Marketing your new ecommerce business is challenging.
You have to test and tweak campaigns, optimize your product pages, put the right budget into the right tactics, and maintain a strong return on investment. With ecommerce marketing, you can’t perform every inbound tactic perfectly, but by understanding their place in the funnel, creating a strong performance baseline, and maintaining consistency across each channel, you’re almost guaranteed more revenue.
For example, if you have a holiday promotion coming up, do your Facebook ads match your email campaigns and affiliate banners? Do your Google Shopping Ads include the correct promotions to match your paid search efforts? If your answer is no, you may need to work on your ecommerce marketing strategy.
With this ecommerce marketing guide, I’ll highlight the most common ecommerce marketing tactics, tips for your online store to be successful, and ways to easily track and monitor your progress.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of promoting your online store to receive more traffic and generate sales. This includes inbound marketing efforts to drive traffic to your website, as well as conversion rate optimization strategies to get users to purchase your products.
What are the Top Ecommerce Marketing Channels?
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a long term strategy to get more traffic to your ecommerce site by increasing your organic, or unpaid rankings on search engines. For ecommerce sites, this includes optimizing your technical SEO and content strategy to be successful. Technical SEO includes on-site tactics like mobile optimization, URL structure, keyword tags, internal linking, site speed and more.
In addition to technical SEO, quality content is a driving factor for generating organic ecommerce traffic. You should have high quality content on product and category pages, and a regularly updated, SEO-optimized blog.
2. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising
In addition to the organic traffic strategies above, pay per click (PPC) advertising includes using tools like Google AdWords and Bing Ads to pay for placement on search engines. Running an effective PPC campaign includes bidding on search terms related to your business to get more traffic and sales. These ads appear above and below the organic results on search engines, and are a great way to quickly boost site traffic.
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the best ways to engage with potential customers and up-sell to current customers. You can use automated emails like a welcome email series when a user opts-in on your site, as well as abandoned cart emails to remind users they have an item in their cart. In addition to automated emails, marketing emails and newsletters can tell subscribers about upcoming promotions, product news, and provide purchase incentives.
4. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the act of using an affiliate network to connect with other websites to promote your products. These other websites, or affiliates, promote your product with text links and banners, and an ecommerce retailer pays them a commission of the sale price once a purchase has been completed. The beauty of affiliate marketing is that it’s a highly scalable, ROI-positive form of marketing, as ecommerce advertisers set their own commission rates and are guaranteed a certain return on investment.
5. Social Media Marketing
Everyone is on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter every day, and your ecommerce brand should be too. By levering social media marketing you can increase your following, engage with current customers, manage your reputation, and customize ads to users based on their interests.
Organic social media includes creating posts and updates on your brand’s social media page so that users can connect with your brand in their news feeds.
Paid social media includes creating custom image or video ads, and paying to promote them to a specific audience based on their interests, demographics, and shopping behavior.
Organic and paid social media should be used in tandem to see the most impact for your online business. It’s a great way to increase brand awareness and showcase your brand’s personality.
6. Display Advertising
Using the Google Display Network (GDN), ecommerce business owners can easily create banner ads and serve them to people browsing the web. This powerful network reaches more than 2 million websites and 90% of Internet users.
Retargeting is the process of showing text, banner, and social ads to web users who have visited your website or interacted with your products. When users visit your ecommerce site, Google or Facebook can place a pixel on their browsers and show them ads as they browse the web, reminding them of your business. These ads are typically paid for on a cost-per-impression basis and are a great tactic for targeted digital marketing, as you know the users have already interacted with your website.
8. Influencer Marketing
When making online purchases, users are very reliant on the opinions of others to inform their purchase decisions. They look for online reviews, and recommendations from peers and influencers to tell them what to buy and which brands to interact with.
By joining an influencer marketing network, you can connect with micro-influencers in your niche to promote you. An ecommerce store will typically pay an influencer an upfront fee (more followers = higher fee) and they will promote their products on their blogs, Instagram accounts, Facebook, or YouTube channels.
What are the Stages of the Buyer’s Journey in Ecommerce Marketing?
Before you can optimize each marketing tactic above, you need to understand your business goals, marketing budget, and how these channels work together.
Getting a user to purchase a product is a long term task. They may have to see your brand messaging and products multiple times before making their first purchase. Your approach needs to include multiple tactics because each one hits the buyer at a different moment in their journey.
First, you have top-of-funnel prospecting campaigns.
These top-of-funnel, or brand awareness marketing efforts reach users who have never seen your products before. They probably won’t buy right away. Prospecting tactics include paid and organic social media posts and display advertising, with end goals like impressions, email sign-ups, web traffic, and social followers.
These users see one of your prospecting ads, visit your website, but may not be ready to purchase yet (they might, but don’t put your money on it). These web visitors help build your email list, become your social followers, and are perfect for retargeting campaigns.
Next, you have bottom-of-funnel conversion campaigns.
Once users warm up to your brand, they’re more likely to make a purchase, so you can implement bottom-of-funnel ecommerce marketing strategies.
This includes pay per click advertising (PPC) and retargeting campaigns. These ecommerce marketing channels are tailored to users who are searching for your products with long-tail keywords, or who have already interacted with your website. The end goals here include website conversions and purchases.
Pay per click (PPC) advertising efforts are lower in the funnel because these users are either searching for long tail keywords related to your products, or searching for your brand itself. This can be referred to as “brand” and “non-brand” PPC.
Brand keywords will always have a stronger ROI, as the searcher knows enough about you to search for your specific brand name. You should own these brand terms and maintain position 1.0-1.5 on search engine marketing (SEM) tools.
Non-brand terms will always have a lower ROI, as these users are still searching for your products, may have never heard or your brand, or are shopping around and viewing competitors. It’s important to bid on some of these terms if you’re looking to be competitive in the market, but maintaining a position of 2.5-4.0 can be a better strategy.
Make sure to perform retargeting efforts on both Google and Facebook. Facebook retargeting can include Dynamic Product Ads (DPAs) which advertise the exact products that users viewed on your site in a scrolling format, based on their browsing history. And by implementing different duration windows, you can target visitors who viewed your products 3, 7, 14, 30, or even 180 days after viewing them.
Using the Facebook Power Editor, bid higher on shorter duration windows and less on longer duration windows - a retargeting user who visited your site three days ago is probably more likely to purchase than one who visited 90 days ago. The same holds true with Google. Separate your retargeting audiences by duration window to improve your bidding strategies and ROI. Additionally, by implement A/B testing and offering a discount for certain retargeting audiences, you can see if discount messaging gives you a stronger return on investment.
Lastly, focus on up-sells and repeat purchasers.
Do you know your repeat purchase rate (RPR)? A repeat purchase rate measures the percentage of customers who come back and make another purchase. This is calculated by taking your repeat customers, dividing by your total customers, and multiplying by 100.
How do you market to your current customers? The main tactics include retargeting, email, and social media campaigns only targeting purchasers. With Facebook Ads and email marketing services tied to your ecommerce platform, you can create specific campaigns just for users who have purchased from your site. The campaigns might look slightly different, thanking them for their purchase and showcasing new products that may be of interest to them.
Ecommerce Marketing Summary
Marketing your online store doesn’t have to be shrouded in mystery. By implementing some of the tactics above, getting them to an ROI baseline you’re can afford to scale, and easily tracking your results, you will almost automatically increase your revenue.