eCommerce Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners

When was the last time you bought something online? We just upgraded our office with a new chair. Yes, we bought it through a few clicks! We are a small part of those 71% of shoppers that believe they will get a better deal online than in stores. That’s the reason why we believe in the power or eCommerce and eCommerce marketing!

There are over 3 billion internet users on Earth, (3,563,113,601 more exactly at the time we were writing this article), that’s about 40% of the world’s population. Of which two thirds have made online purchases in the last 12 months. If you have or plan to begin an online business, these news must tickle your fancy.

But starting the business isn’t enough for it to become successful. Any business is just like a plant: if you don’t water it and give it nutrients, it will die. That’s why in this article we’re telling you what you can do in order for your business to be both profitable and known by everybody.

There are many ways through which you can promote your eCommerce business, but there are some thing you need to research before getting into promotion.

There are three stages that we can talk about when it comes to your eCommerce marketing strategy, but first let’s see what eCommerce marketing means and what is an eCommerce marketing strategy.

What is eCommerce Marketing?

eCommerce marketing can be defined in many different ways and can include both Online or Offline campaign strategies.

Most often, it’s considered to be the marketing of goods and services over the Internet or any other electronic network (like a mobile phone or PDA).

According to Ecommerce Consultants –

eCommerce marketing is commonly referred to as eCommerce optimization, online marketing, search engine marketing, search engine optimization, catalog optimization, product SEO, merchant marketing and many more variations of those terms. 

An eCommerce marketing strategy is the way (or ways) through which an ecommerce business can reach out to potential customers. Usually a strategy includes content marketing, social media, email marketing, SEO, link building, and many other ways traditional or not.

Let’s get into the three stages I was talking to you about above.

1. What to do before launching your eCommerce campaign?

Every successful business is built on solid grounds, even the eCommerce ones. What does that mean? That before you even start thinking about promotion, there are a few other steps you need to go through. Let’s go through them together!

a. Audience is king – Potential customer

Sadly, we don’t live in a perfect world in which everybody is drawn to your online store. Nowadays, consumers have such a vast selection of brands to choose from, of businesses to be loyal to, that you really need to work hard and put some extra effort in order to grab their attention.

An important part of creating a relationship with your future consumers is determining your target audience and figuring out how to cater to their needs and desires.

Having a clear understanding of who your customer is isn’t an easy step to be done, but is definitely one of the most important. It’s important not only because you need to know who you’re addressing to, but also you need exact information in order to be able to set your online campaigns right.

Here are the three questions you can start from to create your buyer persona.

  1. Who are the target customers?

This is probably the most important question you can ask yourself when it comes to marketing.  Who are the people you’re about to advertise to? Where can you find them?  What are their values and fears?

  1. What do they want?

What do they expect from you? They want more than just content. They want you to answer their questions, give them advice and resources that help them get their job done or fulfill their wishes. But this differs from product to product and audience to audience.

  1. What are their needs that aren’t being met?

What can you give them more than your competition already does? What needs does your product fulfill?

You don’t need to be a marketing specialist to find out these things. Not all people starting a business have marketing studies or afford hiring an agency or a specialist. That’s why we’re writing this article for you.

All you need is patience and willingness to do this right.

b. Who are you? – Identity

Think about your business as a human that needs to find himself and find his place into the world.

What can you offer? What are your goals and objectives? Why are you different from the other e-commerce sites and businesses similar to yours on the market? What characteristic defines you and your business?

This is one step many owners often forget about in the fever of launching their businesses, but from our personal experience we’re telling you it’s much easier to have everything in place before starting to create a community or even get on the market, than rebrand yourself afterwards.

You’ll find some identity related issues discussed in this article.

What you need to remember is that your value proposition is that something that let’s people know it’s you whenever they see a product, an ad or a piece of content.

c. Who are they? – Competition

The competitive analysis is a statement of your business strategy and the way it relates to competition. Through this analysis you can determine the strengths and weaknesses of the competitors, their strategies and struggles.

There’s nothing wrong in knowing what your competition does. You can keep an eye on their website, social media even get them to send you a newsletter from time to time. Stay up to date with their actions and audience.

Here are some tools that can help you keep track of your competition: BuzzsumoGoogle AlertsSocial MentionSEMRush .

For example, Buzzsumo gives you the possibility of keeping track of your competition’s activity by searching after the keywords you’re interested in. You can see what articles they’ve written, how much attention they got and filter the information you need to see.

Tip: Register on their subscription list with your personal e-mail address, not your workplace. For obvious reasons.

Basically, before presenting your business to the world you must know two things.

Who you are and who are the ones you’re about to address to.

In the next part of this article we’ll show you how you can blend these two in order to both satisfy your target’s needs and raise your ecommerce marketing and conversion rates.

2. Managing a marketing strategy for your eCommerce business

There are so many ways in which you can promote your eCommerce business.

This time we’ll tell you about the three we consider to be among the most important ways to get your business to your audience. Content Marketing, Email Marketing and Social-Media.

a. Content Marketing

This is something we love doing and we invest lots of time and resources in. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates about 3 times as many leads.

Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing

There are a few reasons why you should be creating content for your eCommerce business.

First and foremost, the ultimate goal of all your marketing efforts are selling your products, right? Well, we’ve got a long way to go until then, so we’d say the most important reason why you should have a content marketing strategy is raising brand awareness.

Letting people know who you are and what you can do to improve their lives. In a more in-depth look  at your objectives are of course SEO and the audience building. Ranking a site on the first page of Google is something all marketing specialists strive to achieve and only some of them actually get there.

The audience building is all about getting to your audience and making it stay, it’s the hook of your business. You can do that in many ways, but one which we totally encourage you do to, regardless of your type of business is giving help and advice to your readers and potential customers.

Did you hear about the DollarShaveClub?

It’s a business that noticed there was a hole in the market and decided to fill it up. It delivers razors and other personal grooming products to customers by mail, by subscription.

This is one business that went from 0 to 1000 in no time after launching this video. (Yes, video is part of content marketing)

It was a bold move, but it has worked and since then, DollarShaveClub was bought by Procter & Gamble. They didn’t stop here. Their content marketing strategy is well thought giving people exactly what they need and what nobody else was even daring to do or thinking about.

DollarShaveClub talks to people about subjects they’re afraid or embarrassed to ask, like whether there are any other body parts that need to be moisturized beside hands. (you know what we’re talking about).

It isn’t only ‘that company that sends me razors once a month’ but also ‘the place I can read about things I’m interested into’ whether they are about my body, work or life. This is how they built their audience, through catchy and useful content packed in an honest and direct way.

But you definitely need to find out what their needs are and how to talk to them.

b. Email Marketing

Truth be told a big chunk of the people who visit your website or online store are new visitors who might never come around, unless, you do something to keep the coming back for more.

Email marketing is one way to retain more of the traffic you worked so hard to bring in. To do this you need to create an incentive to return, whether it’s about discounts, precious content, launching new products or what not.

Email marketing accounts for over 7% of all eCommerce transactions, making it the second most effective eCommerce marketing channel behind search (15.8%) according to a 2013 study by Custora.

If that’s not a good enough reason to be there, we’re giving you some more below.

1. You can easily segment your audience and personalize messages for them

2. You can create strong relationships by delivering what they want/need

3. 72% of people would rather receive promotional material via email than social media. Via emailMonday

4. Email outperforms Social Media when it comes to selling online

5. Email + Content Marketing = <3

What types of newsletter can you send to your subscribers? Well, that’s a question many people ask, but don’t worry. You’ve got the answers below!

Welcome new visitors – Whenever someone makes an account on your website, you’ll be able to target that action and send an automated mail which welcomes him onto the platform. This is how you’re telling him: “Hello! This is us and this is what we can do for you!”

Activate customers who have not purchased anything – There are times when customers just wander around your online store without making any purchases. The reasons can be many, from their budget or your prices to them not finding what they were looking for. Through email, you can get to them and ask them if you can help them or recommend some products.

•  Get to those who abandon their carts – Getting to those who abandon their carts is important because this is a great source of feedback. You can find out what went wrong in the process or whether there was something that stopped them from buying what they added to their carts.

Send personalized products – People love it when you give them particular attention and show them that you know what their needs and wishes are. 

Keep them up to date with discounts – Many people have their emails as a primary source of information. Sending them offers and discounts through email might be a great strategy to get them back onto your platform. 

With these being said, long live email marketing!

PS: You might want to subscribe to the biggest e commerce platforms newsletters. They can give you great insights about how they practice email marketing and you can learn tons of tricks from them.

 Here’s a ‘Welcome Newsletter’ from the well known home decor brand One Kings Lane.

This newsletter tells you everything you need to know about the business. How it works, what they sell, what you will achieve if you buy their products (through before and after photos).

Make your newsletter look similar to your shop and make sure your value proposition is present.

c. Social Media

If you have a tight budget, Social-Media might be your salvation. But before starting to activate there, you must go to the first point of this article. Your audience. The strategy you’re about to plan on Social Media depends entirely on where your audience is.

You wouldn’t try selling meat to a vegan community, would you? Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest – these are all great lead generators, but at the same time there are different types of people accessing them.

For example,  83% of female internet users and 75% of male internet users are on Facebook while on Instagram, the percentage is 38% to 26%. Youngsters are more likely to use Snapchat or Instagram, than LinkedIn.

If you’re targeting young moms, the probabilities are that you’ll find them rather on Pinterest than on Google+.

Do you see where this is going? That’s why we’re encouraging you to make your research before investing time and money in a platform.

What can you do on Social Media? Well, this is both debatable and a long talk (we might consider writing an entire article only about this), but let’s go over some of things you can do on Social Media that can bring leads to your eCommerce website.

When it comes to driving organic engagements there are some tactics you can use. Whether you decide to start posting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or Snapchat, you must know that the content you provide your users must be valuable.

Content that will bring you engagement, virality, retweets, likes, shares, followers and all the other things that give marketers goosebumps.

You can create infographics which we totally love, both consuming and creating.

Here’s one we made about creating copy that bring us a lot of webtraffic and social media shares: Infographic: The Ultimate 2016 Social Media Ad Size Cheat Sheet

Did you know that infographics are the most shared type of content? Since humans process visual information faster than words, this is understandable.

The great part is that you can easily become a great quality content source for your community, by creating interesting infographics about subjects you’re expert in.

For example, if you are a coffee distributor, you can create an infographic of how coffee gets from tree to table. You can promote your infographics on any Social Media platform, but the one we consider the most suitable for them is Pinterest, due to its longitudinal aspect of pins.

Another great type of content you can use is user generated content (UGC). That means you can post content that is sent to you by users or which you’ve found through different methods. (Never forget to give credits for what you post from others!). This one is a tactic that saves you lots of time and easily creates engagement with users.

For example, Flipsnack posts user generated content on their Instagram account and it’s a huge success! How? They found out what their community craves for (awesome  and inspirational visuals) and that’s exactly what they’re giving! This action resulted in an increasing number of followers and engagements.

Gifs are a great idea also. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a gif is worth one million! You can create gifs of your products, of production, snippets of how people can use your product.

We actually created a gif today for Valentine’s Day and posted it on our Facebook account. It rapidly drew attention to our page and it was a great source of entertainment for our followers.

There are many ways in which you can draw people’s attention to your brand, be it a photo, a video, a link or a gif. The most important thing when it comes to Social Media is being considerate to your audience. Show them something they need or want to see.

Go for funny, inspirational, educational, conversational or even promotional content that can make users return to your accounts over and over again.

On the other side of organic content, lays the paid content.

Paid content on Social Media can help you build communities and followings faster than through organic content. Almost each social network gives the possibility of creating paid or sponsored content. Based on your audience, budget and objectives you can choose from investing in Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, Instagram Ads, Sponsored Pins, Snapchat Ads, and so on and so forth.

3. Measuring your eCommerce Marketing efforts

The measurement part is the one that helps you both analyze what you’ve done right or wrong and help you decide what you’re going to do in the future. There’s nothing wrong in choosing to change strategies if you realize they don’t bring you the results you want, on the contrary. It’s the best thing you could do.

Let’s see the ways in which you can measure your actions in your eCommerce marketing.

When it comes to Content Marketing there are many ways through which you can measure your actions based on your chosen type of content and goal. For example, you can choose to generate more leads for your website through content marketing. How can you do that? Well, it’s easier to talk about them than actually do them, but they’re definitely worth it.

There are are blogposts that can act like AB testing mechanisms, many websites have subscription forms pop-ups that you can easily create in Bannersnack. You can also create exit intent pop-ups, for when the user is about to exit your site. It’s a great hook for keeping them a little bit more or finding out something about their experience on the site! Here is a short video about how you can create an exit intent pop-up in Bannersnack. 

You can also create snack-able content as we like to call it – products like eBooks, academies and so on and so forth. These are quality content pieces you can write about different subjects regarding your area of business.

If you are selling coffee, you can easily make an eBook that teaches people how to make a perfect coffee from scratch. In exchange, they have to give you their email address.

See how it works? Quid pro quo all the way! After you have their email address, you can easily send him newsletters he might be interested in, and in the end, make him an offer he can’t refuse.  As you can see, Content Marketing goes hand in hand with Email Marketing, so you need to make sure both of these have a well adjusted plan.

How can you measure your Content Marketing efforts?

– check for growth in traffic with Google Analytics and Google Webmaster’s Tools

– check for evolution of your rankings with tools like Semrush and MOZ

– check inhouse statistics for growth in sales or new leads

As we’ve told you above, there are tremendous methods through which you can promote your business on Social Media. Be it organic or paid, it must be measured in order to see what you did right and wrong.

What you can measure (this depends on your goals and chosen platform):

  1. Reach
  2. Likes/Comments/Shares
  3. Followers/Retweets/Replies
  4. Messages
  5. Pinned Posts
  6. Views
  7. Screenshots
  8. Site traffic
  9. Leads generated
  10. Sign-ups and conversions
  11. Revenue generated

Another great way of measuring your eCommerce Marketing efforts is through our Banner Analytics , which is the only product on the market that can give you heatmaps of your banner ads, pop-ups and so on and so forth.

Here’s how you can measure your Social Media strategy:

– Constantly monitor your campaigns and see which ads perform best

– Ongoing analytics. This means you need to make an account and start measuring from when you start posting.

Buffer, Iconosquare, Google Analytics are just some of the many tools you can use to measure your Social Media efforts.

Here are 5 top sites that practice ecommerce marketing from which you can get inspiration: ShopifyEbayAmazonAlibabaWalmart.

Remember, when it comes to providing quality content to your audiences, the size of your business doesn’t matter.

There are a few stages of launching and taking care of an eCommerce business. Target your audience wisely and don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Experiment, see which medium or combination of mediums work best for your business and invest in them smart. 

3 Comments

  1. edalat February 22, 2017
  2. Jalene March 1, 2017
  3. Dennis April 12, 2017

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