Arlen Robinson August 23rd, 2019

How to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy for Your Ecommerce Brand

Ecommerce is growing fast. In 2017, USA e-commerce sales grew by 16%, reaching $453 billion in sales (SaleCycle).

From here, it is expected that it will grow to up to $4.5 trillion by the year 2020 (Shopify Plus) and by 2040, 95% of shopping will be facilitated by e-commerce (Nasdaq).

However, you cannot become successful in e-commerce just because you have an online store. You also need some marketing strategies to grow your store at a faster rate. In this article, you'll learn some marketing strategies that can massively grow your eCommerce business.

Before you create your eCommerce marketing strategy, do not forget to take into consideration for the 2019 holiday shopping season.

What Is Ecommerce Marketing?

It is important to understand e-commerce marketing before you employ any marketing strategy to your business. You need to know how it works so that you'll know how each approach can help you succeed. Plunging in without any knowledge of e-commerce marketing will inevitably result in information overload. 

 You see, e-commerce marketing is different because you are selling on a digital platform. Unlike the old days where you have a brick and mortar store and customers go to your store to buy from you. E-commerce stores are situated in website hosts online, and people can buy from you with a single click of a mouse button. But there is more to e-commerce marketing than getting them to click. It is about facilitating user behavior so that they trust you enough to buy from you again and again. 

With this, it is essential to start small. Look for a small group of people who will be interested in your products. Then, market your products to them. Once you get some traction, you should build your brand. You can do this through content marketing or by providing commendable customer service. From here, you should make a list of subscribers. These are potential buyers that can purchase from your online store repetitively. 

What makes e-commerce unique is convenience. It is not only convenient for the customer, but it is also very convenient for the seller. While the buyer is able to buy products from the comfort of his home, the seller is able to facilitate orders without a warehouse and accept orders without a physical store. This revolutionizes the idea of selling, resulting in the fastest growing industry on the Internet. 

In this article, you'll learn more than just marketing methods. You'll also learn how to prepare a brand new e-commerce website for selling. Hopefully, this will help you in promoting your brand and getting more traffic and sales to your online store.

Bonus: Here is the most up-to-date eCommerce statistics "Ecommerce Statistics Every Retailer Should Know."

STRATEGY #1: Get to Know Your Target Customers

Creating a successful e-commerce website starts with your customers. If your customers like your products and like your brand enough to buy from you, you will succeed. Ultimately, it is up to the customers to determine if they will trust you or not. 

With all of the e-commerce websites online, it is important to know how to stand out. You need to give your prospects a solid reason on why they should buy from you. This is where branding comes in. For you to do this, you should get to know your customers first.

This is where creating a persona comes in. A persona is an imaginary entity that has the characteristics of the person that you plan to sell to. Aside from the primary motivations for purchasing, this persona also has demographic attributes like age, sex, location, and salary. Apart from this, the persona also has specific interests and hobbies. This fuels their goals and problems which you can come in and solve. 

It may seem complex at first, but it is not that difficult. Think of it as creating an identification card for your customers. You have their names and their pictures as well as some details about them. But more than the basic details, you also know their behaviors and motivations and you use this to design your sales funnel. 

How can you get to know your audience? You can approach this in two ways.

1 - Deduction

The first method is a deduction. This is for a brand new e-commerce website that doesn't have any customer data. In this approach, you look at similar brands and look at their target market. You can see this through the website testimonials and mentions. From here, you can create a similar persona for your own brand. 

2 - Observation

The next method is observation. In this method, you need to have some traffic and sales into your website. You will then use existing data to create your customer's persona. You can get this data from existing customers, subscribers and social media followers. You can also observe them through their behavior and comments. This will give you a clue on their interests, hobbies and needs. You can then create a persona for your brand from this. 

PRO TIP: Want to leverage user personas easily? You need to know how to trigger emotions. Most online purchases are done subconsciously with emotion as a major driving factor. If you can move a prospects' emotion, you can get them to buy. 

STRATEGY #2: Learn The Keywords That Your Customers Use to Find You

Keywords are not just for SEO. They are also for fully understanding your target market. Aside from this, it can also help you drive more traffic to your site through paid ads. So it is essential to know the exact keywords that your prospects use to find you. 

One of the tools that I love to use for this purpose is Ahrefs. I am not affiliated with them but they have the best tool when it comes to analyzing keywords. It also helps in idea generation for it can give you more keywords from a seed keyword. Just ensure that you are using a keyword that has 2-3 words. This way, you'll get even longer keywords.

PRO TIP: Ahrefs has an option to uncover medium and long-tail keywords that have 3-4 words per keyword. Be sure to select that option when you are searching.

From here, you can then look at Shopping Results in Google. These are the keywords that Google display products in. You'll want to use these keywords so that your products will show up in the search engine results. 

ANOTHER PRO TIP: Did you know that promoting an e-commerce or Shopify store through Google Adwords has a higher conversion than Facebook ads? It is because of user intention. While Facebook specializes in discovery, Google is specializing in bringing you customers who are on the verge of buying. 

STRATEGY #3: Create Only Content That Gets Conversions

It is easy to get lost amidst all the marketing tips online. One website will tell you to create a blog and have tons of content while another will tell you to focus on creating a few for maximum search engine optimization results. No one is right or wrong. What matters is to create the type of content that your prospect loves. Every niche has a different target market. In some niches, having tons of content works better. In others, having less content is desirable. Aside from that, you should also consider the content formats. There are certain content formats that get maximum conversions and that's what you will learn in this section.

PRO TIP: You have gathered some keywords from the previous strategy. You can use that in your content for search engine optimization. Just be sure to incorporate keywords naturally so that it can also aid you in getting better search engine rankings.

How do you know the content formats that will work for your business? It all depends on the shareable topics in your niche. For this, you will need to look at highly shared topics in your niche. Fortunately, there are some tools that you can use for this. There is BuzzSumo. This allows you to search for highly shared topics for any keyword.

The first thing you must do is look at the content formats. There are different types of content formats that get the highest shares. These are the in-depth guide, the list and the case study. It is important to not only look at these formats but also look at the other formats that are currently working in your niche.

From here, you should create your own content. It helps to look at top-performing content in your niche and 'make it better'. So if there's a list that's performing quite well, you should create a longer and more detailed list. If there's a curated guide, create a more in-depth guide. It is about creating content that provides more value to your prospects than the existing content. In Ahrefs, there is also an option to view the top content in a domain. You can use this to create a content marketing strategy for your business.

STRATEGY #4: Have a Referral Program

One of the fastest ways to grow an e-commerce site is to have a referral program. Brands like Uber, Airbnb, and Best Hunting Bow Labs did this with success. This is a system that allows website visitors and customers to refer family and friends to the website. Fortunately, creating one is easy. You can easily create one with referral marketing software. Thanks to the software, you can create a referral program without any knowledge of coding. Plus, you can manage all of your referrers and referrals in one convenient interface. 

To create a referral program, you have to decide on a few things. 

First, you must decide on who to reward. In every referral program, there are two actors. These are the referrer and the friend. The referrer is the person who promotes the program for you. He is in charge of getting as many people into the funnel as possible. The friend is the person that signs up as a result of the referrer's promotion. This is usually a person who has a close relationship with the referrer. 

The next thing that you must decide on is the reward. This can be a cash reward, a discount code or a freebie. Cash rewards work great if you want your prospects to take action. This is what PayPal used in generating millions of users for their platform. Discount rewards are more prevalent in e-commerce stores. This is because it doesn't cost that much on the part of the website owner but it makes the prospects feel rewarded. Freebies are good if you have products in your extra inventory that you have to give away. You can give them out as a limited-time reward and give out freebies only while supplies last.

Once you have this, you can create the mechanics for your referral program. You can write this down and put it in your referral page. With referral software, you can set it up and it is ready to go. From here, you just need to inform your prospects that your referral program exists. You can do this by putting the details of your referral program in the announcement bar of your website or by emailing your subscribers. 

BONUS STRATEGY: Influencer Marketing

Want an even faster way to grow your business? You can leverage the power of influencers. Getting influencers to promote your product is as easy as approaching them with free products and subtly asking for a review. You don't need to pay them. You can just ask for honest feedback on your products.

PRO TIP: Is your brand becoming more popular? An influencer may have already purchased from you. It helps to follow up with an influencer who has recently purchased from your business to create a review for you. This is easier for they already took interest in your products before you even approach them. 

Building an e-commerce brand is all about standing out amidst all the competing websites in the niche. The digital marketplace is open to everybody. It grants everyone easy access to an online audience who is capable of buying. However, it is not enough that you set up an e-commerce website. You should also know how to promote it. Promoting your website blindly will not do. You need a marketing strategy that works.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Arlen Robinson

Arlen Robinson is the co-founder and VP of Business Development at OSI Affiliate Software. He is also the host of The Ecommerce Marketing Podcast where he discusses marketing strategies with experts from all over the world.


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