Best eCommerce Marketing Strategies: Tips For Success In 2021
eCommerce is, in the simplest of terms, the buying and selling of products through the internet. eCommerce marketing is utilizing an ever evolving array of promotional strategies to market your eCommerce website (or a specific product on your online store) and converting that traffic to paying customers. As we look ahead to 2021, COVID-19 has caused a boom in online sales across the industry. As more people try to avoid crowded stores and limit contact with others, more businesses have been making the move to the online marketplace.
There has been a simultaneous increase in both consumers buying products online and stores selling their products online. This means that while more people are shopping, the competition is even more fierce than ever. When that competition ranges from smaller sellers to mega-retailers, a well developed eCommerce marketing plan becomes a vital tool for success. If an eCommerce business is having a decline in sales or struggling to make a profit, they should be looking at what they can do to improve their eCommerce marketing strategy.
eCommerce Marketing During The COVID-19 Global Pandemic
Approaches to doing business online are making a big shift due to the ongoing global situation. Even once this crisis is over, all signs point to the world never returning to the previous definition of “business as usual”. Storefronts have closed and retailers of all types and sizes have moved their businesses online, or developed more robust digital sales strategies. Consumers have also become more accustomed to doing all their shopping from the comfort of home, with many saying that they will retain their current online shopping routines after the pandemic is over. This means that marketing for eCommerce businesses will continue to increase in both importance and value.
In this article, we will share some of the most effective eCommerce marketing strategy tips that will help businesses to have a successful 2021.
11 Best eCommerce Marketing Strategies and Tips
These eCommerce marketing strategies will help you scale your eCommerce business for long term success as well as navigating the changes to the marketplace that the pandemic has brought.
1. Optimize Your Website For eCommerce SEO
Search Engine Optimization is commonly referred to using the acronym SEO. On site SEO is one of the most valuable tools in the eCommerce digital marketing toolbox, and should be the foundation for every digital advertising strategy. Unfortunately, it is also one that is often overlooked or not properly implemented.
What SEO does when properly implemented is ensures that when people are searching using keywords that relate to your site or product that your site will show up as a top result. Every day Google alone can process up to and above 5 billion search queries, and when those searches are being made for your relevant terms you want to ensure your site gets seen. When you add in the fact that when people search 75% do not go past the first page of results, and that the top 3 results are the most clicked on, the importance of SEO for eCommerce content marketing becomes even more clear.
One of the most important factors when it comes to on site SEO for eCommerce, is having well crafted content. Content is king because it not only allows you to tell your customers who you are and what you sell, but it also lets you tell the search engines how to rank your site and what keywords to place you on. Well crafted content serves both purposes well and will engage your customers while ensuring new ones can find you.
Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Yahoo! are just a few of the more commonly used search engines. Google is the clear market leader, however you do not want to ignore the others in your eCommerce marketing strategy as it is important to attempt to reach every potential customer. Some of the most important eCommerce SEO techniques in 2021 include:
- Mobile page speed optimization and Accelerated Mobile Page HTML code options.
- Well crafted technical SEO to ensure sites are crawled properly.
- Keyword research and use.
- Optimized content.
- SEO-friendly meta tags.
- Site optimization for voice search.
- Link-building to establish, maintain, and increase authority.
- Press releases and other forms of outreach to media outlets to increase authority.
- Proper schema markup for e-commerce.
To get your website optimized for search engines, you need a good knowledge of how SEO works. It is always best to hire professionals skilled in the art of SEO optimization to help you develop your website and its content. You can easily hire an eCommerce marketing company such as ComboApp to handle all aspects of the promotion including but not limited to content marketing and eCommerce SEO.
It seems that a week doesn’t go by that we don’t hear about a website having a data breach and exposing customer information. If you want to build trust with your potential customers, then you want to make sure you have solid website security to protect both your company and your customers.
The most forward facing security protocols include using SSL (Secure Socket Layer) and HTTPS to ensure that your customers communications and data are encrypted and unable to be intercepted. Two-Factor Authentication is another forward facing tool that can be used to secure the accounts of both your employees and customers by requiring a second form of authentication when logging into a site (email, SMS, authenticator apps, and physical keys are the most common forms of 2FA).
Most other security protocols will be invisible to customers, but that does not mean you should skimp on them. A breach is the fastest way to lose the hard earned trust of your customers. Security should be an important part of every eCommerce marketing strategy.
2. Prioritize Website Speed And Mobile-First Design
As was briefly addressed in the last section, website speed is another important consideration when it comes to marketing for eCommerce. This is important for two main reasons. The first reason being user experience and behavior, and the second reason is the role that the speed of your page plays in search engine rankings. Both of these reasons should have you focusing on making sure that your site loads fast and looks great on a wide variety of devices.
People shop online for a variety of reasons. Before COVID-19 the reason was often because of the speed and convenience. However, having a safe place to order goods and have them delivered to their home is another major factor driving online sales. Whichever reason people choose to shop online for, having a good user experience is important. One of the first things that people notice is how fast a site loads. In fact, if it takes longer than 3 seconds people are likely to leave and visit a different site. Because of this, Google uses the speed your site loads as part of a determining factor in ranking your site. The faster your site is, the more likely you are to both acquire and retain customers
Increasingly, users are choosing to use mobile devices to do their online shopping. In fact, by 2016 mobile devices already made up 34% of online retail purchases and that number has only kept growing. Google has also made “mobile-first” design a priority in its ranking algorithm, and sites are judged based first on how they operate on mobile devices. Both of these facts make having a mobile focused design vital to eCommerce website marketing.
Before building your eCommerce website, contact a full cycle eСommerce digital marketing agency such as ComboApp. For existing businesses, you can use these tools to check your website speed and see if you need to update your eCommerce marketing strategy to ensure success.
A great way to take advantage of mobile in 2021 and beyond is by developing an app for your eCommerce storefront. The benefits are numerous, especially when you think of the fact that with an app users no longer have to navigate to your site. Having a easy to click icon on their mobile device means that they are more likely to make your store the first place they check for the items they are looking for.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased the importance of apps for both online stores and stores with a physical presence. Touch free payments and ease of ordering goods in a safe manner are more important than ever. Mobile apps also give you the ability to target customers based on their shopping habits, give them personalized experiences, and send them notifications if something they usually buy is in stock or if a new item may interest them.
Having an app is one of the best eCommerce marketing strategies for nearly every business. ComboApp can help you develop a mobile app that will be best for you and your company.
3. Prioritize eCommerce Social Media Marketing
In July 2020, data showed that there were 3.5 billion active social media users, and on average, these users spend 3 hours daily on one or more social media platforms. If people are spending that much time looking at social media feeds, then it would be a mistake for a brand to not try to use that to their advantage. People may not go onto Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok looking specifically to buy things, but a well crafted social media strategy draws them in and convinces them to make a purchase. In fact, by the nature of social media feeds, you have the opportunity to have users follow your brand and invite you to market to them even more.
Social media has the unique distinction of being a form of eCommerce digital marketing that allows customers to form a parasocial relationship with a brand. This means that they see your brand as a friend or peer due to the way your marketing team and advertisements relate to and interact with them. This bond can be incredibly strong and create an almost devotional type of brand loyalty. The way you craft your social media eCommerce marketing should take this into account and be as personal and interactive as possible.
You need more than just relatable and viral content to be effective. Interactive eCommerce advertising campaigns can give you the opportunity to engage with customers. Offer up a quiz that asks them questions about products you sell to find out what interests them, make a video that gives them a tour of your location or tells a story about your product with multi-angle views, or maybe even a game they can play that uses your branding in a cute and memorable way! The possibilities are vast and can create a loyal customer base from the diverse range of users on social media sites.
Crafting the right social media posts or Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook ads for eCommerce is a job for those with experience and the tools to make it happen. A full cycle digital marketing company such as ComboApp has the tools and experience to have your eCommerce marketing strategy hit the ground running.
4. Capture More Email Addresses For Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective channels at your disposal for not only making new sales, but also for generating repeat customers. You can use email marketing to get to those who abandoned their cart, potential customers who signed up on your newsletters from your blog or shop, and reach out to existing clients who have not purchased in a while to get them coming back. The copy of each email has to be optimized to suit the audience you are targeting. This is best done by using an email automation tool so that you can set up emails to be sent to individuals with specific interests, and at optimal times. AI tools can help you personalize even more by crafting emails using data that has been collected about the customer being targeted.
An eCommerce marketing agency such as ComboApp can take care of the details of setting up an effective email campaign.
5. Offer Value Through Blog Postings
In the SEO section we mentioned how important content is to your eCommerce marketing strategy. But, just creating the initial content for your site is not where that ends at. Websites, especially ones that are designed for eCommerce, need to be living things that are constantly growing and changing. Search engines and customers alike will rate your site higher if you are sharing more information with them about the items they are searching for.
The organic eCommerce SEO reach of your site will benefit greatly from blog posts and similar content. Blog post content is an eCommerce marketing strategy that gives you more opportunities to focus on specific keywords for products in order to reach people who are searching for those items. Having a blog offers you the creative license to optimize your blog posts for more search queries, answer the right questions, and funnel readers to various products on your website. Your customers will not always search for your products by name. Sometimes their needs are shared in the form of questions and they might search google for “ how to promote eCommerce website ” to end up finding this article or “what is the best way to preserve my food” and find items for canning. As a business, that key phrase might not fit in the product area of your website but can be in the content of your blog.
Keeping a steady flow of up to date, well crafted, and relevant content through blog posting is one of the best eCommerce marketing strategies you can put to use.
6. Hire An eCommerce Marketing Agency
Hiring the help of an eCommerce marketing agency is one of the smartest moves that can be made when it comes to eCommerce marketing. Instead of having to worry about the individual eCommerce marketing strategies, or creating an in-house marketing team for your online business; hiring an agency will help you save time, money, and keep you focused on your strengths. Marketing is a time-consuming task that is best outsourced to those who have the skills and resources that are needed. If you consider hiring individual freelancers, you will find yourself having to hire several of them to manage various tasks in the advertising process. This is why agencies are best suited for eCommerce marketing solutions. An eCommerce marketing agency will have teams that handle SEO and content marketing, eCommerce advertising, eCommerce marketing services, social media outreach, and more. We recommend ComboApp for all e-commerce marketing plan needs.
7. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing is the process of allowing affiliates (businesses or individuals) to sell your products through a personalized link in exchange for a commission. 81% of brands out there utilize affiliate marketing to drive sales. If you are not using this method of eCommerce website marketing, then you should. You can even synergize this with influencer marketing by offering influencers and content creators affiliate links to market your product with. Affiliate marketing is one of the best eCommerce marketing strategies you can use, one even the biggest brands use in 2021 to drive sales on their eCommerce website.
This is a trend that already has been in use before 2021, but it is picking up steam still as more brands are finding the benefits of influencer marketing. Influencers tend to have a devoted following that trusts them, and they can pass that trust down to you by having them promote your store or product.
Of course, the question is “does influencer marketing work?” Well 89% of marketers have found that the ROI from influencer marketing is equal to or better than other forms of web and app marketing. Influencers are especially great for promotion to Millennials and Gen Z, who trust the opinions of generational peers. If you are looking to benefit from leveraging social media influencers and the parasocial relationships they have with their followers to market your brand, an agency such as ComboApp will help you find the right ones to reach your audience.
8. Capitalize On User-Generated Content
User generated content is similar to affiliate marketing, but using content created by everyday users instead of affiliates. This basically translates to having your existing customers market your product for free. This just involves creative ways for your customers to promote and share your business. It works well for one simple reason: people trust other members of the general public more.
One business that has thrived with its user-generated content marketing for eCommerce is the camera brand GoPro. They made the content that users create with their cameras a form of branding in and of itself. Creating a sort of content genre that focused on experiential videos and vlogging and using it to build their brand. Wannabe content creators were soon buying GoPro cameras so they could join in on the trend and maybe go viral.
You can always add incentives to ensure more customers partake in content development, such as offering to share their created content on your advertising channels or some kind of contest where they can win prizes for their content. This will not only drive traffic to your brand, it will build trust and loyalty with existing customers while also giving your business much needed publicity. Leveraging your customers to create user-generated content can give your eCommerce digital marketing a cost effective boost.
9. Referral Marketing
When you offer great products and great customer service, people will tend to refer others to you whenever they can. Why wouldn’t they, you have great products! However, if you want your customers to go out of their way to tell others about your business, then referral marketing is a great way to make that happen. Offering points, vouchers, or discounts is enough incentive to get loyal customers to ensure their friends buy through their referral links.
Unlike affiliate marketing or user generated content, referral marketing does not rely on others to create content. Instead it focuses on people who love your product or store feeling incentivized to recommend it to others. This includes reviews or just sharing with their friends online or in the real world.
In 2019, beauty retailer Sephora decided to blur the lines between Influencer marketing and User Generated Content by creating the #SephoraSquad. They had people from all over apply and submit their social media feeds, so that they could select a group to become sponsored influencers for one year who were hand picked by Sephora.
By doing this, they were able to benefit from customers who were posting their own content to try to win a coveted spot, but also end up having a dedicated team of influencers that were essentially “homegrown” and had trust with the public from having been fellow regular customers. They also received a lot of media coverage of the promotion, which has proved so successful they brought in a second group in 2020.
This campaign was unique and successful because of the aspirational element, giving everyone the opportunity to submit content for the chance of becoming part of the #SephoraSquad. It ran the gamut from user-generated content, to referral marketing, to Influencer marketing and resulted in the creation of new influencers instead leveraging the following of existing ones.
10. Word of Mouth Marketing
Our world is saturated with marketing, both obvious and not, and consumers can develop a bit of a skeptical feeling about all of it. This is why, one of the greatest advertising methods you can benefit from is word of mouth. Word of mouth marketing (WOMM) is the most cost effective to get new customers, because all it requires of you is to sell great products and offer amazing customer service. When people love what you offer, they are more than willing to share that feeling with friends and family who might be looking for the same product or place to shop. You can always add to that motivation by reminding them to share their feelings too.
11. Delight Your New And Old Customers
eCommerce website marketing doesn’t stop after you get a new customer to buy a product or even after they have become a loyal customer. To keep customers giving you their continued patronage you have to delight, engage, and nurture them. It’s a process that never ends. This principle applies to both your new and old customers.
eCommerce digital marketing is an ever-evolving process. You have to stay atop the marketing industry to always know what’s working at every point in time. 2021 and the COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with both challenges and opportunities. The ability to adapt to the changes we face and rise to meet those opportunities are what will ensure the ability to succeed both during and after this crisis.
We have covered the best eCommerce marketing tips for 2021. It’s easy to get lost in trying to implement all the eCommerce marketing strategies out there. Trying to do everything is the fastest way to get burnt out, and have no result. Always be sure to have a promotional plan you intend to follow before you begin your eCommerce marketing journey. Always set goals such as expected conversions, website visits, click-through rates for eCommerce ads, and customer acquisition costs. You can set goals monthly, quarterly, or annually.
This is why we recommend you seek eCommerce marketing agencies for all your promotional needs. This will save you time, and effort. ComboApp is a full cycle digital agency that helps e-commerce businesses with ideation and validation, product design and development, creating and implementing marketing plans, PR solutions, consumer acquisition and activation as well as content and SEO marketing.