Ecommerce Marketing: How To Market Your Online Shop

Illustrated cover image for the article "the best ways to market your ecommerce site" by MKTR.AI

In this age of digital disruption, the pressure to drive business growth is stronger than ever. However, many businesses fall into the trap of sticking to traditional processes and systems. Bringing in e-commerce marketing solutions to drive further success is oftentimes overlooked, when in fact, these are key enablers to unlock exponential growth. 

In this article, I will discuss some effective marketing tactics for ecommerce entrepreneurs.

Table of Contents

This guide is meant to be read in order, but you’re welcome to skip around as you see fit. Just click on the topic section you need right now and go from there.

What is Ecommerce?

Ecommerce, an abbreviation for electronic commerce, is the buying and selling of goods and services, or the transmitting of funds or data, over the Internet. This means that whenever you buy and sell something online, you’re involved in ecommerce. 

With that said, understanding the importance of marketing for Ecommerce is needed to boost traffic, improve conversions, and increase sales. 

There is unlimited potential for growth and scaling using a mixture of paid and organic ecommerce marketing methods. But before we get into the nitty-gritty of the ecommerce marketing realm, let’s first answer one fundamental question:

What is Ecommerce marketing and why is it important for your business?

Ecommerce marketing is the act of promoting products, business brands, and services using the Internet. Activities are aimed at expanding audience reach, driving sales, and increasing brand awareness.

Because e-commerce revolves around digital, this marketing strategy only works through digital means as opposed to a physical brick and mortar retail store. It demands a different approach to marketing due to the online presence of the business and uses diverse channels to communicate the message to the customers. 

Generally, ecommerce marketers are focused on two big areas: (1) Getting visitors to the ecommerce store and (2) Optimizing the visitor’s experience when he or she is in the store.

To guide you further in understanding the customer acquisition process, here’s a typical ecommerce sales funnel by Fit Small Business:

  • The top of the funnel is where new prospects first become aware of your brand. Engagements are generally light in nature – visiting your pages or viewing your products.
  • In the middle of the funnel, your prospects engagement with your company intensifies. Prospects become leads as they begin to explore your offerings at a deeper level, with a greater likelihood of purchasing.
  • Finally, the bottom of the funnel represents the ultimate engagement – when leads become customers by actually buying from your brand.

Optimizing your ecommerce funnel comes down to removing friction from one stage to the next, as well as keeping more people inside until they make a purchase.

Why does this matter?

Well, understanding this process to market your ecommerce is very important to the growth of your business. It ensures you maximize the customers who visit you and the people who know about your existence. 

With an increase in the use of internet and internet coverage areas around the world, ecommerce marketing takes your business to a global level. To achieve this, you need a well-thought and organized strategy.


7 Tips To Build An Effective Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

Marketing planning varies greatly from organization to organization or even campaign to campaign. Below are 7 tips that may help you develop a better ecommerce marketing strategy.

1. Define Your Plans and Goals

Effective marketing rarely happens accidentally. Successful campaigns are most often the result of good planning and execution. Creating a well-defined list of budgets, goals and action items can help make your marketing plan a reality. 

Think about how much you’re willing to spend, the kind of outcomes you expect and the necessary tasks to achieve those outcomes. Also think about your objectives: do you want to increase sales, grow your traffic, or expand your audience?

Defining these can provide an excellent opportunity for you to focus on your store’s unique challenges and the proper actions required to address those challenges. Different goals will need different approaches and can be achieved faster and better via different channels. 

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Before you can create a marketing plan, make sure you have a clear vision of your target audience. You need to find and understand your niche— the specific customers you’re targeting. 

Study that group of individuals to understand their struggles and learn how your business can solve the problem. You need to be purposeful in each action. If your marketing plan doesn’t start with a well-defined target audience, most likely, it will fail. 

One of the most effective methods for getting targeted customers to your store is to target those who have either shopped with you or visited your store already. 

3. State Your Brand Position

Apart from your actual products or services, your brand and what it symbolizes for customers will be your strongest competitive advantage. You should be able to indicate on your website a simple declarative sentence of how you will meet customer needs and beat the competition. 

Develop clear insight into why a potential customer would use your business. The best positioning statements are those that are single-minded and focus on solving a problem for the customer in a way that promotes the customer’s desired end-state. 

Great example of an impressive brand positioning is the Nike office store:

Nike delivers innovative products, experiences, and services to inspire athletes.

Figure out the core need that your product or service will meet. Your offering should be designed to solve client problems or meet customer needs better than the competition can.

4. Optimize Your Website Layout

In ecommerce marketing, the overall layout of your site can make a big difference in how customers perceive you, and thus whether or not they’re likely to buy from you. You can use your homepage to call attention to the products you’re trying to push, or include other features that could entice customers. 

Above all else, it’s important to test your website’s design, language, and placement of conversion elements. You should test the language displayed on your landing and product pages, the language in your conversion elements, and even the strategic placement of icons and elements. 

Ensure all the fonts are readable, have a clear value proposition, and the navigation bars should make in a way that they cannot be confusing. The theme colors should also blend well and remain attractive to the reader

For example, take a look at this award-winning ecommerce website design of 2019:

Bliss has taken its fun, youthful and energizing in-spa and product feel to their online channel. Using bright colors, fun graphics, and even gifs, the site encourages you to explore, engage and buy.

It also succeeds in creating a great user experience through branding consistency, mobile responsive and friendly UX.

Making your website layout visually appealing and hassle-free is one way to attract visitors and increase conversions.

5. Improve Cart Process

When customers visit your website, you want to make sure it’s easy and simple to check out. You want visitors to feel naturally inclined to purchase your products. You need your site to be abundantly clear about how to check out and purchase products.

Make sure the process of filling a cart is straightforward and not cumbersome at all. When this process involves a lot of steps, it may make potential customers shy away from shopping with you. After all, no one wants to shop in a messy place with a complicated procedure. 

The process should involve very few steps without leaving critical details out. It should be able to interact with the customer, and this means ensuring you post HD images, and the essential features are well highlighted. 

Moreover, if your checkout process is smooth and trustworthy from start to finish, you will increase conversion rates and decrease cart abandonment. This is one of those ecommerce marketing strategies that is often neglected by businesses but it is possibly the most important one! 

From the beginning, you spend so much time building trust with potential customers to get them to purchase from you. So, it’s a MUST to still continue building that trust throughout your checkout process. 

Take a look at this example of an ecommerce store that has an impressive cart process:

The checkout page of eBags is neatly laid out with informational content to provide all relevant information to shoppers on the page itself before they finally click on the ‘Continue Checkout’ button.

On the checkout page, eBags has provided a live chat option that lets consumers get answers to their questions or doubts in real time. It also provides a loyalty program that awards customers with points in exchange for a purchase. These points can then be redeemed in the future.

In conclusion, if customers feel like your store is dedicated to helping them pick out the perfect product, then your store will rise above the rest.

6. Produce High-quality Content

It’s important to deliver relevant, interesting, and valuable content that fulfills the needs of your target market. By doing this, it will set you up for success because it will resonate with your customers in a way that makes them want to interact with you and purchase from you.

Content Freaking Marketing Cartoon by MKTR.AI

To begin with, you’ll need to identify what types of content you will use to showcase your brand. Then put together a content calendar. Finally, use different ecommerce content marketing strategies to improve on how a search engine sees your website

Illustrated cover image for article "How to create content for your target customers" by mktr.ai

An effective ecommerce content strategy will allow you to enjoy greater domain authority in your niche and will help you better connect with your target audience.

7. Retarget Customers

Customers who have already shown an interest in your website are more likely to make a purchase later on. If you really want to capture those sales, you will need to have retargeting ecommerce marketing strategies in place. 

Retargeting is a technique that tracks customers who have visited your website and displays ads to them while they’re browsing the internet with the intent of getting them back on your website.

How would you really do that??! 

One of the most popular ways is to run retargeting ads on other websites. When a customer comes to your site and leaves without buying, you can use other sites that they are visiting to show your products. 

You’ll need to have an Ad account with one or more advertisement platforms, like Google Adwords, Facebook, or several others. Most major advertisement platforms offer tracking pixels, which are short snippets, you can add to your site.

To make this campaign even more effective, make sure the ads displayed to them are ads of that specific product and link to the page of the product. It’s important to display the information the user is looking for, the moment they click on your ad. When these visitors enter your website again, they are far more likely to make a purchase.

Amazing, right?


6 Best Marketing Channels and Approaches For Your Ecommerce Store

Now that you know the elements of the plan, you need to figure out how you are going to reach that target customer. 

If you’re interested in finding out the best tried-and-true methods, as well as the newest approaches of marketing an ecommerce business, pay attention to the 6 tips below: 

1. Social Media Marketing

It’s pretty obvious! Social media marketing is a very powerful and efficient tool that allows you to communicate with your industry, customers, and market in a personal way. 

As you can imagine, you do this by creating an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other social media platforms. 

Then, you can utilize these sites to generate engagement and interaction, boost traffic to your website, and develop a larger base of customers. Make sure these pages are proactive, well managed with timely responses for any comment or question by the client. 

Make your outreach efforts personal by taking the time to learn about your customers. People love it when they feel special. 

If you make sure to add personal touches like addressing your prospects by name, sharing videos and pictures that are helpful to them, and being transparent about your company processes and procedures, you will reap the benefits of a loyal customer base.

How the clients respond to your accounts may be different, and one account may work better than the other. All you need to know is which strategy works better with each account.

2. Email Marketing

One of the most effective forms of reaching out to your customer base is through email marketing. The reason email marketing has been around for soooo long is because it works! 

In fact, email marketing has a median return on investment of 122% which is 4 times higher than channels like social media, direct mail, and paid search. 

Why is that so?

It’s because when you send newsletters, promotional campaigns, and transactional emails to your subscribed customers, it makes them feel recognized. Starting an Email marketing campaign gives you a personalized touch with the client. 

However, you have to be very careful about the content within your emails and who is included in your outreach. 

Consider creating customized offers to make it more enticing and generate more responses. Maintaining a solid tone and personality of your company is also very important because consistency is what will create trust within your audience. 

3. Pay Per Click (PPC)

Pay per click (PPC) is another great avenue to market your ecommerce shop and generate more traffic. It works when you pay other advertising websites to sell your products, and you pay as per the number of likes the site generates for you. 

The top benefit of ecommerce PPC is the ability to reach shoppers who are searching for what you’re selling. It helps your product or services reach more people easily and quickly increasing the number of potential customers and making your products known by the people. 

However, there is no single ad that works best. Rather, ecommerce PPC ads see the greatest performance when text ads, shopping ads, and display ads work together. 

Pro tip: Try to include ‘native language translation’ in your website to make sure you don’t leave anyone out. Not everyone understands English. You can incorporate the Spanish or Portuguese native by translating your content. This will make sure no one feels left out, therefore, reaching more clients. Doing this ensures you maintain the main features that distinguish you from the other online shops.

4. Influencer Marketing

In recent years, influencer marketing has become one of the top buzzwords in online marketing. The reason? Because it works! 

Bloggers can help you generate authority for your website. Similarly, social media influencers can help you create hype and execute a successful ecommerce content marketing campaign.

Influencers are typically passionate about a topic and attract followers that share that interest. When you market to them, you can reach their followers and amplify your reach. Being associated with social influencers is also an effective way to build your trust and authority. 

But how to go about it? 

To get the most of our influencer marketing, all you need to do is to list out relevant potential influencers from your industry and collaborate with them. Initiate a conversation, build relationships, and share your ideas and your content with them. By doing this, you can use their followers and reach new audiences.

Remember to target the ones that have a following related to your niche. Otherwise, you’ll end up reaching the wrong audience.

5. Content Marketing

Another big mistake that ecommerce businesses make is not utilizing content marketing. People think that just because they have great products, a great site and some kind of advertising campaign that they don’t need to create content.

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Proper content marketing can attract more positive attention, interaction, and sustainable conversions in a way no other marketing method can. By creating and promoting original content, you are ensuring that your audience is receiving new information that matters to them on a continual basis.

Cartoon illustration about content marketing mistakes small businesses and startups often make

Blogging is perhaps the most convenient method to carry out an effective ecommerce content marketing. It is a tried and tested practice. 

All you need to do is to produce relevant content which resolves problems and addresses the pain points of your buyers. It will allow you to build a sense of relationship with your audience which can prove to be very fruitful in the long run. 

You should also consider visual content marketing for your ecommerce shop. Check out our guide to visual content marketing for more information on how to get started.

Cover illustration of man wearing VR headset experiencing visual content

Here’s a pro tip: Take time to create content that fits your business and addresses your customers directly. Use live chat to capture the visitors on your site and interact with them. Ask them what they need, might need, or what challenges they may have encountered. 

Then, assist them in the best way possible and make sure they are SATISFIED! A live chat will help create return customers which can make or break your foray in the ecommerce industry.

6. Contextual Marketing Strategy

In simpler terms, contextual marketing is an online marketing model in which people are served with targeted advertising based on terms they search for or their recent browsing behavior. By tying the ads users see to their demonstrated interests, advertisers hope to decrease user annoyance with online marketing and, simultaneously, increase clickthrough and conversion rates. 

Maximize your contextual marketing strategy, which in this case is the test on how familiar you are with your demographic.

Always be alert on what content to use in your marketing, when and where, as right timing can do wonders for you. Ensure the content relates well with the target audience. Also, make sure the material is within the governing laws of the particular area or region.

If you’re technically inclined and want to dive deeper into ways to identify your most valuable customers and how to maximize their value to your business, check out our technical guide to customer segmentation.

Bonus tip: To increase the number of return customers, you need to start a loyalty program. It can be done in various ways such as giving out vultures to specific customers who have proved to be loyal. You can also give redeemable points to your customers who can use them to pay for your product when they have gathered enough points. This strategy has worked for many e-commerce shops.


Last Note On Marketing Your Ecommerce Store

Ecommerce marketing can be hard, especially when you’re busy trying to create your products, keep up with your competition and in general run every part of your business.

As we always hear: “There isn’t a single right answer when it comes to the best marketing strategy for your business.” The only way you to find what works best for you is to try out different marketing strategies. 

For instance, you may find that PPC brings you more customers than social media, or the other way around. So the results will dictate the areas where you should dedicate the majority of your resources.

When you have picked the strategies that work best for your ecommerce store, make sure you lean in and maximize their value to your business! 

Be patient enough and give your customers enough time to understand how your shop works. Eventually, your business will grow when you truly commit to growth. 

Thanks for reading!