Top Marketing Channels for Finding eCommerce Customers

15 Feb Top Marketing Channels for Finding eCommerce Customers

When you are just starting in eCommerce, you need traffic, lots of traffic.

You can build traffic over time, but you do not have time.

You can buy traffic, but you do not have money.

This creates a big challenge for the emerging online retailers.

Building traffic that will bring you customers are hard. Many companies who learn how to find traffic, fail to maximize it.

If you were to become a successful ecommerce company, always think of your marketing as a funnel. Your funnel will be organized around these 3 key areas:

–           Finding more qualified customers and convincing them to come to your website

–           Enticing your website visitors to make the first purchase

–           Encouraging your customers to buy more, buy more often, and refer you to their friends.

In other words, you need to have to build and optimize a funnel

Why should you bother with a funnel?

Majority of people who find you online will not buy until they see your brand for 2-3 times

If someone clicked on your site and went away, it does not mean they will not buy in the future. It just means that they are not ready to buy yet.

It gets even more complicated in the B2B space with their notoriously long sales cycles.

Staying in touch with your website visitors increases the chance of them buying your product.

The overall shopping experience on your site also plays a huge role in convincing your customers to buy.

We live in an instant gratification society. People who are finally ready to buy your product want it now and the delay will cause them to go away.

Key questions to help you find qualified customers 

Your end goal is to find the most profitable marketing channels.

What does the profitable marketing channel look like?

Profitable marketing channel may not have the largest number of users, but typically has a large concentration of the qualified buyers.

Ideally, your customers are already in the “purchase” mode or can be easily convinced to at least give your product a try.

Some of the key questions to ask when looking for a best marketing channel:

–           What channels have large concentration of our potential customers?

–           What is the best way to reach them?

–           Who are the influencers (including micro-influencers) with access to our ideal customers?

–           How can we engage with these influencers?

–           What tactics can we use to attract attention of the customers?

–           What is the cost of acquisition for each of the channels?

Top online marketing channels for eCommerce

With so many marketing channels, it is hard to figure out which do and do not work. In our work with eCommerce companies, we have tested many of the existing channels.

This summary of the top channels and tactics is designed to be your starting point.

Email marketing

No matter what anyone says, email marketing still works.

It is a lower cost option with high return on investment. Email helps you foster relationships with the clients. A well-executed promotion can result in 3-5x increase in sales.

Some online retailer send email as frequently as daily. Contrary to what you may think, people will not unsubscribe.

If you are not already building your email list, start doing it today!

Create personalized communication with your current customers. But not every email campaign works. The more personalized your email is the better are your results.

Create a Welcome email sequence for the new subscribers. Send your subscribers ongoing promotions based on their behavior and preferences.

There are hundreds of email automation products.  Mailchimp or Sendgrid will be perfect if you are just starting. You can upgrade to Active Campaign, Hubspot or Marketing Cloud when you are ready. 

Reach out to the abandoned cart users. Some customers may buy your product later. You can target abandoned cart customers in your email campaign. (Also consider running a retargeting campaign to get their attention)

Locate new email lists. One way to grow your email list is through data mining and or forging business partnerships. If you chose to do it, learn about the CANSPAM regulations.

Events 

Many online companies make a mistake of ignoring live events. Your physical presence at a live event can generate a lot of interest. Typically, customers acquired at an in-person event buy more and more often.

Live Events and Tradeshows 

Every industry has many events and trade-shows. However, live events can be time-consuming and costly. Be strategic about the types of the events you attend. If your target consumer is not there, do not go.

Also remember to create a system for engaging with your audience before, during, and after the event. A lot of your success will depend on your lead follow up process

Online events

Online events are a great alternative to live events. These events work especially well if your product requires a demonstration. Customers get a glimpse of your product via online product demonstrations and Facebook Livesteaming.

Another advantage of the online event is your ability to lead customers to the designated purchase page.You may not get sales right away.

Your goal is to generate awareness and start the initial connection. This steps works well if you have built a funnel to nurture your leads.

Social Media (organic)

Social Media is critical for an eCommerce brand. Your outbound strategy will create awareness and lead people to your website.

Top Social Media platforms for eCommerce: Pinterest, Shoppable Instagram and Facebook are your top choices.

Warning: it is hard to measure conversions and revenue from social. Many eCommerce companies neglect to invest into these channels as they cannot measure it directly.

Do not get discouraged if you do not see immediate purchases. As a rule, most of the social media driven conversions happen after 2 or 3rd visit. Use one of the Google Analytics report templates to monitor your traffic.

For Facebook, focus on showcasing your products AND your brand. Your followers would want to see your real story. They are curious about latest events, news, promotions, updates.

Give your Social Media fans what they want to see

If you have a lot of unique products on your site, Pinterest will likely be the top organic platform for you. Instagram is a fantastic platform is well, but it does not allow links. Invest into shoppable solutions, such linkinbio or linkinprofile.

In addition to posting content, also engage with your users. Conversations build trust. Trust turns into revenue.

Niche Platforms

While most of eCommerce companies have a Facebook or an Instagram profiles, a lot of them tend to ignore niche networks.

Niche networks may have fewer daily active users, but the users they have are more engaged. Therefore, they have a higher potential of buying your product.

Polyvore is a great platform for fashion and gift items. It is more than a collection of pretty pictures. Polyvore users are very engaged and excited about brands they follow.

A fast growing Luxury Fashion eCommerce brand uses Polyvore to showcase their products and redirect users to the website

Houzz is a great community if you are focused on interior design.

Reddit is another platform worth mentioning. It is organized by interest via it’s subreddit structure. If you find the right  has a potential of sending you high volumes of traffic really fast.

Video

Social Media is quickly moving towards integrating video into most of their campaigns.

Create the main story line around your brand. Translate this story line into individual content pieces and deliver them through Facebook Live, Instagram Stories or Periscope.

Social Media videos are educational or inspirational in nature. Their ultimate goal is to drive clicks to your site and opt-ins.

Search Engine Marketing (PPC+)

10 years ago Google Adwords were the gold mine for ecommerce. Once you figured out your basic campaigns and optimized you, you could sit back and enjoy the campaign running on an auto-pilot.

Fast-forward to 2017, most of PPC campaigns are too expensive for the emerging companies. It only works for the higher ticket items.

The advantage of a paid search campaign is in connecting with those in the “purchase” mode. Users are actively looking for a product like yours to buy right now.

The disadvantage is that they may never heard about you before. Your landing page must capture their attention right away.

AdWord (PPC) Campaigns

Most likely a Google AdWords campaign will be cost prohibitive for you early on. However, PPC campaign are still a great option for testing. You can learn about effectiveness of your special offers, messaging, and holiday promotions.

Run simple A/B test campaigns to test different headlines, URLs, and landing pages.

Remarketing

Earlier I mentioned that website visitors rarely convert on their first visit.

Remarketing is a good way to keep in touch with the customers. Look for tools that will allow you to execute more sophisticate remarketing campaigns.The more personalized your remarketing is, the better your campaign performs.

Search Engine Optimization 

Organic search engine traffic is your best friend. It is free (if you do not count the cost of SEO itself). It may take you a long time to achieve high ranking.

URL Structure. How you structure your URL will have a significant impact on your SEO. If you are on Shopify or another eCommerce platform, you may not have a lot of control over your URL. As a general rule, avoid unnecessary categories, include keywords, and be mindful of the URL length.

Frequent Site Updates. Google likes pages with detailed information. Update your product pages frequently and include necessary details and keywords.

Social Media (paid)

Unlike Search Engine Marketing campaign, customers you find on social media are likely not ready to buy your product.

Successful social media campaign must do several things well:

1 – Stop user from scrolling through their social media feed

2 – Hold their attention long enough to convince them to check your website

3 – Present them with a compelling offer

4 – Have a follow up mechanism to stay in touch

Facebook Advertising 

Many Facebook ads fail. Many of them fail to do Steps 1 and 2 right.

The best performing Social Media campaigns create an immediate emotional connection with their customer. They explain your product in terms of the benefits and outcomes (never the solution or the features)

Video Letters, Customer Testimonials, Free Offers or simple downloads perform well on Facebook. In order to make Facebook ads work for you, you must have Step 4 in place.

Contest, promotions and giveaways.

Social Media users love to have fun. Therefore, simple contests and promotions appeal to them.

The secret of a successful promotion is in compelling offer. If you are creating a promotion, aim for a 25% OFF discount minimum (50-70% or FREE products perform much better).

Using 3rd party contest tools gives you  the flexibility of configuring incentives. For example, offering 30 contest entries for one referrals, can significantly increase your contest social traffic.

Influencer campaigns and Earned Media (aka “free PR”)

Endorsements create instant credibility in the eyes of your customers. It is deeply rooted in the “me too” psychological principle. People instinctively trust products recommended by others.

Top media mention and endorsement 

Media can send a lot of traffic to your website.Unfortunately, the Wall Street Journal is not going to write a featured article on you (at least not yet).

At the beginning, focus on your story and seek endorsements from smaller publications. Keep pitching or hire a PR firm to represent you.

Inclusion in product catalogs, gift reviews/recommendations

Many publications will include new products in their gift guides. Look for opportunities to share your products with the editors of these. You may need to proactively send them your product.

Unboxing videos

Unboxing videos are still very popular on YouTube. They are also gaining momentum via Facebook Live. These are videos of real people. These people are recording every step of their experience opening a package. These videos work well as they create user excitement about your product. Especially, if you get a celebrity to do a video for you.

Guest blogging

Guest Blogging is a great way to win a link to your site. Focus on the sites with page authority higher than yours. Guest blogging is a long term investment into your SEO strategy. It is similar to a marathon. You have to be consistent and prepare for the long run.

Affiliate marketing and brand ambassadors

Gaining one customer at a time is quite costly. Look for individuals, organizations or brands that complement your product. They may already have large audience of your targeted customers. Look for opportunities to run joint promotions with them.

CONCLUSION

Creating a successful eCommerce company is challenging. You have to do many things well. Attracting customers is at the top of your list. Converting them via a funnel is close second. If you are interested to talk more about your eCommerce brand, schedule a FREE 30-minute Strategy session

 

 

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