Ecommerce marketing is a top priority for any online business. With millions of websites and digital products competing for attention, you can’t wait for your target market to stumble upon your brand—you have to go and find them.
That’s easier said than done. The online marketplace is saturated. To stand out, you’ll need to master your ecommerce marketing strategy by prioritizing the right elements:
- Target audience: You need to understand your audience and where they spend their time online. It doesn’t matter how good your product or offer is if it’s wasted trying to convince the wrong people.
- Marketing channel: Every digital channel has a purpose. Your Instagram may be more of a brand awareness builder, while your email marketing campaigns drive the sales.
- Device: Some consumers don’t make purchases on their phones, while others only shop on their mobile devices. Learn about your customers and their digital behaviors.
- Timing: Your target market might not be in the buying mood at 8am, but they could be more inclined to make a purchase from 3-5pm when the workday begins to drag.
- Offer: Your marketing message needs to beat out the competition. Answer the question of why they should click on your ad or product instead of another one.
What Is Ecommerce Marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is a bit different from traditional marketing. Instead of driving attention and awareness to a physical storefront, ecommerce marketing drives traffic and sales to your digital marketplace.
There’s no single channel or tactic for ecommerce marketing. Social media, content marketing, and email marketing are all typical ecommerce marketing strategies—but offline marketing tactics like billboards, posters, and handouts that drive attention to your online store could be considered ecommerce marketing strategies, too.
Regardless of your business size or budget, there are ecommerce marketing campaigns you can (and should) afford. You might have to get clever or laser-targeted, but there’s always a way.
Without ecommerce marketing, you’ll just be sitting around hoping for customers to find your website. It’s a tried-and-true plan for wasting your time and potential.
It takes money to make money, and we’ll show you how to spend your hard-earned cash on the ecommerce marketing strategies that generate healthy ROI.
11+ Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is the strategy of creating useful content (informative, entertaining, persuading, helpful, beautiful) for your target market. It entails a lot of different options:
- Guest posting
- Viral videos
- Product page copy
- Landing pages
- Customer testimonials
If you’re selling a product online, you need to surround it with great content.
For example, if you’re selling a protein drink, you need to convince your target audience that protein drinks will help them reach their end goals. You might need to tell them about the ingredients, benefits of drinking protein drinks, and the best timing for consumption.
Content marketing could convince your current customers to make a purchase, or it might help brand-new leads find your products.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of organizing and optimizing your online content to rank for specific keywords. Google needs to understand your digital products and relevant content, and it needs to believe it’s better than the other thousand options it could show your audience.
SEO and content marketing work together. Unless you’ve optimized it for online searchability, your target market will never find your content (no matter how good it is).
However, SEO is a long-term ecommerce marketing strategy. Even if you invested a massive amount of time and budget into your SEO strategy, you wouldn’t reap the rewards for months to come.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, though—it just means you need to be patient when executing an SEO-oriented strategy.
3. Ecommerce Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the highest ROI-generating ecommerce marketing tactics. It’s relatively cheap to store thousands of contacts and send email campaigns (we’re talking $20 to $50 per month on the reasonable end). However, any single email could drive thousands of dollars in standalone or recurring revenue.
Your email program can include various marketing tactics:
- Nurture campaigns
- Abandoned cart emails
- Email reminders
- Product launches
The hardest part about developing a successful email marketing program is building an email list. You never should purchase a list (these are almost always going to hurt your engagement and your program’s efficacy). Instead, focus on proven tactics for building an organic, engaged email list.
4. Social Media Marketing
There’s a world of opportunity to market your business on social media. Find the channels your audience uses, and then target them with various tactics:
- Video marketing
- Sponsored posts
- Influencer marketing
- Affiliate marketing
If you don’t want to include a social media marketing budget, you can opt for the long-term organic strategy. It’ll take more time to grow your following this way, but it’s possible to build an engaged audience without spending a dime.
There’s no “best” social media channel for ecommerce marketing. You just need to find where your market spends its time. That could be on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Twitch, or LinkedIn.
5. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is the strategy of placing advertisements on search engine results pages (SERPs) that your customers are looking at. For example, if you sell shampoo, then you’ll likely want to place ads on SERPs for keywords like “best shampoo,” “organic shampoo,” or “most affordable shampoo.”
Your content marketing efforts might take a while to rank organically on SERPs, but you can get SEM ads placed in hours. Experiment with using both to see which drives more profitable traffic to your website.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the strategy of empowering other online users to sell your products or services in exchange for a commission. You can open your affiliate program to anyone interested, or you can be super selective with which influencers or online authorities you allow to sell your products.
Get your profit margins right, and affiliate marketing can be a lucrative ecommerce marketing strategy. Pay-per-click (PPC) ads cost an average of $1 per click, but these prices can jump as high as $50 per click for more expensive products—and that’s just for the click (they might not even finish the purchase).
If your affiliate program pays users a 10 to 20% commission, that could be well worth their time and effort—and it might be a more affordable ecommerce marketing strategy for you.
7. Local Offline Marketing
While your products and services are listed online, that doesn’t mean you need to limit yourself to digital channels. You can still take advantage of out-of-home advertising techniques to drive awareness and traffic to your ecommerce store.
Invest in billboards, posters, event marketing, and local sponsorships. It’s hard to track the ROI of offline marketing tactics, but that doesn’t mean you should completely discount them from your overall ecommerce marketing strategy.
8. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the process of finding celebrities, leaders, and micro-influencers in your niche industry to help market your products and services. You’ll provide them with free goods, commissions, or even a monthly stipend to promote your ecommerce business.
Online shoppers trust influencers more than brands. Your ads and self-promotional messaging might not be as effective at driving purchases as a respected individual with a loyal following.
If your traditional marketing isn’t hitting home, consider experimenting with influencer marketing. You may find there’s nothing wrong with your product or offer—your audience is just more concerned with the source of information and the delivery.
9. SMS (Text) Marketing
SMS marketing is growing across industries, but consumers tend to be more guarded over their phone number than their email address. You’ll have to provide extra incentives and opt-in offers to get customers to consent to receive text marketing messages.
However, the results are worth the investment. SMS messages have a 98% open rate, and 99% of opened text messages get read within the first 90 seconds of receiving them.
With stats like that, it’s no wonder SMS is such a valuable ecommerce marketing strategy. Start building your SMS subscriber list as soon as possible to capitalize on this marketing opportunity.
10. Video Marketing
Video is one of the best-performing pieces of content on the internet, driving more awareness, engagement, and purchases than many other methods. YouTube is the second-largest search engine behind Google, meaning there’s a good chance your target market is on the platform.
Invest in creating organic video content, market your videos through YouTube ads, or execute a combination of both. You can repurpose this video content on your other social media platforms or even your blog.
While your video might not go viral like the Squatty Potty unicorn or Purple mattress, it may be exactly what your audiences need to discover your brand.
11. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is a tactic for getting your audience to spread information about your products via customer reviews, referrals, or user-generated content.
To spark the word-of-mouth marketing fire, you might give out free products, host contests, find an influencer, promote user content, or create an experience worth talking about.
Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, TOM’s buy one give one model, or that time Wendy’s burned McDonald’s (again) on Twitter? Those weren’t traditional promoted events—they were experiences built around word-of-mouth marketing.
Tips for Nailing Your Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Add Personalization to Your Messaging
Regardless of your channel or tactic, personalize your message as best you can. Use any information you have about your customer to make every engagement a high-quality experience.
This goes beyond just using their first name in your email campaign. Instead, segment your audiences and send them promotional content relevant to their specific likes and interests.
For example, your outdoor brand doesn’t need to market t-shirts to customers who are only interested in shoes and hats. Learn about your audience through surveys and interaction data, and then use that information to personalize your messaging.
Your customers in Florida likely don’t care about your snowboards, and your audience in Colorado probably doesn’t want your brand-new surfboards—segment your audience and market to them appropriately.
A/B Test Everything
Take the guesswork out of your messaging by A/B testing your campaigns. If you’re launching an email or Facebook Ads campaign, create multiple versions with single variations to learn what best resonates with your audience.
Remember: only change one variable between each version to help inform what element inspired the rise or drop in engagement.
Try including various product selling points in different marketing messages to see what performs best.
For example, you may find that Facebook Ads that mention your competitive low prices perform better than ads that focus on your organically sourced materials. You could use this information to inform how you write your email subject lines and SMS messages, too.
Build Your Following
Generating a sale without gaining a follower is like losing your soulmate’s number after an amazing first date.
Start building a following from the get-go. One-off sales are great, but you eventually want to create recurring customers, brand advocates, and lifetime fans.
Launch ecommerce marketing strategies that grow your email list, build your Instagram following, and increase your YouTube subscriptions. It’s much cheaper (and easier) to market to a loyal following than an unfamiliar online audience.
Make Every Domain Mobile-Friendly
Your ecommerce store, blog, and landing pages should all be mobile-friendly. Your customers will likely be visiting your page from smartphones, tablets, and desktop devices—ensure that it’s a quality experience wherever they’re interacting with your brand.
You’ll also want to ensure your marketing materials are mobile-friendly too. When sending email campaigns, double-check they show up appropriately across browsers, email clients, and devices.
Optimize for Voice Search
More consumers are using voice search as part of their day-to-day routine and even as part of their purchasing process. Optimize your content and website for voice search to increase accessibility to users asking help from Siri, Alexa, or Cortana.
Here are a few ways you can improve for voice search:
- Write in a conversational tone: Your audience uses a conversational tone to ask AI for help—ensure your content uses a similar style.
- Answer your audience’s questions: Think about what your customers will ask their voice search program. Once you know the questions, your website and content can provide the answers.
- Build FAQ pages: Customers frequently ask questions about who, what, when, where, why, and how. Build pages to answer all of these questions.
- Think local: Google knows where searches come from—for example, if a user asks for “shoes nearby,” it will give them results geographically close to them. Optimize your site for local search to win these customers, too.
Whether you’re sending email campaigns, publishing to your blog, or posting on your social media channels, keep it consistent. Consistency includes your publishing frequency, tone, and types of content.
Consistency helps your audience know what to expect, and that’s what creates an engaged community. They’ll be looking for your posts on certain days and at specific times, and they’ll be anticipating your brand-relevant content.
Use scheduling software to automate your social posting and email campaigns. This lets you set it and forget it, so you don’t have to post and publish on your accounts throughout the day manually.
Review Your Analytics
Focus on data-backed ecommerce marketing strategies. Regularly consult your analytics, replicate success, tweak failures, and repeat.
You’ll find that certain marketing channels and tactics perform better than others—these are the mediums you want to throw extra budget behind.
However, remember to diversify your marketing channels. You never want to become too reliant on a single strategy. For example, if all your traffic is coming through Facebook, try to build up your followings on other channels to spread the following.
If your entire traffic or sales come from a single source, you’re at risk. Facebook could shut down your account, Google could release an algorithm change that tanks your organic traffic, or an influencer may decide to stop working with your brand—never become reliant on one marketing channel.
Master Ecommerce Marketing in Weeks (Not Years)
Ready to start your online store? Anyone can do it—you just need the right steps and know-how.
Join our free ecommerce masterclass to learn how to start a profitable online store in 12 weeks or less. Your instructor, Gretta Rose Van Riel, has launched multiple multimillion-dollar ecommerce brands, and this is the exact framework and ecommerce marketing strategies she used to make it happen.
You don’t need to wait months or years to build a profitable online business. Get started now.