If your company isn’t online, opportunities are clearly being missed. Today’s customers are super tech-savvy, and not just about buying. They’re used to quick gratification in many aspects of their lives, so they have little patience for slow web pages or having to carry out a deep search for what they need.
The key is to create a place for your business that offers solutions and makes it easy for customers to find you, get answers, and make purchases. No matter your product or service, a comprehensive e-commerce marketing strategy is essential.
What Is e-commerce marketing?
e-commerce involves selling online. With an e-commerce marketing strategy, you take steps to drive awareness and action toward your product or service. This means using social media, digital content, search engines, email campaigns, and more to attract visitors to your website and convert them into paying customers.
How you do this largely depends on your customers and deliverables — the options are many.
Why you need an e-commerce marketing strategy
These days, customers expect an online presence. Think about how many times you search for something on the internet. It’s the same when you need to make a purchase. Even if you can shop down the street, you might check online for store hours, product availability, or directions.
Your e-commerce goal is to reach these customers and fill their needs, whether they’re next door or around the world.
Utilize e-commerce tools
You have a variety of tools at your disposal. Here are some to consider:
An e-commerce marketing strategy requires content that increases your visibility. Position yourself as an authority in the field and your products will gain credibility.
Regularly post useful and engaging content to keep your customers interested and your name in their sights when they’re ready to buy.
The value of email really can’t be overstated. You can message your customers during every phase of a sale, from a company introduction to post-sale customer satisfaction.
Creating instant interaction keeps your brand alive and lets you send content and direct your customers to more information.
Well-written content will always have a place, but videos offer the benefit of speed and they cater to customers’ visual nature. Long or short, videos can provide a more effective way to tell customers how to use your product or service. Unboxings can show real-life applications, and testimonials from happy clients can elevate your brand.
Google and Bing offer paid advertising to get your product at the top of search results. Most people don’t go past the first page, so this is a perfect place to get noticed.
By gathering cookies when your website visitors click on a product, you can pop ads into their feeds at other times. Facebook and Google Ads can facilitate retargeted ads for your product or service. Adding cookies helps you avoid advertising products customers have already purchased.
When customers click on your ad, make sure they’re directed to a page related to the ad content so they can take immediate action. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to search for a product they saw just a minute ago.
A less-than-stellar checkout experience will kill the buzz of finding the perfect product. Offer multiple payment options, upfront shipping and tax costs, and clear directions. Include email follow-up and subscription to your email list when customers hit “submit.”
Create shoppable posts, which let customers buy directly from Instagram or Facebook. This prevents them from getting lost on their way to the checkout.
Ask for and encourage product reviews from satisfied customers. Offer money-back guarantees and quick, painless solutions if things go wrong with a product or service. Great customer service in handling the fallout shows integrity.
Communication doesn’t end upon a sale. It’s just the first step in building brand loyalty. After the sale, send your customers content related to their purchase, provide suggestions on use, and include complementary offers.
Use strategies that make sense
You need to reach your customers while achieving your business goals. Review your bottom line and marketing objectives. Create content that grabs your audience, is informative, and keeps your product on their minds.
You can also target specific phases of a customer’s journey. Customize your strategy along the touch points throughout the sales process and post-sale customer service.
When your customers have a need, they often pull up a search engine like Google or DuckDuckGo and type in a few keywords. If your page matches their query, your website will rank high in the results.
SEO-optimized landing and product pages that load quickly and provide optimal links will get the attention of your customers and ensure they find your content.
Focus your titles, headers and images on the right keywords and they’ll rank high in searches for your product.
Pick and choose your social media platforms
All social media platforms are not created equal. Concentrate on the ones your customers frequent, and use calls to action. Make the content catchy and engaging.
Use high-quality images and messaging, and take full advantage of all available functionality. That includes multiple images, swipe features, and product tags. If you choose any influencers, be sure they’re trustworthy and can gain the right attention for your product or service.
Tune in to your customers
Answer customers’ questions promptly and create an FAQ page. Build authority and traffic to your page by providing helpful information and creating interest.
Follow trends and keep up with your target customers’ needs. Offer them something they haven’t seen or something they can use in a unique way.
You can create follow-up opportunities every step of the way, but you don’t have to do it manually. As your business grows, automation becomes increasingly important.
Automatically sending emails and texts at specific points can turn your e-commerce marketing strategy into a well-oiled machine. Automation offers much more than email follow-ups to empty carts or purchases. Use your CRM (customer relationship management) software to the fullest.
Creating a strategy
Before you can craft an e-commerce strategy, you need information. Study your customers. Where do they shop? What are their needs? Are they repeat buyers? How much do they spend? Where do they spend their social time?
Gather customer data
Find out every detail about your customers, from gender, age group and location to education, and more. Determine how your customers use your product or service.
Discover what motivates them to make a purchase. People tend to buy for emotional reasons or to solve a problem. Your campaign can target those motivations.
Individualize your approach
What works for one product or company might not work for another. Do your research and keep your company’s goals in mind.
Choose an area that will create impact and reach the most customers, then build on that strategy. Tailor content to a particular segment and fulfill their needs.
Change direction as necessary
Let’s say you do your research and design a campaign you think will hit a home run, but you don’t get the desired response. You might need to tweak.
Remember, many factors go into a successful campaign. If you’re sending an email, try sending it at a different time of day. If you’re using a retargeting ad, consider adjusting your message.
Perhaps you need to expand your audience or become more specific with a demographic. Don’t be discouraged; try small changes to get big results.
Implement and reap the rewards
People want products and services on demand. Your customer base isn’t limited to those who can drive to your store — it’s anywhere with an internet connection.
It’s truly a global marketplace. Reaching customers online is an art form limited only by your imagination.
Use all resources within your means, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Customers are intrigued by creative thinking.
Your e-commerce marketing strategy should reflect your business and customer goals. Use the techniques suggested to corner the online market.