The Basics of Marketing for Ecommerce

So, you’ve decided on a brand and set up your online store. Great! You’re already off to a good start. Now you need to spread the word about your business to others. Enter marketing, the science of making people aware of your product or service.

In this guide, we’ll teach you essential marketing tips to grow your ecommerce store from scratch. We’ll cover what ecommerce marketing is, the types of marketing channels you can use, and some basic marketing strategies to get started.

Jump To…

  1. What is Ecommerce Marketing?
  2. Types of Marketing
  3. Ecommerce Marketing Tips

What is Ecommerce Marketing?

Ecommerce marketing means driving customer awareness and interest to products sold online. Since the focus is on selling products, ecommerce marketing emphasizes highly visual strategies and positive customer feedback.

Types of Marketing

As an ecommerce shop owner, you can use digital marketing strategies, like PPC, social media marketing, and content marketing, to drive sales or interest in your products. Let’s take a look at each major type of digital marketing category.

Social Media Marketing

As suggested by its name, social media marketing is marketing that takes place on social media. Social media marketing is a central medium for all ecommerce stores. Which social media platform you use will depend on where your niche audiences are.

For now, here are 3 popular social media platforms for ecommerce, as well as features you can use to enhance your store.

Facebook

Facebook has been around for a while, but it still sees over 2 billion active users per month. It’s an especially good social media platform for customer service. Here are just a few of the many things you can try on this platform:

Set up a Facebook business page. This will help people find your business and learn more about what you have to offer. It’s also where you can interact with your customers, whether through comments or by direct message.

Set up Facebook Catalog. Catalog allows your customers to buy your products directly from the Facebook platform. This saves them the extra step of having to make a purchase on your website.

Create Facebook groups. More and more, people are looking for authentic brands to connect with. Facebook groups allow you to build a community around your brand with like-minded people in your niche market.

Run advertisements. As your business grows, you’ll want to supplement your organic marketing strategies with paid advertising to drive more traffic to your business. With ads, your content will show up more often and to more people.

As people interact with your ads, you can track performance in Facebook Analytics. Analytics tells you engagement, reach, clicks, and conversions, or how many people have taken a desired action on your website (i.e. making a purchase or signing up for your newsletter).

Instagram

Launched in 2010, Instagram has gone from just another social media network to a branding powerhouse. With over 1 billion active monthly users, it’s one of the largest platforms to date, particularly among younger users (i.e. ages 18-24).

Instagram is a highly visual platform. Should you decide that Instagram is right for your business, you’ll want to spend a lot of time planning a visually appealing Instagram feed, as well as stories.

Switch to Instagram Business. If you’re an ecommerce store owner, you should have a business account. Why? Over 200 million users visit at least one business account daily. And, 80 percent of Instagram’s users follow at least one business account.

You can set up a free Business account, which gives you additional contact buttons, access to Instagram Insights (analytics tool), and the ability to boost a post or story to reach more people.

Learn how to grow your Instagram following for FREE in 2020

Instagram Stories. While Facebook also has story-sharing capability, Instagram stories are more interactive. You have many more options in the type of content your share on stories. From polls to ratings to the swipe-up option, you can’t go wrong with this Instagram feature.

Plus, more and more people are watching stories. Stories now reach over 500 million daily active users. Also, a third of the most viewed stories come from businesses.

Tag Products/Instagram Shopping. If you have a Facebook product catalog, you can tag products in an Instagram post or story.

With Instagram Shopping, you can create a storefront for people to view your best products with a simple tap.

Pinterest

At 300 million monthly active users, Pinterest is an ecommerce marketing giant in its own right.

Pinterest is a great option for ecommerce store owners because

  • It’s where you can tap into more niche audiences. Pinterest is all about, well, your interests! With interest-based targeting, you’ll attract more authentic, loyal customers.
  • People spend much longer on Pinterest than they do most other social platforms. Pinterest users usually use the platform for research purposes, which means they’re online longer–in fact, 14.2 minutes longer!

You can use these Pinterest tools to promote your brand:

Promoted Pins. These pins are ads that are likely to get more engagement than your standard pins.

Shop the Look Pins. Exclusive to fashion and home decor Pinterest categories, these pins let users buy items directly from the pin.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a type of marketing strategy that involves running paid-for ad campaigns online. There are several types of ad formats to choose from, the major ones including:

  • Pay-per-click (PPC): general ads you can run on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and more.
  • Display: Visual ad campaigns that can be hosted on Google or any of Google’s search partner websites, like YouTube.
  • Google Shopping: A service that allows customers to search for, compare, and (increasingly) shop for products on the Google platform.

Google Ads hosts all Google ad campaigns, while Facebook Ads Manager hosts both Facebook and Instagram ads.

If you’re thinking about trying paid advertising, you should set a realistic budget. Only pay for ads that are going to bring you the highest payoff.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is an online marketing strategy that allows you to communicate with current customers and capture new potential customers.

When used correctly, email is a powerful ecommerce strategy. Two-thirds of customers say they’ve made a purchase directly after receiving an email.

That said, when people’s inboxes are constantly flooded, you’ll have to really create engaging, targeted email content to stand out. For ecommerce, this means personalizing automated, targeted emails sent to different customers at various stages of their shopping experience.

  • Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails: for users who have items in their cart, but have not followed through with purchase.
  • Follow-Up Emails: for customers who have already purchased an item. You can encourage them to leave a review about their product.
  • Sales Emails: The type of content users most want to see are discount or sales. Give your customers what they want with a nice sales promo.

Content Marketing

Broadly speaking, content marketing consists of any content you create to drive interest in your brand. While you might generally associate it with blogs, content marketing also includes videos, infographics, podcasts, web pages, and product descriptions.

Deciding on the right content format for your brand can be tricky. It really depends on your business type, but for ecommerce, product-centered pages, descriptions, and videos are very important. As mentioned before, ecommerce marketing is a highly visual experience, so you’ll want to convince others of your product quality through visual content.

At the same time, all content should be search engine optimized (SEO). If you’re selling sports tanks, for example, and users Google the term “men’s sports tank,” you’ll want to name your product “men’s sports tank.”

Ecommerce Marketing Tips

Now that we’ve covered the best ecommerce marketing channels, let’s briefly go over some basic ecommerce marketing tips that you can start using for your store.

1. Reviews, referrals, and testimonials are everything.

Reviews, referrals, and testimonials can make or break your business. They can also be your most powerful marketing asset –positive reviews and referrals literally do your marketing for you! If reviewers like your product, others will like it too!

After your customers purchase an item, encourage them to leave product reviews on your website. Doing this builds up and trust and credibility with your brand.

2. Use ad retargeting techniques to get back lost customers

According to Beeketing, 98 percent of users won’t buy a product after one just one visit. With retargeting tactics, you can bring back some of that lost traffic.

Retargeting is a tactic that allows you to target users who have visited your website, but taken no action on it. Retargeted users are 70 percent more likely to convert on your website. In Facebook as well as Google Ads, you can build retargeting audience.

3. Find your niche online and join the discussion.

Part of building a trustworthy brand is building relationships with potential customers and identifying their pain points. One way to do this is by finding online communities based on your shared interests and joining them.

Social media is a great place to find niche communities. You can also find valuable discussions on online forums, such as Reddit or Quora.

4. Sell more with cross-selling and upselling

If you’re a small business, encouraging people to buy more with cross-selling and upselling is a good way to increase your transactions. Upselling allows you to charge more for higher-end purchases and cross-selling, or bundling, allows you to sell products that go well together, such as hoodies and leggings.

Ready to Succeed?

Ecommerce is tricky. The average consumer is a lot smarter nowadays and will be able to see through a shoddy product or service right away. These simple marketing steps will help you on your way to running the business you’ve always wanted.

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