Whether you have a new start-up or an established online business, you probably already know that marketing is crucial to your success. In essence, marketing provides you with ways to communicate the value of your brand to your target audience. This is especially essential in e-commerce, where customers aren't able to experience a store – or its products – in person.
Recent studies show that one of the main reasons customers prefer brick and mortar stores is because they want to touch, feel and try on items physically. Without the tactile element, it's even more difficult for e-commerce marketing to communicate the quality of products.
In spite of this hurdle, online shopping still has plenty of advantages – advantages that savvy business owners know how to leverage. These six tips can help you find the marketing platforms you need to reach your ideal demographic.
1. Produce Original Content
In digital marketing, content is king. In fact, studies show that 60 percent of online users are motivated to seek out a product or service after reading content about it.
Arguably, just about any type of business can gain from effective content marketing; but e-commerce businesses can especially benefit because of a phenomenon called brand affinity. Brand affinity creates not only trust, but also a sort of friendship between a consumer and a product or brand. Appealing, enticing content can foster this affinity, especially if the content is original.
Effective original content can consist of blogs, DIY articles, and any type of post that's appealing, informative, and doesn't read like a blaring non-stop advertisement for your brand.
By offering original content, you're providing users with something that's fresh and new, so it's more likely to attract attention and might even go viral. Plus, original content is content that's shared – and sharing brings you a wealth of new potential customers. By using the right keywords in your content, you can also optimize your blog posts for SEO marketing.
2. Use Video
Studies show that 64 percent of consumers are more likely to buy a product online after they've seen a video of it. Likewise, 90 percent of consumers say that watching a video helps them in the decision-making process – and even more significantly, 46 percent of viewers say that they take some sort of action after watching a video ad.
Given the long-distance nature of e-commerce, where purchasers have to make decisions without seeing a product in person, it's not surprising that video has become such a powerful marketing tool. Video marketing brings a product to life; and it also provides the missing personal touch between buyer and seller, which in turn engenders trust. In fact, 58 percent of consumers say that they feel that businesses with product videos can be trusted.
3. Use Social Media
Social media is the darling of digital marketing because it provides a high-profile, cost-effective venue for just about any type of content marketing.
Consider these statistics: Five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, while 1.40 billion people log in to Facebook daily, sharing nearly five billion pieces of content in the process. This makes both ideal advertising platforms.
Just do a Google search, and you'll find a wealth of examples showing how businesses leverage social media marketing to get attention and customers. For example, pet supply company Petco doesn't just post funny cat photos; it also posts DIY videos, coupons, and contests for its many followers. Likewise, major international brands such as Coca-Cola constantly find new ways to promote consumer brand engagement through Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. If it works for them, it will probably work for you, too.
4. Integrate Search and Display Advertising
Display advertising might be the oldest form of online marketing, but it's still hugely popular (and effective), and accounts for 47.9 percent of all digital ad spending in the US. Digital advertising is especially effective when it's used in tandem with search advertising, rather than as an alternative to it.
Search advertising is triggered by keywords that the user enters in the search bar – keywords that you can bid on so that your store or product will be linked to them in web searches. If you're linked to keywords that generate many searches, you can end up with a lot of traffic and potential conversions. Display advertising, on the other hand, consists of content, banner ads, and pop-ups that provide a portal to your website, either through hyperlinked words or click-through technology.
Because display ads can actually generate searches, and search ads can help you hone in on a target audience, e-commerce businesses are finding that integrating the two – rather than choosing one over the other – can boost conversions.
A prime example of this is remarketing, which is essentially the integration of display and search. In remarketing, you're displaying ads (or content) to a targeted group of people who, through their previous searches, have already shown an interest in your product. When used in tandem like this, display and search can be more effective together than apart.
5. Go Mobile
Studies show that approximately one-third of e-commerce is driven by mobile shopping. This means that if you haven't designed your site with mobile devices in mind, you could be missing out on a lot of revenue. E-commerce and mobile marketing can be a match made in heaven; but first, you'll need to make your website mobile-friendly.
You can ensure that your e-commerce store is optimized for mobile browsing by testing it on a variety of devices on both iOS and Android. Be sure to check everything, including zoom functionality, coupon codes and graphic imagery. Next, make multiple purchases to ensure that things go smoothly; and try to use a variety of payment methods. Also, make sure to conduct these tests using a variety of mobile browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc.).
If your site lags on any of these, you'll want to redesign it – or better yet, create a completely different and separate site for mobile users.
6. Use Email
According to recent statistics, email marketing typically generates 174 percent more conversions than social media campaigns. This may seem surprising, until you stop and consider just how flexible email can be.
For e-commerce marketing, email works brilliantly on its own; but it also works well with other marketing platforms. For example, by employing entry and exit popups offering coupons or a newsletter subscription, you can rake in new email customers from all over the internet. In addition, email lends itself to so many different strategies--from "abandoned cart" emailing, where you email potential customers who left something in their shopping carts, to follow-up emails offering relevant products/coupons to customers who just made a purchase.
No matter what kind of e-commerce business you have, marketing is a key component to success; but the key is diversity. By diversifying your marketing strategies, you can leverage everything that the internet has to offer for better Return on Investment (ROI) – from big data analytics and SEO to video marketing and social media engagement.