Ecommerce is a very attractive business model for a variety of reasons. It has low overhead, can be run by very few people, is easy to get started in, and brings with it, in some cases, the promise of a flow of revenue without ever having to handle the products. Sounds pretty simple to get set up, but the next step of finding customers is where many eCommerce businesses fail to get off the ground. That is where the eCommerce marketing basics come in. Knowing how to bring in sales right away and developing a long-term lead generation strategy takes a lot of know-how and lot of hard work to accomplish. Working on SEO, content marketing, email marketing, and advertising from the get-go will ensure you can compete with others in your industry and stay viable over time.
The reason SEO is the first major point in this article is because organic traffic should be the main source of orders for your eCommerce business. This doesn’t have to happen right away, in the beginning many businesses have to rely more heavily on paid advertising, but a majority organic orders should be your goal. If you get the infrastructure for SEO established early on with your website, you should expect the organic orders to grow and grow over time. With organic traffic being free and paid traffic being, well, paid, it should be pretty obvious why SEO is so important for eCommerce. No one wants to have to pay out x% of every single order in ad fees.
The working core of your eCommerce site is your product pages. Some websites have tens or products, some have tens of hundreds. Creating these product pages the proper way will colossally affect your SEO.
For each product page you absolutely must have a page title, product name, product description of 100+ words, images, and the meta information needs to be filled out properly. Select a good keyword (see this article if you aren’t sure how to do keyword research) and make sure that keyword is used in every part of your page – this is how people will find your product organically.
Once the essential parts of your website are optimized for SEO, move onto a content marketing strategy. Google and other search engines like to see websites that are updated frequently and that offer a variety of engaging content. If you are not familiar with content marketing, it is a type of digital marketing that focuses on creating content like blog posts, infographics, how-to guides, and more that would be helpful or interesting to your target customers.
As far as what kind of content to create, put yourself in your target customer’s shoes and think about what sort of questions they might ask about your product or what they might find interesting related to your industry. For example, if you are an online refrigeration retailer, a guide to what size of refrigerator you might need based on the number of people in your household would make a great infographic. The idea is that by creating this infographic and sharing it out into the world, customers in the market for a new refrigerator might see this infographic, find it helpful, click back to your website to read more, and then make a purchase from you. Not only is content marketing a lead generation tool, but it is excellent for SEO too!
Build Your List!
One of the best marketing tools in eCommerce marketing basics is building an email list and emailing on a regular basis. The simplest way to do this is by gathering the email addresses of every customer you obtain, and sending them monthly/weekly emails about your new products, sales, etc.
A more advanced form of email marketing is creating some sort of lead generation tool on your website to gather the email addresses of those who are not yet customers. This can be done in the form of signing up to receive a coupon, downloading a how-to guide from your content marketing portfolio, or a variety of other techniques. By signing up for your lead gathering tool, you know these users are already somewhat interested in your product. You can now practice some “lead nurturing” and gently guide these leads into becoming customers.
The main ways to utilize paid advertising for your eCommerce business are social media and Google Ads. There are pros and cons to each platform for every type of product, so I usually recommend experimenting with both types of ads before you choose to go with one over the other.
Generally, social media is better for consumable goods and things people don’t have just one of. Think clothes, food products, gifts, etc. Targeting in social media has been getting more and more vague with the privacy issues that keep arising, so the chances are that the audience who sees your ads in social media are not actively shopping for the product you sell. This is fine for impulse buy items, or products where it’s common to have multiple of, but this is not great for something like a mattress or fridge that most consumers only shop for when they need one.
Google Adwords or Google Shopping are generally great platforms for grabbing shoppers who already know when they want, and now you just need to convince them to buy it from you. Largely, Google Shopping is great for retailers, Adwords search campaigns are great for local businesses, and there is a lot of overlap and strategy to be developed in between. I highly recommend working with a Google Ads specialist to run your campaigns effectively. It is very easy to watch thousands go out the window if your campaigns are not set up in an effective way.
ECommerce Marketing Basics
Ecommerce businesses, when done right, can bring in great revenue with low costs. They are an ever-growing business model, but with that, competition is growing too. Keep your business in front of customers by investing in these eCommerce marketing basics. Following these tips will help you bring in some immediate revenue and develop a long-term method of bringing in leads as well!