When you think of buying a product do you think of going to a store or buying the product online? Most people will say they are going to buy it online instead of making the trip to the store. In fact, eCommerce revenue now represents 10.7% of U.S. retail sales. Consumers are increasingly relying on online shopping. It is estimated that 95% of purchases will be made online by 2040. The new wave of ecommerce is opening up the doors of opportunities to countless entrepreneurs and small businesses.
A big part of ecommerce is making sure that you are looking at the big picture and not just short-term goals. By successfully implementing ecommerce strategies into a business plan it can help to grow the business.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of promoting your online store via inbound advertising, organic SEO, and other marketing tactics to increase website traffic, brand visibility, and sales. This includes driving awareness with social media, search engines, digital content, and email, as well as driving website actions with conversion rate optimization.
Ecommerce marketing uses many of the same tactics like digital marketing to convert visitors into customers.
To give you an understanding of what an effective ecommerce marketing strategy entails, here are some common marketing channels to generate more sales for your online store.
What are the Top Ecommerce Marketing Strategies?
Ecommerce marketing requires an omnichannel approach, with some channels performing better than others. For example, conversion rates vary widely by both traffic source and device type:
- Average ecommerce conversion rate by device: desktop: 3.8%; tablet: 3.3%; smartphone: 1.3%
- Median conversion rate by traffic source: Direct: 2.2%; Email: 5.3%; Organic: 2.1%; Facebook: 0.9%; Paid Search (AdWords): 1.4%; Referral: 5.4%; Social: 0.7%
1. Customer Personalization
Over 80% of customers are more likely to buy from an online store that provides personalized experiences. Businesses should stray away from a one-size fits all method and focus on personalized experiences for their specific target audience. The personalized experience needs to be implemented throughout the entire customer journey. Personalization tactics should be included in on-site browsing, email, social media activity, and even paid ads.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long term strategy to get more traffic to your ecommerce site by increasing your organic, or unpaid rankings on search engines.
For ecommerce sites, this includes optimizing your technical SEO and content strategy to be successful. Technical SEO includes on-site tactics like mobile optimization, URL structure, keyword tags, internal linking, site speed, and more.
In addition to technical SEO, quality content is a driving factor for generating organic ecommerce traffic. You should have high-quality content on product and category pages, and a regularly updated, SEO-optimized blog.
3. Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Social media can be a great ecommerce tool. In fact, 57% of consumers said that social media influences their shopping. With platforms such as Instagram and Facebook you can boosts posts about products or use Facebook advertising to promote product deals. A whopping 39% of customers say they will follow a business’s page on Facebook in order to learn more about deals and promotions. It may feel like a hassle to have a strong business presence on social media, but it really does make a difference in a business’s success.
Chatbots are the way of the future. The global chatbot market has attained a massive 24.3% Compound Annual Growth Rate and 45% of users consider chatbots their primary choice for customer service inquiries. Chatbots make interacting with customers quick and easy. When a customer needs help, they do not want to wait. Having a chatbot or a live chat feature helps to mitigate customer confusion and increase the number of conversions for a business.
5. Email Marketing
Using email marketing software is one of the best ways to engage with potential customers and up-sell to current customers.
When it comes to ecommerce email marketing, there are a lot of strategies. You can use automated emails like a welcome email series when a user opts-in on your site, as well as abandoned cart emails, to remind users they have an item in their cart.
In addition to automated emails, marketing emails and newsletters can tell subscribers about upcoming promotions, product news, and provide purchase incentives.
Retargeting is the process of showing text, banner, and social ads to web users who have visited your website or interacted with your products.
When users visit your ecommerce site, Google or Facebook can place a pixel on their browsers and show them ads as they browse the web, reminding them of your business.
These ads are typically paid for on a cost-per-impression basis and are a great tactic for targeted digital marketing, as you know the users have already interacted with your website.
7. Influencer Marketing
When making online purchases, users are very reliant on the opinions of others to inform their purchase decisions.
They look for online reviews, and recommendations from peers and influencers to tell them what to buy and which brands to interact with.
By joining an influencer marketing network, you can connect with micro-influencers in your niche to promote you.
An ecommerce store will typically pay an influencer an upfront fee (more followers = higher fee) and they will promote their products on their blogs, Instagram accounts, Facebook, or YouTube channels.
8. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the act of using an affiliate network to connect with other websites to promote your products.
These other websites, or affiliates, promote your product with text links and banners, and an ecommerce retailer pays them a commission of the sale price once a purchase has been completed.
The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it’s a highly scalable, ROI-positive form of marketing, as ecommerce advertisers set their own commission rates and are guaranteed a certain return on investment.
You can check out my guide to the top 123+ affiliate programs for more information.
9. Write Newsletters and Blogs
A proven strategy for ecommerce is to write and post content. The more a business talks about what they have to offer the more people are going to listen. Long-form blog posts with informational guides can boost organic SEO by as much as 2 to 3 times over the course of a year. Also, sending newsletters to your customers reminding them of what products you have in stock or what promotions are going on it will help usher them to your website or online store.
These nine strategies are great to incorporate in your ecommerce strategy. We know creating a strong ecommerce strategy can seem daunting. However, if you invest the time in doing it you will see immense results.
How Can I Master the Ecommerce Conversion Funnel?
Before you can optimize each marketing tactic above, you need to understand your business goals, marketing budget, and how these channels work together.
Getting a user to purchase a product is a long term task – it can take 7-13 touches to deliver a qualified sale. A user will have to see your brand and products multiple times before their first purchase. Because of this, your approach needs to include multiple tactics in unison to hits buyers at different stages in their journey.
1. Top-of-Funnel Marketing
Your top-of-funnel, (or brand awareness) marketing efforts reach users who have never seen your products before.
They probably won’t buy right away. Sales prospecting tactics include paid and organic social media posts and display advertising, with end goals like impressions, email sign-ups, web traffic, and social followers.
For example, you need to master your ecommerce SEO strategy and get traffic for terms related to your product offerings. If you sell camping supplies, you could write a long-form blog post on the Top Ten Camping Destinations in the United States, bringing in readers to build brand awareness and then retarget them with ads. There are a ton of ecommerce SEO agencies out there that can help you with your search engine strategies.
A user may view one of your Facebook image ads, visit your website, but not be ready to purchase yet. These web visitors help build your email list, become your social followers, and are perfect for retargeting campaigns.
Now every time a top-of-funnel user visits a product page but isn’t ready to convert into a customer, they can still be added to their email list as a warm lead.
A good return on investment (ROI) for top-of-funnel marketing tactics is 2-2.5:1
2. Bottom-of-Funnel Marketing
Once users warm up to your brand, they’re more likely to make a purchase, so you can implement bottom-of-funnel marketing strategies.
This includes brand pay per click advertising (PPC), retargeting campaigns, and abandoned cart emails. These bottom-of-funnel tactics are for users who are searching for your brand on Google, or who have already visited your site or added a product to their cart.
The end goal here is to generate sales.
For example, check out how Zoma Sleep uses both eye-catching animations and customer reviews to increase conversion rates on their mattress product page.
To get users to your product and category pages, brand pay per click (PPC) advertising plays an important role. These Google ads target users searching for your brand name – they already know you and want to visit your site, which is great for potential sales.
Brand keywords will always have a stronger ROI, as the searcher knows enough about you to search for your specific brand name. You should own these brand terms and maintain position 1.0-1.5 on search engine marketing (SEM) tools.
Non-brand terms will always have a lower ROI, as these users are still searching for your products, may have never heard or your brand, or are shopping around and viewing competitors.
It’s important to bid on some of these terms if you’re looking to be competitive in the market, but maintaining a position of 2.5-4.0 can be a better strategy.
Make sure to perform retargeting efforts on both Google and Facebook. Facebook retargeting can include Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) which advertise the exact products that users viewed on your site in a scrolling carousel format, based on their browsing history.
Additionally, by implementing different duration windows you can target visitors who viewed your products 3, 7, 14, 30, or even 180 days after viewing them. With this strategy, you can bid higher on your 3-day audience than your 30-day audience and improve your campaign’s ROI.
Using the Facebook Power Editor, bid higher on shorter duration windows and less on longer duration windows – a retargeted user who added a product to their cart three days ago is much more likely to purchase than a user who visited your home page 90 days ago.
The same holds true with Google. Separate your retargeting audiences by duration window to improve your bidding strategies and return on ad spend (ROAS).
Additionally, by implementing A/B testing and offering a discount for certain retargeting audiences, you can see if discount messaging gives you a stronger return on investment.
A good return on investment (ROI) for the bottom of the funnel campaigns include 3:1 for Google brand keywords and 5+:1 for Facebook retargeting.
3. Ecommerce Upselling, Cross-Selling, and Repeat Purchasers
Do you know your repeat purchase rate (RPR)? A repeat purchase rate measures the percentage of customers who come back and make another purchase. This is calculated by taking your repeat customers, dividing by your total customers, and multiplying by 100.
Second, how do you market to your current customer base? It costs 5x more to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. The main marketing strategies to target your customer base include retargeting, email, and social media campaigns which only targeting past purchasers.
With Facebook Ads and email marketing options tied to your ecommerce platform, you can create specific campaigns just for users who have already purchased from you.
These can be promotional in nature, offer VIP discounts, and make them feel special (because they are).
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Ecommerce Marketing Summary
There are more opportunities to make money with an online store than ever before. However, your marketing tactics and conversion funnel need to be top of mind and fit the needs of the evolving and demanding consumer. Marketing your online store doesn’t have to be shrouded in mystery.
By implementing some of the ecommerce marketing tactics above and getting each one to an ROI baseline, you can afford to scale, get your products in front of more people, and generate more revenue this year.