By Omer Rachamim’s estimate, there are between 12-24 million eCommerce shops around the world. But only a mere 2.7-5.4% (650,000 stores) earn more than $1,000 in annual revenue. Frankly, few online businesses are good at figuring out how to generate meaningful sales. While the stats may be discouraging, it is not impossible for eCommerce companies to launch, grow and thrive.
To help both new and mature brands multiply their sales through marketing, we’re sharing five important strategies that we’ve used with our clients — including companies such as Ecko Unltd, Everlast and Teri Jon — to sell millions worth of product every year.
Convert the right customer
Many thoughtful marketing campaigns make the mistake of targeting too broad an audience. Instead of speaking directly to customers who are already interested in your product, most businesses aim to drive loads of visitors to their website who never actually convert. Often, they get obsessive over the wrong metrics, including their website’s overall conversion rate. Instead of taking a macro approach to marketing, eCommerce brands should look at micro snapshots of how different audiences react to their offers.
The most successful eCommerce companies segment their visitors — and conversion rates — by traffic source and invest in creating unique experiences for each of their distinct audiences.
Do social media differently
In the late 2000’s social media arrived with the promise of allowing brands to reach a massive organic audience. The idea was that brands could save thousands — and in some cases, millions — by building engaged, homegrown followings on social media. So, they advertised their Facebook and Twitter accounts, accumulating millions of fans and followers. Then, organic reach plummeted and marketers were up in arms. Companies with 100,000 likes on Facebook were lucky if, on average, they received a dozen interactions on their social media posts. What was once a highly profitable marketing channel has become an incredibly expensive way to engage customers.
So, what eCommerce brands can do now is advertise using Facebook’s, Twitter’s, Pinterest’s, and LinkedIn’s sophisticated advertising platforms to target consumers that are mirror images of their ideal customer. That way, they can consistently reach social media users as organic reach further dwindles. Also, companies can leverage others’ followings by sponsoring influencers and partnering with likeminded brands.
Strategically spend on the holidays
During the most recent holiday shopping season, consumers spent a whopping $630 billion on gifts for friends, family and themselves. At the same time, advertising costs skyrocketed due to increased competition. In fact, the data suggests CPMs tend to increase 70% after Thanksgiving.
To take advantage of the shopping frenzy, eCommerce companies should plan ahead and begin advertising their holiday promotions early. By launching ad campaigns up to eight weeks ahead of the holiday season, brands have the opportunity to test and optimize their creatives so when shoppers are finally ready to purchase — and media costs nearly double — marketers mitigate their risk in overspending on underperforming ads and, ultimately, outshine the competition.
Use coupons and content to win over customers
Online, shoppers are overwhelmed with options. To compete, brands must differentiate their offering and create trust with customers. Two ways they can do that include:
- Distributing coupons
- Creating fun or educational articles, emails, videos, or infographics
With coupons, companies can convince first-time buyers to convert. Studies suggest that promocodes prevent 57% of shoppers from abandoning their carts. Discounts can also be used to re-engage customers who haven’t visited your store or purchased from you in a while.
With content, eCommerce stores raise brand awareness, boost SEO and soft sell their products.
Commit to a longer-term strategy
Generally, eCommerce marketing plans fall apart when management teams are committed to making fast money. When brands first start marketing themselves, they have the unrealistic expectation that they’ll earn $10 for every dollar they invest. But for the first few months, they should aim to earn a dollar for every dollar spent. That way, they prove that marketing can be an effective way of growing their business. Afterwards, they can work to aggressively optimize their creatives and overall strategy so 12-24 months later they may reap huge rewards from their marketing investment.
When companies lose patience and prematurely abandon their marketing strategy, they sabotage their own success. With a firm commitment to the process of building early creatives, testing different marketing channels and consistently optimizing their strategy, eCommerce brands turn marketing into their most effective customer acquisition and retention channel.