While e-commerce isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, it’s still chock-full of opportunity. For those who are prepared and informed on how to ‘do e-commerce right’, there’s little standing in their way of earning big profits.
Not so sure about that? Consider the fact that the growth rate for the e-commerce retail industry is projected to grow by roughly 19% by the end of 2020 with continued growth expected over the next years.
But what does it mean to ‘do e-commerce right’? One crucial aspect of a successful e-commerce business is its ability to consistently bring in customers and make sales on a reliable basis. That’s where e-commerce advertising comes in.
What is e-commerce advertising?
E-commerce advertising is the practice of marketing your e-commerce website to grow brand awareness and generate leads which then (ideally) convert to customers and sales.
With this definition in mind, the importance of developing a strong e-commerce advertising strategy should be obvious. Strong e-commerce ads work to keep a stream of new customers flowing into your online business and thereby increase your business profits. Just make sure you keep track of your profit and expenses – so you always know where you can save or better yet, optimize!
Simply put, the success of your online business largely depends on having a firm grasp on e-commerce advertising. But the term ‘e-commerce ads’ encompasses a wide variety of strategies – keep reading to find out which match best with your online business.
Types of e-commerce marketing
- Social media marketing
- Local marketing
- Pay per click (PPC)
- Content marketing
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
1. Social media marketing – the number of Facebook users worldwide encompasses more than 33% of the world’s population, and that’s just one social media platform. That presents a huge potential audience that you can target with your e-commerce advertising strategy.
Plus, with the ever-increasing array of audience-targeting tools and features offered by popular social networking sites, the task of generating new leads through e-commerce ads is that much easier through social media marketing.
2. Local marketing – this e-commerce advertising strategy is actually most useful for e-businesses (learn the difference between e-commerce and e-business). That’s because local marketing focuses on drawing in foot traffic from your surrounding geographic area.
Local marketing could include practices like creating special pages on your website for specific towns in your area, partnering with other local businesses for special offers or events, and so on.
3. Pay per click (PPC) – the idea of PPC is pretty straightforward: your business pays an online advertising network (such as Google) for each click your e-commerce ads receive. If you’re unfamiliar, PPC ads show up in Google search results with a clear indicator that it is, indeed, an advertisement and not an ‘organic’ search result.
For tech-savvy online shoppers, yes, that ‘ad’ indication may persuade them to keep scrolling. But the fact is, the top three spots on page one of a Google search (which are advertisements) take more than 41% of total clicks on that page.
4. Content marketing – whether it’s through blog posts, infographics, info-packed videos, etc. – content marketing can help your e-commerce advertising strategy by giving customers the ability (and reason) to find you instead of you going out looking for them.
High-quality content will generate more organic traffic. And if people are interested in the unique perspective you provide on your industry, then you can keep them coming back for more of your insights and, ideally, to make purchases from your website!
5. Search engine optimization (SEO) – related to content marketing is SEO, which is the practice of improving your website’s position in search engine results. That’s done by researching keywords that people enter into search engines when they’re looking for products or services like yours and using those keywords strategically throughout your content.
Don’t waste your time guessing and stressing about which e-commerce platform to use for SEO. There are 5 best e-commerce platforms for SEO that you should take a look at first. Of course, do your due diligence before choosing one – there are many other factors that come into play besides just SEO.
6. Email marketing – one easy way to get started with this e-commerce advertising strategy is by developing newsletter campaigns. Newsletters can be a mix of content that your audience finds genuinely interesting and some more self-promotional bits.
By formatting your email marketing campaigns in a way that presents value for your audience, you can grow your reputation as a reliable source of relevant information. Plus, with the ability to schedule your email campaigns far in advance, you can save tons of time and keep your audience engaged on a regular basis so they’ll start anticipating the arrival of your emails!
7. Affiliate marketing – while affiliate marketing doesn’t necessarily entail what you would call ‘e-commerce ads’, it still qualifies as a form of e-commerce advertising. The basic concept is to have an external website sell the goods or services offered by your e-commerce business and to pay them a commission for each sale they make.
A fundamental part of affiliate marketing is providing your affiliates with an affiliate link which will allow you to track the sales generated by each of your affiliates. That data can help you determine which affiliates may deserve a bump in commissions, which need a nudge in the right direction, and so on.
8. Influencer marketing – do you know a social media personality that has a large following and demonstrates their knowledge in your industry? Influencer marketing is the process of paying those individuals to endorse your products or services.
This type of e-commerce advertising is far less ‘intrusive’ than your typical e-commerce ads and can often be delivered to the audience as a friendly recommendation almost like word of mouth advertising. Naturally, influencer marketing is one of the most interesting, fun, and quickly-growing e-commerce advertising strategies. In fact, last year roughly two-thirds of marketers said they were planning on increasing their influencer marketing budgets. Hop on it!
You can use these e-commerce advertising strategies to grow your business both in terms of brand awareness as well as volume of sales. Curious how to get started with building a successful e-commerce ads strategy? Good, because that’s what we cover next!
How to build a successful e-commerce advertising strategy
Step-by-step guide for building an e-commerce advertising strategy:
- Define your target audience
- Select the appropriate marketing strategy
- Determine your budget and ROI goals
- Optimize your website
1. Define your target audience
Selecting the right target audience is a fundamental part of any/every e-commerce advertising strategy. Your goods or services will be particularly relevant for certain groups of customers and less relevant for others. For example, if you’re selling baby supplies your preferred target audience could be females between 24 and 36 years of age. That would make much more sense than aiming your e-commerce ads for baby supplies at males between 45 and 60 years of age.
2. Select the appropriate marketing strategy
Related to picking the right audience is choosing the right strategy to market to that audience; not all audiences will react the same way to certain types of marketing strategies.
Consider the fact that men spend 40% more time watching online videos than women, and that millennials watch the most online videos of all age groups. That means that if your target audience is men between 25 and 35 years of age, you’ll likely find more success when using videos as part of your online marketing strategy.
If social media marketing is on your radar for e-commerce advertising, be sure to look into the different benefits associated with Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, YouTube Ads, and so on.
3. Determine your budget and ROI goals
The portion of your budget that you’ll invest in any given type of e-commerce advertising strategy will differ depending on a number of factors. That said, here are some general guidelines on what you can expect to spend and earn on the e-commerce ads strategies mentioned above:
- Unpaid Advertising (SEO): Will cost roughly 10-24% of your e-commerce advertising budget. The average ROI for e-commerce SEO is approximately 175%.
- Paid Advertising (All others combined): Will cost roughly 39-81% of your e-commerce advertising budget. The average ROI on influencer marketing for e-commerce, for one, is approximately 478%. On the other hand, for email marketing, the average ROI is around 122%.
Note: Typically, e-commerce advertising costs won’t put too much pressure on your budget. But if there are specific e-commerce advertising strategies that you’d like to try and your budget is currently fit to cover those costs, consider business loans as a way to give your e-commerce ads a new flavor!
4. Optimize your website
We’ll keep this one short:
- Make sure that your site is mobile-friendly.
- Keep things simple. The more time people need to spend filling forms and clicking around the worse. Make it easy to buy from you!
- Use a merchant service provider that offers several payment options for your customers.
With these four key steps covered, and the 8 e-commerce advertising strategies listed above, you’re well on your way to being an e-commerce ads champ!
Ready, set, advertise
If you haven’t gotten your e-commerce advertising up to par just yet, now is the time to get started. Use the strategies we’ve discussed here to grow your e-commerce business’s sales and brand awareness – and watch as your business blooms. You’re also encouraged to share this article with other e-commerce business owners that you know can use some info to take their e-commerce advertising up a notch (or two!).