The marketing world is ever-changing. New technologies give birth to new trends and innovative marketing techniques. To stay on top of the game, keeping up with these trends is imperative. In this day and age, cost-effective digital marketing strategies are the way to go. Especially now, since marketing budgets are at an all-time low. According to a survey by Gartner, on average, marketing budgets have fallen from 11% to 6.4%. This means that everyone needs to scale up their digital marketing plan and get creative.
Luckily, for e-commerce businesses, a plethora of marketing channels are available. Unlike your regular brick-and-mortar businesses, e-commerce has the advantage of being a part of the online community. From emails to social media, these companies can utilize every single avenue to maximize their profits. Every platform has a separate purpose and can be used accordingly. For example, if your objective is brand awareness, using social media will do wonders for your company.
Importance of Digital Marketing for an E-commerce
- To Know your Target Audience. Most digital marketing channels allow for cross-communication between you and your audience. This will help you gain valuable insights into your target consumer base and customize your products accordingly. You can also directly reach out to them to answer their queries and solve their problems.
- Wider reach. Digital marketing will allow you to reach users from all over the world. International brand awareness and new customer acquisition are more than easy if you employ digital marketing.
- Brand Awareness. Online presence is the essence of every single e-commerce business. With digital marketing, you can create the presence you like. Your online presence also determines the number of trust people will have in your brand. Social media campaigns, insightful blog posts, backlinks, etc., increase brand awareness and help you gain new clients.
- Better revenues. Increased ROI is one of the many benefits of digital marketing. A wider reach, better lead generation, and more customers are all possible with digital marketing. Besides, this type of marketing is usually cost-effective and works better to build a long-term relationship with your clients.
Things to Consider Before Picking a Digital Marketing Channel
- Relevance: Every social media platform comes with its own set of unique features. As an e-commerce brand, you need to pick and choose which feature will help your cause the most. Spreading your wings across all channels will not do you justice. Instead, focus on the most important platforms for your brand, and double down on incorporating them into your marketing plan. For example, if your brand’s USP lies in visually appealing products, Instagram will work better for you than LinkedIn, or videos will work better than written content. Do some trial and error and zero in on your preferred channel.
- Budget: While most digital marketing channels are extremely cost-effective, choosing channels that fit your overall marketing budget is always the best move. Budgetary restraints can result in poor marketing decisions. Hence, pick a channel that works well with your budget and utilize its full power. Instead of half-heartedly using Search Engine Marketing, you can explore all the free options Social Media Marketing has to offer.
- Target Audience. When choosing your digital marketing channel, the most necessary thing to consider is your target audience. If you cater to GenZ, social media marketing is your best bet. But, if you cater to a somewhat older audience, email marketing or getting organic traffic will further your sales.
- Competition. Having a thorough knowledge of what platforms your competitors are using will give you insights into bettering your own digital marketing strategy. Analyze their trends, figure out what works for them, and leverage that information to implement your plan of action. In fact, keeping an eye on your competition’s marketing moves can help you figure out what channel you need to use to stay relevant.
Most Important Digital Marketing Channels for E-commerce
#1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Organic traffic is one of the best marketing hacks. It has been getting extremely tough to generate traffic using online search engines. With the increase in the number of online stores, getting a place on the search results page requires a well-crafted SEO plan of action. 2022 will roll out with a bunch of new SEO trends that will change the entire game. Using them will bolster your digital marketing cause. Specific keywords and phrases can bring you to the top of the Google results page. To get the attention of search engine crawlers, working with quality engaging content and optimized web pages is essential.
#2. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
Getting organic traffic is seldom as easy as it may seem. It is a long and winding road. That is where SEM enters the picture. With a little paid advertising, you can reach out to your target audience effortlessly. The top search results on a search engine results page are usually ads. These are what we call pay-per-click ads. Every time a user clicks on these ads, the search engine gets paid a predefined amount. Google AdWords allows competitive businesses to bid for keywords, and the winner gets the top results spot. Using a strategic bidding model and investing in a little ad marketing, you can increase traffic to your webpage. The best part is that when you have enough and desired traffic to your online store, you can stop paying for the ads.
#3. Email Marketing
This one is an oldie but a goodie. Email marketing has existed among us even before the popularization of the modern internet. Remember the old pamphlets with newspapers? Email marketing is just that, but a little more sophisticated. And now, with an increase in online traffic, email marketing is getting popular by the minute. In fact, in 2020, HubSpot reported that 80% of marketers experienced an increase in email engagement over the previous year. Apart from sending out offers and discounts, you can send newsletters, reminders, notifications for new products, research articles, etc. All you need for a good email marketing plan are strong subject lines, links to your website, a strong mail body. Providing your customers with something memorable, informative, and creative- all in their inboxes- can help you create a loyal client base. Work with some visual content as well- banners, flyers, etc.
#4. Social Media Marketing (SMM)
People are obsessed with social media and spend hours on end scrolling through their favorite apps. Social media marketing can garner a lot of traffic to your e-commerce website if done properly. These apps are built for engagement and communication- both are amazing customer satisfaction tools. Every platform offers both paid and organic promotional features. It’s easy to go viral with social media and build brand awareness. Among digital marketing channels, Instagram yields the second-highest ROI for marketers. With features like online shops and cross-promotions, Instagram houses unlimited features to get you the desired results.
#5. Content Marketing
Like social media marketing, content marketing has a far and wide reach. Offering people information and helpful tips always works in your favor. Create insightful content surrounding your products. It costs nothing and offers something of value to your target audience. This will encourage them to purchase from your store. Apart from building a certain brand reputation, you can use this marketing channel to rank on search engines as well. Blogs, videos, research articles, newsletters, interactive webpages, creative landing pages, etc., are all fabulous content marketing strategies that can help you sail through.
Driving traffic to your website is the end goal for any e-commerce business. Any digital marketing specialist will tell you that SEO isn’t the only way to do so. Referrals are quite effective in doing so as well. Whenever a user enters your website using a link, search engines rank it as referral traffic. Backlinks and guest posts are the most common ways of referral marketing. Along with driving traffic to your website, these also play a huge part in building brand awareness. Online reviews and comments on other blogs also work pretty well.
You can reach out to potential marketers to have them promote your products. Each sale they make, they get a percent of the profit. Both the parties benefit this way. Sponsored posts on social media or review blogs are perfect examples of affiliate marketing. Per Forbes, affiliates help drive over 15% of e-commerce sales.
#8. Engaging Website
Interactive and visually appealing websites increase the customer retention rate. Doing so creates a good impression and lets your audience know that you care about your brand. This also makes sure you can grab their attention before they switch over to other sites. A user-friendly website that is easy to navigate will also increase the probability that the users will make a purchase. Make sure you optimize your page to make the loading time faster.
#9. Influencer Marketing
This is the latest trend among experienced and novice marketers. In fact, in 2021, the influencer marketing market value was 13.8 billion USD. And that number is only growing! Influencer marketing offers the chance to reach out to a new target audience. It also acts as word-of-mouth marketing with the influencer promoting your products on their platform. It can help increase customer acquisition and brand credibility. Moreover, people trust influencers enough to treat your brand as authentic and dependable.
Conclusion- Future of E-commerce Digital Marketing
With more and more technological advancements, newer and smarter trends are setting in for digital marketing. Local SEO is the most imperative thing for an e-commerce digital marketer to focus on. Phrases like “near me” and “where to buy” have seen a rise in recent times, thanks to the global pandemic. Utilizing these to polish your SEO strategies will not only keep you relevant but will also help you increase your sales. Voice search is also touted to be the next big marketing strategy. It has become easier than ever to speak to your phones, and a voice search-friendly website will turn your brand golden. You may also want to keep an eye out for featured snippets, visual search, and online reviews and use them effectively to strengthen your marketing process.
Unleashing your inner creativity is what is going to make your business stand out from the competition in the near future. Having an open mind and the zeal to pursue newer and daunting marketing schemes will put your brand on the map! Like Avinash Kaushik (Digital Marketing, Google) says, “70% of the time we're going to focus on things that we know that are very core to our business. 20% is where we're trying to push the boundaries. You get into the known unknowns. And the last 10% is a true crazy experimental stuff. Trying to figure out how to do uncomfortable things that we're going to fail at more than we will succeed at. But with every success, you build a competitive advantage.”