Friday 17 March 2017

It is obvious though it is a fact many people do not understand. You do not become Amazon or eBay overnight!

Many new website owners do not understand why their site is not converting as it should. They spent time and money building it but no sales. It is understandable up to some extent, particularly when you are a small business.

But the world of e-commerce is quite particular. That is why we have put together this article.

What are the main considerations?

Building a website is one thing but there are hundreds of thousands other existing and several hundred that sell the same exact product. Standing out from the crowd is, therefore, essential.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when starting an online business:

  • Is my website adding a real value to my business?
  • Is the product I sell market-worthy? Is there a demand for it?
  • Is your product something you would purchase online or on location?
  • Did I advertise my business, if not, do I have enough money to do so?

Once you have answered these questions you have a clearer idea of whether your business will work or not. These questions should be answered even before having your website designed unless you simply want to use it as a portfolio.

Here are 2 key elements that you can focus on:

Nature of the business

A website is directly impacted by the nature of the business it is related to. An e-commerce site will see very different interactions on it than a car dealer or a photographer’s site.

The nature of your business will largely influence your audience and the actions they are ready to accomplish online.

E.g.: Website A is an e-commerce website selling e-cigarettes which average product price is £/€45. Website B is a used car dealership selling products with an average price of £/€5,000. Obviously, the user will not have the same relationship between web sites A and B. While buying an e-cigarette does not require a major thinking process. Buying a car will require you to think thoroughly.

Website A will, therefore, see many conversions, while website B will act as a driver of visits to the dealership.

The nature of the business is a very big deal and should never be disregarded.

Nature of the product

Your product will also influence your audience when it comes to the use and development of your website. Some products such as medicines, alcohol, and others are highly regulated and therefore the fact of selling these online can be forbidden by the laws and regulations. Additionally, some products may be authorised in some countries and not in other or have specific regulation with regards to the promotion of these.

It is your responsibility to make sure that you are not breaking any laws or regulations of the market(s) you operate.


Advertising your website

Advertising is essential for any new business, however, the advertising techniques are different depending on the stage of development of your business and its proportion or estimated online sales. It is important for you to choose the right one.

Among the advertising techniques we can mention (each one will be described individually):

  • E-mailing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • PPC/Display
  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Video Marketing


Probably the simplest and one of the quickest marketing technique to set up. E-mailing relies exclusively on obtaining a group of email addresses that have opted in to receive marketing communications.

Email Marketing

How to get the emails

2 techniques exist to obtain email addresses:

  1. Collecting directly the email from your website
  2. Buying email addresses lists in bulk from approved sellers

Obviously, the first technique will increase the quality of emails as people will have voluntarily opted in to receive marketing communications. However, the collection of emails may be difficult when you just created your website as your traffic is low to nonexistent.

Then the second technique can be quite handy and help your business, nonetheless, depending on your business, it can ruin your reputation as you may be perceived as a spammer. Pay extra caution if you plan to purchase an e-mail list, note as well that all Personal Identifiable Information must be stored in the EU and cannot leave the continent without the specific approval of the customer.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is a very simple and relatively cheap option for a new business to implement as it works in the way described by the schema below:

Affiliate Marketing

It simply requires a bit of time to be implemented due to the need to recruit the right website for your business.

To make it simple here are the 5 steps to make it work:

  1. Get a list of website you want to advertise on
  2. Agree on a price per lead/conversion with the owner
  3. Implement the ads and the conversion tracking
  4. Wait for the magic to happen
  5. Pay the website generating the conversion


It is a fairly flexible technique that uses 3 main compensation schemes to which we can add a 4th:

  • CPC (Cost per Click) → E.g. £/€0.10 per click
  • CPM (Cost per Mille) → E.g. £/€1 per 1,000 impressions
  • CPA (Cost per Action) → E.g. £/€2.5 per conversion/lead
  • CPD (Cost per Day) → E.g. £/€10 per day

The last technique is mostly used in Asia, while in Europe, the CPA remains the dominant compensation scheme with more than 90% of affiliate programmes using it.

Multi-tier programmes can also exist mixing different compensation schemes or different values in terms of compensation.

E.g.: 3 websites A, B, and C have the same traffic, however, A generates twice as many conversions than B or C then you may want to offer a performance bonus to A

Sub-affiliate programmes are also to be considered. Sub-affiliates can entitle a smaller site than yours to generate conversions via its own affiliates with a lower commission.

E.g.:  Site A is one of your affiliates you compensate £/€1 per conversion. In a bid to increase his traffic it creates its own affiliate programme. Site B, the affiliate of site A generates a conversion. Then you may consider £/€0.5 to site A due to the fact the conversion was not directly imputable to it.


The most common advertising technique by far. PPC and Display ads are everywhere. On search engines, on media websites, on blogs. They are absolutely everywhere!

How does it work?

Very simple: “You pay, you appear!”

PPC: Text ads are paid on Cost-per-click basis and use the AdWords network

Display: Display ads also known as banner ads are generally paid using CPM (Cost per Mille) it corresponds to a fee paid every thousand impressions.

Why doing it?

PPC and Display are particularly cost effective as they reach an incredible amount of people. If you consider Google alone, 93% of searches in Europe start on Google with an average of 3.5 billion searches per day worldwide (Europe is around 30%) that means that you are everywhere. If you then add the “Search Partners” (usually media owners) you literally cannot be missed.

Depending on your product you may prefer display to text ads.

A visual product like a dress is for sure easier to advertise using a display ad where you can actually see the product than a text ad stating only “Red dress for sale” as when you look for a dress you also have to consider elements like the shape, the fabric and the way it look a text ad will not describe it properly as it is all about looks; same thing for a car.

What can I expect

Google just released some data about click-through-rate and conversion rate that may give you a good idea of what you can expect.

Google Click-through-rateAverage Click-Through-Rate by Industry on Google (2016)

conversion rate googleAverage Conversion Rate by Industry on Google (2016)


SEO also known as Search Engine Optimisation is probably the most complex and the less reactive technique due to the fact that it requires a long-term approach.

Unless you are ready to commit a minimum of 12 to 18 months, you should not even start!SEO

However, the benefits can be just incredible especially when you consider that 8 out of 10 people trust more organic results (results naturally considered by the search engine).

SEO can help you cut your advertising costs or reallocate it. SEO acts a bit like reputation apart from the fact it is online. It helps to define your website as the No.1 reference for certain terms.

E.g.: Website A is selling cars and writes an article about the 10 best cars in the world. Provided the article is interesting, some other websites may mention it by linking to it. The more people appreciate your article, the more its notoriety grows. Consequently, it is perceived by the search engine as providing the right answers to a question and will be ranked higher in the search results.

However, be aware that not all links are good links. Make sure you know what to do if you plan to do it yourself, otherwise, go with an agency.

Social Media

Social Media is definitely the cheapest and most versatile marketing technique. It accomplishes 3 main purposes:

  1. Allows you to keep in touch with your audience and link to them
  2. Allows you to implement a CRM (Customer Service) strategy
  3. Allow you to promote your brand

Each of these purposes can be an incredible chance for your business or spell its death, it all depends on your involvement. Despite their intrication, we have decided to provide you with an in-depth approach on each of them

Audience contact

The audience contact is crucial as it allows you to tell a story to your customers, the story of your business. While some businesses stay very professional and neutral, some others define themselves by their originality.

These last are generally capable of building a story that distinguishes them from their competitors. That is the moment where an audience becomes a fan base.

“Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten.” – Gucci Family Slogan


Good customer service is essential nowadays, prior to the internet you may have had 1 or 2 competitors, now your competition is global. Additionally, bad reputation spread like wildfire when it reaches the internet. If you want to keep a good reputation, it is crucial that you take your responsibilities.

Brand Promotion

Social networks also offer the possibility to sponsor your brand and your products. Why is it so great? Simple, you can reach people that never heard of your business. You should never disregard it as the more happy customers you get, the more publicity you will acquire. But if someone does not know you, it is a great idea to do everything to be found.

Some other techniques exist but with these, yet, we believe we have covered a good share of them.

When to launch each activity?

The chart below represents in a very simplistic way the evolution of a business, of course, we did not include elements such as business funding and other specific elements.

This chart will be used only to describe the different activities and give a clear perspective of when they should start. Obviously, every business will evolve differently so do not consider this is the only possible approach.

Company Evolution

See below the activities that you can start based upon the stages

Start-Up Stage:

  • Social Media
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • PPC/Display

You may wish to add SEO however if you are looking for cash urgently, it definitely is not the place to start as it requires time and a specific skillset.

Established Business Stage:

  • SEO
  • Email Marketing
    (you can start it at an earlier stage but unless you have a solid email database it will be a waste of time)
  • Advanced Affiliate programme

Corporation Stage:

At this stage, you can run all activities simultaneously.

If you wish to get additional advice get in touch with us and we will be able to design a strategy that fits your business needs.

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