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Ultimate Guide To eCommerce Marketing

Xugar Blog
Sagar Sethi Entrepreneur
Sagar Sethi
23/02/2024
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This article will cover everything you need to know about e-commerce marketing. As a digital marketer of over ten years & founder of a leading digital marketing agency, I come across many channels, strategies and frameworks to get the best return on marketing dollars. A lot of them are effective, with some being duds. The ones that work for a particular industry may not work for others.  So, like everything in marketing, you have to measure, iterate and evolve. However, if you're looking for structure and a framework, this article will give you just that. So let's get into it.

Table of contents: 

What is E-commerce Marketing?

Ecommerce marketing can be defined as conducting promotional activities to drive traffic to your ecommerce storefront combined with conversion, retention, cross-sell and upsell strategies. An effective marketing strategy will include activities on and off your e-commerce website. In this article, we will cover the digital advertising channels and ways to leverage them to build a robust e-commerce marketing strategy. E-commerce marketers often employ creative strategies to increase digital footfall.

The trick is to "grow big & convert more". Focus on driving relevant traffic and getting the most conversions out of the opportunity. You need to consider increasing your customers' ALTV (Average Lifetime Value).  The key here is to first generate relevant traffic and, second, understand your user behaviour. This mindset will help you develop and grow based on your audience's desires and deliver at par with what they want.

FREE: E-COMMERCE MARKETING STRATEGY SESSION

What are the different types of e-commerce advertising?

Further in the article, we will look at different types of e-commerce marketing. But first, let's look at the channels where we can advertise on. Like advertising is a part of overall marketing strategy, e-commerce advertising also falls under the umbrella of e-commerce marketing. Many channels, such as Google Ads & Social Media Ads, offer rather comprehensive platforms you can leverage to scale your E-commerce store. So let's look into the significant channels you can advertise on:

Google Ads

Google Ads offers many advertising solutions for e-commerce stores. Google Shopping, Search Ads, Performance Max and more. Depending on your industry or product, you may want to select one over the others. Before we get into the details, let's look at some basic requirements I recommend before using Google Ads.

  1. Build a solid foundation - Research into your market will give you a fair idea of what you are against. If you are in a market where many large companies invest in Google Ads, you must consider factors such as budget, profit margins, sales cycle and product costings.
  2. Ensure you have a sufficient budget - Especially if you're in a competitive industry, Ads are not where you test the waters with a minimal budget and see what sticks. I have often come across campaigns needing more ROI because they were too skeptical and worries to invest the minimum amounts needed for the campaigns to work.
  3. Understand your set up & buyers journey - Do buyers on your website buy once and never return? Do you get many return buyers, but the transaction size is small? Do you have a tremendous bounce rate? Ask these questions often and early in the campaign. Answers to these questions often come in the form of actions you can take to improve the overall return on your marketing activities.

Google Ads - Ecommerce marketing

Google Ads for e-commerce is a relatively more holistic advertising channel. Like many other countries, Chrome dominates the internet browser market, making Google the dominant search engine. Besides Search Ads, Google offers Google Shopping Ads, Performance Max, and YouTube ads. You can choose which platform works better for you based on your products. Here are some things to be aware of when running advertisements on all forms of Google ads:

Google Shopping

  1. Don't put the same products in different groups. You'll end up competing with yourself.
  2. Choose the best images for your products. Preferably lifestyle images if your product allows for them. People buy with their eyes.
  3. Fix the errors like GTINs and Out of Stock as soon as possible. Your product feed (this is what uploads your products to the ads platform) may not have all the necessary details, which causes these errors to show. Delaying fixing these may affect the performance.
  4. Always include negative keywords. Ensure this is done correctly, or your ads will disappear for the right keywords.
  5. Do not spend on unprofitable products. Sometimes, selling products with a skinny margin will incur a loss when you spend advertising dollars to sell these products.
  6. Keep an eye on competitor pricing. If the competitor's pricing is much smaller than yours for similar or the same products, you will notice people will not click on your ad as often, reducing the CTR and, hence, your ad performance.

Search Ads

Many e-commerce companies will run Google Ads in combination with search ads. This is mainly because of the freedom Search Ads provide over-dependence on data feeds of your website for Shopping Ads. This combination can be a potent combo if executed right. Imagine an e-commerce store that sells health & well-being products such as protein powder. The following two similar queries triggered two different search result pages. One with JUST shopping ads and another with shopping and Search Ads.

Google Shopping with Shopping Ads

In the image above for the keyphrase 'protein powder good for health?', Google only shows Shopping Ads. However, the results are very different when you change the query slightly.

Shopping and Search Ads Ecommerce

So, as you can see, even the slightest change in the search query can change the results. Like this, many variables are involved when running an ad for your e-commerce website. Here are some things to be aware of when running Search ads for your eCommerce store:

  1. Do not leave your brand name open for others to bid on. Use search ads to run brand campaigns.
  2. Do not run product-based ads but ads on various products for general queries like the one above.
  3. Target behavioural vital phrases that people usually search for related to your products.

FREE: E-COMMERCE MARKETING STRATEGY SESSION

Social Media Marketing

Facebook and Instagram (Meta) ads are also effective channels for advertising for e-commerce brands. Unlike Google Ads, Social Media ads can emphasise the images, creating a unique relationship with your prospects. Images can increase buyer impulse, enhance emotional connection and drive higher CTRs. Social Media Marketing for E-commerce can be divided into Social Selling and Social Commerce.

Social Selling VS Social Commerce

When brands use social media ads to connect with, identify and nurture potential buyers, these ads are called Social Selling ads. Rather than direct selling, the social selling strategy focuses on relationship building and brand awareness. It's essentially an investment for WHEN the prospect is ready to buy.

In contrast to Social Selling, Social Commerce focuses on selling your products using native solutions such as Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops or TikTok Shop.

Xugar.       Ecommerce ads Facebook

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is also an excellent channel to sell the products listed on your E-commerce stores. Remember the screen grabs above? What is the best thing about the first page of Google? Location Location Location. The second best is to appear on the first page multiple times. It helps you build higher visibility for your competitive vital phrases but also enables you to improve your website traffic relevance, quantity & brand credibility. In the image below, you can see the organic SEO growth trend.

eCommerce SEO

Especially with e-commerce SEO, it is essential that we not limit our keywords to the highest traffic and most competitive keywords. A good eCommerce SEO strategy would look at all categories of your range as an opportunity to shine. Depending on your product range and industry, it may also be a good idea to look at optimising and ranking individual products.

Let's look at a case study where an e-commerce website doubles its revenue by using e-commerce SEO. This e-commerce website ranks for some of the most competitive keywords in their industry, with a gigantic total of over 10,500 keywords on the search index. They received over 3000 visitors to their website using a well-planned eCommerce SEO strategy.

eCommerce SEO Growth

A well-organised eCommerce SEO strategy can add a tremendous amount of traffic to your website, help you run effective retargeting campaigns & give you 360-degree coverage on search engines.

How to Create an E-commerce Marketing Strategy?

Okay, so you're convinced you need a proper eCommerce Marketing strategy for your store. That's the hardest part. Many managers & founders fall into the trap of tip-towing around specific marketing channels, trying ads one month and social media the next. It's inconsistent and laborious, and the returns are below average. Instead, having a well-thought-out e-commerce SEO strategy empowers you to excel and grow without distractions. Let's dig in.

Know your goals

Like everything else in marketing, eCommerce strategy should also start with where and what you want out of it. Here are some examples of the goals you can aim to achieve.

Increase sales revenue

Stating the obvious here. But the critical thing to note is we document fundamental matrices such as the rate of growth & the time you're willing to give for that growth.

Improve conversion rate

We at Xugar say - Grow Big, Convert More! This means that while you focus on increasing your store's reach, focusing on getting the maximum returns on your investment is also essential. High conversions from your website mean you need to spend less to generate more sales.

Expand customer base

By using effective digital marketing strategies, you can tap into audiences you may not currently target. You can do this by increasing your geographical reach or expanding the range of products you offer.

Increase customer retention

There are two ways to increase your profits. Increase your sales or lower your expenses. However, if you were to retain your existing customers and keep increasing your new sales, growth would seem faster and easier.

Boost average order value (AOV)

Increasing the cart value is another way to boost your profits. A higher average value per order may mean less back-end processing and customer service. Larger orders also reflect trust in your product and brand.

Improve customer lifetime value (CLV)

With larger orders increasing, if your customers keep ordering longer, you can be assured that your brand value is increasing. Increasing customer lifetime value means 'How much' they spend with you before they stop. Higher CLV means lower acquisition costs, which means more profits.

Enhance brand awareness

You can raise brand awareness amongst your target audience through various marketing channels. This can help drive organic traffic and build trust with potential customers.

Reduce cart abandonment rate.

Measuring how many people browse and add items to their cart but don't convert is essential. This may lead to changing the UX, creating offers that entice customers to complete the purchase, and automation, such as abandonment emails.

Define Your Target Audience

Not knowing WHO you're selling to is like praying and hoping for a miracle. Defining your target audience is crucial for creating an effective e-commerce marketing plan. Here's how you can define your target audience:

Start with market research -  conduct a thorough analysis of the demographics & behaviours of your potential buyers. Look at the recent industry reports, competitor strategies and trends to identify segments you can work with.

Know your customer - Customer profiling means knowing who your customer is. You can use the collected data to build better relations & refine your messaging to connect better with your audience.

Competitor analysis - looking at the customer's strategy gives insight into your target audience. Studying their target keywords, ads, channels they advertise on, and their messaging helps you understand who they're targeting and, in most cases, why.

Determine Pricing & Positioning

Determine early in the planning stage how you want your brand to be perceived relative to competitors (e.g., premium, value-oriented, luxury, etc.) and adjust your pricing and messaging accordingly. Tailor your pricing and positioning strategies to different segments based on their unique needs, preferences, and willingness to pay. Nowadays, it's easy to compare prices, especially in e-commerce. Once you have established the basics, be flexible with altering markets. Your competitors may change their pricing more often than positioning. You must have the wiggle room when it's needed to stay ahead.

Free Download: E-commerce Ads ROI Calculator.

DOWNLOAD ROI CALCULATOR

Summary

  • E-commerce marketing encompasses driving traffic to online stores and implementing conversion, retention, cross-sell, and upsell strategies.
  • Effective marketing strategies involve on and off-site activities, generating relevant traffic and maximising conversions.
  • Channels like Google Ads and social media platforms offer comprehensive advertising solutions for scaling e-commerce stores.
  • Google Ads provides various advertising solutions, including Google Shopping, Search Ads, Performance Max, and YouTube ads.
  • Social media marketing on platforms like Facebook and Instagram allows for creative advertising, emphasising images to drive higher click-through rates.
  • Social selling and social commerce are two strategies employed on social media, focusing on relationship-building and direct product selling, respectively.
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) is crucial for improving visibility and credibility, attracting organic traffic, and enhancing brand presence on search engines.
  • A well-defined e-commerce marketing strategy begins with setting clear goals, such as increasing sales revenue, improving conversion rates, expanding the customer base, and enhancing brand awareness.
  • Knowing your target audience involves conducting market research, customer profiling, and competitor analysis to understand demographics, behaviours, and preferences.
  • Pricing and positioning strategies should align with brand identity and target audience perceptions, considering factors like product value, competition, and market trends. Flexibility is essential to adapt to changing market dynamics and stay ahead of competitors.

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