product that no one knows about yet. In that case, nobody is looking for your product because nobody knows that it exists. Here, however, it makes sense to optimize for relevant terms and keywords in the environment of your product, for example, the “problem” that your product helps with, rather than the product itself. A company magazine and content marketing are ideal for this.

How much does SEO cost?

The question “What does a website cost?” Or “What does a car cost?” Is similarly simple. It all depends on what you want to achieve and where you start. Do you sell puzzles online?

The following models exist – the more SEO, the higher the costs, of course:

  1. You can completely implement SEO yourself.
  2. You can do most of the SEO yourself, with a programmer and SEO consultant at your side.
  3. You can give SEO completely to an agency and programmer.
  4. You can hire an in-house team for SEO, i.e. one or more permanent SEOs who do nothing but SEO.
  5. You can hire an in-house team for SEO and have it supported by an agency. This works with them and is available as a sparring partner for essential questions.

The whole thing is, of course, not static. Successful online shop operators often go all the way from 1-5 (over many years). 

How do I find a reputable SEO agency for my shop?

I find this question incredible because it is so often on agency websites. The answer is then as neutral as possible, whereby towards the end of the solution, it becomes clear that your agency is the only one that uses the Rankingbooster3000. But seriously: It is incredibly difficult to see from the outside how good an SEO agency is. Most of the time, you can only see from the outside how professional the sales department is. Even I often do not know how well or poorly other agencies work until I am brought up with one or the other. And also then you should be careful because opinions are often very subjective. Just because the work at one agency’s client was catastrophic does not have to apply to all of the agency’s other clients and vice versa.

I have been doing SEO for 12 years, and two methods can reliably help you find the right agency:

  1. Inform yourself beforehand in detail about the topic of SEO and know your way so far that you can assess the statements of your counterpart. The more knowledge you have, the less you can fall for dubious offers and the more you can identify which agency suits you best. Ask the agency of your choice if you have holes in your stomach – the more, the better! The principle also applies to craftspeople, car workshops, doctors and any other service provider.
  2. Ask acquaintances, friends and colleagues if they can recommend someone to you. Unfortunately, this is not the panacea, because sometimes spam techniques work well for your friends and they recommend you to someone who is not dangerous. Therefore tip 1 is much more effective. Another good advice is to take your friend/acquaintance into the conversation with the agency. So you learn what your acquaintance values. Incidentally, this also works great when buying a car with a friend of my car mechanic. 

How is SEO success measured? How important is visibility?

There are a lot of tools that give SEO points, show visibility and with which many SEOs work. The best known are SistrixSearchmetrics and Xovi . These three tools regularly monitor millions of keywords, assess their value and use them to calculate an index that then reads like a stock chart. This can be important for an initial assessment of a domain – or when comparing different areas in the same industry. However, the values ​​are an approximation and sometimes do not say much about the actual SEO traffic.

The visibility of various SEO tools shows the actual SEO traffic only to a limited extent

You can ultimately make the most reliable statement about SEO success if you use your web tracking tool (e.g. Google Analytics) to check how many visitors come to your shop via SEO – and how many of them buy. What you need are more acquiring customers about SEO – no SEO visibility. The Google Search Console is an indispensable tool for determining which terms visitors use to come to your website and where you appear on Google.

Can I do SEO for my online shop myself?

Of course! Why not? Especially when you are at the beginning of your business, you often have no money for an agency. The alternative is to read yourself in and then take action yourself. So if you have the time, there is nothing to be said against trying it yourself. By the way, this is how I came to SEO myself. My t-shirt shop did not have enough visitors and a forum member in a shop operator forum advised me “Try it with search engine optimization”.

Of course, it will be the case that you don’t use the levers that a professional would use from the start. This means that you make wrong adjustments or invest a lot of time in things that are not worth the time. So in my first days as SEO (in 2007) I wasted days on an XML sitemap. At some point, I realized that firstly there are sitemap generators and secondly that sitemaps are not so important. Only one thing: If you don’t have time for SEO and no money to pay someone else to do it, it looks terrible.

Questions about online shop technology

Which shop system is best for SEO?

I hear the question quite often. It is like this: you should choose your shop system according to what other functions you need. Basic SEO can do most just fine. SEO is often more about the template (i.e. the design) than the system itself. My advice is: get a system that is as widely used as possible. There are usually right SEO extensions for this, and you also ensure that updates continue to come. Also: good web agencies only work with sound shop systems. ShopwareShopifyMagentoGambioWooCommerce– these are widely used systems. You should do detailed research, only then choose a suitable method. At least shop systems work “off the shelf”, most require adjustments to your individual needs.

Small “quick-and-easy” solutions may help you get started quickly, but changing a shop system later is usually very expensive. Therefore, I would always rely on one from the start that is easily expandable.

When do I start with SEO in my shop?

You should get an SEO specialist on board as early as possible. The best time is when it comes to the basic design, and you have already considered the categories for your shop. A basic plan should already be outlined (as a sketch), but the SEO can change that again for usability reasons. He can also question the categories after performing a keyword analysis. Another possibility is that you create the shop and then have an SEO overlooked before going live. Here, however, there is a high risk that you will have to knock down a lot. I would do it after choosing the shop system, create a dummy without a design and also a sketch of the shop – and then wait what the SEO says about it.

What should my URLs look like?

One thing that is often screwed up at the beginning is the shop URLs. Google wants thematically arranged directories, so you have achieved that well. Of course, you should only introduce subcategories if they make thematic sense so that you can structure them well. Think of your categories a little like a guide in the department store – how would you design one? And what would you put in which aisle and then on which shelf?

What is a good headline structure for online shops?

First of all, headings are not as relevant as you might think. The reason? Many web designers misuse layout headings so Google can’t rely on them. Depending on the page type, the product name or the name of the corresponding category should be defined as an H1 heading in your shop. Further small lines such as the article description, unique features and the like can then be in H2 entries. Under no circumstances should design elements in the sidebar or the footer be marked as headings – here the template designer should work with CSS and not with lines. 

How do I get to number 1 for my keyword?

There are very few industries where a single keyword is essential. For most of the shops that I optimized, even the most critical keywords were often responsible for less than 5% of sales. Conversely, niche keywords were relevant for 95% of sales. It is also felt that the more search volume behind a keyword, the more difficult it will be with the ranking. If you want to start wisely with SEO, then book Google Ads and see which keyword groups you use to generate good sales – and later try to achieve granular success there.

How important is page load speed for SEO?

Google has repeatedly stressed that page load speed can be critical. It is also confirmed that a fast-loading online shop leads to more conversions. You should have a quick loading page. But it is certainly not the most important factor, just one of many. Only because you load the fastest in your industry, you will not be in the first place.

Shop content

Do I have to enter a product description for each product and a category description for each category?

As smart as Google is, it is unfortunately, still a text-based search engine. As a rule, it makes sense that you create unique product and category descriptions. Do not use the one that the manufacturer provides for free. And conversely, please do not make them available for free price search engines. But yes: you need individual texts for your shop.

Can I use automated/standard texts for these SEO texts?

Of course, you can buy cheap texts. However, it is not advisable. If you have a large number of products and cannot afford the texts for so many products, you may ask yourself from the other direction: Do you need so many products? Prefer to prioritize your range: What are your most important products? Start with these and create good product descriptions for them that inspire the user to buy and that are optimized for search engines.

Many people will advise you about additional content. Why? Well, if Google has a choice of 50 different online stores that sell the same thing and have similar prices, they’ll put those in the forefront who go the extra mile and advise, inform, or maintain the customer. Your customers will also be happy if you don’t just provide an item description, but a tutorial on how to use the product.

What one understands by good content, the opinions of experts differ widely.

  • Videos
  • Good descriptions that answer my customers’ questions.
  • Instructions for your products
  • Examples of use
  • Excellent and large photos – the more visual the product, the more important
  • FAQs on shipping, ordering, delivery costs and returns.
  • A shop magazine that provides news about the products or shows insights into your company.
  • Helpful tips on your products.
  • Reviews from other customers about the product

I recently ordered a hedge. A glossy loquat “Dicker Toni” to be precise.

I ordered them from Pflanzmich.de. Plantmich.de is not a customer of ours, by the way, just for information. If you look at the product page, you may notice why I ordered there. There is a lot of detailed information about the product that I urgently needed. The excellent content here was about the growth rate or the height, and much more. The product text is very informative. Probably someone wrote it who had detailed information about the product. There are also so-called “master questions” at the bottom “- this is an APP that answers all sorts of questions about plants and gardens free of charge. In the meantime, that’s 31992 responded to questions – that’s quite a lot.

As a customer, I ordered there because other shops, particularly in the garden area, often only had scant information about the individual plants. What I like as a professional: Pflanzmich.de thinks up from the user. There you think about what the user needs and wants about hedges. I want to know how fast the fence grows and how high it gets. Unfortunately, 90% of the hedgerow shops do not answer that. So much for my hedge example. Incidentally, it has already been delivered and looks great!

User experience (UX) and shop SEO

Do you already know Google’s GrowmyStore? There you can have your shop tested for user-friendliness. From Google – for free. It is not unusual that the tool exists, but how it works. Automatically. The device not only recognizes how well your product details are described (see picture below), but also whether your pickup offers in the store or a flexible order execution in terms of express delivery. According to the FAQs, this works by searching for specific keywords. I am not sure whether Google also incorporates such results into the ranking, but it would be possible – too resource-saving and straightforward. And the engineers at Google like that. 

Google automatically recognizes whether your product details can be found quickly and described adequately.

How important is UX for the SEO success of my online shop?

Very important. If your users despair during the ordering process, your categorization is not user-friendly, and your shop is otherwise difficult to use, you can no longer win a flowerpot today. Take this sentence to heart, unfortunately, I have seen some otherwise good shops slowly dying. From a Google perspective, a website gets a good ranking if it serves its purpose well. The use of an online shop is to inform you about products, to present them well and to make them easy to buy. This works out!

How do I improve the user experience in my shop?

Three approaches are best made one by one, starting with the 1:

  1. There are specific basic rules that you should use in your online shop. Your logo is at the top left, the shopping cart and “Checkout” link are at the top right. You should check and apply these rules. You gain a lot with that. 
  2. You can put users in front of a monitor and watch how they operate your shop. You will learn a lot. This can be done quickly and inexpensively, for example with rapiduser tests.
  3. You can do AB testing. Here you present different versions of your website to different users. You can even do this for free with Google Optimize. 

The Sales Funnel: Really everything you need to know about it

“Know, like, and trust.”

This is how John Jantsch describes marketing.

So it’s always about your potential customers getting to know and like you first. Only then will they build trust.

That’s why inbound marketing is about your customers finding you.

It’s a good start, but it’s only the first step. But what happens afterward?

This is where the sales funnel comes into play. This is based on the right, old AIDA formula. So let’s start with that.

What is the AIDA formula?

In 1898, a marketer by the name of Elias St. Elmo Lewis came up with a tried and tested method of turning prospective customers into customers:

  • Attention (attention) – Win the attention of your potential customers for your solution.
  • Interest (interest) – Keep your potential customers interested so that they can deal more closely with your answer.
  • Desire (wish) – Awaken the wishes of your potential customers by communicating the benefits.
  • Action (action) – Make a clear call to work so that your potential customer will buy your solution.

It is the classic buying process that everyone goes through. Everything in marketing is based on this simple formula. For example, your homepage, your email campaigns, landing pages, and your sales funnel are inbound marketing process.

But what exactly is the latter?

What are a sales funnel?

As a rule, every company uses a sales funnel. Consciously or unconsciously. Complete or incomplete.

You can think of a sales funnel as a funnel. Put a lot of water in at the top, and a fine jet comes out at the bottom. Accordingly, you pack visitors in at the top, and perfect customers come out at the bottom.

But with a household funnel, the same amount of water comes out at the bottom. However, this is not the case with a sales funnel. So the metaphor of a holey sales funnel is much better.

So you lose visitors, leads, and customers along the way.

The sales funnel is often also called “conversion funnel”, “marketing funnel”, ” email funnel “, “content funnel” or simply “funnel”. In principle, everyone thinks the same thing, always has a slightly different perspective. Sometimes with subtle differences.

According to the inbound style, the sales funnel lacks an important part, namely, what comes after the deal.

Therefore, the new customer journey is much better as a starting point.

What role does the customer journey play in the sales funnel?

The customer journey is the journey that your potential customer goes through until he becomes a customer:

Let’s go through the individual phases briefly:

  • Awareness – Your potential customer recognizes their problem or need, has become aware of, and is interested in your solution.
  • Consideration – Your potential customer is considering buying your solution. He is thinking about how well she can solve the problem or satisfy the need.
  • Conversion – your potential customer buys your solution and uses it.
  • Retention – Your customer is satisfied or even enthusiastic about your answer. If possible, he will repurchase your answer.
  • Advocacy – Your customer is so excited that he tells his friends, family, and colleagues about your answer.

If you e.g., B. wants to buy a new car, don’t go straight to the first best dealer, do you? Most people first think about buying a new car. Go peddling a bit with the thought. They then search and research online. You get several offers and compare them. Finally, they do one or more test drives. If everything is correct, only then will they buy the new vehicle.

This process is anything but linear. That’s why it’s a trip. A wild trip. It can take a long time. In between, there can be short or long breaks. There are many points of contact with the company. Usually, there are about seven until it is bought.

If we now take the customer journey and compare the AIDA formula, it looks like this:

It’s two sides of the same coin. Nearly. Because, as already mentioned, an important part is missing, namely what comes after the sale.

Therefore there is a lot of criticism. The question that arises: Is this sales process still up to date today?

How important are the sales funnel today?

There are many posts ( herehere and here ) that describe that the sales funnel no longer so important. That it’s too linear. Today the customer journey has gotten a lot of wilder with lots of different touchpoints.

In response, McKinsey has created an exciting model that is circular:

They call it the “Customer Decision Journey”. But here, too, some voices say that the model is out of round. Because it’s not just about the decision, it’s about the relationship.

Brian Clark from Copyblogger has developed another exciting model that does not look at the funnel from the side, but from above and focuses on inbound marketing:

Of course, I agree with all of this. For me, the models often mean the same thing. Sometimes a little something is missing, but I would like to add it! 🙂

The thing is, everything is based on the right old AIDA formula. Because that’s the buying process that we all go through, that was the case 100 years ago and will remain so for the next 100 years.

However, as a company, we still have the responsibility to not stop after the sale and to keep delighting our customers.

What are the advantages of a sales funnel?

If you keep in mind the metaphor of a funnel, there are several advantages:

  • Clarity – it becomes clear to you that it is quite reasonable for not all of your prospects to become customers. You also have a solid overview of your sales process.
  • Measurability – You know the individual phases and can measure your success precisely. You know which screws you should turn to increase your sales.
  • Forecasts – You know your key figures and make better and easier predictions for future sales growth. This gives you a better basis for planning.

The focus on your sales funnel brings you more efficiency and a higher customer lifetime value. Simply put, you sell more.

How do you create a sales funnel?

A simple sales funnel can be divided into three levels and looks like this:

If you like, you can still pack “opportunities” (qualified lead) between leads and customers. Or split your points into MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads) or SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads). There is no right or wrong here. It always depends on your company and your sales funnel.

  • Visitor – The visitor is attracted by high-quality content and lands on our website.
  • Lead – The visitor becomes a lead by downloading our free e-book or signing up for our free updates.
  • Signup – The point sees the calls-to-action on our website and receives emails to test Chimpify.
  • Customer – The user checks our platform, possibly gives us feedback, and buys our solution. Mission accomplished.

Since I am a big fan of keeping things as simple as possible, I recommend that you start with the three simple steps and add some if necessary.

What else should you be aware of in your sales funnel?

Another vital part that is somewhat invisible is the value ladder.

But because you are now looking at your offer in stages, you notice gaps to be able to accompany your customer even better.

It also increases your customer lifetime value because a customer who has already bought something from you is more willing to buy something from you again.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you’re a coach. Accordingly, a simple value ladder would look like this: e-book (lead magnet)> book (frontend offer)> conference (middle offer)> seminar (backend offer). At first glance, this doesn’t seem particularly exciting, but it is powerful.

Mainly because of backend sales. So you can afford not to be profitable in the frontend or only to cover costs (e.g., if you publish your book for free or very cheaply) because you know that you can expect a long-term customer relationship later. Provided, of course, that you know your key figures.

If you are a software company, you usually automatically have a value ladder in it. Because here, the packages are limited by defined factors. With us, these are e.g., B. Email contacts. And when your customers grow, you grow with them.

With your funnel, think about which products that build on one another and could offer (preferably with costs, but also free of charge), so that you can accompany your customers perfectly and get the most out of your company.

What do a sales funnel looks like in inbound marketing?

After taking a simple sales funnel, let’s take a quick look at what it looks like in inbound marketing.

Since inbound marketing is very content-heavy, it is about which content you should deliver at which phase of the customer journey or sales funnel. Here you should make sure that you always use the entire content.

Which key figures should you consider in the sales funnel?

Fortunately, with a simple sales funnel, there are not many indicators that you should look at. In essence, it’s always about the number of conversions and the associated conversion rate.

Above all, you should always keep an eye on the conversion rate. It is the lever for more efficiency.

Here are a few benchmarks that you can use for a fixed rate:

  • CVR visitors to lead: 1-3%
  • CVR leads to customers: 0.5-5%

As always, with benchmarks, that’s one thing. They should only give you a rough direction. The main thing is that you focus on regularly increasing your key figures.

We track our funnel daily to keep our finger on the pulse. We also look at it together every week and think about where we can still optimize.

Conclusion

Inbound marketing is always about being found by your potential customers. But just being seen is not enough.

Therefore, you should focus on your sales funnel.

Your goal should be to set up your funnel as quickly as possible, track it regularly, and optimize it. In this way, you gently guide your prospects from one phase to the next and accompany them on their customer journey.

Even if some voices think that the sales funnel no longer relevant, it is nevertheless. It’s just the classic buying process that we humans go through. You can’t shake it.

You mustn’t forget your customer after the sale.

A sales funnel often ends up with sales. But that is also automatic (as the Atlassian story shows, for example ).

Dropshipping can never be worth it!

Dropshipping is not economical and even less ecological.

Oh, that was a tough nut, wasn’t it? But how do I get it?

Dropshipping – what is it?

Let’s start at the very beginning with the question of what dropshipping is, what’s really behind it and why most companies inevitably have to fail because of it.

Most retailers already know dropshipping as drop shipping. In the case of a drop shipment, the dealer accepts an end customer’s order, even though he does not have the goods in stock himself. He forwards this order to his wholesaler or manufacturer, who in turn delivers (sometimes anonymously) directly to the end customer.

A simple business model and sounds very profitable, because we as a dealer have no own storage costs, but outsource this cost point to the supplier. This business model takes advantage of marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and even real, -. In the markets mentioned, we as dealers immediately benefit from an enormous reach, excellent infrastructure and established customer service. In return, we pay a relatively low sales commission. Simple principle and most online retailers have been familiar with at least two of the marketplaces for more than ten years. But how is it that the whole thing should not be worth it?

How dropshipping works

To do this, we have to go a little further:

Let’s take a look at how a drop shipping business is structured in detail. First of all, there is an end customer who comes to us with a demand. We confirm that we can meet this demand at a price mentioned (ideally this is the MSRP), but (currently) we do not have the item in stock ourselves. After our end customer has ordered, we pass the order on to our wholesaler or manufacturer with the request to deliver directly to the customer. Our wholesaler is now checking whether he can provide the ordered quantities at the required conditions. If he cannot do this, he passes the order on to another location or rejects our request. If he can fulfil them, the only question left is who will bear the freight costs?

Oh, we haven’t considered that yet! Who takes care of the freight? We already have a first stumbling block here, why many companies have to fail because of the dropshipping business model. They do not take freight costs into account in their pricing.

Who delivers dropshipping?

After we have clarified this, another hurdle has been cleared. Our supplier prepares the order for delivery and hands it over to the shipping service provider. He delivers the request to the end customer; everyone is happy.

Nearly! Because now it comes as it had to come: the end customer doesn’t like or doesn’t like the goods, and he wants to send them back. We naturally reject that, don’t we?

Dropshipping – who is liable?

Wrong, the end customer has an unlimited right of withdrawal and that for two weeks from delivery. Also, he is entitled to at least 24 months warranty for purchased products. So the goods come back, have to be checked, and if everything goes well, they have to be resumed. But first the question again: Who pays the return shipping costs?

And we have already reached the next stumbling block for the entrepreneur. Who takes this into account? After all, the customer orders because he likes the goods (it says: ‘Goods bought as seen’ and ‘Illustration can differ from the delivered item’ – everything is clear). Is that so? What about your ordering behaviour?

Correctly, in reality, the clothing sector alone returns around 65% of the items purchased – more from women, less from men. So we also have to factor this factor into our price calculation, and we shouldn’t forget that we probably paid for the original shipping out of our own pockets. Quite apart from the fact that we have paid for the ordered goods, but the customer gets his money back!

Is it dropshipping on the side – a success story for founders?

And it is becoming increasingly clear why the dropshipping business model does not pay off, even if the entire online world is currently tempting it as the panacea for e-commerce. It is easy to manage from the living room and even part-time. But in the real world, there is a lot more to it. If you are seriously dealing with the topic of dropshipping and maybe even in your online shop, you have to include some factors in your calculation.

Because seasoned shop owners know: Without marketing, there is no turnover. And without sales, certainly no profit!

So if you are considering the idea of ​​building and operating a successful company using the dropshipping business model, you have to come up with a good plan. And a good plan is based on a crisis-proof calculation. If you plan that well, you can also easily organize your e-commerce venture from the living room.

How do you start dropshipping?

But there is a long way to go.

How do you find dropshipping suppliers?

Let us examine from the beginning how we will achieve our goal: First of all (after we are clear about our range) we have to choose one or more suppliers.

What are our requirements for a suitable supplier?

Sure, it has to be reliable, but it also has to ship quickly, has a high never-out-of-stock stock, ideally provides a regular inventory file and provide all relevant product data and image links in one file. We also have to negotiate good terms with the supplier so that our margin is as high as possible. We’ll cover margins a little later, though.

After choosing the supplier, we have to think about suitable products and their distribution channels.

Dropshipping – what to sell?

What requirements do we place on our products?

Ideally, they are easy to explain or self-explanatory, we have a meaningful data structure and a detailed picture or video material. Furthermore, the price structure can be selected so that we can comply with the RRP and still get the highest possible profit from every sale. The return rate also plays a not insignificant role – if our supplier already has data on it, this can make a decisive contribution to the selection. Of course, articles with a relatively low return rate (always measured against comparable articles) are best suited, because each return costs us (depending on the calculation) valuable euros and thus decides on the success and failure of the business model.

Where to sell using dropshipping?

Now for the appropriate choice of the distribution channel. The distribution channel can vary from product to product.

What options do we have? And what are your advantages?

In e-commerce, we differentiate into two sales channels: our online shop and external marketplaces. One of the first considerations is which product is suitable for which sales channel. Because not every product fits every shop, some products are too special, too extravagant, too cheap or only not suitable for this target group. To reduce unnecessary costs, it is, therefore, necessary to ask the question where my end customers buy for each product. Does my product fit into the portfolio of the online shop? And where do other retailers or manufacturers sell similar products?

After we have clarified these fundamental questions for our products, we now know whether the selected products fit into our shop, on Amazon, on eBay or another e-commerce marketplace. The next step is data preparation according to the specifications of the chosen online shop. The more detailed the data can be delivered, the higher the likelihood from the beginning that our offers will be found quickly or easily by the end customer.

What do I have to consider with dropshipping?

How is the data structured?

Perhaps you already have detailed data in an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) or PIM (Product Information Management) system. All you have to do is transfer it to the correct format. Otherwise, the suppliers can be asked for help. Usually, you will quickly receive a comprehensive file with all available product data or make it possible for download. Make sure that this file also contains media links.

If there is no ERP, but we are talking about product data maintenance, the question arises at the same time with which interface you want to connect. There is no question that one or maybe two online shops can easily be operated with Excel tables, but then it gets confusing. Or what do you do when an order has to be split between several suppliers? You can quickly lose track of things.

Hence my advice: Think about which software you want to work within a good time.

How do you manage your offers?

I work with Tradebyte, an interface that can connect to over 90 channels in more than 16 countries. Here you deliver your product data, network it with the connected chain, and from there it runs almost automatically. I have already integrated a PIM for each channel, I keep an overview of stocks, and I can control prices for each channel individually.

Oh, yes, the sales prices … Didn’t I talk about the correct calculation earlier? How was it the same?

What does dropshipping cost?

Let us first consider what we know. There is a purchase price that we negotiated with the supplier. We have to think about the freight costs, i.e. how high the freight costs to the end customer are for me. How high do we estimate the return rate and what expenses can be expected per item? Because we have to assign the return freight (measured by the quota) as a percentage to each article sold. Also, there are costs such as packaging material, processing of returns (also as a percentage) and possible customs duties or other VAT rates than are customary in Germany. In the Netherlands and Belgium, for example, it is 21%. However, these are easy to calculate if we expect net prices. Also, there are all sales commissions and the necessary fees. Caution is advised with staggering sales commissions,

In the illustration below, I once inserted such a calculation formula. It quickly gets confusing, doesn’t it? But do not worry, in this rare case, it is an astronomical price calculation for a graduated commission with four price scales. I also got into the habit of never selling below the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, because I’d instead allow a little more leeway for a higher return rate or reserves for a new connection than one day find that the item is no longer profitable.

Closing word – When is dropshipping successfully implemented?

This brings me back to my initial

claim: dropshipping is not economical and even less ecological.

I stick to it! Unless I set up a realistic price calculation in advance, in which I also plan margins for myself. And I’d instead calculate a few cents more for innovative packaging – so make my contribution than offer the lowest price on hell. Because otherwise, my business model is exactly that: cheap! And I will never be successful and crisis-proof on the market. The current economic situation clearly shows how vulnerable most companies are when sales have been falling for a month.

Anyone who thinks “that alone is no guarantee of success”, I immediately agree with 100%. Because being successful is a constant process of monitoring, adjusting offers and observing the market. Only those who know what is going on in their economic field will build a permanently successful dropshipping company that is profitable in the long run.

Conversion rate optimization

The conversion rate is one of the most commonly used terms in online marketing. Many marketing and sales teams can no longer imagine their daily work without the conversion rate. Wherever leads are generated, products are sold, or paid campaigns are carried out, the conversion rate is used. In this article, we take a closer look at what is behind the conversion rate, what you need it for, how you calculate it, and what measures can be used to increase it.

How is the conversion rate defined?

The term conversion rate (abbreviation CR) is translated as a conversion or conversion rate. In the marketing language, it also occurs as a conversion rate. The marketer can individually define a conversation. The conversion rate is one of the most critical success indicators.

The conversion rate is the ratio between the number of website visitors and the transactions made on the website. A sale (e.g., an order) can take different forms. The conversion rate indicates the percentage of visitors that are required to achieve a conversion.

A conversion does not necessarily take place after a purchase has been completed. A translation can also be measured when a seminar is booked, a catalog is ordered, or test access to an online tool is booked on a website. The download of a white paper or a newsletter registration can also be counted as a conversion.

Note: Each website pursues its business model and defines itself in achieving its own goals. Therefore the calculation of the conversion rate must be determined individually.

The conversion rate is not only measured for successful actions on your website. It is also used to compare the performance of marketing campaigns. So you can compare the different Google AdWords campaigns with each other and measure the success of varying traffic channels (email, organic, paid, etc.). The conversion rate can be measured for the entire website (macro conversion) or only for individual landing pages (micro conversion).

That may sound complicated, but it is not! Continue reading…

What do you need a conversion rate for?

The question is pretty easy to answer: at the end of the day; we want to know how successful we have been. So the task of the conversion rate is to measure the success or failure of digital marketing activities in the company. We have a vast database in online marketing. If clean tracking is stored on the website, we can measure all imaginable transactions on a website. This is what makes online marketing work so incredibly exciting!

However, many website visitors are not sufficient if they do not make the desired transactions on the website. It follows that the conversion rate provides valuable help for every marketing and sales team. On the one hand, it supports strategic decisions, and on the other hand, it shows the way to the best possible solutions. As the link between marketing and sales, the conversion rate shows whether marketing campaigns and landing pages are performing correctly. After all, visitors should become leads!

If you have your paid campaigns controlled by an external agency, you can use the conversion rate to check the quality. But don’t make the mistake of only evaluating the success of a landing page or marketing campaign based on the conversion rate.

Why? Imagine that you run an online shop for greeting cards. In the past, your traffic was primarily brought to the website via expensive Google AdWords campaigns. In your campaigns, you mainly created keywords relevant to the purchase, such as “order greeting cards online” or “greeting cards online shop.” The conversion rate of your online shop was, therefore, relatively high.

At some point, you discovered content marketing for yourself. That is why you have integrated a blog into your online shop. In the blog, you write articles about what to look out for when writing a condolence card or how to formulate business Christmas greetings correctly.

Now you get a lot of organic visitors to your website via Google. For the most part, these visitors are not interested in buying a page; they just want to find out more. As a result, the conversion rate of your website has dropped. Is that negative now? No, it is not!

The traffic and visibility of the website have increased significantly. At the same time, many of the visitors who were initially been not interested in buying nevertheless placed an order in your shop. This, in turn, is reflected in increased sales.

The same principle applies to paid campaigns: If you only display your ads as an exact match when entering the keyword “order cheap running shoes,” the conversion rate will be higher than if I only show my ads as a broad match for all search queries related to this Play the keyword “running shoes.” In addition to the CR, other vital figures must also be used to evaluate the campaigns, such as the CPC or ROI.

Note: The conversion rate is a significant key figure. It can be used to control which sources, channels, devices, etc. perform best. However, it must never be used in isolation for evaluation!

How do you calculate the conversion rate?

The conversion rate calculation is relatively simple and can be supported by digital analysis tools (Google Analytics, Econda, Matomo, etc.). Depending on the marketing budget and individual needs, both free and fee-based tools can be used for this purpose.

The conversion rate formula is: Take the total number of conversions made (e.g., downloads of a white paper), divide this by the number of visitors, and multiply the result by 100.

It is worth noting that the conversion rate is displayed as a percentage. The total number of desired transactions and website visitors relates to a predefined time frame.

Here are two typical examples from practice:

Example of an online shop: An online shop recorded 1. million visitors to the site last year. During this period, 20,000 orders were placed. Accordingly, the conversion rate is 2 percent:

page. To get traffic to the landing page, a campaign was created at Google AdWords. In the first month, 1,000 visitors came to the site in this way. Fifty visitors downloaded the white paper. The conversion rate is 5 percent:

To prevent falsifications when calculating the conversion rate, you should make sure that you eliminate the fake traffic by referrer spam in your Google Analytics account. Otherwise, the conversion rate will be worse than it is.

But what is the percentage of a reasonable conversion rate? We take a closer look at this below.

What is a reasonable conversion rate?

There are some studies on the Internet (including smartinsights.com and wordstream.com ) in which conversion rates are shown and compared according to industries, device types, and countries. If you compare different studies with each other, you often get an average value of 2-4%.

From my own experience, I also know that there are website projects with a conversion rate of 15%. In my opinion, there is no generally valid comparison value! If I run a website with a conversion rate of 15% and have 10,000 visitors per month, while my direct competitor with a conversion rate of 5% has 50,000 visitors on his website, this leads to more conversions than at the end of the month. Here we are again at the point that the conversion rate should never be viewed in isolation. The conversion rate says nothing about the revenue generated and the marketing budget used.

If you look closely at your website’s conversion rate, you will quickly realize that there are significant differences in the source of visitors. Such analyzes provide useful insights into which channels are working well and which are not. For holistic evaluation, it is again essential to include further vital figures.

How can you increase the conversion rate?

Conversion rate optimization is about removing all obstacles that prevent a website visitor from making transactions on a website.

Sometimes even small adjustments can lead to significant improvements. Depending on the business model, an increase in the conversion rate is directly reflected in sales. Also, it is often much more comfortable and cheaper to improve the website’s conversion rate than to attract new traffic to the site.

Here are twelve tips to boost your website’s conversion rate:

  1. Buyer Personas and Buyer’sBuyer’s Journey

The creation of buyer personas is the prerequisite for long-term sales success. If the landing page and the promotions are tailored to buyer personas’ needs, a higher conversion rate is achieved. Based on customer surveys and the analysis of existing customer profiles, ideal customers can be sketched precisely.

In combination with the Buyer’sBuyer’s Journey, you have a powerful tool in hand to provide your Buyer Persona with the right content in the respective phase of the buying process.

2. Videos

Vidoes can get to the heart of complicated products within minutes. For example, we use the following video on a landing page that we want to use to reach customers looking for a content marketing agency:

3. Live chat and meeting tools

A live chat is a great tool to increase the conversion rate. On the one hand, a potential customer can contact the company directly and without obligation, if they have any questions. On the other hand, a live chat symbolizes user proximity and customer service.

For companies that offer a service or a consulting-intensive product, meeting scheduler tools are a great way to optimize the conversion. On our website, a CTA is displayed in the header with the words “Make an appointment.” If you click on this, you land in the calendar of our company owner and can set an appointment for a free consultation with a few clicks.

4. Offer contact options on each page.

Offer the user as many options as possible to get in touch with you. Show your phone number popularly and allow your users to contact you quickly via contact forms. This creates trust, which in turn leads to a better conversion rate.

5. Call-to-actions

Small changes can have a considerable impact. It is, therefore, worthwhile to deal with the subject of color psychology. We have found through tests that red CTAs perform best.

The second important lever is the text in the call-to-action. The text should encourage clicks and make the user understand what happens after the click. A CTA with the text “Download now” will convert better than a simple “download.” If the word “free of charge” is added to the CTA “Download Now,” this has a positive effect on the conversion again.

The higher the CTA is placed on a website, the more often it is clicked on. There is nothing wrong with placing several calls-to-action on one page.

Don’t you believe that? Then run an A / B test. In the first step, test two CTA colors against each other. Then test two versions of CTA with and without the word “now” against each other. We are currently checking in the CTA shown below, whether the color blue or the color red performs better.

6. Employee pictures

Employee images create trust and give the company a face. Use the “About Us” site and the “Team Page” to present your visitors with a friendly picture. We even go so far as to integrate selected employees with a short profile into our landing pages. Potential customers then know directly with whom they will work with us.

7. Customer testimonials

People like to be guided by the recommendations and opinions of other people. By using customer voices, website operators can create credibility. And that increases the conversion!

Therefore, ask selected customers for a two to three lengthy sentence statement. Integrate the report into the landing page along with a customer photo, as well as your name and job title. Below is a customer statement as we use it on a landing page:

8. Customer references

Customer references give the company credibility. All the more so when it comes to well-known customers. While we only show the logos of our top customers on the landing pages, we describe our company page in detail how we helped our customers solve their problems. This enables us to demonstrate our expertise to potential customers.

9. Trust elements

Trust elements such as certificates, awards, and seals of approval are an effective means of increasing the willingness of website visitors to convert. If possible, trust elements should be placed several times on the page. So not only on the start page and in the landing pages, but also on the footer or the header.

10. Forms

It is highly recommended to make forms as lean as possible. Only ask for information that you need: the more information the user has to fill in, the less willing to send it.

You can also use the form to make an attractive and understandable value proposition to the user. The interested party must understand what they get when they fill out the form and what benefits they get from it.

You can also create additional familiarity in forms by incorporating an employee photo and demonstrably increase the conversion rate. Be sure to use real employee images and don’t make the mistake of choosing stock photos. Most users will recognize this directly. The effect would then be negative.

11. Pop-up banners

Pop-up banners that are used correctly are a great way to increase the conversion rate. If a pop-up window opens immediately after opening a website, most users find this annoying. The user experience is, therefore, interrupted directly and thus negatively influenced.

We, therefore, recommend using exit-intent pop-ups. These only open when the user intends to leave the page. Discounts, registrations, or assets can be offered on the banners. Depending on which phase of the buyer’s journey the user is currently in, you can be very successful.

12. Analyze user behavior

Use analysis tools to analyze how users behave on the landing page. This tells you how far the users scroll on the page, where they click, and where they may even stop. We use HotJar on our landing pages and blog posts to successively optimize the pages based on the findings.

The bottom line

Now you know what is behind the conversion rate, what you need it for, how you calculate it, and what measures can be used to increase it to generate valuable leads.

But don’t make the mistake of only evaluating the success of your website based on the conversion rate. Do not compare this value with other industries, either. These comparisons are not meaningful!

Conversion optimization should go hand in hand with generating high-quality website traffic and be part of everyday work in online marketing. Small optimizations can sometimes be very successful.

Also, look for benchmarks. You often see the same or similar patterns among the big players in your competitive environment. You can start here.

Do active A / B testing! Optimize continually and test different forms, CTAs, texts, and images!

If your Buyer Persona does not find your website, all efforts are in vain. Therefore, analyze your traffic sources’ conversions and use your workforce and budget correctly based on the findings!

And very important: Make sure to use analysis and testing tools – these should be used daily! This is the only way to find out whether your work is bearing fruit. You also have a strong line of reasoning to discuss with colleagues, supervisors, and agencies and justify your budget.

Emotional marketing for strong brands

Feelings are involved not only with a romantic rendezvous but also with every purchase decision. Brands use this to their advantage – in emotional marketing. We explain what the marketing method is and how you can successfully use emotions in your advertising.

Joy, anger, sadness, surprise, pride – emotions are intense, reliable and hard to hold back. Or have you ever seen a wedding proposal in which the person in question remained completely emotionless? Admittedly, an extreme example. But it is precisely these spontaneous reactions that get under the skin that companies use in advertising. This is summarized under the term “emotional marketing”, which gives every campaign the decisive pep.

In this context, “decisive” is really to be understood in the most real sense of the word, because in the case of purchases and orders in both the B2C and B2B sectors, emotional impressions tend to tip the scales. Especially with almost interchangeable offers in competitive markets, the decision is made in favour of the provider that you remember (from advertising) and with whom you “feel most comfortable”, with whom “you have a good feeling”.

How does emotional marketing work?

Emotions are psychophysiological reactions that are triggered by an event or situation. They are accompanied by a noticeable physical change, for example of muscles, heartbeat or breathing. In a strict sense, emotions are, therefore, not the same as feelings. The latter occurs less in effect, but include a wide variety of psychological experiences.

  • Emotions: interest, disgust, love, envy, disappointment, joy, pride, etc.
  • Feelings: jealousy, insecurity, enthusiasm, melancholy, etc.

However, the terms are often equated. And in marketing, too, there is no clear distinction between emotions and feelings.

Emotions influence the decision to buy

Buying decisions are made with both halves of the brain. For his publication Descartes’ Error (review on Psychology Today), the American neuroscientist Antonio Damasio examined that the emotional component plays absolutely no subordinate role. For this purpose, he carried out a study with people whose connections between the left and right brain were broken.

The study participants were able to process the available information rationally but were not able to choose between different alternatives. To make a choice, you have to be able to find out how you think about the individual options or how you feel about them. The activity of the corresponding brain regions can be measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

About decision-making, emotional marketing comprises two aspects: First, it is about the customer rationally realizing that he needs a particular product. The research initially relates to information. When making the final purchase decision; however, feelings and emotions prevail (often unconsciously). In the B2C area, it may also be the case that the consumer does not need anything in principle, but develops a desire to buy through smart, emotional marketing.

Additional studies, called Psychology Today, have demonstrated that.

  • Feelings in the form of personal experiences come into play when evaluating brands and not the product-related facts.
  • The consumer’s emotional response to an advertisement has a far more significant impact on their intent to purchase than the content of the ad.
  • The sympathy for a particular brand, the best indicator is the extent to which advertising is to increase sales.
  • Positive emotions towards a brand have a more significant impact on customer loyalty than trust and judgments from others.

The more emotional the bond with a brand is, the more loyal the customer will be to it. So it’s worth investing in emotional marketing.

Emotional marketing in practice

The purpose of emotional marketing is to combine positive feelings with the brand message. The product is therefore not explained in terms of its technical properties, but rather in terms of customer benefit, which in turn evokes (hopefully pleasant) feelings among users. It is precisely these emotions that potential customers must feel immediately.

We have known this well enough from classic advertising, for example on television, from clean men shining into the camera, cheering children and sighing homemakers with a sigh of satisfaction. What was used quite strikingly in the 1970s often works a little differently Today? The desired feelings are awakened but more subtly than before.

Determine the target group

As in all other marketing areas, the target group should be narrowed down first. The better you know them, the more precisely emotional marketing can be tailored. Find out what makes your target group tick, what needs, what desires, what fears it has. The age structure and interests are also essential to find functioning starting points.

Find the right emotions.

Happiness, joy, enthusiasm – these are the feelings that advertisers want to trigger among the clientele. However, it is not enough to simply present these positive emotions. As we know from Antonio Damasio’s study, among other things, buying decisions mature through a perfect interaction of the different brain areas.

This means that the rational components must also be right, first of all, the quality of the product. Then it’s about finding emotions that match the product and brand being offered. For example, a married couple shaking with excitement doesn’t seem particularly credible when it comes to the next tax return. If a service provider offers help here, there is a feeling of relief.

Depending on the offer, negative emotions can also be linked to the product or service of the target group. For example, if a security service advertises particularly efficient burglary protection, emotions such as fear and discomfort are also present. The art is to convey a feeling of security that outweighs negative emotions.

The task of marketing is to find a credible situation and suitable emotions that help to describe the offer. Customers should find themselves in the case with their wishes and needs. When it comes to problem-solving products, there must be a solution with positive emotion that remains permanently connected to the brand.

Colour psychology in emotional marketing

Specific colours trigger individual associations and thus certain feelings. Although the taste of each customer is very different, there are particular properties of the colours that are supposed to have a relatively uniform effect on the psyche while blue is associated with calm and reason, among other things, red stands for passion and danger.

Knowledge of colour psychology can be used excellently in emotional marketing and should be taken into account, for example, when choosing an image background or the colour for the logo. For international campaigns, it is essential to know that colours may have different meanings in different cultures. And then, of course, there is always a personal aversion to specific colours.

Let pictures speak

Our brain takes pictures much faster than written or spoken words. And not only that: they are also stored much better and linked to the permanent information. If the first few seconds are decisive, an eye-catching image is indispensable – just as little as for the marketing message to have a lasting effect.

The images must also arouse the desired emotions among consumers and should be as authentic as possible. This means that your photos are best suited instead of images from image databases, which may also be found in the competition.

Search for starting points

Emotional marketing works particularly well if you build on what is already known. Positive memories come into question. The advertising often appeals to a happy childhood, which revives it briefly in advertisements and spots. Or the first big love, the first purchase with self-earned money etc. The awakened nostalgia should be fulfilled with the help of the brand associated with it. In reality, this does not always work for the buyer, but it does create the feeling that it could be – and that is enough.

Another option in emotional branding is the use of significant events, movements and megatrends. It can be a soccer World Cup or the Olympic Games, or maybe a film that draws millions into the cinemas – everything that arouses emotions in us. Since the “Fridays for Future” demonstrations at the latest, many people have reacted sensitively to climate and environmental protection issues, especially if they still have a regional connection.

The same applies here: it must fit the brand and the message. If it is too evident that a trend should benefit in all circumstances, the next shit stream is usually not far.

Tell stories

With storytelling, the most boring technical backgrounds can be packed into exciting stories. Every customer starts their head cinema; images are created in the subconscious that can be used for emotional marketing.

Emotional conditioning

This term from behavioural research is often used in connection with emotional marketing. It describes the process of combining two different stimuli and subsequent effects. This means that a brand (neutral stimulus) is always presented in combination with a particular emotion (emotional stimulus). After successful conditioning, the consumer will always automatically associate the previously neutral brand with the same feeling.

The link between the brand and the desired emotion can, as already mentioned, be brought about by appropriate images. Another possibility is direct verbatim statements. The best example: McDonald’s with its claim “I love it!” Visiting the fast-food chain means having a good time together (former claim: “Every time a good time”). Positive emotions are awakened through advertising and applications, which are then linked to the visit – and ultimately also to the McDonald’s brand.

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