14 Ecommerce Marketing Strategies Your Business Should Be Using
by Ana Gotter • May 16, 2019
If you’re an ecommerce business owner, trying to set yourself apart from your competition requires various marketing approaches. They should be designed to strengthen your brand, attract customers, and increase sales. Improving customer loyalty and getting your business to rank highly in search results are methods that are guaranteed to work if used correctly.
Your ecommerce marketing should focus on capturing the attention of people looking for your products and actively using several strategies to get people to want to find you. This guide includes 14 essential strategies your business could be using right now.
What Is eCommerce Marketing?
eCommerce marketing is all about using evolving strategies. Businesses can use digital marketing methods to attract customers, build brand awareness, convert visitors into buyers, and create an online market for their goods and services. eCommerce marketing strategies focus on business owners that sell their products or services electronically. The varied approaches are designed to promote awareness and drive attention toward your goods and services in unique and engaging ways.
To attract visitors and convert customers, ecommerce marketers can use:
- Digital imagery
- Email marketing campaigns
- Mobile applications
- Paid digital ads
- Pay-per-click (PPC) services
- Search engine rankings
- Shoppable content
- Social media platforms
- Written content with search engine optimization (SEO)
If your business sells its product or services electronically, ecommerce digital marketing can help improve sales by facilitating purchases online and creating a loyal customer base that stays informed and engaged.
Low-Cost eCommerce Marketing Strategies
Virtually all ecommerce businesses can and should use available low-cost marketing strategies. Consider these tactics to be the building blocks of an overall ecommerce marketing strategy, because even one single action — whether it’s posting one blog entry or updating a few keywords — can yield a return for years to come.
1. Make an eCommerce Website
Before you can concentrate your efforts on SEO, which is essential, an online visitor must have somewhere to go. One of the first impressions potential customers have of you and your services is what comes across on your website. You want to grab and keep a consumer’s attention who has taken the first step and clicked over to your website.
To keep customers engaged, your ecommerce site should strive to contain the following features:
- Advanced website design:
- Easy navigation
- Client testimonials
- Clear policies for returns or exchanges
- Offer smooth shopping experience
- Custom professional content:
- Use a knowledge-based website to answer questions
- Use blogs to build online credibility and authority
- Use SEO to increase rank in search listings
- Interact with prospects via Q&A or website forums
- Digital imagery:
- Draw the potential customer in with compelling photographs
- Use attention-grabbing images to capture how potential clients may feel
- Illustrate your product or service in unique and memorable ways
- Instantly create a measure of believability and trustworthiness
2. Optimize Your Site for SEO Searches
SEO continues to be an essential part of marketing. You want to make sure that your site and your product pages are fully optimized for the exact keywords your audience is searching for. Customers find your products or services using keyword searches that seek answers to a problem or pursue information on a new product. They search for products using familiar words and sometimes complete sentences to get the information they need.
As you optimize your site, be aware of dialect differences. For example, would your potential customers search for a “timepiece” instead of a “watch?” Make sure you’re adding those keywords and phrases correctly because they directly apply to your product or service, even if the general population is searching for them less overall. A customer can see your product mentioned elsewhere or can be intrigued that you came up in search listings and click on your site.
Keyword research can help rank your website higher up in search page rankings. Learn what your potential customers are searching for with our step-by-step guide on how to conduct effective and thorough keyword research.
3. Include Reviews on Product Pages
Search engines, like Google, include online reviews as an important factor in their search algorithms. The addition of online consumer product reviews strengthens your online presence and increases the likelihood that you convert a visitor to your website into a paying customer.
The goods and services your ecommerce website is selling can be bolstered by the power of client testimonials and online reviews linked directly to your product pages. It can’t be overstated how important client reviews are. Consider that 88% of consumers incorporate reviews into their buying decision and won’t buy a product if it has no positive reviews. Potential customers seek the same positive results that other happy customers have already experienced.
There are a lot of plugins for WordPress and Shopify apps that make it easy to upload customer reviews — which can include pictures and videos — to your product pages. Yotpo and Pixlee are both excellent services that can help with this.
4. Use Content Marketing
For many ecommerce businesses, content marketing means blogging. However, it can also include using lead magnets like ebooks to bring customers to your site and encourage them to purchase or sign up for your email list.
Blogging remains the number one method of creating organic search ranking and links to your product. When creating content for your blogs to drive traffic to your site, remember that your blog shouldn’t only be about the new products you have. If you’re an ecommerce company wanting to promote a new line of fitness apparel, write a post talking about the different qualities that people should look for in clothing when doing different types of activities.
You’d be amazed how many people use Google to search for keywords like “what should I wear to yoga” or “what kind of clothes should I wear kickboxing.” Not only are people looking for answers, but more importantly, they’re ready to buy.
5. Market on Social Media
Social media marketing is entirely free — unless you outsource it — and it’s an excellent way to build and nurture relationships with customers. It can also help you connect with new users thanks to sharing, recommendations, and feeds that share what people are up to with their friends or followers. Social media can have a unique effect on your business when it comes to brand awareness. The use of multiple social platforms helps to create a lasting and cumulative impression of your product as potential customers come into contact with your posts, sites, product pages, and promotions.
The most effective social media platforms will depend on your product or service. Success on social media relies heavily on exciting text and visual imagery to drive traffic to your website and product pages. Not every social media platform will meet your objectives. Potentially effective social media platforms include:
When creating a social media marketing strategy, it’s important to know what each platform promotes and to understand the potential customers you would like to reach. Knowing your ideal prospective customer will guide your ecommerce marketing strategies, allowing you to choose the most relevant platforms.
Facebook’s Instagram is a social platform geared toward images and video snippets. This may be an odd fit for some ecommerce businesses. But, for example, for an auto repair shop — an image of a car wreck can generate comments, instant reactions, and may expand the reach of their product or service.
While YouTube may not immediately come to mind when considering your ecommerce marketing strategies, it is an incredibly useful and effective tool to get your name and brand out there. The video social media platform provides the opportunity to share video content with subscribers and who may be searching for information on a product or service you sell.
Video content can easily explain complicated topics and has the added benefit of instantly conveying professional authority. Monthly subscribers become your customer base.
TikTok is an increasingly popular social platform where users create short videos, usually about 60 seconds, and watch videos generated by others. TikTok has nearly one billion active monthly users. Ecommerce marketers are discovering TikTok and starting to use the social network to create brief snippets that promote their products and services. Note that TikTok can be accessed on both a desktop and a mobile app.
Other methods of content marketing include showcasing your knowledge by answering consumer questions posed by potential customers. Quora is a social question-and-answer platform that allows you to put yourself forward as a product or service professional with the experience and authority to answer user questions.
6. Put Influencers to Work for You
Depending on which social influencers you choose to work with, this ecommerce strategy may not be so low cost. Having influencers with millions of followers promote your product or service could be incredibly expensive. One popular teen influencer is Charlie Damelio, as seen below.
Celebrity Net Worth reports that Charli Damelio makes at least $100,000 per sponsored TikTok post, as well as $1 million for her recent Super Bowl ad with Sabra Hummus.
Still, for many relatively small or medium-sized ecommerce businesses, influencer marketing doesn’t have to be costly. If you use this strategy, you’ll want to reach out to influencers that your target audience follows. Some influencers may ask for direct payments, others may get commissions if their codes are used to purchase products, and some may just want a set of free products. It can be an investment, but if the influencer you choose has an active, engaged audience, that initial outlay will be worth it.
Micro-influencers who have 12,000 followers instead of 12 million can be just as effective for marketing purposes. This works provided that their target audience buys your product or uses your services. Users typically trust micro-influencers more, and they see micro-influencer recommendations as legitimate rather than bought and paid for.
7. Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cornerstone of ecommerce marketing, and if you don’t think it can be effective, you’re wrong. With great visuals and outstanding copywriting, you can deliver targeted suggestions, product announcements, and discount offers to an audience who is already interested in your product.
Include personalization in your emails where possible. Add user names to the email subject line, or send automatically customized recommendations based on past purchases with segmented email lists. Automated personalized emails have a 75% higher open rate than those that lack personalization.
8. Create a Shoppable Instagram
Shoppable content can take your social media posts a step further by creating content that enables visitors to buy items immediately. These methods create instant gratification, do not allow for distractions away from the products, and — in doing so — eliminate friction and hesitation from the buying process.
For example, Instagram is a highly visual platform, with all the emphasis being on images and videos. It’s also a platform where users are thrilled to engage with brands, so it’s the ideal solution for ecommerce businesses selling products. You can get the most out of the platform by making your Instagram shoppable. This means you’ve created content that enables visitors to buy right away. Content can include anything from strategically placed display ads within a social feed to additional tags that take users directly to a shopping cart.
Shopify stores and certain select brands can create actual shoppable posts, where you tag products in your pictures. When users click on them, they see basic information like price and they can click again to purchase.
SEM & PPC eCommerce Marketing Strategies
Some strategies are more intensive or expensive than others. Search engine marketing (SEM) will position you in the paid “Ad” slots on a search engine rankings page, while SEO will help you increase your ranking organically.
With PPC advertising, just like SEM, you pay to get your products or services more highly ranked on search engine results pages (SERP). Essentially, you pay to show your ads to users actively searching for the keywords you’re targeting. You don’t need a high site authority to be able to show up on the first page of Google when you’re willing to pay for it.
PPC advertising uses a bidding system where you bid for user placements and then you pay when individual users take actions, like clicks or conversions. This can cost more than the previous low-cost options listed, but it also lets you be more aggressive in targeting your audience and putting your products in front of them. Below are four of the most popular strategies.
9. Google Adwords
With Google AdWords, you target specific keywords, effectively bidding to show up in relevant searches. Ads are displayed above search results, giving you an edge. Google Adwords is a PPC advertising platform that aids you in your efforts to conduct SEM. AdWords offers advertisers two basic ways to reach people:
- Through the Google Search Network
- Through the Google Display Network
The Google Search Network allows you to show your ads to users actively searching for the keywords you’ve selected. For example, if you own a landscaping business, you can bid to have your ad show up every time a user types in “Landscaper in Tallahassee.” AdWords can help you connect with users who are actively searching for specific products or services, meaning they’re further along in the research or buying cycle, making AdWords a valuable system to invest in. These “ text ads” are marked with a small “Ad” tag next to the site URL.
The Google Display Network works differently. Instead of showing ads to users who are actively searching for a product or service online, display ads or “ banner ads” are placed on websites you think your target will be on. Since consumers aren’t actively searching for what you have to sell, people are usually less likely to click on banner ads. However, sometimes people don’t know what they want until they see it, so display ads can help you get in front of potential customers who might never find your company on their own.
There are a lot of strategies that come into play when advertising through Google AdWords. Consulting an expert marketing agency can help ensure the money spent will yield high returns.
10. Facebook & Instagram Ads
Facebook owns Instagram and their platforms work in concert with one another. You can run two ads in a single campaign, connecting you to audiences on both platforms. Since the biggest goal of Facebook Ads is to put your content in front of users without waiting for them to come to you, this is a great advantage.
However, these ads work differently than Google AdWords. Instead of targeting users by search intent and showing them ads when they’re looking for you, you target users based on different qualities like age, interest, and location to introduce them to your product. It’s inbound marketing at its finest, and it’s a great way to create demand and introduce users to your products.
There are a lot of good reasons to invest both time and money into Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads can develop strategies that resonate better with their target audiences. The many options they offer, while overwhelming, also offer immense customization and creative control over your ads. For example: Do you want to target vegan parents of young children near Soho? Or do you want to target these individuals only if they’re already connected to your Page or business? You can do both. The targeting and retargeting options available through Facebook Ads are exceptional.
11. Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins is Pinterest’s PPC system and works a little like a combination of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Promoted Pins work in several different ways, giving you the option to just have your ads pop up in relevant users’ feeds or to have them appear in relevant searches. It’s the best of both worlds. Since a large percentage of pinners use the platform to make buying decisions, it’s a great investment for ecommerce businesses.
Retargeting is the practice of sending targeted ads to specific users who have already interacted with your brand. This could include targeting users who:
- Have recently visited certain pages on your website
- Have purchased from you in the past
- Are already email subscribers
- Were customers in the past, but are no longer engaged
Facebook is arguably the king of retargeting, especially when their display ads work so well for re-engagement campaigns. In display campaigns, you show ads to people who have already visited your site in the hopes of getting them to return.
High-Tech eCommerce Marketing Strategies
In addition to the strategies posted above, you can use high-tech ecommerce strategies that are considerably more expensive to implement but have a higher return on investment (ROI). High-tech strategies are best suited to larger ecommerce businesses that have a considerable marketing budget and a product type that users will consistently engage with.
The two most promising high-tech strategies include creating an application for your product and targeting your customer base with virtual reality (VR) technologies like augmented reality (AR).
13. Develop an App With Push Notifications
Having apps just for your business that customers download is an excellent way to make sure that you’re staying at the forefront of their minds.
Push notifications can be used consistently to bring users’ attention back to the product or service you are marketing. Push notifications are messages that pop up on phones, tablets, and smart devices like Apple watches, keeping users engaged regularly. Tiny banners slide into view, often occurring whether or not an app or website is open.
Your app can effectively drive customers to your product or service by:
- Making the shopping experience easier with one-click purchases
- Using customized personal recommendations to draw in repeat customers
- Serving a different purpose like offering style advice based on local weather
- Offering discounts for ordering through your app
- Creating flash sales only sent to subscribers of your app
- Sending real-time updates and transactional messages
- Reminding customers of orders and checkout status
As you’re developing your high-tech ecommerce strategy, be mindful that a typical user of mobile devices gets hundreds of notifications every week. While it’s a great way to engage with subscribers, push notifications can be overwhelming if overused, causing you to push customers away.
14. Target Virtual Reality Technologies
There are a lot of different ways to get involved with marketing your product through VR. These strategies work best to put you in front of very specific types of audiences. These audiences will be tech-savvy and likely have a relatively high income.
AR is a type of VR and is often the best option for ecommerce businesses. Examples could include:
- Furniture stores that let you upload pictures of your actual room, along with its dimensions, and then scale the furniture so you can see how it would look. The furniture store Amikasa does an excellent in their ecommerce app that lets their customers visualize a 3D Floor Plan using Augmented Reality
- Apps that allow users to hold their phone over their wrist to see how a bracelet would look.
- Makeup retailers that let users upload pictures of themselves to see how different products would look on them. Sephora currently uses this technology.
The world of ecommerce has changed a lot in the past couple of years. Thanks to a global pandemic, online shopping has seen unprecedented growth. Will your ecommerce marketing strategies keep up with the competition?
The 14 strategies listed in this guide highlight a variety of options that range from free and instantaneous to those that will take months and thousands of dollars to implement. Your chosen marketing strategy should incorporate different tactics that can completely target your audience.
If you need assistance with your ecommerce marketing strategies, or just don’t know where to start, contact us for a free marketing strategy proposal.