If you have a thriving offline business, you are no stranger to marketing. However, the strategies for driving traffic to your online store can be very different. With your new online (e-commerce) store, you’ll be able to reach more prospective customers than ever before — and you’ll have complete control over their shopping experience. But this isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” situation.
Having organised an e-commerce website is a job half done. The rest is making regular updates and marketing your website to gain more customers. As more and more individuals become aware of the website, and the word of mouth spreads, more customers will turn their heads towards your shop. Hence why proper marketing is very essential and crucial in an e-commerce website.
You can think about marketing your e-commerce site in terms of three main audiences:
- People who have shopped with you before or at least know about your store
- People who are looking for the kind of product that you offer
- People who would want the product that you offer if they knew about it
While this is a very simplistic ideology, this three-pronged approach can help you think about your different marketing activities and how to divide your time and budget.
Below we’ve mentioned 12 ways you can market your e-commerce store.
Try to implement one of these ideas every few days for the next few weeks. On the last day of your plan, take stock and figure out which marketing efforts worked best to drive new sales.
12 Marketing Tactics to Promote your E-Commerce Store
1. Advertising through podcasts
In recent years, the number of podcast subscribers has gone up significantly. So much so that both large and small brands are using them as a platform for “audio marketing”.
You’ll find it more successful to contact podcasts which have similar values to your business or product. Their podcast topics and values generally reflect those of the people listening. So if you’re not interested, it’s likely that your target audience won’t be either (but don’t rule it out) – take some time to do your research and identify the podcasts with the biggest opportunities.
Remember – it’s not audience size that matters, but the level of interest from the prospective listeners.
2. PPC marketing
Pay-per-click marketing allows companies to pay for every click that their ad receives. PPC advertising enables you to measure whether campaigns are cost-effective by comparing the ad costs to the amount of traffic and sales generated by the ad.
The most common type of PPC is search engine advertising, with Google Ads being the most popular. Google Ads allows you to bid to display brief advertisements, service offerings, product listings, or videos to web users. It’s important to remember to track your spend and return to find out if the investment is worth the outcome (as it can become quite costly).
Social media advertising also utilises PPC models. Ads will appear on a user’s feed or timeline, depending on the platform, and you pay by CPC (cost per click) or CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and even Snapchat are all examples of social media channels that utilise this paid advertising model.
3. Create interesting, useful content
Creating great content for people looking to buy your product is a great way to bring traffic to your site and provide helpful information that positions your brand as a leader in your field.
Your online posts and resources should provide value to the potential customer – explaining the product, its USP, and everything else that they might want to know.
Article and resource writing can take quite some time, especially when you’re just starting. So we would recommend looking at the time you have available and find out if outsourcing your writing would be more beneficial (even in the short term).
4. Social media advertising
Social media is a great place to focus ad spending because you know people are spending time on social platforms. If you were going to buy a billboard, which road would be the best one to put it on? Think about social media advertising like this, too.
If your audience spends a lot of time on Instagram but not Twitter, you’ll want to focus your spending on Instagram.
You can use photos and videos in your ads, but start small. A photo ad can be a great way to get your product in front of new people. Try simple, engaging imagery of your product in use and adjust your tactics based on how well it performs in the first couple of weeks.
Create partnerships with other brands to cross-promote. Find a business with a similar target audience, but a complementary product. That way, each business partner is reaching a whole new yet relevant audience. For example, if you sell outdoor gear, a relevant partnership could be with a brand focused on hiking shoes.
Actual methods for cross-promotion can vary, and there are ways you can do it at every level of the funnel. Top-of-funnel activities can be things like co-sponsoring an outdoor living podcast or blog. Depending on the time of year, a co-branded gift guide could be a great initiative. Or you could even do down-funnel promotions like offering a discount on one product with the purchase of another!
Search Engine Optimisation is the difference between your website being on page 7 or page 1 of a search result.
You can drive more traffic and boost sales to your online store by including frequently searched terms and phrases into your site. Once optimal keywords are identified and included in product descriptions and titles, you can measure the success of your SEO strategy with Google Analytics. With this tool, you can view the Channels report of the Acquisition section to see which organic search keywords are leading to increased traffic and greater sales.
Not sure where to start?
A lot of businesses (like ourselves) specialise in content marketing and SEO strategies for an affordable monthly cost, so get in touch with an SEO specialist and start working on your e-commerce website to make it top of the search engine!
7. Influencer marketing
Influencers are people who have large online audiences, and have the power to “influence” that audience’s purchasing behaviour.
Working with the right influencer can get your product in front of a huge number of potential customers, increasing your brand awareness. To make the best use of influencer marketing, make sure your targeted influencer’s following aligns with your target audience, and that their values match that of your brand.
Common influencer marketing tactics include:
- an influencer writing a blog post about your product
- posting social media content reviewing
- demonstrating your product
- talking about your product at an event
Influencers can be a costly partnership, so you might even consider a micro-influencer in a more niche area of interest – they may have a smaller following, but you’ll find their engagement rates are equal to (or sometimes better than) the larger well-known influencers.
8. Utilise (and keep building) your email list
Even in a brick-and-mortar store, it’s important to have a strong email marketing strategy. Collect as many email addresses as you can — customers, prospective customers, people interested in your events, etc. When you launch, you’ll be able to send an email to all of those people letting them know that they can visit your store online.
This can be a good time to consider offering a promotion to those on your email list, or even a referral discount to encourage customers to share your site with friends and family.
Email continues to be one of the most effective marketing tools in the e-commerce toolbox, so make sure that you keep collecting email addresses on your site. Some brands use pop-up boxes to prompt users to enter their email addresses in return for a small promotion, like 15% off their first purchase, or free shipping.
You should also make sure you’re keeping a steady flow of communication with your email list. Develop a regular email cadence and include promotions, new content, product launches and other news that can encourage customers to visit your site.
9. Offers and discounts
If you have a physical store or offline business, then you’re no stranger to an offer or a discount. The same is applicable to online purchasing. Good, well-tailored discounts and freebies can aid in boosting your virtual presence and sales as it draws people’s attention.
On the fence about whether to buy something or not? A pop-up discount or SALE stamp will quickly change that person’s mind.
10. Participate in online events and discussions
As online communication and events surge, there may be opportunities to increase brand awareness with target communities. Leverage your expertise by participating in webinars or virtual conferences to get the word out about your business.
Find any opportunities for virtual malls and marketplaces and take advantage of them.
11. Create an easy return policies
When it comes to online shopping, we are always worried about the size / quality / colour of the products that we order. So it’s important to create an easy and hassle-free return policy which you can shout about as part of your marketing strategy.
12. Encourage product reviews and feedback
Reviews are a critical way of building trust around your e-commerce store and products. Online buyers can’t see merchants or their items in-person, so they make purchasing decisions through the idea of social proof. Store visitors read the product reviews of past customers and use the feedback to decide whether they should buy your product.
Product reviews sway customers when:
- there are plenty of them
- they are mainly positive (4 to 5 stars, on average)
Creating a feedback or review portal and genuinely replying to the posts makes the website more relatable to the audience; proving that their opinions are being heard and are valued.
With e-commerce growing and competition amongst sellers peaking, putting effort into your online store marketing is more important than ever. With that said, implementing this guide’s strategies takes time.
Spreading your effort over different strategies is the key to long-term marketing. Using a diverse set of tactics increases your chances of marketing success — if one fails, you have other strategies to rely on as you improve your efforts in other venues. But don’t let yourself get overwhelmed by doing too much at once. Choose a few of the marketing tactics here that you think will bring the most reward for your business. Then, tweak and adjust as you start to see results.