One of the biggest challenges for any ecommerce businesses is marketing: finding new prospects (lead generation), nurturing these prospects until they are ready to buy (lead nurturing), and encouraging them for the actual purchase (conversion).
With that being said, in this guide, we will discuss 5 effective marketing tactics for ecommerce businesses. Implementing these tactics can effectively increase the revenue of your business, encouraging fast growth and profitability.
Let us begin with the first one.
1. Implementing Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing, in a nutshell, is regularly publishing relevant, valuable content according to the product or service you are selling. This is mainly done by having an active blog, but we can also use other forms like podcasts or videos. The idea is, we are pulling our audience “inwards” to our business, and through this content, the audience might be enticed for a purchase.
Inbound marketing is particularly effective for an ecommerce business for two main reasons:
- Since your business is online-based where you don’t have any physical presence. With inbound marketing, you can actively connect and engage to your customers
- Your site’s ranking in search engine results will increase. People mainly find ecommerce sites from a Google search, so this can be an effective way to increase your visibility.
Inbound marketing can be a very broad subject on its own, and you might want to check out our previous guide for a better picture. However, here are some key principles to follow:
- Your inbound marketing should focus on providing information about your niche/industry and not solely about promoting your product/service. For example, let’s say you are an ecommerce site selling digital marketing software. Here, you can provide topics related to digital marketing tips (where your product can help the reader).
- The key here is truly understanding your audience, specifically, their needs. If you can provide a content that answers a specific (and preferably, popular) issue of your ideal audience, you can gain a lot of traffic.
- Developing and publishing the content is just half the job done. No matter how good the content is, it will bring no value to your business unless someone actually reads it (and convert into a prospect then a paying customers). Promote your content through various channels, and aim to get as many backlinks as you can, which will also improve your SEO results.
- Again, you should convert readers into prospects to get results. Mainly this is done with CTAs to capture your reader’s email address. This is usually done by offering downloadable in-depth content, discounts, free-trial, or even freebies
Inbound marketing should be one of, if not your main lead generation device, while it is also effective in nurturing leads and even encouraging purchases.
Another key benefit here of inbound marketing is that, the internet is forever. Once you’ve got even just one high-traffic content, you can rely on it long-term to bring you business.
2. Email Marketing
If inbound (content) marketing is especially effective in the lead generation stage, email marketing is definitely one of the most effective tactics to nurture your prospects.Again, since an ecommerce business is mostly online in nature, your email marketing campaign is especially effective in keeping your engagement with prospects and customers.
Email marketing in an ecommerce space can have many applications: from promoting your content (together with inbound marketing), engaging with potential, existing, and non-returning customers, targeting specific audience like those who abandoned carts, and many more.
Here are some key principles in implementing email campaigns for ecommerce marketing:
- Personalization and segmentation are the keys to success. The idea is to deliver the right message to the right audience, at the right time. So, there are two important factors: recognizing the needs of each specific audience, and delivering the right message properly. Using an email automation tool can help in this aspect.
- Use engaging subject lines. Again, use personalizations here like addressing their first name. Make sure the subject line is to-the-point and clearly states the benefit of the email message. Also, optimize your preview text with similar approach. These two will be the ones driving the open rate of your emails.
- Visual design, the quality of your content,the relevancy of your message, and how optimized your CTA placement is will be the most important factors in driving click-through rate.
- Have an optimized landing page, you would want to maximize conversion rate for every email recipient who clicked on your CTA.
Email marketing can be a very broad subject on its own, and there are many different applications of using email campaigns in an ecommerce setting. You might want to check out this guide by BigCommerce to help you further.
3. Optimizing Product Descriptions
There are two main purposes of optimized product or service descriptions. The first is, obviously, to encourage your prospects and customers to purchase the product. The second, is that the more optimized your descriptions are, the higher the chance to rank on the search engines, especially when you include the target keywords (you should).
However, the main thing here is providing a comprehensive and interesting descriptions for your human readers, and here are the key principles:
- You should answer the 5W1H of your product/service:
- Who is the target audience of this product? Know your target demographic,, their interests, and address them in your product description.
- What actually is the product? What are the important details? What is the unique value? This can include the specifications, dimensions, key features, and what sets this product apart from competitors’.
- Where your customer can use the product? Is it outdoor or indoor? Is it more suited for home usage or at the workplace? Fill in the details. If there are any unique places where your audience can use the product, mention it.
- When the product is used? If it’s a seasonal item, mention it. If there’s any specific condition when the product will provide value, mention it.
- Why would your audience buy the product? Probably the most important question to answer. Is the product addressing a specific issue? How can the product bring value to the user?
- How does the product work? This one is not always necessary, but will be useful if your product is totally unique or it’s a new technology. Explain the process as clearly and simply as possible.
- The thing is, people aren’t really buying your product or service. Instead they are buying the benefits tied to it. So, instead of solely describing details and features, you should explain how these features can benefit your prospect (your value proposition).
- The general rule of thumb is, if you are selling B2C products, you should aim to tap to your customer’s emotion side. On the other hand, for B2C customers, aim to capture the logical side of their attention by providing clear benefits, and so on.
- You can include social proofs like user testimonials and reviews to enhance this product description. We will further discuss using social proofs further below.
4. Optimizing Checkout Process
There are many different factors that can affect conversion rates. However, quite often the reason is simply because we don’t provide clear and easy enough conversion path.
In the case of ecommerce, cart abandonment can be minimized with an optimized, easy checkout process. Here are the key principles in optimizing your checkout process:
- Your checkout process should be easy, smooth, and yet, trustworthy from start to finish, with as little number of steps as possible.
- Get everything done in just a single page. However, if it’s an absolute necessity that you will need several pages, tell your audience the number of pages remaining. You can include a progress bar in the bottom. The idea is, show visitors what to expect and don’t make them guess anything.
- Understand at least the basic principles of UX (or, get someone who understand it to design your site). Make sure buttons are easy enough to find.
- Capture email address as early as you can, for example, before showing them any checkout form, give a simple form to capture their email. This way, you can follow up with email marketing if they abandon the cart.
- Show them that they can trust your site, use credit card logos only on relevant pages of the checkout process (don’t use them too much). If you use any security protocols/software, display the logo. Transparency and honesty is a must.
- Provide real time support that is easy to access during this checkout process. This is commonly done through a live chat. You can also implement chatbots in this process.
- Inform your prospect/customer plainy about delivery times, stock levels and shipping costs. You can offer free shipping, or at least offer a shipping calculator early on the checkout process.
- Offer incentives like complimentary freebies or discount codes on the review page(s).
- A lot of people are now purchasing from their mobile devices. Make sure your checkout pages are mobile-responsive: all your buttons should be clickable from a mobile device, and don’t include too many fields on your forms.
There are still various ways to further enhance your checkout process, and your creativity is the only limit. You might want to check out this guide for more ideas.
5. Using Social Proofs Effectively
This is what we call social proof, which in a nutshell, is a psychological condition where people follow the action of others, often by assuming that this action is the correct one.
In the marketing world, there are at least 6 major types of social proofs that are commonly utilized, they are:
- From existing customers: like user testimonials, positive reviews from existing customers, case studies, and so on.
- From thought leaders/experts: positive reviews from experts or even better, a specific content covering your product/service
- From the masses: using large numbers of people as social proof. (i.e. “100,000+ of customers are happy with this product”)
- From celebrities/influencers: celebrities who have visited your establishment, celebrities who bought your product/service, influencer marketing campaign, etc.
- From colleagues: recommendation from your colleagues, or using your audience’s social media data to show this proof. (i.e. “50 of your friends like X”).
- Certifications and awards: credible certifications and awards can show that you are a trustworthy business selling valuable product/service.
So, how can we use them to increase ecommerce conversion rate? Here are some best practices to follow:
- You can use real time stats like how many people are currently on your site, how many people have purchased/are currently purchasing your product, and so on. This is also a great approach to create a sense of urgency and scarcity.
- If you are selling B2B products/services, you can display client logos. This is a very pervasive social proof strategy, so make sure it’s well-designed and optimizedee.
- According to a study, 63% of customers are more likely to do an online purchase if the site displays product ratings and reviews.
- Encourage your existing customers to leave positive reviews. You might want to offer incentives from discounts, freebies, and so on.
The idea here is to make your audience trust you, so we’ll have to find the delicate balance: showing too many positive reviews, for example, might suggest a hard-selling mentality. Find the right balance between being informative and selling.
One of the biggest keys to success in ecommerce marketing is knowing your sales cycle. Every product or service is unique. Some can take a really short time before the average customer will decide on a purchase, some others, very long.
Understanding how your customers make their purchase decision can be helpful in creating the best possible ecommerce marketing strategy. If the sales cycle is long, for example, you should invest more on marketing channels that will help in the lead nurturing process (i.e. email marketing). On the other hand, on a short sales cycle, you should focus on marketing activities that encourage conversions and prevent cart abandonment.