The ecommerce landscape is becoming increasingly competitive and consumers are presented with myriad online stores vying for their attention every day. Although there is undoubtedly a lot of competition, this is also an exciting landscape within which to operate because the digital sphere has enabled anyone with a passion to set up shop and share their wares with the world.
However, with so much competition around, you need to know that you are doing everything possible to put your business in the right position to secure the success you want to see. This is where ecommerce marketing comes into play. We have put together this short guide featuring some of the key tips and tricks you need to know in order to survive and thrive in 2019 and beyond.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
In short, ecommerce marketing refers to the process of driving traffic to your store to convert into customers and sales. There are multiple channels in ecommerce marketing, with both paid and non-paid strategies offering the potential for significant results over both the short and the longer term.
Crucially, ensuring that your strategy evolves over time and is flexible enough to exploit any changes to the advantage of your business is imperative. Nothing in the ecommerce world moves slowly, so you need to know that your marketing strategy can grow and develop with your business in order to ensure a solid return on investment (ROI).
Creating a Powerful Ecommerce Marketing Plan
It is always difficult to secure meaningful results without a considered plan. This is especially true of the ecommerce landscape because without a clear understanding as to what is going on around you, you will find it almost impossible to identify what makes your business different and to convey this messaging to the right audience in a way that will resonate with them.
Your marketing plan should include:
- Goals and objectives: be clear, intentional and specific here
- Mission statement and value proposition: state who you are, what you do and the purpose of your business
- Target audience: including age, gender, geographical location and purchasing power
- Situational analysis: detailing where you are now, where you want to be, and how the decisions you make will help you get there
As soon as your plan is in place and you fully understand the unique nuances of your business, you can begin to determine how your strategy will be executed in order to deliver the best possible results
Sales and Lead Generation
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to ecommerce marketing; indeed there is ample opportunity for you to get as creative as you want to be. Your sales funnel should map the path that your customers will take from the awareness stage, through to interest, desire and, ultimately, action. Each of those stages should be the focus of a clear strategy designed to effectively channel your potential customers through the funnel.
Earlier funnel stage strategies should ideally focus on building brand awareness. Although posting organic content to social platforms won’t necessarily drive immediate conversions, this will be helping you to lay the groundwork for the rest of your ecommerce marketing approach. Strategies aimed at the later stages of your sales funnel will likely include direct email communications and retargeting ads on key social platforms such as Instagram.
Social Media Marketing
Maintaining an active presence on the most relevant social media platforms for your business will help you to connect with your audience and engage in valuable conversations. As ecommerce websites are inherently highly visual, utilising your imaging and video assets should help you to drive traffic to individual product pages and provide you with additional opportunities for conversions.
Instagram is a particularly important social platform for many ecommerce businesses because it allows you to share high quality product imagery and increase the reach of your brand beyond immediate purchasing pages.
Shoppable content can also be created for social platforms, enabling consumers to make purchases immediately. Shoppable content ranges from tags that will take consumers to their shopping cart through to carefully placed display adverts within your social feeds. The best approach will facilitate a friction-free purchasing process, removing superfluous steps and delivering a seamless shopping experience to your customers.
Investing in ecommerce SEO is almost invariably going to be one of the best choices you will make as an online retailer. Securing organic ranking positions in search engine results pages (SERPs) will help you to boost your brand awareness and begin building a loyal audience of engaged individuals who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.
Securing first, second or third place in organic SERPs will deliver a click through rate (CTR) of between 30% and 10%. These percentages are particularly startling when you consider that sites in ninth position will garner a modest 2% CTR.
Although it is possible to secure rapid results, your approach to ecommerce SEO should always be to view it as a long term strategy. Without ongoing commitment and investment, you will eventually start to see these initial gains tail off.
Ensuring that copy on your product pages is fully optimised is an essential element of ecommerce SEO. Each page should include concise, product-driven keywords in the primary copy. Additionally, integrating the right target keywords into page titles, image alt text and headers will ensure that search engines rank your site for appropriate search queries.
Although you might not immediately think that ecommerce businesses need to leverage the power of content marketing, high quality content will ultimately help you to boost your ranking positions in SERPs and connect with a much wider audience.
Writing and sharing relevant blog posts can help you to attract your ideal audience wherever they are in their purchasing process. If, for example, you sell wedding dresses, sharing a blog post covering your top tips for planning wedding ensembles will help you to start building an engaged audience. From here, you can begin to create blog posts that will channel your audience towards the consideration stage of your sales funnel.
You will subsequently find it much easier to effectively convert your audience into leads and customers because you have already demonstrated that your business has something of value to offer and genuinely cares about their interests.
With over a billion active users, YouTube presents ecommerce businesses with a wealth of opportunities to connect with an engaged audience. Exploring most-searched keyword terms will help you to determine the type of content you should be sharing to showcase your products and deliver something of value to your audience. Tutorial videos often perform particularly well for ecommerce businesses as they can illustrate how best to use your products which will boost customer satisfaction and allow you to build valuable long-term relationships with your audience.
Building a strong email list is one of the most important things you can do as a small business owner. Email marketing can be easily automated, which means that campaigns can be segmented by demographic, interest or even by stage in the buying journey. Email marketing may be one of the longer-established forms of digital marketing but there is a reason why it still holds so much value.
There are a wealth of marketing opportunities available to ecommerce businesses which, if wisely chosen, can shape powerful campaigns to drive and sustain meaningful growth.