Ecommerce has become such an indispensable part of our lives now that we can hardly remember when it wasn’t so widespread. In the last five years, the explosion of internet and social media users brought about new marketing channels that companies could leverage for higher sales.
Retail ecommerce sales worldwide grew from $1.3trillion in 2014 to $4.9trillion in 2021. While the big brands dominated global markets, social media and influencer marketing techniques opened up the competition to smaller companies and newcomers.
With all the ecommerce marketing channels in existence today, even companies with shoestring budgets can improve sales with the right approach.
What is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce, or online shopping, in simple terms is the sale of goods and services over the internet.
It is done through online stores that consumers can visit on their phones or computers. Like in Brick and Mortar stores, several ecommerce marketing techniques can promote brands and products.
When customers visit a store, brands often ask for their emails to send them a personalized note after a purchase. They would also send emails before a new deal or the launch of more products.
This is email marketing in simple terms. Over a dozen other techniques are used to gain new customers and maintain the loyalty of old ones.
Ecommerce marketing works economically for smaller companies to compete with big brands by using channels that focus specifically on their target audience.
Ecommerce marketing channels such as social media and influencers can go a long way for new brands to build their image and grow in a highly competitive marketplace.
The key is to ensure that your efforts are consistent in all the digital channels being implemented to complement each other eventually. With that being said, here are some of the best ecommerce channels that companies can use — and the “dos and don’ts” of it all.
The Best Ecommerce Marketing Channels
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing is the oldest, and remains one of the most effective, strategies to grow your online businesses. It involves leveraging paid advertising opportunities provided by search engines.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimization is critical to your online success, as there are millions of advertisers, and companies will have to compete to get noticed by their target audience. This means using all the right keywords searched to optimize descriptions, titles, and posts.
- SEM: At the core of SEM is bidding for keywords that users on search engines like Google and Bing use to look for their products and services.
- Voice search: Voice search is similar to text search, except that it has gained popularity over the years. Voice searches are focused on key phrases that consumers use for which an ecommerce site needs to be optimized.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Although all search engines allow free advertising for which companies need to have a robust SEO strategy, it still becomes challenging to place ads in front of a target audience.
In situations like this, companies opt for pay-per-click advertising, where advertisers pay the search engines to rank higher.
Here are the most popular PPC methods:
- Google shopping ads: Since Google is the dominant search engine, it is worth spending on Google shopping ads. It now has about 76.4% of retail search ad spending and generates over 85% of all clicks.
- Facebook ads: Facebook has over 2.7 billion users and features its own marketplace. More than 78% of American consumers say they found the product they were looking for on Facebook.
- Instagram ads: Over half of Instagram’s 800 million users are considered Millennials, a highly sought-after demographic. This visually rich platform is ideal for reaching a highly focused, targeted audience for new companies.
- YouTube ads: YouTube gets billions of video views every day and is an excellent place for advertising. It offers a cost-effective strategy that can target potential customers of all age groups.
With affiliate marketing, marketers get to work with sales associates who can direct traffic to your website with a negotiated payment scheme. These associates typically have an audience that is large enough and can promote products to help save time.
This method works so well that more than 80% of brands use affiliate marketing programs to drive sales. Using affiliates lends the advantage of increasing traffic to a site without paying anything upfront.
Tip: To make the best of this channel, find an affiliate who specializes in your company’s niche so you can get the right audience who are more likely to convert.
Social Media Marketing
More than 3.6 billion people are using social media today, and it is expected to grow to 4.41 billion by the year 2025.
Since people spend more time on social media than on search engines, it is an excellent opportunity for brands to create engaging content that garners the respect of their target audience. One of the ways to do that is to use social media stories.
Social Media Stories
Social media stories are short, promoted compilations introduced by social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook that send out a concise message, often in the form of a small post, image, or video that disappears after 24 hours.
The appeal of stories are that they create a sense of urgency in the target audience to immediately take action. On Instagram, more than 500 million people use stories every day. It is considered the most powerful tool available on the platform.
It is estimated that 80% of all internet traffic will be dominated by videos in the future. Therefore it is no longer just a piece of a digital marketing campaign but often considered the most critical component of it.
Videos are more engaging than any other type of social media post, and over 50% of consumers prefer to see video content from their favorite brands.
Whether it is a how-to instructional video or one that promotes an important message, this channel should be prioritized.
Influencers are quite useful for smaller brands. Companies cannot always spend millions (or billions) to hold on to their top ranking on the internet through traditional celebrities who endorse their products.
Influencers have the exact pool of target audience that niche brands can fish in to get the most bites. In one survey, 49% of users said their purchase decisions were motivated by the influencers they follow on Twitter.
For example, if your ecommerce business sells a line of clothes for teenagers, you could get young fashion influencers on Instagram to endorse your brand.
Influencer marketing will typically give higher ROI than other similar channels in niche categories.
Content is one of the oldest marketing channels for online stores. Content can be in the form of written articles, guest blogs, videos, images, and podcasts.
The more types of content a site can publish routinely, the better the strategy works. If you are selling products that involve setting up or installation procedures, publishing ‘How-to’ videos is the best way to get potential customers to flock to you.
Regular blog post publishing on a website optimized for SEO will boost search rankings and establish a company as an expert in the category. Webinars and podcasts are also a great way to engage with customers and build loyalty.
Email continues to be one of the most reliable and cost-effective marketing channels available to ecommerce businesses. It adds the touch of personalization—which is known to have a positive impact on the customers.
In principle, email marketing builds a relationship with customers and increases loyalty. Email is also an excellent way to introduce new products to existing customers since people prefer to buy new products from familiar brands.
To use this channel effectively, a site needs to employ sign-up forms placed compellingly in order to successfully build a good email list. Engage with customers regularly through emails about offers, contests, or educational content.
When brands reach a level of success where their audience searches their store directly for the products they seek, that’s an example of direct traffic. It is relatively deemphasized by small businesses, as direct traffic is most associated with brand recognition and popularity.
However, direct traffic can also occur in the form of links shared to customers by their social circles. It is estimated that direct traffic is the third-largest contributor to incoming traffic.
Tip: It is essential that your site’s landing pages are optimized for social media sharing and built mobile-friendly.
Important Ecommerce Marketing Channel Mistakes to Avoid
Not Knowing Your Ideal Customer Persona
You must know the demographics of your audience and build their persona to tailor your efforts around it. For instance, a younger crowd can be more swayed by positive social messages associated with your brand, which can be your mantra.
Improper Product Descriptions
Impeccable product descriptions are critical for your SEO strategy. Potential customers want to know precisely what they are buying, so they will not get frustrated over unintended purchases.
Not Using Social Proof
Customers are swayed by the opinions of others who have used the products already and trust their recommendations. Customer reviews do precisely that and give social proof to prospective buyers. Always set up customer reviews and testimonials for your store.
Improper Product Data Feeds
Google Shopping Feeds are critical when it comes to updating information about your products online. It is better for your ranking that your data field has all the attributes filled out so the search engine can display it to the right people.
Poor User Experience
While you may understand all aspects of your site, your customers only care about how responsive it is and how quickly they can find what they are looking for.
If your interface is full of pop-ups or too many ads, it can get a glitch or slow down on mobile devices and cause them to leave. This is not the place to test the patience of your audience!
Poor Experience on Mobile Devices
Most online shopping occurs on mobile devices these days; therefore, your site must run flawlessly on all phones.
Everything is mobile now: Fewer people rely on their computers to shop online. It’s a lot easier to follow links they get from marketing channels to reach your site, make a purchase and make the payment. Therefore your store needs to run smoothly on all devices.
Websites not optimized for mobile devices: As long as your website loads on mobile devices without glitches, people are more likely to use it without bouncing. Ensure it is optimized for all handheld devices.
While content generation is good, you need to know what works best for your store and a waste of resources. Then there is the issue of low-quality content that can backfire.
Content is king—use it wisely: Your content should speak to the right audience and appeal to new prospects. That means keeping it subtle with a positive message for all. It is best to avoid aggressive self-promotion and instead diversify your delivery across different topics and mediums.
Create more video content: Video is all the rage today, and it will continue to dominate in the future. Short videos packed with dense and engaging content are the way to success in this domain.
Poor Email Marketing Automation Setup
Email can be your most powerful Ecommerce marketing channel if you know how to wield it. First-timers can have difficulty as they are overwhelmed by the possibilities and the automation technology available. When done right, it can boost your return customers who will convert successfully.
Here are several Email automation tools & ideas:
- Email aims to build relationships with your existing customers and nudge newer ones towards a sale.
- The tools available can help fix your cart abandonment problem, turn causal visits to sales, and up-sell existing customers.
- Something as simple as a discount code for a birthday sale can help build loyalty like many other channels can’t.
Poor Social Media Management
As your brand grows, you will find more and more traffic coming from social media channels. Having a dedicated team to engage with your audience is essential to maintain a positive image.
Two mistakes often made are:
Not consistent on social media: Consistency is key to building long-term trust with your customers. Whether it is changed in theme, the social message you are sending out of the style of your language, maintaining consistency builds authenticity.
Not knowing your target customers: Different social media platforms are popular with different demographics. If your target audience is teenagers and young adults, TikTok may be a better platform to choose over the others. The same message posted elsewhere may not create as much engagement.
Not Analyzing the Results of Your Efforts
The only way to improve and test your marketing strategies is to analyze the results. Is your campaign generating the expected engagement, or should you try something different? This data can only come from substantial numbers.
Setup analytics: Having analytics will give you immediate results that can help you respond appropriately. For example, if your engagement on social media increases during certain holidays, then now is an excellent time to set up sales.
Having an Ecommerce marketing strategy is central to running your online store successfully. Each ecommerce marketing channel has its reach that is specific to the market and the demographic.
Ideally, you would have to diversify your efforts into parallel channels, so your action in one complements the other to boost your presence on the internet.
Avoid the mistakes mentioned above and explore the options within your budget to come up with a winning marketing strategy.