Before we delve into the technical side of the topic, let’s break it down into simpler sub-topics. Therefore, its best to talk about e-commerce first.
What is e-Commerce?
e-Commerce very simply means electronic commerce. It entails that goods and services are bought and sold online the money is also transferred via the means of the world wide web.
e-Commerce is a growing global industry, which is valued at $27 billion and it is projected that it will grow at an exponential rate as the demand of e-Commerce development services is rising.
Having talked about e-Commerce and its value, it is imperative that digital marketers learn about it maximize their income using e-Commerce marketing.
What is e-Commerce Marketing?
e-Commerce marketing refers to the promotional practices and to drive and increase traffic to your online store. It also entails that those visitors be converted to paying customers and be kept post-purchase as well. An effective marketing strategy can help you build brand awareness, drive customer loyalty, and ultimately increase online sales.
Given that e-Commerce marketing has many tasks, it is exceptionally difficult to indulge in it. However, if it is carried out properly, it reaps numerous benefits.
Therefore, the first lesson to remember here is that e-Commerce marketing is no child’s play, you need to be exceptionally careful and have to use a multitude of techniques to reap successful results.
However, before indulging in a channel, you must be mindful of certain factors, such as:
- You must have a target audience in mind
- You must be aware know what channel your audience uses the most
- You need to be aware of the associated costs of each channel
- The channel must have some degree of flexibility to allow you to customize your message up to a certain limit.
Very often, these techniques are referred to as channels and we will discuss each channel in greater detail.
Search Engine Optimizer (SEO)
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is the tiresome, but rewarding process of making increasing the visibility of your visibility on a search engine, especially Google, when a certain key word or a specific set of key words is searched.
Now, let’s suppose that your website sells the famous epic Game of Throne’s (GoT) merchandise, possible relevant key words would be, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘Game of Thrones merchandise’, ‘GoT’, or name of popular characters followed by the word merchandise, like, ‘Jamie Lannister shirt’, and a lot more. Having said that, SEO is not a straightforward process since search engine algorithms are incredibly complicated and are a well-kept secret, therefore, much of the work of the search engine optimizer entails that he or she comprehends the search engine algorithm and then devise a strategy to search for relevant key words. The optimizer must focus on concepts such as user experience, domain, most popular key words and much more. Also, nowadays, the optimizer needs to be well-aware of the sort of searches that take place, for instance, about a decade ago, if someone were to search for GoT merchandise, he would’ve written ‘Merchandise Game of Thrones’. However, now, he would write ‘Where do I order GoT merchandise?’
Undoubtedly, SEO is extremely complicated, but it is a long-term strategy that reaps high rewards if done properly. Thanks to web developers, there are numerous plug-ins that can be installed onto your website that can yield optimized results.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay per click or PPC is a business as well as an advertising model where your business earns money when people click on your website’s advertisement. Pay Per Click is most popularly used on search engines, such as Google, Yahoo or Bing. However, given its scope, many social media websites such as, Facebook and Instagram also offer PPC advertisement.
Pay Per Click works through the mechanism of organic results when your website appears based on the key words searched. Since PPC is dependent on key words, if the technique is amalgamated with SEO, you have built yourself an effective and strong e-Commerce marketing technique.
There are two incredibly popular platforms to advertise your content via PPC.
- Google AdWords
Google AdWords is an effective, affordable and an efficient marketing tool for e-Commerce marketing, especially if the business aims to acquire customers and retain them in the long run.
As mentioned before, PPC woks best with SEO. Therefore, every time someone searches for a business that is similar to that of yours, Google AdWords will show your business in the search results. Google AdWords is effective because over 4 billion searches are made of Google each day; imagine the scope of this tool. By using Google AdWords not only will your sales increase, but also your reach.
- Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads work very differently from Google, but they are incredibly effective. Facebook ads are native, that is, target certain people in a geographical area and appear on the user’s home page Facebook. If you register yourself as a business or as a page, you have the tools to increase your reach by customizing ads based on your intended audience, location, demographics as well as interests. Facebook has over 2 billion daily active users, which means that the website has great potential to be tapped by businesses.
When intending to run a successful e-Commerce marketing, you should be mindful of two things: return on investment and loyal paying customers. If done properly, influencer marketing yields the most results in the shortest time.
If you are not familiar with influencer marketing, let it be known that it’s a relatively new marketing tool that has emerged due to the rise is social media platforms such as Instagram. Influencer marketing works by reaching out to industry leaders in a specific market and asking (paying) them to endorse your product.
Coming back to our Game of Thrones merchandise website, if you wish to increase your web traffic and have your products verified, one way to achieve this target is by getting in-touch with one of the popular cast members on the show or partner with a social media influencer who’s a big fan of the show.
To do this, you’ll have to reach them out via email or social media, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can ask the said influencer to advertise your website. You can send them a merchandise from your stock and ask them to either post a video or a picture about your product, their experience, and your website.
As per recent facts and figures, approximately nine out of every ten marketers who use influencer marketing reported that it helped them increase their sales and scope.
If we are to talk about return on investment, on average, every penny spent on influencer marketing translates six times the amount in sales, therefore, in comparison to traditional marketing, influencer marketing yields high returns on investment. However, the method, at times, may get costly since your cost depends on what the influencer charges.
When indulging in influencer marketing, you need to be mindful of the following factors:
- The followers of the influencers.
- Costs vary a great deal since they depend on the charges of the influencer.
- You will have to ensure that the influencer’s followers are not fake.
- You will have to ensure that the influencer highlights your product effectively so that it doesn’t look fake.
- It may get a little difficult to find and collaborate with an industry influencer.
Social Media Marketing
Social media websites have an incredible potential to help your e-Commerce business to grow. They allow you to form a humanized relationship with your customer by responding to their messages promptly and sharing customer reviews. Also, you can give them behind-the-door sneak peaks of your enterprise.
With more than a billion active users of websites such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and much more, you have a tremendous amount of audience to reach out to and expand your e-Commerce presence.
For a successful social media campaign, you will have to alter your social media strategy. It should be focused on highlighting your products and incorporating proper key words to reach a global audience. For instance, in Instagram, you can use hashtags (#) to increase the visibility of your pictures. Also, social media marketing allows you to partner with influencers. Therefore, when indulging in social media marketing, you will be using influencer marketing as well. Another benefit of social media marketing is that you can link your website with your social media accounts and the other way round. Also, you can turn your social media page into a shopping cart, which at the check-out time, redirects the customer to your official website.
Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of e-Commerce marketing. It entails that you add a pop-up message onto your website that prompts the users to add their email address and subscribe to your mailing list and weekly or bi-weekly greeting emails. The emails will have information about your latest offering and products. The foremost benefit of email marketing is that it allows you to form a list of your most visiting customers, for whom you can customize messages.
A successful e-Commerce strategy is more about using the right channels for YOUR business and investing-in the right amount of effort needed to succeed. However, as you may have noticed that most marketing channels work in close junction with one another.
Therefore, it is advisable that you use a combination of marketing tools and not rely on one method to yield high results. You can use a variety of online marketing channels to create touchpoints with potential customers.
A well-thought-out and articulate e-Commerce marketing strategy will result in greater online presence and high sales.