Posted on 13 November, 2019  |  4 mins

In a saturated market, how do you make your product, your store, your brand stand out online? Let's discuss eCommerce marketing and the tactics that can help you to be seen in a crowd and, ultimately, drive sales

Have a store? Have an online storefront? Do you want to build traction on your website and increase conversions – i.e. sell more? Then it’s time to look at your marketing strategy, identify what’s working and what’s not, and decide which marketing tactics and eCommerce tools you should try. 

ECommerce marketing is the use of promotional tactics to drive traffic to your online storefront, converting traffic into purchases and, ultimately, retaining those customers in the long-term. It harnesses marketing opportunities on your site and beyond, and a sound strategy helps you to build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty and increase online sales. 

1. Content Marketing

All marketing requires content – be that blog, infographic, video, GIF, podcast, image, or other. Online, quality content can improve your website’s ranking in search engines, drum up interest in your industry and your product, and broaden your reach. Efficient, right?

To be effective, it’s worth developing a content marketing programme that covers your various channels – your website, social media platforms, media coverage, paid advertising… the list goes on. In any online content that you create, remember to talk to the search engine by incorporating keywords; this goes beyond a body of text to include the page title, headers, image alt text, etc. 

Top tips

Optimise your product copy: your product page copy should not only sell your product, but it should also be underpinned by keywords to ensure that you’re turning up in the right searches. 

Don’t just blog, guest blog: if you have a blog on your website, the likelihood is you have the resources to guest blog! Blogging on other websites builds awareness, broadens your reach and generates backlinks, which the SEO*-gods happen to love! 

*search engine optimisation

2. Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) is an effective growth strategy that utilises paid advertising to ensure that your business’ products appear in search engine results pages and is supported by SEO. SEO directs organic (unpaid) traffic to your website by ensuring that your business’ site is well-positioned in search engine (i.e. Google) results and relies on a comprehensive understanding of that search engine’s ranking algorithm.

If you want to be heard amidst the din, you need to make your internet presence count! SEM involves pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display campaigns, and/or product-specific ad campaigns, which all put you in top spots on search engine results pages. Your SEM campaign should be planned as part of the wider marketing strategy and rooted in well-researched goals.

Top tips

SEM tools: the internet is awash with useful tools and resources that are designed to help businesses take full advantage of SEM. Check out HubSpot’s comprehensive list of SEM tools

Don’t just focus on traffic, focus on conversions: the return on investment on SEM isn’t based on traffic generated but on how many visitors you can convert – and what each conversion is worth to you.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is a staple in digital marketing armoury and that’s because it continues to hold value. A recent study conducted by Campaign Monitor asked small business owners where they see the most potential when it comes to gaining new clients and building brand awareness; while social media came first, email marketing was hot on its heels – a comfortable second.

The team at Campaign Monitor argue that email marketing is here to stay; they also recognise that campaigns will evolve and new email marketing trends will enter the ring. For example, machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) are revolutionising email marketing. ML helps simplify analytics models by supporting a deeper understanding of subscriber behaviour, making it easier to process data and, ultimately, make informed decisions that optimise campaigns and drive sales. AI is similar in its handling of data, however, rather than focusing on optimisation it creates next-level email personalisation. Together, ML and AI can help drive an unstoppable email marketing campaign that delivers the right message, to the right subscribers, at the right time!

In terms of content the first rule is quality over quantity – a viewpoint we recommend in all facets of your marketing! Increasingly, brands are opting for interactive content in their email marketing to provide a more engaging experience. 

Top tips

Personalisation is key: Campaign Monitor says that personalised subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened and 74% of marketers say personalisation – targeted messaging – in emails increases overall customer engagement. 

Generating loyalty: loyalty programmes are gaining momentum. Not only do such programmes acquire new customers but they effectively retain existing ones. PLUS, loyalty programmes enable you to capture customer data – information that can be used to understand your customers, tailor your offers and personalise future marketing campaigns. 

4. Social media

We’re going to go ahead and assume that you already have a business social media profile – probably across key platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook… Social media is another channel through which you can put yourself in front of your audience, connect and build relationships with your audience and build a personality for your brand by posting relevant and interesting content that resonates with your target audience – potential customers. 

Ecommerce marketing uses social platforms in a similar way to straight-up marketing, however, the campaigns look a little different and aren’t suited to every social platform – you need to assess which is a good fit for you and your business’ proposition. 

Top tips

Get the visuals right: eCommerce websites are highly visual (you’re showcasing your product!). Success on social media depends on the imagery that you use to catch attention and drive traffic to your product pages. 

Choose your platform wisely: Instagram is the dream platform when it comes to visual representations and a perfect platform for eCommerce marketing because you can post sharp, professional-looking product photography – extending your product’s reach beyond its product page on your website. 

Shoppable content: Does what it says on the tin, this is content that people can buy straight away; users find what they want on their feed and are taken directly to a shopping cart – eliminating some of the obstacles in the buying process. 

5. Reducing ‘abandoned shopping cart’

A potential customer peruses your shop’s website, casually filling their virtual cart, only to abandon it moments later after all that time and effort. Every time a visitor abandons their shopping cart you’re losing money and, according to research by Baymard Institute, a staggering 69.23% of shopping carts are abandoned.

Understanding why customers abandon carts is essential to reducing cart abandonment, but the reasons are manifold. Identifying obstacles in your purchase process – such as unexpected shipping costs, having to create a new account, or ensuring your site’s security is up to scratch – is an obvious way to reduce the number of abandoned carts. 

However, how do you actively encourage a customer back to your site who has walked away from their shopping cart? The answer is, of course, embarking on an email recovery campaign, which encourages the owners of those abandoned carts back to complete their original purchase. 

Top tips

Sharpen the buying experience: Test your site’s navigation – is it user-friendly and accommodate online shopper needs? In the age of convenience and ‘on-demand’, most visitors don’t want to figure out where to find what they’re looking for – you need to make it work for them.

Prioritise engagement: Big Commerce suggests that when it comes to recovery strategies, keeping a longer-term connection is very valuable. When building a list, a smaller, highly engaged list will always be more valuable than a bigger, more disengaged one. 

6. The post-purchase follow-up

Question: Who is a business’ most valuable customer?

Answer: The repeat customer.

When you’re developing your marketing strategy, the overarching goal should not be to simply acquire customers, rather it must be to retain them. Ensure your customers know that you value them and that you’re interested in their success with a post-purchase email! 

A tailored and engaging message encourages customers to return, keeps the conversation going and gauges interest in future purchases. There are several approaches you can take – from requesting feedback on the purchase experience or the product to notifying customers about deals.

Top tip

Segment your customer list: when it comes to customer interests, it’s 100% not a matter of one size fits all! To effectively tailor your post-purchase emails, it’s important to segment your email list. The following is the recommended recipe (according to Campaign Monitor):

  • Received an email
  • Opened an email or series of emails
  • Opened and clicked an email or series of emails
  • Converted from one of your emails.