How To Create A Marketing Strategy For Ecommerce (Plus 6 Tips)
As we all know, the digital world is constantly evolving, and ecommerce is no exception to that. That’s why it’s important to create a solid marketing strategy for ecommerce, while keeping it agile and flexible enough to move with new innovations in technology. How? In this article, we explore the different ways of approaching an ecommerce strategy, what to consider, and the common strategies being used today. (Don’t miss our tips at the end!)
What Is An Ecommerce Marketing Strategy?
An ecommerce marketing strategy is designed to attract more leads to your website, and, crucially, convert them into paying customers. Ecommerce strategy, put simply, is about how to increase your online sales.
This doesn’t just apply to new customers. An important objective of a marketing strategy for ecommerce is to retain customers and encourage repeat transactions. Customer acquisition is one thing, but customer loyalty is another, and with a solid ecommerce marketing strategy in place, you can build on this budding sense of loyalty in order to encourage repeat purchases.
What Should My Ecommerce Marketing Strategy Include?
While an ecommerce strategy’s focus should mainly be in the digital sphere, there are also offline methods of marketing you can use to boost online sales and maximize reach and conversions. Make sure you focus on the tactics that are best-suited to your product and brand image.
- Social media: You can promote your online business through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms. This can be one of the best ways to interact with your target customers, especially if you have a B2C business.
- Affiliate marketing: This is when third party companies or individuals promote your business on their platform, typically in return for a percentage of the sales they generate. It’s a great way to reach bigger audiences who are open to your product or service, and either different websites, bloggers, or even social media influencers can be used.
- Google Ads: You can run a pay per click (PPC) campaign and use Google Ads (or advertise with any other search engine, although Google is by far the most popular) so that your product or business appears on the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs) as sponsored ads.
- Social media ads: On social media, you can specify your target audience based on demographic profiles and online behaviours. The respective algorithm will then show these ads to individuals who conform to those profiles.
- YouTube ads: You have a wide range of options when creating YouTube ads, such as banner ads and video ad autoplay on top-ranking YouTube channels.
- Email marketing: Despite what you may have heard, email is not dead. You can use email to encourage visitors to click-through to your website, subscribe to gain access to gated content or free resources, and to buy.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO is many things. It offers huge potential, it’s free, and it’s proven – but it’s a (hugely worthwhile) investment in time. Using SEO to attract organic traffic to your website is vital if you want to rank well on search engines. SEO should be a part of your marketing strategy for ecommerce – and it’s so important that it also needs a strategy of its own.
Including offline marketing tactics in your ecommerce strategy helps drive your target audience to purchase from your website.
- Newspaper ads: Newspaper ads often work best if your target customers are local, while national ads can be incredibly expensive and may not produce the best ROI.
- Radio ads: This is another way of targeting local customers, especially if your business is catering to a community such as a town, city, or district. Depending on your demographic, you can arrange for these to be aired at specific times of the day in order to catch your audience.
- TV ads: Big corporations that have online presences also advertise their websites on TV, including using infomercials.
- Special events: Events that have some sort of link to your brand can be a good way to generate awareness and drive custom on your website. For example, if you’re an energy bar brand, you may want to sponsor sporting events.
How Do I Create An Ecommerce Marketing Strategy?
When building your marketing strategy for ecommerce, you must first consider various overarching factors, such as your long-term plans and company goals, and ensure that everything you put into your ecomm strategy is aligned with this.
Here’s a good general approach you can use when you’re creating your ecommerce marketing strategy:
- Define your goals
Your strategy should start with defining the long-term and short-term goals. Typical goals for a successful marketing strategy for ecommerce usually include driving traffic to your site, higher conversion rates, and of course, online sales. Your goals must be well-defined so you know what success looks like, and also so it’s easier to decide what direction and approach to take to your strategy and the marketing tactics you’ll use.
- Allocate a budget
You should allocate an overall budget for your ecomm strategy, and once you know what your tactics will be, allocate individual budgets to each of those, too. It’s important to be flexible here – if you find that one of your ecomm tactics simply isn’t working, be prepared to pivot and reallocate budget to something you know will drive you towards your goals.
- Choose your approach
What approach do you want to use? Is it purely online marketing you’ll rely on, or will you also include offline marketing platforms to promote your ecommerce site? For example, if you’re going to use a content marketing approach, would you also use some of your online content in print advertising? These are the kinds of questions you should be asking when deciding on a marketing strategy. Once you have chosen an approach, flesh it out further so that it’s airtight and clear.
- Build a detailed action plan
Once you’ve got your strategy down, it’s important to create an action plan that details the step-by-step, tactical process on how you’re going to achieve your objectives. For example, if email is part of your strategy, any data you have should be analyzed and used in your campaigns. This will help you write and design personalized emails so that your leads and customers are more likely to take action.
View the rest of the infographic on Ecommerce Marketing Strategy here.
What should I consider when I write my ecomm strategy?
One primary consideration is knowing your company. This means knowing the best that your company can offer, as well as understanding its limitations. The second primary consideration is knowing your target audience. You must understand their motivations, wants and needs. Finally, it’s also important to understand your competitors. Learning from what they’re doing and understanding their strengths and weaknesses will help you offer something they can’t.
Creating an ecommerce marketing strategy is like drafting a battle plan: you can’t deploy your entire army to attack on all fronts while effectively defending your territory. Your placement of material resources, time, and manpower must be strategic. Similarly, as a business, you’ll have limited resources. It’s virtually impossible (or it would be very expensive and inefficient) to use all available marketing channels, so be sure to pick the avenues that will yield the best results for your business.
6 Ecommerce Marketing Strategy Tips
Use these tips for support when creating your marketing strategy for ecommerce:
- Define your sales cycle: Make sure you have a good understanding of how the marketing funnel pertains to your customers, specifically how long it typically takes before your target customers are converted from leads to paying customers. This will require some research to figure out, and you might want to start with your website analytics.
- Optimize your website for your audience: Websites shouldn’t only be optimized for search engines (although that’s important, too). Optimizing UX (user experience) and making your site user-friendly are key things to consider if you want your ecommerce strategy to succeed. Websites should be compatible with different devices and browsers so that everyone has the same high-quality user experience. Your website must also have features that help online shopping be more convenient and secure.
- Upscale your offers: Increase revenue and profit by upscaling your offers. This means that you can offer upgrades or additional features that will justify additional fees. For example, if you’re selling cloud services, you might consider offering higher storage capacities.
- Implement automation: To facilitate faster and more cost-effective operations, you can use apps to automate some aspects of your marketing. For example, automated email marketing campaigns can be very successful – and save time in the long run.
- Create outstanding content: Good content can be many things…informative, entertaining, emotional, useful, helpful in solving specific problems your audience has. Offering the type of content your customers will respond to is key in creating loyalty, converting sales…and also getting to the top of Google. Content is an extremely worthwhile investment in time.
- Be reachable: If a customer or potential customer has a question, they must be able to contact you quickly and easily. Make sure your contact form is front and center, include phone numbers and potentially online chat services. If a customer can’t reach you, they’re more likely to click away, and you’ve lost a potential sale you’ve probably worked hard for.
Your marketing strategy for ecommerce should be tailor-made for your target audience. A proactive strategy that’s responsive to the dynamics of the market is crucial in ecomm success, as is prioritizing your audiences’ needs.