E-commerce marketing is a relatively new field. People often forget that e-commerce itself is only around fifty years old. Amazon.com, now the world’s biggest online store, was launched in 1995, a mere twenty-five years ago. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind the fact that e-commerce marketing represents a fast-developing area that’s ripe for innovation.
Generally speaking, e-commerce marketers are tasked with driving traffic to an online store. They create dedicated campaigns for digital channels like social media (especially Facebook and Instagram), email and search engines.
In this post, we’ll look at how successful strategies are created to answer the question, “what makes an effective e-commerce campaign?”.
What Makes a Successful E-commerce Strategy? 3 Practical Steps
The most inspiring e-commerce campaigns we’ve encountered tend to follow a handful of general principles. They rely on detailed customer profiles, are unique and creative, and leverage the digital channels that are most popular with the store’s potential customers.
Let’s take a look at each step in some more depth:
1. Pinpoint Your Customers
To create relatable and inspiring e-commerce campaigns, marketers need to leverage data. Data science provides a means of understanding high-profit markets in depth.
By studying data, marketers can pinpoint common customer characteristics and patterns of behavior. This information can then be used to create buyer personas and clearly define a brand’s ideal customers.
The following characteristics are important when compiling buyer personas:
- Educational background
- Employment status
- Financial status
While these are the basics, customer data-points can, of course, be even more refined and targeted.
Creating buyer personas enables brands and marketers to achieve two things. First, the creation of personalized campaigns and segments. Second, a clear, targeted definition of the brand’s unique selling point (USP) and broader value proposition (VP).
Personalized e-commerce campaigns can lead to dramatically higher sales through tailored messages that inspire segments of a brand’s audience. These messages are far better than generic alternatives at evoking emotions and prompting customers towards a purchase.
Examples of personalized marketing include referring to prospects by their names in emails, targeting ads, recommending products based on past behavior, and offering tailored promotions and discounts designed to appeal to specific groups.
2. Pinpoint Your Brand’s Unique Selling Point (USP)
A brand, service or product’s unique selling point is what makes it superior to competitors. Most successful e-commerce campaigns are centered around a clear USP. And brands that understand their own unique selling points are usually able to establish authority in their respective niches very quickly.
Marketers that don’t study competitors with a view to creating areas of differentiation, make it difficult for customers to distinguish between similar products on the market. In most cases, customers will default to the best-known option.
But figuring out what makes a brand unique can be tricky. The answer, again, lies in data. Marketers that base their strategies on data gain an understanding of why customers shop with their brand instead of with competitors.
To define a brand’s USP, consider the following questions:
- What solution is the brand offering?
- Why does purchasing from brand A and not brand B make sense to customers?
- What makes the brand different?
The USP of any brand can be found in the data-backed answers to the questions above. These answers help marketers discover how they can entice new customers and build inspiring e-commerce campaigns around a core proposition.
Many marketers make the mistake of building strategies that encompass every customer channel in existence. But this is usually a waste of time and resources.
3. Pinpoint Promising Digital Channels
Here are the two main reasons why:
- Content needs to be tailored to individual channels. While a brand’s tone should remain consistent, content should be channel-specific. The cost of generating large amounts of unique content is usually very high.
- Many platforms won’t have audiences that fit with your buyer personas. Targeting these users will be a waste of your advertising budget in the long-term.
There are, of course, channels that more or less everybody uses, and marketers should always take these into account. They include the following:
- Email marketing – Virtually everybody has an email address and email marketing consistently ranks as one of the most effective e-commerce marketing strategies.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – All of your customer segments will use search engines to find products. Organic rankings provide a cost-effective, long-term way of generating leads.
Lastly, marketers need to take mobile optimization into account when designing their campaigns. A growing number of consumers use mobile devices to purchase products; mobile is responsible for 65% of all e-commerce traffic.
What’s more, mobile optimization enables brands to fully capitalize on impulse purchases, which are more common on mobile devices. It’s also worth mentioning that major digital channels always have a mobile component, from search engines to social media platforms.
The Importance of SEO, Email Marketing and Content Marketing
As outlined above, there are two main channels that every e-commerce marketer needs to take into account. And to leverage them fully, a robust content marketing strategy is necessary.
Let’s take a look at each of these points in turn:
The Importance of SEO
Optimizing an e-commerce campaign for search traffic should be a priority. Almost all of your target customers will use sites like Google and Bing to search for products.
Search engine optimization is essential for the following reasons:
- Search engines generate free traffic for online stores, making SEO a cost-effective long-term strategy.
- Most users will ignore any results that don’t rank on the first page. As such, it’s imperative to rank highly.
- Regularly showing up in search engines can create a high level of general brand awareness and “warm up” prospective customers prior to making a purchase.
The Importance of Email Marketing
Email is one of the most effective e-commerce marketing channels. It has a return-on-investment (ROI) of $44 for every $1 spent. There are a number of points that marketers should consider:
- Segmentation can dramatically increase a campaign’s reach and conversion rate. Through segmentation, it’s possible to speak directly to specific customer needs and wants.
- Email marketing is far more personal than other platforms (SERPs, social media, paid ads, etc.).
- Email marketing provides an excellent opportunity to build long-term, valuable relationships with an e-commerce store’s customer base.
The Importance of Content
Content is king when it comes to marketing. And this is particularly true of e-commerce. Content is the visual and verbal representation of a brand’s values and a well-designed content strategy will have the following benefits:
- Great content raises a brand’s authority in its niche.
- Content showcases a brand’s values, leading to greater awareness and trust over the long-term.
- Consistently publishing on-brand content over multiple channels will boost conversions by creating a clear brand image.
Now that we have covered the basics of how to build a successful marketing campaign for your e-commerce business, the best next step is to explore examples from other brands who have done so with remarkable results.
Excel at E-Commerce with EU Business School
At EU Business School, we have a range of pragmatic programs designed to equip students with insights from the cutting edge of business, and introduce them to leaders who have found success in their field. Our experiential approach to learning gives students the mindset, as well as the knowledge and skills, that’s essential to thriving in business.
If you are interested in a career in business, in leading your own e-commerce campaigns or company, explore our BA in Digital Business, Design and Innovation, our Master in Digital Business or our MBA in Entrepreneurship.