I usually get queries from multiple sources asking, I have opened an E-Commerce store, but so far not even a single order. People have this dilution. Start an E-Commerce store, and that’s it. Maybe you would have done a thorough research on E-Commerce success stories. Got inspired by their success, yet failed to realize the pain and commitment they had to build and nurture the business. In most cases, you are hit with the blind spot. Never realising the fact that, you are the problem. You are not ready to invest and bring something of a novelty to the market. Even if you do, you fail to draft a feasible marketing strategy for your E-Commerce store. In this article, we will discuss what are the best E-Commerce marketing strategies for 2018.
I work for an E-Commerce service provider, and once over a conversation on renewal rates, we trip across a topic, How are we going to address our paid customers primary pain-points. Sales! Even with a renewal rate of more than 20%, that was one primary concern which we decided to address. So, we decided to frame few strategies from our end to make sure that our paid subscribers are going to get some online visibility. While detailing the marketing strategies we realized our biggest challenge. There it stood, like an impenetrable layer, staring right at our marketing plan. As a platform provider, there is only so much we can do. The subscriber’s perseverance to implement these strategies, and a passion to continuously learn and improvise.
As an entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to make sure you have a dedicated marketing strategy that details the plan of action and how the end objective is met. The strategies we put together will help you in finding your ideal target customer and to slowly inspire them to move down the buyers funnel. There are plenty of online stores that are doing great. Let’s see, what special recipe they have.
What is E-Commerce marketing?
Guess what, In simple terms, it’s an activity that you carry out with an intent to promote your online store. Drive traffic to your online store, optimise/ nurture them to convert, promising to give a sale.
Let’s discuss in detail what are the best E-Commerce marketing strategies that can give us an added advantage in 2018
Let’s not jump any hoops. Start with the basics;
Before you Strategize, Create a Persona
Most digital entrepreneurs fail to set a firm base before they start. They ignore the basics in identifying their target audience and segregating them into affinity cohorts. Wondering why it’s important? Unless you pen it down, the probability of creating a solid E-Commerce marketing strategy remains nebulous.
Your persona is your compass, it always points you to the ideal customer.
- Know your business
- Identify the market
- Learn from your competitors
Let’s consider you are into apparel business.
Know your Business
In the inception stage, try to learn as much as you can about how the online and offline apparel industry works. Gaining knowledge about the specific market can open immense opportunity for you. If you are planning to do drop shipping make sure that you could find a handful of suppliers. Suppliers who have a huge variety of products ready to dispatch when required, What commission do they charge, etc
If you are planning to go forward with an inventory based E-Commerce model, make sure you have enough budget at your disposal. Unless you feel that your marketing strategy could assure you a minimum ROI, don’t max out your credit.
Identify the Market
If possible visit few apparels stores nearby and analyze how they carry out their day to day operations. Observe and find what works best for them. Who are the decision makers? Request them to showcase how they manage their online sales. What target demography they cater. How well people respond to offline discounts.
Learn from your Competitors
Don’t let yourself make the same mistake your competitors made half a decade ago. Usually, every mistake comes with an exclusion, and an exclusion is followed with a budget overrun. So keep an eye on your competitors, read multiple case studies that are relevant to your niche. Learn and avoid the pitfalls.
Ask few questions
- Who are your competitors?
- What is their average ticket price?
- From where they source their inventory?
- What marketing activities they carry out?
- Do they have an offline store? How’s their offline store contribute their online sales?
And so on.
How their products are shipped and delivered. Do they serve any complimentary products? Since it’s into apparel, do they have a digital store to try the clothing, like a 360-degree view of the products, a virtual trial store, etc? What designs and variants add more value to the customer. How are they displaying the variants?
UI and UX How it Influences your Conversion Rates
Every element on your website should have a purpose. It’s simple as this if you are planning to come up with a website prior to final release, eg: coming soon, then your main objective is to capture information related to your leads. Here the landing page is not customised for sales.
A good UI becomes the base, it tells the customer how to move around. Be logical enough to understand the customer, and design is based on how you want the visitor to navigate. Provide a simple, but a compelling interface to the end user.
When designing a webpage make sure you plan ahead on knowing how each element in the interface contributes to a conversion. A customer friendly interface is a key to on-page conversions.
The main three interface elements are Navigational Component, Input Controls, and Informational Components.
Informational Component:- Modal windows, web notifications, message boxes, progression bar.
Input Controls:- Drop Down menu, checkboxes, toggle element, radio buttons.
Navigation Component:- Image carousel, sliders, search bar, breadcrumbs.
Create a web page which is user-friendly. Make it interesting enough that the user interaction rate will be high. Every step should make, one step closer to the end objective. When your website gets good enough traffic make sure that you do an A/B testing or a multi-variant testing to optimize the landing page.
If your objective is lead generation, then make sure that the no: of fields in the subscription form is reduced to its minimum. Make sure the landing page will highlight the benefits, over the product feature. The CTA’s and discount codes are positioned intelligently that it can lead to Cross-selling and up-selling.
Content Creation and Content Marketing
Content is one of the best E-Commerce marketing channels you could ever come across. As an E-Commerce store owner, you may have dabbled or touched base with the basics on how to promote your E-Commerce online. Most of you guys would have heard of SEO, Content Creation, and Content marketing as an effective E-Commerce marketing strategy. Albeit, either you are not doing it or most of you guys are doing it wrong.
Content comes in multiple formats. The most common being blog posts. As a digital entrepreneur, you need to be active in the digital spectrum. Most entrepreneurs are numb when comes to this part. Consistency is everything. Churn high-quality articles that add value to the reader. Articles that could be a foundation for your organic traffic.
Let me take this opportunity to remind something. Nobody is going to buy from you unless you position yourself as a trustworthy source. The only way to create trust is to position you as a domain expert. Guess what? Content is the right channel for it.
1. Blog Posts
Regularly publishing the high-quality article that addresses the pain points of your target customers is one fabulous way to attract and retain customers. Never settle for a general article. It doesn’t make the impact you intend to make. Embrace brevity, mediocre article with 2000 words will piss people off. Google likes quantity, it doesn’t mean that you should write a lengthy article. It means that you need to write the in-depth article. Make sure that the article is of high quality.
2. User-Generated Content
Make use of user-generated content. User-generated content can also act as testimonials, where the end user was confident enough to show his/ her experience interacting with the business. It reflects the vote of confidence.
3. Video Content
Creating videos that explain your business entity and the products you are selling online. It will have a profound influence on brand awareness. Make short videos about individual categories. There are online stores who have created individual video content explaining their products and are going great. Think wisely, there is a slight probability that you will be competing with stores that such a deep commitment.
4. Infographics and Images
We live in a world of micro-moments. We want information at the earliest and in a format which is easy to digest. People are curious, a visual representation can stimulate curiosity faster than textual chunks. Images can push your boundaries, makes you explore realms that you never thought of. Think about it like this, What morbid thoughts would have crossed your mind the minute someone presents you a small box wrapped in a pinch of the quirky smile. The presentation was compelling enough most people would reach an inference. Every detail sending a message, when put together tells you a vivid story.
It’s not a secret that without marketing your brand is not going to make any impact in the niche. Dedicate at least 60% of your efforts in promoting your business. As part of your content marketing strategy, you will be looking for cost-effective opportunities that help you push every piece of content you generate. Stats published on ShutterStock says that 89% of people believe custom content help them get a clear idea of the brand personality. It Clearly shows why content is one of the best E-Commerce marketing strategy ever created.
1. Supercharge your content with Insights from Influencers
Before we delve deep, let me remind you. Start small, it will be a painstaking task to head out on a crusade hoping you can slay all the top influencers in the world with a single email format. Our influencers are too busy, they get at least a dozen inquiries a day to review platforms and websites. So, the obvious question is, How do you do it.
As a start, reach out to local and in-house influencers. Think about this way, you have friends and family members who the handful of experience in the business. Start with them. Create a small profile, reach out to them with a questionnaire. I believe you will get a lot of actionable insights from them. Look out for micro influencers.
When reaching out to a top-notch influencer in your niche, make sure that you have done a thorough research. Personalize your write up in a way that the influencer feels, Hey this guy has done some research on me. Let me give him an opportunity.
Never let the influencer limit to a broadcaster. Make sure that you engage enough so that down the line there exists a high probability that the influencer endorses your products and becomes a brand advocate. Yes, it’s a long-term strategy.
2. Create Engaging Content
Engagement clearly tells the visitor that he/she is interacting with a reliable source. Interacting with users help build the strong relationship with visitors. That would be one good reason why a good proportion of bloggers/ digital marketers continuously engage in the blog comments. And actively participating in multiple channels giving tips and advice, that way making sure that their involvement is high. Never let go of your followers. Keep the momentum alive.
You can also create small tools that help solve your customers day to day pain points. For this, you may need some technical knowledge. There are multiple sources that provide free tools to calculate their online marketing budget, create a custom URL with UTM parameters, etc.
Structured Data Markup
Structured data markup clearly tells google what the webpage is all about. Think about it this way, you just created a webpage for How to select apparels online. With structured data markup you can tell Google, hey this is what my article is about. These are the snippets for which my article can provide an answer. Even though the article is about “How to select apparels online”. With structured data, you can tell Google that the article also has valuable insights on selecting branded apparels within a specific range. Or what are the top online clothing stores from where you can buy products at a highly discounted rate?
Structured markup data has a profound influence on Search Engine Optimization. It acts as explicit clues, inviting bots to identify actual content on a webpage. From an E-Commerce perspective, you can make use of these features to label individual products displayed on the webpage, and a possible integration into Google’s knowledge graph.
Turn around your PPC campaign. Make it the best E-Commerce marketing strategy for you.
When your budget is limited you need to be cautious about where and how you invest your money. Rather most startup E-Commerce companies end up spending their budget. In simple terms, PPC is just about buying online traffic. I always suggest business entities go for a holistic approach. Follow the best E-Commerce marketing strategies and showcase your online presence everywhere. Be ready to be part of healthy competition.
All these sound great, but the problem starts when your balance sheet stares right at your face. Spend 15L, ROI 1.5L, Shockingly its true. I have come across people who had made such blunder mistakes. Never start without a keyword matrix. A keyword matrix helps you plan and strategize your PPC campaigns. As an E-Commerce entity be transparent, make sure your website and related landing pages will clearly reflect the value proposition.
In most cases the keyword you select and the landing page experience determine the success of your PPC campaign. Without a brick and mortar business model the user needs to make a decision based on the information you provide on your landing page and how you present it. Know at the end, you need to justify your Customer Acquisition Cost to the Lifetime Value of a Customer. With competition being so fierce, as an E-Commerce store, you cannot survive just by selling one single product. Repeated sales! Is the new mantra.
This article will help you get a glance at few E-Commerce marketing strategies that could probably help you attain the digital success you are longing for. I have given you a brief overview of how individual online marketing channels can make a difference in your business. Always keep in mind, You are in a digital world where anyone could simply jump in and create an online store. Every successful business you come across has one thing in common, a customer-centric strategy. Work hard to delight your customers, they will bring business to you. We are heading towards a future where the elite groups with the big budget will be spending a lump sum amount in AI and Machine to provide a people based omnichannel experience. Be wise to come up with a result-oriented E-Commerce marketing strategy that differentiates your business.