With more consumers shopping online than ever before, an eCommerce website is essential for entrepreneurs who want to succeed in today’s business landscape.
There’s more to success in eCommerce, however, than simply choosing an eCommerce platform and launching an online store––customers need to become familiar with your business and find your site in order to buy your products. Whether you’re starting an online business from scratch or have an established brand and want to move your business online and launch a new eCommerce website, figuring out how to market your site can feel daunting.
In this guide, we highlight some key tactics for eCommerce marketing so you can get your new online shop in front of customers excited to buy your products.
What is eCommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of promoting your online store to potential customers. The goal is to create awareness about your business, drive web traffic to your store, and, ultimately, convert your website visitors into loyal customers. With a strategic approach, eCommerce marketing can increase your online sales and help you reach and exceed your business goals.
How to identify your eCommerce target audience
When planning your eCommerce marketing strategy, it’s important to keep your target audience in mind. Broadly, your potential customers fall into two categories:
- Previous customers who have shopped with you before, either online or in-person.
- People who are searching for the kind of products you offer or might want the products you offer, if they knew about them.
A comprehensive eCommerce marketing plan targets both of these groups, driving previous customers to shop with you again while also attracting new customers.
How to get started with an eCommerce marketing plan
You can (and should) market your new eCommerce website across a variety of online channels, including web, social media, and email. By helping customers find your business via different platforms, a great eCommerce marketing plan can:
- Increase customer awareness of your business and products
- Help people who are looking for the types of products you sell to find your website
- Drive traffic to your eCommerce website
- Convert website visitors into new customers
- Build brand loyalty and create consistent sales through your eCommerce website
You can implement the ten eCommerce marketing tactics outlined in this article regardless of your eCommerce business model, budget, business size, or stage of development. You’ll find these strategies integrate and build upon one another and, together, offer a strong starting point for marketing your eCommerce website.
10 best ways to market your eCommerce site
1. Improve your SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) involves setting up your new eCommerce website in a way that makes it easier for search engines like Google to discover. People make entire careers out of SEO strategy, which can make it a somewhat overwhelming topic for newbies.
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One of the simplest ways to get started with SEO, however, is to put yourself in the mind of your customer and think about what they might type into Google when searching for products like yours. Then, add those keywords to your site copy. This helps search engines recognize what your site offers search engine users and potential customers.
Focus on naturally incorporating these keywords into your product pages, homepage, images, FAQ page, and other content pages on your eCommerce website. It takes time for new websites to rank at the top of Google’s search results, but SEO plays an important role in helping potential customers find your eCommerce website over the long term and for local business keywords. You can use our handy SEO checklist for entrepreneurs to get started.
2. Create a blog
Creating a blog page for your new eCommerce website can improve your site’s SEO, as well as help your business build trust with potential customers. From a technical perspective, a blog is another page on your site where you can incorporate SEO keywords, which can help to drive more traffic to your site over time.
Blogging can also be an effective way to create a connection with your potential customers.
Think about topics that matter to them when planning your blog content. For example, share interesting knowledge about your niche, offer more detailed explanations about how to use your products, or address frequently asked questions about your business. A blog offers an opportunity for a customer to get more familiar with your business, which helps incentivize them to make a purchase.
An informative blog can also give customers a reason to come back to your site after making their first purchase. This keeps your business top of mind when they’re making recommendations to friends and family, or considering a repeat purchase of their own.
3. Invest in Google Ads
Google Ads is a pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform that allows you to create ads that appear on Google’s search results page. The keyword research you do in order to improve your new eCommerce website’s SEO will also serve you well in creating a Google Ads campaign, which involves bidding on relevant keywords.
These keyword ads show up on the search engine results page above the rest of the results, giving you an advantage in attracting traffic for your keyword.
Marketing through Google Ads will cost you money, but it can drive customers actively searching for keywords that match the products you sell to your site. With some planning, the sales you get from these new customers can offset the cost you pay to reach them.
4. Get active on social media
It’s no secret social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are deeply integrated into most of our lives, making them prime places to market to your potential customers. You can use your business’s social media pages to find new potential customers and engage with existing ones, as well as drive traffic to your eCommerce site.
Like a blog page that lives on your eCommerce website, your business’s social media pages can be convenient places to promote your products, but they can also serve as platforms for building trust and familiarity with your potential customers. Show off your industry expertise, tell customers about your business ethos, and post content that engages your target audience.
The interactive nature of social media also makes it an invaluable tool for learning more about what your customers want. Responding to comments, running polls, and observing the kind of content that resonates with your audience can all provide insights into how to market to your customers more effectively.
Keep in mind you don’t necessarily need to create a business profile on every social channel. Focus on the platform that best aligns with your brand and is popular with your potential customers. You’ll likely see better results from posting thoughtful, consistent content on a few key channels than if you split your efforts across too many platforms.
5. Try paid social media advertising
Just as SEO goes hand-in-hand with paid search advertising, your organic (unpaid) social media strategy can be complemented by paid social media advertising and other advertising techniques. Building a large audience that drives significant traffic to your eCommerce site can take time, so it can be worth investing in paid social media advertising in order to amplify your business, boost your reach and expose your brand to a new audience in the short term.
As with your unpaid social media marketing strategy, it’s important to make the most of your money and effort by focusing on the social platforms that are most popular with your target audience. Different platforms also offer various types of ad formats, so it’s best to test a few ad types until you figure out which platforms and formats drive the most traffic to your eCommerce website and generate the best sales for your business.
6. Consider partnerships with influencers
Influencer marketing involves paying people with either large or very niche social media followings to promote your business. This strategy can help your business reach a new audience and allow potential customers to get to know your brand. Influencers build communities of people who trust their opinions, and an endorsement from the right influencer can be a powerful motivator for customers who are unfamiliar with your business.
There are many different ways to work with influencers, from having them demonstrate how your product works in a video to paying them to create a blog post or Instagram story reviewing your business. Be sure to research thoroughly and reach out to influencers who align with your brand and whose audience represents your target market. For example, if your primary audience is young kids and teens, you might want to partner with popular teen influencers.
Many businesses find better value in working with “micro-influencers” in their niche who have a small, but dedicated following, rather than partnering with influencers who have large follower numbers that may not represent your target audience.
7. Build your email list
Email offers a direct, personalized way to communicate with customers who have purchased from your business in the past or expressed an interest in shopping with you. If you’re starting to build your email list from scratch, a giveaway or discount that requires potential customers to sign-up for your email list can be a great way to get started. With a thoughtful approach, email marketing can help turn one-time customers into loyal fans.
If a customer makes a purchase from your new eCommerce website, a welcome email can keep the conversation going or offer an opportunity for the customer to provide valuable feedback about their experience with your business.
You can use email marketing to grow your business by re-engaging customers with discount offers, building anticipation for new product launches, or driving traffic to your site by promoting new blog content. Email marketing can also be used to reengage potential customers who abandoned their shopping carts on your eCommerce site.
Unlike social media, which requires you to communicate the same message to a potentially diverse audience, you can use email marketing platforms like Mailchimp and Hubspot to share targeted messages to customers based on their interests or their stage in the buyer’s journey.
8. Leverage social proof
You may have heard the term “social proof” used in marketing, which describes the tendency of consumers to modify their behaviour based on what other people are doing.
New customers will feel more confident in shopping with your business for the first time when they see that other people also buy your products and enjoy them. According to research from Canada Post, 32 per cent of shoppers state that reviews and other user-generated content (UGC) influence them to choose a specific retailer.
Influencer partnerships are one way to generate social proof, but you can also leverage the social proof provided by your other satisfied customers. You can feature customer reviews on the product pages on your eCommerce website. Try requesting reviews from customers by emailing them a few days after they complete a purchase (you can further incentivize this by offering a discount code or a special freebie in exchange for their review).
You can also integrate social proof into your social media strategy. Reshare positive reviews from your eCommerce site as posts on your social channels. When happy customers share photos and videos of your products on their channels, be sure to reshare them on your own page (after requesting permission, of course).
9. Offer discounts and giveaways
Discounts and giveaways can be a strategic way to kick-start interest in your new eCommerce website. Customers may be hesitant to make their first purchase from an unfamiliar business, but a valuable discount can offer the added incentive they need to take a chance on your brand. You can also use discounts to reward previous customers for their loyalty and draw them back to your site.
Discounts and giveaways also integrate naturally with the other eCommerce marketing strategies outlined in this guide. For example, you may run a giveaway on your social media pages, which can help boost your followers, engagement, and brand recognition.
Or, you may partner with an influencer to offer a special discount code or promote a giveaway to their followers. You could also offer a discount for new customers who subscribe to your email list or create a customer referral program and discount code for customers who recommend your brand to others.
10. Partner with complementary brands
Partnering with another business in your niche that is not a direct competitor can be a win-win eCommerce marketing strategy for both you and the partner brand. Not only can this kind of partnership expose your eCommerce website to the other brand’s existing audience (and vice versa), it allows you to receive twice the return on your marketing efforts.
The partnership could involve a co-branded giveaway in which the winner receives products from both of your eCommerce sites. Or, you may decide to offer a special promotion that gives consumers a discount on your product when they also purchase a product through your partner retailer. Reach out to other brands in your niche that you admire, and think creatively together about ways you could work to expand both of your audiences and drive sales.
What’s next for your eCommerce website?
Remember that eCommerce marketing is a long game. Take your marketing strategy one step at a time and start by focusing on a few key tactics you think will be most effective for your niche. Over time, you can gradually refine your unique approach, as well as integrate new strategies.
Success in eCommerce marketing comes down to a willingness to adapt and learn as you go. By repeatedly and regularly connecting with your customers, you will build familiarity and trust over time that will translate into a thriving online business.