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What is ecommerce marketing?

Growth Secrets|11.06.2016

Marketing is the advertising and selling of goods and services, focusing on the four Ps: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.

With ecommerce however, the touch points - that is all the places customers interact with you - may differ from a regular business, and could involve, say, click through ads, online chats and a greater use of social media.

Define your ecommerce marketing strategy

Ecommerce marketing strategies need to be defined, as there are so many ways you can market to your customers these days. New-age or old-age approaches, they all seem to matter and they all need to be looked at and evaluated individually. I can not stress this enough. The trick is coming up with a strategy to evaluate them all in a timely manner and with a small budget to begin with.

Here is my list of the ones you should start within ecommerce; direct mail, email marketing, pay per click (PPC), search engine optimisation (SEO), building related links, establishing brand recognition and social media marketing. In the digital world, there is a constant stream of new ways to obtain new customers and everything is always being tested and documented. So if you want to be on the pulse, which is a large part of your job as a marketer, then get reading and sign up to blogs that are at the forefront of these types of ‘new age’ techniques; ones I personally like are; A Better Lemonade Stand, Econsultancy, ConversionXL, Practical Ecommerce and of course the Shopify Blog

How to develop an ecommerce marketing plan

Awesome marketing campaigns require a strong starting procedure. So let’s break it down into some simple, actionable steps for you.

1. Goals

It is so much easier to steer a ship if you know exactly what you’re working towards and what metrics are most important to your business. Keep in mind your goals will change over time, so it’s good to break things down into one month, three month, six month and one year targets.

Make sure each goal answers the what, how and when questions. Oh, and honesty is the best policy when it comes to goal setting. You're probably not as big as Amazon so it's much more motivating if you achieve smaller, more real, definable and measurable goals.

2. Target market

So you have set some goals, now you need to figure out who you need to target. Remember your audience defines you, not the other way around and continually keep checking in with where your target market is at and if it has evolved along the way.

To figure out who your target market is, generalise first. Go big and then go small. So for example, Ecommerce > Fashion > Female > Age 30-40 > Income +£45K > Geographical > Behaviours and so forth.. 

You can go as far as creating a target persona with a name and a job title. I like to call my guy Ross - he's quite the character, and every time I sit down to write for We Make Websites, I write it directly to Ross. Are you following? Well if you're not, head over to these two epic articles to get you started:

Marketing personas: the complete beginner's guide (from the Buffer blog)
How To Create Customer Personas With Actual, Real Life Data (from ConversionXL)

3. Strategy

So now we have two foundations in place, how are we going to get new customers to your EPIC ecommerce site? Well, it is time to divide the campaigns up into two areas. Ongoing campaigns and on/off campaigns.

Ongoing Campaigns are the ecommerce marketing channels where you're the most active. The ones you would use all day, every day, simultaneously keeping them occupied online unless you need to pause or edit them. Examples of these would be Adwords, drip campaigns or automated email recommendations. With ongoing campaigns, it tends to be like tailoring a jacket - you bought it because it worked, but now you spend forever adapting it, fixing it and making sure it is up to date with the latest trends. Sounds exhausting? It’s definitely not, that is a one of a kind jacket… Be lucky you found it and optimised/tailored it as much as you wanted.

On-off campaigns, on the other hand, are the ones that are set with a time period in mind and optimised over certain days and times depending on the message you are sending. On-off campaigns are created to achieve certain goals like product enquiries, social engagement and customer acquisitions. These campaigns are optimised generally with one goal in mind so it can be measured accurately. These campaigns are best used in ecommerce marketing when you are launching a new product or service, an upcoming sale or you anything that might interest your customers.

4. Conversion

This is where you focus on the customer funnel. It is when you can test improvements to the user interface and experience, on-site campaigns and evaluate conversions in regards to your specific goals. It is really important to get specific in this section, as this will allow you to see the areas that have the most potential, which will result in you knowing which areas are ultimately going to affect your bottom line.

This is very much trial and error, of course. It is a long testing process but stay with it, keep focused on the goals and figure out how you are going to exactly achieve them.

5. Retention

You are at the final step - well done dude!

Now finally this is important for repeat business and keeping the current consumers happy. The plan here is to incentivise all customers to come back to your site, to spend more on your site, and to talk about your brand to other potential customers, more often by marketing to them in an appealing way. This can include both normal ongoing and on/off retention campaigns, along with new ideas and channels you are trying out at the time.

This step tends to fall under the remarking, email and audience personas on social channels.  It is a very important part of your business, as, without current customers, your future looks bleak. So remember how important they are and dedicate time here before even the acquisition part of the funnel.

6. Metrics

Okay I lied, this is the final step! It is also the best step in my eyes. Because what are all our efforts, without numbers to show us if they worked or not? Looking at the overall success of your campaigns is vital to learn what worked and what didn't. If you are unsure of what metrics to measure, try and relate them as closely as you can to your goals.

Conclusion

The actionable touch points involved with marketing a product or service on the internet, along with increasing a brand’s awareness among its target market, can only have increasing benefits to both merchant store owners and online shoppers. The stand out advantages for activating ecommerce marketing are less cost than print advertising; brand credibility; establishing lasting customer relationships; and the general cost of activating any ecommerce marketing campaign, from A-Z with little budget but high driven stats, data and results. I mean, who doesn’t love that?

Best of luck with all you ecommerce marketing efforts! If you have any questions, feel free to email us: hello@wemakewebsites.com

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