“If I had one dollar left, I would spend it on PR” is one of Bill Gates quotes. Marketing for your e-commerce business should follow a similar line of thought. Nailing your e-commerce platform is essential, just like finding your niche, but it can be challenging to control every step of the cycle, from suppliers and shipping to marketing. It’s always better to have a specialist help you out but sometimes, especially when you are starting a business, you need to carry the burden on your own.
And, by when you reach the marketing stage, you have no resources left, or you may have run out of ideas. Sadly, doing that is like running a marathon and giving up on the last mile. So here you have some tips and tools to boost your marketing efforts and make even the last dollar count.
Know your buyer personas and customer journeys
Who is your target audience? How can you reach out to it? Those are the two fundamental questions for any marketing strategy. And, as evident as they may be, many e-commerce businesses lack a clear idea about them. The best way to understand those categories is by two marketing strategies.
1. Buyer personas. This is a specific representation, as a single persona, of your ideal customer. Of course, there can be more than one. For instance, if your sell running shoes for kids, it could be a ten-year-old girl from New Jersey called Christina.
2. Customer journeys. Every e-commerce business owner dreams about the moment their audience becomes a customer. This is called conversion, and it’s one of the final stages of the customer journey. Before that, however, they must go through other stages. The most common ones are:
a. Awareness. The audience isn’t aware of their need or problem. So here you need to show it to them.
b. Interest. The audience sees the problem and starts looking for solutions.
c. Consideration. The audience starts comparing options like price or features.
A deep understanding of these two concepts is the heart of any marketing effort. There are comprehensive guides for customer journey mapping. Here you have several suggestions to get you started.
What’s your story? The power of content marketing
“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell” is one of Seth Godin’s mottos. If you are into e-commerce, especially in niche products, you need to develop a story around your product. And to develop a story, you need to find your voice in the first place. Will you be warm and casual? Direct and efficient? This will define all your content output, so make sure to think it through. And that message is what is known as content marketing.
Which are the most usual types of content marketing?
· White papers
Content marketing has become a pervasive concept, but plenty of it does not provide real value to users. The effectiveness of content marketing is directly related to the interest it garners. Does it offer new insights? Does it solve doubts? Does it reveal unforeseen challenges? To answer those questions, you better follow these three essential tips:
1. Leverage your field of expertise. No one wants to read or see content developed as a second thought.
2. Look for readers/viewers, not customers, in the first place. Would you be interested in your own content?
3. Develop content for each stage of the customer journey. Always keep in mind your buyer persona and their stage.
Apply SEO strategies
Before developing any content, make an in-depth SEO analysis but always remember that your readers are humans, not algorithms. In the long run, great content with a basic SEO will outperform SEO-intensive but mediocre content. There are thousands of SEO tools, so here you have some basic tips instead.
1. Make sure that your e-commerce platform is SEO-friendly. It may have an effortless drag & drop interface, but you will probably need to tinker a bit with your website to improve your results.
2. Blogs are not the only content in your e-commerce business. Product sheets and descriptions are vital here too.
3. Avoid duplicate content. Google will punish your ranking if you just cut & paste all your descriptions. Make sure to introduce variations.
4. Make sure your keywords feature on your URL, H1 and H2s, but be careful with key word density. Going above 5-6% will undoubtedly earn you another Google slap in the face.
Besides your e-commerce platform of choice and marketing strategies, you will need marketing automation tools to help you amplify your message.
· Hootsuite. Handling social media is one of the most cumbersome tasks for an e-commerce entrepreneur. LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms require messages tailored to their audience and a publication calendar. Hootsuite helps you to do just that.
· Omnisend. The almost vintage mailing strategies can still be effective, though they need careful thinking. Omnisend provides a set of e-mail templates and, most importantly, helps you trigger events depending on your customers’ behavior. Did they abandon their shopping cart? Did they browse around some product categories?
· Rejoiner. An even more ambitious approach to mailing campaigns. Rejoiner is designed to have you covered throughout the e-mail marketing campaign, from design to analytics.
· Klaviyo. This growth marketing platform has a multichannel approach for owned channels, from SMS to e-mail or in-app notifications. Achieving a new customer is one thing, but keeping it requires a smart strategy that considers every touchpoint.
This article is just an overview of the marketing strategies and tools you need for a successful online store. You will need to pick and choose from a wide range of options tailored to your specific product range and branding.