eCommerce Marketing: A Detailed Guide
Top tips for upping your online selling game.
With consumers around the world staying in and shopping online, including eCommerce on your website is now more important than ever. And without an in-depth eCommerce marketing strategy, you could be missing out on thousands of new customers. Today, we’ll help you create an a marketing plan that covers eCommerce SEO, social media, Adwords, retargeting, email marketing, and video.
SEO, or search engine optimization is a crucial part of any marketing plan. It is the primary source of organic traffic, and helps new customers find your brand on the web. In fact, SEMrush found that 37.5% of online traffic for eCommerce websites comes from organic search.
So how does SEO work for eCommerce brands?
SEO works by combining a number of factors in order to optimize your website content for search engines. Typically, search engines will look at keywords, meta descriptions, and meta tags. The search engines will then use their algorithms to rank content on their search results page, making sure that the most relevant content is shown to users first.
For eCommerce brands, search engines will also look at products and product categories. These product pages and categories can be optimized just like the other pages on a website, using relevant keywords, meta descriptions, and meta tags.
Keywords are chosen to best exemplify the content on a page. This is the word or words that you think will get your content onto a search engine. For example, if you were to write a post about winter scarves, you might want your keyword phrase to be something like “best winter scarves”. Of course, in order to be seen on a search results page, you need to be sure that you have that phrase in the title of the page, in one or more subheadings, and scattered throughout the body text. This will optimize your post for that specific keyword, making that it is more likely to show up on the first few pages of the search engine results for winter scarves.
For an eCommerce brand, keywords are essential for optimizing your products, which in turn optimizes the rest of your web pages. One way simple (and free!) way to research the best possible keywords for your products is to use Amazon’s suggestion feature.
To use Amazon for keyword research, simply head to Amazon’s website, and type in a product in the search bar. For example, if you wanted your “best winter scarves” blog post to work together with the winter scarves you have for sale on your website, you could try typing “winter scarves” into the search bar.
Amazon will then show you a long list of suggestions that you can use to tailor your product keywords to a more specific audience, which can help you rank higher on a search engine results page.
Meta descriptions are short descriptions that summarize the content of a web page. They work together with keywords to optimize a web page or post for search engines. To ensure that your meta description is working hard for you, you want to include your keyword in it. The meta description should also provide enough information about the content of your page or post that a web user can decide whether it will help them or not.
So, if we continue with the winter scarves example above, your meta description should include an informative summary of your post, and the phrase “best winter scarves” at least once. And if your meta description about the best winter scarves doesn’t mention scarves, it’s probably not going to attract visitors who are looking for scarves.
Meta tags are added to the HTML of web pages and posts. These can be used to optimize content for site crawlers. These site crawlers will read the meta tag, which helps them understand what the page or post is about. If you aren’t a code genius, don’t worry, meta tags aren’t absolutely essential. However, adding meta tags into your SEO strategy alongside a keyword and an optimized meta description can give you a leg up with search engines.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is another essential element for a successful eCommerce marketing strategy.
If you’re just starting out with social media marketing for your eCommerce brand, you need to figure out which social media platforms you want to be active on, who you’re trying to reach, what kind of voice you’re going to have, and how you’re going to showcase your products.
This is going to require some research.
Social Media Marketing Research
One of the most simple and effective forms of research is to look at what your competitors are doing. Where are they most active? Who are they trying to reach? What kind of products do they market on social media? Do they have a fun social media presence, or something more serious? Starting with other brands that are like yours gives you a base to start building your own social presence and eCommerce marketing strategy.
To find out which social media platforms your competitors are using, start on their website. Most brands will have links to their social profiles somewhere on their website, typically either in the footer or on a sidebar.
Just to be clear, not all brands will connect their website to their social media, and some brands may have more social profiles than the ones that are displayed, so be sure to run a search for their brand name and the social platform you’re looking for to see if they have a profile.
Now, once you’ve found their social profiles, take a look at their feed. Take note of the content- is it specially curated to fit an aesthetic, or does it look more like a hodgepodge of different styles?
Look at the way they caption their photos, videos, and shared articles- do they add a long story or informational description, or do they use emojis, puns, and pop culture references?
Pay attention to the hashtags- this can save you a ton of time on hashtag research for your own social media profiles.
Lastly, read through some comments and replies- does your competition respond to comments? If so, how do they do it? Do they respond in a friendly tone or joke around with the commentors, or do they keep it professional and simply answer questions?
Once you’re able to answer all of these questions, you can start to build your own social media profiles just how you like them.
Let’s take a look at some awesome examples of eCommerce social media profiles to help get your creative juices flowing.
Dauphinette is a Brooklyn-based clothing and accessory brand. Dauphinette’s Instagram feed is beautifully curated and speaks to the brand’s voice as the “happiest 👛🧥 and ✨ on Earth.”
Dauphinette’s designers take their inspiration from nature and upcycled material, creating accessories, bags, clothing, and more from pressed flowers, blossoms, bugs, stamps, and even food. Their captions are often short and sweet, simply describing the product(s) in the photo, or relaying a message of happiness from the designers. The photos in their feed are all bright, typically with white backgrounds and pops of color from their products, really drawing attention to their products and their light, friendly attitude. Dauphinette is a perfect example of the simple yet eye-catching social profile.
Innocent Drinks is a UK-based smoothie brand, and their Twitter account is chock-full of eCommerce marketing gold.
Hello everyone. You might remember that a little while ago we started re-re-re-re-re-re-rebranding our super smoothies. Being the highly professional bunch that we are, we completely forgot to finish re-re-re-re-re-re-rebranding them…— innocent drinks (@innocent) June 29, 2020
UNTIL NOW https://t.co/dfSLW4Ffgi
Innocent Drinks uses a very casual, often sarcastic approach to their Twitter account, and boy, does it work. If you were to come across the tweet above on your Twitter feed, you might laugh (like we did). Why does that make this an awesome social media profile? Because this tweet is talking about how Innocent Drinks had to push their rebrand back for months, and instead of finding that information frustrating, you found it funny (trust us, a rebranding process like that isn’t funny when you’re the one waiting on it!). Innocent Drinks’ Twitter account shows how it pays off to be yourself, whether you’re quirky, friendly, sarcastic, or authentic.
Ring is a tech company that offers security equipment, including alarm systems, security cameras, and video doorbells. Their YouTube channel is extremely unique.
Ring’s YouTube channel is full of heartwarming and hilarious videos that have been captured by their customers, as well as informational and instructional videos. As a potential customer, seeing a YouTube channel full of other happy customers presents me with an incentive to learn more about the product, and maybe even buy it, while the instructional videos give me some base knowledge that I can use to browse products and find the right one. It’s a great example of how your eCommerce brand can mix different content styles together on one platform.
Soma Water is a sustainable water bottle and water filter brand.
Soma Water’s Facebook page is highly consistent, from their photos, to their captions, to their brand values. They make it clear to new customers that they value simplicity, elegance, and sustainability. Soma Water also shows that they value charity, as they donate a water filter to those in need for each water filter that they sell. Soma Water really takes advantage of values-based marketing, which showcases who they are as a brand, and allows customers to really resonate with their story.
Adwords, also known as Google ads, are a form of pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements. They are a part of Google’s advertising system.
To secure a Google ad, advertisers will bid on certain keywords. If the advertiser “wins”, their clickable ad will show up to relevant Google search engine users. Adwords can be a big undertaking, potentially costing your brand thousands of dollars with little to show for it. However, Adwords can also transform your eCommerce marketing strategy and take your brand’s presence to new heights.
Now, there are two forms of Google Adwords: the Google Search Network, and the Google Display Network.
Google Search Network Ads
Google Search Network ads appear on the Google search results page. They look very similar to the organic search content on the search results page, but they have the word “ad” next to the title. Google Search Network ads are also displayed at the top of the Google search results page, before the first organic search result.
Google Search Network ads allow advertisers can get their product in front of potential new customers before other brands have the chance.
Google Display Network Ads
Google Display Network ads do not show up on the search results page. Instead, they show up as banners at the top of pages that Google thinks your target audience might be looking at.
In this display ad example above, I looked for a pasta recipe, and received this ad for SEMrush, which I had spent some time looking at earlier in the day.
Now, because Google Display Network ads show up on web pages that aren’t always related to the ad content, they’re typically not clicked on as often as Google Search Network ads.
This isn’t to say Google Display Network ads don’t work. In fact, some people click on them because they can actually see the product in the display banner. You just need to be cautious about the content of your display ads, or save them for retargeting campaigns (we’ll get to those next).
Setting Up Google Adwords
If you want to include Google Adwords in your eCommerce marketing strategy, here’s how to get started.
First, head to Google Adwords, and click the Start Now button. From there, you will need to enter an email address and your website’s home page URL. Once you’ve entered this information, you can start setting up your Google Adwords campaign.
Google will ask you to set up your budget, provide information on your target audience, set your bid, and write your advertisement. Now, if you don’t know any of this information, don’t panic. Google provides a helpful checklist for getting started, including information on budgeting, bidding, and keywords. (We can also help you get started here).
After you’ve decided on your budget, set your bid, and chosen a keyword, you need to make sure that your landing page is optimized for conversions. Your landing page should provide information that is relevant to the keyword that you’ve chosen, and uses language that reflects your brand and your target audience. Take a look at some competitors’ ads to see how they’re utilizing their ad landing pages. You might find some inspiration for your own amazing ad.
A report from Monetate found that 97% of people who visit your website for the first time do not buy anything. But why is that so?
Today’s consumers are constantly bombarded with advertisements. They have access to thousands of products just like yours, right at their fingertips. Your customers want to feel like they know you. They want to feel like they can trust you. And if they don’t, they can simply leave and find what they’re looking for somewhere else.
So how do you bring back all of those people who left without buying anything? Retargeting.
Retargeting is a cost-effective way to increase your visibility and turn website visitors into loyal customers. It gets your product out in front of your target audience, again and again.
How does it work? Well, retargeting starts when someone visits your website. Once they leave your website, they will see your ads for your website or a specific product of yours in other places.
You can decide how and where you want to retarget, but the best strategies combine platforms and advertisements to create a more visible and cohesive campaign.
For example, as we mentioned above, Google Display Network ads are a great way to retarget, because they can showcase a product photo, or even a video or animation. So, if you’re advertising a certain product on a web page display ad, you want that product to be showcased on your social media profiles and email campaigns as well.
Your retargeting ads serve as a reminder of your brand, and what you have to offer. Combining Google Display Network ads with other advertisements or marketing campaigns can really increase your visibility, because new customers can find the same photos and information from multiple sources. This will help your ads feel more natural and cohesive, rather than obnoxious and off-brand.
Email marketing can be used in a variety of ways to amplify your eCommerce marketing strategy. Whether you’re sending out simple emails to potential customers or creating a complicated campaign with multiple emails, email marketing can work for your brand.
Cart Abandonment Emails
Much like retargeting, email marketing can be used to reach customers who visited your website and left without buying anything. This is especially helpful for cart abandonment on eCommerce websites.
Cart abandonment happens when someone visits your website, adds products to their cart, and then decides not to purchase them at the last minute. These can be very simple, one-time emails that are automatically sent to any website visitors who abandon their cart. You can point out the fact that they left items in their cart, remind them of the items, and ask them to come back and complete their purchase. You could even offer a discount code on their next purchase once they buy the original items.
However you choose to approach the abandoned cart email, just be sure you aren’t pushing too hard. You never know what could have caused them to leave items in their cart, and being too pushy can drive them away completely.
Welcome emails are another simple and easy way to reach your customers and build loyalty for future purchases.
A welcome email is sent out to a customer after they make their first purchase from your website. Typically, welcome emails introduce the brand or brand owner to the customer, and thank them for their purchase. Some welcome emails may offer a discount for future purchases or invite them to join a rewards club.
However, you need to be careful with the way that you incentivize people to continue shopping with you. You don’t want to try and oversell anything in this email, because they’ve already purchased something from you. Instead, you should be trying to build loyalty, show them who you are, and what your brand values are. Try using an automated email that has the first name in the subject line and body of the email, and add pictures of your team, lead designer, or owner in order to humanize your brand and build a meaningful connection.
Product Release Emails
Product release emails are perfect for generating buzz about your brand.
Typically, a product release email will notify customers about a new product that will be available soon. To keep the buzz alive, you should send one or more reminder emails after your initial email about the product. These emails should be short and informational, so that your customers know exactly when the product will be released.
You can easily spice up these emails by adding a countdown clock, or keeping some information a secret. For example, if you were releasing a new line of running shoes, you could include only close up shots of the shoes so that you don’t give away the whole design.
If your brand is big enough, you might even be able to add a pre-order button. This will allow customers to snag their product before it even becomes available, and is an amazing way to generate hype.
A multiple-email campaign can be a great tool for retaining customer interest and attracting new customers.
Email campaigns are often created based on existing customer lists. Customers can join straight from your website, from a welcome email after their first purchase, or from an advertisement. Typically, an email campaign has some kind of theme or structure that is retained throughout all of the emails.
For example, if your eCommerce brand sells hiking equipment, you could send out an email campaign that showcases the best nearby places to hike. You can send out a new email once a week (or more or less often) with a detailed description of the location, the best time of year to visit, and what equipment (here’s where you plug your products) you need to bring with you.
This can keep customers interested in your brand, whether they’ve purchased something from you or not. It shows that you are informed, and that you enjoy sharing that information with others. It helps your brand feel more like a friend that your customers can talk to, rather than a faceless entity.
Video marketing is crucial in today’s world of advertising. In fact, 87% of video marketers say that video has helped increase their website traffic.
Why does video make such a difference?
Video is highly engaging, easily shareable, and entertaining. Video is also very accessible. With cameras in our purses and pockets, we can turn silly, homemade videos into appealing and authentic advertisements or marketing campaigns.
There a few categories that work best for video marketing. These include informational or educational videos, product reviews and testimonials, live videos or Q&As, and storytelling videos.
Informational or educational videos often answer the question: how does this product work?
These are a great tool for reaching new customers. New customers are often researching products, trying to find which product is the best, or the easiest to use. An informational video about your product can help them decide whether your product will work for their purposes, and whether they can see themselves using it.
All Things Barbecue is an example of a company that does an amazing job of incorporating video on all of their product pages. The videos are added into their product thumbnail gallery on the product pages and then are shared on their YouTube page and other social media accounts. Each product page includes 2 videos. Below are two examples from their product page for the Kamado Joe Classic II Ceramic Grill With Cart ( ← click the link to visit the product page and see how videos are included on their website).
(1) A 90-second video that quickly presents a look at product highlights for buyers who want to learn about the features in a few seconds.
(2) And a longer 5+ minute video that goes in depth into all the features on each product.
A product review video or testimonial can be very powerful for new customers. While your brand could shout how great you are all day every day, chances are potential customers aren’t going to want to hear that.
However, hearing from someone like them, or someone that seems trustworthy is likely to catch their attention. Why? Because this person (a real person) has real-world experience with the product, and can speak openly and honestly about their experience. This builds trust with new customers, and may even help them feel like they can have conversations about your brand. Take a look at this example below from Flex, a company that makes period products.
Flex used a TikTok video from a customer, who is also a doctor, to provide other customers with an inside look at the product. This feels very genuine, especially because it’s clear the woman in the video created it herself.
Live Videos and Q&A
Live videos and Q&A sessions are perfect for brands who want to show that there are real people behind the brand name. Now that multiple platforms offer live video streaming (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok), it’s easier than ever to go live.
Live videos and Q&As are also a great way to engage with new and existing customers, because they can submit comments and questions in real time. For example, if your brand had a new swimwear line coming, you could start a live video talking about the features of the different swimsuits, and answer questions about them. This makes customers feel seen and heard, and it can even add some excitement for them when their question is chosen to be answered. Live videos and Q&As often show your brand in a more raw state, adding an element of openness and authenticity.
Storytelling videos can be used to tell the story of your brand, how your brand has helped someone, or simply what your brand values are. These videos are often done professionally in order to show details and bring an air of professionalism to your brand. Let’s take a look at the example below from Chameleon Cold Brew.
The video starts with a beautiful drone shot of a rainforest in Peru. We then get to see Matt Swenson, director of coffee, who narrates part of the video, telling us about how their cold brew coffee is made. There are more professional shots of the coffee making process, and we then get to meet Chris Campbell, the CEO and President. They discuss the things that are important to them: people and the planet.
This video is the perfect example of storytelling. It gives new customers an inside look into the brand, how they got started, where they get their coffee beans, who their leaders are, and what they value. It makes Chameleon Cold Brew feel warm and familiar, and doesn’t oversell or try to push products.
Kickstart Your eCommerce Marketing Strategy
Okay, so that’s a lot of information. But before you panic, just remember that everyone starts somewhere, and you most certainly don’t have to start with every one of these at one time.
For now, try taking your first step by picking one of the marketing methods we mentioned. Sign your brand up for Instagram, draft your first email, or look into Google Adwords. The most important thing is that you start trying.
If even your first step seems too overwhelming, get in touch with us! We can help you wade through the sea of information and come out the other side with an eCommerce marketing strategy that’s perfect for you.