There seems to be a perception that eCommerce is a form of ‘free money.’ Crafty hobbyists, retail giants and everyone in between sit back sipping money cocktails, while their websites generate a passive income to enable retirement at 35. From our perspective, that dream couldn’t be further from, or closer to the truth. It all depends on your product, design, preparation, your systems, and most importantly, how you market your eCommerce website. Success doesn’t necessarily lie in the depth of your marketing budget. It lies in your strategy.
Unless Oprah has named your products one of her ‘favourite things’, and will continue to do so until your retirement, you need to put a lot of thought and effort into marketing an online store.
We’ve spoken before about creating a killer eCommerce site, and won’t excite you again with that. Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how to market your digital store, and doorbuster-worthy products, regardless of your budget. This post applies to everyone.
Develop a sound eCommerce marketing strategy
It sounds obvious; but especially for newbies, your strategy needs to be in place long before you open your digital doors. Understanding eCommerce trends and statistics will help you form your marketing approach, targets and goals.
Your strategy includes content creation, streamlining brand recognition, platform focus, goal setting, problem solving, analysis, and a budget that doesn’t rely on sales. Every great triumph starts with a plan.
Every piece of content regardless of how small should have a defined purpose so you can accurately measure the results. Every design, every ad, every post, and campaign is assigned a specific job to do.
- Generate traffic to your site
- Aid organic SEO
- Build brand awareness
- Expand contacts and mailing lists
- Increase followers and generate leads
- Boost audience engagement and interaction
- Provide market research
- Result in direct sales
Automate emails; but be careful.
Whether you have an existing customer base, or are sparkling new brand, email automation is the key as long as the lock is prepared. If you’ve taken the right steps to ensure your inventory processes can cope, automation will work for you, if you don’t overdo it.
Be careful with your content. Badgering your customers with salesy emails lacking ‘value’, may unnecessarily cause them to flee from your all-important mailing list. In a bricks and mortar store, it’s expected that you offer your consumers product information whilst in your store; but you wouldn’t keep selling to them while they’re out having a meal or trying to sleep. (well, most wouldn’t). Be mindful about your automated timing, and always ensure your emails offer a little something that those who haven’t subscribed, may not be privy to.
If you offer a spectacular discount in a ‘buy now’ scenario, ensure you can fulfill buyer requests in a timely manner, or be very clear about possible delivery times. Just like you would in a face-to-face situation.
Leverage social media in every which way possible
Which platforms work best for your industry? Where do your buyers frequent? While your initial strategy should focus on the obvious, you need to capitalise on every relevant avenue, wherever possible. Social Media algorithms and directions are changing faster than your socks. Having a foot in every door will put you in a great position as the role of Social Media in eCommerce evolves, and new opportunities arise.
Invest in targeted paid social media ads to increase awareness, build your following, and inspire consumers to act. While paid social ads are game-changing for eCommerce, there are a several ‘free’ content marketing strategies you should employ in your social channels. Be warned, creating out of the box engaging content is time consuming, and not as easy as it sounds.
Your monthly social content should be broken down into a calendar of topics, content strategies and posting schedules including:
- Blog shares and listicle articles.
- Informative posts – product demonstrations and “how to’s.”
- Share industry relevant popular posts from other authority pages and sites.
- Interactive campaigns such as contests, live streams and giveaways.
- Amusing posts, meme’s and gifs relevant to your target audience or brand.
- Sales posts presenting new or popular products, discounts and announcements.
Managing several social channels well is a huge undertaking that can lead to digital burnout. Make sure you have systems in place to help relieve the pressure of social media marketing.
Affiliate marketing and social influencers
Connect with a popular blogger who is relevant to your industry or products. Offer a guest contribution, or have them write about, or market your products, in return for a percentage of sales generated as a result. Open the lines of communication, everyones goals and strategies are different. Find your industry influencers on social media and consider a Brand Ambassador with a strong social following to profess their adoration of your products, and act as the face of your brand.
Google AdWords for eCommerce
As your website is slowly rising up the Google ranks organically, lend it support with a variety of Google AdWords Campaigns. Several AdWords campaign types are aimed specifically at empowering eCommerce and connecting you with the consumers who are actively looking for your products. Online stores are seeing enormous results from remarketing and shopping campaigns.
Your website design with streamlined inventory and management processes, and AdWords is where we suggest you focus the bulk of your marketing budget, these are the areas that produce a return on your investment.
Set up shop wherever you can
Amazon: 294+ million active customer accounts.
Ebay: 167 million active buyers.
Etsy: 28.6 million active buyers.
There’s also plethora of niche-specific online marketplaces who generate enormous traffic. Do your research and decide where you should splash your brand. Inventory management can be difficult in a multi-market strategy, so perhaps choose a few key products for these platforms.
Online marketplaces are a lovely spot to sit and boost brand awareness, generate leads and traffic to your website, and develop another online community and income stream. Once people start seeing you everywhere, your brand will become more widely recognised and trusted.
Interact with your audience
Make it personal, make your consumers feel special and valued. Follow up with purchases by asking for product reviews and mix up where your reviews go. Provide a link in your email to Facebook or Google for customers to submit a review, or for something a little easier to moderate, use software like Typeform where you can develop a feedback or review questionnaire for your customers. Their responses provide valuable insight. Add testimonials and product reviews to your website. There’s nothing better than a referral.
Remind people about their wish lists, and offer an incentive for them to follow through with their purchase such as free shipping, a discount, or a small freebie.
Keep your finger on the pulse
Have a market research plan in place to keep on top of where your consumers are, and why. Analyse the metrics on all your social channels, your emails, your website, and your paid campaigns. Find what’s generating the most leads and traffic and nurture it. Adjust the underperforming strategies regularly, and keep a close eye on your competition and their winning campaigns.
Once you’ve done all of that, start the process again next month.
This is far from an exhaustive list, we haven’t even touched on non-digital marketing for eCommerce. Hardly a passive income; but if you find the winning strategies, and recognise opportunities, retirement at 35 and money cocktails are not out of reach.
Anchor digital are a crew of strategists, creatives, coders, account managers and techs. We are a digital agency powered by your business goals.
With Anchor in your corner you can expect tailored expertise and measurable results. Our business model is simple: Consult, Create, Convert.
Through close collaboration, accountability and total transparency, Anchor combine the forces that set your digital brand sailing. From the ground up, we’re your partners in the climb.