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Updated: November 25, 2022

Improve Sales with Our 2022 Ecommerce Digital Marketing Guide

While the pandemic no longer makes headlines, it would be remiss not to mention its impact on eCommerce. Things that were once incidental like customer mobility now have outsized importance. Loyalty patterns have also changed as customer interactions with brands have transformed into multi-pronged journeys.

If the past two years were about responding to unprecedented disruption, this year and the ones following are about recovering and repositioning brands in a cookieless, customer-centric world. eCommerce businesses are constantly evolving their digital marketing strategies to maintain a competitive advantage and ensure their aspirations meet customer demands.

In this blog, we look at digital marketing basics and the various tactics you can use to market your brand's differentiators and increase sales.

What Is Ecommerce Digital Marketing?

SendPulse offers a succinct definition of digital marketing for eCommerce:

“eCommerce digital marketing is a method of promoting a business that sells its products or services through the internet. The goals of eCommerce marketing are driving traffic to [your] online store, converting visitors into paying customers, and retaining them after purchase.”

eCommerce marketing typically involves constructing campaigns to attract and retain customers with the correct digital and inbound marketing tactics, such as social media marketing, content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), email advertising, and so on.

As a digital-focused strategy, eCommerce web marketing also boosts brand awareness and website authority—two must-haves if you’re to stand out in a competitive online space. Launching an online store is not enough—consumers need to discover and get to know your brand via digital marketing channels.

Customization is digital marketing’s best attribute. There are thousands of ways to make your marketing diverse and personalized. Instant online accessibility has opened many growth opportunities for eCommerce businesses to explore. Even small local businesses can reach international audiences with the right marketing campaigns.

Ecommerce Marketing Trends in 2022

Marketing trends

The bulk of today’s businesses relies more on digital marketing channels than traditional ones. Make no mistake, massive billboards in Times Square, on buildings, and along highways bear significant relevance, but increased smartphone usage among consumers calls for the adoption of aggressive digital marketing if eCommerce businesses are to survive and thrive.

Multiple Customer Touchpoints

The average consumer toggles between multiple digital channels, rendering linear customer journeys obsolete. Therefore, having multiple digital touchpoints integrated into your eCommerce marketing and user experience strategy is a must.

Online retailers with the highest success rates focus on engaging customers in a personalized manner through social media, email, and video content. Case in point: McKinsey found that companies with more touchpoints convert 2.5 times more sales!

Social Commerce

Google’s planned phase-out of third-party cookies on Chrome in late 2023 is causing more brands to sell items directly through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok. This strategy alleviates attribution confusion by converting customers on a single channel and device.

Social media channels, just as much as search engines, act as discovery engines for brands. For example, Gen Z spends 2x more than the average consumer when shopping on social media. Because customers stay within the app from discovery to checkout, there’s a reduced risk of abandoned shopping carts.

Purpose Beyond Profit

High-growth brands cut through the noise of competing on price and quality alone and build a competitive advantage by committing and communicating their impact beyond profit. Sustainability is at the forefront of purchase decisions, especially among Gen Z consumers.

Current customers want to purchase from businesses with ethical supply chains. If price points are the same, they’re more likely to buy from eCommerce stores where profit is an output and symptom of success, not the cause.

How to Implement an Ecommerce Marketing Strategy

Every eCommerce marketing strategy starts with a data-driven plan that’s flexible and open to change. Our team at Comrade has ample experience with eCommerce marketing strategies and offers the following guidelines:

Create a Digital Marketing Plan

A digital marketing plan defines business marketing goals to be accomplished within a given timeframe. It directs your strategy and ensures everyone from your junior team members to senior stakeholders has clear guidelines of what’s set to happen. It’s also important for monitoring campaign progress and efficiency.

#1 Conduct a SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is an analytical tool used to help eCommerce businesses identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats related to business competition and project planning. This can include everything from economic variables to employer productivity.

This tool facilitates a better understanding of your company’s current status by avoiding preconceived beliefs and focusing on real-life contexts. Though it doesn’t provide a straightforward solution, it identifies opportunities that utilize your eCommerce business’s capabilities and resources.

#2 Understand Your Buyer PersonaS

eCommerce marketers use inbound marketing—a strategic approach to building customer relationships by creating content that aligns with their needs. It’s impossible to produce marketing assets that convert, without knowing who your target audience is.

You have to characterize the details of your ideal customers beyond shallow demographics and examine their deeper aspirations and needs. Developing buyer personas (semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers based on data and research) will make it easier to tailor your content, messaging, and products or services to boost conversions.

#3 Leverage Channels that Convert

The channels you choose to bring your eCommerce marketing strategy to life are just as important as the messages you communicate on them. There are an overwhelming number of options in the mix, so how do you choose the best ones?

Simple: You must strategize from your customer’s perspective, and not your own. For example, are your customers a young audience that spends a lot of time on TikTok and Instagram? Or are you catering to a professional crowd that loves LinkedIn? Knowing who your current customers are and their goals help you zero in on the right platforms.

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Set Clear Goals

Every eCommerce business wants to see an improvement in sales, but this isn’t (and should never be) your primary focus. Take a new online store, for example. It will need a broader approach that factors in brand awareness, instead of narrowly focussing on sales.

New brands first have to penetrate the market and gain consumer trust before aggressively selling, whereas industry leaders who already have a robust reputation can target sales more heavily.

The five main goals our team focuses on include growing online sales, adding value, saving costs, and expanding brand reach. Depending on your business’s age and stage of digital transformation, you may want to tackle one (or a few of them) to optimize your eCommerce business’s success.

Outsource Marketing to Experts

If you have a toothache, do you remedy it yourself or go to the dentist? Unless you’re a digital marketing expert or have an in-house marketing team to support an intricate local marketing strategy, we’d highly recommend hiring professionals.

Marketing agencies bring flexibility and improved perspectives. They swiftly identify and improve your eCommerce strategy’s weak points. Rather than you struggling to figure things out on your own, as business growth experts, they provide the best strategies to achieve your objectives faster.

The Two Most Important Digital Marketing Strategies

All eCommerce marketing tactics fall under two types of digital marketing: SEO and PPC. They’re frequently and unfairly pitted against one another, when in fact, they’re both used to grow online stores. There are some essential differences, however.

SEO for Ecommerce

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving your business’s visibility on search engines. The only way to achieve a top spot on search engine results pages (SERPs) is by having a killer SEO strategy that boosts the volume and quality of organic traffic (Visitors who find your website on their accord.)

What SEO Includes

Ecommerce SEO

Often, when our clients think of SEO, keywords come to mind. Keywords, which refer to the use of search terms strategically placed throughout your eCommerce are a proven tactic to boost website rankings, but they are only one of many parts comprising an SEO strategy.

When referring to SEO, we mean:

  • On-page SEO: In addition to publishing high-quality and relevant content, on-page SEO includes optimizing headlines, HTML tags, web copy, and images to attract searchers and boost your placement on search engines.
  • Off-page SEO: Building a strong backlink profile to give your online store credibility. Search engine algorithms use links to determine the relevance of a page. While Google gathers its understanding of your online store based on website performance, it also gathers information through sources outside your domain to determine a page’s ranking.
  • Technical SEO: Implementing a healthy website URL structure to help search engine spiders crawl and index your eCommerce site more effectively. This encompasses UX, which covers fast-loading times, readability, and a developing compelling site design.
  • Local SEO: Optimizing your online store to appear in local searches, which also extends to reputation and review management and publishing local-centric content across social media platforms.
  • Content marketing: Although not strictly SEO, content marketing and SEO work together to fuel your marketing efforts. Content marketing provides value to your audience and keeps website traffic flowing, while SEO helps determine the relevance of that value.

These different aspects of SEO work together to achieve a single goal: Achieve greater visibility in search engines. A high-performance SEO strategy will always utilize all tactics available for maximum exposure.

PPC for Ecommerce

Ecommerce PPC

PPC or pay-per-click is a marketing strategy that drives traffic to your online store; however, you only pay when your advertisements are clicked on. Pay-per-click advertising budgets are tightly controlled—you decide how much you want to spend on target audiences truly interested in your business—making it a cost-effective strategy.

Types of PPC for Ecommerce

Within PPC marketing, there are various types of adverts you can create to draw people to your website.

  • Search ads—propel your eCommerce site to the top of search results, above organic listings. They’re identifiable by the abbreviation “AD” text to signal they’re paid for.
  • Display ads—images, videos, or GIFs shown to users on websites or apps.
  • Social ads—a great choice for younger target audiences, social media ads appear with social feeds for quick viewing while scrolling.
  • Remarketing ads -used to re-target customers who have already shown interest or visited your site, nudging them to purchase your product or service.

Pay-per-click can earn you quality leads, so long as you create a seamless customer journey.

Ecommerce Digital Marketing Advice: Mix PPC and SEO

No eCommerce marketing is complete without SEO. Search engine optimization makes your online store better for website visitors and search engines. It ensures you utilize proper code; have meta-tags and site maps that contain keywords and phrases relevant to your business; nourish inbound links from authoritative, and so on.

If you’re going to invest in paid advertising, SEO must be the first step. It’s a mismanagement of money and resources to initiate a PPC campaign if your website isn’t functioning at peak performance.

Ultimately, SEO and PPC strategies work wonderfully in tandem offering the following benefits:

  • Visibility: When combined, you increase exposure in search engines.
  • Keywords: Why keep keyword research data separate? You can use it to boost both SEO and PPC. In fact, because PPC is short-lived, it’s a great testing ground for SEO keywords.
  • Online presence: From Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, social media is an effective way to use targeted ads. Insightful data gathered also does a lot to boost other SEO strategies.

The Most Important Digital Marketing Tactics – Part 2

Content marketing and social media marketing are essential digital marketing tactics. They raise brand awareness and generate quality leads which sustains healthy sales growth.

Social Media for Ecommerce

Social media is all about boosting your online presence and building a community of loyal customers. While traditional marketing and advertising methods are one-way media, where brands rely on persuasive “monologues” to win over consumers, social media empowers dialogue and gives customers unique opportunities to engage.

Its unparalleled capacity for connection, interaction, and access to customer data enables businesses to create messaging that resonates with customers. As social media usage and social commerce continue to grow, so does your ability to drive sales with just a few clicks.

While social commerce has been around since 2005, it’s largely due to the pandemic and the rise of online shopping that social media platforms began integrating eCommerce capabilities. For example, Instagram only launched Instagram Shop in 202o, allowing businesses to set up digital storefronts on their profiles.

Currently, 70% of consumers search for products on Instagram and Facebook—and we can only speculate this will grow. Facebook, TikTok, Pinterest, and Spotify have similar capabilities, allowing customers to purchase in-app. The average person spends 2 hours and 30 mins on social media per day, giving you all the more reason to invest in social commerce.

Content Marketing for Ecommerce

Content marketing covers a variety of digital mediums—from articles to videos, infographics, podcasts, email content, images, and more. It is the present and future of digital marketing, and essentially, what drives business success. If SEO is a business’s engine, then content marketing is the fuel that keeps it going.

Businesses that consistently post new content have an average of 434% more pages indexed by Google than those that don’t publish at all. The more optimized content you have on your website and social media channels, the more search engines have to index and show users on search engine results pages.

Marketing software company HubSpot has this to say about the importance of content:

“Content marketing is important because it answers your audience’s questions and helps you build trust, develop relationships, improve conversions and generate leads. In today’s age, customers expect high-quality, consistent content from their favorite brands.”

Ecommerce Business Marketing Advice: Be Creative

Content formats

Experts estimate consumers are exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 digital ads per day. How do you stand out in an overcrowded space where banner blindness—consumer tendencies to ignore ads and content—is rife?

It takes a bit of extra work and creativity. Focus on creating compelling, useful, and relevant content your audience wants, making you the go-to source for all things related to your industry. The energy drink company Red Bull is an excellent example of how great content can build a diverse global brand.

Notice how “TV” (content) is the first thing you see on its menu, and products are last!

So, where do you start? As always, it comes down to your business mission and target audience. But that aside, diversification is a great place to begin. Sure, a classic blog post is useful (Hey, it’s even what you’re reading right now!), but other formats can be equally, if not more effective.

These include:

  • Email content (be sure to have a great subject line!)
  • User-generated content
  • Magazine-style content
  • Product guides
  • Influencer content

Enriched multimedia should be a core part of your online presence. Research your competitors to see what they’re doing and to ensure you create valuable marketing collateral that sets you apart from everyone else.

Other Powerful Digital Marketing Strategies to Boost Sales – Part 3

Email marketing, affiliate marketing, influencers, and user-generated content (USG) help diversify your marketing strategy to reach different audience segments. These tactics are now standard among leading brands.

Email Marketing for Ecommerce

The further we progress into the digital age, the more important personalization has become. Email is the contemporary equivalent of posting personalized mail to customers’ postboxes. It is the best way to build relationships with leads, as well as existing and past customers.

Whether you’re emailing about a new product, sharing a special offer, providing recommendations based on purchases, or reminding a shopper to check out, this strategy has the highest ROI, generating roughly $36 for every $1 spent!

Most Important Emails for Ecommerce

All eCommerce marketing emails are important because they’re specifically designed to meet customers where they are in the sales funnel. Done correctly, they lead to successful conversions. What is especially useful, though, is follow-up messages and abandoned shopping cart reminders.

POST-PURCHASE FOLLOW-UP

Follow-up emails thank customers for making purchases and offer ongoing support and services. This may include tips to do with the product they’ve bought or information on other items or services you offer that pair well with the purchase they’ve made.

Hence, email is an excellent tool for cross-selling and up-selling. It’s crucial for inbound, content, and account-based marketing because it provides customers with personalized messages that connect them with your brand.

ABANDONED SHOPPING CART

Almost 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned. When customers aren’t ready to pull the trigger and hit “buy item,” you can send a friendly email with an extra offer or discounted shipping, or any other persuasive factor to encourage them to complete their purchase.

A study found the average conversion rate from cart abandonment emails is 18%, with some achieving as much as 40%. A well-written abandoned cart email helps you build relationships with your customers and improves their online shopping experience with targeted discounts.

Launch an Affiliate Program

Not to be confused with dubious multi-level marketing schemes, affiliate marketing programs get other merchants or influencers to refer or sell your products in exchange for a commission. Affiliate marketing is a cost-effective way to market your products at a well-contained risk level while guaranteeing a high ROI and business growth.

For online stores, affiliates usually use a unique link created to track traffic directed to the site. They receive a certain percentage of sales made through those links. Affiliate marketing can boost traffic to your website or specific product pages. Plus, affiliates who share personal reviews reassure customers, which is another great perk!

Ecommerce Internet Marketing Advice: Turn Your Customers Into Promoters

84% of millennials don’t like traditional marketing, and won’t engage or follow your brand if you consistently put out blatant advertising. Sometimes, customers need reassurance from a trusted or experienced voice, which is where influencer marketing and user-generated content shine.

What Is Influencer Marketing?

Influencer marketing is a type of marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people, and organizations who have purported expert knowledge and social influence in their field.

It works similarly to celebrity endorsements, yet it gives power to smaller voices on the internet with a personalized following. Social media garners immense power, and with each influencer offering a unique, loyal following, they can serve as a truly trusted voice to back up your product or service.

Influencers can create content around your products or services and share reviews. This type of collaboration generates more brand awareness and drives sales within your ideal target audience. However, success relies heavily on the influencers you choose, so it’s important you collaborate with ones that align with your brand.

What Is User-Generated Content?

As the name suggests, user-generated content (USG) is created by your customers and can include everything from reviews to images, videos, posts, and how-tos. The most powerful benefit of USG is it serves as excellent social proof and builds trust.

Consumers find it easy to relate to others similar to them. If you’re a shoe brand, for example, you’ll find customers are much more likely to resonate with other customer reviews over an aspirational celebrity endorsement.

Thus, USG is effective at providing more insight into your business for potential customers and shares authentic recommendations that solidify to customers they’re making a good purchase.

Types of UGC that Transform Customers into Brand Promoters

Types of UGC

If we had to choose a few of the most effective forms of UGC to secure new customers, we recommend:

  • Written product reviews—provide a great deal more information beyond generic product descriptions and reassure shoppers previous customers loved your products or services.
  • Video reviews—these attract customers who like seeing products in action.
  • Testimonials—a lot of reassurance comes from testimonials. With so many other brands on the market, testimonials help highlight why your product is better.
  • Website and social media comments—Interaction is key! As consumers scroll through social media, a comment can be the last nudge they need to make a purchase.

USG saves marketing time, money, and effort because you’re crowdsourcing your social media content. When users create content for you, you’re not only getting honest feedback and press, but social proof of your value, too.

How to Prepare Your Website for Digital Marketing Success

With online advertising driving traffic to your product pages, keywords sending your online store to the top of search engines and influencers nudging further customers to your store, it is essential your website is built to meet eCommerce standards.

Beyond a beautiful, well-curated online store, you need to consider user experience and technical SEO to provide an outstanding user experience.

Incorporate Live Chat

Live chat is a low-barrier option, and often a customer’s preferred support channel. Much like customers approach an in-store sales assistant, live chat support aids site navigation, dealing with customer service queries, and answering FAQs.

Whether you’re a clothes retailer helping customers deal with returns queries, or a software provider dealing with real-time customer installation issues, live chat support is a great way to guarantee you are delivering excellent customer service.

Be Fast and Mobile-Friendly

It’s harsh, but no one is waiting around for your site to load. Typically, shoppers have three seconds threshold before they lose interest. For this reason, your website must load fast and efficiently to maintain your customers’ attention.

Additionally, because everyone relies on smartphones, creating a mobile-friendly online store is essential to keep up to speed with customer demands. Just think—when’s the last time you Googled something on your laptop versus your smartphone?

Generally, a mobile-friendly website with a responsive design is created to offer the same great user experience across devices, regardless of screen size.

Create a Simple Shopping Cart

All eCommerce businesses aim to create frictionless online checkout experiences. From your return policy to payment methods and shipping times, you want to make sure this information is easily accessible. A customer shouldn’t have to click through countless pages to find important information.

Make sure the below information is clear on your checkout page:

  • prices
  • delivery (costs and time)
  • payment methods
  • return policy
  • contact data

Furthermore, your contact page should be reachable and visible as a tab on your navigation line, while payment, shipping options, T&Cs, and return policies should appear together.

Ensure VAT, delivery, and packing prices are clearly displayed on your product and not your checkout pages. It’s also a good idea to have a live chat option on your checkout page should customers have any last-minute questions.

Get ahead of the game. Optimize your digital marketing strategy for maximum revenue growth
Get ahead of the game. Optimize your digital marketing strategy for maximum revenue growth

Talk to experts

Get ahead of the game. Optimize your digital marketing strategy for maximum revenue growth

Why Digital Marketing Is Key for a Successful Ecommerce Store

Whether your business is completely online or also has a brick-and-mortar store, a digital marketing strategy that promotes it is paramount. Having a good website and an active social media profile can significantly help customers discover and learn about your business.

Our digitally integrated lives mean customers primarily look to Google to shop online and reaffirm their purchase decisions. The way they will find you is through digital marketing—whether it’s via an influencer, paid ad, or general search.

As you can tell, there’s a lot that goes into creating a digital marketing campaign, because it starts the moment you begin developing your eCommerce website, way before you publish your first social media marketing post.

Thankfully, you’re not in it alone. As a full-service web design and marketing company, Comrade knows the ins and outs of what makes a successful digital marketing strategy. Our expert team will partner with you to develop a custom eCommerce strategy that meets your unique business objectives.

We guarantee results while taking stress the out of eCommerce marketing. Ready to boost your digital presence and iron out your digital marketing goals for your eCommerce store? Contact us at 312-625-0447 for a free audit to kick-start your online business success.

I hope you enjoy reading this blog post.

If you would like to discuss your project, reach out to our specialists.

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About the Author
Stan Bogdashin
Stan co-founded Comrade Digital Marketing and serves as its marketing strategist and IT expert recruiter.
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