A solid ecommerce marketing plan can help your business grow effectively, optimize opportunities, and minimize potential risks. A marketing plan is your roadmap for the future in terms of acquiring new customers and maintaining their loyalty. It’s also the blueprint that will define your brand and reputation.
What is an Ecommerce Marketing Plan?
An ecommerce marketing plan is crucial to SME businesses because it’s the main way in which you’ll promote your brand. It should look like a detailed blueprint containing specific marketing tactics that will enable you to acquire new customers, subscribers, or buyers, and retain their loyalty. An ecommerce marketing plan should also include details on how to sustain a responsive and up-to-date communication with your existing customers.
Your ecommerce marketing plan should streamline all your marketing efforts and initiatives in order to be in sync with your overall marketing strategy. This will ensure the optimal utilization of your time, manpower, money, and other resources. Just like other plans, your ecom marketing plan must follow the SMART principle: it should be specific, measurable, realistic, and timely (or time-bound).
Why Do I Need an Ecomm Marketing Plan?
An ecommerce marketing plan serves as both a roadmap and a blueprint. It functions as a marketing roadmap because it provides a bird’s-eye view of the path your business should take in terms of creating brand awareness and converting leads into paying customers. It also behaves as a blueprint because it illustrates the structure of your strategy and tactics in relation to your objectives.
An ecom marketing plan streamlines your course of action and provides indicators on how and when certain milestones can be achieved. Without a clear plan, it’s harder for your online business to achieve any specific goal, simply because of the lack of direction. To see real success, you’ll need a tailor-made marketing plan to suit your business.
Here are a few reasons why you need an ecom marketing plan:
- It provides focus. A plan keeps you anchored and helps prevent distractions. Whether it’s a short-term plan, requiring only a few weeks or a few months, or a long-term plan which is included as part of a five-year corporate plan, a solid marketing plan will prevent you from wasting your efforts and resources. This is critical when you’re just starting out or still growing. In a nutshell, it will help you be more effective in your marketing, thereby saving you time, money and effort – and helping you target the right audience more effectively.
- It sets benchmarks and milestones. This means that you can measure the progress of your marketing campaigns based on specific metrics and KPIs. With a good ecom marketing plan, you can determine whether you’re on track to achieve set goals, or, if not, what you need to do to get back on course. This means you can reduce your margin of error and make proper adjustments.
- It drives traffic to your website and creates brand awareness. Products don’t promote themselves. You need to actively promote them through marketing so you can build your online brand presence and convert site visitors into paying customers. Devising an ecommerce marketing plan will allow you do this in a tactical way so that you make the most of your reach.
- It improves customer relationships. A good marketing plan can help you connect with your customers by identifying who they are, where they are, and what they respond to. You can then strategically use this data to provide personalized content that customers will love.
- It makes your marketing efforts coherent. A comprehensive and detailed ecommerce marketing plan allows you to consolidate and coordinate all your marketing efforts. This will help you streamline your operations so that your brand has a strong and cohesive online presence.
- It makes you think. Drafting a marketing plan and precisely tuning it to your business and your target market helps you exercise more creativity and foresight in terms of solving problems that your business may encounter. It also forces you to think outside the box, and could even lead to some revelatory ideas that change the game for your business!
What Should I Include in My Ecommerce Marketing Plan?
Following the SMART principle of planning we mentioned earlier, there are several things you should include in your ecommerce marketing plan, such as:
- A definite goal or a set of objectives: This is also known as the executive summary, and it should include both long-term and short-term goals. It must be as specific as possible and include how you’ll achieve your goals, so you can set realistic milestones. An executive summary must also be measurable. For instance, it’s not enough to say you’ll increase the number of visitors on your ecom site; you must specify the number, such as 1000 new visitors per day. This will make it much easier to track and work towards each goal.
- Buyer personas: Your brand message should be customized to specific categories of potential customers. Creating buyer personas allow you to hone in on what your ideal customer looks like, what their online behaviors are, what challenges they face, and what desires they have. Buyer personas are crucial, and doubly so if you’re selling niche or high-end products that you need to get in front of a very specific audience. Outlining them in your ecom marketing plan ensures that you’re tailoring your strategy to the right customers.
- A SWOT analysis: This is basically when you look at your internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as any external opportunities or threats to your business. Undertaking a SWOT analysis will help you to anticipate threats, assess your competitors, and identify your competitive edge.
- Your keywords: An SEO strategy is integral to your ecommerce marketing plan and website. From skyrocketing you to the top of the SERPs (search engine results pages) to attracting organic traffic, you could argue that the success of an ecommerce website hinges on SEO. It’s important to take the time to really flesh this out.
- Content creation: Once you’ve identified your target market and have compiled relevant keywords, you should create a content plan. This should include the type of content you want to create, which platforms you’ll be promoting them on, and when the best times to post are. Planning content like this will help you to reach your audience at the time and place they’re most active.
How to Write an Ecommerce Marketing Plan
Writing an ecommerce marketing plan is similar to writing other types of marketing plans. While the platforms, channels, and methods may differ slightly, any marketing plan should always follow the SMART principle. When writing an ecom marketing plan, you must also think about the marketing fundamentals, such as identifying the target market, specifying the benefits and features of products, and setting measurable metrics of success.
You cannot make an effective plan without first having the relevant data. Therefore, it’s important to conduct some research that identifies the needs of your target customers, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors. Armed with this information, you’ll be able to write a bulletproof ecommerce marketing plan that meets your specific goals.