The nuts and bolts of running a successful ecommerce business is the marketing behind it.
Below you'll find ten essential (and easy!) tips on how to market your business to reach more customers and increase sales.
Let's jump right in.
1. Create a marketing strategy
You can’t build anything without a solid plan and marketing your eCommerce business is no different. Haphazard implementation won’t achieve the results you need, wasting the time and effort you put in. You need to develop a clear marketing strategy from the start, one that outlines the objectives of each campaign, along with clear and quantified goals. You will need a plan of attack to achieve them and markers to continually evaluate the progress and allow time to make adjustments. This will also enable you to take advantage of opportunities that arise over the course of the campaign, or refocus and get any idle aspects back on track.
2. Use social media
Social media is a collection of free platforms that provide direct access to your audience. They allow people to keep track of the latest news and events in real-time, from anywhere. These platform’s are also great to share trending topics, prompting your business to feature across a wide spectrum of audiences. Not all social media networks are suitable for every business, so it’s a good idea to focus on only the relevant ones that yield good results and are suited to your products or services. For example, Instagram is an image based platform that works perfectly with eCommerce companies selling beautiful products like cushions, candles, clothes and shoes, whereas it’s not as effective for a business selling plain notebooks or sinkers for fishing.
3. Be original
Always ensure your content and imagery are specifically created for your brand. While it may save time to use stock photos and pull content from around the web, customers will be less engaged if there’s no direct connection to your business. A key element of originality is understanding your business’s unique selling position and clearly identifying with what sets you apart from competitors.
4. Customer reviews
A key element in Amazon’s marketing strategy is building a database of customer reviews which they display on their website. Regardless of whether they are negative or positive, every review adds depth to not just the product it relates to but Amazon’s eCommerce site. It’s a form of user generated content and is invaluable for both SEO and credibility purposes. Customers intrinsically trust other customers more than a business selling the product, so a series of genuine reviews are valuable marketing collateral.
5. Track, measure and test
Analysing results is often overlooked. Small businesses, in particular, invest in a marketing campaign without any consideration about how to make adjustments if it’s not successful. Using free tools like Google Analytics allows you to understand where your traffic and sales are coming from, and what is or isn’t working. This gives you the power to make adjustments and re-evaluate the plan to get better results in the future. Operating blind will give you no data to work from, making it impossible to improve or rectify any missteps.
6. Set up cart abandonment tactics
Cart abandonment can happen to the most successful online store. According to a study, 2/3 of shopping carts are filled but then abandoned before reaching the payment phase. That’s a huge chunk of potential sales gone, and while you will never convince all of those people to complete the sale, some may just need a little push. A simple yet effective recovery tactic is an email campaign that activates once the cart has been abandoned and sends the customer a personalised email after a few hours. Some people may think they lost their cart when their browser crashed or they ran out of time to complete the sale. Following up and showing that all their items are still in the cart is a good way to show how easy it is to finish the transaction.
7. Reward loyalty
Retaining customers is as important as finding new ones. Returning customers make up an enormous proportion of a business’s sales and failing to retain loyalty can make it difficult to keep your business afloat. An effective loyalty program will ensure your existing customers stick with you, as well as mitigate complaints that can arise when a company focuses intently on attracting new business. Physical stores, like coffee shops, can rely on things like punch cards and the tenth coffee free, but online your tactics can be more sophisticated. Amazon has a carefully curated set of offers that are based on your previous purchases while a site such as Vistaprint sends out vouchers almost daily to entice a customer back. Beyond that, you can reward customers for referring their friends, send out reminders for wish list price drops, and send out offers to customers who have disappeared in recent weeks.
8. Optimise for search engines
Make sure your site is ranking as well as possible by investing in an SEO campaign. Organic search rankings give your site visibility within your industry that paid advertising can’t compete with. Ensure your content is original and optimised for keywords, your site structure is clean and logical and you are constantly building a link profile through effective outreach and great content. Read our blog about SEO and eCommerce for the finer details of optimisation.
9. Email marketing
Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways of connecting with your customers. The most important element to consider is the value of what you’re sending. People are used to their email inbox filling with emails they don’t want and have developed a fast reflex with the delete key. Your subject line must be compelling and enticing, which involves withholding just enough information to ensure it gets opened. From there, the value to their lives must be well-presented and obvious within the content, accompanied with a convincing call-to-action.
10. Giveaways and discounts
While it may seem like a desperate move to give your products or services away in the hope of making a sale, it can be an effective tactic to gain loyal customers. Customers are savvier than ever and want to find value for every dollar they spend. Online shopping eliminates the chance to hold and touch a product, to feel its quality and fully understand how it will sit in their lives. Offering a free sample or a discount on the first purchase is a good way to connect your business with a customer on a tangible level.