(guest post by Patrick Foster)
When it comes to growing your ecommerce store, there’s a diverse array of methods and channels that you can use. The digital sphere has plenty of ways through which you can boost your sales, expand your reach, and increase your customer base. But it can be difficult to know where your store stands in relation to the world of ecommerce marketing. To help you, we’ve provided you with a rundown of some basic ecommerce marketing tools and strategies that will help you on your way.
Artificial Intelligence and chatbots
The artificial intelligence revolution is here! From Alexa playing music to Siri finding restaurants, AI permeates virtually all of our daily lives. Ecommerce has seen artificial intelligence implemented in a variety of ways to help sell and market online stores everywhere.
Take chatbots, for example. They pop up on almost every webstore, blog, and site we visit, offering us advice and help in our online experience. Ecommerce stores can use sophisticated AI chatbots to help customers find products, query return policies, raise complaints, and more, doing the basic stuff so you don’t have to.
Recent developments in AI technology means customers can have coherent and helpful conversations with these chatbots. And as the technology grows, these bots become more affordable and accessible. Even ecommerce businesses on a budget can implement sophisticated chatbots that can guide their customers through their buyer’s journey. Browse your ecommerce service’s marketplace to find an ecommerce chatbot that can help your customers on the journey.
Content marketing is everything
If you haven’t heard about the power of content marketing yet, where have you been hiding? Content marketing should be the cornerstone of your ecommerce strategy. Today’s consumers increasingly expect authentic, branded content that is interesting and relevant to their needs. And the demand is there: 70% of people prefer to learn about a brand through a piece of content like an article or video than a traditional advertisement.
Ecommerce businesses should regularly generate and share high quality content that provides actionable takeaways for their customers. In doing so, they create and retain an audience that will return time and time again.
So how can your ecommerce business use content in your marketing? It helps to know who your customers are. Once you know that, you’ll know what interests them. Use a research tool like Buzzsumo to identify what content performs well within your niche.
Identify a few key ideas and themes, then write about them and share it on your blog. Your audience will find it interesting and useful, which in turn builds a loyal customer base.
Email marketing is here to stay
With the rise of social media and instant messaging, you might think that the humble e-mail is dead. Not so! In fact, 73% of marketers consider email the top channel for return on investment, and 58% of millennials prefer being contacted by email from brands over other channels.
Email marketing can take many forms and achieve different goals. A simple follow-up email thanking customers for their purchase adds a personal touch to your relationship, and is a great opportunity to ask them to leave a review too. It can also be used to boost sales by promoting special offers, or to create buzz around new collections.
And it doesn’t have to be time-consuming either: email marketing can be automated using a tool such as Sendible to automatically send messages to targeted consumer segments or individuals based on their behavior.
For example, a customer who adds a product to their cart but neglects to check out can be sent an abandoned cart email, reminding them that they have products still yet to buy. You can even add discount codes to help convince dithering customers to make a purchase. Create personalized email campaigns using automation to connect with your customers, right in their inbox.
Influencers are your friends
Move over, celebrity endorsements: influencer marketing is here. As social media becomes more popular and widespread, consumers look to influential individuals active on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for recommendations and testimonials.
These are people like beauty blogger Huda Kattan and YouTube personality Lele Pons, who command huge followings across a number of social channels. This gives them significant authority in their given niche, and savvy brands are partnering up with them to help boost their business. Take the example of Lele Pons’ collaboration with makeup brand CoverGirl in the video below:
Lele uses her unique style to sell the brand’s mascara to her audience, an audience that CoverGirl knows forms a significant portion of their customer base. While this collaboration might have cost a lot for CoverGirl, online stores of any size can take advantage of influencer marketing. Use an influencer marketplace such as Unity Influence to connect with micro-influencers within your niche, and create a campaign that will resonate with your customers.
Pay-per-click ads for search engine success
Pay-per-click advertising is exactly what it says it is: brands create ads that appear on search engines such as Google or Bing, and then pay the host site each time a potential customer clicks on it. In theory it’s quite simple, but a successful PPC ad relies on diligent keyword research, deliberate bidding, and well-crafted ads. Consider the example below:
The paid ads appear at the very top of the SERP, and rank for exact or related keywords that appear in the search query. They’re compelling and feature a good call-to-action, and a good PPC ad can result in 50% more lead conversions than organic traffic.
PPC advertising can be a quick and easy way to grow your business when you’re opening a new store for the first time, and if you’ve got the budget you could use up a PPC management service to help you create a campaign. Otherwise, do some careful keyword research and make a compelling ad that will draw customers to your store.
Personalization for a tailored experience
Personalized marketing is crucial for creating a loyal and repeat customer for your business. Marketing communications and offers that are tailored to specific individuals can boost your conversion rates by 93%, and when it’s so easy to implement, it’s well worth taking advantage of.
An example of personalized marketing in play can be seen with online retail giant Amazon. After they login, customers are shown a variety of items related to their previous purchases, like below:
This tailored experience provides the customer with value, as they’re being shown products or services that they can benefit from. Personalization can be taken further by creating buyer personas, fictional and generalized depictions of the types of customers you might have.
For example, you might run a clothing store and have one type of customer who shops all year round, and another who only shops during the summer season. These personas can be built up using readily available customer data such as location, job title, purchase history, and more. Drill down into it to find out what makes them tick and what matters to them, then tailor your marketing accordingly.
These are just some of the ways that ecommerce brands can grow their online business. Whether you’re on a budget or otherwise, the digital world has an array of tools and services that you can use to increase sales and expand your audience. The best way to do it is to simply get stuck in, and you’ll soon see your store grow from strength to strength.
Patrick Foster is a writer and ecommerce expert from Ecommerce Tips — an industry-leading ecommerce blog that shares the latest insights from the sector, spanning everything from business growth hacks, to product development. Check out the latest posts on Twitter @myecommercetips.