Marketing tips for e-commerce businesses
By James Cook, SpiderGroup https://www.spidergroup.com/
Every business needs a marketing strategy to be successful in the long run. With a highly competitive industry like e-commerce, it can be even harder to stand out, so tailored marketing strategies for your business are essential if you want to be recognised and found for what you offer.
As consumers change – as they have done especially in the wake of the global pandemic – e-commerce businesses need to adapt quickly, offer excellent service, and be present when people are choosing to shop online rather than in-store.
Every customer expects to be taken care of. Whenever they choose a business to buy from, they expect excellent customer service every step of the way. Customer support is crucial, especially when your customers cannot rely on physical interaction.
A responsive customer support team obtains conversions and can nurture your leads. Together with your marketing plan, great customer service increases your customer’s average order value (AOV.) Because they are guided at every stage of their journey, they are more motivated to spend more with your business.
How is this a marketing strategy? Well, positive experiences can lead to brand advocacy, customer loyalty, and good feedback for your business. Whereas, an unresponsive and unapproachable one will lose your customers. People share the experiences, not only through review sites, but also through word of mouth to their own contacts. Negative experiences are shared more widely, but providing a truly exceptional positive experience can get your name out there, too.
Also known as customer rewards, loyalty programmes can increase your customers’ purchase frequency, referrals, retention, and lifetime value. Encouraging your customers’ loyalty motivates them to create accounts, visit more often, and spend more with your business. Loyal customers are the lifeblood of your business and that shouldn’t go unnoticed.
For e-commerce business, this highlights the importance of building connections with your customers. This can be promoted through exclusive discounts, points for product redemptions, early product releases, and free gifts.
It ties back into the idea of creating a great experience for your customers – if they feel like their loyalty is rewarded, they’ll feel more positively towards you. And, for many businesses, having a loyalty programme means customers feel almost locked in – take airline rewards, for example. Many people choose to fly with the airline they have an account with, even if it’s not the most convenient flight, simply because they don’t want to miss out on their miles.
Create customer lists – use your data
A great deal of your marketing will rely on customer data. Getting to know their wants and needs creates a successful e-commerce business. Luckily, with the age of e-commerce websites integrated with your own CRM, data can be easily accessed to provide customer insight. With just a single click, you can create tailor-fit campaigns based on particular data.
This ensures your customers are getting the best experience, leaving them more satisfied which ensures more revenue for your business.
You can dig into buying patterns and purchase behaviour and determine what types of messaging will resonate with different groups. If a subset of customers tends to make yearly purchases, be sure to send them some sort of ‘anniversary’ email to acknowledge them and their value to you. If they buy regularly and always choose different types of product, you know they’re adventurous and might be interested in new product lines or innovations.
Use your data to inform your marketing choices – don’t send the same messages to everyone who has ever bought from you.
Showcase customer reviews
Positive reviews are essential marketing tools, especially for e-commerce businesses. Reviews reinforce claims about your business and products, and the opinions of previous customers holds more weight than the copy you have on your website. It’s undeniable that people check out a business online before making a purchase. In fact, many people won’t make a purchase at all without checking reviews first.
Aside from an increase in revenue, reviews can do more for your ecommerce business. They provide your business with a competitive advantage against larger companies offering the same product with fewer reviews. Positive impacts also include an increase in SEO performance, brand loyalty, and more customer engagement.
Reviews on third-party sites are generally perceived to be more trustworthy, because a business can’t cherry-pick the best ones to highlight. Which is why you’ll see many websites with TrustPilot, FeeFo, or Trip Advisor integrations, to pull reviews from those sites onto the main business site.
When customers purchase, encourage them to leave positive reviews about their experience of your products and services. Take on board any negative feedback as an opportunity to improve, and share what you’re doing to address common comments.
E-commerce sites that optimise for mobile have a competitive advantage over those who don’t. As consumers increasingly turn to their mobile devices for shopping, your business needs to adapt to their behaviour. If someone is out and about, and wants to make a purchase, they’ll buy from the easiest website to navigate.
When optimising, make sure that you have easily readable text and minimal pop ups. Customer friendly optimisation also includes a faster loading time and easier navigation when on mobile.
Page speed is vital – people wait even less time when browsing on mobile than they do on desktop, and even on desktop, browsers wait a little over 3 seconds before moving on. So keeping your mobile-optimised website quick and easy to use is vital.
Well-written product descriptions and high-quality images will get your customers’ attention, but videos will bring your products to life. An engaging video showcases what your product does and how your customers can benefit from it. With videos, there’s more freedom in presenting your product in a way to entice your audience.
Moreover, video content isn’t limited to simply explaining what your product is and how it works. You can maximise it through video testimonials, stories behind your product, or comparisons of your product against competitors.
You can host videos on your website or on YouTube – videos on YouTube have a possibility of showing up in Google search results, so if your topic is widely searched, it’s worth considering where it will have the most impact. Just make sure you optimise your YouTube text and include a link back to your website.
Killer product descriptions
Once you’ve caught the attention of your customers with your images, the next thing they’ll look into is the product description. They’ll want to know all the specifications, features, and other information about your product. Hence, comprehensive but engaging copy for your product descriptions should be a priority for your e-commerce business.
Keep in mind you shouldn’t write a dry product description—you need convincing copy. Well-written copy showcases your products and convinces buyers to purchase.. Having short and meaningful descriptions paired with quality images are more effective as opposed to those full of fluff and long-winded descriptions. You can include technical specifications, but put them after the main copy, or in a second tab within your product description – they need to be easy to find, but not get in the way of your persuasive content.
Utilising several shopping channels
Another key to maximising your business’ presence is to utilise all available shopping channels. Even though you’ve set up your business with an ecommerce platform like Shopify or Magento, there are still other places you can and should consider.
Shopping channels like Amazon, Ebay, Google Shopping, and even AliExpress can increase sales of your products. Although your focus should be on building and generating traffic to your website, you shouldn’t be limited in your outreach. More channels for marketing means there’s a broader audience for your product.
Great blog content for your website
Content is still king—even if you’re running an e-commerce website. At its core, your content will highlight whether or not you know your market. Blog content reinforces your expertise in your market and the products you sell. Plus, it keeps your audience engaged, before and even after they’ve purchased. Content on your website helps people make a decision on whether your product offers the solution to their problem from a practical point of view.
Writing blog content also helps increase your search engine rankings, which leads to more traffic and ensures your website is found for the products you sell. It also showcases your expertise and knowledge, giving you more credibility as a trusted supplier.
Selling through social media
One tool that you shouldn’t ignore for your e-commerce business is social media. Moguls like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have adapted to how e-commerce markets its products. By making use of these platforms, you’re able to make direct sales, promote new products and deals, and engage as a community.
Social media is where your loyal customers can advocate for your brand. Quirky product videos, exclusive merchandise, and shareable hashtags are some ways you can jumpstart your creative social media marketing.
Follow through with customers
Maintaining a good customer relationship is another key for success. Those who left items in their cart should be reminded to check them out and existing customers should be encouraged to purchase more – not through a hard sell, but through sharing new products and ideas with them.
With a competitive market, finding and retaining customers is a struggle. Once you’ve found them, you ensure you have a strategic pathway that leads them back to your e-commerce store. Follow through with your customers using abandoned cart reminders, post-sales updates, post-purchase coupons, and even a re-engagement campaign to those who’ve disappeared.
Targeting the right customers
When you run any business, you need to understand that your product isn’t for everyone. The same goes for e-commerce products. To be successful, you need to identify and target your ideal customers – those who are interested and willing to purchase your product. Marketing to the wrong set of audiences wastes your resources and deprives you of valuable marketing opportunity for the right customers.
If you already have a pool of current customers, start with that. Understand why they needed your product, how their pain points were solved, and how you were able to solve them. If you’re starting from scratch, picture your potential customers and gather data relevant to them. Consider all resources you can use, from demographics to doing surveys and asking for feedback. This, in effect, helps you identify where and how you can market your business.