Let’s say you’re in the market for a rose gold watch for a woman, be it yourself or someone else. When you search for this on Google, you’ll see everything from rose-tinted stainless steel for $25 to complete rose gold watches studded with chocolate diamonds and a mother of pearl face that costs several thousand.
And you’ll find hundreds of thousands of results—if not more—in between.
There is a ton of competition online for ecommerce businesses, so knowing how to set yourself apart and get your name out there is essential. Your ecommerce marketing strategies should focus on capturing people looking for products and actively using several outbound strategies to get people to want to find you.
There’s a large number of different ecommerce marketing strategies out there, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at 14 of the most essential strategies you can use to set yourself apart and get more sales.
Note, this blog post was updated on May 16, 2019.
Low-Cost Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Virtually all ecommerce businesses can and should use these low-cost marketing strategies. I consider these tactics to be the building blocks of an ecommerce marketing strategy, because even one single action (like updating keywords or just one blog post) can yield return for years to come.
1. Optimize Your Site for Search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still an essential part of marketing and you want to make sure that both your site and all of your individual product pages are fully optimized for the exact keywords your audience is searching for.
Keyword research can help with that. You can check out our full guide on how to conduct thorough keyword research here.
Watch out for dialect differences, too. Are they searching for “timepiece” instead of “watch?” Make sure you’re optimizing for those keywords correctly, even if the general population is searching for them less overall.
2. Include Reviews on Product Pages
I can’t overstate the importance of reviews. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends. That means we either really trust reviews or we all have really bad friends…I’m going to assume it’s the former.
As if that’s not significant enough, 88% of users incorporate reviews into their buying decision. You can’t afford to skip out on reviews.
There are a lot of plugins for WordPress and Shopify apps that make it easy to upload customer reviews (which can include pictures and videos) to your product pages. Yotpo and Pixlee are both excellent services that can help with this.
3. Use Content Marketing
For many ecommerce businesses, content marketing means blogging, but also can include using lead magnets like ebooks to bring customers to your site and encourage them to purchase or sign-up for your email list.
Content marketing is free if you do it yourself, though you can also hire content marketers to develop your strategy for you or to write the posts entirely.
Remember that your blog shouldn’t be about the new products you have. Instead, if you’re an ecommerce company wanting to promote a new line of fitness apparel, write a post talking about the different qualities that people should look for in clothing when they’re doing different types of exercises.
You’d be amazed how many people Google things like “what should I wear to yoga” or “what kind of clothes should I wear kickboxing?” Not only are people looking for answers, they’re also ready to buy these clothes.
You can learn more about content marketing for ecommerce businesses here.
4. Guest Post
You can extend your reach to other blogs and publications, putting your content in front of a new audience and getting a few key links back to your site.
Only submit posts to high quality, high authority publications that you want your business to be associated with and preferably only those with engaged readerships.
5. Market on Social Media
Social media marketing is entirely free (unless you outsource it) and it’s an excellent way to build and nurture relationships with customers. It can also help you connect with new users thanks to sharing, Facebook recommendations and algorithms that share what your friends are up to.
In my opinion, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are the three key social media platforms that ecommerce businesses should be focusing on, though Twitter is a close fourth.
When it comes to social media marketing for ecommerce, make sure that you’re focusing on customer relationships more than just endlessly and exclusively promoting your own products. You also want to answer questions fast to avoid abandoned carts.
6. Put Influencers to Work for You
Depending what influencers you go with, this one might not be so low cost, but for a lot of relatively small or medium-sized ecommerce businesses, influencer marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
If you use this strategy, you’ll want to reach out to influencers that your target audience follows.
Micro-influencers can be just as effective, even if they only have 12,000 followers instead of 12 billion. That’s good news for you, since who actually wants to work with a Kardashian?
Users typically trust micro-influencers more, seeing their recommendations as more legitimate. Some may ask for pay, others may just want a set of free products.
It can be an investment, but if they have an active, engaged audience, go for it. It’ll be worth it.
7. Start Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cornerstone part of ecommerce marketing and if you don’t think it can be effective, you’re wrong. With great visuals and great copywriting, you can deliver targeted suggestions, product announcements and discount offers to an audience who is already interested in your product.
Include personalization in your emails where possible. Add user names to the email subject line, or send automatically customized recommendations based on past purchases with segmented email lists.
This will help you a great deal, as one case study found that automated personalized emails had a 75% higher open rate than those that lacked personalization.
8. Create a Shoppable Instagram
Instagram is a highly visual platform, with all the emphasis being on images and videos. It’s also a platform where users are thrilled to engage with brands, so it’s the ideal solution for ecommerce businesses selling products.
You can get the most out of the platform by making your Instagram shoppable.
Shopify stores and certain select brands can create actual Shoppable posts, where you tag products in your pictures. When users click on them, they see basic information like price and they can click again to purchase.
If this isn’t available to you, you can use third-party tools like Have2Have.It, which works similarly but through a profile link.
PPC Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising uses on a bidding system, where you bid for user placements and then you pay when individual users take these actions (like clicks or conversions). This can cost more than the previous options, but it also lets you be more aggressive in targeting your audience and putting your products in front of them.
9. Google AdWords
With Google AdWords, you target specific keywords, effectively bidding to show up in relevant searches. Ads are displayed above search results, giving you an edge.
AdWords can help you connect with users who are actively searching for certain products or services, meaning they’re further along in the research or buying cycle, making AdWords a valuable system to invest in.
There’s a lot of strategy that comes into play when it comes to Google AdWords, so consulting an expert agency (like us!) can help make sure your money is well allocated to yield high returns.
10. Facebook & Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram Ads operate under the same interface, so we’re lumping them in together here.
These ads work differently than AdWords. Instead of targeting users by search intent and showing them ads when they’re looking for you, you target users based on different qualities like age, interest, and location to introduce them to your product. It’s inbound marketing at it’s finest, and it’s a great way to create demand and introduce users to your products.
Ready to get started with Facebook Ads? Check out our 101 guide here.
11. Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins is Pinterest’s PPC system and works a little like a combination of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Promoted Pins work in several different ways, giving you the option to just have your ads pop up in relevant users feeds and/or to have them appear in relevant searches. It’s the best of both worlds, and since a large percentage of pinners use the platform to make buying decisions, it’s a great investment for ecommerce businesses.
Retargeting is the practice of sending targeted ads to specific users who have already interacted with your brand. This could include targeting users who:
- Have recently visited certain pages on your website
- Have purchased from you in the past
- Are email subscribers
- Were customers in the past, but are no longer engaged
Facebook is the king of retargeting, but Google AdSense also has strong retargeting capabilities.
The High-Tech Ecommerce Strategies
Ready to launch your marketing campaigns into the next century? These high-tech strategies are best suited to ecommerce businesses who have some extra marketing money to spend and have a product type that users will consistently engage with.
There’s two big plays you can go for here: app development and virtual reality.
13. Develop an App with Push Notifications
Having apps just for your business that customers download is a fantastic way to make sure that you’re staying at the forefront of their minds. Just think about how often users are on their phones, looking for something to do.
Whether your app makes the shopping experience easier with one-click purchases or customized recommendations, or it serves a different purpose (like offering style advice based on local weather), make sure that you develop push notifications to bring users’ attention right back to you. These can pop up on phones and smart devices like Apple watches, keeping users engaged on a regular basis.
14. Target Virtual Reality Technologies
There are a lot of different ways to get involved with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), though it’s worth nothing that the latter in particular may only put you in front of very specific types of audiences. These audiences will be tech-savvy and likely relatively high income.
Augmented Reality is a type of VR and is often the best option for ecommerce businesses. Examples could include:
- Furniture stores that let you upload pictures of your actual room along with it’s dimensions and then scale the furniture so you can see how it would look. Amikasa does an excellent job of this in their ecommerce app.
- Apps allowing users to hold their phone over their wrist to see how a bracelet would look.
- Makeup retailers who let users upload pictures of themselves to see how the different products would look on them. Sephora currently uses this strategy.
There are a lot of ecommerce marketing strategies out there, but these 14 are some the most reliable and most effective for most ecommerce businesses.
There’s a wide variety of options here. They range from free and instantaneous to those that will take months and thousands of dollars to implement. They’re all worthwhile and they can all work on their own.
That being said, your marketing plan should incorporate a variety of different individual tactics that utilize both inbound and outbound marketing to target your audience completely.
Article by Ana Gotter from DisruptiveAdvertising.com