5 Steps for Creating a Great Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

written by Carlos Alvarez
10 · 07 · 21

 Your eCommerce marketing strategy can make or break your business. Typically, eCommerce sites help other businesses sell with retail giants like Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, and so forth. 

This assistance requires a great deal of trust. How is that trust built? Through a good eCommerce marketing strategy. 

That’s why we’ve assembled a five-step guide to creating your best strategy, one that lures business, underscores your knowledge, and emphasizes your empathy. Let’s get started!

1. Write it Down 

If you’ve been in the eCommerce marketing game for some time, then you have the experience, talent, and know-how to have a marketing strategy. How much of that strategy are common sense and hard knocks, and how much of it is proven wisdom?

You need both to succeed! And you need to be able to share that strategy with others. There’s no other way for your team or potential customers to be able to benefit from your experience. 

Outlining a proper plan can also help identify gaps in your current strategy. There’s nothing like seeing it staring you in the face, in a way that’s difficult to recreate if you keep it all in your head. 

Your eCommerce marketing plan should start with outlining your goals. Depending on what type of planner you are, your goals might span three months or three years. 

We recommend that you plan at least a year in advance. This will grant you the flexibility to change with the market, while still having some foresight into what you want to accomplish. 

If you’re stuck on goals, think about what you want. More traffic to your site, more repeat customers, more new customers, increased content marketing… the possibilities are endless. 

Setting SMART Goals

Once you’ve targeted 3-5 main goals, it’s time to turn those goals into an actual marketing strategy. You can do this by breaking down the steps necessary to actually reach those goals. 

Remember the principles of SMART goals. Increasing website traffic is a great goal. But if you end the year with one more visitor than you had last year, you technically have reached your goal. 

That’s probably not what you had in mind, though. If that’s the case, set some hard numbers! That way, you’ll know when you’ve reached your goal and what you have to do to get there. 

2. Do Your Research

Once you’ve outlined your goals, have you done the work necessary to outline your buyer personas? Working in eCommerce is a tricky business, and you need to know exactly who your ideal customers are. 

You can do this in two ways. One, start by sending a survey to your preexisting audience. You can tempt your audience with offers of discounts, gift cards, and so forth. 

With these things, you can hopefully get over the hump presented by people ignoring emails or refusing to take action. After all, what’s in it for them?

You may find that you would be more successful if your audience were different. There’s no need to settle for haphazardly building your audience with whoever comes your way. 

Instead, you can build your dream audience by building a buyer persona. Research is necessary to pull this off. 

Identify your customer’s ideal age, demographic, marital status, job, income, interests, purchasing behavior, location, preferred devices to shop on, social media presence, number of children, religious preferences, and so forth. 

Creating buyer personas is a lot of work, but it’s a great step to start building your strategy. It’ll all pay off in the end, we promise!

Research Your Competitors

Now that you’ve done so much legwork on your end, what now? Do some research on your competitors. 

If you don’t know who your competitors are, or believe that your service is so unique that you don’t have any, keep looking! You’ll find them if you keep digging. 

Don’t look for competitors who do exactly what you do. Precision is less important than proximity. Do they do something similar, or fill the same need for potential customers with a different angle?

Since you’re trying to identify what their eCommerce marketing strategy might be, pay special attention to their digital marketing. What do their ads, blogs, content marketing, social media captions, or other activity look like?

What does their traffic look like? What do their newsletters say? What do they offer that you’re lacking?

This information will help you decide how to price and position your products, too. If you wonder if you’re charging too much or too little, don’t be! Just look around and see how you stack up to your competitors. 

This will help avoid imposter syndrome, or underselling/overselling yourself. You’ll be able to experience the Goldilocks effect–everything will be just right because you did your research and put in the time.

If we’re being honest, this step is truly never done. Your competitors will continue to evolve, and their strategies will change. As long as you’re in business, this is information that you have to stay on top of!

3. Implement Your Plan With SEO

All of that research legwork builds a fantastic foundation for your marketing strategy. But to actually see the results, you’ll need to implement the data points you gathered. What about SEO, eCommerce content marketing, or other tricks necessary to bolster your strategy.

Figuring out what you need to add to your eCommerce marketing strategy is the second half of building. You need information to make these decisions, so let’s get started!

Let’s start with SEO. This popularized acronym stands for search engine optimization. It takes a lot of work, and—you guessed it—this requires even more research! 

The benefit of SEO is that it generates more traffic to your website. It takes time, knowledge, and effort. But it provides an evergreen stream of traffic without paying for ads, which is something that many small business owners really need. 

SEO Starter Pack

Start by figuring out what keywords you are targeting. This will help you figure out what you can rank for, what keywords are common in your industry, and what will help you rank. 

In the SEO game, the first page of search results is everything. Think about how you search for products. Unless you’re searching for something incredibly niche, the first page is a goldmine. 

If it exists after the first page, it might as well not be there for consumers who are in a hurry. That’s why putting in the work to target the right keywords so that you can rise through Google’s rankings, is so crucial.

A basic starter approach to SEO is putting these keywords in the right places. Once you know what they are, use them in your Google My Business profile. Use them in your blog, category, and product pages. 

You should also use them in your URLs, titles, descriptions, social media captions, alt text, and so on. If there’s a place for you to use text, and the keywords make sense within that context, go for it! Just make sure your keywords are adding value to the user, otherwise, Google will penalize you.

Google’s algorithms have changed from the way they used to be. It used to be the more keywords, the better. While keywords are still important, making sure they make sense in context and add value is even more crucial.

4. Content Marketing

Any discussion of SEO naturally leads to content marketing. From blogs, videos, customer testimonials, whitepapers, eBooks, product descriptions, and more, content marketing is king. 

It’s how you communicate with your audience, share information, define your brand, and show off your company voice. Remember that content marketing is evergreen, though, and what you put on the Internet is forever. 

Make sure your words and content marketing strategy really represent your brand. If you do that, then you can reap the results for years to come!

Don’t just stick to blogs and videos, though. Content marketing has evolved into email marketing, social media marketing, user-generated content, and so much more. 

Start with email marketing. Are you sending people newsletters, information on discounts and promotions, or new releases from your brand? A weekly email is a good idea if it’s succinct and well-written. 

This will help prevent people from deleting your email without ever opening it, or marking it as spam. A huge part of your strategy will become building great subject lines, succinct copy, and pithy Call-to-Action buttons.

Social Media Marketing

As social media monetizes itself, platforms like Instagram or Facebook are becoming places to shop. They’re not just places to connect with friends or family anymore! 

30% of young consumers—in this study, consumers aged 18 to 34—bought something through social media. Billions of people spend time on these social media platforms, and some of your potential customers are part of that number.

While you’re taking advantage of the social media monster that all of us have collectively created, what about influencer marketing or user-generated content? These are important pieces of any eCommerce marketing strategy and shouldn’t be forgotten. 

Influencer marketing means that any fans of that influencer or celebrity will get eyes on your content. At first, it just seems like a way to reach more people, like a paid ad. 

But you’re also paying for their trust. Many people have parasocial relationships with celebrities–we feel as if we really know them because we’ve spent so much time with their content or their body of work. 

It’s a simple A to B psychological progression. If you trust XYZ celebrity, and they trust a product, it’s a simple transfer of trust. 

5. User-Generated Content and Paid Advertising

User-generated content is another tool in your marketing strategy toolbox. Some people are tired of seeing paid advertising, and influencer content may seem cheesy to some. 

What’s the solution? User-generated content. People like to see someone ‘just like them’ who uses a product. 

After all, if it worked for them, why wouldn’t it work for you? It’s a simple progression within the mind. And it works! User-generated content is a huge deal for many brands these days. 

Of course, one of the final pieces in your eCommerce digital marketing plan should always be paid advertising. It’s true that it sometimes gets a bad rap. 

After all, it doesn’t have the pull of a celebrity endorsement or the honesty of user-generated content. But it still gets lots of eyes on it, and the truth is that consumers still make purchasing decisions based on paid ads. 

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising is also easy to automate, which makes it a great addition to your eCommerce marketing automation plan.

This is a great tool to integrate with the other sectors of your marketing plan, too. Remember when we talked about social media marketing? Paid advertising is available on Facebook, Google, Instagram, and so forth. 

Facebook ads are where all your demographic research really pays off. You can target users based on their region, ages, interests, and so forth. This is a great way to make sure people see your ad, especially if your services are highly localized and you want to make sure only local people see them. 

Google Ads is where your SEO research pays off. It’s more keyword-oriented and helps if your business is online-centered. If you get most of your traffic or sales through searches, this is a great option for many to take.

Creating an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy 

Creating an eCommerce marketing strategy isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. Instead, it’s one of the most iterative processes in your business. 

Things will change as industries, trends, products, and competitors change. The way business is done now is very different. Can you picture buying an item because of a TikTok advertisement in 1983? It could never happen! 

As you build your strategy, remember that willingness to learn is everything. All of your strategies will layer on top of each other, which is the best way to build a comprehensive eCommerce marketing strategy.

Some techniques will work better than others. If you want to learn more about great techniques for your marketing strategy, try one of our classes today!

Carlos Alvarez

"A bit about " Carlos Alvarez " in his own words: "Alvarez sums up his mission to help online sellers with a quote he heard early on in his career. “New sellers constantly compare their Chapter 1 to another seller’s Chapter 20. They see what other veteran sellers are doing and they judge their success and failures by this benchmark.” His goal is to show sellers a realistic path to success, and how they can enjoy every chapter of their own, unique journey."

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