Skip to main content

E‑Commerce Marketing Strategies & Tips

With e‑commerce marketing, you can bolster your company’s online presence. Read this to learn how to create an effective e‑commerce marketing strategy.

You've got great brand offerings, an exciting online presence that appeals to your customers, and a unique value proposition (UVP) that can lead to customers coming back again and again. There's only one thing missing: an e-commerce marketing strategy.

With an e-commerce marketing strategy, you can generate more traffic for your website and boost sales for your online store. To learn more about what e-commerce marketing is and how it can help your online business, read this post from start to finish.

What is e-commerce marketing?

E-commerce marketing is about driving awareness toward your brand offerings, coupled with the intention to buy. The internet is a very big place, as big as the sum total of minds engaged in its use. That means you need a way to bring you and your customers together amid the enormous sound and fury that is the world wide web. But that is only the beginning. E-commerce marketing is also about bringing customers back after an initial purchase to make repeat purchases and build brand loyalty.

What’s the difference between eCommerce and digital marketing?

Digital marketing is a strategy for spreading the word and generating buzz about your eCommerce business.

It’s ultimately an umbrella term for any marketing and advertising that takes place online. You can use digital marketing for all types of businesses, including B2B, D2C, brick-and-mortar businesses, and more. However, eCommerce marketing focuses on marketing directly for eCommerce businesses.

Since e-commerce businesses sell products online, a digital marketing strategy is crucial for driving website traffic, increasing sales, and building customer relationships.

The benefits of implementing an e-commerce marketing strategy

The perks of developing a good e-commerce marketing strategy and putting it to use are fairly straightforward. It means more users visiting your online sales portal and more coming back. But there are even more benefits that come with implementing an e-commerce marketing strategy, and we describe the benefits below.

Ultimately, it comes down to who your customer is. There are several business models e-commerce companies can have, and who you sell your products to will influence your target audience and eCommerce marketing strategies.

Business to Consumer (B2C)

If you sell products directly to consumers, you operate a B2C e-commerce business. These are the most common online businesses because you have access to millions of people around the world.

Business to Business (B2B)

B2B e-commerce businesses sell products and services to businesses. For example, if you sell manufacturing machinery online, you may only sell to businesses instead of directly to consumers.

Business to Government (B2G)

If you sell products and services to the government, you’re a B2G business. An example of B2G might be an IT company that sells security solutions and software directly to government entities.

Business to Business to Consumer (B2B2C)

Companies that sell products or services with another organization to an end customer are considered B2B2C. The target audience of this business model is still the consumer.

An example would be a marketing agency paying a lead generation agency for leads. In this example, the digital marketing agency will still need to invest in marketing directly to its target market while the lead generation company acts as an extension to the primary business to attract leads.

Consumer to Consumer (C2C)

The C2C model is when consumers sell products and services directly to other consumers. An example of this would be the average person selling products on eBay or Craigslist.

In the C2C model, the consumer is still the target market. However, these individuals are found in different places online, so marketing might depend on the platform you use to sell your products.

Consumer to Business (C2B)

C2B is the opposite of the B2C model in which customers sell products back to businesses. An example of this business model would be a freelancer or contractor selling products and services to a business. In this case, freelancers have a C2B model, so they’ll need to market their products and services directly to businesses rather than other consumers.

Attract more customers

Just being online with quality offerings may result in a few clicks. But for the results you’re looking for, you need e-commerce marketing services that bring them to your page for the right reasons, as well as e-commerce marketing services that bring them back.

Boost conversions

One of the biggest dangers of doing business online is the possibility of developing traffic that is not right for your brand. The key to conversions is attracting the audience that wants what you offer and that will appreciate your UVP.

Better visibility

As stated, the internet is a big place. It is full of terrific products and services all clamoring for attention. You need to stand out not just from the many pages across the web, but also from your competitors.

Establish brand authority

The final and possibly most important advantage of a good e-commerce marketing strategy is the development of brand authority. When most people think of a glass cleaner, they think of Windex, and when they think of breakfast cereal they think of Cheerios or Wheaties. Why? Because these properties have brand authority. There are probably thousands of online merchants with products or services in the same category as yours. How do potential customers tell the difference?

You need to stand out by building your brand. Your brand offerings are unique and you deliver them in a way that is one of a kind. It's on that basis that you will develop your brand authority.

At this point, you might be thinking that's a lot to expect from a simple marketing campaign. But in reality, it's only about matching you with the people who want what you offer in the way you offer it, so let's talk about how we do that.

How to create an e-commerce marketing plan

There's a lot that goes into a good e-commerce marketing plan. Tools and techniques like search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, and content marketing are just part of it, and any one of these by itself could be a full-time job. So, as we will see, sometimes the best email marketing strategy is to outsource to a professional service provider. One of the unique properties of information technology is its ability to heighten the value of outsourcing services.

But for a start, we'll lay out the basics for an effective e-commerce marketing plan.

Conduct market research

The most important preliminary step is to understand the market you intend to serve. Markets on the internet can be difficult to define, and sometimes they don't even exist until you start your business. That can make market research challenging.

You need to discover your competition, measure demand, understand related products and services, and figure out how your brand will fit into the picture. Your business model may remain incomplete until this research is completed and vetted, since you want to gear your service to the market and not the other way around.

Define the target audience

Defining your target audience means discovering who wants what you offer, and who among that group most wants what you offer in the way you offer it. Consider two different burger restaurants: McDonald's and Burger King. On paper, they are the same. But if you put them on the same street side-by-side, some people will choose one and some will choose the other. On the internet, everything is "side-by-side." So, what is the difference between a user who wants to shop with you and a shopper who prefers the competition?

Set short- and long-term goals

Short-term goals might be compared to driving traffic underneath a "Grand Opening" banner. It's about kicking things off with a bang. Initially, you'll want traffic, conversions, and engagement. But these, in the short-term, are really just a proof of concept that your business has wheels and can sustain itself.

Long-term goals are about building a dedicated audience with brand loyalty that you can nurture, sustain, and grow. Long-term goals include community building, sustained exposure, and brand authority.

E-commerce marketing strategies

The tools for proven e-commerce marketing services are fairly well understood. The amount of research and practice available to base your decisions on is enormous. Today, you can build a successful e-commerce marketing plan by choosing the right tools and assembling a framework based on your business model, target market, and brand profile.

The key to getting started is to pick an asset to start building and focus on developing it. Below is a short list of proven tools and techniques to help get you started.

SEO for e-commerce

Search engine optimization is something you and your entire online marketing team will need to be involved in. It means researching and discovering keywords and phrases which will allow your web pages to rank higher in search results. Good SEO goes into everything you put online, and your keywords should be used liberally and strategically at the same time to have the desired effect.

Content marketing

If you've spent more than an hour looking into content marketing, you've heard the saying "content is king." Although the phrase may be worn out at this point, it's nevertheless true. Content is the key to giving unique users the specific information they need in order to be convinced that your offerings are perfect for their budget, their needs, and their use-case.

No two people are alike, and no two sets of needs are alike—even for the same product. That's where your content strategy comes in to tell your specific audience that their needs can be met under your banner.

Social media marketing

There are a lot of things in flux in social media right now, but the power of social media marketing is not one of them. Your strategy on the social media sites will be unique to each platform, but your branding should remain constant. You will use content marketing, SEO, and multiple other tools all inside the scope of your social media efforts. Your SEO, content marketing, and social media ads will have a place on your social media pages, but are not entirely determined by them.

Email marketing

An invaluable part of any good long-term marketing strategy, email marketing is not something to be taken lightly. There is a fine line between drawing returning customers back in for a welcome offer and getting permanently listed as a source of spam. This requires good metrics, voluntary and automated feedback, and robust research. Audience segmentation is an important way to help you avoid spam filters, but it's just a start.

Pay-per-click advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) is a type of paid advertising. It allows you to budget effectively for campaigns, only paying when your ad is clicked. There are several types of PPC ads, including search ads, display advertising, social media marketing, and more.

With PPC advertising, you can increase website traffic as soon as possible, which may be beneficial if you need to promote an offer. However, the downside of PPC marketing is that you’ll need to continue paying for it.

It should not be your only strategy to attract customers. Other marketing strategies, like email marketing and SEO, are more cost-effective in the long run, but organic strategies take more time to produce results.

Optimize your marketing and site for mobile

Optimizing your website and marketing for mobile can increase sales and revenue.

Many people shop online using their smartphones because it’s convenient; they can shop while sitting on the bus to work or watching television at home. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile, you’ll lose valuable customers because your competitors’ websites are optimized. Not only should your website load quickly, but it should look good on small screens of all types.

The main goal of optimizing your site for mobile is to increase conversions. Since many people shop on their smartphones instead of laptops, tablets, or desktops, you’ll increase how many people can easily shop on your website. Unfortunately, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you may lose customers forever. In addition, your mobile-optimized sites must look good on screens of all sizes, providing users with larger fonts and buttons where needed and ensuring you can provide them with a good experience and an easy checkout process.

Affiliate and influencer marketing

Affiliate and influencer marketing are often confused with one another, but there are a few key differences between them. Affiliate marketing requires brands to work with affiliates who can drive traffic to your website. However, these individuals are only paid when they make a sale, making them more motivated to help your business grow.

Meanwhile, influencer marketing works slightly differently. While you’ll still connect with thought leaders in your industry, such as bloggers and social media influencers, influencer marketing requires you to have more long-term goals, such as website visits and brand awareness. In addition, influencers aren’t typically paid per sale and instead make their money creating and promoting content for your brand.

Still, influencer and affiliate marketing can benefit your business in several ways. Most importantly, they help build trust and credibility while keeping your brand on top of customers’ minds.

Tips for e-commerce marketing

Unless you're duplicating another company's marketing strategy, then no two e-commerce marketing strategies are alike. As long as your unique value proposition is truly unique, your marketing efforts should be specially tailored to suit your needs and the needs of your audience.

The good news is that tens of millions of successful businesses have contributed to the data we rely on to deliver results. That means implementing a successful plan has been reduced to an exact science.

ecommerce marketing tips

Identify and segment your audience

Little is more important than knowing who your audience is, but the importance of precision cannot be overstated. That is where audience segmentation comes in. With audience segmentation tools, you can create more personalized marketing campaigns that appeal to your customers’ unique needs.

Track performance

The data is out on buyers, sellers, what works, and what doesn't. However, markets are constantly shifting. That means you need accurate and persistent metrics that you can count on, metrics that let you know which way the numbers are going, and the data you need to figure out why.

The best marketing departments actively track performance across a range of categories and persistently update market models in order to stay one step ahead of the target audience's next buying move.

Personalize the customer experience

Finally, the ultimate in audience targeting is the ability to personalize your brand experience down to the individual consumer. For a successful email marketing campaign, this is absolutely necessary. Once again, failure to do this runs the risk of being marked as spam, even after multiple successful transactions. That's why we take personalization extremely seriously.

Use chatbots and automation

Chatbots and automation can help you further personalize your customer’s experiences with your brand. Adding a chatbot to your website is a way to deliver exceptional customer service, which can build trust with your customers.

In addition, automation can deliver a more personalized approach, allowing you to bring customers back to your website. For example, you can use abandoned cart emails to notify customers that they still have items in their cart and can easily checkout by clicking a link to return to your website.

Upsell and cross-sell

Upselling and cross-selling are strategies that can encourage customers to spend more with your business. If you use a robust customer relationship management (CRM) system and track your customers, you likely know which products they’ve recently purchased. You can use this information to market similar and supplementary products to them.

For example, if someone recently purchased a pair of jeans, you might cross-sell a matching top or up-sell them other high-quality jeans that are more expensive. In addition, you can use upselling and cross-selling in your email marketing strategy to entice customers to take more actions on your website, especially if they’ve recently had a good experience with your brand.

Leverage e-commerce marketing tactics to benefit your business

At the end of the day, e-commerce digital marketing services should feel organic to the customer. They should come across as a genuine person-to-person attempt to offer them what they want or need at a competitive price. As simple as that sounds, it is an art and a science that Mailchimp takes very seriously.

Mailchimp is one of the best e-commerce marketing services on the market today. With our all-in-one marketing platform, you can leverage powerful automations, segment your audience, track analytics, create effective marketing campaigns across multiple channels, and more. Try Mailchimp today to create a powerful e-commerce marketing plan that’s right for your business.

Share This Article