No matter the stage of your business, you’re always looking for better ways to drive more sales. Let me ask you – how thorough is your marketing strategy? How well-planned?
In this article, we offer you a complete overview of how to plan a marketing strategy for an online store. Plus, we talk about the different marketing activities you could have based on the focus of your strategy – more customers, better retention, exponential referrals or larger orders.
Having an eCommerce marketing strategy gives you an edge over the competitors because it focuses your efforts and gets you where you want to be with your online store.
No matter if you are launching your online store now or have been running it for some time, before crafting a new marketing strategy, take inventory of what you have now.
Now, let’s talk about what you want to achieve – what your goals are. Because you want to change something, right, to turn your business more successful with a new action plan.
And “more successful” usually means more sales.
The simple formula that shows how more sales are achieved is this one:
So you can either increase the number of customers, the money they spend or the number of orders they place to get an overall uplift in revenue. You can do all 3, of course, or – more realistically – focus on one at a time.
That’s why we classified the strategic activities into 3 groups based on their purpose.
If your goal is simply to get more people to your online store, here are a few tactics to use.
Analyze your traffic sources and keep only the top-performing ones
Find which channels bring you good, converting traffic and give them more attention and a larger budget. Digging deeper, you can optimize CPC spend analyzing the keywords that work the best for you.
Attract people not in buying mode
To get the attention of those who’re not actively looking for products like yours but fall in your target group, inbound marketing is a great part of any marketing strategy and pays off over time.
It’s an elegant way of getting people in, establishing trust and authority, and becoming top-of-mind.
We’ve listed a few suggestions that drive traffic to online stores.
The purpose of all such activities is to give value to potential customers without hard-pushing products. If done right, inbound should position your brand strongly in the mind of the target group so that they turn to it for advice, help and inspiration, not just one-time purchases.
To make the most of shopping holidays is to gain as many new customers as possible. So better be very active promoting yourself.
In 2017, the major crazy sales days are:
Black Friday – Nov. 24th
Small Business Saturday – Nov. 25th
Cyber Monday – Nov. 27th
Green Monday – Dec. 11th
Free Shipping Day – Dec. 16th
Boxing Day – Dec. 26th
These dates are pretty fixed so you can plan for the holiday promotions ahead of time.
Some marketing activities to start with so you’re prepared for the big sales are:
Going outside, meeting people and presenting your brand in a context different from a website (just eCommerce problems, right) is an awesome way to gain additional brand awareness and traffic.
For the purpose of increasing your customer base, such events can help:
All those are well-related to the target persona’s past time activities and go-to entertainment media.
Fun idea: organizing your own event is even cooler. It just has to be catering to the audience’s interests without making it all about your products.
Influencers that can help
You know best the most influential people in your niche and the ones your audience looks up to. To be able to update your marketing strategy any time, it’s a good practice to keep a list all influencers, their most used social network account, and their contact. Also, take note of the kind of collaboration they might be open to.
Ideas for collaborations with influencers:
While getting new customers is good, another way of increasing your revenue is to get your existing customers to order more often and stay with you longer.
The tactics below aim to engage customers, keep them thinking about your products and eventually solicit a new order.
Loyal customer specials
To offer any benefit for customers over newbies, exclusive promos are a must. Early-bird offers, sneak peaks into new collections, discounts on partner events are all ways to make people feel special, a part of a cool club.
Loyalty season after season
Use content to keep them hooked throughout the year with maintenance and usage tips (How to take care of sunglasses during the winter?). You can write about your supply chain and the values it supports. Or introduce the makers of the product – especially if they are experts, artisans, or rebels – this can make great videos!
Engage in brand development
People love to be asked about their opinion and you can expect huge engagement from customers when you ask for new features/ varieties to add to your line. That doubles as feedback and market research so it’s a cheap way to give them what they want while building excitement about the brand.
These are gaining popularity because people sometimes want to buy a newer item but still have the old one that’s working. Make it easy for your customers and –more importantly – lock their money by accepting the old items (works for all kinds of products – kitchenware, clothes, toys, gear, etc.) and giving a discount coupon in exchange.
Based on their order and browsing history, you can offer them new products from a line they already bought. When following their taste and actions, your offers will be on point and therefore – much better accepted.
User-generated content and contests
You can hold a contest for customers on Facebook and Instagram where you encourage them to post pictures with their purchases and promote the brand to their network for likes and prizes. People love the vanity boost to be a trend-setter and you get referrals! Plus, they need to buy your newest product to enter 😉
In order to make people spend more in one sitting, you can either make them get more items or buy the more pricey ones.
Since price is linked to quality, you boost your brand image, and gain trust to justify higher prices:
Or if you just want fuller baskets,
It’s all good but how do you know these are working?
Since we’re data geeks, we talk in KPIs. Implementing a structured marketing strategy for your online stores should give you the following impact:
For best results and future tracking of your performance, we recommend using an eCommercerce analytics tool that shows customer behavior, trends and measures KPIs.
To wrap up
Hope this outline of a marketing strategy helps you map out the actions you need to take to get to your goals. What we like about the planning part is that breaking down bigger goals into smaller actionable steps makes them look so much possible to achieve.
We’re excited to hear about your marketing plan! How do you do it? How specific do you get? Share your experience in the comments.
This is a blog on ecommerce tips, digital marketing and entrepreneurial inspiration. We hate fancy talk as much as you do.