If you have a business that sells products online, you need to be well-versed in ecommerce marketing to grow your sales and your business. But what goes into an ecommerce marketing plan? What makes an ecommerce marketing strategy successful, and what are online customers looking for when they make a purchase? Find out more in our guide to ecommerce marketing.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is a way to drive customers and sales to a business that sells its products online. As the consumer appetite for online purchases grows, more and more businesses are adding ecommerce to their websites. Some businesses are now entirely based on ecommerce and don’t have physical stores at all.
This increase in ecommerce businesses means the field is more crowded – it’s harder than ever for an ecommerce business to stand out organically. That’s where ecommerce marketing comes into play. If you have a strategy for getting your prospective customers to your online store, you have an important advantage over your competition.
Ecommerce advertising is the actions you take to drive those customers to your online store – like display or search ads.
Building an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
Now that you know the basics of ecommerce marketing, how can you create a marketing strategy that works for your online store? Follow these steps to create your customized and effective marketing plan.
Set Your Goals
The start of any marketing strategy is setting your goals, and ecommerce marketing is no exception. Your marketing goals should align with your business goals – do you want to reach a new customer base? Increase conversions? Strengthen your nurture marketing? Drive brand awareness?
This goal-setting is important because ecommerce marketing is a wide field. If you don’t start your plan by focusing on what’s important to your business, you might cast your marketing net too wide and miss out on getting the results you want. Narrowing your goals and your focus will make your plan more successful and avoid wasting time or money.
Need some guidance in how to set your ecommerce marketing goals? This is a good time for data analysis and competitor research. Are your conversion rates lower than other companies in your industry? How does your website traffic stack up against the competition? How about your customer acquisition cost? All this data can help refine your marketing goals.
Pick the Marketing Type That Works for You
Ecommerce marketing comes in many flavors. And not all of them will be right for your business. If you’re just starting out in business, or in your marketing plan, you may just want to pick one type to focus on to begin. It’s better to do one thing well than three things poorly. But if you have the marketing basics in place already and are looking to grow, pick a few types that align with your business goals as these types of marketing work together well.
Social Media Marketing
You probably already have a social media presence or two for your brand, creating and sharing content organically. But social media marketing is about paid promotion – and it can be incredibly effective for ecommerce businesses.
The popularity of general social media marketing comes with a few caveats for ecommerce businesses, however. Not every platform is a good fit for ecommerce sites, which tend to be highly visual. Instagram and Facebook are the best social media platforms for online shopping because of their emphasis on visuals. And both platforms let advertisers create shoppable content, which lets your potential customers make a purchase right away.
Content marketing might seem like an awkward fit for ecommerce sites at first. After all, how does writing blog posts help you sell a product? But on closer inspection, it’s a marketing method that can yield big results.
Optimizing your product pages to be found by search engines helps customers find your store without money spent on paid ads. Creating blog content that speaks to your target audience helps them see you as a trusted authority and eventually make a purchase. And if your customers have questions about your product, you want to be sure you’re the one answering them with detailed FAQs in blog posts and on your pages.
And be sure not to ignore the power of YouTube. It has over 1 billion users worldwide – and gets the most search queries after Google. Create product videos or tutorials with additional information that are valuable to both your prospects and your customers, and be sure they’re optimized for YouTube SEO.
Email marketing is old-school and very effective for online stores. Best of all, it can be set up to be automated – you can create sequences of emails that will automatically go out to prospects after they take certain actions.
For example, if you have users who visit your site, add your products to their shopping carts, and then leave without making a purchase, you can set up an email series that goes out as reminders to complete their purchases. Abandoned shopping carts are a very common occurrence in ecommerce, and email marketing can be an effective way to nurture those incomplete visits to a sale.
Email marketing automation can also be useful after a customer makes a purchase. After all, your relationship with the customer doesn’t stop at a one-time sale. You can set up emails to thank them for their purchase, ask them to write a review of your product on your website, or send additional information about how to use the product via a blog post on your site or video on your YouTube channel.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engines like Google and Bing are very popular for users who are looking for a way to buy something they need. Advertising on these sites can be very effective because users are often ready to make a purchase when they do a search. Ads can be on the top of the search engine page itself above the organic results, or could be highlighted in Google Shopping ads – both are pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns through Google Ads.
Measure Your Results
Now that you have a plan in place to advertise your ecommerce site that aligns with your business goals, the marketing plan isn’t over. You need to come up with a plan to measure your results regularly to track how your campaigns are going. If you treat your marketing as “set it and forget it,” you might miss ads that are performing poorly or costing you too much to get a good ROI.
Set aside time at least once per week to look at your ecommerce marketing results. Are your emails driving enough conversions? Are your social media ads performing well or failing to convert to sales? How about your search engine marketing campaigns? Is your blog content or your YouTube videos getting the views you anticipated?
Regular data reviews are important because every lost sale or wasted ad dollar costs you money. And trends change quickly – what was working well one month could have failed to get results the next. By staying on top of your results, you can quickly pivot to tactics that have been working well for your business instead.
Ecommerce Marketing Tips
Your ecommerce marketing strategy is now in place, and you’re feeling confident about your plan. We have a few more tips for you to ensure your marketing strategy gets you the results to grow your online store.
Build Your Reputation
Online shoppers are a wary bunch – since they aren’t seeing your product in real life, they want independent verification that you’re a trustworthy business. You can increase sales by providing plenty of reassurance to prospects that you stand behind your products. Ways to do this include offering a guarantee on your products, having customer reviews on your site and encouraging customers to share their feedback, or adding a testimonials section to your website.
Invest in User Experience
All the ad campaigns in the world won’t get you more conversions if your website and online shop are poorly designed. At a minimum, your website should have responsive design so it looks and works well on all devices – phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. The process to make a purchase should be easy and free of glitches. And your site should be easy to browse and find the items your customer wants.
Don’t Ignore Your Current Customers
No business can grow without adding new customers – it’s just a fact of business. You need to increase your customer base to see growth. But don’t let the search for new leads distract you from the customers you already have. Once a lead becomes a customer, your relationship with them is just beginning. You should still be working to engage and delight them – and nurturing their relationship with your brand.
These customer relationships have several benefits. Satisfied customers who feel a connection to your company are more likely to recommend you through word-of-mouth or on social media to their friends and family.
You can encourage this sharing by running user-generated content campaigns on social media, which has the added benefit of creating free content for your social networks. Or you can start a referral program for existing customers, where they get a benefit like 15% off their next order when they refer a friend who makes a purchase. Customer loyalty can lead to more sales with a lower acquisition cost.
Those all-important customer reviews we talked about earlier are also a benefit of engaged customers. The more positive reviews your company and products get, the more likely future customers are to make a purchase because they believe in what you’re selling. Reputation is everything in online shopping – and loyal customers help you burnish your reputation.
Build the Perfect Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
Is your ecommerce site not getting the results your business needs to grow? Ask the experts at ContentFirst.Marketing for help. We help businesses just like yours succeed in the digital world with everything your business needs to thrive: well-written content, a data-driven strategy, and results you can measure. Schedule your free business review today and get the growth your business deserves.