E-commerce marketing refers to marketing a brand and boosting sales via online channels. It includes the online platforms, strategies, tools, and personnel involved in the marketing process. Whether you need an introduction to e-commerce or already have an established venture, you need to understand and leverage e-commerce marketing.
The best approach would be to create an e-commerce marketing strategy. An e-commerce marketing strategy outlines how you will drive traffic to your online platforms, sell more products, and increase revenue. This article will provide you with the best e-commerce marketing strategies. We will also briefly discuss the types and advantages of e-commerce marketing.
- Marketers leverage social media platforms to market products and services, convert social media users to customers, and engage with existing customers.
- Personalization aims to offer content and product recommendations that align with your customer’s needs and preferences.
- Many customers will happily refer their friends and family to your brand if you have a good loyalty program.
- You can build a long-lasting relationship with your existing customers with relevant and consistent content.
- Upselling and cross-selling are great ways to market products to existing and potential buyers.
Types of E-commerce Marketing
When people think of e-commerce marketing, they imagine an ad placed by an online store. While that idea is correct, the scope of e-commerce marketing expands beyond placing online ads. Just as we have different types of e-commerce, we also have different types of e-commerce marketing. We can divide e-commerce into seven major types, each with its features, strategies, and marketing tactics.
1. Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is one of the most popular types of e-commerce marketing due to its large audience base. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube each have over a billion active users worldwide. And according to stats, there are over 4.6 billion social media users worldwide. Even more, social media influences buyer decisions for over 80% of consumers.
As social media users continue to increase, marketers leverage social media platforms to market products and services, convert social media users to customers, and engage with existing customers.
The key to social media marketing for e-commerce businesses is consistently creating content that resonates with your target audience and ensuring it reaches them. For this to happen, you need the following:
- A social media marketing (SMM) strategy
- Shareable content
- Viral marketing campaign
- Tracking tools to help you optimize your campaign and content
Pros and Cons of Social Media Marketing
- It is free to start, and paid tools are generally cheap.
- It allows you to reach an extensive range of target audiences instantly.
- It promotes brand awareness and loyalty.
- Creating content and engaging with your audience is time-consuming.
2. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a marketing tactic in which you use content to attract and retain an audience and make them perform profitable customer action. It involves sharing high-quality content that is relevant to potential customers. Content marketing aims to establish your brand as trustworthy in the eyes of current and potential customers.
Content comes in various formats, including blog posts, review articles, opinion posts, newsletters, ebooks, and whitepapers. They could also be published as videos, online games, infographics, memes, quizzes, surveys, and slideshows. While your content can be on virtually any topic, the goal is to provide information to the consumers and make them buy the company’s products in the future.
Pros and Cons of Content Marketing
- It allows you to build brand awareness, trust, and loyalty.
- It is a great way to reach audiences that don’t respond to ads.
- It can boost traffic and lead generation.
- Finding, creating, and publishing high-quality content can be time-consuming.
3. Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) involves paying search engines to have your website appear on their search result pages. It is an excellent option for e-commerce websites that want search engine traffic but do not rank well on the organic search results page. Today, even websites that rank high in search engine results often use SEM to ensure they reach potential customers actively searching for products or services related to their business.
Some people confuse SEM with SEO, but they are different.
- SEM is about getting web traffic by paying for ads.
- SEO (search engine optimization) is optimizing your website content so it can attract unpaid web traffic.
The advantage of SEM over SEO is that you can get quicker results. In most cases, it can take up to six months to get a good SEO ranking, whereas, with SEM, you can have your website show up at the top of the search engine results page within hours.
Pros and Cons of Search Engine Marketing
- Quick results – you can boost your website’s traffic overnight.
- You can predict how much you will spend for every click you get.
- Your business becomes visible to an online searcher that uses a relevant keyword.
- Many internet users skip ads.
4. Email Marketing
Email marketing is using emails to build relationships with potential and existing customers. You can use email marketing to send personalized messages, promote products and services, and offer special discounts.
It is one of the fastest and most effective ways to connect with new customers and build brand loyalty. Furthermore, email marketing is one of the most cost-effective, ahead of social media and search engine marketing.
However, it would be best to exercise caution when using email marketing. Due to how effective it can be, it is now being abused by individual and brand marketers. You want to ensure that the emails you send are relevant to your audience and you send them sparingly. It is also best to send a confirmation email before adding someone to your email list to ensure they want email communication from your brand.
Pros and Cons of Email Marketing
- Email marketing offers better ROI than many other forms of marketing.
- Your email list will include people genuinely interested in your products and services.
- You can use email segmentation to send personalized messages to each subscriber.
- Building the content, design, and marketing list takes time and resources.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing entails leveraging the influence of a celebrity, online personality, or community. The idea is that the people following the influencer (either an individual or community) trust their opinion. As such, when the influencer promotes your products and services, their followers are more likely to make purchases. It leverages the relationship that the influencer has built with their following.
While influencer marketing can be very effective, it comes with its downsides. For starters, you have to ensure the influencer’s followers align with your expected audience and that the influencer promotes your product in the best possible way.
Furthermore, in the age of ‘fake’, ‘bought’, and ‘bot’ followers, it is easy for influencers to exaggerate their followers. Using influencer marketing tools can help you sieve genuine influencers from fake ones.
Pros and Cons of Influencer Marketing
- You can target audiences that are interested in what you offer.
- It is a quick way to build people’s trust in your brand.
- It allows you to reach people who may not otherwise pay attention to your brand.
- There is no assurance that the campaign will boost sales.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way for businesses to drive website traffic and increase sales. It uses a revenue-sharing model in which the brand shares a percentage of the product price with the affiliate marketer. The affiliate marketer only gets paid when the customer makes a purchase, so they have to market the products on behalf of the business. It is an excellent choice for e-commerce businesses to drive sales.
The only issue with affiliate marketing is that some affiliate marketers might want to game the system. Therefore, it would help if you had a reliable tracking solution to monitor sales so you can pay commissions correctly. Using a trustworthy affiliate program solves these problems. The program vets the affiliate marketers and tracks sales on your behalf.
Pros and Cons of Affiliate Marketing
- Marketers are incentivized to promote your brand in the best way.
- Increased brand awareness on multiple fronts.
- Increase in brand authority and potential sales.
- You have to share your profit margins with the marketer.
7. Local Marketing
Local marketing involves targeting customers within a graphical area. While it might seem irrelevant for an e-commerce business, it is an effective way to boost brand awareness and increase sales. Think of it this way: your customers have physical locations. If you can set up marketing campaigns like geolocalized ads, you can get them to buy your products.
The major drawback to local marketing is the cost. Thus, it would be best if you spent some time getting the marketing campaign right, especially regarding language, cultural nuances, and targeting. However, when done right, you can reap positive ROI on the marketing cost. With the right approach, you can use local marketing to convert a whole neighborhood to your customer base.
Pros and Cons of Local Marketing
- You have direct localized access to potential customers.
- You can tailor your ad to align with the language and nuance of a particular location.
- You can leverage customs and local events to boost sales.
- Localized ads cost more than other types of marketing channels.
Customer Retention and Engagement for E-commerce Marketing
When people hear about e-commerce marketing, they usually think about attracting new customers. However, e-commerce marketing also focuses on retaining existing customers.
Current e-commerce facts show that today’s shoppers are buying more and more online. Existing customers have already shown interest in your products and can become repeat buyers with the right incentives.
Customer retention is all about making your customers feel valued. Unfortunately, many e-commerce brands fail to handle this the right way. This blunder costs them huge revenue in potential sales. Here are some e-commerce marketing tips you can use to retain and engage customers:
Personalization and Customer Segmentation
Personalization is not just a good strategy; it is something all businesses must implement to stay relevant to their customers. Personalization aims to offer content and product recommendations that align with your customer’s needs and preferences. It also simplifies the purchase process so regular customers can easily shop and purchase products. You can implement personalization through customer segmentation.
Customer segmentation divides your customer base into categories based on shopping habits and relevant metrics. A good personalization software will use relevant data such as online shopping behavior, demographics, browsing history, and customer preferences to create different segments. Thus, you can create personalized experiences for each customer.
Loyalty Programs and Referral Marketing
It is basic human behavior to repeat a rewarded action. When you reward your customers for making a purchase or referral, you encourage them to repeat that action. Many customers will happily refer their friends and family to your brand if you have a good loyalty program. The same applies to purchases.
There are many great loyalty programs to choose from, but the best ones involve rewarding purchases above a certain amount or number of items. This approach makes the loyalty program hard to game while ensuring your best customers get rewarded for their effort. You can also apply this approach for referrals. The rewards could be free shipping, special discounts, or exclusive membership access.
Content Marketing and Blogging
Content marketing is one of the easiest ways to keep your customers engaged. You can build a long-lasting relationship with your existing customers with relevant, consistent content. The most popular medium for sharing content is blogging, but you can explore other options, such as YouTube videos, ebooks, and podcasts. The best e-commerce website builders also allow you to create SEO blogs.
You can also invite your customers to subscribe to your blog. This way, they get notifications when you share new content. You could also share the content directly with them via email. Customers who regularly get engaging and valuable content from your brand will likely become repeat buyers.
Mobile App and Push Notifications
A well-designed mobile app will make it easier for customers to interact with your brand and make purchases. You can also leverage personalization strategies to improve the user experience for each customer. When you combine a mobile app with push notifications, you can reach customers who mostly ignore emails.
Push notifications are short messages. They could offer discounts, send personalized messages, or even updates. Since they are brief and usually relevant, most customers will open them. The link directs them to the app if they click on the notification. From there, they can browse your inventory and make purchases.
Using Cross-Selling and Upselling For E-commerce Marketing
Upselling and cross-selling are great ways to market products to existing and potential buyers.
Upselling offers a superior, costly version of a product or service that a customer owns or is willing to buy. This version could be in terms of upgrades or add-on features.
Cross-selling recommends products that relate to an item that a customer already owns or is willing to buy. These products typically are accessories or complementary products of the one the customer already owns (or is buying).
Here are some ways to implement upselling and cross-selling in your e-commerce marketing strategy:
Product Recommendations and Suggestions
One of the most effective ways to upsell and cross-sell is to make product recommendations and suggestions on your e-commerce site. You can use your customer’s shopping history, interests, and demographics to invite customers to explore new products. It will be more effective to automate the system.
When cross-selling a product, we recommend that the recommended product cost about half less than the original product added to the cart. The low price makes it easier for the buyer to add the cross-sell product to their cart even though they were not shopping for it. For upselling, think of it as making a gentle suggestion and not a hard sell.
Bundle and Package Deals
Bundle and package deals group two or more products together. While bundles contain a wide variety of products (cross-sell), package deals typically include multiple units of the same product (upsell). Offering these bundle and package deals at a discounted price encourages customers to buy more and increases the average order value. You also benefit from the purchase since you can quickly move your inventory.
Upsell and Cross-Sell Strategies
Other strategies that you can use for upsell and cross-sell include:
- Offering incentives: You can offer loyalty points or free shipping to motivate customers to make additional purchases.
- Premium products: You can show two versions of the same product side by side to encourage the customer to choose the higher-priced version.
- Free samples: Free samples can be a great way to entice customers to try new products. For this to work, ensure that the free samples in each shipment align with a customer’s purchase or known interests.
Importance of Analytical Tools and Metrics for E-commerce Marketing
Tracking the performance of your e-commerce marketing is just as important as developing an e-commerce marketing strategy. Regular data tracking of key metrics will help you streamline your marketing efforts and ensure you get the best ROI.
Here are some benefits of using analytical tools and metrics to measure the success of your marketing efforts:
Analytics and Data Tracking
E-commerce marketing works best with accurate, up-to-date data. You can track their data in real time and analyze it for insights with analytic tools. These insights can help you understand how customers engage with your website by providing figures on critical metrics such as conversion rate, bounce rate, average order value, and customer lifetime value.
Customer Behavior and Conversion Analysis
Understanding how customers behave online can significantly improve your marketing efforts and personalized recommendations. Analysis tools allow you to track customers’ online browsing and shopping habits. The data from this tracking will show you which products to best recommend to them and how to present those products. You can then use this data to develop an e-commerce marketing strategy that converts visitors to shoppers.
However, the process continues beyond there. Only some visitors will end up becoming customers. But if you can discover what makes a visitor purchase, you can use that insight to convert more web visitors to buyers. It would help if you tracked vital metrics such as conversion rates, click-through rates, and average order value.
Return on Investment (ROI) and Sales Funnel Metrics
The goal of e-commerce marketing is to make more than you spend on it. So it is essential to see how much return you get on each marketing campaign. This approach ensures that you only spend money on effective marketing campaigns and make the most of your resources.
Advantages of E-commerce Marketing
The advantages of e-commerce marketing include the following:
E-commerce is a numbers game. The more eyes you get on your product, the more likely you will make a sale. However, you want to ensure that the people viewing your products will likely make a purchase.
With e-commerce marketing, you can target specific audience segments whose needs and interests align with your products. Many types of marketing, such as social media and search engine marketing, allow you to narrow your focus to a specific audience. You can create a target audience profile using demographics and online activities.
Generally speaking, the easier shopping on your e-commerce store, the more likely customers will purchase something. So e-commerce marketing allows you access to more than a broad audience. It also makes it easier for your customers to find relevant products and make purchases.
For instance, you can add a purchase button to your social media pages so customers can purchase your advertised product without going through numerous website pages.
While this dramatically increases the comfort of online shoppers, it benefits you too. With an effortless shopping experience and personal recommendations, customers will buy more products, leading to more revenue for your business.
One of the valuable features of e-commerce marketing is that there is always data to analyze. Even if the marketing campaign does not meet the target, the collected data can provide insights into how you can make the next campaign work.
Furthermore, you can collect customer data through marketing campaigns which you can use for other types of marketing, such as email marketing. You can also use the data to offer personalized marketing and improved customer experience.
E-commerce marketing is a lot cheaper than traditional marketing. For instance, putting an ad in a local newspaper can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, and TV commercials can be prohibitive to small and medium-sized businesses. Digital marketing, on the other hand, is a low-cost alternative. In many cases, you can use e-commerce marketing for free.
Anyone can open a social media page or channel without paying a dime. While the free route requires creativity, patience, and consistency, it can become a great source of customers for e-commerce businesses. Furthermore, paid marketing options such as search engines and social media ads cost very little. You can run a marketing campaign on Facebook for days or weeks without spending more than $100.
Another critical advantage of e-commerce marketing over traditional marketing is that it offers measurable results. You can track your marketing campaign’s performance in real time and make adjustments based on new insights. This feature makes it easy for you to plan marketing campaigns that work.
A good e-commerce marketing strategy will drive more traffic to your website, leading to more sales. As long as you have products that people want, all you need is a successful e-commerce marketing strategy to increase sales, revenue, and profits.
E-commerce marketing also works as a two-way communication. On the one hand, you are telling the customers to buy your products. On the other hand, your customers are telling you what they like and what they don’t. This communication can be done directly through social media interactions and customer reviews. You can also do it indirectly via how customers engage with your marketing campaign and product pages.
Since your online store is open 24/7, you can set your marketing campaigns to run round the clock. Some types of marketing, such as content marketing, will drive traffic to your website even when you are asleep. People who use related keywords in their online search queries will see your content on the result page. They can then decide to click it and buy your product.
E-commerce marketing is not restricted by geophysical location. The global reach opens numerous opportunities for growth and expansion. Anyone with an internet connection from around the world can view your ads, and you can sell to people outside your locale or even your country. The only limitations are government laws and shipping constraints.
Automation is another advantage of e-commerce marketing: you can save time by streamlining your marketing processes using automation tools. Virtually all aspects of e-commerce marketing can be automated. You can use AI tools to create content, schedule emails and social media posts, and even use software to make the best bids for search engine marketing. This feature allows you to focus on other aspects of your business and increase efficiency.
Emerging Trends in E-Commerce Marketing
E-commerce marketing is constantly evolving. Here are some of the latest trends and how you can leverage them in promoting your brand:
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are now commonplace in e-commerce marketing because they help businesses save time and resources while providing customers with a more personalized shopping experience.
AI is mainly used to develop content, manage customer-business interactions, and make PPC bids.
Machine learning is mainly used to analyze big data into actionable insights. You can use these insights for customer segmentation, product recommendations, and personalization tasks.
Voice Search Optimization and Voice Commerce
With the proliferation of AI voice assistants, voice search optimization and voice commerce are gradually becoming commonplace. Many customers now use voice search to search for products and services online. As such, modern businesses are now optimizing their website for voice search queries, which can help them reach more customers.
Interactive and Immersive Shopping Experiences
Interactive and immersive shopping tools allow customers to have an interactive and immersive shopping experience. Through these innovations, customers can get a complete feel of the products they want to buy online without touching them physically.
Examples of interactive and immersive shopping features include 3D product views and interactive product videos. These features provide an enriching shopping experience for customers while increasing engagement with the company’s products.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are the latest e-commerce marketing technologies. They provide simulations of online products so customers can know if they’ll like them when they get them.
For instance, customers can use AR to have an enhanced understanding of the product. An example is when a customer uses AR to virtually try on clothes or accessories before buying them.
E-commerce marketing increases brand awareness and drives sales through online channels. The types of e-commerce marketing include social media, content, search engine, and affiliate marketing. Other types are influencer marketing and local marketing.
Next Steps: What Now?
- Check out the best website builders for e-commerce
- Find The Best e-commerce Hosting Providers
- Start an e-commerce business