Ecommerce marketing: A campaign launching guide for founders
If you have an online store, building it and hoping "they will come" isn't enough. The competition is fierce—ecommerce supersites like Amazon make it harder to get your startup's product in front of the right buyer at the right time.
Attracting and keeping shoppers is critical to staying competitive and growing your own revenue. Ecommerce marketing can help you by increasing the number of buyers who see your website and are interested in your product.
Ecommerce marketing defined
Ecommerce marketing focuses on promoting the products or services you sell online. The goal is to convert visitors into loyal customers who want your products or services.
Note that ecommerce promotion isn't always the same as digital marketing, as digital marketing covers all types of online-based marketing channels. Ecommerce marketing is just one of many online marketing tools.
Developing an ecommerce marketing plan
A successful online store needs a well-planned marketing strategy, and developing this takes time and input from team members or business partners. Consider the following points when creating an ecommerce marketing strategy.
Know your customer
Understanding your target customer's needs and how you meet them is crucial. Perform a detailed customer demographic study to learn who your customer is. Once you do a strategic review and feel your company understands the needs of your target audience, you can tailor their online shopping experience to match their preferences.
Start with the products you offer. Do they resonate with your customers? Is the price point correct for your demographic? Is your ecommerce site set up in a way that feels intuitive and provides an easy user experience? Are your product descriptions and store policies written in a way where your audience can connect to your brand's language? Envision yourself as your target customer to evaluate how you can improve.
Identify your best-selling products
First, go through your products and services and identify the ones that sell best (or have the highest potential to perform well online). Once you decide which of your startup's products are viable for online sales, you can fine-tune your ecommerce marketing strategy.
Remember that not every product your company sells will be a strong online contender. Some products may not be as successful in ecommerce sales because they're difficult to ship. Other products are not as simple to click and pay for, such as a custom service or personalized products.
Make closing the sale easy
One of the most significant issues an online store can face is the dreaded abandoned cart—everything seems to be going well until it's time for the customer to check out.
If a website visitor doesn't complete the checkout process, consider sending a brief email to ask if there were any issues with your ecommerce store's shopping cart process. The customer's response can provide insight into what kept them from completing the sale.
There are many ecommerce marketing approaches an online store can use. A small business owner can get overwhelmed deciding on which ones to pursue. So, start with just a few action steps to create a marketing campaign that attracts your target audience.
You'll find that many of the following ecommerce marketing tactics are similar to other forms of online marketing. Consider adding some of the marketing tips below to your ecommerce plan.
Help the customer visualize your product
Online shopping should be highly visual and descriptive to work well. Upgrade your online store's images so customers can see your product from several angles and, if possible, in real-world scenarios.
Update your online copy
Don't stop at high-quality images. Your product descriptions and store copy should also be detailed. Update your store's ecommerce policies with a clear and consumer-friendly slant, and prominently display your company's shipping and return policies. Providing customers with clear information helps them feel confident about purchasing from you.
Get Google to work for you
Take advantage of Google Analytics to analyze your potential customers' habits. The free resource can provide detailed information on customer behavior, including which product pages they visit and how they arrive at your website.
Optimize your ecommerce content
Use search engine optimization (SEO) and Google's Keyword Planner Tool to research keywords related to your online products. Blogging and optimizing your product descriptions by using targeted keywords in your store copy are two effective ways to improve where you appear in Google search.
To best optimize your blog posts and product pages, include the targeted keywords in one or two headers and in your image's alt text (this is the image's HTML text). Doing so could extend your reach to new customers and increase sales.
Integrate a social media marketing strategy
Social media platforms are one of the most popular tools to connect with your target audience. Add an ecommerce element to your company's social media by featuring store products or sharing shoppable social media posts. You can also link back to the product page so customers can learn more and purchase the featured product.
For an extra boost, consider running Facebook ads on your more popular product posts. The ads can be refined to reach new customers, similar to your target audience.
Besides posting quality content on your company's social media accounts and running social media ads, consider adding social proof to your marketing strategy by reaching out to influencers. Customers tend to feel more comfortable purchasing products endorsed by someone they recognize. Connecting with social media influencers who are willing to provide testimonials for your products can put your brand in front of a larger audience and, therefore, lead to more sales.
Set aside an advertising budget
Content marketing and SEO take time to develop and provide results. If you'd like to see a faster conversion rate on your store product sales, a targeted ad campaign may be a viable solution.
Online campaigns such as pay-per-click (PPC) and product-targeted ads from Google Shopping allow you to pay for top placements in the search results pages. You may not be able to rank in the top five organically, but you can pay for your new product to show up there.
To run a PPC campaign, register with Google Ads and set a budget for selected keywords related to your product. The first time you spend money on advertising may be nerve wracking, but getting more searchers to see and potentially buy your product could be worth the investment.
Email campaigns keep customers coming back for more
New and returning customers are your most profitable assets. Add a pop-up to your product pages or checkout page that prompts visitors to sign up for your email newsletter. Customers willing to sign up for your email list are likely to be the most receptive to new product arrivals and promotions.
Remember to safeguard your customer's email addresses to protect their privacy and maintain their trust. Send emails regularly, but not so often that you annoy readers. Include insider perks for your email marketing subscribers, making a sign-up worth their while.
Ecommerce marketing efforts are worth the effort
There are many ecommerce marketing tips and tactics that could attract new and existing customers to your ecommerce site. Experimentation and patience are key to your startup's online success.
Start by choosing and executing a couple of the marketing tips provided. Wait to see how they develop before you decide whether they're effective or not. You may choose to expand on their success or cut your losses and try a different approach. As you learn more about what works for your ecommerce business, you'll feel more confident about which marketing methods may be worth your time and money.