ECommerce Marketing: The Complete Guide
Everything you need to know about eCommerce marketing, from what it is to how to do it well in 2021.
More people are shopping online in 2021 than ever before. This trend predates the global pandemic and has been growing steadily for years, and eCommerce’s growth shows no sign of slowing once the new normal takes hold. But as customers flock to the internet and retailers rush to meet them, eCommerce marketing is becoming an increasingly complex discipline. There’s no time to waste in the race to grab consumers’ attention.
Our team at yellowHEAD is familiar with the challenges of building a successful marketing strategy in an overcrowded marketplace. We partner with eCommerce brands to create detailed plans that lead to real results. Want to know more? Get in touch!
Ready to learn how to make eCommerce marketing work for you? Let’s get started!
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- Tell Your Brand’s Story
- Talk About Current Events and Trends
- Put Keyword Research to Use
- Get Your Community Involved
- Curate Taste-Making Collections
- Optimize for Mobile
- Combine Paid & Organic Strategies
- Personalize Your Approach
- Give Customers a Voice
What Is eCommerce Marketing?
It’s expected that 2.14 billion people around the world will shop online this year, accounting for 18 percent of the global retail market. In 2021, global eCommerce sales are expected to reach almost $4.9 trillion. That’s a steady increase from last year’s nearly $4.3 billion in global eCommerce sales and well on the way to projections of $5.4 trillion in 2022.
At its core, eCommerce marketing describes the strategies that online retailers use to attract, sell to, and retain customers from that growing global pool. Because it covers so much of the customer lifecycle, eCommerce marketing takes broad strokes. The tactics involved can trace a typical customer’s journey from their very first introduction to a brand’s online store through to their long-term loyalty if all goes according to plan.
What Does eCommerce Marketing Look Like in 2021?
ECommerce marketers need to spread their focus across many touchpoints along the customer journey. While you’re working on attracting customers to your online store, you’ll also be attempting to turn those site visits into purchases and preparing to keep those new customers loyal and engaged for the long haul, all while adapting to changes in the marketing and retail landscapes. Here are some ways eCommerce marketers can better connect with audiences in 2021:
- Make your site mobile-friendly. This consideration is non-negotiable for eCommerce marketers in 2021. The prevalence of customers shopping online doesn’t mean they’re shopping on their desktops or even their laptops; these days, most of our digital activity happens on our phones. Make sure you’re ready for the next frontier of mobile commerce by creating phone-friendly experiences that let customers complete a purchase in just a few taps.
- Don’t treat cart abandonment as an afterthought. An abandoned cart doesn’t mean you should abandon that customer. Once someone leaves behind a full cart, turn your attention to customized retargeting. There are plenty of retargeting strategies that work — social media outreach, dynamic creative, discounts, and promotions, etc. — so you’ll want to tap into your shopper’s mindset to determine the right one for the job.
- Include a clear call to action. Calls to action aren’t just sales hooks; they actually help guide customers along their purchase journeys. Clear and concise calls to action lead to seamless, intuitive experiences for those shoppers who are ready to buy. And for customers still in browsing mode, a well-placed button with clear instructions might even persuade them to take the plunge into whatever action you’re suggesting.
- Keep email in your toolbelt. While you get up to speed on the latest greatest social media platform or dive headfirst into your influencer strategy, don’t neglect email marketing. Most people check their email every day, and many actually prefer that brands keep in touch with them through email. Email gives consumers more control over their interactions, which helps you build more accurate targeting.
- Question what you think you know. It feels great to develop a marketing strategy that delivers results. But just because you’ve done something that worked in the past doesn’t mean it’ll be a good marketing plan in the long run. Consumer habits, retail trends, and marketing best practices are constantly changing; don’t let your experience hold you back. Instead, channel your expertise into an adaptable, future-focused approach.
For more advice, read our 5 eCommerce Marketing Tips for 2021.
How Can eCommerce Marketing Increase Traffic?
Driving traffic to your website is a pillar of eCommerce marketing since more site visits mean more opportunities for sales. There are many ways to drive customers to your online store, but we’ll focus on using your company blog to increase traffic in this guide.
Blogs are a powerful tool eCommerce marketers can use to spread the word about their business, inspire customer loyalty and engagement, and increase visibility through organic search. Here are some ideas for how to create an eCommerce blog that drives traffic to your store:
Tell Your Brand’s Story
Sure, you can use your blog to promote newsworthy items like product launches and company announcements. But how about going one step further? Generate hype even without breaking news by focusing on stirring excitement about the future, showing appreciation for your staff, and talking about what matters most to your business. You’ll give both new and returning customers a more intimate sense of who you are and what you stand for between purchases.
Talk About Current Events and Trends
Once you’ve started the conversation about your company, expand your viewfinder to the world. That may mean focusing on current events, like what’s happening in your local community, state, or country. Or it might make more sense for you to focus on what’s happening in your industry, weighing in on overarching trends that your consumers will want to keep in mind as they peruse your site and make purchases.
Put Keyword Research to Use
You can apply the same SEO strategies you already use on your eCommerce website to your blog. Keyword research will help you step into your customers’ shoes, so you can think how they think and shop how they shop. Not only will keyword research help you write more helpful posts, but it’ll also spark new ideas so you can create the content consumers are looking for.
Get Your Community Involved
If you’re doing your job well, your eCommerce marketing efforts will get your audience talking about your brand. Draw your customers further into the conversation by continuing the conversations they’re already having; respond to questions from your community, highlight customer reviews, or honor important members of your community with interviews.
Curate Taste-Making Collections
Who doesn’t love a good roundup? Collections help spotlight your products in a new way, whether that means styling them for a special event or using them to solve unique problems. The sky’s the limit when it comes to collections because you can choose virtually any theme to curate interesting and unexpected groups of products that open customers’ eyes.
Ready to level up your blog? Read 5 eCommerce Blog Ideas for High-Quality Traffic.
How Does eCommerce Marketing Convert Customers?
Of course, once a potential customer arrives at your website, there’s no guarantee that they’ll make a purchase. That’s why it’s crucial for eCommerce marketers to craft plans that can convert traffic into sales. Even if your site gets incredible traffic, it’s actual purchases — not eyeballs — that drive revenue.
Your eCommerce website may already have a stellar conversion rate. If so, go forth and convert! But even if optimization is not your challenge, small changes to your marketing plan can pave the way for massive growth. Here are the most important things to keep in mind for an eCommerce marketing plan that converts:
Identify Your Value Proposition
Separating yourself from the crowd is a delicate art. No amount of catchy advertising taglines or beautiful creative can replace the heavy lift of a well-expressed unique value proposition. Your value prop should communicate to customers not only what you do but why you do it. And the value prop’s final piece: make clear to customers what you do better than your competitors.
Invest in Your Brand’s Digital Experience
Think of it this way: how easy, enjoyable, or even memorable can you make your customers’ shopping experience? Beautiful and seamless digital experiences are a must-have for eCommerce marketers today. Whether you develop a perfectly mobile-friendly site or go all-in with a mobile app, it’s important to offer consumers an experience that makes their lives better.
Know Your SEO
If someone’s searching the internet for the product you sell or the problem you solve, but they don’t end up on your website, take that as a sign that your SEO strategy is lacking. Today’s SEO strategies have to be robust to be effective; spruce up your keyword research, meta descriptions, content marketing, and user reviews to make sure you’re covering all the bases.
Looking for more conversion tips? Read the full article: How to Build an eCommerce Marketing Plan That Converts.
How Does eCommerce Marketing Boost Sales?
So you’ve attracted your audience to your online shop, where you make it supremely easy for them both to get to know your brand and to buy whatever you’re selling. Then what? The last pillar of eCommerce marketing we’ll look at in this guide is about increasing sales and retaining customers long after they make their first purchase. Here are the key points you need to know to boost sales with your eCommerce marketing strategy:
Optimize for Mobile
We already talked about how important it is to optimize for mobile in today’s phone-focused world. Seventy-nine percent of the 230 million smartphone owners in the United States have made at least one purchase using a mobile device. Keep these foundational practices in mind when you set out to optimize your eCommerce site for mobile:
- Make ad and email copy short and sweet.
- Get creative with photo, GIF, and video posts.
- Highlight special promotions and discounts.
- Study your SEO so customers can find you.
- Reduce friction at checkout.
Combine Paid & Organic Strategies
Finding the balance between paid and organic marketing strategies is a little like looking for an industry holy grail. The best approach is to attempt to set up your separate paid and organic strategies to work collaboratively toward the same overarching goal. They may follow very different avenues, but that doesn’t mean they can’t work in tandem.
Paid advertising, for example, including paid social, has become a keystone for eCommerce marketers. It’s an easy way to justify spend and track ROI results immediately, pivoting as necessary. But if paid ads are the bricks, organic efforts work as the mortar of a solid eCommerce marketing strategy. Brands that master their organic posting on social media platforms see increased engagement, stronger customer loyalty, and higher sales over time.
Personalize Your Approach
Taking a blanket approach to any kind of marketing just doesn’t fly anymore. Consumers expect to receive personalized messaging that’s relevant not just to who they are, but to where they are in their lives at any given moment. Here are a few ways you can get started with personalized eCommerce marketing:
- Recommend specific products
- Send relevant email reminders
- Celebrate customers’ big days
- Create retargeting campaigns
Give Customers a Voice
Consumers don’t want to feel like a cog in the machine; they want to feel like an integral part of your brand. Taking the time to celebrate their unique contributions and acknowledge their participation in your community helps build trust. Encourage customers to voice their opinions — through user reviews or customer surveys or by sharing user-generated content — and you’ll foster meaningful relationships that lead to increased sales.
For more, read the full article: 4 Ways to Boost Sales with Your eCommerce Marketing Strategy.
There’s a lot to manage in today’s eCommerce marketing world. From attracting new customers to serving and retaining the brand loyal, there are a lot of balls in the air. But you don’t have to juggle them all without help. Find a marketing partner that can work with you to master your eCommerce strategy and help you meet your business goals.
At yellowHEAD, we take a full-funnel approach to optimize marketing budgets with precision. Using in-house machine learning, real-time data visualization, next-level A/B testing, and expert ad creative, we combine brand-customized paid and organic strategies to deliver powerful eCommerce marketing results. Ready to get started? Get in touch!