Written by Taran Soodan

March 10, 2021

Getting an eCommerce site off the ground is a complicated task. Even though it may seem easy to launch a store because of eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, and WordPress, online retailers have to spend a lot of time preparing how they’re going to market their stores.

There are millions of eCommerce websites around, so how do you make your site stand out to visitors and drive sales? When it comes to creating an eCommerce marketing plan, there are a lot of factors to consider. It’s vital to build a strategy that works for your business and your target customer.

If you’re overwhelmed and not sure how to engage customers, you’re not alone. Many new eCommerce businesses feel the same combination of joy and dread of having started their own business! Luckily, this guide to eCommerce tells you everything you need to know about marketing your eCommerce store.

What is eCommerce marketing?

There are many ways that eCommerce Marketing can attract new customers and advertise to existing ones. You can use social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, paid advertisements on social media, PPC campaigns on search engines, email marketing, SMS marketing, and SEO-optimized blog posts to build a marketing strategy.

Use these eCommerce marketing channels

Ecommerce marketing is an overarching strategy that can include many different approaches. There isn’t a steadfast approach to marketing your eCommerce business. Every business is different and requires various approaches to reach its target audience. Your company has total creative control in choosing any of these types of marketing techniques:

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is when your business primarily uses social media content to promote your products and services, increasing brand awareness. Popular social media channels include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Snapchat. This form of marketing even allows you to implement customer service into your social media platforms. Facebook ads or Messenger Marketing are great examples of social media marketing in action.

Content marketing

The benefit of content marketing is that your strategy covers many different platforms while preserving continuity. And content isn’t limited to blog posts. You can leverage videos and user-generated content to diversify the types of content produced. Marketers leverage on-page SEO to improve the search rankings for their content to get even more traffic.

Paid advertising

Every eCommerce company today relies on ads. Current giants like Away, Allbirds, and others wouldn’t be where they are today if it weren’t for their heavy reliance on Facebook and Instagram ads. The types of ad campaigns include:

  • Facebook and Instagram ads
  • Google Shopping ads
  • Google Ads
  • TikTok Ads
  • Twitter Ads
  • Snapchat Ads
  • Pinterest Ads
  • Amazon Ads

As more eCommerce companies continue to rely on ads, costs are going to keep rising. It’s worth advertising on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, but we can’t stress enough how important it is to get the audience targeting right.

Search engine optimization (SEO)

SEO focuses on ranking highly in Google searches. For example, if your company sells workout supplements, you’ll benefit from writing SEO-optimized content about workout programs that promote your products. By leveraging keyword research, you can find what people are searching for and create content around those searches. This tactic can take up to six months to show results, but it’s worth it since free traffic is the best traffic.

Email marketing

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing isn’t dead. It’s an opportunity for your business to personalize the customer’s experience. An email marketing strategy that is done well can transform new customers into loyal customers while nurturing existing customers.

Building your email list is valuable, and using segmentation to target the right customers can significantly impact your revenue. Make sure to use automation for your email campaigns to personalize emails for each individual and improve conversion rates. Even simple automation for things like cart abandonment emails when customers abandon their shopping cart can significantly impact your sales.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are having a moment. By building up a large social media following, they can charge eCommerce businesses to promote their products for them. And it works (sometimes). When considering influencer marketing as a marketing channel, ask the influencers for their stats. You’ll want to know how many clicks they generate, past campaign performance, and their engagement rate to determine if they’re worth working with.

Affiliate marketing

Is there a business that you respect that shares the same values as yours? You may have a good chance of approaching them to be an affiliate for your product. They use their means of influence to promote your product.

For example, a popular YouTuber can promote your products in their video descriptions with a unique link. They’ll get credited a portion of the sales as their users make a purchase. Affiliate marketing can be more genuine than other paid marketing strategies, but it’s worth ensuring your affiliates aren’t harmful to your brand either.

Referral marketing

Like affiliate and influencer marketing, referral marketing gets other people to promote your products. Unlike those other channels, referral marketing focuses on getting individuals to promote your products to their friends and family. Each customer receives a unique referral link, and it can be shared with their contacts. As they make more referral sales, they’re rewarded with free products or coupons for a discount on their next purchase. You can think of it as a hyper-localized influencer program.

Loyalty programs

Customer retention is always a big focus for any online store. We all know it’s cheaper to get existing customers to make a new purchase, and loyalty programs are a great way to get customers to keep shopping with your brand.

One tip to make your loyalty program successful is to include the details about it during the checkout process. This way, customers can sign up and see how they’ll benefit from buying again from your brand in the future.

Local marketing

Promote your product at the local level. The popularity of “shop small” and “shop local” is growing. Jump into this strategy head first and you likely won’t be disappointed. It’s admirable when a business promotes its fellow local shops or small business owner and humanitarian efforts. Local marketing helps those you care about in your own backyard while spreading the message to distanced customers that your business has a conscience.

SMS marketing

SMS marketing is the new email. Thanks to the rise of mobile devices, more customers than ever are making purchases from their phones. SMS marketing has to be planned carefully, but it can really boost your sales when it’s executed well. Most text messages are read within three minutes, so the chances of your texts getting seen are high.

When there are direct links to products, discounts, and surveys, your customer base will get more involved. At ManyChat, we’ve perfected SMS marketing and how to do it effectively. If you’re looking to explore SMS as an option, we have you covered.

Creating your eCommerce marketing strategy

Which eCommerce marketing strategies spoke to you? Is your business compatible with some strategies more than others? Something to keep in mind is that your marketing strategy needs fine-tuning once you have committed to it. Here are some helpful tips on how to optimize your strategy:

Personalize the customer experience

No matter which marketing strategy you choose, personalization takes your business to the next level. Think of what happens when you visit Amazon’s home page. You’re going to see recommended products based on what you’ve purchased and researched on Amazon. Customers want to know that they matter and are heard. Customers also want to know that your business understands them. There are many ways that your business can approach personalization:

  • Make emails warmer by including the recipient’s name in the subject line and greeting of the email. The same goes for SMS marketing. Include the person’s first name just before a kind greeting.
  • Personalize shipments by including a thank you note with the person’s name. These can be mass printed with the packing slip.
  • Recommend products to customers based on their browsing or purchasing history

Customer engagement

Potential customers want to know that your business is approachable. There’s no better way to show that you than to engage with your customers. Creating a culture of being personable can be hard when you’re an eCommerce business. There are ways to stand out to your target audience and model that your business is different.

  • Implement Chat Marketing on your website with Facebook Messenger’s live chat features. This allows customers to ask questions and pick up that your business cares enough to respond quickly.
  • Respond to followers on social media. Even if it means replying publically to complaints, other customers will notice that your company addresses those issues head-on.
  • Send cart abandonment messages. When someone leaves your store without purchasing, you can send them a text, email, or Messenger conversation to get them back to checkout. Depending on your most active channels, there are many different¬†cart abandonment solutions¬†readily available.
  • Host contests on social media and your website. This gets customers on board with your product, and it also acts as a small advertising opportunity if you require customers to share as part of the giveaway.

Referral and ambassador programs

Getting people to sign up for a referral or ambassador program isn’t as difficult as you may think. Customers love your product, and the customer loves discounts. You love that your product is selling. It’s a win-win.

  • Your referral program needs to be a realistic goal for your product ambassador. For example, asking your customer to post five product reviews to social media and purchase three new products a month isn’t going to result in high retention.
  • Your referral program needs to be a realistic goal for your business as well. The goal needs to make your business money off of your referral program. Giving ambassadors 60% and new referrals 40% off doesn’t result in impressive profit margins.

Praise loyal customers

Your loyal customers are gems that should know exactly how precious they are. Don’t let the busyness of running your eCommerce business get in the way of customer appreciation. If you’re finding it hard to thank loyal customers, then follow these simple steps:

  • Schedule customer appreciation. Literally. Showing your gratitude to loyal customers should be a regular part of your weekly schedule and content calendar. Schedule posts to go up that express your appreciation. Email campaigns, YouTube videos, blog posts, and SMS efforts are also up for grabs!
  • Incentivize your loyal customers. Offer sneak peeks of new products exclusively to loyal customers. Giving access to discounts and fun giveaways are other great ideas to show that you care.

Improve eCommerce marketing with ManyChat

Take time to study your target audience, goals, and current financial situation as a business. If you have been stuck on one eCommerce marketing strategy for some time and aren’t generating the results you want, then switch things up and create a new marketing plan!

The contents of this blog were independently prepared and are for informational purposes only. The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ManyChat or any other party. Individual results may vary.