E-Commerce Marketing - Transforming Information into Insights
Do you struggle with growing the revenue of your E-commerce business?
If “yes”, then you’re simply not focusing on the right strategies that work.
Without the correct strategic e-commerce marketing plan, a business website will not differ from the thousands of other companies selling similar products for similar prices.
E-commerce marketing solutions help in designing a product or service that appeals to your target audience. You need to know who you are designing for, how they will be using it, and what their purchasing power is.
There is no single strategy; no magical formula that gets you extensive sales overnight. However, there are proven strategies which can increase the chance of your business growing and succeeding at an accelerated pace.
View the challenges as an opportunity
The biggest marketing challenge facing e-commerce businesses today is the consumers 'need for speed'. Specifically, the mobile users. People using websites from their smartphone expect an effortless, convenient, and above all else, a hypersonic experience.
A whopping 57% of users abandon sites that take over 3 seconds to load. So, if marketers don’t have a snappy site, then they have already lost over half of the potential customers.
In 75% of e-commerce website visits, the customer leaves without buying anything. (Forbes, 2018).
How can one overcome the greatest e-commerce marketing challenges?
Source – G2 Crowd
With the help of digital marketing, e-commerce creates huge revenue, as it helps to acquire customers and brand value.
Below is a marketing guide to provide a boost for an e-commerce business. Incorporate these 5 strategies in a plan for an early success.
1. CONTENT MARKETING
Content marketing is the practice of producing videos, photos, infographics, blog articles, or any other form of ‘content’ that is appealing to the target audience, with the aim of attracting visitors to the website.
Nowadays, content marketing leaders experience 8 times more site traffic than non-leaders.
How it works
Suppose you have an online cosmetics and beauty store. You can:
- write an article on ‘Makeup decode of a celebrity’.
- You list all the products and brands used.
- You include good quality photos of all the products you mention, and
- Ensure you link to the product page where readers can buy those cosmetics.
So how does this attract traffic?
Imagine this scenario:
- A woman is looking for inspiration for her makeup for a party, or a wedding, or any other occasion.
- She then turns to Google and searches for ‘Makeup looks of a celebrity’ - and up pops your article.
- She finds the article and clicks on it.
- When she likes what she sees, she clicks through to your makeup product page and starts browsing your shop.
Having a strategy for the content is essential.
The most important aspect of strategy is understanding the target audience. What are their interests? How old are they? What content will be useful to them?
Once the target audience is identified, the next step is to plan the posts. Coming up with valuable and relevant content can be tough. Maintaining a list of potential headlines and adding to it whenever a relevant thought strikes is an ideal thing to do.
One should also think about how the content will be structured.
Types of posts that work well are:
• Lists: Quick reads like listicles that can be wrapped with products. e.g. ‘5 must have makeup products in your vanity’
• Informative: Articles with tips, advice or instructions. e.g. ‘What makeup to wear for a job interview’
• Relevant: Making your post topical is a great way to get people reading it. e.g. ‘The latest Bollywood wedding makeup look that can inspire you.’
• Interesting posts: Tough to achieve, but very likely to be shared on social media if they hit the mark. e.g ‘5 makeup myths busted.’
Once the content strategy is set in place and you have been producing content on regular basis, the next best thing to do is to measure its effectiveness.
Every month, one must look at what articles have generated the most traffic to their site, and which of those led to the most sales. Use a tool like Google Analytics for this.
The major cost to content marketing is not financial; it just takes time. The marketer will need to put in a lot of effort into both strategy and content creation.
2. MAILING LIST
Email marketing is the most powerful tool in an e-commerce digital marketing plan. The marketer needs to use it effectively to maximize the sales.
If there are visitors on the website who are not regular customers, then it is important to capture their email address. One of the best ways to do that is to use a box with a sign-up form, ideally offering something in exchange for the visitor's email address. e.g. ‘Sign up to get 10% off your next order’.
One could also incorporate a sign-up field at the end of blog posts. If they enjoyed reading one of the posts, they are likely to enjoy the other content you might send them.
The marketer should also invite your customers to join the mailing list as part of the checkout process.
Keep updating the list of ideas for marketing emails frequently. The marketer should be aiming for one email a week, so a plethora of ideas are needed. Here are a few:
• Promote new or upcoming products
• Offer discounts
• Send out relevant articles from your blog
• Mix up product and non-product content so it appears as informative
3. SOCIAL MEDIA
If done correctly, social media can have a big impact on your sales figures. The aim of the game is getting your customers to be your brand advocates - promoting your company for you.
Source: G2 Crowd
Where to start
The first step is to decide on which platforms you are going to utilize. Usually the visual ones, like Instagram and Pinterest, work best for online shops. But Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube are very important for the sheer amount of reach they have.
What should you be posting
The social media strategy should be closely tied to the content marketing strategy. The marketer must split the posts into two parts - promotional and informative.
Promotional posts will be for persuading the potential customers to buy the product. The other posts can be interesting content that appeals to the audience.
Followers won't like a constant stream of promotional messages only. Along with being sold to, the customer also wants to be informed and entertained.
Connect with your audience
Along with posting out content to the followers, it’s important to get involved with conversations. A good way to do this is to see what’s trending and comment on it - particularly if it’s something that the target audience might be interested in.
Reward your followers
A great way to engage people is to encourage giveaways in exchange for them posting, sharing or liking something.
One can send a personal message to them when they buy something, or an exclusive discount code, or have them participate in a competition to win exciting prizes.
Circling back to our example of online cosmetic store, one idea might be to get people to post photos of themselves wearing your makeup and tagging your company in the post.
The best part about this is that their network of followers will see these posts, creating a viral effect that spreads the message of your brand. This is also known as UGC (User-Generated Content), which is fantastic, as it introduces variety in the stream without having to invest time in creating it.
Did you know?
• Almost 25 percent of business owners are selling through Facebook. (Forbes, 2018)
• 40 percent of business owners use social media in general to generate sales. (Forbes, 2018)
• 41 percent of the brands on Instagram have used the shoppable posts feature. (Shopify, 2018)
• 23 percent of consumers say that social media recommendations influence their buying decisions. (Forbes, 2018)
4. PAY-PER CLICK ADVERTISING / GOOGLE ADWORDS
PPC advertising cannot always the first option for new businesses as they are generally on a cash crunch. But, spending small initially can go a great way in generating sales for your online business.
How it works
Pay-per-click (PPC) adverts are audience-targeted ads, usually shown in search listings and on social media websites. If someone clicks on an ad, they are taken to the website and the website owner is charged a fee.
The best thing about PPC is that once it’s all set up correctly, it can generate a return on your investment, one can simply increase the ad spend to increase your revenue.
Managing your ad campaigns
Running pay-per-click marketing is a time-consuming and arduous process. Google AdWords is renowned for being difficult to use.
If you plan on running your own campaigns it would be advisable to spend plenty of time researching the appropriate keywords.
The right keywords would mean you would get the most out of your investment. The wrong keywords, on the other hand, would mean you have inadvertently sunk your money on something that would give you no, or minimal returns.
This is why most people prefer to avoid the hassle of running their own campaigns; they hire an agency that is knowledgeable in paid media to run their campaigns for them. They will have the expertise to make it a success, leaving you free to focus on the other aspects of business.
5. AFFILIATE MARKETING
Affiliate marketing is when you let other people market your products in return for a percentage of sales that are generated as a result of their efforts.
How it works
Affiliate marketing tracks the source of a particular sale. A unique URL is provided that affiliate marketers can use for advertising your products.
For example, a blogger would post this URL on their website with a corresponding article about your company. When a customer clicks on that URL, they’ll be taken to your website and, if they make a purchase, the affiliate tracking software will attribute that sale to the blogger.
An affiliate network is a network of marketers that are looking for affiliate schemes. They take the trouble out of finding affiliates, so they are the easiest option. Some example networks include MakeMyTrip Affiliate, GoDaddy Affiliate etc.
DIY affiliate marketing
Promoting your own affiliate scheme can be your best alternative to build our affiliate network. Here you will have to individually contact potential affiliate marketers and sell them your scheme. While this approach requires more effort, it is also much cheaper.
If a marketer wants to take up DIY affiliate marketing, they will need to invest in affiliate tracking software, such as Lead Dyno, Wigify or Refersion. Alternatively, they can also outsource this part to any agency they hire.
Success is no accident
Following the latest marketing trends and techniques is crucial for any successful e-commerce website. It’s important to deliver relevant, interesting and valuable content and products that satisfy the needs of the target market.
Reaching out to customers in a variety of ways mentioned above, and making sure the marketer is working with a team of experts with varying skill sets, is significant for success.
If a marketer considers everyone’s ideas, new ways can be discovered to help improve the current campaigns.
The most important things to remember are these: always be sure to monitor the website analytics to examine trends, optimize the website, and track the results.
With the correct mix of marketing techniques, you can improve the conversion rate and attract substantial business.