Global ecommerce sales are expected to reach $4.2 trillion (with a T!) in 2020. So how do you ensure your business gets a slice of the pie?
Start with a killer ecommerce marketing strategy.
Ecommerce marketing strategies have three main goals: attract website visitors, drive conversions, and encourage repeat purchases. Brands should strive to be successful at accomplishing all three goals. However, each will require different marketing channels and messaging since they reach people at different stages of the customer journey.
If you are assessing gaps in your ecommerce marketing strategy, here is a general framework to think about how to be successful at each stage.
Driving visitors to your website is usually a key part of brand awareness. Customers need to know that you exist! Unless your customers are already familiar with your business and visit your website directly, you will need a digital marketing ecommerce strategy that will broaden your reach. The following channels are an excellent starting point when thinking about how to drive more traffic.
SEO and Content Strategy
SEO, or search engine optimization, refers to a set of strategies that make your website more likely to appear on a search engine when a user types relevant words and phrases into the search bar. So if your company sells adventure gear, you will likely want to develop an SEO strategy around keywords related to camping, hiking, and outdoor activities. SEO is also important for retailers that sell brands that others do, too.
A major driver of SEO is to develop a content strategy for your website, where you frequently publish new, valuable content for your target audience. One of the best ways to accomplish this is through a company blog, which not only drives organic search traffic but also provides content to post on your social media channels or share in your promotional emails.
Organic Social Media Marketing
When it comes to marketing, “organic” refers to content that you post on your company channels, but don’t convert into a paid ad. That means your content will mostly be seen by the people who already follow your page. The most important social media channels for ecommerce are typically Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, and Pinterest, all of which are highly visual platforms that can showcase products and include links to your website. Twitter can also be useful for engaging in industry conversations, while LinkedIn tends to be most beneficial for B2B businesses.
To really expand your reach, you’ll probably need to invest in some paid advertising. Google PPC ads and social media ads are a great place to start because you have total control over the budget, creative assets, and targeting.
The paid ads that appear at the top of a Google search are known as PPC (pay-per-click), and these tend to work for retailers of well-known brands and products. PPC ads are based on certain keywords that you place a bid for.
Among social media channels, Facebook is best for acquiring new customers due to the versatile nature of its advertising. For example, you can create Lookalike Ads, which target new customers with interests and characteristics similar to your current customers. As for the creative itself, you can create a carousel ad to showcase multiple products, a single image with text, or a video ad.
Email marketing is a great way to get a visitor to keep coming back to interact with your brand, even if they haven’t purchased yet. When they enter the website, encourage them to sign up for your email list (often, the promise of a promotion is a good incentive!), then deploy an automated welcome series introducing them to your brand and its products. You can also create ad hoc campaigns announcing special sales or events.
Align your brand with a popular celebrity, expert, or person of influence who is related to your company. For example, ecommerce sites that specialize in health and wellness products may wish to partner with an Instagram influencer who publishes wellness or lifestyle content. Bloggers and vloggers are also influencers who can help your brand reach a new audience.
Now that you’ve generated some web traffic, how do you get web visitors to place an order? This is where the “conversion” part of your ecommerce marketing strategy comes into play. Here are some marketing and ecommerce ideas to use on your website and on other digital channels.
Compelling copy and visual content
According to Adobe, 38% of online shoppers will leave a website if they dislike the design. Instead, grab their attention at the outset with eye-catching visuals that tell your brand’s story, as well as a clear statement of who you are and a call-to-action that tells customers what they should do next. In terms of the design itself, fonts should be legible, and the site shouldn’t be too “busy.”
The website should be easy to use. You don’t want a potential customer to get frustrated when trying to find a product or check out. When designing the website, start with a simple navigation so users can easily find what they need. For example, an ecommerce clothing store will probably want to organize the site by categories such as Women, Men, and Children, and then subcategories like Shirts, Shorts, and Outerwear. Then make sure the process to place the item in a cart, check out, and pay is as seamless as possible.
Everybody loves getting a deal. Promotions are a tried-and-true way to turn browsing web visitors into paying customers. Promotions can be shared across many channels, including social, email, and your website itself. You may wish to create a promotion specifically for new users, a promotion around a holiday or event, or a promotion in exchange for subscribing to your email list.
It should come as no surprise that “word-of-mouth” is the most trusted form of marketing. According to Nielsen, 92% of people believe that personal recommendations from friends and family are more trustworthy than any other type of advertising. “Social proof” carries a lot of the same benefits of word-of-mouth by sharing real opinions from real people about your business. Showcase customer testimonials, reviews, and ratings on your website, social media channels, and email marketing to foster greater trust with potential customers.
Abandoned cart notifications
It’s a common scenario for a potential customer to place an item in their cart, and then leave the website. But that doesn’t mean you’ve lost the sale! You can set up your website to send an email to that customer reminding them that an item is in their cart and they haven’t checked out yet. You can also run ads on Google and Facebook with the same abandoned cart messaging.
Have you ever visited an ecommerce website, viewed a product, and then seen an ad for that same product on a totally different website? That’s called a retargeting ad. You can use retargeting on Facebook, Instagram, or Google Display Network to serve up an ad reminding them about your company. This can be done by setting up custom audience parameters on these channels.
You want customers to come back and frequently buy from you. This is how to build a strong business. According to ConstantContact, repeat customers spend 67% more than new customers. It also costs 16 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain a current customer. Aside from selling a great product and maintaining a great customer experience throughout the pre- and post-purchase process, there are other loyalty marketing strategies you can use to keep engaging your existing clientele.
If a customer has bought a product from your company, it is likely that you have their email address. Send them periodic emails about new products, sales, and company news. Bonus: you can incentivize them to share a discount with their friends in order to get a discount themselves!
You can set up a retargeting ad campaign through Google Ads, Facebook, and Instagram to keep engaging customers that have bought a product. Suppose someone has visited your website and purchased a pair of winter gloves. You may want to serve them a retargeting ad for a matching hat, or another product that would complement their recent purchase. Retargeting ads for current customers can also be effective if you add an incentive, such as 10% off their next purchase.
How we can help
Sounds like a lot to remember, doesn’t it? That’s why it helps a lot to keep track of your channels and marketing strategy with an all-in-one platform like Sparkfive. Sparkfive offers a suite of ecommerce marketing tools that enable brands to manage their marketing calendar, organize creative assets, and analyze the data from campaigns. To learn more about Sparkfive can help you level up your ecommerce marketing strategy, request a demo or check out our features and plans.