Ecommerce Marketing in 2019
Retail ecommerce sales are increasing by leaps and bounds, with global online sales expected to close in on 5 trillion by 2021, up from 3.5 trillion this year and “just” 1.8 trillion in 2016. As this burgeoning retail market steadily takes over the international landscape it is important for ecommerce businesses to stay on top of all the latest trends and developments to avoid falling behind the curve. In ecommerce, it is all about creating traffic at the top of the funnel and converting it to sales as efficiently as possible. The following is a brief guideline to building an effective ecommerce marketing plan. Only once this has been accomplished should you focus on the specific details of your marketing ideas and platforms.
The Planning Process
Before getting into the details of your marketing campaign, be sure to sit down as a team and establish the following crucial elements that will direct your strategy:
- Honestly assess the strengths and weaknesses of your business so you can focus your marketing accordingly.
- Determine your goals and objectives.
- Establish your target audience and markets.
- Develop a pricing and positioning strategy.
- Design a distribution and fulfillment strategy.
Okay, the plan is clear, the strategy ready to implement and the process is in place. Now, where should your ecommerce business be focusing its efforts in the changing marketing scene of 2019?
- PPC advertising
PPC, or pay-per-click, advertising is a straightforward technique that can be done using paid search results, banner ads or dedicated shopping campaigns. It is extremely transparent, making it easy to analyze the results.
- SEO marketing
Search engine optimization ensures you arrive as high up as possible when potential clients engage in online searches. This has changed significantly over the years and is now much more contingent on good practices and quality content than keyword stuffing.
- Affiliate marketing
This involves paying a commission to outside agents that sell your product on their site. The benefit of this is that you are allowing bloggers and other websites to do the work for you in exchange for a pre-negotiated commission. It lowers your profit margin but involves very little time and effort.
- Social media marketing
Simply unavoidable in this day and age, it has opened up the whole world as your audience. Varied and eminently controllable, it is becoming easier and more effective all the time thanks to constant innovation by social media platforms. For example, Facebook’s Dynamic Ads, a simple, user-friendly combination of paid ads and useful content.
- Influencer marketing
Technically part of social media marketing, this takes things one step further to make use of the growing army of social media “influencers” to market your product. Since they already have the attention and trust of their followers, customers are much more likely to follow their recommendations. Of course, it once again involves paying out commissions.
- Email marketing
While no longer be seen as trendy or innovative, email marketing is still extremely effective for certain types of products and target audiences. These days, however, it is essential for email campaigns to be very specifically targeted (people have become numb to obvious spam campaigns) and to provide unique and compelling content that offers value. Newsletter campaigns that draw attention to other content are still useful as well.
- Content marketing
This is sometimes referred to as inbound marketing because it involves the customer coming to you instead of the other way around. Here it is essential to create original, engaging content to create a loyal following. Once you have accomplished that, there are a number of techniques that can be used to capitalize on it by converting followers to customers, including user-generated content, review processes, video content and click-through purchasing.
Of course, all of this merely scratches the surface of the specific and customized solutions you will need to maximize your sales. Unless your business is large enough to have an extensive and diverse team of full-time marketing specialists it usually makes sense to work with an external marketing firm. This alternative provides easy access to highly-skilled, experienced specialists who offer a wide range of services that most in-house teams simply can’t match. Hired only on a need basis, outside agencies are usually less expensive in the long-run and your level of service can easily be adjusted over time as necessary. Whichever option you choose, however, comprehensive planning and attention to detail are the keys to every successful ecommerce marketing campaign.