Checklist: Is Your E-Commerce Store Ready for Paid Ads?

Aug 2, 2017 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team
Is Your E-Commerce Store Ready for Paid Ads?
Posted Aug 2, 2017 by Jesse Ness, Ecwid Team

Social media and SEO are all wonderful sources of traffic, but if you want quick results, nothing can beat PPC for e-commerce.

However, as effective as paid traffic might be, it can also be expensive. If your site is slow, unusable and lacks key Call-to-Actions (CTAs), you can end up spending money without getting any customers.

It may be hard to keep everything in your head, so here’s a checklist of adjustments you’d better do in your online store before starting a paid ad campaign.

Checklist: Is Your E-Commerce Store Ready for Paid Ads?

Essential steps you need to complete before running PPC campaigns.

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1. Check Site Speed

Patience is a scarce virtue in the on-demand online world.

If your visitors can’t load your site, they might just bounce off to a competitor’s site. When you’re paying for traffic, every bounced visitors equals lost money. Some PPC platforms, like AdWords, even use site speed to determine landing page experience.

Therefore, before starting a PPC campaign, make sure that your site loads quickly.

How to Check Site Speed

Head over to Tools.Pingdom.com. Enter your landing page URL and select the testing server closest to your target audience location.

checking website speed

Pingdom will show you the load time along with your page performance grade. For e-commerce landing pages, look for a loading time under 2-seconds and a performance grade of at least B.

Performance of an Ecwid Starter Site

How to Improve Speed

Improving site speed is a vast topic deserving a post of its own. For now, here are some of the easiest ways to make your e-commerce landing pages load faster:

  • Use optimized landing pages from third-party providers such as Unbounce and LeadPages.
  • Use faster web hosting. Try switching from Apache based web servers to faster Nginx based servers.
  • Use a faster shopping cart such as Ecwid. Refer to this page to learn how we make Ecwid faster.
  • Compress any images you use on the landing page using tools like Kraken.io.

2. Conversion Tracking Codes

If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it. Nowhere is this advice more applicable than in PPC.

Before starting a PPC campaign, make sure that you’re tracking your results.

Your landing page should have:

  • Your analytics code (Google Analytics, KISSMetrics or your preferred analytics software).
  • PPC-platform specific tracking code (such as the Facebook Conversion Pixel or AdWords tracking code).

How to Check Tracking Codes

Follow these links for help with specific tracking codes:

3. Mobile Friendliness

Mobile friendliness matters.

Unless you are limiting traffic to desktop visitors (possible with both AdWords and Facebook), make sure that your site is mobile friendly. Given that this is now a majority of the web traffic, mobile-friendliness will go a long way towards improving conversions.

How to Check for Mobile Friendliness

Google has a dedicated website to check any URLs mobile friendliness. Enter your landing page URL into the box and hit “Run test”.

Mobile-Friendly Test by Google

Mobile-Friendly Test by Google

Google will tell you whether the page is mobile friendly. It will also show you what the page looks like on mobile.

Mobile-Friendly Test by Google

How to Solve Mobile Friendliness Issues

For e-commerce businesses, the easiest way to solve mobile friendliness issues is to:

  • Use mobile-friendly landing pages. Use tools such as LeadPages to create landing pages. Alternatively, buy a mobile-friendly landing page template from ThemeForest.net. Pair it with a mobile-optimized shopping cart such as Ecwid.
  • Use mobile-friendly stores. If you’re advertising your entire store instead of a specific landing page, the easiest way to solve mobile issues is to use a mobile-friendly store such as Ecwid.

Learn more: How Responsive Design Increases Mobile Sales

4. Landing Page Design

The design of your landing page has a big impact on your conversion rate. For e-commerce stores, this landing page should clearly identify the core value proposition, showcase product benefits, and highlight the CTAs.

Here are a few things to check for before promoting your landing page:

  • Above the Fold: Highlight your value proposition above the fold (the area immediately visible when a user lands on the site). This can be a product image, promotion, or copy that tells the visitor what to expect on the page.
  • CTA (Call-to-Action): Include multiple CTAs on the page. This CTA should be in a bold, bright color so as to attract the user’s attention. Test different CTA text (“Shop Now” vs. “Buy Now”), color and placement options.
  • Copy: Specify the benefits as well as the features of the product. Make sure that this copy is readable. Use bullet points, tables and images to improve readability. Also include SKU since some users scan for this on e-commerce pages.
  • Product Images: Add a number of high-quality product images, preferably above the fold. These images should highlight the product’s features. Refer to this article to learn how to optimize product images.
  • Navigation: Unless you purposefully want users to navigate to different parts of your site (common when advertising a product category — “living room furniture”), remove all navigation from the landing page. This will only cause your users to click away.

For example, here’s a landing page from Amazon for a product category. Notice how the above the fold area includes product images and value proposition:

Product category on Amazon

Your landing page should clearly show what you sell

If you use a landing page creation tool such as LeadPages or Instapage (with Ecwid as the shopping cart), you can choose from pre-optimized landing page templates.

Learn more: How to Сreate, Test and Promote Powerful Landing Pages

5. Add Social Proof to Site

Why should I buy from you?

This is one of the first things users will ask when they land on your site. They neither trust your store or the quality of your product.

To reel these users in, ensure that you have enough social proof on your website/landing pages.

How to Add Social Proof

“Social proof” is any data, testimonial or visual indicator that shows your site and/or your products in a positive light.

For e-commerce stores, the best forms of social proof are:

  • Reviews: Product ratings and reviews from customers have a positive effect on conversion rates. 63% of customers are more likely to buy from stores that have user reviews on them. Try TrustedSite for website reviews and Stamped.io for product reviews in your Ecwid store.
  • Customer Testimonials: Written or video testimonials from customers add to your social proof. Even positive tweets from customers can help.
  • Security Badges: Trust seals and security badges (such as “Verified by Visa”, “Powered by Paypal”, “McAfee SECURE”  etc.) can improve your store’s trustworthiness. This form of trust leverages the authority of the brand behind the badge (such as “Visa” or “Paypal”) to improve your trust perception.
  • Social Following: A large number of followers on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest shows that you are well-liked by others.

For example, Amazon highlights product reviews on its product landing pages:

Amazon reviews

Amazon reviews

Beyond reviews, you can also show curated tweets from users (ask them to tweet their purchases with a specific hashtag in exchange for a coupon) to build social proof.

If you’ve been featured in a respected publication, consider adding their logo on the landing page as well (“as seen on…”).

Related: 4 Types of Product Comments You Should Never Ignore (And How to Generate Them)

6. Align Your Bidding Keywords and Landing Page Copy

A common cause of poor PPC conversions is a misalignment between the keywords you’re bidding on and the copy on your landing page.

Simply put, if you’re bidding on the keyword “living room furniture”, you should tell users landing on your site that your page is, indeed, about living room furniture. This keeps users well-oriented.

The easiest way to do this is by using the keyword(s) in your landing page title. You can further emphasize the relevancy of your page by using appropriate product images.

For example, here’s a landing page used for the keyword “living room furniture”:

Store categories

Both the title and the images used on the page make it clear what the page is about

7. Shipping and Delivery Information

Your customers want to know two things when they land on your e-commerce site:

  • Whether you deliver to their location.
  • How much you charge for delivery.

Before starting a PPC campaign, make sure that you have this information on your landing page.

You can use geotargeting to ensure that you only show ads to people you actually deliver to. Alternatively, use a dynamic form to capture pin code and show shipping information, like Amazon:

Locations on Amazon

This form captures pin code and shows shipping information

If you’re using Ecwid, learn how to calculate and show shipping charges for different locations/products. For an overview of different shipping options available to you, check out this article.

8. Set Up Google Shopping

If you’re advertising on Google Shopping, you first need to ensure that you’ve set up an account on Google Merchant Center and linked it to your AdWords.

If you’re new to Google Shopping, refer to this blog post for an introduction. Ecwid users can check out this FAQ to connect their stores to Google Merchant Center.

9. Ensure You’ve Got Easy to Use Forms

Although rare, there are times when you’ll run PPC campaigns to capture information, not sell products. This usually happens when you’re running surveys, contests or building up your email list for a promotion.

In such cases, the quality of your form will have a big impact on your conversion rates. Even if you use your PPC campaign to get more sales, you will want to make sure your forms are working well in case someone would like to sign up for your newsletter or contact you via email.

How to Improve Forms

Here are some ways to make better converting forms:

  • Keep Forms Short: Every extra form field increases your “ask” from your visitors, lowering conversions. Keep form fields as low as possible. Ask for only the most critical information (name, email, etc.).
  • Place Forms Above the Fold: In form-focused landing pages, the form is the highlight of the page, not the “buy” button. Highlight the form by placing it above the fold.
  • Auto-Select Form Fields: A neat trick to improve conversions for e-commerce forms is to automatically select the top-field when the user lands on the page. In one case, it increased conversion rates by 45%.
  • Test Different CTAs: Instead of the usual “Submit”, test different CTAs such as “Continue”, “Get Your Discount Coupon”, etc.

Ecwid users can refer to this page to include individual forms on their product pages. Ecwid also supports an integration with Gravity Forms via Zapier.

10. Add Live Chat

Live chat can have a marked effect on your conversion rates. On average, live chat can improve conversion rates by as much as 40%.

Live chat usually appears as a floating “help” box at the bottom-right corner of the page.

Live Chat on Asos

Live Chat on Asos

Customers can get answers to their queries without leaving the site over chat (provided your customer support people are online).

Although it’s not essential for running a PPC campaign, adding a live chat option is highly recommended before starting PPC advertising. It will help maximize the conversion rates from your site, improving PPC results.

How to Add Live Chat

Incorporating live chat into your site is easier than ever thanks to a number of integrations. Usually, you only need to add a small piece of code to the page to get started with live chat.

If you’re using Ecwid, you can use any of these five options to add live chat to your store:

To Sum Up

PPC campaigns can be wildly effective but also wildly expensive. Make sure that you minimize wasted clicks by setting up your site to maximize conversions.

If your site meets these requirements, you are ready to run a PPC campaign:

  • Your site loads within 2-3 seconds.
  • Your site is mobile friendly.
  • You’re using a conversion-optimized landing page design.
  • You’ve added all important tracking codes to your site.
  • You’ve added social proof to your landing pages.
  • Your landing page is aligned with the keywords you’re bidding on.
  • You’ve set up Google Shopping for your store.
  • You have shipping and delivery information on the landing page.
  • Your online forms are working (in case you’re collecting information)
  • You’re using live chat.

Download checklist

About The Author
Jesse is the Marketing Manager at Ecwid and has been in e-commerce and internet marketing since 2006. He has experience with PPC, SEO, conversion optimization and loves to work with entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.

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