Building Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategy
by Kathleen Booth, on Feb 9, 2021 9:00:00 AM
Ecommerce has quickly become a preferred shopping method for consumers worldwide. The appeal and ease of price comparisons, speed, and on-demand nature of online shopping are unrivaled by brick and mortar alternatives.
And the numbers reflect this shift.
Globally, 1.92 billion people made purchases online in 2019. In that same year, ecommerce sales topped out at a whopping $3.5 trillion dollars, and these numbers are only projected to keep climbing.
So, in this booming industry, how can brands truly stand out from the crowd?
It’s no secret that, in addition to being profitable, ecommerce is competitive. This competition is dominated by some very large ecommerce platforms and big box retailers (like Amazon and Walmart for instance).
However, with the right marketing strategy, every ecommerce website can capture attention and sales.
To succeed, you’ll want to build, monitor, and continually refine a thorough and creative marketing strategy. This guide is meant to help you do just that.
Components of an Ecommerce Marketing Plan
Whether you’re just starting out or are an established ecommerce merchant, you always have the opportunity to assess and realign your current marketing efforts. This may be especially important if you’ve been in business for a while and are caught up in a “this is the way we’ve always done things” mentality.
Below, you will find the basic elements of an ecommerce marketing plan as well as the methods you can use to assess your efforts or determine whether to implement new strategies that will set you up for success.
Define and Segment Target Audiences
In any retail environment, the customer is king. This is no less true online. And when you are selling online you have unique access to demographics, buying patterns, and customer behavior.
This data opens up a host of opportunities for customer-centric selling.
To start with, your target audience should be clearly defined. Some brands use the research they conduct on audiences to build personas. Unless you are a very unique brand with limited offerings, there will be more than one kind of persona who buys from you.
This is where segmentation comes in.
When you accurately segment and separate your subsets of customers, you can market to them in more targeted ways. All of your messaging, ad deliveries, and content can be tailored to address the specific mentalities and needs of each individual audience segment.
This has the potential to vastly improve all-important metrics like engagement and conversions simply because you are putting the right message in front of the right audience.
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Engaging and Evolving Graphics
The only thing constant is change. No place is this more true than website design.
People’s media preferences change and shift over time. If you can imagine, text was once sufficient to sell online. Then, photos were enough. Now, 54% of consumers want to see videos from the brands they follow on social platforms.
The production cycle for content online is staggering, significant, and necessary.
This is especially true for ecommerce brands. When you are selling goods or services online, compelling, and eye-catching visuals can make the difference between winning or losing a sale.
Between 2018 and 2019, visual content increased by 10.5%.
Presentation matters. All ecommerce digital marketers need a consistent plan for delivering beautifully crafted site features, product photography, emails, and ads.
No amount of budget can offset a lack of social proof or engagement.
93% of online shoppers read reviews before buying a product. The truth of the matter is that future customers are vetting you online. What they see could determine whether or not they become loyal buyers of your product.
That’s why you need rock-solid tactics for building a community-oriented brand. This is achieved through the right messaging, engaging social posts and community interactions, and affiliate or influencer marketing.
While the strategies for messaging and social posts are fairly well established, affiliate or influencer marketing tends to be less understood and are therefore prone to problems (read more here about how to avoid influencer fraud). If you’re not already an expert, hire a specialist or study it, because influencer marketing is a $10 billion industry that isn’t going anywhere.
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Search engine optimization (SEO) is a vitally important tool for increasing the volume of organic traffic that comes to your website. Optimizing your site with relevant content, search keywords and phrases will increase the number of people who find you online. And as you climb in relevance, Google will reward you with a higher ranking on its search engine results pages.
But SEO is not the only area of optimization you should consider.
There are many elements of your digital strategy that need to be optimized. For instance, Google Shopping Ads should be voice optimized now that there has been a significant uptick in voice searches, particularly for product purchases. It's also important to continuously update your Google Ads account with negative keywords (those keywords for which your ad will NOT be triggered) to ensure your ad dollars get the biggest bang for your buck.
Keyword structures and trends change, so it’s important to update them on all of your platforms on a regular basis.
In addition to updating your website and ad campaigns, you should also optimize your social profiles and other platforms on an ongoing basis. As new features are added or changed, staying on top of these will keep you growing in visibility and protect you from any direct penalties that platforms may levy on those who don’t keep up with best practices.
Connecting buyers with the information they need to make a decision in the quickest and easiest way possible is a tried and true recipe for marketing success. Algorithm changes and buyer behavior will always reward those who seek to educate first and provide as many answers as possible.
Ecommerce Marketing Made Easy
While it does require knowledge and effort, ecommerce marketing can be simplified into a few basic activities:
- Defining your target audience and goals
- Deploying great-looking, well-written ads
- Curating a consistent online presence that builds a community around your brand
- Ensuring your site is easily found with ongoing optimization
- Tracking the important key performance indicators and metrics for success
- Adjusting your strategy to continually improve performance
The right marketing will effectively invite the right customer into your ecommerce platform to buy your product.
Simple as that.