When it comes to ecommerce marketing, you have a lot of competition.
But your competitor probably isn’t Amazon. Your competitors are the dozens or hundreds or even thousands of other niche ecommerce stores that sell products similar to your own.
So how do you stand out from the competition? And how can you build ecommerce sales fast without resorting to dirty tactics?
I’m going to answer those questions and more. Let’s dig in.
What is Ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the process of attracting prospective customers to your ecommerce store, presenting them with offers, and convincing them to go through the checkout process. Sounds simple, right?
It isn’t always — and not just because of the aforementioned Amazon. Ecommerce marketing requires you to take a deep look at your branding, voice, product positioning, and marketing channels so you can get them all right.
That’s okay, though, because we’re going to break it down step by step.
What is an Ecommerce marketing strategy?
An ecommerce marketing strategy is the steps you put into place to attract, convert, and delight your customers. It involves customer acquisition, of course, but it should also focus on lead nurturing and customer acquisition.
In other words, your ecommerce marketing strategy needs to involve the entire buyer’s cycle. Prospects visit your ecommerce site and sign up for your email list to become leads. You nurture them through solid emails until they convert into customers.
Your work’s not done, though.
After that, you continue to market to them so they come back for more.
What is an Ecommerce marketing plan?
Think of your ecommerce marketing plan as the strategy I just described committed to paper. It’s the blueprint from which you work.
Over time, it will change. You’ll discover that some marketing channels work better than others, and that some flop entirely. It all depends on your brand, products, and audience.
However, the ecommerce marketing plan helps you visualize how you’re going to guide prospects through the buyer’s journey. Committing it to paper makes it “real.”
32 pro tips to help your ecommerce website marketing strategy and skyrocket sales!
Now that we’ve gotten some definitions out of the way, how do you put ecommerce marketing into action? I’ve come up with 32 pro tips, all of which I’ve personally used, to help you skyrocket ecommerce sales.
Ready? Let’s begin.
1. Make sure you are using email marketing from day one
It’s not hard to successfully conduct email marketing when you have automated tools like Hello Bar at your disposal. You can create a top bar, for instance, that invites website visitors to sign up for your email list. It’s always there, beckoning visitors to interact with it.
It’s that simple. You can also create exit popups to catch visitors as they’re about to leave.
Using both simultaneously can make your ecommerce marketing more effective. As you collect emails, you bring leads into the fold so you can market to them directly. Sounds good, right?
2. Automate your ecommerce email marketing campaign
If I can automate something, I will. There are just too many tasks on my plate to do something manually when I can get it done for myself.
You can have your marketing emails sent out automatically, for instance. You can also automate social media posts, confirmation emails, thank-you pages, and more.
3. Use social media to promote your content
A few days ago, I went shopping for a new mattress. I wasn’t yet ready to buy, but I wanted an idea of the options available to me.
Today, I logged into my Facebook account and saw this:
Clever, right? This is an example of remarketing ads, but we’ll get into that more later. The point here is that brands like Leesa use Facebook Ads because they work.
So do organic posts. If you can creatively market your ecommerce products in an entertaining or educational way, you’ll get conversions.
4. Create your own content — Do not copy or reuse others’ content
This can’t be stressed enough: Create your own content. Don’t take someone else’s words and claim them as your own.
It’s unethical, for one. It also opens you up to a lawsuit. Furthermore, nobody else’s content can match your unique brand voice. If you want to publish content, make sure it comes from your brain (or from someone on your team).
5. Put a lot of effort behind your branding
Branding sounds like a buzzword, but it’s not. It’s something you can’t avoid.
As soon as you go into business, you become a brand. If you don’t put effort into controlling, honing, and honoring that brand, you lose control over it.
People will make assumptions about your products or services. They’ll decide for themselves what you represent.
Don’t let that happen. Instead, get in front of the brand and mold it to your liking through ecommerce marketing. Make sure everyone knows your unique selling proposition and your reason for being in business.
6. Implement a solid loyalty program to bring customers back
Loyalty programs can have a fantastic impact on ecommerce marketing. They provide incentives to use your service or buy your products on a regular basis.
For instance, you might provide a $10 discount for every $100 spent. That might reduce your profit by 10 percent, but you can pick it back up in order quantities and total dollars spent.
7. Automate some of your social media posts to save time
I’m a big fan of Buffer. It allows you to schedule your social media posts days or weeks in advance.
Not only that, but it gives you data about how your social channels are performing.
Schedule Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and other posts ahead of time so you won’t have to worry. Then you can focus more on your ecommerce email marketing and even incentivize signups at regular intervals.
8. Create a sense of community around your brand with social media
When people on social see you as a social brand, they’ll become more interested in you. They might click on your links, reply to your posts, and otherwise engage with you.
Best of all, they might become subscribers. Give them an incentive to sign up once you’ve earned their trust and respect.
9. Constantly interact with your customers and leads on social media
Speaking of “earning,” you can’t just set up a Twitter account and expect to get followers. The same goes for all other channels. You have to actively engage with people if you want to get noticed, followed, liked, retweeted, etc. We have a great article about how to get more twitter followers.
Start by replying to two or three people’s posts every day. Focus on your target audience in particular, and don’t sell your products or services. Instead, provide encouragement or legitimate value.
10. Speak your customers’ language
Everyone speaks in his or her own language — and I’m not talking about English versus Japanese. I mean the way people use words when communicating with people online.
Maybe you have a younger audience that’s accustomed to text speak. You could sprinkle a few obscure abbreviations throughout your ecommerce marketing content to encourage people to interact with you.
The point is to meet customers on their level. Don’t ever speak down or up to your audience.
11. Do not forget about mobile optimization
The last purchase I made was via my smartphone. Maybe you can say the same thing. People are attached to their mobile devices all day, but they might only sit at a desktop or laptop for a few minutes.
Consequently, your ecommerce marketing must be mobile friendly, from your website to your emails. Start by deploying responsive design on your website and looking at your emails’ formatting on different device sizes before you send them out.
12. Create a blog to write about interesting topics in your niche and generate more traffic
Somehow, ecommerce professionals have gotten the idea that blogging is only for people who sell information products, services, or other non-ecommerce items. That’s simply not the case.
Want proof? Check out the Etsy Blog. It has amazing engagement and great advice. Plus, Etsy celebrates its community all the time — both its creators and its customers.
You’ll notice that Etsy uses multiple categories to help appeal to different segments of its audience, from the Featured Shop column to its DIY advice pieces.
13. Be aware of what is going on in the world for contextual marketing
Let’s talk about newsjacking for a second. It’s the practice of taking a newsworthy topic, then putting an industry spin on it.
The most famous example was Oreo Cookies. During the 2013 Super Bowl power outage, the company posted this tweet:
It got nearly 15,000 retweets and was featured all over the news.
As long as you’re tasteful, you can keep up with the latest news and trends, then incorporate them into clever ecommerce marketing assets.
14. Create an awesome lead magnet to get more leads for your ecommerce business
If you think lead magnets are only for service and information businesses, think again. Like blogs, lead magnets help integrate customers further into your business and encourage them to buy.
Let’s say, for instance, that you sell kitchen gadgets. You could create a huge guide that describes 15 creative uses for a blender, for instance, or some other device.
It has to be useful and actionable. Add illustrations, recipes, and anything else that might provide extra value for the reader.
Then use a Hello Bar to advertise it.
15. Consider using free shipping
Free shipping is another great incentive to use in your ecommerce marketing assets. Think about it. People can buy things in their own towns and not pay for shipping. Why should they add $10 to their bill if they don’t have to?
To reduce your costs, add a minimum purchase price to your free shipping offer. More sales will make up for your outlay of shipping costs.
16. Use videos to help your customers “visualize” your products is a great ecommerce marketing idea
Video is becoming one of the most powerful marketing assets for all industries, but especially for ecommerce. Your customers can’t pick up your products off your virtual shelves, but you can provide an explainer video so the shopping experience becomes more visual.
Check out one of the latest LG product videos to get an idea of what works.
You don’t have to match the production quality, but you can use the format as a guide.
17. Make how-to videos on YouTube to create a deeper connection with your audience and potentially get their emails
How-to videos can also help with ecommerce marketing. You could demonstrate how to use some of your products for specific goals.
Like with the kitchen gadget example I used above, you could film yourself making recipes with the products you sell. Then include links to the showcased product pages in your YouTube description section.
18. Only use high-quality photos of your products to optimize your ecommerce marketing efforts
Sticking with our kitchen theme, would you buy a product that’s represented like this:
Definitely not, right? It’s completely pixelated. It’s hard to even tell what it is.
Tack-sharp images are essential for selling ecommerce products. Ideally, you want a plain or white background with no distractions. If your product is small, use a macro lens so you can take a clearer shot.
19. Create a solid SEO marketing strategy for your ecommerce website
Yes, SEO matters when it comes to ecommerce marketing.
When you search for a product name on Google, you’ll get lots of results. You want yours to appear on the first page.
How? Conduct keyword research. A free tool like Ubersuggest can help enormously.
Use related keywords, too, and don’t forget to add ALT text to your images.
20. Let people create wishlists on your ecommerce website and remind them about it with email marketing
A wish list allows customers to bookmark products they might want to buy later. Perhaps they don’t have the cash right now, but they’re planning to come back at some point.
This is a great way to keep people snug in the buyer’s cycle. You can even send reminder emails to let them know they have items on their wish lists or even to suggest products that are similar.
21. Put a lot of effort into conversion rate optimization to maximize ecommerce marketing efforts
Conversion rate optimization (CRO) refers to the process of optimizing the entire user experience (UX) for conversions. In other words, make converting as easy and attractive as possible.
You can do this using top bars.
Exit intents work really well, too.
22. Optimize your ecommerce website
One problem I see a lot on ecommerce sites is a lack of useful navigation. I can’t figure out how to find the product I want.
Visit a few big ecommerce sites, such as Amazon and Wayfair, to see how they manage navigation. Figure out a way to steal their formats, then customize them for your own purposes.
Adding breadcrumbs is a great way to keep people grounded. We use them on our blog here at Hello Bar:
The more ecommerce optimization you perform, the better your results.
23. Ask your customers for reviews for social proof
Have you ever conducted a search on an ecommerce site for a particular product, then only clicked on the ones that had a certain number of stars?
I do it all the time.
For instance, if I search on Amazon for “fidget spinner,” I get lots of results. But the star ratings vary.
I might not click on any of them but the one with the highest star rating.
That’s social proof. You can also get it through written reviews. If you specifically invite customers to review the products they purchase, they’ll be more likely to take time out of their days to do it.
24. Promote a giveaway on social media
Want to really crush the ecommerce marketing game? Offer a giveaway.
It’s one of the best ways to gather more followers on social media and to increase engagement. Plus, it can result in a huge sales boost.
Why? Because the people who didn’t win the product probably still want it. So, they might buy it. Even if only 20 people purchase your product because of the giveaway, you’ll still make money even though you’re sending one person the product for free.
25. Use the perfect popups on your ecommerce website with Hello Bar
Popups can help you generate more leads, conversions, and sales for your ecommerce marketing campaign. Hello Bar can help, as I’ve already explained.
Try different types of popups, though, to make sure you’re getting the most out of Hello Bar. For instance, an alert might work better than a page takeover.
26. Consider paid social media ads for your ecommerce marketing strategy
Sure, it stinks to spend money on ads, but it can also produce excellent ROI. Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social ad networks.
Start with a low amount, then increase your spend depending on the results. Just remember to narrow your target audience as much as possible.
27. Consider PPC search engine ads
PPC search engine ads can work just as well. You can even advertise in Gmail now if you want to get into people’s inboxes without email marketing.
28. Consider social media influencer marketing
Influencers don’t have to be expensive. Unless you want Kim Kardashian to promote your product, you can find niche influencers who charge a reasonable amount.
Some will even promote your product for free if they love it. Consider sending free samples to influencers in your niche.
29. Use retargeting ads! They are very powerful!
A retargeting ad uses a pixel on your website that lets the ad network know a user has visited your site. It will then target that user with an ad for your product.
Facebook retargeting ads are particularly powerful. Since it has a huge audience, Facebook can put your brand in front of a huge number of people. Plus, you can narrow your audience pretty far, so you’ll spend less cash.
30. Run contests to engage your followers and also promote your ecommerce products
Contests can work just as well as giveaways. Ask people to send user-generated content to your social channels or email to enter. You’ll feature your favorite ones and send them freebies for participating.
Just remember that there are rules for running contests, so make sure you check with any platform you use as well as the countries in which the participants reside. If you’re more comfortable with giveaways, which have far fewer rules, that might be the way to go.
31. Constantly A/B test your CTAs and popups
Use Hello Bar to make sure you’re sending people the right messages at the right time. For instance, create two exit intent popups, each with a different CTA. We’ll automatically show them to equal parts of your audience.
Running constant A/B tests gives you data you can use to inform the rest of your ecommerce marketing campaign.
In other words, after you have a “winner” for your exit intent test, run another test with that exit intent against another one. This time, test the headline or body copy.
32. Offer the best customer support in your industry
Want more cash? Be there for your customers.
Respond to emails, social media questions, and other communications within 24 hours. If you can respond within two hours, do it.
If someone asks for a refund, think about the request. You don’t want to irritate people who might spend money on your store at a future date. In many cases, it’s less expensive in the long run to be lenient.
Most importantly, respect your customers. No, they’re not always right, but they’re always human.
You’re officially an expert on ecommerce marketing. Congratulations for making it through this guide!
You have 32 pro tips to make your ecommerce marketing more effective. The more you implement them, the more you’ll grow.
What’s your best ecommerce marketing tip?