E-commerce is hotter than ever before, and it’s expected to take an even greater piece of the pie in years to come. In 2017, e-commerce accounted for 9 percent of all U.S. retail sales, a number which is projected to rise to 12.4 percent in 2020.
Yet without solid e-commerce advertising strategies, customers won’t be aware of the products and services you have to offer, leaving your e-commerce business in the dust. The good news is that it’s not difficult to build a strong e-commerce advertising plan that will attract the right prospects and convert them into loyal customers.
In this article, we’ve compiled the 12 best advertising strategies for e-commerce, including the best e-commerce advertising channels and e-commerce advertising techniques. Ready? Let’s get started.
The best advertising channels for e-commerce will depend on the products and services you sell and the target audience of your business. Below are 5 of the most common e-commerce advertising channels.
Content marketing is one of the most popular forms of inbound marketing: creating relevant and compelling content that organically attracts visitors and convinces them to become customers.
The forms of content marketing include:
Any effective content marketing strategy for e-commerce will use a mixture of the above content, designed for different customer segments at different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Email newsletters are a highly coveted form of e-commerce advertising—after all, the people on your email list have already opted in to receive messages from you.
The messages to your email subscribers may include:
74 percent of people say that they use social media to inform their buying decisions, which makes social media a valuable and highly effective form of advertising. From Twitter and Facebook to Pinterest and Instagram, each social media network comes with a different set of users and different expectations surrounding their content.
Like email newsletters, social media comes with the guarantee that users have voluntarily chosen to view or follow your posts. As such, many of the same tactics for email marketing can be applied to social media for e-commerce businesses: for example, informing your followers about an upcoming sale, or offering a reward for completing a survey.
Unlike email, however, your social media accounts are visible to the general public. This means you can afford to get creative with your e-commerce advertising strategies: commenting on current events, interacting with other accounts, and offering humorous or engaging content.
Influencer marketing is a special form of social media marketing in which “influencers” (prominent, authoritative figures in a given field) post an ad for you in exchange for compensation. For example, an outdoor apparel brand might choose to partner with a professional rock climber, who posts a picture of them wearing one of the brand’s products on their Instagram account.
Many e-commerce brands now use influencer marketing as their main e-commerce advertising strategy—and to great effect.
PPC (pay per click) ads are advertisements that appear on search engines such as Google and other websites when users perform a relevant search or view relevant content. They may be text-based ads or display ads containing images and videos.
Depending on your goals (and your e-commerce advertising budget), PPC ads may be a good fit. When done correctly, PPC ad campaigns can rapidly drive traffic and interest. However, PPC campaigns that are poorly executed, or that target the wrong keywords, can easily have a disappointing return on investment.
Once you’ve chosen the appropriate channel(s) for your e-commerce advertising, you’ll next have to decide on the appropriate e-commerce advertising techniques. Below are 7 suggestions for how to run more effective advertising campaigns for e-commerce.
Retargeting ads are intended for people who left your website without making a purchase. Just 2 percent of users will convert on their first visit to your website.
Of course, this makes the other 98 percent a highly lucrative target audience. Retargeting ads show people the products that they viewed or had in their shopping cart without completing the purchase.
Retargeting ads require a bit of finesse to pull off: for example, they should only be shown at a specific frequency to avoid overwhelming users, and they should stop being shown if a user actually completes the purchase.
80 percent of consumers are more likely to patronize a brand with personalized experiences, such as offers based on the consumer’s location or purchase history. Micro-targeting is a personalized e-commerce advertising technique that segments consumers into highly specific audience subsets.
E-commerce businesses use micro-targeting in order to create personally relevant content, and to predict which products and services will be most appealing to an individual user. For example, users may be classified by their demographic information, their travel preferences and hobbies, their beliefs and behaviors, and much more.
Upselling and cross-selling are classic advertising techniques for existing customers that can be easily adapted to the digital age.
Cross-selling persuades people to purchase related or complementary products (e.g. shampoo when buying conditioner), while upselling persuades people to purchase a higher-end product (e.g. a more expensive cell phone plan with more data).
Mediums such as email newsletters and PPC ads that can capture the attention of existing customers are the perfect venues for e-commerce upselling and cross-selling.
Testimonials, reviews, and case studies are some of the most effective methods of converting prospects into customers. 93 percent of consumers say that online reviews impact their final purchasing decisions.
Incorporating the positive experiences of existing customers into your ads—especially those who look very much like your target audience—is a powerful way to gain social proof for your e-commerce business. Of course, you’ll first have to collect this feedback through surveys and automated emails that you send to your best customers.
They say that humans are the storytelling animal, and telling the story of your e-commerce brand is an excellent way to capture your audience’s attention. 79 percent of consumers want brands to tell stories as part of their marketing campaigns, while 55 percent of them are more likely to purchase the brand as a result.
Longer-form content such as blog posts and videos are perfect for telling a compelling brand story, making your campaign more memorable and personable.
The term “lookalike audience” comes from Facebook, but the concept is universal. Facebook and other online ad platforms allow you to launch ad campaigns that target “lookalike audiences”: people who are not already your customers, but who look very much like your existing customer base in terms of demographics and interests.
Using the current fans of your Facebook page as a “source audience,” Facebook constructs a highly similar lookalike audience. The smaller your lookalike audience, the greater the chance of similarity and the more effective your ad campaign will likely be.
We’ve already discussed the power of personalization for e-commerce advertising strategies such as micro-targeting. Dynamic product ads are another Facebook innovation for personalizing your e-commerce ad campaigns.
Using pre-built templates, Facebook enables you to automatically build ads for your e-commerce products, based on the interests of the user viewing the ads. For example, you can create a carousel template that displays a few of your most interesting products, personalized for each user viewing the ad.
With so many e-commerce advertising channels and techniques, the sky’s the limit for e-commerce ad campaigns. By staying on top of these advertising strategies for e-commerce, you’ll be more likely to run effective campaigns and convert prospects into loyal customers.
Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. Please contact us if you need help growing your online business or implementing the concepts presented in this blog post.
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