The first internet sale took place in August 1994, when a teenager by the name of Dan Kohn sold Sting’s “Ten Summoner’s Tales” CD to his friend in Philadelphia through a website he had just built, Net Market.
Since then, ecommerce has become a mainstream way of doing business. According to Statista, worldwide e-tailing sales are expected to rise from $1.8 trillion in 2016 to about $6.4 trillion by 2024.
The number of e-commerce sites is also growing by the day. Just look at Shopify – it has more than 800,000 online stores in its network. Last year, there were more than one million businesses on Facebook Marketplace. And in 2020, Amazon reported that it had more than 200 million active Amazon Prime members.
As convincing as these stats sound, the ecommerce marketing landscape is still not an easy field to navigate. To succeed in it, you need to put more than just online sales in your ecommerce marketing strategy. You’ll have to make some adjustments to your current ecommerce marketing strategy and implement some new tactics that will see to it that you end up making more money.
So, what’s e-Commerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of creating and executing a marketing strategy to sell more products or services online. It encompasses all aspects of online selling, including web design, online usability, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, content creation, and strategic customer service.
Why Is It Important?
Entrepreneurs and small business owners have taken to e-commerce as their preferred way of selling products and services. After all, it’s a lot easier and cheaper than setting up a physical store.
However, it’s not just about having an online store and waiting for the money to roll in. Since most of your potential customers are using the internet to research, shop and purchase, you need an ecommerce marketing strategy that will help you leverage the internet and drive more traffic to your store.
The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money on ecommerce marketing. With a bit of research and creativity, as well as the right strategies, you can turn your online store into a money-making machine without necessarily splurging on your ecommerce marketing campaigns.
E-commerce Marketing on Different Channels
There are several ways to get your brand or products in front of the right audience online. Here’s a list of some of the most popular e-commerce marketing strategies:
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Social media
- Paid Ads (PPC)
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
SEO for Email Marketing
Most people use search engines to find the products and services that they need, which is why it comes as no surprise that SEO is considered one of the best (if not the best) channels to market your online store.
Ecommerce SEO has a lot of moving parts, but once you know which elements to prioritize, implement, and optimize, then driving relevant traffic to your site should be a breeze.
While it does take some time to establish a good SEO strategy, the payoff can be huge.
Here are some SEO strategies to help you:
- Build Relevant Internal Links: Build relevant internal links to your e-commerce site. Internal links are links that point to pages within the same domain or subdomain. They are crucial to SEO.
- Include a Sitemap: Include a site map in your e-commerce website, which will help Google crawl and index your pages.
- Well-written Copy: Ensure your site is written in well-formatted, concise and keyword-rich copy. That should help Google understand the content of your pages and deliver the best possible results to your potential customers.
- Write Engaging Product Descriptions: Make sure that your product descriptions are well-written so your potential customer can easily understand them.
- Implement Schema Markup: Implement schema markup on your product pages to help search engines understand the content of those pages.
- Take Advantage of Google Webmaster Tools: Check Google Webmaster Tools to see how your e-commerce site is performing in terms of keyword ranking. That should help you pinpoint the areas you need to optimize.
- Create a Strong Link Profile: Be sure to develop a strong link profile by attracting (or generating) links from relevant websites and social media accounts.
- Monitor Your Link Profile: Don’t forget to monitor the link profile of your competitors to find out which links bring them most of their organic traffic.
- Set up a Blog: Develop a blog for your e-commerce site and make sure that you’re using relevant keywords in each post and linking to your product pages.
- Maintain an Active Social Media Presence: Create a strong social media presence by connecting with other people and creating relevant content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
- Optimise Your E-commerce site for Speed: The faster the site loads, the better it will perform in search results.
- Optimise the Checkout Process: Make sure that potential customers don’t have to fill out a lot of unnecessary forms or are taken through a lot of unnecessary hoops before they can purchase your products.
While SEO does have a big impact on your e-commerce site, it won’t be enough. Here are a few important things to keep in mind while putting together your e-commerce marketing strategy:
- Strong Online Presence: Make sure you have a strong online presence. This means having a website, social media accounts, and blog.
- Regularly Update Your Social Media Accounts: Your social media accounts should be updated regularly with useful content, so customers can find your business and products.
- Focus on Attracting the Right Customers: Make sure that your website attracts the right customers by having a relevant domain name, clear calls to action, and well-written content.
- Update Your Contact Details: Always include your contact info or a way to contact you, so customers can reach out to you when they have questions.
- Include a Category and Shop Navigation: Include a shop and category navigation, which will help customers to find the products they want quickly.
- Keep Your Design Clean and Modern: Make sure your designs are clean and modern or appealing to the right audience.
- Be Consistent: Be consistent in the way you present your site and products, and make sure your customers are always getting the same experience.
- Learn to Respond to Customers’ Queries in Time: Learn to respond to customer queries on time and solve the problems and issues they come up with professionally.
- Include Relevant Keywords: A well-designed product page that includes relevant keywords and images will help you gain more traffic and sales.
- Fast Delivery for Your Products: Be sure to deliver your products on time and as ordered or specified by the customer.
12 SEO tools for e-commerce
- AXEL: This tool will help you optimize your product pages to rank them high in the search results.
- MOZ: This is one of the most popular SEO tools on the market. It will help you monitor your competitors’ websites and see how they’re driving their traffic.
- Google Webmaster Tools: This is a great tool that will show you how your e-commerce site is doing to search results.
- Yoast: This tool will help you find errors on your website and optimize it.
- Ahrefs: This is a strong tool that will help you find links pointing to your site and identify the strongest links.
- Raven Tools: This tool will help you find errors on your e-commerce site and optimize it.
- SEMrush: This tool will help you find keywords that are bringing your competitors a high amount of organic traffic.
- Google Trends: This is a great tool that will help you pinpoint “trending” keywords that might bring some traffic to your e-commerce site.
- Spyfu: This is a tool that will help you find negative keywords, the keywords people might search for but are most likely not to click on your website.
- Keyword Planner: This is a tool that will help you find out what people are searching for and how competitive each keyword is.
- Google Analytics: This is a tool that will help you find out what your competitors are doing right or wrong.
- Google Alerts: This is a tool that will help you monitor the mentions your website is getting on the internet.
Paid Advertising for E-commerce Businesses
With paid advertising, you have plenty of options.
You can advertise on social media, through email marketing, Google Ads, or any other platform. Here are some of the best platforms to advertise your e-commerce business or products:
- Google Ads: This is Google’s advertising platform that helps businesses find customers.
- Facebook Ads: If you’re targeting people on Facebook, you can advertise to them through Facebook ads.
- Taboola: This is an ad platform that helps you reach out to people through banner ads.
- Sponsored Tweets: An online platform where you can pay for tweets to be sponsored and promoted by big names.
- LinkedIn Sponsored InMail: A great platform to reach out to potential clients in a business-to-business setting.
- Google Places: You can put ads on Google Maps and get noticed by thousands of people who are searching for businesses in your area.
- Bing: Similar to Google, you can put ads on this platform and get seen by people in your local area.
- Pinterest Promoted Pins: A great way to get your products in front of the right audience and have them pinned on a relevant board.
- Facebook Promoted Posts: Another great platform to promote your product and get seen by the right audience.
- LinkedIn Ads: You can advertise your products and services to a very specific audience on this platform by choosing the right targeting options and showing up on relevant blogs.
- Twitter Promoted Tweets: Use this platform to target your audience and show up in their feeds.
- Quora: This is a great platform to help target your audience and get in front of people who might be interested in your products or services on quora.
- Amazon Ads: This is an obvious one. You can advertise your products on Amazon and have them show up in search results.
- Instagram Ad: You can post ads on Instagram and get people to see them.
You can use these platforms individually or in combination to generate leads and drive sales.
Email Marketing for an E-commerce Business
One of the best ways to market your e-commerce business is through email marketing. It’s a great way to build customer relationships and drive sales.
All you need to do is have an email list to which you’ll be consistently sending out emails so customers can keep up with your products or business.
Here are some of the best email platforms you can use to promote your e-commerce store:
MailChimp: This is one of the most popular email marketing platforms out there, and it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers.
Aweber: A great alternative to MailChimp, also with a free version.
Constant Contact: This is a great alternative to Aweber and MailChimp.
Infusionsoft: An expensive platform, but it has the best automation features to keep customers engaged and generate sales.
GetResponse: Get Response is another great alternative with lots of automation features.
Emma: A new email platform that focuses on e-commerce. It will help you build your email list quickly.
ConvertKit: Another option specifically designed for bloggers and e-commerce marketers.
Omnisend: You can use this platform if you sell digital products, as it helps you automate how you deliver electronic files.
SwiftERM: This is a platform if you sell physical products, allowing you to send out invoices.
Segunda: A newer platform to help you sell physical and digital products.
EmailOctopus: This platform allows you to set up autoresponder campaigns and track conversions.
DynamicMail: An autoresponder platform to help you create follow-up sequences.
Klaviyo: This is another option that you can use to grow your email list, create campaigns, track conversion and run A/B tests.
SendPulse: Another new option that you can use to create follow-up sequences and A/B tests.
Personalisation in E-commerce marketing, More Accurately Predictive Personalisation
Personalisation is very effective because it allows marketers to target specific audiences based on their preferences and previous history. It’s a great way to sell products that are more relevant to the customer and ultimately boost up sales.
According to research from McKinsey, e-commerce companies that personalize their marketing have been able to increase sales by between 10% and 15%.
Personalization in e-commerce can be applied in a range of different ways. For example, by showing different products to different people, or targeting offers based on previous purchases, browsing history and location.
Personalization isn’t just relevant to e-commerce businesses alone. It’s a powerful concept whose applications stretch across all areas of marketing, including search engine optimization (SEO), social media, and email marketing.
One of the easiest ways to start personalising your e-commerce marketing is by creating individual landing pages for each group of visitors. This involves using a tool like Unbounce to create a landing page on your website, with content relevant to the browsing habits of that particular group.
This will help you break down your site into more manageable chunks, and make it a lot easier to personalise your marketing.
There are plenty of different tools you can use to personalize your e-commerce marketing, and most of them are extremely easy to set up:
Klaviyo: One such tool is Klaviyo, which allows you to not only personalise your marketing effort but also segment customers based on page views and conversion actions.
You can then use this platform to create customer journeys across different marketing channels, such as email, Facebook ads and retargeting.
Dynamic Mail: DynamicMail is another platform you can use to create personalised email campaigns. You can also segment your list based on the actions of visitors, which is also incredibly useful.
Google Analytics and FullStory: Two tools you can use to segment your e-commerce list based on search history are Google Analytics and FullStory.
FullStory is particularly powerful because it also allows you to carry out A/B testing on your campaigns to determine which strategy works best for personalising your e-commerce marketing campaign.
Social Media Ads for E-commerce
We have already mentioned Facebook and Instagram advertising earlier in this guide, but there are also plenty of other options for running social media ads.
One of the most popular alternatives to Facebook is Pinterest, which allows you to pin products directly from a company’s website.
This makes it easy for people to discover products that are relevant to their tastes, and jumpstart the buying process.
There are plenty of other options for running social media ads, but the list below should give you a good starting point:
- Facebook ads
- Instagram ads
- Pinterest ads
- LinkedIn ads
- Twitter ads
Organic Ecommerce Content on social media
Organic content can be translated to mean you’re using social media the way it was intended. In other words, you’re not paying for any ads. You can still achieve the same objective as a paid ad by posting engaging content.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and experiment with different formats. If you produce quality content, people will be naturally inclined to share it.
Here are a few ideas for social media content:
- Blog posts links
- Text-based thoughts
Selling on social media
Social commerce is the next logical step for e-commerce, and it is already fairly commonplace.
There are some basic rules that you need to follow when selling on social media:
- Utilise social selling methods designed for your e-commerce
- Use the free tools at your disposal to create a more personalised experience
- Use groups and forums to get a better understanding of your customer’s wants and needs
- Stay updated with the latest trends in e-commerce
- Take note of what is working for your competitors and move into the same space
- And, of course, try to make it easy for your customers to buy from you.
E-commerce Social Media Marketing Tools You Should Probably Checkout
Ever heard of Canva, Buffer or Hootsuite?
Those are just three examples of many free and paid tools that can be used for e-commerce social media marketing.
Some of the most popular social media tools are:
- Buffer – is a free tool that helps you schedule posts in advance for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. It’s also quite useful when it comes to testing different approaches on social media.
- Hootsuite – is a slightly more comprehensive tool that allows you to schedule posts on social media, but also see what other people are saying about you online. It’s a great tool for analysing your performance and identifying areas for improvement.
- Canva – is a free tool that allows you to create your graphics, and they have templates for pretty much everything.
- Adobe Spark – is another graphics design tool, a close competitor to Canva.
Content Creation and Optimisation for E-commerce
Content creation ties in nicely with SEO. Firstly, you need to produce relevant content that will attract the right audience. You can then optimize it for search engines using SEO best practices and detailed keywords analysis.
Content comes in different forms, such as:
- Text-based content – blog posts, product pages and email campaigns
- Infographics – a visual representation of information that can be a lot easier to consume
- Video – short, entertaining videos that are highly shareable
- Images – the most popular type of content on all social channels
Generally, you should aim to include at least one of each type of content in your online marketing strategy. If possible, you might want to experiment with other types of content, such as audio.
Some tips for effective content creation and optimization:
- Be sure to include a strong call-to-action at the end of every blog post
- Use a keyword planner to research your target keywords
- Make use of free SEO tools, especially Google Webmaster Tools
- Create short, and easy-to-read content for your target audience
- Use data in your infographic to get people interested and keep them engaged
- Ask your client what kind of video they want, and then produce that exact video for them
- Distribute your content on as many platforms as possible
- Include social sharing buttons on all your content so that more people can easily share it
For an online store, there are different categories of content you can post:
- The content on your product pages: write a brief description. Be sure to include details of your product, as well as your call to action.
- The content on your landing page: every landing page should include a brief description of your service or product, and a link to the main page.
- The content on your blog: short and entertaining blog posts that tie in with your landing page – be sure to include a link to the new blog post on your product pages.
- The content on social media: Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook – use your social network to reach out to your target audience on their turf.
- Information content on your homepage and FAQ: Your main aim is to educate your audience about your product or service. Make sure you include a lot of details here so that no one is left in the dark.
Content Ideas to Work with:
- New product announcements
- Cross-selling and up-selling products
- Discounts or seasonal offers
- Free shipping promotions
- Behind-the-scenes photos on social media
- Customer testimonials
- Recent industry news and events, such as industry conferences or awards
- The products or services that you can bundle together
- Case studies
- Videos that highlight the benefits of your product or service
Influencer Marketing for e-commerce
One of the best ways to market your e-commerce store is by connecting with influencers – bloggers, YouTubers and other social media personalities with a huge following.
Get them to endorse your product or service or, better yet, get them to mention your store by name in their content.
As long as you provide value to them in exchange, they should be happy to help you out.
Here are some ways that influencers can help you with your e-commerce marketing:
- Influencers can help you convert more of your traffic into sales because they influence decisions.
- Influencers can help you build your brand – when their audience sees that they’re endorsing your product, they’re more likely to trust you and your site.
- Influencers can help you grow your social media following – their followers are likely to follow where they lead.
- Influencers are more trusted than brand advertisements, and they can increase conversions for you.
- Influencers can help you get more traffic to your site by linking to your site in their articles or videos.
How Influencer Marketing Works
The idea behind influencer marketing is simple – you connect with influencers that have a lot of influence over your target audience, and they recommend your product or service to their followers.
It’s the same basic concept as celebrity endorsements – your customers trust an influencer more than they trust your ad.
The best way to get someone to recommend your product is to provide value for them in exchange. So, this means providing a free sample of your product or service or giving away a discount to all of their followers.
The influencer will provide a review, and include your product page link in the description (if you’re getting a free sample, you’ll need to provide the link to your product page as well).
You can also give them a discount code and have them share it with their followers.
Tools to Help You Out with Influencer Marketing
- Warrior Plus – find influencers in your industry, connect with them, and get them a free sample of your product or service.
- #HashtagifyMe – monitor hashtag mentions on Twitter so that you know what people are talking about in real-time. Hashtags can even be used to find influencers – you can search for them by location and tag.
- BuzzSumo – find influencers in your industry, and learn which content is being shared the most. Visit their site to see what other types of posts they’re doing. Try to create similar content.
Co-Branding for e-commerce marketing success
Co-branding is the most effective way to expand your reach and increase sales.
It’s also the fastest way to get started in e-commerce marketing because it involves working with influencers that are already popular. This means you don’t have to do any of the legwork or spend a lot of money on designing an ad campaign.
When you co-brand with an influencer, you get your product featured in their content – whether it’s a blog post or YouTube video. This way, the whole world knows that they’ve found value in what you have to offer.
The best part is that they’ll link directly to your site so that you can convert all of those eyeballs into sales as soon as their followers visit your site.
Did You Know?
- 91% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
- 70% of consumers say that a positive recommendation from someone they know is more trustworthy than an advertisement, according to Nielsen Norman Group.
- 74% of businesses that leverage co-branding earns a return on investment of over 200%, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
How Co-Branding Works for Your E-Commerce Marketing Campaign
The first step is finding an influencer that can help you drive sales. You can do this by searching for influential bloggers in your industry on sites like BuzzSumo.
If you’re unsure whether an influencer has the required influential power, look at the number of followers they have and compare it to your social media following. If they have twice as many or more than you, then you can be sure that they’ll be able to get the word out!
Once you’ve found a blogger that has what it takes, visit their site and click on the links in their bio. This will show you where they partner with other brands and products – it’s a great way to tell if they’re going to be able to work with you or not.
Next, you might want to work on your value proposition. Figure out what value you’re going to offer in return for getting them to work with you.
How do you find influencers that are right for your e-commerce marketing campaign?
Use #hashtagifyMe’s hashtag search tool and follow relevant accounts! You can monitor their hashtags and those related to your campaign.
Affiliate Marketing for E-commerce
With affiliate marketing, you’ll work with bloggers and influencers where they’ll be earning commissions based on the sales that they send your way. This is a win-win situation because it results in new sales while providing an incentive for the influencer to reach out to their audience.
All you’ll need to do is provide them with a unique affiliate link. Once they’ve linked that to their content or social media channel and someone makes a purchase, then they earn a commission.
A marketing agency or a salesperson can help you with this part so that the influencer gets paid directly after placing your links in their content.
Tools to Help You Out with Affiliate Marketing
Aim 4 Traffic – This gives you the ability to create different landing pages with a single campaign that comes from your influencer.
Tradedoubler – It will also help you track sales and rewards for each of your affiliate offers.