Getting traffic to your e-commerce site, converting those visitors to customers, and generally building your brand online is what comprises eCommerce marketing primarily. Strategies to execute this need to be flexible, and change with the industry, and consumer demands. Only then will you get the best results. Needless to say, ecommerce marketing strategies differ vastly from those of conventional brick-and-mortar businesses. Also, every e-commerce company is likely to have different goals, therefore the strategies for each will also be different. So, what you need to do is define your goals carefully, and examine the different strategies, and then decide what strategy or strategies will be a good fit for your business. The strategies should be able to bring you the maximum dividends from your spends.
There is one thing that you need to bear in mind at the outset: whatever strategy you choose, it will take time to implement properly and perfect, and to bear results as well. It is imperative that you have patience - switching strategies at whim will not only NOT get you results, it may even harm your business. So, before you start with strategies, here are some things you need to do:
There are several strategies that are recommended online; go through them carefully before choosing the optimal one's for your unique requirements.
Content marketing is developing and using content - in the form of blogs, videos, infographics, e- books, guides, whitepapers, and so on - to drive traffic to your website organically. When compelling enough, content is capable of converting visitors to customers, increase your reach, and establish you as a business that adds value. Content marketing is essential for both B2B and B2C businesses today.
It stresses on developing and sharing content that is unique, relevant, engaging, and helpful, to build and grow loyal audiences. It facilitates increased customer interactions, and pushes the consumers towards your brand, boosting traffic, generating leads, increasing sales, and eventually, profitability.
It is critical that you are able to identify the pain points of your audience, so that you can choose the ideal format and the platform to deliver the content to them. Your content should be able to provide resolution to the pain points and queries of your audience effectively, and with authority. This will help establish you as a business that is serious, and that cares about its customers, as well as one that is authoritative and knowledgeable.
Emails are impactful as they reach your audience directly, and yet, are not intrusive. They can be used to nurture your leads and boost sales. They serve to remind potential customers about your ecommerce site, and when you send follow-up emails, it shows your persistence, and that you are serious about your business. Email marketing can be used for anything from introducing your business or brand, informing about product launches, sharing brand news, or even generic information on eCommerce business that will be valuable and interesting for the customer. A lot of email marketing messages get marked as spam. You need to stand out, and make sure that the email you write is going to add value to your subscriber; you also have to craft an attention gabbing subject line.
But even before you start drafting the email content, here's something to remember: you need to have a mailing list of subscribers who have willingly opted to receive emails from you, as they believe that you will deliver something of value to them. They are more likely to actually go through your emails, and take the action you want them to.
Social media marketing is, as the name suggests, leveraging the power of social networks to market your ecommerce business. This strategy can be implemented as a standalone, or as a complement to content marketing. It's a potent tool as it is capable of reaching worldwide audiences instantly. It has the capability of being viral, and getting shared and popularized by people, provided the content is outstanding and adds value or is highly relevant or interesting. It is capable of driving high engagement, and driving sales. When people like something, they share, retweet, comment, and so on, arousing curiosity among other users. This helps people to remember your brand vividly. When people share information from one platform to another - say, a blog to their Facebook page, or Twitter handle, your posts get even more traction. Social media is a blessing for ecommerce businesses, as they help them showcase their presence in a huge way. On mobile devices, all users have to do is swipe and tap to like, share, and even purchase. These platforms also allow businesses to advertise their catalogues, promoting content relevant to users, based on past browsing habits. One thing to remember: these platforms are visual-heavy, so ensure you have posts with appealing visuals - photos, infographics, animations, and videos.
Search Engine Marketing or SEM, is about advertising your ecommerce site for the benefit of search engine users. There are pay per click ads that you can purchase, available in different formats. SEM showcases your business to people searching for products and services similar to yours. Marketers select the most relevant keywords for their business, and fix a price they are willing to pay when users click on those keywords. When users search using those keywords, all those advertising for those keywords enter an auction. Depending on the quality, bid, and other factors, the search engine chooses the winner - and all this takes just a few seconds. SEM is a paid strategy, and does not drive traffic organically. However, it is also important for businesses as it allows you to get new leads quickly and create a sudden surge of traffic. SEM ads are also non-intrusive in nature, as they appear when the user is searching for a product or information.
SEO also targets search engine and its users; however, it drives organic traffic unlike SEM. SEO refers to optimizing content on your website to ensure that it appears high up in the result pages when users search for specific keywords on search engines. While its purpose is driving traffic to your business, it chooses from the best targets, giving you click-throughs high in quantity and quality. There are several techniques for SEO, like using the right keywords in the right quantities and places, providing unique, interesting, and relevant content to users, generating high quality back links (from authoritative sites), and so on. Search engine algorithms keep changing frequently, and it is essential that one stays abreast of these developments, or the site could get penalized for what the search engines see as 'black hat' methods of optimizing.
In this strategy, an eCommerce business connects with marketers willing to sell their products, through their blogs, vlogs etc. For example, a baker who has a popular YouTube channel may mention specific brands of baking powder, or fruit filling and so on, while giving the recipe. They also provide the links to those products on their blog or videos so that viewers or readers can immediately purchase the product if they want to. Some marketers even send out email newsletters with affiliate links to products they are promoting. Affiliate marketers can choose the products they want to promote, and get a small commission on each sale, click, or lead. It is quick and economical for businesses, and a passive income source for the affiliate marketers.
Influencers are social media celebrities - people who have become immensely popular with their vlogs, blogs, or social media posts, and are capable of 'influencing' people's purchase decisions. Today, they hold an important position in the digital marketing sphere. They have a loyal following which becomes their niche target market, with whom they engage actively - and many people are more likely to trust them rather than celebrities like movie stars and sportspersons. Influencers have a reputation to protect so you need to take care to target the right fit audience using these influencers. You need to build trust with the right influencers - consequently, you build trust with the audience, because they trust the influencers. Influencers post photos and videos of the product, launch new products, endorse through written posts, or present awards for contests held by the companies they are engaged by.
People today want to be pampered, and made to feel exclusive. Customers of today are discerning; you have to know them well, and be prepared to offer them what they want. You can do this by observing their behaviour on site, their past browsing history and patterns, preferences, and more. After all, you want them to come to your site, be happy with what they see, and make a purchase, not abandon their cart. Personalization is all about offering customers just what they want - tailored offers, products, sales, discounts, even personalized emails. This helps them feel valued and important, and are more likely to not just purchase, but keep coming back, and also become your ambassadors.
Whatever we spoke about till now, focuses on getting people to visit your website. But that is not enough; once they get there, people should stay there long enough to browse your site properly, check out your products and services, and even buy something. They will only do that if their experience of being on your site from the word go, is easy, interesting, and helpful. User experience is what we call this. It is facilitated by UI or user interface - the part of your website with which the user interacts. The design of your website should have:
You can deliver outstanding user experience when you truly understand what your users want to see and get on your website - and then offer them exactly that. When you offer seamlessness and speed, the user will be happy to engage with your website. Make things complex, and your shoppers will simply abandon their carts, probably never to return - and prevent others from coming, as they are likely to share their poor experience. User experience is not just one thing, but a culmination of several touchpoints that you need to take care of. It includes things like the text font, colour themes, the way products are displayed, payment options, and so on. If you make it accessible for people with disabilities, it helps your cause even more.
E-Commerce is here to stay; there are no two ways about it. Internet access is skyrocketing, and mobile proliferation is going the same way. People are increasingly preferring online shopping thanks to the ease and convenience it offers. This means more and more businesses will go online. To stand out and get noticed, you need to be smart and implement effective strategies that will give you a competitive edge.