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WordPress Plugin for Inbound Marketing Part III : Unplugged

Looking for the best shopping cart for ecommerce marketing? Here are the ABCs of wordpress plugins to drive inbound shoppers and sales like never before.

 Wanna build a store online? Care to change a basic blog into a responsive, flawlessly functional eCommerce platform? Thanks to WordPress, setting up a business online has never been easier. But still, choosing the right ecommerce shopping cart plugin is a little tricky given the mind-boggling variety of available themes and features.

Plus, with ecommerce sales expected to hit $491.5 billion dollars in 2018, As Statista reports, you have to stay a step ahead of online shopping trends. (Think about rubbing shoulders with Amazon and eBay!) But don’t worry if you’re not well-versed with inbound marketing plugins. I’ve set up many and I’ll tell you how.

But first thing first. Know the basics.

 

sales conversion memeInbound marketing strategy goes beyond both—digital and content.

Online retail is huge and I’m not going to harp on the teeny-weeny, oft-quoted terminology details. But, only because inbound marketing strategies are content-focused, doesn’t make it content marketing. To put in brief, inbound marketing involves being good to Google and helping customers with quality content via social media. So, the problem is not web design and development, it’s the marketing technique that inspires it. Inbound marketing helps build sustainable, relevant traffic for

Inbound marketing helps build sustainable, relevant traffic for online presence that lasts. Losing sales? Create sustenance. Want to repeat buys and visits? Make quick-loading product pages and add simple shopping cart solutions.

Truth is…you’re just a few plugins away from more sales. I’m gonna show you how top ecommerce plugins help attract INBOUND traffic so you can choose for yourself.

1.    Top-class ecommerce Plugins for Inbound Marketing: Which One is Right for You?

Plugin is the fastest, most viable ecommerce solution, which you can add to your existing WordPress website, or you can build a new one entirely.To keep pace with inbound marketing, choose eCommerce plugin that delights and attracts customers by giving them a customizable, supportive interface. But, first check the platform for plugin compatibility. WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento and Yahoo Stores are currently the top-trending eCommerce technologies.

 

 CMS usage statistics wordpress

Source: Builtwith eCommerce technologies usage stats ow.ly/T3ETz

Now, what do you think will suit your business?

Magento and BigCommerce both have in-built marketing features, but their premium plans come with big price.Despite having a professional edge, Magento is not as simple as WordPress. For instance, unlike WordPress, Magento never allows adding extra page templates with a few clicks, but it requires a whole new list-updating module.

WordPress is also endowed with tons of inbound marketing plugins for SEO, lead generation and conversion, while with Magento, such options are less. Here’s an interesting fact, eBay Inc owns Magento, but uses WordPress for blogging.

So, what to choose, really? If you’re dealing with less than 10,000 products, use WordPress, if more, pick Magento.

Wondering about WooCommerce and Shopify plugins for WordPress? Considering their pulsating market growth, I understand why customers are in a dilemma which e-commerce plugin to choose.

In my 7 years’ rigorous digital journey, I have been a WooCommerce fan. First, it gives the admin more control (choosing your own host, owning the site). Second, it meets various clients’ needs. For selling anything from pizza to online courses, or, just membership/subscription, it has already built 1/3rd of retail stores over the web.

woocommerce price filter widgets

 

WooCommerce customer-friendly widegts

WooCommerce is a smart choice for consumer-focused widgets as “Top-Rated products” or “Filter by price”.

 

woocommerce products widgets

Shopify eCommerce plugins features are equally excellent, but it’s costlier than WooCommerce as the custom adjustments and apps have higher price tags.

WooCommerce plugin also wins another upvote for the ‘responsive’ factor. Ever since Google launched mobile-friendly testing tool, responsive design has become a driving factor in search engine ranking. Look at the current craze over iOS, it’s no news that consumers mostly browse products on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices. So, how to build a  mobile-friendly shopping cart?

Both Shopify and WooCommerce allow optimizing your site for mobile phones, but with WooCommerce, you can do it completely free of charge. The latter is also famous for managing blogging and online retail store side-by-side with élan. With Shopify? The shopping cart blogging is a bit run-of-the-mill.

 

Biolitestove blog screenshot

Biolitestove, the New York “modern fuel” startup has a brilliant Shopify design, but the blog section is pretty basic   

So, if you want the best Inbound Marketing ROI on limited budget, or want to bring eCommerce to your existing WordPress blog, WooCommerce is the best choice. But, if you’re setting up an eStore from scratch, and want your site’s maintenance/hosting taken care of, choose Shopify.

#1 Personalized Marketing for Inbound Marketing: Let Your Buyers Decide

Today’s inbound marketing is shopper-specific. Don’t you just love a warm birthday SMS from a shop that you visited, like, ages ago? Offering a personalized range of products to customers gives them a sense of exclusivity. That’s why big online retailers analyze user behavior (based on purchase, views) to recommend products, anything from car to clothing and laptops expertly tailored to their needs. Personal touch always makes your customers feel special.

amazon product personalization screenshot

Personalized promotion based on shopper’s online activities. Amazon perfectly nails it.        

How would you do that to your eStore? Personalized marketing is solely data-driven. Even with free plugins like Google Analytics, you can dive into user data as demographics, location, interest and behavior. Analytics plugin will help you identify which customers are interested in particular price quotes and product categories.

Customers also love product personalization. (customized tshirts, coffee mugs etc) When using WooCommerce, you can get a Fancy Product Designer plugin for $40. It’s useful for creating custom-made product builder and add features in tune with your customer’s interests.

 #2 Build a Booking System with WordPress Plugins

What if customers could easily book your services? Wouldn’t patients be happier if they could fix dentist appointment online? Reservation, scheduling, booking are critical to inbound marketing success, by making your package accessible round the clock. From small, mid-sized enterprises (salon, fitness clubs, hotels, doctors) to large retailers/banks, managing business with WordPress booking module plugin takes away most stress, even when dealing with international customers and currencies.

#3 Use E-Learning Solutions to Become a Global Mentor

Training a team miles away minus the travel and venue expenses? Online education is here for all the right reasons. Teaching a course of one’s trade is a dream to many professors and entrepreneurs. That’s why online education companies like Coursera and edX are joining hands with universities.

 

celebs selling online courses

Image source: ow.ly/T1iun

Even TV star Christina Aguilera is set to hold singing courses online through US-based ELearning service provider  

But, the power to create membership sites for online video courses is not limited to luminaries.You can also host interactive lessons and tests, for which you’ll need eCommerce membership plugin like Moodle. Your trainee can access the study material or secure free video downloads only after payment (via Paypal etc.)

 

2.    WordPress Shopping cart for Maintenance and Integration

Phew!

It’s been a lot of work. Countless hours to your eCommerce site, visitors, engagement and sales. But what tools are you using to retain the hard-earned customers? Have you brainstormed, tested inbound marketing strategies to convert your buyers into promoters?

With 81% US consumer’s buying decision influenced by word of mouth, I cannot but think a day without taking care of the exact, hair-splitting details of clients’ needs, and even going extra miles for it (Fixing bugs, speeding up the site etc.), for a lucrative lone-term relation.

Which tools are you utilizing to make it happen? Let me add a few to your list.

 CRM

Customer relationship management is not a marketing tool. It’s rather an approach. eCommerce CRM solutions help streamline your customer service, marketing and sales, putting your entire business in one page. Email Marketing and customer analytics plugins are vital components of this strategy. If you’re using WooCommerce, integrating it with Zoho CRM is a software match made in heaven. It fixes many eCommerce pitfalls like shopping cart abandonment. For instance, when your customer’s stuck at any point during checkout, you can say howdy, give live tech support and run a smooth, glitch-free point of sale.

 BackUp and Security

WordPress is robustly popular among online retailers, but security is still a nagging concern for this eCommerce platform. I’ve already said How to Avoid WordPress Plugin Mistakes to steer clear of hackers and malware.

Here, I’ll add here a few plugins to help your files and resources locked safe in your eStore. My vote goes for UpDraftplus—a free, full back up WordPress plugin to miraculously clone sites from one place to another. A handful of others from WordPress.org plugin repository deserve special mention. Woofence scan (for sites already infected), Dropbox (For restoring full database of WooCommerce online shop products database). All in One WP Security & Firewall to keep user accounts protected from brute force attack.

 Analytics and Heat Map

How do you track your content performance? The answer is simple, use an advanced content analytics tool like heatmap.

A “heat map” plugin, like, ‘Hotspots Analytics’ is a real-time visual sheet to record which portions of your website gets the maximum mouse clicks. It’s a great tool to measure your inbound traffic flow, and to diagnose what’s on a WordPress webpage making your web visitors linger or exit.

 

analytics heat map screenshot

                                                                                           Image source: ow.ly/T1jhS

#3 Mobile Responsive

 I have already discussed which plugin makes your website site mobile-friendly, But if you already own a site and want responsive design without migrating it to either WooCommerce or Shopify, try WPtouch. People with zero technical skills can do it and the original code stays intact. It allows viewers to enjoy your site on desktop and mobile alike.

3. Multi-Channel WordPress Plugins for Portfolio, Gallery

Inbound marketing is best harnessed with multimedia storytelling. Using video, webinars, photos and slides, you make an emotional connect with your audience. Instead of neon, flashy web design clichéd promises like, “we offer dedicated customer service”, why not give a solid proof with videos? It might turn up with a bigger profit.

For example, PreSonus Electronics held a Facebook video contest to gather customer testimonials for their product Studio One. They also announced cool music gadgets as prizes. It was an instant, smashing hit among consumers. 40 passionate videos came up as a result, with customers excitedly sharing their love for the product. Who can buy a more organic inbound marketing than that!

 

Coca-Cola does a fabulous “sharing happiness” video marketing campaign with vending machine

How do you add such authentic multimedia customer testimonials to your site? Cincopa wordpress media plugin is an exquisite choice for its built-in responsive design and traffic analytics. Cincopa is also gives a clean view on iPhone, iPad, Blackberry and Android etc. If you’re doing a live video webinars, WPWebinar is a safe bet. But it comes with $197. Tockify and WebinarSystem are new kids on the block, so be careful to get them tested by professional WordPress developers.

As we see, eCommerce is loaded with options—a brain-munching variety of platforms, plugins and payment methods. But people always love variety and it keeps your inbound marketing rolling. Still, be careful. Instead of overwhelming your customers with options, bring into forefront the most important, relevant one. A final word of caution, when in doubt, test and debug a plugin. For quick tips on when not to use a plugin, here.

What’s your tried and tested inbound marketing strategy? Have you found a shopping cart plugin suitable for it? Share with us.

Sushobhan Pal

Football, WordPress, Food, Music

Sushobhan Pal is a WordPress enthusiast, consultant, developer, serial blogger, a passionate biker and electronic gadgets freak. His passion led him to cofound this website. Outside the IDEs, he loves to share his ideas, experiences and meticulously earned knowledge of WordPress, Ecommerce, Moodle. Apart from the bike, his tinkering with electronic gadgets has contributed profusely to our local e-waste recycling center.

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