The competitive market of selling products in the digital world can be tricky when attempting to stand out amongst the masses. Marketing your online business and trying to overtake competitors in your store category selling similar products poses many challenges. Marketing for success during competitive times requires multiple strategies and efforts that should prioritize your advertising operations. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have mostly concerned the online world in the past couple of years. However, 2020s novel pandemic Coronavirus has caused this digital shift to become more prominent than ever.
Determining the best eCommerce marketing strategies for your business will depend on your value proposition, essential brand messaging, and detailed data on target customer demographics alongside many other high-level elements. While many brick-and-mortar stores are opening back up to the public, consumers are still actively trying to maintain personal space and honor social distancing. Building advertising campaigns and a solid marketing plan is the first step to ranking higher on Google and winning business.
Digital marketing is a broad term that also includes advertising. Essentially it is the promotion of a business through different web marketing tools. There are numerous marketing methods to consider when running an eCommerce store. Still, in this article, we will delve into the five fundamental and overall best eCommerce marketing strategies to help you beat competitors and watch your online business soar. These methods are known as search engine marketing (SEM), search engine optimization (SEO), social media optimization (SMO), pay-per-click marketing (PPC), and last but not least, email marketing.
The first two methods will focus on Google as the Search Engine of choice. Google is the favored vehicle for intent-based purchasing and discovering information. Without profitable Google Ads campaigns, eCommerce stores will struggle to compete in the online marketplace. Building a well-thought-out marketing plan is the first step in elevating your Google ranking and becoming more visible to consumers searching for specific products. As of July 2020, the number of people using the internet worldwide surpassed the 4.66 billion mark, nearly 59 percent of the global population. A world without the internet is unimaginable at this point, so rather than allowing other e-stores to take the lead, gear up to position your products for success by determining and implementing the best eCommerce marketing strategies.
SEM vs. SEO
What makes Google drive traffic and rank one eCommerce store higher than another? The majority of clicks to a website happen when a search-result link to the website appears on the Google results’ first page. It is for that reason that reaching that first-page placement should be the main priority.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) are a means to increase sales and rank higher on Google. The main difference between these search marketing tactics is that SEM is referred to as the “inorganic” method since it involves buying traffic using paid ads. SEO is the “organic” way of earning traffic and visibility through unpaid efforts.
As a whole, using Google for marketing means gaining traffic and visibility from Google through paid and unpaid methods. Breaking search marketing down into SEM and SEO still results in each process having the same goal of a higher Google rank; however, getting to the desired result is where you will see more distinction in these strategies. Knowing the key differences will help you determine the best plan for your business. Still, in many instances, a blend of both proves to be most beneficial in the long term.
1. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is the paid search method of reaching a favored spot in the search engine results pages (SERPs). SEM has proven to be one of the fastest marketing methods in which you can see results. You can create a campaign and have your ads running within minutes. It then appears in results for targeted searches involving the selected keywords. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) for SEM can take as short as 6 to 8 weeks. With the proper investment, the Google Ad Placement algorithms can quickly learn when your Ad will yield the best Click-Thorugh-Rate (CTR) and Conversions to maximize your Return on Ad Spend (ROAS). While one of the quickest and most efficient methods, it does come with a cost and does not end at the Ads’ quality. The best practice is to have relevant on-site promotions and call-to-action triggers that will help convert your website visitors to shoppers.
Paid Ads are chosen based on the keywords targeted for each Ad. Once the keywords are selected, the corresponding Ads are displayed on the search results page to be viewed by your target audience. The keywords you choose will require extensive research through paid or free web tools. Google Keyword planner and SemRush are great examples to help you research appropriate keywords, identify costs, and sometimes review competitors. These tools select the optimal keywords to bid on for targeting relevant searches. It will take trial and error to determine what works best for your online store.
Although the choice of keywords is the most critical aspect, it is also crucial to optimize your ad listing creativity to draw more prospects. Google suggests keeping your offer concise and advises you to communicate why it is better than the competitors. Specific details, such as pricing models, discounts, and reduced shipping costs, will keep your advert relevant. Marketing automation solutions like Okiano require you only to set up your target geography, language, and audiences. At the same time, they do all of the professional work to give you the best chance to discover motivated potential customers. Like with Google Ads, you will set a budget with Okiano’s eCommerce automated advertising for each campaign. You can also let the system manage your campaigns automatically or manually to the extent you desire bidding and other site functionalities.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The other aspect of Google marketing is Search engine optimization (SEO), i.e., optimizing your content and website to rank higher in the organic search results. Unlike SEM, search engine optimization is usually free, as you won’t have to pay for clicks. However, it takes effort and potentially a considerable investment to create content with a backlink presence, and it can take several months before you start seeing results. SEO is arguably one of the most effective marketing strategies to help you rank higher on Google and drive organic traffic from your target audience. The marketeer’s preferred method as studies show that consumers who click on organic links convert up to 20 X vs. paid ads.
What do you need to do? With SEO, producing high-quality and unique content that will merit a higher ranking on Google is essential. New content should be non-trivial, possibly entertaining, and helpful, and it should consist of a high-level SEO strategy. Create content that people want and need. Not only should your main keywords appear within the body of your content, but it should also emerge within the title. You must also ensure that the user experience is as impressive. Consumers want an easy and painless experience. Your site’s speed and other usability factors should be in good working order to improve user experience and improve SEO.
The links used in your content to reference both external and internal sources are paramount. Using backlinks (links to your store from other websites) from alternate website content is mandatory to give reference and credit where due. It also serves to elevate your site ranking. Backlinks don’t need to appear in mass numbers, but incorporating a small amount from reputable websites on your articles will provide value to your reads, and Google ranking AI algorithms will reward you. SEO is a great place to start enhancing the quality of your e-business organically. Although time-consuming, this method is one of the best for substantial and beneficial long-term growth.
3. Social Media Optimization (SMO)
Social media is so essential today. Building a social presence takes substantial investment but is a prerequisite to success. Many businesses use social media to grow their brand awareness and online presence. Our present era is preoccupied with social media influencers and social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and, more recently, TikTok. Social media optimization (SMO) can be a more personal digital marketing strategy that connects with customers more directly and efficiently, helping retailers build a robust online presence. Social Media strategy will help you seek leads, strengthen your brand’s presence, and connect with your audience through active engagements and posts.
SEO focuses on strengthening your website’s content to become more discoverable on Google search, while SMO uses social media to direct your current and potential customer base to your website. Both SEO and SMO have similar intentions, but how they drive traffic to your store is different. Social media optimization often uses campaigns on various platforms to cultivate awareness and foster a community. Finding out what platform works for your business is the first step in social media optimization. While some B2B marketing companies will focus on sharing to LinkedIn, your consumers are probably hanging around outlets like Facebook or Instagram when wanting to go more personal.
Social media optimization encourages people to share exciting findings. The content you create will best engage your audience if based on your in-depth analysis and understanding of who you are looking to attract and how social media platforms can find them. There is a lot more to SMO than just posting content, hoping people click on it to end up on your store. It requires a lot of effort, both paid and unpaid, depending on your tools or if you are also implementing influencer marketing. It is also essential to make sure you are focusing on your competitors. Proper competitive analyses and thorough studying of what platforms, content, and outreach work for similar stores in your market will ultimately help you obtain the desired outcome.
4. Pay-Per-Click Marketing (PPC)
Pay-per-click marketing implies that you only pay for the ads running on the Social Media or Search Engine Results page’s when people click on your Ads. Google PPC advertising can be simple to carry out in-house, depending on your team’s experience and knowledge. However, learning what works and what doesn’t requires specific expertise, and trial & error can be costly and time-consuming. However, it delivers results quickly when done correctly and can help you meet your expected ROAS targets. With this method, advertisers run ad campaigns, paying a fee every time a web user clicks on that ad. PPC campaign management services are available to drive sales faster, manage PPC ad spend, and optimize the overall expenditure-results equation.
On top of the longer-term organic approach to gaining visitors to your website, PPC is the form of paid marketing that buys the top-of-the-first-page space on Google to drive visitors to your site. Running a successful PPC campaign has many stages. For example, the Keyword-research stage requires you to identify and select keywords to create well-optimized landing pages. Google will ultimately reward PPC experts who develop relevant campaigns that match what search engine consumers want to buy instead. The reward materializes in the form of a better quality score for your keyword-ad-landing page sequence, and Google will typically charge less per click for campaigns with a high-quality score. Our company will start seeing lower cost-per-click (CPC) and therefore higher profits if utilizing PPC correctly.
Choosing long-tail keywords specific to a product or category is also essential; these keywords are less competitive. Therefore, their relative PPC Costs are less, helping bring highly relevant web searchers to your site while spending less. While your list of keywords should continuously be expanding, you will also want to effectively manage your campaigns. PPC campaign management services like Okiano automate and manage your Google Ads, finding long-tail keywords, and helping reduce the PPC’s manual work allowing you time to focus on other business essentials. PPC advertising is relatively easy to carry out in-house, scalable, and highly cost-efficient when done correctly.
5. Email Marketing
Email marketing consists of tactical email send-outs to potential customers and prospective clients. The advantage of this particular marketing approach is to informally create, develop, and maintain relationships and network your brand. Although the method sounds simple, email marketing is a more complex and intricate strategy. Converting potential leads to reliable and consistent customers takes a lot of careful time and nurture.
The initial cold-email tactic may not work if the structure is not meticulous and tailored. These prospects are likely getting similar sales emails on a weekly or even daily basis. For that reason, you may want to run a PPC campaign that will direct users to exciting content in return for their contact information and permission to reach out, so you will not be considered a spammer.
It’s often your Paid Ads campaign that will trigger a purchase, which is observable when reviewing your conversion funnels on Google Analytics.
Networking through email marketing is very helpful in turning shoppers into customers and buyers into recurring customers. One advantage of email marketing is that you can automate the entire process. It is instrumental and time-saving to set up autoresponders when attempting to keep in touch with all of your subscribers. You can also set up specific action based emails to help you sell your product using email tools that help you check several clicks and take the time to open your emails.
Newsletters are often helpful in this approach and typically are a one time broadcast for exciting offers like discount codes or updates on what is new with the company. The sequence in which you send your emails is crucial, as well as your brand’s unique voice. When trying to sell a product through email, how you say what you say is the entire point. Figuring out what kind of voice you would like to have will differentiate your brand from similar competitors in the market.
Let’s face it; online marketing is challenging; there is no easy way around it; it costs money and time. However, utilizing a combination of the best eCommerce marketing strategies out there and making use of PPC campaign management services such as Okiano’s eCommerce marketing automation solutions will help automate and optimize your processes and make more efficient use of your time.
Nelipatel.com – A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Email Marketing
Searchfacts.com – SEM vs. SEO: What’s The Difference?
Statista.com – Global digital population as of October 2020