Online retail – or ecommerce – business is a highly competitive sector. When it works, it can give you a fantastic income stream and allow you to expand your business into new areas. Getting to that point means having a focused mindset, plenty of support, and a really good marketing plan.

The more traditional forms of marketing might not be as effective for an online retailer, although some, like email marketing newsletters, can still bring great returns if they are properly planned and executed. Here, we look at 5 key marketing strategies that could help to grow your ecommerce business.

1. Email marketing

For small business owners, this can be a great way to encourage people to buy from you. Targeted and well managed email marketing creates a connection with your customer and gives them reasons to buy. You’ll need to work with a GDPR-compliant email list, so you should make sure that everyone you send an email to has consented to hear from you under GDPR rules. Emails help to prompt people to visit your store – you might include ideas for specific seasons, celebrations, budgets or situations. You might want to launch a new product range. You may want to offer exclusive discounts or other opportunities. Good business email marketing seeks to build a rapport with the customer and make them feel special. This in turn can drive them to selected pages of your website so that it’s easy for them to make a purchase.

2. Ecommerce SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is about making sure your ecommerce website can be found by the right people. These searches are usually referred to as ‘organic’, which means that they are purely driven by the relevant content on your site and the way your website is built. The initial strategy for SEO-based marketing can be time-consuming, which is why it is often a good idea to outsource it. You’ll need to know exactly what your target customers are searching for, and then make sure that the content on your site is relevant to those specific queries. You can do this by making sure your product descriptions are full and relevant and that you have additional, useful content on your site. You’ll need to update your site regularly, and keep an eye on keyword trends, so that you can adapt your site to keep in line with any changes.

3. Paid search advertising

This is often called Pay-per-click or PPC advertising, and is the most common form of online advertising. You pay to be visible in search results for targeted keywords. You only pay if someone clicks on your advert, and the cost of that click will depend on how popular – or competitive – your keyword is. The more popular the keyword, the more expensive each click will be. It can be used for pretty much any business, so both B2C and B2B ecommerce websites can benefit from this strategy. Again, you need to know the right keywords to target, and your ad needs to be written so that it encourages people to click through. Most importantly for any ecommerce strategy, the page that the user lands on must be relevant, useful and, ideally, they should be able to buy straight away.

4. Shopping cart strategies

We are all familiar with these strategies – they are used to flag up other products on the site that customers have bought at the same time, or to suggest things that you might also like. This is the ecommerce marketing equivalent of the sweets at the checkout – it puts related products into the customer’s line of sight. You can also promote offers or discounts at this stage, which can help to drive additional sales.

5. Delivery surprises

We have high expectations of every ecommerce store we buy from. We want a smooth purchase process, lots of information on the progress of our order and reliable delivery of a well-packed (preferably using recycled or recyclable materials) that makes us feel good when we open it. Savvy ecommerce platforms use this to their advantage, by including something extra in their delivery parcel. It might be a voucher for a discount on your next spend. It might be a small free gift. It might be something that encourages you to tell your friends about the retailer. Or it might be just a simple hand-written thank you card. The content of the surprise needs to be aligned to your products and your customer, but it’s a marketing opportunity that you shouldn’t miss.

Starting an ecommerce business?

Whether you’re in the planning stages, ready to go, or you’ve been in business for a while and you need to get a better handle on your ecommerce business marketing, we can help. Outsourcing some of the day-to-day marketing tasks leaves you free to get on with running and expanding your business. And, because you only pay for the time you use, it’s a really affordable way for new businesses to hit the ground running.

If you’re short on time and need help with your marketing tasks, feel free to call us on 0800 994 9016 or use our contact form in the menu above.


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