Check out this installment of our Ecommerce Marketing Checkup series to see what our team of marketing professionals thought about how MyGrillGrate can go from good to great.
Every month, Volusion assembles a cross-functional team of experts to take a quick look at a Volusion store and provide recommendations for even greater online success. In this round, our team selected MyGrillGrate, a website that sells a revolutionary grilling accessory that evenly distributes temperature for superior performance.
Our team sat down and reviewed MyGrillGrate’s ecommerce presence. The group agreed: the product certainly has appeal, but the site could benefit from a few marketing strategies to reach a broader market.
What did our ecommerce marketing experts have to say? Check out their recommendations in the slideshow below, or scroll down to get the full text.
SEO: Small changes can make a big impact
“SEO is often directed at the search engines, but at its heart, good SEO always keeps the intended audience and website visitor in mind. You want to have pertinent content on the website that makes it easier for the search engines to determine what your website is about and engage your human audience at the same time. By focusing on keyword research, content development and link building, MyGrillGrate can easily heat up their online visibility in organic searches.” – Sharanya Srinivasan, SEO Specialist
The following suggestions are intended to improve the site’s crawlability and improve the search engines’ understanding of what the site and each of the pages are about, thus increasing organic traffic for relevant keywords.
Use keywords & brand name in title tags: Title tags are used to concisely describe the page in the search results. Well-written and keyword-rich title tags are very important for SEO. We recommend doing in-depth keyword research and finding three to five long tail keywords for each page that are highly relevant and best describe the page. Create title tags using those keywords by placing the most important keyword at the beginning.
Using your current home page title tag as an example, here’s what that would look like:
Current Title Tag: MyGrillGrate Web Store
Recommended Title Tag: Infrared BBQ Grill Grates Online | Replacement Grill Grates | GrillGrate
Write unique meta descriptions & URLs: When looking at the organic search results, users are more likely to click on the result with the most captivating and unique meta description. And search engines use URLs as one of the metrics to show relevant results. By having compelling meta descriptions and easy to read URLs, you can stand out in the pack of results. For example: for the page “GrillGrates for Rectangular Grills,”
Current URL: http://www.mygrillgrate.com/category_s/40.htm
Recommended URL: http://www.mygrillgrate.com/grill_grates_for_rectangular_grills_s/40.htm
Current Meta Description: None
Recommended Meta Description: Grill perfect meat at your next BBQ with the innovative GrillGrate, the must-have infrared grill accessory! Great for fish, pizza & vegetables too!
Add optimized photo alt tags: Images help the user understand what the page is about, which is great news for MyGrillGrate because they have great images. Unfortunately, search engines can’t understand images like a customer can, so we recommend using the Photo Alt Tag feature to help describe the images to the bots and capture the organic traffic through these image descriptions.
Remember that content is king: It is important to have relevant content on every page to help search engines easily understand what the page is about when they crawl it. Adding fresh and high value content on your pages will help users better understand your products and improve natural search performance.
Build natural links: Links are an important factor in SEO. Having inbound links from authority websites increases the trustworthiness of the website to the search engines. On-page content and blogging are great link building tools. As a best practice, be sure to vary the anchor text of your links to avoid creating a spammy link profile. We also highly recommend linking up your blog to your Google+ profile and adding the rel=”author” tag for better visibility in SERPs. For example, Meathead Goldwyn has his Google+ profile tied to his content and it displays like this:
PPC: Plan your strategy and get creative to reach shoppers
“The summer is the perfect time to get PPC efforts fired up for MyGrillGrate. However, because GrillGrate is a product that the average grill owner may not be familiar with, it will be important to diversify your PPC strategy and focus on the problems that GrillGrates are solving through keyword selection and ad text creation.” – Kate Pierce, Volusion Search Marketing Manager and PPC Expert
The following suggestions are best practices for running PPC for MyGrillGrate. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your PPC! Grillers may not know these types of grates exist, so you need to find a way to reach them.
Looking for replacement grill grates: GrillGrates can either sit on top of, or replace, the existing grate, so advertise on replacement grill keywords, making sure to use lots of variations in ways that people may be searching:
- “replacement grill grates” “
- “Weber grates”
- “new grates for grills”
- “grill grates for Huntington grills”
Doing research to buy an infrared grill: GrillGrates turn your existing grill into an infrared grilling surface, so target people looking to buy infrared grills in the first place. There may be people that have older model electric grills and like the idea that they can get an infrared grilling effect without having to buy a whole new grill.
Looking for information about grilling: GrillGrates prevent flare ups and cook foods more evenly – sealing in flavor and juiciness without the threat of them falling through the grate. Advertise on informational searches that relate to these benefits like:
- “how to grill steak”
- “grill flare ups”
- “grilling vegetables”
These terms may be less likely to convert, but they are a lot less competitive so they are a lot cheaper as well.
Create specialized ads (that utilize proper landing pages for each ad group to make ads stand out and appeal to searchers): For more general grill grate-related searches, use ad text that indicates that the grates work with your existing rectangular or round grill and send traffic to the homepage. For informational searches, use ad text that is specific to that topic and send traffic to the Science of GrillGrates page. GrillGrates are already pretty unique, but don’t forget to highlight your value propositions to set yourself apart from your competitors and get searchers excited about your products. Use phrasing like: “Made in USA,” “Award Winning,” and “30 Day Guarantee.”
Shopping Feeds: Have great product data & present the right product to shoppers
“Shopping Feeds work best for clients that have the meatiest product data. This allows the correct information to show up in the shopping engines and makes for the easiest discovery in searches.” -Mia Wenske, Shopping Feeds Specialist
MyGrillGrates has great product data, but as with most stores, there are areas for improvement. Product titles need to be descriptive without being too long, and descriptions need to draw the shopper in and let them know what they will be purchasing.
Submit good product titles: Many of the titles on the GrillGrates site contain great information and are perfect for shopping feeds. For example, “GrillGrates for the XL Big Green Egg and all 24″ diameter grills + GrateTool” describes the product, size, and also names the specific grill the product is compatible with. Revisit titles like “SINGLE 17.375″ x 5.25″ Panel” that don’t specify that this product is for a grill. Note that the shopping feeds only know what you tell them, so you want to make sure shoppers can tell exactly what the product is for before clicking through to your site.
Format information correctly for shopping engines: With shopping feeds, it is important to have the information portrayed in a way that the engines will recognize and accept. Currently, MyGrillGrate has many of the product descriptions formatted using html tags. While that may work well for the website, before submitting these descriptions to shopping engines, the html needs to be removed so the engines will accept the data.
Only advertise in-stock products: Products that are out of stock or not currently available, should be removed from the feed. Often online shoppers want to purchase right away, and having products in the feed that are not currently available may lead them to click to your site but ultimately purchase from a competitor’s websites instead. Also, on cost-per-click shopping engines, merchants have to pay for every click to the website, so it is important to present products shoppers can purchase immediately.
Social media: Connect & engage
“MyGrillGrate.com fosters a unique community of people that are passionate about the grilling lifestyle. Through entertaining blogs, video, and content, as well as compelling posts and questions that focus on the customer (and not the brand), MyGrillGrate can cook up a loyal community that is engaged and excited to spread their message.” – Cindy Day, Social Media Specialist
“Provide a place for this focused community to come together and talk. By creating avenues that foster communication, MyGrillGrate can boost its followership and likely heat up the engagement of those followers. Grill them for answers, ask questions, ask for photos and listen!”- Tori Klem, Marketing Account Manager
The following suggestions are meant to grow the target market, increase customer loyalty, improve audience engagement and signal engagement to search engines:
Great job humanizing the brand: MyGrillGrate does a great job of putting a person behind the brand. In ecommerce, shoppers lose the personal aspect of shopping; however, through a blog, brands are able to bring that aspect back to the online shopping experience. Not only does this personal identity help build trust, it allows blog readers to really visualize what it looks (and feels) like to use the products. Providing people with behind-the-scenes buzz allows them to feel like they’re closely connected to a brand. MyGrillGrate should continue to show real life photos, tell stories and write in the friendly, relatable way that they currently do.
Encourage engagement: There is a community focused around the art of grilling. MyGrillGrate should encourage the readers to add their opinion and thoughts to every post. Ask questions at the end of each post, for example:
- “What do you think?”
- “What works for you?”
- “What’s your preferred type of grill – charcoal or gas?”
Many grill masters have their own secret tips or tricks, so use questions at the end of blog posts to get that valuable input.
- “What’s your best grill tip?”
- “What’s the one most unusual ingredient in your secret marinade?”
Tackle unique & exciting topics: The main goal of a blog is to provide value to the readers. By writing about common, unanswered questions or really interesting themes, your readers will want to return to your blog for future questions and share the posts with their own network, too. A few ideas for blog topics may include:
- “How different cultures grill” series
- “Which college tailgate has the best BBQ?” series
- Seasonal grilling menu ideas with recipes
- “How to host your own [type of grilling event]”
- Grilling trivia
Use your network for guest posting: Similar to the previous tip, bring in guest bloggers to post to the MyGrillGrate blog. This may mean a popular BBQ pit master writing a post on specialty grilling sauces or a chili cook-off winner posting on the top 10 BBQ cook-offs in the southeast. The goal is to bring in relevant people who will contribute meaningful content that adds value to the blog.
Make a good first impression & build trust: First impressions can be the difference between the start of a long-term, trusting relationship and a lost opportunity. Build trust and wow customers by seeing your Facebook business page as the front door to your showroom. Create high quality custom icons for thumbnail images that lead to the brand’s YouTube, Blog, etc. You would never walk away from a customer in real life, so don’t do it online. Respond to all questions, comments, posted pictures, etc. using the brands name and post on a consistent basis (at least once a day). Update the cover image frequently (especially for family-oriented type holidays, etc. 4th of July, football season, etc.). Make it as easy as possible for customers to buy by adding the shopping site’s URL in the short description.
Engage your community: Always be listening, ask lots of questions, share articles, post quick tips, recipes, trivia, fill in the blank, etc. Ask people to share their recipes. Create a fun post schedule that people can look forward to and easily get excited about such as, “What do you want to see us grill next?” or “Name this recipe!” With each link and photo that you post, give it meaning by saying something about it, asking a question or pulling your favorite quote out. Don’t be afraid to check out the competition and other like brands (Weber Grills) to scope out ideas and see what works for them.
Optimize & engage: Make it easy for the customer to buy – include a link to the shopping website in the About section. Google crawls YouTube video descriptions; take advantage of this by transcribing all videos and optimizing those for search using relevant keyword phrases. Good job with subscribing to like-minded YouTube channels (Weber, BBQ masters, etc.). Keep the conversations going by responding to all comments, questions, etc.
Do more of what works: The most popular video is, “Grilling the Perfect Burger” – take cues from this and create more instructional and how-to videos such as, “Grilling the Perfect Shrimp” and “Grilling the Perfect Steak.” At the end of videos ask your audience, “What do you want to see us grill next?”
Get involved & grow community: Optimize your profile with high quality images. Submerge yourself into the Twitter community. Create excitement and buzz while building trust by offering unexpected value, listening, participating in conversations, and providing sincere responses. Use a listening tool such as Hootsuite to set up a means to actively listen to conversations about your brand and related topics. Search various keywords and hashtags (#grill, #recipe, #steakoff, #bbq, etc.) – use these to reach a wider audience when posting. Stay up-to-date on related industry topics such as meat recalls or anything else that your community would consider valuable information.
Gain demographic & psychographic insight by asking questions: Think of Twitter as the ultimate marketing research tool that you can glean data from 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Ask questions and gather meaningful feedback. Examples:
- Who taught you how to grill?
- What is the best drink to pair with a burger?
- What is the craziest thing you grilled?
- What is your favorite fruit to grill?
- What do you drink when grilling?
- What’s your must-have burger topping?
Reach a wider audience: Because Pinterest is nearly 70% women, having the brand on Pinterest opens up the product to women, who traditionally may have not been a part of the target audience. MyGrillGrate does a great job of having properly segmented boards, geared toward different themes (appetizers, beautiful backyards, gifts for grillers, etc.). This can be further built out by expanding the type of pins and creating additional boards such as holiday specific and special occasion specific.
Actively build a following: Currently, MyGrillGrate has 102 followers but is only following 57 of those. Show your followers you equally care about their interests by following them back. Actively search Pinterest for pinners interested in cooking and grilling and follow them. Experiment with Pinterest contests to grow your followership; this may mean creating a contest where users create boards on a certain theme (Dream Backyard, for example) and use a hashtag for all board-related pins. There are a myriad of types of Pinterest contests you can create; draw examples from this board.
Repin related pins: MyGrillGrate’s Pinterest board is very cooking heavy, focusing on pins about grilling recipes that are almost all found on the GrillGrate website. Diversify pins to engage the brands followers even more. Re-pin funny grilling quotes, pretty backyard landscapes, tailgating-related photos, and other pins that the target audience would consider valuable.
Opportunities worth exploring
Instagram: Instagram is a great social network that allows brands to showcase insights into company culture which will further humanize the brand, answer common customer questions, highlight offers or events, take advantage of the rich media focus, and experiment with short videos. Brands use Instagram to run contests or encourage engagement by asking their communities to submit their own photos or videos with a chosen hashtag. Example: “Share your holiday happenings with us! #4thofJulyisGrate” With over 130 million users and its partnership with Facebook, Instagram is worth exploring to discover if it fits into the current marketing mix.
Vine: Vine also uses short videos to tell a story and utilizes hashtags like Instagram. The seven second limit capitalizes on peoples short attention spans.
Forums: Forums are great for gathering ideas and keeping up with what your community is talking about. Check out: http://www.bbqbackyard.com/.
Quora: Use Quora to search for different terms such as grill, grilling, bbq, etc. to get ideas for blog posts, things to ask your social networks. Quora is a community where brands can provide unexpected value by answering questions or gather insights by asking questions.
Connecting offline with online: Ever thought about making a cookbook? Why not? MyGrillGrate could create buzz on social media throughout the creation process of a book. This would allow them to gather instant and immediate feedback and make necessary changes while creating excitement about the books release.
Conversion consulting: A lot of things done right, but who’s coming to the site?
“The site looks grate, and sees lots of traffic, but with three sites and analytics not installed properly how do you know how your customers finding you? If you really want to smoke the competition, you’ll learn what your visitors are searching for and if they’re buying it on your site. – Josh Pruett, Volusion Marketing Account Manager
The following suggestions are meant to steer your customer to the checkout:
Navigation could be better: The overall look with the butcher paper background and smoky colors target the BBQ demographic, that is, dudes with scorch marks and barbeque sauce flowing through their veins. The sparse, left-hand navigation gets you where you need to go…mostly. The #1 spot of the navigation menu is held by GRATE DEAL of the DAY!, which currently has nothing in it…a common mis-steak. Populate it with products or remove the link– like ribs, you can always bring it back, baby.
Good product selection: You don’t need a lot of products to do well, just a few good ones targeted to your audience. The product images here are good, but within the category pages the images are too small to tell what they are at a glance. Make sure the images take up the available space and your products will sell themselves. Also, when you have several products within a category page, you are better off displaying them in a grid pattern; the more products your customer can see without scrolling, the better.
Great job at being informative: MyGrillGrate makes good use of video to demonstrate their products. In fact, there is so much information to share that there are three websites dedicated to selling this product: grillgrate.com, buygrillgrate.com, and mygrillgrate.com. Although they all may have their uses, when clicking on a link to grillgrate.com a new window opens up taking you off of the purchasing path. We would recommend duplicating, in a unique way, all the information a customer needs to purchase on the mygrillgrate.com site.
Do a quick checkup on your checkout: The goals during the checkout process are: make it easy to purchase your products and to manifest trust with your new customer. MyGrillGrate.com takes a step in the right direction by including their shipping information and return policy in several places during the checkout process. However, requiring a phone number and email address to purchase, without explaining the need for both, might raise suspicion; especially since it’s followed up with a checked-box presuming the buyer wants to be placed on a newsletter list. Adding a text field to explain that a phone number is required should there be a problem with delivery, etc. goes a long way in reinforcing that trust. Another way to build trust is to have an encrypted checkout.
Secure checkout using a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is expected by most online shoppers. This site has a SSL and it works properly – customers have a secured checkout experience with MyGrillGrate.com – however, the certified badge on the site should verify it’s secured status when clicked on. This image is part of a larger image that redirects elsewhere, and should be replaced with the correct image and link.
Lastly, after a purchase, use the order confirmation page (AKA the “Thank You Page”) to encourage your customers to return by offering a coupon, an instructional video, or encourage them to enter the giveaway you’re already doing!
This empty Order Confirmation Page can be transformed into a real Thank You Page.
Get more information on your site health: The site is using Google Analytics to track visitor data. However, with two other grill sites collecting visitors, and then redirecting them to MyGrillGrate.com to purchase, much of that data is lost. Instead of finding out where customer are coming from, what they are searching for and buying, most of the data simply says they arrived from one of the two Grill sites. By setting up cross domain tracking with analytics, you can see how that customer flows from their search for “better ways to grill outdoors,” all the way to the purchase and retain that information for your marketing efforts. (Check out this article on how to set up cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics.)
Need to set up cross domain tracking: When you have multiple sites with different domain names pointing to a single ecommerce site, we recommend setting up analytics (such as Google Analytics) with iFrames so that you can easily identify the source through which the visitor came to the website.
Did we miss anything?
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