With nearly every marketing operation now taking place online, it can be tough to distinguish between the various types of digital marketing people use today. What about ecommerce marketing? What is it, and how does it compare to practices like social media, content, search engine, and email marketing?
Ecommerce marketing and digital marketing are not mutually exclusive. Ecommerce websites can use all of the above digital channels to promote a product and grow their business.
Let’s explore how ecommerce marketing uses all the digital media available today.
What is ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is the act of driving awareness and action toward a business that sells its product or service electronically. Ecommerce marketers can use social media, digital content, search engines, and email campaigns to attract visitors and facilitate purchases online.
Ecommerce marketing is just one community of marketers who can use the principles of digital and inbound marketing to convert visitors into customers. However, ecommerce marketers don’t necessarily use these marketing channels the same way a traditional brand or content marketer would.
To give you a sense of what an ecommerce marketing strategy looks like, here are some common marketing channels and how you’d use them to build an online store.
Social Media Marketing
Brands, publishers, contractors, and growing businesses all launch pages on today’s most popular social networks to connect with their audience and post content that audience is interested in. As an ecommerce marketer, you can do the same thing, but the campaigns you run might look a bit different, and not every social network is a fit for your needs.
Ecommerce websites are highly visual — you have to show off the product, after all — so your success on social media depends on your use of imagery to drive attention and traffic to your product pages. Instagram is an appropriate platform for ecommerce businesses because it enables you to post sharp product photography and expand your product’s reach beyond its purchase page.
An ecommerce business is no stranger to product reviews, either. Using a Facebook Business Page to share product praise is a perfect fit for businesses that already solicit customer reviews across their online store.
When you hear “content marketing,” you might think of blogging and video marketing — things that are meant to improve your website’s ranking in search engines and answer questions related to your industry. But if you’re selling a product online, do you really need articles and videos to generate transactions? You sure do.
A product’s purchase page should be optimized for search terms that include the name of the product. If you sell wedding dresses, for example, a Google search for “brown bridesmaid dress” is more likely to produce product pages like yours. However, optimizing an ecommerce store for short, product-driven keywords isn’t the only way to convert visitors into buyers.
If you manage an online wedding dress store, writing blog posts about “how to plan a wedding” can attract everyone involved in wedding preparations no matter where they are in the planning process. Meanwhile, shooting videos can show people how best to use your product, increasing customer satisfaction and building long-term relationships with website visitors.
Search Engine Marketing
Search engine marketing (SEM) is a little different than search engine optimization (SEO). While SEO relies on your knowledge of Google’s ranking algorithm to optimize content, SEM can involve pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, which allow you to pay for top spots on search engine results pages.
On Google, PPC campaigns guarantee that potential buyers will see a link to your page when they enter search terms that match the terms of your campaign. But because you’re paying Google each time a person clicks on your result, the payoff to you should be high.
This is why ecommerce marketers often register with Google AdWords and promote their product pages through PPC campaigns. The campaign puts searchers right in front of the business’s product when they click on a paid result, increasing the likelihood that the searcher will make a purchase before leaving the business’s website.
Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital marketing, and believe it or not, it holds specific value in the world of ecommerce marketing.
In a time when data privacy runs high on an internet user’s priority list, not every commercial email is welcome in that user’s inbox. Ecommerce marketers need to be careful when and how they add website visitors to their mailing list. Here are two ways an ecommerce marketer might use email marketing:
The Post-Purchase Follow Up
If a user has already purchased a product from your website — and agreed to receive emails from you during the checkout process — sending a follow-up email a few days after the product is delivered to them keeps the conversation going and gauges their future interest in your product line.
You might ask them to write a review of your product, or read original content on how to use what they just bought.
The Abandoned Shopping Cart
If, after submitting his/her email address, a website visitor stopped buying a product and bounced from the website, the ecommerce business can send a polite email to the visitor asking if they’d like to complete the checkout process.
This visitor is often called the “abandoned shopping cart,” and emails to retain their business can make the difference between a purchase and a lost customer.
Ecommerce businesses have several marketing tools at their disposal. Using digital and inbound marketing just the right way, you can create campaigns that are designed to help your online store attract customers and grow better.