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E-Commerce Website Building, Creating Content, and Building an Email List Webinar

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Industry Solutions using Marketing Automation

Apr 18, 2017

In this week's webinar, we discuss the importance of E-Commerce Website Building, creating valuable content, and building an email list. All of these things are veryย beneficial to your business and will aid in your marketing efforts moving forward. If you'd rather read than watch a video, please refer to the transcript below. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to digitize@simplycast.com.

Intro: E-Commerce Website Building, Creating Content, and Building an Email List

Hello everyone and thanks for joining us for our third Digitize NS Webinar. I hope you have been enjoying the course so far and have brought any and all questions you may have. For anyone wishing to catch up on our webinar from last week, we will be happy to provide you with a link in the chat. As with all of our Digitize NS webinars, this will be recorded for later playback of you wanted extra time with a certain section or for listening on the go. Todayโ€™s webinar is going to focus on domain acquisition, how to write content effectively and building an email-base.For those who may be joining us for the first time, over the past two weeks weโ€™ve been exploring a fictional entrepreneur named Joe who runs a local business making sweaters.Joe has owned his own business for over 20 years located in Downtown Dartmouth and selling at the Halifax & Dartmouth Farmerโ€™s Markets, he is seeing a decline in business. To tackle this issue, he has decided to take his storefront online to open up his consumer base.

Agenda

Today, weโ€™re going to go further as Joe finishes more of his website and starts to build his emailing list. The main topics that will be cover are domain acquisition, a brief intro into content writing and finally, the beginning of an emailing list. Before we dive in, however, letโ€™s refresh ourselves on where Joe left off.

Check in with Joe

When we last left Joe, he had:

  • Developed a Strategy
  • Found an e-commerce site to work with
  • Is getting training from the site
  • He is starting to see the Big Picture

Let's break that down Joe's objectives for his strategy is to launch an e-commerce site, create an email list to reach his customers and open a Facebook page to promote his shop. As you can see, Joe has broken this down into steps to tackle one objective at a time to create a strategy.

Joe's Strategy

Here is a diagram of Joeโ€™s strategy with the objectives he wants to achieve outlined as Step One, Two and Three. Traditionally, these steps would have a bit more detail such as how many hits Joe wants he might have, or the open rate of his emails but we are letting Joe go slow. These topics will be explored in later future webinars through, so stay tuned.

Joe's Strategy Step One

As his first step is to open an e-commerce site, he has already taken a few steps towards completing that objective. Last week, he looked at different e-commerce website building providers who have easy-to-use platforms that can allow him to create his e-commerce websites with his own specific style while meeting his needs. After doing demos with a few different providers, he found one that fits the budget he set, offers added benefits such as 24/7 support and training sessions so he can master the software.

He has started to see the Big Picture of what he wants his site to look like. He wants to include an About Me section to detail what makes both himself and his product unique and is even toying with the idea of writing a blog. He has even started taking photos of clothing he would like to see online around the store.

Joe's IA Plan

On the recommendation of Joe's e-commerce website building support, they asked him to create an IA or information architecture plan. The key word in that term is architecture a website IA is like a floor plan for your home and lays out where all of your information will be kept. An IA plan can be laid out in many ways, but a simple and easy way is to draw it out as you would a family tree. Start with Home Page and branch off into other pages like About Me, Online Store or Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Take a look at Joe's IA as an example, and feel free to use it as a base for yours.

Domains

Next - as part of the e-commerce website building provider's onboarding process and formalize Joe with this company, the package he paid for includes a custom domain. Domains or Domain Name Systems (DNS) is the digital version of the phone number used to connect customers with his store. Just like phone numbers, you can also not have duplicates and each must be unique. An example of a popular domain that everyone uses is www.google.com. An important piece to note here is that end .com as they are similar to area codes there are many and can pertain to different countries or protocols.

Luckily for Joe, the provider he is working with sees that www.joessweaters.ca is good to use and will only cost him $15 dollar to acquire the rights to so he can use it for the whole year, after which he can choose to renew it. Joe has decided to with a .ca domain instead of a .com domain name because he is a Canadian business with his business filings in Canada.

When it comes to domain names, remember to keep them as simple as possible. The easier it is to remember, the better! While in this case, the provider Joe is working with a provider who has gone through this process for him, anyone can buy website domains by going to sites and purchasing the rights to them. If you're considering launching your own website, we highly recommend you check these sites to see what is and isn't available.

Let's say for a moment that joessweaters.ca wasn't available what other domain names do you think would work? If it isn't said: Joe could have gone with jsweaters.com, joessweaters.shop.com or joesknits.com.Do not be afraid to play around with possible domain names and remember the shorter and clearer the better: joessweatersindartmouth.com is a bit of a mouthful, isn't it?

Now that Joe has a domain name and he has learned to shift pages around to suit his IA, it's time he started writing content and learned a few important lessons.

Content

If youโ€™ve heard the phrase "Content is King," you know a large part of sending emails or writing for a website not only about how you present but how it is written. The best advice that can be given on writing content is to be clear, concise and keep the reader in mind. While there are people who have dedicated their education and careers to be able to do precisely this, weโ€™re happy to provide you with tips and tricks that are used across the industry.

  1. When preparing to write content, whether it is for a webpage or an email, try to write down in a few sentences as possible what you want the reader to take away from it. These sentences will be your compass and allow you to construct driven content that attracts and informs readers.
  2. Consider what makes you stand out, whether it is you as a professional, your product or your service. In Joe's instance, he created handmade wool sweaters from locally-sourced, ethically certified sheep farms. This message will resonate with customer bases online that prefer to buy their goods from small businesses, locally-sourced materials and ethical care to the material's source.
  3. Do not let your inner critic stop you. One of the hardest parts of writing is having that nagging voice in the back of your mind saying Stop: that's no good! and can stifle your writing. It can be hard pushing this unnecessary critic away, but push forward — nothing is harder to edit than a blank page.
  4. Remember the proverb: less is more. This too, is true when writing for digital mediums writing as short, concise sentences can draw the eye better than long paragraphs.

What do we think of this so far? Do we have any questions? Does anyone have any helpful pieces of advice they would like to add don't be shy!

Step Two: Email List

An additional benefit to Joe gaining a domain is that he can also create emails tied to that domain name such as Owner@joessweaters.ca. These emails provide a layer of authenticity to his business and will help when he wants to send emails to his clients.'

Speaking of emails, Joe has started working on Step Two (Creating an Email List) but asking clients for their emails as they check out and having a form at the Farmerโ€™s Markets. He has kept his personal laptop close to the cash register and been putting names into a spreadsheet at the end of the day.

If you were in Joe's position what kind of information would you want to include in your email campaign? (Pause)Luckily, Joe has a sounding board of people that are both friends, family, and clients to offer their thoughts and suggestions. Some think adding information such as caring for the sweaters fabrics, upcoming sales and feedback surveys would be a good idea to communicate with his client base.

You should also never be afraid to look at emails you may get from stores that you love shopping at — especially the ones that get you to go back. Take a moment or two of your days and look at the content they are pushing out, what it relates to (sales, upcoming events, etc) and make note of that for future reference.

It's important when we are talking about obtaining emails to bring up compliance how here has heard of CASL?

It is an extremely important piece of Canadian legislation and outlines a large number of checkpoints that emails you send out need to meet, not to mention WHO you can send it out to. Penalties for not adhering to the rules laid out by this law can be costly for both you and your business, with the amount for infractions reaching up to $10 million dollars.

So far, Joe has stayed compliant as he has asked customers to write down their email on a physical form wherein the customers are expressing their consent. Expressed consent can be given in many ways from filling out online phones and writing on physical forms to over the phone and by responding coupons. Implied consent is a bit trickier as it deals with persons you would have a reasonable right to contact, such a business associate.

As Joe gets deeper into creating his emails, he will also need to include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of his email and his postal address

.For now that is our webinar for today!

Lessons Learned

To review, today we discussion Joe getting more of his website ready by leveraging e-commerce website building and creating an IA and even getting his own domain. IA can be very simple and can be considered as your siteโ€™s family tree so you know where all the content goes. Domains are equally important as they are the phone number (www.joessweaters.com) your clients will use to get to your website on the web.

When writing content, remember to be clear and concise while talking about what specifically makes you unique from training and location to produces and services. And don't forget: less is more!

Finally, if you are going to build an email list, stay CASL complainant. Remember that Expressed consent is when someone allows you to take their information whether it is online, in person or over the phone. Implied consent is when there is reasonable cause to contact the person, such as if you have an existing relationship like you would with a business partner. With this in mind, don't be afraid to look at what other business are sending out in emails — especially your industry for ideas. It may be deals, it may be upcoming events, it may be information on your product or service or all three!

Next Week

Next week, we will keep following Joe as he started to style, brand (and maybe even launch!) his website. We will be learning more about content writing, specifically writing for the web as well as emails and finally — Joe gets ready to send his first email blast!

Sounds exciting, right? Any questions from today's presentation?

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