Operating an online business is very different from an offline one. There are specific online platforms, strategies, tactics, and know-how to learn. And e-commerce marketing is the core of your challenges and the digital skill set you need to learn.
In this article, we review the definition of e-commerce marketing, the most effective strategies, and the efficient tactics required to run a successful e-commerce marketing plan.
Table of Contents
- E-commerce marketing strategies
- E-commerce marketing tactics
- Last word
First of all, let us have a look at the word “E-commerce”. E-commerce is a business whose main channel for selling is through online channels; this can be a website or a social media account. There is no difference if you are a manufacturer or a retailer, you are considered an e-commerce business as long as you sell through the internet. You may provide physical products or services.
The other word is “marketing”. It is essential to distinguish between marketing and advertising. Advertising is paying to promote your product or service to increase sales. However, marketing embraces all actions you take to identify potential customers, convert them into paying customers, and make them stay with you.
Accordingly, e-commerce marketing refers to the process of driving traffic to an online store, conversion, as well as retaining that traffic. E-commerce marketing works with the whole sales funnel, from the very top to after-sales. Even offline marketing actions for an online store are considered e-commerce marketing.
E-commerce marketing strategies
How should we do e-commerce marketing in the best possible way? That’s the million-dollar question. The first step is finding the most effective strategy for your activities. Below, we have listed the most popular e-commerce marketing strategies. Choose the most cost-effective ones for your business based on your, needs, industry, practices, budget, and essentially what works best for your business throughout trial and testing.
Pay-per-click advertising (PPC)
When you run a PPC campaign, you pay for every click. So your success depends on how accurately you have defined your perfect customer persona and targeted potential customers who are ready to pay for your product.
PPC advertising is easy to track and gives you immediate results. However, it won’t be suitable for the long term due to its high cost of running. Also, at the end of the campaign, you do not own any asset, like in content marketing.
If you sell a physical product, make sure to include Google Shopping in your strategic plan. It is an effective free tool that can increase your sales level.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This strategy refers to the set of actions aimed at optimizing your website based on Google algorithms (or whatever your chosen search engine is) to reach a better rank and attract more organic search results to your website.
In SEO marketing, finding and optimizing for the best possible keywords is your main task. As a rule of thumb, your goal should be to appear among the top 10 search results for the chosen keywords. Although, there is still a considerable difference between what a 3rd and 10th position would bring for you.
Other than keywords, you will need to work on link building, user experience, and so on. In the long term, SEO marketing can be the strongest tool in your toolbox.
Other than keywords, you will need to work on link building, user experience, and so on.
Content marketing means creating different forms of content for marketing purposes. It includes articles, videos, podcasts, and any other form of content you can imagine. It is often considered an SEO marketing or a social media marketing technique too, but due to its crucial importance, you hear that professionals refer to it as a separate strategy.
In addition, it is highly recommended to have the same strategy and goals when creating different forms of content which you share on various channels in a given duration of time. A unique content marketing strategy will boost the actual results including sales level.
Currently, the most effective types of content marketing are guest posting and video marketing.
Social media marketing (SMM)
We cannot deny the role of social media platforms in people’s purchasing decisions nowadays. 71% of consumers ranked social media as being very or somewhat influential in their purchase decision. Therefore, we should carefully think about our social media marketing strategy in this day and age.
Just like appearing in search results, social media marketing has two types; organic and paid. Organic social media marketing includes creating or tailoring content to share on your social media channels, as well as communicating with your audience to keep them loyal to your business.
If you sell products, making your content shoppable can increase the sales level of your e-commerce. Paid social media marketing mainly refers to running ad campaigns on Facebook and Instagram. TikTok and YouTube come next.
Already have a presence on these platforms? Fantastic! You can boost your sales by having paid ads. Similar to Google ads, you should target your social media ads based on the demographic and behavior of your customers.
In this method, you access the blogger’s audience and use the blogger’s authority to promote your products. Therefore, it is crucial to check the blogger’s audience and activities to ensure it matches your niche and influences your target market.
It is evident that people trust influencers’ recommandation much more that branded content. So, an effective strategy for brand awareness and customer acquisition is partnering with influencers.
Bloggers with more followers enable you to reach out to more people but have a lower conversion rate. As a result, some e-commerce businesses have started investing in nano influencers. Nano influencers have the highest engagement rate (5%).
This is highly recommended for SMEs with smaller budgets. Consequently, you create loyalty and a positive vibe among the nano influencers who may grow with you and become your ambassadors.
Affiliate and referral marketing
Similar to influencer marketing but safer, in affiliate marketing, you only waive a small part of your sales in exchange for the sales affiliates or referrers bring to your e-commerce.
The advantage of this strategy is that many affiliates do various marketing activities, such as content marketing to increase their referred purchases. And it helps increase brand awareness for your e-commerce, while you do not pay anything upfront.
Amazon has been utilizing this method of marketing on a large scale with its Amazon Associates program. You can implement the same style of a program for your e-commerce store using Pukket’s e-commerce integrations. Contact us for more information.
An even more effective strategy is referral marketing. The main difference between referral and affiliate marketing is that in referral marketing, you work with those who already tried and are satisfied with your product or service. Therefore, they are more authentic in what they do.
Also, in an affiliate campaign, you look for those who have an audience. But in a referral campaign, any ordinary customers can join and invite their friends and family to try what you offer.
To run an affiliate or referral campaign and track the results, you will need a platform to create referral codes and track the generated sales. To achieve the highest results, Pukket has combined this strategy with other Word-of-Mouth techniques such as UGC marketing. In this way, we ensure increased awareness and sales happen hand in hand.
A great strategy for pushing your existing customers, or subscribers, to grab your timely offers and promotions is sending short text messages. You can also use SMS marketing to encourage your customers to complete purchases, leave reviews, or for customer support purposes.
Do not worry about being annoying. If you use personalization techniques and keep your message short, timely, and relevant, your customers won’t mind receiving them. Like email marketing, you need to devise ideas to get permission to send your messages in the first place to be compliant with consumer privacy laws (such as GDPR) in your respective regions.
Last but not least, is one of the most effective and one of the more mature marketing strategies out there, email marketing. Considering the low cost of it, it is worth the time and effort to give it a special place in your e-commerce marketing plans.
Moreover, to scale and track your email marketing activities, you can take advantage of free email marketing platforms like MailChimp. Sending mobile-friendly emails, personalization (based on user activity), and sending cart reminders are the most effective email marketing tactics for an e-commerce business.
E-commerce marketing tactics
After deciding on the best marketing strategy for your e-commerce, you should find the appropriate tactics to implement your marketing strategy. Here is a list of brilliant tactics to improve the efficiency of your e-commerce marketing strategy.
Upsell and cross-sell your products
Upselling is defined as suggesting a more expensive product with higher quality, and volume, compared to what a given customer is interested in.
Cross-selling is helping the customer to find other relevant or complimentary products which they would need when using the product they are checking out.
When the customer has made her decision and is ready to pay for the product, it is the best time to offer a better or complementary product. Mention the most attempting attribute of the other product when recommending. You can review customer feedback to make sure you are seeing the products from their eyes and have considered their needs.
Also, be aware of your customer’s typical budget regarding the total cost of your suggestions. Make sure it is worth the additional cost for them.
While upselling can be used by any brand, cross-selling is suitable for multiproduct businesses. Both can be seen as retention marketing tactics.
Reward your loyal customers
With increasing customer acquisition costs, making actual customers stay with you seems essential. In addition, the value of a loyal customer is a lot more compared to a new one as they’re more likely to go for repeat purchases with higher basket values. They believe in you and are willing to help you to grow and overcome hard times.
If you have no plan to take advantage of their enthusiasm toward your business, they will go for good! With a loyalty program, you can organize your customers’ emotions for your growth through repeat purchases, referrals, reviews, and UGC. Just be sure to reward each customer proportional to the value they bring to your business. Rewarding everyone equally will not make your loyalty program an engaging one.
Pukket is a powerful platform with affordable fees for businesses of all sizes to fulfill such goals. Using Pukket, you can invest your time in other tasks and be confident that Word-of-Mouth marketing through different channels is under process. You can also be sure that the system rewards customers proportional to the impact of their activities (within the minimum and maximum range set by you).
Improve the user experience of your website
User experience is one of the areas that have a direct impact on attracting or losing customers. Speed and ease are the two main factors in this regard. Make sure your customer journey works smoothly on all devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet, etc.). In a recent survey, 24% of adults in the US said that they left their purchase because the site wanted them to create an account.
Is It easy to navigate through your website and read your content? Is the speed of your site below the acceptable rate of 5 seconds? At what stage do the majority of potential customers leave the purchase process? Do your CTAs work well? Do you show the reviews and UGCs on your product page?
Adding a wish list is a fun idea to encourage your customers to come back and buy more. You can always check your competitors’ websites to get ideas.
Also, remember to do A/B testing to evident your choices because in many cases, the market’s reaction is different from what we suppose.
Personalization is a super effective method that is highly recommended for almost all marketing tactics, including email marketing, SMS marketing, and whenever you communicate with your customers. Personalization awakens the customer’s interest and attention.
It is a proven fact that personalized communication causes higher conversation rates. Audience segmentation is another tactic that helps increase personalization’s impact, but you will need data to implement it. Make sure you personalize your communications based on user interest, activity, purchasing power, and everything else that may be relevant to your space.
Enrich your email list
Since the ROI of email campaigns is relatively high and you can utilize this tool for different goals, it is necessary to find ways to increase the quantity and the quality of your email list
Try to take advantage of relevant touch points with your customers to get their consent for emails. Webinars, offering discounts, or free useful templates or reports are popular opportunities to increase the size of your email list. Also, make it super easy for new web visitors to sign up for your email list.
A holistic email journey
You can use emails for different purposes, from building relationships and receiving feedback to encouraging conversation and promoting products.
For the highest results, create a list of all required activities that you can do by email. Then, design a holistic email journey in which you have considered all those needs and timelines to send each email. Finally, provide value in each email, and make sure you send them to the right people at the right time.
Using a chatbot service is a response to the customer’s need for immediate guidance. This tactic enables you to speed up the purchase process and decrease customer support costs.
Invite the visitor to start the conversation using a chatbot. You can also use chat support as a lead generation tool by encouraging the visitor to join your email list for a discount. Small e-commerce businesses can use free packages of chatbot providers.
With third-party cookies doomed to death, increasing engagement on your website can be a great way to gain valuable data from your customers.
Finding out which tactic works best is possible after A/B testing. Because it varies based on your buyer persona, the market you work in, and your limitations. However, you can pick some tactics based on your own experiences and what your competitors rely on. Plan, track and improve!