While the UK is catching up with the trend for e-scooters and e-bikes, also known as electric scoters and electric bikes, other countries are beginning to roll out legislation attempting to govern their use.
Electric scoters are the focus for legislators in Paris who have introduced fines for riding them on pavements. In Singapore new legislation now restricts them to the cities cycle paths. In the UK, they are technically illegal to use on the roads or pavements, but prosecutions are rare. Electric bikes are legal for anyone over 14 years old to use on the roads provided they are there to boost the efforts of the cyclist up to a maximum speed of 15.5 mph. That’s the law as it currently stands.
According to HMRC, around 50 – 60,000 electric bikes were sold in the UK, compared to UK bike sales of over three million. That said, there is evidence that the market will grow over the next 30 years. Halfords expect a 30% increase in e-bike sales. That compares to, for example, the Netherlands where 400,000 electric bikes were sold in 2018. That’s 68% of the total bike sales for the country. Interestingly, according to Alligator, there has been a shift to imports from the EU.
According to Mintel, 14% of cyclists intend to buy one during 2018 and 45% of cyclists said they would be interested in test-riding an e-bike. Interestingly, they also reported that 32% of ‘potential cyclists’ are also interested in trying one out.
Meanwhile, globally the sales of e-scooters continue to grow. Partly driven by sharing companies, Bird, Lime, Spin, Jump, and Razor. The growth of e-scooter sales in the US, as predicted by Grand View Research is noteworthy.
It seems certain that UK sales of e-bikes will increase massively, and e-scooters are likely to follow. All of which brings us to the crucial question, how do you sell them?
As an agency we always start with the customer. There are all sorts of tools we use to workout who the audience is, where they are they are online and how to get them to your website. When it comes to electric bikes and scooters there are likely to be different audiences. Older cyclists who appreciate a bit of help with hills and carrying the extra shopping, younger cyclists who want a little extra help getting to the muddy hills they like to charge down. And when it comes to e-scoters we are probably looking at early adapters, short distance commuters and recent ex-tourists who have rented e-scooters and now fancy their own machine.
So how do e-bike and e-scooters decide what to buy and where from? We conducted a little research using the Google Keyword Search Tool from Google Ads.
|Keyword||Avg. monthly searches|
|electric scooter adult||18,100|
|halfords electric bikes||14,800|
|electric dirt bike||12,100|
|electric mountain bike||12,100|
|electric scooter for kids||12,100|
|folding electric bike||9,900|
|electric bikes for sale||6,600|
|best electric bike||5,400|
|razor electric scooter||4,400|
|best electric scooter||4,400|
|electric scooter with seat||4,400|
|electric bike for kids||4,400|
|electric scooter halfords||4,400|
Here we enter the world of ecommerce SEO. It is interesting that there is greater search interest for electric scooters than electric bikes. And there is clear interest in both adult and child versions. There is, however a lot of search for electric bikes. This is, of course, a small sample of keywords. For a campaign we would typically search a couple of thousand keywords.
So now we know the words people are using when they search for their electric bikes and scooters, what do we do with them. Well first, before we do anything else, let’s start with metadata.
This is the meta data from Pure Scooters. You can see yours by typing ‘Site:’ followed by the meaty end of your domain name. In this case,’ Site:purescooters.com’.
The home page title tag reads ‘Buy electric scooters online at Pure Scooters’. And that’s a good try. It uses most of the available 60 character and spaces limit. Not to do that is a wasted opportunity. It’s like leaving half, or more, of your shop window empty. It also addresses some of the search terms we’ve seen – electric scooters for example. But other key words are missing. ‘Best electric scooters for adults and children’ would close off some of the search terms we’ve seen that are more commonly used. And that’s just the home page.
When people are searching, they will tend to follow a pattern of first using fairly basic, short-tale terms. They will then think a bit more about what they are looking for and may search ‘fastest’ or ‘folding’ or other adjective led keywords before narrowing down what it is they are looking for. The longer keyword phrases make sense for category pages and the precise key words, such as ‘Xiaomi M365’ can be used for product pages.
Avoid confusing Google
Now that sounds like good advice. But it is easily done. If you have the same metadata on two pages or, worse still, on all your pages, Google may split its attention between them all. Or worse still, it may choose to ignore the very page you really want to rank. And there is another factor to think about. Google will expect to see the words you have used in the metadata to be repeated on the page but in a way which makes sense to the human reader. And if your pages are good and informative you will find that people link to them. There is no need for all that hunting for links or, worse still, link farms, that people used to look for from SEO companies. These days they will probably just lead to a Google penalty. And you really don’t want that!
Of course, being found for keywords is just part of the story. You can always use Google Shopping and be on top of the page like this;
Let’s start with Shopping Ads. Those are the small pictures of scooters plus a price. Clicking on one of those will take you straight to the product page. It is interesting that Pure Scooters have managed to undercut the Halfords price by just 1p. Also, did your eye go straight to the listing by SkateHut? That’s the power of stars. They really do make a lot of difference. Not every review company is able to feed the stars through to the ads but if you can get them, do. We can advise on who works and how to make it happen. The following are text ads. Again, stars are available although none of the companies shown have taken that option. Pure Scooters have taken advantage of some Site Call Outs. That gives you extra words for the same price and with those extra words you are taking up more of the page. Now I’m fairly old for digital marketing, I remember buying ads in paper magazines. We used to pay by the inch. The idea of turning down more real estate on the page for free strikes me as a bit crazy.
Triggering Google Ads
Other things to know about Google Shopping and Text Ads relate to the way in which they are triggered. Once again, it is all down to keywords. But Google is very liberal in the way in which it expands the meaning of the keywords you supply to include all sorts of phrases which it considers means much the same thing. We believe it is important to maintain a considerable list of ‘negative keywords’. It is possible to see what terms people typed into Google to trigger your ads and how much they spent. Then it is down to judgment. If a keyword is costing you a small fortune but not delivering any revenue it is probably work adding it to the negative keyword list and spending the money you save on words that are driving your revenue.
What else – Facebook and Instagram
That’s all well and good for people who are actively looking for an electric bike or scooter but what about people who don’t even know that they really need your product. That’s where Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads come in.
These are different because they are triggered by being part of an audience which you define before you buy the ads. If you have emails of your customers and would be customers, then you can advertise to them. Then you can advertise to another ‘look-a-like’ audience with the same criteria as the original audience. You can target in all sorts of ways, location, age, interests etc. Our recommendation is that if you are going down the look-a-like rout you do it gently, a bit at a time, so you can be sure you know what works and what doesn’t.
Talk to us
That’s our quick thoughts about the electric bike and electric scooter industry. If you want to know more why not get in touch?