It’s no secret that e-commerce is one of fastest growing industries in the world – e-commerce sales are predicted to reach $1.06 trillion by 2022 in the US alone, and reports estimate that 95% of all sales will be made online by 2040. Staggering statistics, yes, but how do you get your business through the competition and in front of your customers to make sales? The answer? Marketing. Or to be more precise, marketing that works.
The stakes have never been higher for e-commerce businesses. Changes to iOS settings and enhanced privacy updates make it harder to target and acquire new customers with advertising. Nevertheless, good marketing will still help your company stand out from the crowd and ensure that you take the lead in sales and revenue ahead of your competitors. Additionally, demonstrating a comprehensive and effective marketing strategy gives your business some real oomph – putting you in a great position for a high valuation if an exit strategy is in the cards. It’s definitely worth taking the time and investment to hone your approach and start seeing the results you want.
So, what does a good e-commerce marketing strategy look like?
Think Big Picture & Personal
First off, a great e-commerce strategy should take a holistic approach. It should be all about your brand, your passion for your business, your fantastic products and knowing your customer. Your marketing should focus on brand building, driving traffic to your brand, converting that traffic into actual sales, and ensuring your brand is as visible as it can be to your customers – both current and potential.
Don’t forget that marketing isn’t a fixed thing that you can get started on one time and then ignore. It is an evolving and dynamic process with always-emerging trends and new tools to utilize. As the industry and your audience shifts, so must your marketing strategy. The key to success is to cherry-pick the right strategy at the right time, and to ensure you appear in the right place. What works for one e-commerce business may not work for another and what works for your company will enable you to see the results you want. Consider signing up for industry & marketing conferences and training courses as a great learning opportunity. These will also give you the advantage of being able to network with peers and learn from their similar experiences.
Find Your Niche – and Grow it.
With a crowded marketplace and e-commerce making up such a large portion of sales activity globally, it has never been more important to carve out a niche, or USP (unique selling proposition), for your products or brand. What do you have that your competitors don’t? Perhaps you offer a free extra or a unique color of a product? Maybe your product serves a unique purpose or set of customers? Whatever it is, shout about it in your marketing!
Finding a profitable gap in the market, or an individual space that your brand can expand into is vital for your continued success and will add to your business’s value for any potential investors. Businesses that have a unique space or offering are also more likely to survive long term in a congested marketplace.
As well as concentrating on your existing offering, consider building up a catalog of products that your brand could expand into in the future and explore what marketing opportunities might exist for them. Finding a niche is a great starting point, but developing those products is the key to continued success.
In all your marketing efforts, it is important that your passion for your products shines through – BRANDED loves it when entrepreneurs really geek out on their own products. It reveals that their business is likely to be different from anything else in the long term, and so has longevity in the marketplace.
Know Your Audience & What They Want
So you’ve got a great product – but do you know who it is you’re trying to sell to? A great marketing strategy that really hits home is one that speaks to the customer at a pivotal moment in their journey.
The easiest way to make sure that you’re not wasting your time and marketing resources is to conduct an audience analysis exercise and laser focus in on who it is you’re trying to target. By knowing your customer inside out – from their demographics to their social media habits – you can properly focus your marketing efforts in the most productive areas.
A good place to start is by profiling your ideal customer – who they are, what other brands they buy from, and what their spending power is. Think about their pain points and what problems your products could solve for them. Find out your existing customers’ purchasing habits and how they interact with your brand currently. You can do this through your own website using Google Analytics e-commerce tracking feature, which allows you to study patterns and see what your buyers are doing. Another way to track buying habits is on social media – using tools provided by each platform, such as Facebook Audiences or Instagram Insights, or use another comprehensive tool such as Hootsuite. You’ll be able to see how your customers are responding to your social content and where they are converting.
Assess your customer’s user experience when shopping with your brand. Go through the entire buying journey on your website and any marketplace channels you sell on to highlight any improvements you could make to keep the experience as seamless as possible. Explore your customer service processes and collect direct feedback around your products, the buying process and any challenges they faced.
This is also important when considering the long-term strategy for your business. If you are able to demonstrate a deep, authentic connection with your target customers, you will be able to show any prospective buyers that you know what your customers want and how to advertise to them.
It’s Impossible to Underestimate the Power of Social Media
Whether you’re using social media as a brand-building tool or you’ve tapped into the growing trend of ‘social shopping’, at BRANDED we know that there’s no denying the influence social media can have on business growth and sales. The power social media has to impact sales is widely known. For example, one of our brands saw a TikTok video of one of their products reach over 1M views in one day, spiking sales by over 400% on Amazon.
So it’s obvious that your marketing strategy must include social media, but remember, it’s not a one-size-fits-all arena out there. Each platform has its own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s vital to find out where your brand is going to get the most bang for your buck. Your audience research will help you discover which channel your customers are using and how. You want to know you’re marketing your business to people who are interested in your brand, maximizing your reach and using social media features to their best advantage.
Whichever platform you’re using, make sure your content is good quality, visually appealing, and engaging for your customers. User engagement can drive brand awareness through likes, shares, and interaction on your posts. Brand building in this way boosts consumer trust in your business, which in turn will drive sales.
User-generated content (UGC) is another great resource to use for your marketing on social media. Many of the big brands actively encourage customers to post photo reviews, unwrapping videos or photos of them enjoying and using products – and it’s essentially free marketing and great promotion. Perhaps your product lends itself to this kind of content! Encourage UGC through contests and giveaways, and don’t forget to interact with your audience to build up a meaningful relationship – after all, reviews aren’t exclusive to Amazon! Nurturing that positive bond will lead to positive feedback for everyone to see.
Once you’ve done all this, you can capitalize on your information and tap into a pool of potential new customers.
Make Good Use of Paid Ads
If you’re not utilizing paid traffic to increase your business’s reach and visibility online as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing out! The most effective places for pay-per-click (PPC) ads are either on a search engine, such as Google, or on social media. As the name suggests, you’ll only pay when a user clicks on your ad, so PPC marketing strategies are an easy, low-risk winning way to boost sales and traffic.
Employing search engine PPC advertising strategies means that your brand will appear to customers who are actively searching for results linked to your product or brand (and so are more likely to convert).
Try launching ads for your best sellers at first, reviewing their performance regularly to see how they’re performing, and tweaking your creative or targeted audience when needed to get the best results. You’ll soon be able to see where you can increase your campaign spend or adjust your keywords to maximize your results. For a complete guide on managing your external traffic check out our blog here.
There are plenty of online tools to help you identify which keywords you could be using, and which your competitors are ranking high for. These are the search terms you’ll want to create content for and knowing what they are will give you a better idea of which keywords you should be using in your ads.
Know What Your Competitors Are Doing – and Do it Better!
Observing what your competitors are doing is key to recognizing what strengths and weaknesses exist in your sphere of business, allowing you to thrive amongst them.
Look at several aspects of your competitors’ activity – what marketing campaigns they’re employing, their advertising strategies, which customers they are targeting. Facebook Ad Library is an invaluable tool for this – you can search for any ad which is running across meta platforms and find information on them. Look at which creative campaigns work best with their buyers and which platforms they are communicating with their customers on.
A thorough and comprehensive understanding of the market as a whole, and where your business sits within that, will help you dominate and be agile in your marketing decisions and strategies.
BRANDED’s Power to Elevate Your Business
Ultimately, BRANDED was founded by sellers, for sellers. We understand what works for businesses in a crowded sphere and how to boost them beyond sales to become household consumer brands.
BRANDED seeks out unique, innovative entrepreneurs with a passion for their products, and our skilled teams work side-by-side to grow and scale them to new heights. Talk to us to find out what you could achieve with BRANDED behind your business.