These days, the majority of consumers (perhaps you included) prefer shopping online as opposed to driving or walking to the mall. It’s more convenient, saves time, provides more variety, and leads to money savings. However, this is something that many entrepreneurs are well aware of, which only means one thing. Competition in eCommerce is only getting stiffer. This also means that to have an edge over your competition and come out on top, you have to go the extra mile in satisfying your target customer’s needs. Most importantly, your marketing strategies will be a huge determinant of success or failure. They will dictate your brand’s popularity, sales conversions, profits, and ultimately, the growth curve of your eCommerce business.
So, if you just launched your eCommerce business website or you’re about to, it’s important to understand the various ways you can market your business, products, or services to win more customers and make more sales. Starting with the definition of the subject, here are some marketing strategies for eCommerce platforms online entrepreneurs should know about.
What An eCommerce Platform?
Simply defined, an e-commerce platform is a software solution that incorporates various functions and operations of online business into a single central solution. It includes features to allow functions such as the following:
- Inventory & order management
- Promotions and pricing
- Reporting & analytics
- Content management
- Customer support
Now, as you might have guessed already, this article focuses more on the marketing bit of eCommerce platforms. There are several types of eCommerce platforms (software), including SaaS, open source, Pass, and store-owner variants. However, most of these features or functions are more or less the same in terms of how they work. So how can you get the most out of your eCommerce platform’s marketing bit? Well, read on as we count together, the eCommerce marketing strategies you should know about as a smart entrepreneur.
1. Search Optimization is Paramount
Over the past few years, many online entrepreneurs have discovered the importance of search engine optimization and the impact it can have on a business. It is undoubtedly one of the most essential parts of marketing in the digital world we live in. As you may already know, SEO involves strategically enriching your site pages with content and keywords that your target audience is more likely to search for. Sunshine Prame from Mass Appeal, a digital marketing and SEO company in the UK says that when done right, Search engine optimization places your site on the top most positions of search engines like Google. This not only makes your site easy to find online, but it also increases your site’s traffic, and sales conversions because consumers will easily find the products or services you‘re offering.
To get the most out of SEO, you’ll need to perform thorough research, so you can identify the right keywords as well as their variations. Other than research, SEO also takes a bit of work because it requires continuous performance analysis, creating content, monitoring the results, and so forth. This is all the more reason to consider working with a reputed digital marketing agency that provides SEO services to businesses like yours.
2. Content Marketing
As they say, “Content is King”. Especially in the digital space, nothing is more important than content as far as marketing is concerned. Apart from providing descriptions and product information on your site pages, content marketing means using various types of content to attract potential customers to your site and even influencing them into making a purchase. Content marketing is by far one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your business. The most commonly used types of content are blogs, although many people also use stunning images, interesting videos (ads), and ebooks for marketing purposes.
When it comes to content marketing, you generally have two main options. You can make your own content and save money, or hire experienced content marketers for the job. Your decision will largely depend on your budget as well as how ambitious you are in seeing your venture grow into a household name.
If you choose to create your own blog content, it is important to watch that you don’t make your posts all about your new products. Instead, you can write an interesting post with related content that lures the reader into checking out your site. If you’re selling kitchen appliances, for instance, the post could be about amazing recipes to try out on weekends and suggest a few appliances or tools the reader would need to make these recipes. You’ll be surprised at how effective this strategy can be in generating leads over time.
3. Social Media Marketing
Social media has become a way of life over the past few years. With the ever-growing number of users worldwide, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest have turned into a goldmine for business owners, big and small alike. The best part is that social media marketing is actually free, with an option to upgrade to a paid plan for a better experience. Apart from being a platform where you can showcase your products or services and promote your brand, it also allows you to connect, engage, and interact with your customers as well as potential customers. This is not to forget that social media presence can be a good way to build trust as it shows customers that you’re a legitimate business. For many businesses, it also doubles up as one of the most reliable customer service platforms. When promoting your eCommerce site over social media, here are some helpful tips.
- Ensure consistency in presence and branding
- Keep your followers engaged
- Provide new content and posts regularly
- Use stunning images and videos
- Create a shoppable IG page
- Try Facebook ads and promoted pins
- Make your blogs/content shareable
4. Product Page Reviews
The importance of user and professional online reviews can never be overstated when it comes to eCommerce. According to a recent publication on Inc.com, at least 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as they would rely on recommendations from their close circle. Before making a purchase decision, the majority of shoppers read reviews first. In other words, very few people want to buy something that hasn’t been tried by another person before. This is basically why many companies invite potential customers and target consumers into a practical demonstration of what the product can do, and so forth. Such customers can give their account of what they think of the product, meaning that even entirely new products can have reviews.
It also means that customer reviews are an essential part of eCommerce marketing. While not all reviews may be positive, it is important to have customers provide feedback on your site or other platforms after using or trying your product. In case a customer wasn’t satisfied and ended up leaving a negative review, you’ll want to follow up with the issue and ensure that the customer’s concerns are addressed. This will paint a bright picture of your brand, and future potential consumers will see that you care about their experience and needs. Depending on the e-commerce platform you’re using, features and plugins to help you upload customer reviews are available.
5. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Perhaps next to SEO, PPC is the next big thing, a strategy you can’t afford to ignore as an e-commerce entrepreneur. It basically involves working with PPC advertisers and affiliates, paying them for every click, like, or conversion made by users on your money link. As a marketing strategy, PPC will cost you a bit more on average, but when used well, it is one of the most effective strategies to spread awareness and increase sales. This largely relies on how strategic you are in tracing your target audience’s whereabouts and placing the products in front of them at the right time. There are various ways and avenues to use PPC ads, including the following:
- Search advertising (Adwords)
- Social media ads
- Display ads
- Google shopping
- Remarketing ads
- Sequential remarketing
When it comes to PPC, you will need to work with an experienced digital marketing agency to get the most out of it. This is basically why it tends to be costlier than most of the e-commerce marketing strategies discussed above and below. All the same, it is an investment that you won’t regret making if you choose the right expert.
6. Use Influencer Marketing
This is another strategy that many online businesses and eCommerce retailers are profiting hugely from. In the simplest of terms, influencer marketing involves using already-popular brands and personalities to attract leads and profit from their already-established audience. The popular brands or personalities are referred to as influencers, who may also be celebrities, professionals, or even business entities.
In most cases, influencer marketing works best when used in social media marketing campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. The amount you pay for these deals will largely depend on how popular the influencer is, how many followers they are, and how many conversions or clicks you’ll get from the same. When choosing an influencer, it is important to ensure you pick one that is followed by your target audience. Influencer marketing can be an amazing way to not only popularize your brand; but also attract traffic to your eCommerce site, increase revenue, and see it grow to newer heights.
7. Don’t Forget Email Marketing
Email marketing is another great way to keep your target consumers engaged and coming back for more purchases. It is often a great channel to deliver product and service updates to subscribed users, as well as send reminders, offers, and other tools to improve sales conversions. It especially works best for potential consumers who already have an interest in your product line or business. With an effective email marketing campaign strategy, you can automate personalized emails to increase the chances that the recipient will read it and it won’t end up in the junk folder.
8. Use Quizzes for Leads
For most eCommerce marketers, it can be a huge challenge to acquire a user’s personal information during sign-up. This is because some shoppers don’t like providing their personal information online, meaning that it’s easy for a willing buyer to click cancel or back as soon as the site requests for personal information. It ends up hurting conversion rates in the long run. However, Quizzes can provide a way around this challenge. On this note, lead generation quizzes can be an amazing way to compel your prospects with reasons to share more of their personal information apart from just their email addresses. With more personal information, it becomes easier to create personalized marketing information for prospects in your email list and other sources.
9. Use Gift Guides More
Many e-commerce sellers will only use specific seasons to promote items and products that make great gifts. However, you don’t actually have to wait until it’s almost Thanksgiving, Mother’s Day, or Christmas to promote giftable items for those occasions. These seasons are also more competitive. Instead, you can have a gift-guide page and provide content all-year-round to help your prospects to make meaningful giftable purchases. After all, no day is a bad day for gifting!
10. Link Wishlists and Subscriptions to Discounts
There are several types of online shoppers. One; are those who shop in advance and may leave items in the cart. Number two; are those who keep items in the wishlist for when they’re sure enough they can make the purchase or when it becomes available. The third category, are those who just make a purchase, never to be heard from again. Now, for the latter, you can use offers and discounts to get them to subscribe to your site or email newsletter. In the case of abandoned carts and wishlists, reaching out to such users with a reminder email and a discount or incentive attached can be a great way to increase conversions.
11. Tap Into Sold-Out Products
One of the most common frustrations online shoppers face is finding that a product they’re so interested in is out of stock. It also means lost profits for the business, but you can also make it work for you. Whenever you have sold-out products, you can ease the frustration by suggesting similar or alternative products (using tags) or asking the user to request a notification once the product is back in stock.
12. Have an App Developed
Lastly, you can also have an app developed for your eCommerce business and ensure it is enabled with push notifications. This can be a great way to keep your brand in the minds of your customers while also making their shopping experience easier and faster.
While e-commerce is among the most effective ways to do business these days, it doesn’t always come easy. You’ll often have a competition to beat, not forgetting several hurdles and challenges on your way. As far as marketing and lead generation are concerned, the above are a few strategies you can take to the bank as an e-commerce entrepreneur.