eCommerce Marketing Tips to Drive More Online Sales: Part 1
What are the best practices and governing philosophies for eCommerce marketing? We received submissions from the experts about their approaches to eCommerce marketing and useful tips they’ve learned along the way. You’ll find ideas for engaging audiences effectively, testing and budgeting, staying up to speed with emerging trends, and other helpful points.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator, Premier Technologies
Decide how you want to approach audiences, and use different channels and ad types.
When it comes to eCommerce marketing, it is important to understand what advertising channels to use and to work out your best audiences before increasing ad spend. Here’s a few tips for those who are new to running paid ads for their eCommerce business:
Use the advertising channels that are most ideal for your product/service offerings.
Products and services can generally be placed under two categories—impulse and problem-solving. For impulse, the audience doesn’t know that they want the product until they see it, so Facebook, Instagram and Display ads would be a good fit. For problem-solving, the audience knows what sort of product or service they are looking for to solve a problem of theirs, which makes Paid Search and Google Shopping ads a strong choice for advertising channels.
Test your audiences.
For paid social ads, try testing various audiences and once you’ve narrowed down the right interests, you can further refine the audiences by breaking them down into age groups, gender, location, etc. This will help you reduce your cost per acquisition if you do it correctly.
Focus on the customer journey.
You can run the most amazing ads with top-notch copy and images, but the other half of securing a conversion is your website’s user experience. Keep an eye on certain metrics such as where users are bouncing, how many add-to-carts or initiate-checkouts have been tracked without proceeding to a conversion, and what pages users are often looking at. Make sure to review your competitors’ websites and research the industry standards so that you can identify gaps in your website and replicate some ideas to improve the customer journey on your website.
Liz Morrison Mahaffey
Marketing Manager, Allergy Buyers Club
Embrace change and budget for it.
Make trying new things part of your quarterly budget.
The hardest part about eCommerce marketing is that it is constantly changing! New best-practices seem to pop up every month as well as new marketing solutions and platforms. Make it part of your quarterly budget to try at least one new marketing avenue. If your budget is tight, that’s ok! You can make it work. For example, we decided to try doing giveaways during the holidays to grow our brand awareness and our email list. The campaign did better than we expected and we’re building giveaways into our marketing budget for the coming year! It’s inexpensive but still has an impact!
Consistently review who your customers are.
You may think you know exactly who your customers are, but they can change overtime. Pour over your analytics and figure out who’s coming to your website, clicking on your ads, opening your emails, and most importantly, purchasing your product or service. We’ve found that our demographics have shifted in recent years and now our marketing tactics and messaging have to follow suit. Routinely going through reports and staying informed about who your customers are can help keep your campaigns more focused and prevent you from wasting money advertising to the wrong people.
Digital Marketing Consultant, Cristers Media
Use videos to market your products and demonstrate them in action.
It’s no surprise video content is hot right now. This trend will continue well into 2020 and beyond. Users are consuming more and more video content every day (over 1 billion hours per day on YouTube alone).
To make your eCommerce product truly stand out, produce a high quality video showing all sides and angles of your product, including how to use it and how it works. Use a real person (rather than a voice over) who explains the ins and outs of the product, describing special features, tips and/or tricks.
Upload the video to your company YouTube channel and embed it on your product description page. Google likes to give a nod to product pages that have at least one video, so adding a video may even help improve your organic rankings.
But one video may not be enough—more is better! Run a contest by asking your existing customers to share a home made video of them using your product in a unique way. Reward the winner(s) with a coupon code for their next purchase (or send them free swag).
Publish the best videos on your product description page, so potential customers can see all the unique ways your product is being used out in the wild. Additionally, post all the user submitted videos to your company Instagram account.
While it’s important to have high quality photos on your eCommerce site, publishing product demonstration videos could be the difference between boom and bust. So grab your camera and start shooting!
Founder, Spacely Digital Consulting
Make it easy for customers to convert and figure out where they’re getting stuck in the marketing funnel.
Track Your Funnel
You should ensure that every step of your website, from landing page to order confirmation, is properly tagged and tracked. Every week, you should be looking at the conversion rates for each step of the funnel to the next, this will guide where you should make improvements. If you’re seeing 95% of customers leave after adding to cart, something is scaring them away and you know to focus efforts there to diagnose.
Always Be Testing
You should constantly be working to do better. If there’s a creative that’s dominating, try to make a better one. Staying ahead of yourself will ensure your customer experience never goes stale.
Leverage Customer Data
Customer data is more valuable than gold if you use it right. You should try to understand as much about your customers as you can (legally and within reason). You can use email addresses to build lookalikes, email marketing segments, etc. The best e-comm companies know their customer and use their data to better serve them.
Don’t Trust “Best Practices”
The digital landscape is constantly changing. Last year’s best practices will be outdated soon. Challenge all your assumptions and constantly ask if there could be a better method. Don’t fall victim to “we’ve always done it this way.”
Create A Seamless Customer Experience
It should be easy for people to give you their money. Take time to go through your checkout flow as if you were a customer and ask what felt annoying, unnecessary, or a barrier to purchase. Whether it’s too many steps in the process, a massive multi-stage checkout form, or just too much going on with your site, ensure you’re making it easy for customers to do business with you.
Director, Marketing Analytics, Havas Media
Use sign-ins to personalize the customer experience as cookies fade from use.
Encourage sign-in for every session: January 2020 marked the official start to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) as well as an announcement from Google that it would depreciate the use of third-party tracking cookies. These are major changes to the privacy and technology landscape to be mindful of. Both affect the data that may be captured from website visitors. Going forward, eCommerce sites should encourage visitors to sign in to their site as a way to benefit both the company AND the customer.
Signing in is one way to connect the browsing experience across devices and over time. A signed-in customer has willingly identified his or herself, which lessens the technical complications of cookie deletions and cross-device tracking for the brand. In addition, a signed-in customer can benefit from a more personalized browsing experience like a persistent shopping cart and more relevant product recommendations.
Encouraging sign-in should be more thoughtful than a pop-up that interrupts the browsing experience upon entering the site. eCommerce marketers should study the onsite customer experience and identify times and technologies that make this a more frictionless process. In addition, the benefits of signing in, like faster checkout, access to personalized coupons/discounts, etc., should be outlined upfront.
Finally, signing in upfront may help companies store and collect all of the information relevant to the customer—in case they ever request to see it and/or delete it in the future.
Vice President of Marketing, National Notary Association (NNA)
Focus on the foundations.
The goals of eCommerce marketing sound simple: drive traffic, convert traffic, and increase order amount. The complexity comes in the execution of the strategies and tactics to achieve those simple goals. Here are five foundational tips from the NNA team to help you achieve those goals:
- Answer your customers’ questions—don’t get caught up in all the gimmicks. If you figure out the questions your customers are asking Google search, and build web pages that authentically answer their questions, you will generate traffic to your site and build credibility and authority.
- Dominate the Google Featured Snippet—optimize your site structure and content to win Google’s Featured Snippets. Get the snippet by being the best at answering the searcher’s question and formatting your copy the right way. Once you get the text snippet, then strive for the graphic or video that goes along with it.
- Use omnichannel campaigns to drive traffic—make all of your touchpoints count. Make sure you are consistently telling the same story across the different channels and utilizing attribution modeling to see their impact. We still see that email and direct mail are not dead and are great channels for driving traffic.
- Test, Test, and then test more—customers will tell you what converts through their click behavior. Constant testing is the only way to learn what works and to optimize your pages and your offers. If you aren’t testing today, don’t get paralyzed by how statistically valid your test has to be. Start doing it and building your team’s testing muscle. You can refine and advance your tests over time.
- Get the right resources around you—the right tools can make content management, testing, and analysis feasible. The right people can make it all come together. No matter your budget, you should be able to see results.