How to increase online sales on a limited budget?

As the Historical cost of starting an online business has reduced significantly over the past couple of years and with the help of e-commerce solution providers like Shopify, wix and others, it is easier than ever to start an online business and start selling to customers all over the world.

But the biggest problem is not starting the business, it’s finding the right customers who is willing to pay you and finding profitable products that they actually want without spending too much money in advertising.

In this post, we will go through each step of process one by one, so you can apply it right away for your own business. So, let’s get started.

1. Which Products to sell and Where?

A. Google Shopping insights –

Google Shopping insights helps business understand customers interest in a product at national, regional and city level in the US. It includes data on approximately 6000 popular products and categories.

Top 10 Products list –

This section shows top 10 most popular products in the US. You can see that the fidget spinners are once a hot product but now their popularity is declining, while the search for Nintendo switch is rising over time and vans products are new rising stars that customers are most interested in. Clicking on any of the products will give you more details about it. From the curated top product list, it is obvious that If you are not selling vans products then you must start selling them because the competition will be low at this moment and you can take advantage of it before your competitors do.

Finding Insights about a Product or Categories that you are interested in?

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume that we are interested in selling women’s shoes, watches, and leggings and want to know more about it, so, do you do that?

The above graph shows that women are most interested in leggings than in watches which is interesting and they love shoes a lot, we all do.

But if you look closely at the trend lines above, you will see that every year search volume of leggings starts to rises in Q3 and surpasses the shoe volume in Q4 in 2014,2015, and in 2016 and starts to decline after Q4. So, if you are selling leggings, you know when to keep more stock of it and during which period you need to invest more money in advertising it.

And you can also see that customers are also searches more for these products on mobile than on Desktop. So, if your website is not optimized well for mobile than you will lose more customers for sure.

Which regions or cities to target the customers? –

For Women shoes –

The Heat map is showing the regions or cities where the search volume for women shoes are higher. You can Zoom in and out of the map and also search by a specific city in the search box located just at the top of the trend line for more details.

If you hover your mouse on any of the icons, it will show you top 5 cities for a particular product with highest search volume.

Top 5 cities for Women’s shoes –

1. New York, NY           100

2. Los Angels, CA          54

3. Chicago, IL                 47

4. Houston, Tx                37

5. Dallas, Tx                   26

Note –  These numbers are normalized on a scale of 0-100 and do not convey absolute search volume.

Top cities for Leggings –

1. New York, NY          90

2. Corona, CA               52

3. Los Angels, CA        39

4. Chicago, IL               35

5. Houston, Tx              21

Now, you can also compare these cities and see where customers are interested in which product more and adjust your budget according to it.

What brand of product to sell? –

You can see how Nike shoes is blowing Adidas and Puma shoes out of the market. The customers are more interested in Nike than in others. The other trend id for vans shoes. As we seen earlier that Van’s products are rising in popularity. So it will be a good time to also invest in it. Let understand a little bit more about it.

Look at the graph, how vans shoes is keep growing in popularity year over year. The trend keep shifting towards the right.

Top cities for Vans shoes

1. Los Angeles, CA            100

2. New York, NY                 92

3. Houston, Tx                     44

4. Chicago, IL                      42

5. San Diego, CA                 31

Let’s go back and add all the brands but this time we going to look at data by Interest rather than Volume. Which you can find at the top right of the trend chart.

The Interest Mode allows us to identify surprising behavior in smaller and mid-sized cities that are usually overwhelmed by larger cities in volume mode.

If you zoom on the map you will find lots of surprises, in this case it’s Palco, Kansas. The points for different products are –

1. Vans Shoes              76

2. Nike Shoes              16

3. Adidas Shoes           0

4. Puma Shoes             0

By looking at the above data it is clear that Vans shoes are more popular in Palco, Kansas than any other brands, not even Nike. Which wasn’t obvious when we are doing our analysis in Volume mode.

You can also export the data in excel to find insights faster rather than keep zooming in or out again and again on the map.

Now, we know what products to sell and which cities to target in our Ad campaigns, let’s find out what people are searching to find these products on the web.

2. Keyword Research –

B. Google Trends –

Google Trends is a great tool for finding search queries that people are using when they are looking for these products or categories.

Top Related Queries –

According to the Google trends data, Some top related search queries for women shoes are related to Nike and Running and for leggings, customers are really interested in lularoe leggings and also in Nike leggings.

Rising Related Queries –

Rising queries are the search terms that have the biggest increase in search frequency since the last time period. As we saw earlier that overall customers are more interested in Nike shoes than in Adidas shoes but the rising related queries shows that the popularity of adidas nmd and ultra boost shoes are rising in interest among customers and they are also quite interested in Samuel Hubbard shoes.

Some of the rising search terms for leggings apart from lularoe are gymshark flex leggings and pop fit leggings. And if you are wondering what is leggings united airlines like I was before, it turns out that United Airlines didn’t let two girls board on their plane because they wore leggings. What the heck United.

You can further go deeper into a particular search term or add it to compare with another terms or directly start a google search for that term.

3. How to reduce the cost of Advertising?

Content Marketing –

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that once you created the content, you get traffic from it again and again rather than constantly paying money to Google and Facebook. There should be a balance between earned and paid traffic. It is also a great way to introduce new customers to your brand when they are in the early buying cycle.

There are lots of great free and paid tools for finding content ideas but I am going to show you one tool that I really like and it’s completely free.

Answer the Public is a very great tool for find content ideas and long tail keywords and it’s shows it using visualizations.

You can see some great ideas for your content marketing like –

1. Which women’s walking shoes are the best?

2. Which women’s Nike shoes are the best for running?

3. What women’s shoes are in fashion?

4. Expensive women’s shoe

Some more great ideas are –

1. Women’s shoes to wear with Jeans/Shorts/Dress pants.

2. Women’s basketball shoes

3. Women’s shoes for work

4. Women’s shoes for tennis/travel.

You can also see the keywords alphabetically . There are tons of ideas that will help you to get started.

You can also export these keywords and find their search volume in Google Keyword Planner tool or you can use a very helpful Google Chrome add-on ” Keyword everywhere” to get an estimated search volume and also the cost per click for these keywords. It also works with Google search, analytics, trends, Amazon etc.

This is how it will look like if you use it with Answer the public.

Let’s move on to another important part of our analysis.

4. Ads Targeting?

So far we learned a lot about our ideal customers and what they are looking for when they want to buy some products. Now, let’s use these insights and actually target these customers to increase the traffic and sales of our website.

Google Display Planner is a great tool for display advertising. You can run Display Ads on Websites and mobile apps, Google also lets you target customers based on keywords, topic, interests, demographic etc.

Once you enter the search terms or topics, you will see a list of websites that customers often visit when they want to research something related to these keywords. You will also get some additional data like What Ad formats these website support, How relevant these websites are to your search terms, the average CPC for running ads on these websites.

Google also shows you approximately how much impressions can you get from these websites.

Another great way to find websites for advertising is through the Google Analytics.

First, go to  Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals report

In the above pic, you can see the list of websites who are already sending traffic to your website. Find out which is performing well and then target these websites through display advertising.

5. How to fine-tune Ads Targeting and measure them effectively?

To fine-tune your Ads, you can also look at the reports in the Audience section of your Google analytics. There are lots of amazing insights like Which age group of the customers are more relevant your customers and convert at a higher rate. Then you can only focus on these age groups and exclude the age groups from your ads which aren’t performing well.

The In-Market segment report –

The In-Market Segment report helps you to find categories that are most relevant to your business and you can use these insights to further improve your PPC or Display ads.

One important thing to remember that whatever type of ads you are running, don’t forget to look at the Assisted Conversion Report in Google Analytics.

You can find it under Conversions > Multi-channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions.

Why should you use this report?

Because by default, Google Analytics gives all the credit of a conversion to a channel, source, or a campaign which helps in closing the sales at the last step of the conversion process. But most customers don’t purchase on their first visit. They interact multiple times with your website through various channels before making a final purchase.

In the above pic, you can see that based on the last click attribution, Display ads only help Google Merchandise store to close 183 sales worth $704 in revenue. But in reality Display ads also helped GMS to get additional 251 sales which contribute $3829 in revenue. It also has the highest Assisted /last click or Direct conversion ratio ( Last column), the higher the number, the more this channel helps in assisting conversions. So, If you don’t use this report then you would make a wrong assumption that display ads aren’t too much profitable for you.

That’s all for today.Like, share and subscribe if you find this post helpful. If you have any questions, then let me know in the comment section below.

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