19th August 2022

What is ecommerce marketing?

Holly Hill

Everything you need to know about ecommerce marketing - why it’s critical for your business and how to get started 

If you’re here, chances are you are considering digital marketing for your existing ecommerce business, or you’re considering setting one up in the future. If that’s the case, you’ve already taken a (very critical) step in whether or not your ecommerce brand reaches its potential and is successful in the long term.

In the process of launching a new ecommerce business or even a new product range, many businesses neglect the post-launch strategy - how their products get seen, how their brand is viewed, and how to drive sales and retain customers. Nowadays, it isn’t as easy as setting your shop live and waiting for the conversions to roll in. With the ever-changing competitive landscape of ecommerce performance in organic search and paid advertising, it’s critical for ecommerce businesses to have a plan of action for driving traffic and conversions.

In this article, we’ll explore just what ecommerce marketing is, as well as the digital marketing channels and factors that every ecommerce business should consider when looking to grow online and stay in business. 

What is ecommerce marketing?

Simply put, ecommerce marketing involves using various digital marketing channels such as Pay Per Click (PPC), paid social, strategic search engine optimisation (SEO), digital PR (public relations), email marketing, and various other digital mediums in order to drive brand awareness, website traffic, and ultimately, conversions (aka sales). 

With platforms like Shopify, Magento, and even plugins like Woocommerce, we now have unprecedented access to powerful tools to begin selling products and services online. The upside is that setting up an online store is relatively simple, but it also means that the internet is currently flooded with ecommerce websites, many of which are selling the same products. Whether or not you are selling the same product as someone else or have a unique, genuinely great product or service, without traffic and visibility on the site, you’re unlikely to see the figures you’re hoping for.

Why should I care about ecommerce marketing?

For businesses selling online, ecommerce marketing is, above all else, your fuel - the driving force behind differentiating and legitimising your business while driving new and repeat sales. With the right paid and organic marketing strategies, you will be able to better reach your target audience, build your brand reputation, gain consumer trust, and rise above competitors. After all, how many users will really purchase a product from a website or brand they had never heard of, or, more significantly, from a website that doesn’t appear when they’re searching for products just like yours?

In addition to increasing your visibility, marketing reinforces your brand and builds consumer trust. With users becoming more and more sceptical about where they input their personal and banking information, it’s vital that the end user trusts your brand and has a positive user experience throughout the purchase process.

How do I get started?

If you have established an ecommerce business, have ambitions and the means for growth, and (very importantly) are able to meet the demand of increased sales, then you are likely ready to begin ecommerce marketing. 

While it’s fairly obvious that we would say this, if you are not sure where to begin, the best step forward is to contact an experienced digital marketing agency in order to understand your options. You may choose to do paid marketing only, or a combination of paid and organic activity to really drive the full potential of your site.

Paid Advertising: With paid advertising, an agency will typically provide a forecast of potential results based on your ad spend budgets, as well as what products and key services you’re looking to target. From there, you can also agree on a target return on investment (ROI) figure that the agency will strategically work toward and grow over time.

If you are already running paid ads either yourself or with another agency, a new agency would usually carry out a thorough PPC audit to identify issues, areas of improvement, and ultimately a plan to improve results.

While paid ads typically take a few weeks to find their footing, the results can generate results far quicker than organic marketing. For that reason, the paid channel works incredibly well in supporting SEO and PR (organic) activity as it builds and grows over time.

Organic / SEO: Similarly to paid marketing, an agency will also carry out an SEO audit on the site to ensure its pages, content, and metadata is optimised to be found by search engines. Based on keyword research, competitor analysis, and even user experience (UX) reviews, an SEO team will also develop a strategic plan to increase your site’s search visibility and authority within search engines in order for your site to appear nearer the top of results (ideally above your competitors). 

Organic is slower than paid in terms of tangible results, but the results are longer lasting, providing your site with a sort of ‘digital safety net’ in the case that you turn off your paid ads or are outbid by the competition. The ideal scenario for any ecommerce website is that organic and paid are working alongside each other - this is the most beneficial and impactful way to really push a site to its full potential. 

All that said, many ecommerce businesses choose to do paid advertising only, and many see great success when sticking to a singular channel. Marketing for ecommerce can be flexible in terms of investment, so to understand what can be achieved with what you’re prepared to spend, simply ask an agency to provide you with a forecast and a plan.

Why should I use an agency? Can’t I do it myself?

Some businesses will be tempted to handle their paid advertising and SEO themselves or seek the services of someone cheaper and less experienced. Ironically, the attempt to make an upfront saving usually results in larger overall losses. Over the years we have had clients come to us who are both frustrated and disheartened after spending incredible sums on poor performing or poorly optimised ads, even organic campaigns that got them nowhere. 

Can I-COM help my ecommerce business?

As mentioned above, we have a lot of experience building successful ecommerce brands (seriously, check out our case studies). We focus on real results and driving a return on investment for our clients.

Over the years we’ve worked with a broad range of ecommerce clients, but we’re particularly good when it comes to niche, family-run, and local ecommerce businesses with clear targets, a willingness to collaborate and provide feedback, and overall, the intention to operate and grow in the long term. 

Industries we work with include safety and construction, clothing and skincare, sports clothing, wholesale and retail, plus plenty in between. Whether you’re considering paid advertising, paid social, content marketing, PR, or any other channel or medium you’re interested in,  get in touch for an informal chat with a member of our team to see if we’re the right fit for you.

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