You’ve built a beautiful online store to sell your products and provide excellent customer service, but how do you establish a customer base? How do you reach people on consistent basis? The answer is online marketing. The only challenge is deciding how to strategically spend your marketing budget in order to get the best return on your investment. The numbers have been crunched and we’ve narrowed down 6 marketing channels that all e-commerce companies should consider investing in.
Without question, email marketing is the most commonly invested marketing channel. It’s cost efficient, and it targets consumers directly. Popular services such as MailChimp and Constant Contact, allow even the most novice users to design and schedule effective email campaigns. Even if you decide to pay a third party to generate email campaigns, the costs are relatively much lower than other forms of advertising. The brilliant part about email marketing is that no matter what customers will have eyes on your company, even if it’s for a split second before they delete the email.
Planting your company name in the minds of consumers is an integral part of long term brand growth. They may delete an email the first time, but if they don’t unsubscribe, it’s usually a good indicator that they have interest in your products/services, they’re just not ready to buy right now. Email marketing can work right away, or farther down the road when the right deal comes along.
Emails also allow you to use detailed analytics to determine whether or not customers are clicking on your campaigns. You can also use A/B testing to identify popular marketing elements and adjust your campaigns on the fly.
As you can imagine there are a lot of PPC channels out there to choose from, but based on volume of traffic, the two channels you really need to consider are Google Adwords and Facebook Ads.
Google Adwords works by using a ‘query click’ system. For instance, you are an online stationery store who has purchased an ad related the specific search query: “stationery products”. When a consumer enters “Stationery products” into a Google Search, your ad pops up.
It’s a highly targeted method, however the only downside is cost. Google charges a pretty penny these days, which is understandable considering their user base. Facebook is not as expensive but it’s definitely no slouch
Unlike Google’s query based system, Facebook is content based, so your campaigns not only have to be targeted they have to look good. There’s many reasons to invest with Facebook Ads:
- Facebook has a massive database of information on its users; gender, age, location, politics, marriage status, career, hobbies, interests, etc. This allows marketers to completely customize their target strategy with precise accuracy. Accurate advertising means a much higher return on investment.
- Facebook owns Instagram. Many people just maintain their Facebook accounts, and instead actively use Instagram everyday. Facebook Ads allows you to customize your campaign to appear on Instagram as well. Fashion, fitness and entertainment are three very popular industries on Instagram.
- Instagram targets a younger demographic, so depending on your product, this may be the right option for you.
Naturally, we can’t talk marketing without talking SEO. It’s kind of our bread & butter. It also happens to be the most effective way to improve your e-commerce rankings in popular search engines like Google and Bing. High search engine rankings and indexing is important; according to recent studies around 16% of new e-commerce customers come from organic search.
The challenge with SEO is that Google’s algorithm is always evolving, so as a marketer you have to stay on top of the latest trends in order to stay competitive and maintain a high ranking.
The primary takeaway from strong SEO is that when a customer organically stumbles upon your site in a search engine, chances are they are looking for a consumer solution that your company can provide. In other words, SEO brings you paying customers.
Content marketing is not only a great way to improve your SEO, it also keeps your customer engaged and acts as a window to your company’s industry. A blog is a great example of content marketing. Let’s say you sell nutritional supplements online. If your blog publishes weekly dietary plans, tips and recipes your customers are going to experience a give and take relationship with your company: you provide them with the strategies and tips, and in return they continue to shop your store.
By blogging and creating intelligently crafted content you are also setting up your brand as an expert, which motivates consumers to buy your products over a company who provides zero content for their customers.
Related: Are Content Clusters Good for SEO?
Social Media Marketing
This refers to the unpaid side of social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, the list goes on. The one thing all these platforms share in common is that they’re designed to showcase an individual’s personality, or lifestyle. For an e-commerce business this a great way to build trust with your customers by highlighting your human side. You don’t have to post selfies of the CEO, it just means scaling back on the advertising side of things. Instead, focus on familiarizing your audience with the business, and engaging followers with contests, replies, reposts and shoutouts.
Highlighting your company values through posts and engagement will prompt followers with similar values to feel a bond. Think of social media as tool to show your customers what you both have in common.
We should also mention affiliate marketing which has become very popular. There are thousands of popular social media influencers and companies are paying them to advertise their products for their followers. The demographic are typically younger, so we recommend researching affiliate marketing to see if it’s right for you.
This is isn’t quite a specific channel, but it is a very important strategy to consider. Re-targeting means marketing to consumers who have already showed interest in your company.
Abandon Carts – Any e-commerce business understands the pain of seeing an abandon cart. By targeting these customers you are simply reminding them of a purchase that they were considering making. The intent to buy is there, they just need a little motivation.
Up-selling or cross-selling – When a customer has already made a purchase, it’s a good opportunity to highlight complimentary products. For instance, if a customer buys a printer, why not offer them some paper?
How do you accomplish retargeting? The best way is through email. In order to re-target a customer you’ll need to have some sort of contact information.
Allocating your marketing budget can be a challenge with so many different online channels. Every business varies in what will be their most successful course of action. A good way to determine what’s right for your business is buy looking at your audience. Are they young? Try advertising on Instagram. Is most of your traffic organic? Ramp up your SEO. Is your brand highly personable? Flex your stuff on social media!