Small tweaks for big results. Tune into this week’s episode to learn what most eCommerce + product-based businesses are doing wrong on Instagram + their websites. These are the most common call outs for eCommerce business owners during my live audits on Clubhouse with Bianca of Branding with B.
Every week, I’ve been doing live audits on Clubhouse with my branding friend Bianca of Branding with B.
Brave souls come up on stage and have us review their website and Instagram profiles and we give them tips and tricks to improve their performance.
Funny enough, we find ourselves saying a lot of the same things over and over, so here’s 10 random tips to improve your eCommerce business.
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Instagram profile optimization tips
1. Use your logo as your profile photo
When you look at my profile, you’ll see a photo of me, which makes sense because I am a service provider. When someone is going to hire me, they’re investing in me.
But for you, as a product-based business—even if you are the face of your brand—you’re best represented by using your logo as the profile photo.
Yes, some product-based businesses opt to use a photo of their product or even a behind the scenes of your product being created, but the main issue with this is that it’s not recognizable.
One of the most important roles branding plays in business is for you to be recognizable. That’s why you’ll see me always using the black heart and lightning bolt emojis. And I use a lightning bolt in my logo as well.
For you, as a product based business, it makes the most sense to use your logo so that as soon as someone sees your profile, or a post in their feed, they know that it’s from you.
The trick here is you have to make sure that it’s actually readable. So if you only have a horizontal version of your logo written out, you’re going to want a submark… which is just a version of your logo that works in small spaces. You’ll usually see the text stacked, or even written out in a circle.
2. Make the name field searchable
This is the bold text that appears right under your profile photo. This text on Instagram is searchable, so you’ll want to optimize this to include keywords that your ideal customer will search on Instagram to find a product like yours. Most product-based businesses put their brand name in here, but if you already have that as your handle, you don’t need to repeat it.
Now, if you’re some huge company with crazy brand recognition, that’s one thing, but if you’re using Instagram to find new customers, you’re going to want to make sure this bit of text is optimized for new customers to find you.
You’ve only got 30 characters to work with here, so make them count. If you sell blue light glasses or luxury loungewear, you’ll want those keywords in your name field.
Fun fact: some emojis count as more than one character so use them wisely.
3. Optimize your Instagram highlights
I’ll admit, I’m terrible at updating these on my own profile, but people do go through and watch them so in addition to having cute highlight covers that match your brand, be intentional about the content you add to them.
Don’t waste that visual space by repeating the titles on the highlight cover because you have the text underneath them. Plus, it’s super hard to read anyway.
Instead, use icons in your brand colors to make them pop and draw the eyes of your profile visitors to them. Make sure you include things like behind the scenes, customer reviews, and product features.
4. Create Instagram Guides
Have you played around with these yet? Instagram guides are a place where you can create a collection or posts, from all the different areas of Instagram, and put them into one place.
I don’t have any insight into how often Instagram users actually look through these, but each guide generates its own URL so it can be used on other platforms, even in email if you want to send your followers to a specific place for specific information.
For instance, maybe you created a bunch of content about some of your products and how to use them. You could create a guide for each one of your products and then direct your followers to go look at the guide to see all the posts in one place.
This is just one more feature Instagram gives us to help get more life out of all those kick-ass posts you create.
When it comes to content like that, I would rather see it on your website of course, but the guide is likely faster to get started since all the content already exists on Instagram.
Website optimization tips
The advice I’m going to give you today is based on best-practices and patterns I’ve seen across multiple websites, but the only way to truly know what is going to work for you is to watch the behavior on your own site.
5. Browse your website in incognito mode
Make sure you don’t have any rogue pop-ups showing up on your website that you weren’t aware of. It’s really important you do this in a private browsing window because it’s possible there is a pop-up you don’t see because you’re already on the list or you’ve closed it out in the past.
Using the private browsing window means the website won’t be able to read any of the cookies on your site and you’ll see your site like a new visitor.
Another thing to look out for is the timing of your pop-ups, especially if you’re using both an exit intent and a pop-up that shows when someone first lands on your site. This is most important on mobile since exit intent is a little iffy because there is no movement of a mouse. I was on a website in one of these live audits and the exit intent and regular pop-ups showed one right on top of each other. To combat this, play with the delay of the pop-up.
You’ll also want to look out for live chat bubbles and such as well. Sometimes these pop-up when a user first lands on your site inviting them to chat with you and can cover up other important parts of the page, especially on smaller mobile screens.
Homepage optimization tips
6. Install a heat mapping software
The homepage is where most of your traffic is going to land initially and it’s the first impression your site makes to a visitor. If you haven’t already, install a heatmapping software like Lucky Orange or Hotjar. This will let you watch the behavior of shoppers on your site. You’ll be able to see where they click, how far down they scroll, etc.
7. Put the most important information above the fold
Above the fold content is what a user sees before they ever have to scroll. It’s prime real estate on your website so you’ll want to make sure you have your most important information at the top.
Most websites typically have a banner at the top, which is fine—just make sure that it doesn’t take up the entire screen. Adjust the height so the user can clearly see that there is additional content below the banner and they’re encouraged to scroll.
Static banner or a carousel?
Honestly, it just depends and your best bet is to test it. Whichever way you go, make sure you’re including the MOST IMPORTANT collections or features up here. You’ll definitely want to swap this out for big holidays and new collections.
8. Feature important collections or products
On the rest of the page, feature important collections or products depending on your business. The smaller your assortment, the more specific you can get. For instance a client I worked with has about 10 skus in her assortment across 2 product types. One of those products is very unique and is her overall bestseller, so we featured that product right on the home page.
You could even add product carousels for some of your top selling products with your top selling items in that category.
How you do this exactly is going to depend on your business, but make it really easy for the customer to get where they need to go.
9. Talk about your business
Make sure there’s some text on the homepage that talks about your business. Tell the people what you sell and who you sell it to. This is good not only for the new customer who wants to learn more about you but it’s also good for SEO and helping the search engines understand what your website is all about.
Use social proof
If you’re using a review platform like Yotpo, you can embed a widget on your homepage that updates with the latest reviews. At a minimum just adding in a few customer testimonials works here too. It doesn’t have to be overly fancy.
10. Optimize the navigation menu
To do this well, you have to first think about how someone would shop for your product and how they can be naturally categorized.
If you have a small catalog, you can put your few collections under one shop tab but if you have a wide assortment, you’re going to want to spend some time on this.
To mega menu or to not mega menu?
There has been some debate on whether or not mega menus are a good thing and how they affect conversion. In my experience it has not had a significant negative effect. In fact, we saw more variety in the items being purchased because customers actually knew they existed.
For instance, I worked with a client that sells custom bridesmaid gifts. You know, drink tumblers, wooden hangers, robes and makeup bags that can be customized with the bridesmaid’s names. She also sells groomsmen gifts, custom wooden signs, and other accessories.
We recreated her entire navigation, grouping based on the product type and then including smaller collections underneath that. Take her tumblers for example. These are her best-selling items and she has a wide assortment so we broke them out into skinny tumblers, wine tumblers, printed tumblers, etc.
When we first did this, we were initially concerned that it would be overwhelming. Not only did we see a conversion lift, but as I mentioned, we also saw items getting purchased that weren’t selling very much before the update.
Name your links clearly
Please be clear over clever. You don’t want them to be super long, but it should be very clear to the user what they’re going to find when they click through to the collection.
Side note: this is also good for search engines and SEO because it helps understand what your site is about and how it’s structured.
Okay friend, there you have it: 10 tips to improve your eCommerce website and Instagram profile.
I’d love to hear what you thought about today’s episode. Screenshot you listening to the podcast or reading this blog and share it on your Instagram stories with your favorite tip! And don’t forget to tag me @eCommerceBadassery.