If you don’t, then you are missing out on a rapidly growing source of revenue. In fact, eCommerce sales as a percentage of total retail sales in the United States was about nine percent in 2017. By the end of 2020, the percentage is expected to climb above 12%.
So, how do you take a healthy slice out of the rapidly growing eCommerce pie? The answer involves implementing the most effective eCommerce marketing practices.
An Overview of eCommerce Marketing
The relatively new shopping option called eCommerce websites requires operators to use eCommerce marketing tactics that increase awareness of products and services. A boost in online recognition combined with strategically placed call to action (CTA) can increase your store’s sales by attracting more shoppers to your virtual store.
eCommerce marketing involves several steps that start with optimizing your products page and by culminating with the promotion of positive online reviews of your products and services.
Optimize Your Product Pages
Whether your store is located on eBay or on Shopify, you will need to include concise, product-focused keywords in your content. Although keywords have diminished in importance for website content, your eCommerce store should include well-researched keywords to improve search engine rankings for your products. For example, if you run an online sporting goods store, you want Google to place the product page for your “waterproof sleeping bags” at the top of the search results page (SERP).
Increase awareness of your product pages to give your eCommerce store more exposure.
Promote Your Products on Social Media Websites
As a business owner, you should understand the significance of the close relationship social media networks have with business websites. The same principle applies to the relationship you should develop between your eCommerce store and the most popular social media sites. Connecting with your audience via social media enhances your ability to promote the products featured at your eCommerce store. Since product pages represent highly visible forums to showcase your products, make sure your eCommerce marketing efforts include the uploading of product images to your Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages.
eCommerce Marketing through Engaging and Informative Content
When we hear the phrase “Content Marketing,” we typically associate the digital marketing technique with articles, videos, and blog posts. For eCommerce marketing, content is king in many of the same ways, with a couple of different methods to leverage content for the marketing of your ecommerce products. Yes, relevant blog posts and the guest posts you publish on other websites remain two effective content marketing strategies for eCommerce stores.
However, think outside the eCommerce marketing box by uploading product demonstrations on YouTube. Optimize each video by including the right product-driven keywords. Since Google purchased YouTube, the search engine giant has made ranking YouTube videos high on search result pages a top priority. Another way to content market your eCommerce store is to create an FAQ section that helps visitors to your online store learn more about what you have to offer.
Email Marketing Connects with Online Shoppers
As one of the first types of digital marketing, emails remain a powerful tool for business owners to use for staying in touch with customers. Emails are even more important for eCommerce store operators because of one key feature: Automation.
An automated email campaign means you can write the content for an email marketing newsletter days or months in advance of sending out the electronic letter. By using segmentation tools that ensure you reach the right target audience, you can schedule an email newsletter campaign to unfold automatically, without you having to do all of the work at the last minute. Email automation allows you to worry about one less digital marketing tactics because it goes off without a hitch.
With that in mind, remember to keep you email messages short and informative. Writing catchy subject lines will pique the interest of your customers, but straightforward content that does not take much of their time will keep them coming back for more email content.
Emails are also an effective part of an eCommerce marketing campaign for two additional reasons: To follow up after purchases and to respond to shoppers that abandon their online shopping carts.
Follow Up after Purchases
Business owners that operate brick and mortar stores often lose out on using a valuable tool. When a customer leaves through the front door, it is difficult to track the customer down to determine whether he or she enjoyed using a product or a service. With emails as an integral part of your eCommerce program, you can send an automated email several days after a purchase to receive feedback from the customer. Receiving customer feedback is a powerful way to correct any problems, as well as modify future purchase orders.
Fixing the Abandoned Shopping Cart Problem
When you shop in a grocery store, it is rare to see a shopping cart sitting unattended in an aisle. Once in a while, a customer might have to leave his or her shopping cart to retrieve a wallet or a purse left behind in the family car. However, abandoned shopping carts littler cyberspace to the point that it can cost eCommerce operators a considerable amount of money. Whenever you detect a customer departed from your online store, with a full cart of goodies left behind, you can send the customer an email to learn why he or she left the cart in your online store. Sometimes, eCommerce marketing is much more than promoting a product or a service.
It is also about maintaining strong relationships with your customers.
Search Engine Marketing
Didn’t we already touch on search engine marketing (SEM)? No, we discussed search engine optimization (SEO), which is an entirely different eCommerce marketing animal than SEM.
SEM involves incorporating SEO tactics into a campaign that includes paid advertising. A successful SEO strategy depends on how well you can match your eCommerce store content to the search engine ranking factors Google has established for its mysterious algorithm. SEM is an Ecommerce marketing strategy that includes tactics like pay per click (PPC) advertising and product-focused advertisements. Google Shopping is a prime example of specific product advertisement that allow you to pay for the top spots on Google’s search engine pages.
Many eCommerce marketing professionals register with Google AdWords to promote product pages via PPC programs. Each PPC program puts your product page ads directly in the marketing spotlight for potential customers to see. If a customer likes what he or she sees, then a quick click of the link sends the customer to your product page. You pay for PPCs only after customers click the ads.
Customer Reviews Promote Your Products
Statistics compiled by a large number of digital marketing organizations lead us to one of the facts of running an eCommerce store: Customer reviews can do the product promoting for you. Granted you have to develop high-quality products and provide timely and friendly customer service to help customers use the products. After you take care of the business side of promoting your products by delivering quality and personable service, your customers take over by leaving positive product reviews.
Online eCommerce hosts such as eBay and Shopify provide customers with a page to leave customer reviews. Other ways you can increase the number of positive reviews is by asking your customers to post their favorable impressions of your products on sites such as Yelp and Google. Not only do customer reviews increase awareness of your products, they also are an important factor for Google’s algorithm to consider for calculating search engine rankings.
A Few Ecommerce Marketing Tips
Now, let’s end this mini guide by presenting a few proven eCommerce marketing tips.
With a brick and mortar store, walking up to customers and greeting them is a great way to establish trust and build long lasting relationships. Unfortunately, you cannot do that online, or can you? The most advanced eCommerce platforms include a feature that allows your business to respond to customer queries in real time. Look at it as a digital customer service representative. Of course, personalizing emails and social media messages go along way towards connecting you with customers as well.
Learn How to Craft User-Generated Content (UGC)
UGC represents a highly effective eCommerce tool that gives your customers the power to drive traffic to your online store. You implement UGD practices by running competitions, by adding social media hashtags to your content, and by building a platform to receive customer referrals. UGC offers an authentic way to build a loyal following of like-minded customers.
Run a Customer Loyalty Program
A classic example of a customer loyalty program is when a sandwich shop gives away a free sandwich after customers have purchased 10 sandwiches. Think “Buy 10 and get one free.” You can build similar customer loyalty programs through your eCommerce store. “Buy four tires and get the fifth one free” or you can offer discounts to loyal customers on a wide variety of your products. Even better, take eCommerce marketing to the next level by inviting loyal customers to a special sale running in your ecommerce store.
The Bottom Line
What came first, the chicken or the egg is an appropriate way to view business websites and eCommerce stores. In this case, building out a content-focused business website first makes sense. Then, you develop a digital store where you launch a number of eCommerce marketing initiatives that attract new customers.