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5 Tools to Help Your Online Business Realize Its Full Potential Many online businesses take root using just the basics but once you have traction, it pays to invest in more sophisticated tools.

By Eric Samson Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The best businesses online run on a number of third-party technologies that help power their analytics, customer messaging, marketing funnel, search engine optimization and social sharing.

If you're building your first digital store, you only really need to worry about adding in the basics such as Google Analytics, a CRM and a payment gateway. As you scale your ecommerce business, here are five tools you'll need to increase audience engagement, sales and traffic.

1. Intercom.

Intercom allows you to deliver information right when customers need it. With in-app messaging, you can catch users at the most appropriate times and start a conversation, without cluttering your site's design or overwhelming your audience. For new shoppers, Intercom offers seamless on-boarding. Think of this as live chat, but better. Soon enough, they'll become so familiar with your web store that it becomes addictive.

Intercom's comprehensive platform provides a direct line of communication to your website visitors. Its five packages allow you to observe, acquire, engage, learn from, and support your customers.

Related: 7 Common Customer Onboarding Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

2. KISSmetrics.

Your customers have unique behaviors. To better understand how they interact with your website, use KISSmetrics to identify sections of your online store that are "sticky', where users spend a lot of time engaging with your content and products. Discover where visitors drop off and use those insights to test features and copy in order to make those pages irresistible.

The company prioritizes the customer funnel, so you can better optimize your digital marketing efforts. Don't get hung up on vanity metrics such as clicks and visits. KISSmetrics provides smarter analytics so you can convert more visitors into paying customers.

3. Moz.

Even with the meteoric rise of social media, organic search (primarily Google) still drives between a third and a half of overall web traffic.

Moz provides an inbound marketing platform that makes it easy to understand your site's SEO strengths and weaknesses. Understand where you receive backlinks, how you rank for keywords, the quality of your content, and issues with or opportunities for improvement in your site's architecture. Plus, participate in Moz's forums to network with other marketers who can teach you a thing or two about how to get more from your marketing dollars.

Related: Spying 101: How to Figure Out Everything About Your Competition Online

4. SumoMe.

SumoMe offers a suite of tools perfect for the ecommerce site that wants to capture more value from its visitors. Grow your email list with List Builder and encourage your visitors to easily share your site with Share.

According to Internet entrepreneur and expert marketer Neil Patel, "Out of all the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them." Email subscribers are consistently more engaged than brand social media fans and followers. That said, with Share, you get to leverage your customers' audiences. That sort of word-of-mouth marketing is far more powerful than if you were to cultivate your own social media fanbase.

5. Unbounce.

Consumers have increasingly short attention spans. They only spend a few seconds on a landing page before deciding to explore the website further or abandon it entirely.

For TIME, Tony Haile wrote, "Chartbeat looked at deep user behavior across two billion visits across the web over the course of a month and found that most people who click don't read. In fact, a stunning 55 percent spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page."

A majority of website visitors don't even give you a proper chance to explain yourself. Unbounce helps you A/B test landing pages and optimize them so you'll provide just the right copy and visuals to encourage more of your visitors to progress through your marketing funnel.

Related: Look Here! How to Market When Everyone is Distracted

Eric Samson

Founder of Group8A

Eric Samson is the founder of Group8A, a boutique consulting firm focused on developing and executing integrated marketing and digital solutions for companies of all sizes.


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