Ecommerce has become an integral part of the business landscape in recent years, and with the COVID-19 pandemic, online shopping has skyrocketed even further.
With so many online stores competing for the attention of consumers, it's important for businesses to have a solid ecommerce marketing strategy in place.
Thankfully, we can help you with that.
From generating traffic to building loyalty and repeat purchases, this article offers a blueprint for a successful ecommerce marketing strategy.
In this article:
Also worth reading:
What is ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of promoting and selling products or services through online channels, such as a website, social media, or email marketing. These activities are crucial for online stores because they help them reach a wider audience, generate website traffic, increase conversions, and ultimately drive revenue.
Digital marketing for online stores involves a range of tactics. They are designed to move customers through the various stages of the sales funnel, from awareness to consideration, decision, and loyalty. By understanding these stages, you can customize your marketing strategies to target customers. This, in turn, can help you create an ecommerce marketing plan that can yield better results for your business.
Ecommerce Marketing Strategy Blueprint
|Stage 1||Stage 2||Stage 3|
|Generating traffic - PPC advertising - Content marketing - Social media - SEO||Converting traffic into leads and customers - Site optimization - Onsite marketing - Promotions and discounts - Lead magnets||Building loyalty and generating repeat purchases - Retargeting - Email marketing - Affiliate program - User-generated content|
Ultimately, the whole process boils down to three important steps:
Step 1: Attracting visitors
The first step in ecommerce marketing is to attract visitors to your website. This can be done through a variety of methods, including paid advertising, social media marketing, content marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). At this stage, customers are typically in the awareness stage of the sales funnel, meaning they are learning about your brand and products..
Step 2: Encouraging conversion
Once visitors arrive on your website, the next step is to encourage them to take action. This might involve buying a product, signing up for a newsletter, or leaving their contact information. This stage corresponds to the consideration and decision stages of the sales funnel, where customers are evaluating their options and making a purchasing decision.
Step 3: Building ongoing relationships
Finally, it's important to continue building relationships with customers after they make a purchase. This can be done through email marketing, social media, and other channels. The goal is to keep your brand top-of-mind and encourage repeat purchases. This stage corresponds to the loyalty stage of the sales funnel, where customers become advocates for your brand and are more likely to refer others to your business.
Obviously, as an online store owner, you have to build your own processes and put them in motion. What works for some niches may not work for others. It's important to test and refine your strategies to find what works best for your specific audience and industry.
Marketing strategies set the stage for a company's marketing efforts, while marketing tactics are the steps taken to bring those strategies to life.
Are you eager to learn about the most effective actions that can skyrocket your sales and promote your online store? Then, let's dive in and explore the winning tactics that will take your business to the next level.
Best marketing strategies for online stores
In this section, we'll explore some of the best ecommerce marketing strategies, from generating traffic to building loyalty and repeat purchases. Whether you're just starting out or looking to take your existing ecommerce business to the next level, these strategies are sure to help you achieve your goals.
Improve SEO of your online store to drive more traffic
Use onsite marketing tools to increase engagement
Build social media presence to connect with your customers
Send targeted emails to promote special offers
Optimize for mobile to enhance user experience
Drive traffic with paid advertising channels
Create valuable content to attract visitors and generate leads
Partner with affiliates and influencers to expand your reach
Harness user-generated content to build trust and credibility
Use analytics to fine-tune your ecommerce marketing
Let’s discuss them one by one to help you pick the best marketing tactics for your store.
1. Improve SEO of your online store to drive more traffic
When your ecommerce store ranks higher on search engine results pages (SERPs), potential customers are more likely to find you. And it is a perfect situation too.
Just think about it—
Is it easier to sell a raincoat to a person who is looking for a raincoat or to a person who is looking for lingerie?
The beauty of online marketing is that you can attract customers who are actively searching for specific products via search engines. That’s why improving your website's search engine optimization (SEO) is essential to driving more traffic and sales.
However, improving your website's SEO can be a challenging task that requires significant effort, knowledge, and expertise. The process involves extensive keyword research, technical optimization, and monitoring. While the learning curve can be steep, hiring a professional can help you quickly address common issues and gain an advantage over your competitors.
Easy to medium. SEO is notoriously perceived as complex, technical and difficult. As a result many ecommerce stores don’t do anything! Even by addressing the most basic issues you can put yourself ahead of your competitors.
Tools for analytics and monitoring your traffic and positions (GSC, Google Analytics)
Plugins like Yoast SEO for optimizing your posts, meta descriptions, and structured FAQs
Platforms for doing SEO audits, estimating website health scores, and researching keywords
The essential tools are free. For instance, you can set up Google Search Console to monitor traffic, use a free Ahrefs account for running basic SEO audits, and use online tools like Seobility for free keyword research. But hiring a SEO expert who knows how to use these tools can be quite costly.
It's important to note that many websites struggle with search engine friendliness and core web vitals, so don't be discouraged if your website needs improvement.
2. Use onsite marketing tools to increase engagement
Onsite marketing tools—such as popups, the notification feed, or interactive landing pages—are very useful for engaging visitors and increasing conversion rates. They help you showcase your products, promote special offers, and collect email addresses for future marketing campaigns.
For example, this popup converts 5% of website visitors at Blume:
Popups are particularly effective for Shopify stores. You can use them to offer discounts and generate leads. However, it's important to use popups judiciously, as some visitors may find them annoying. Best popup software let you set up custom rules and conditions that trigger your popups only at the right moments.
Easy. Many ecommerce platforms offer built-in tools for creating popups and landing pages. There are also many third-party solutions available that you can integrate with your website.
Additionally, it is a good idea to use an external CRM tool such as HubSpot for better lead management
The costs of onsite marketing tools vary depending on the tools you choose. The majority of onsite marketing platforms charge a monthly fee but the costs are not particularly high. For instance, with Wisepops, you can use 140+ popup templates and run unlimited campaigns for as little as $49 per month.
The onsite notification feed is another useful ecommerce marketing tool. It can notify visitors of special offers, new products, share your discount code ideas and other important information. They're particularly effective for promoting flash sales and limited-time offers as they create a sense of urgency.
Here's how the onsite notification feed looks:
If you want to focus on promoting high-ticket items, you should also consider creating dedicated landing pages. Adding interactive elements will make them more engaging and help you convert more customers.
3. Build social media presence to connect with your customers
According to a report on ecommerce by Kleiner Perkins, 78% of customers in the US find new products through social media. Additionally, Facebook accounts for nearly half of all referral traffic for ecommerce websites, as reported by Semrush.
Building a strong social media presence will help you increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and engage with your audience. However, to achieve these results, you must create posts that resonate with your audience and showcase your products effectively. This requires excellent ecommerce copywriting skills and a thorough understanding of social media trends and best practices.
Medium. It requires consistent effort to create engaging posts and grow your audience
Graphic design software like Canva or Photoshop to create visual assets
Social media management tool like Hootsuite
Social media can be very cost effective. Facebook and Instagram are great places to promote your business free of charge if you create interesting posts. However, you may still need to allocate a budget for social media advertising to reach a wider audience
Social media is particularly beneficial for ecommerce industries with visually attractive products, such as fashion, beauty, and home goods. These industries can use high-quality images and videos to showcase their products and attract potential customers. You can also automate social media messaging, for instance by leveraging Instagram bots.
Learn more: Ethical marketing examples
4. Send targeted emails to promote special offers
Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to promote your ecommerce store and encourage repeat purchases. According to a recent report, email marketing has an average ROI of $42 for every $1 spent.
To get the most out of your email marketing efforts, it's important to segment your email lists and send targeted messages to specific groups of subscribers and customers. This could include offering discounts to inactive subscribers. Or sending abandoned cart emails to customers who left items in their carts without completing their purchases.
To get started with email marketing, you should first build a list of subscribers. You can do this by offering incentives like free shipping, exclusive discounts, or valuable content in exchange for email addresses. Once you have a list, you can segment it based on customer behavior, preferences, and demographics.
Easy to medium. You need to learn how to use an email marketing tool, write engaging copy and create attractive designs.
An email marketing platform like Mailchimp, ConvertKit or Klaviyo.
Design software or templates for creating emails and necessary assets
The costs of email marketing platforms vary depending on the number of subscribers you have. Some platforms offer free plans for smaller lists, while others charge based on the number of emails you send. You can start with a free plan and upgrade as your list grows.
Email marketing platforms have made it easy to create and send professional-looking emails. However, crafting effective email content can take some time and effort. To increase your email open rates and click-through rates, it's important to write compelling email subject lines. Your emails should be mobile-responsive and visually appealing, with clear calls-to-action.
Learn how Springly, a nonprofit software, managed to speed up email list building by 50%:
5. Optimize for mobile to enhance user experience
In today's mobile-first world, it's essential that your ecommerce store is optimized for mobile devices. According to a report by Statista, mobile devices accounted for almost 60% of global website traffic in the second quarter of 2022.
To ensure a seamless mobile user experience, your website should be responsive and easy to navigate on smaller screens. This includes optimizing your images and videos for mobile devices, using larger fonts, and simplifying your checkout process.
Easy. Most modern ecommerce platforms offer mobile-responsive themes out of the box. However, it's important to regularly test your website, use diagnostic tools, and compress your images
Google Lighthouse for monitoring your performance
A tool for generating heatmaps and analyzing user behavior, like HotJar
Image optimization plugins
The tools for website diagnostics and testing mobile-friendliness are mostly free. However, implementing some changes with a web developer is sometimes necessary and professional help comes at a price.
If you want to get more insights about your website and its functionality, consider using software like HotJar. It will let you monitor the behavior of individual users by recording their mouse movements, clicks, and other actions. You will be able to identify potential friction points (such as “rage clicks”) and improve your UX on mobiles.
Rage clicks refer to multiple and repeated clicks made by a user on a website or mobile app out of frustration or annoyance. These clicks typically occur when the user is unable to find what they are looking for or experience issues with the functionality of the interface.
6. Drive traffic with paid advertising channels
Growing your customer base organically can take a lot of time. To speed things up, especially if you need to validate your business model, you can use paid advertising to get thousands of visitors instantly. Paid advertising channels, such as Google Ads and Facebook Ads offer powerful targeting options. It means that they allow you to reach specific audiences based on demographics, interests, and behavior.
To get the most out of your paid advertising campaigns, it's important to define your goals and set a budget. Just like with many other ecommerce marketing strategies, you should focus on creating compelling ad copy and visuals.
Medium to high. Paid advertising platforms can be complex and require a significant amount of research, planning, testing, and optimization to achieve a positive ROI.
A business account on platforms like Google Ads, Instagram, and Facebook
Tools for tracking advertising metrics such as cost-per-click and conversion rates
The costs of paid advertising vary depending on the platform and your budget. Google Ads and Facebook Ads work on a pay-per-click model, with costs varying depending on the competitiveness of your industry and the specific keywords you're targeting.
If you carefully monitor your KPIs and adjust your campaigns accordingly, paid advertising can deliver a high return on investment. A successful combination of a single well-performing PPC campaign and effective landing page can be the lynchpin of your whole ecommerce operation.
7. Create valuable content to attract visitors and generate leads
Blog posts, videos, and infographics can help you attract customers. By sharing useful information and insights related to your products or industry, you can establish yourself as an authority and build trust with your audience.
For example, JHS Show hosted by Josh Scott, owner and creator of JHS Pedals has an audience of over 400K guitar enthusiasts. It made JHS Pedals one of the most successful ecommerce stores selling pedals.
Medium. Creating high-quality content requires time and effort, but it can deliver long-term benefits.
If you want to record videos, you need a camera or a pro-level iPhone, a good microphone, and video editing software
If you focus on creating blog posts and work with a team of writers, consider using an app for managing your writing processes and publishing schedule
The costs of content creation and management tools vary, but there are many free and low-cost options available. For example, you can hire freelance copywriters on a platform like Fiverr.
To create content that resonates with your audience, you should research their needs, interests, and pain points. You can use keyword research tools, social media analytics, and customer feedback to identify topics and formats that are likely to perform well.
Always provide value
Customers are more likely to engage with brands that provide value in the form of helpful content, personalized recommendations, or exclusive deals. By focusing on providing value to your customers, you can build trust and loyalty, which can lead to increased sales.
8. Partner with affiliates and influencers to expand your reach
Affiliates are individuals or companies who promote your products on their websites or social media channels in exchange for a commission. Influencers, on the other hand, are individuals who have a large following on social media and can endorse your products to their audience.
Partnering with affiliates and influencers can help you reach new audiences and drive more traffic and sales. To find the right partners, you can use platforms such as ShareASale, Commission Junction, or Influencer.co. It's important to choose people who align with your brand values and have an engaged and relevant audience.
Medium to high. Partnering with affiliates and influencers requires careful selection and management.
An account on one of the popular affiliate marketing platforms
Affiliate and influencer marketing can be cost-effective, as you only pay commissions or fees when you make a sale. However, you should be prepared to invest time and resources in building a relationship with your partners and tracking their performance.
By collaborating affiliates and influencers, businesses can tap into their large social media following. Furthermore, many influencers can help businesses improve credibility. When an influencer promotes a product or service, their followers perceive it as a genuine recommendation from someone they trust. This can help new online stores build trust with potential customers.
Learn how this fashion store combined two onsite marketing tools (embeds and onsite notifications) to increase AOV:
9. Harness user-generated content to build trust and credibility
Finding the right partners is actually the second best way to earn your customers’ trust. The best way to get good word of mouth marketing is to give your customer an option to share their opinions, reviews, or even photos. It is called user-generated content (UGC).
Content created by your customers, such as testimonials and social media posts, helps you build credibility for your brand. UGC is particularly effective in ecommerce, as it can showcase your products in a real-life context and provide social proof for potential customers. In some cases, you can add a social media feed on your website to display selected posts of your customers.
Easy to medium. Encouraging UGC requires consistent effort, but it can be a highly effective way to build trust and credibility for your brand.
Review plugin or a review management platform
A plugin for embedding social media feeds
The costs of UGC are generally low, as it is created by your customers. However, you may need to allocate resources for some plugins.
To encourage UGC, you should make it easy for your customers to leave reviews and share their experiences. You can also create social media campaigns that encourage customers to share photos and videos of themselves using your products. For instance, you can give them loyalty credit points or additional discounts for leaving a review.
10. Use analytics to fine-tune your ecommerce marketing
No matter which of the tactics above you use, you’ll fail if you don’t combine them with analytics.
You can’t improve what you don’t measure. It's as simple as that.
Analytics can provide valuable insights into your ecommerce marketing efforts, allowing you to identify what's working and what's not, and make data-driven decisions to improve your results.
Easy to medium. Basic analytics can be set up easily, but more advanced tracking and analysis may require technical knowledge.
Google Analytics or similar analytics platform
Heat mapping tools like HotJar
Analytics tracking tools like Google Analytics are free. However, setting up custom events and building dashboards with advanced conversion paths may require some help from an expert.
By tracking key metrics such as traffic, conversion rates, and customer behavior, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes to optimize your ecommerce marketing. A report by McKinsey suggests that businesses that consistently evaluate their data are nearly three times more likely to generate above-average turnover growth compared to their competitors.
How to create an ecommerce marketing strategy for my online store?
OK, all of the tactics described above sound awesome, don’t they? But how to execute them and turn this into a true strategy?
If you want to create an ecommerce marketing strategy for your online store, follow the steps below.
Tips for ecommerce marketing:
Define your target audience. The first step in creating an ecommerce marketing strategy is to identify your target audience. Who are your ideal customers? What are their demographics, interests, and pain points? Once you have a clear understanding of your target audience, you can tailor your marketing messages to resonate with them.
Set clear goals. What do you want to achieve with your ecommerce marketing strategy? Do you want to increase website traffic, boost sales, or improve customer retention? Set clear, measurable goals for your marketing strategy, so you can track your progress and make adjustments as needed.
Choose your marketing channels. There are many marketing channels available to ecommerce businesses, including email marketing, social media, paid advertising, influencer marketing, and more. Consider which channels are most effective for reaching your target audience and align with your goals.
Develop your messaging. Your marketing messages should be tailored to your target audience and align with your brand's values and mission. Develop messaging that resonates with your ideal customers and highlights the unique value proposition of your online store.
Create a content marketing strategy. Content marketing is a powerful way to attract and engage potential customers. Consider creating blog posts, videos, social media content, and other types of content that provide value to your audience and promote your products or services.
Optimize your website. Your website is the cornerstone of your ecommerce business, so it's essential to optimize it for conversions. Make sure your website is user-friendly, loads quickly, and has clear calls to action that encourage visitors to make a purchase.
Track your results. Use analytics tools to track your marketing results and identify what's working and what's not. Use this data to make informed decisions about where to focus your marketing efforts and make improvements to your strategy over time.
In conclusion, creating an effective ecommerce marketing strategy requires careful planning, a deep understanding of your target audience, and a commitment to ongoing optimization and improvement. By following these essential steps, you can create a marketing strategy that drives traffic, boosts sales, and helps your online store succeed in today's competitive digital landscape.
Pawel is the Head of Growth at Wisepops and an expert in lead generation, popups, and onsite marketing.
With over a decade of experience in digital marketing, he has both build marketing teams from scratch and led strategic business growth projects.
Pawel has worked with countless online businesses on marketing strategies and is now sharing his knowledge on the Wisepops blog.