As we know that you’re always looking for new ways to create offers that convert new and existing customers, we’ve gathered some of the best eCommerce marketing tips that can help you generate more sales while offering the highest value to your customers.
Social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, search engine marketing (SEO and paid advertising) – you can use them all when outlining the marketing strategy for your online store. But it’s important to choose them wisely.
What is eCommerce marketing?
eCommerce marketing is virtually the same as any type of marketing. According to the AMA, marketing is defined as “the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large”. Add “of businesses that sell their goods electronically” right after the part about “communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings” and you get the definition of eCommerce marketing.
Hubspot’s definition, however, is much simpler and easier to understand: eCommerce marketing is the act of driving awareness and action toward a business that sells its product or service electronically. Yet, unlike more traditional businesses, eCommerce is digital-first so it will rely mostly on digital marketing rather than on other conventional channels, such as print media, for example (even though eCommerce marketing is not entirely incompatible with TV and OOH).
So today we’ll be talking about best practices for promoting your eCommerce business’s offers and sharing some marketing tips dedicated to boosting sales and increasing the number of loyal customers by creating offers that are tailored to your customer’s needs and preferences.
Start a content marketing program
Want to be more helpful for your potential and existing clients? Then start creating relevant content for your audiences and the communication channels they’re using. Content marketing pertains to inbound marketing – a strategy where you bring the audience towards you by being present with meaningful and timely content when they are out there, searching for answers – be it on search engines, video platforms, or social media.
What does content marketing mean? Blog posts, infographics, demos, tutorials, educational videos, webinars – even podcasts. It all comes down to knowing your audience and their preference: this will determine the direction of your content marketing strategy, the types of content that you will be creating, as well as the channels where you will be promoting it.
BigCommerce has published a comprehensive article about content marketing for eCommerce businesses and how to drive sustained traffic to the pieces of content you create. Some of the strategies include answering people’s questions related to products and services that are similar to what you sell on Quora and Reddit subcategories, or commenting on relevant blog posts and videos, and sharing a link to your own content.
You should make your content easy to share by your audience – this can be done effortlessly by simply adding social sharing buttons at the beginning or the end of your blog posts, for example. You should also optimize the content you are writing for social engines (do some SEO) to make sure that your website pops up on the results page of search queries that are relevant to your business and industry/category.
Take into consideration making the same kind of content available in different types of formats, to make them more user-friendly and easier to fit the social platforms that you will be sharing them on (or, why not?, the format of your newsletter). You can promote a blog post, a webinar series, a behind-the-scenes video, or a tutorial on social media by posting snippets of the videos or crafting compelling visuals and copy to introduce different pieces of content to your social media audience (either via feed posts or stories). Then, based on the response you get from the audience or on how relevant and important you think they are, you can “boost” or advertise them on social media much in the same way you would do with a product you’re selling.
The goal of content marketing is to share knowledge, create trust and connections, and generate engagement. It should be a strategic part of your communication plan. If you don’t already have a content marketing program in place, maybe it’s time to give it a try and dedicate a part of your marketing budget to content creation. It will pay off in the long term.
Personalize your marketing and offers based on your best clients’ behavior using RFM Segmentation model
If you want to send more personalized offers, you need to understand the behavior of your existing customers. But how can you do that? The answer lies in your first party data and RFM segmentation.
This segmentation model helps you define customer segments based on revenue, frequency and monetary value, hence the “RFM” abbreviation. You can find your best and worst customer segments:
- Manually, by exporting data from your eCommerce platform, analyzing data based on the three RFM variables and generate segments based on RFM score
- Automatically, by using a tool that integrates with your eCommerce platform, uses your first-party data to automatically generate RFM segments and constantly updates the segments.
Manual RFM segmentation has a lot of shortcomings compared to an automated tool and if you’re looking for an efficient way to analyze and segment your customers based on their behavior, you can count on an automated RFM segmentation tool.
If you want to skip the dreadful hours of manual RFM analysis and get right to creating personalized offers, you can try a tool like Reveal that allows you to start building better offers and experiences based on the default 11 RFM groups automatically generated:
- Soulmates: these are your most valuable customers – the ones who have bought the most often and have spent the highest amount of money in your online shop. Moreover, their latest order has been recently placed.
- Lovers: these are active customers who have placed a couple of orders, the last one being placed recently.
- New Passion: these customers have placed 1-2 orders of average value and have the potential of becoming lovers or soulmates soon.
- Flirting: these customers are active on and off. They’ve placed a couple of high-value orders, but are rather inconsistent and probably always with an eye on a better alternative. If you want to retain them, you must focus on creating a relationship with them and convince them that you are what they are looking for.
- Potential Lovers: they’re active customers who have placed a couple of high-value orders. They have the potential to become Lovers.
- Platonic Friends: these customers are active but whenever they buy from you, which doesn’t happen as frequently as you’d like, they are placing orders of small or medium value.
- About to Dump You: these are latent customers who have placed their latest order months ago.
- Don Juan: these customers have placed only one order but of high value. You should keep a close eye on them.
- Ex-lovers: these are your former True Lovers or Soulmates, who have abandoned your website and are now inactive. You probably don’t know why they stopped buying and you should look for strategies and tactics focused on “reigniting” the passion and bringing them back on your website. Additionally, this category is good for understanding why highly committed customers gradually lose interest in a business so you should consider following up and asking them precisely what the problem/s was/were.
- Apprentice: these are the new customers who have just placed their first order. How you engage with them will make the difference between them becoming Lovers/Soulmates or Platonic Friends/About to Dump You.
- Break-up: these customers are inactive, they hunt for promotions, hitting your margin. When they used to buy from you, they would place low-value orders.
This way of visualizing your customers’ behavior will have a high impact on your online sales: first, because you will get to know who to prioritize and, second, because their very behavior will tell you what you need to do next.
For example, you can personalize your emails based on what kind of response you want to trigger. You can also send reminders to “nudge” latent customers who have the potential to bring you more revenue by enticing them with relevant promotions and discounts.
More than that – you can obtain relevant information from each group of customers by sending them e-mail surveys to find out what they like/dislike about your eCommerce store and what you can improve in the future.
You can also use these insights to personalize text messages if customers have opted in to receive such communications from you. You can inform customers about the newest promotions, thank them for choosing you, send seasonal text messages with compelling copy that might strengthen the bond with you, or congratulate them on their birthday with a personalized, complimentary discount code.
For text messages, you may also consider a “drip campaign”. According to Mobile Monkey, drip marketing is a customer acquisition and retention strategy where a business sends strategically-timed messages, aka “drips”, to prospects and customers. This type of marketing allows you to use SMS messages to welcome and onboard new customers, keep leads engaged with the brand, and leverage automation to communicate at scale.
Engage online store visitors with live chat
Live chat is an excellent way to move your prospects down the sales funnel by engaging with them and helping them take the next step. Most eCommerce business owners still ponder on whether live chat might be a good element to integrate into their online store. The short answer is “yes”- it’s something worth taking into consideration if you want to engage with your customers in a more personalized way without sparing too much effort.
The great advantage of live chat is that it is easily customizable and that it can be programmed to follow different conversation flows and paths in order to be relevant to your customers. It is also a nice way to add yet another “personal touch” to your website because the tone you choose can be the tone-of-voice of your business or brand. It can be friendly, funny, helpful, or all of them at the same time. To make things feel even more personal, even though it’s an automated chatbox, you can add the picture of one of your sales representatives and their name so that it feels like prospects are really talking to a member of your team.
Live chat can help people get more easily to what they are looking for. They can also be a useful tool if they want to report a specific issue. It goes the same way for returning customers: if they’ve got any questions or problems related to their order, they can use the live chat, where you can provide ready-made solutions for the most frequently encountered issues, based on what your sales and customer support teams recognize as being the most important “pain points”. Additionally, if users can’t get the answers they need from the live chat, you can provide them with the opportunity to connect with somebody from the customer support team.
According to a report by LiveChat, visitors invited to chat are 6.3 times more likely to convert into customers than the ones who don’t chat; 61% of those customers convert within the first chat. If you want to increase the users’ trust in your business and offer them a more personalized experience, you should definitely consider this option. Because trust, engagement, and personalization are the pillars of a long-lasting relationship with customers.
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Use opt-in pop-up offers to convert users
Building a solid mailing list is a great strategy for eCommerce sites. And using opt-in pop-up offers is a great way to achieve two goals with one single tiny bit of effort: grow your mailing list and get more eCommerce sales. Based on cookies, you can identify visitors who come to your website for the first time. Once they start browsing your online catalog, you can choose to greet them with a pop-up offering a “welcome” discount in exchange for their e-mail address.
Depending on how attractive your products are to them, they will choose whether or not that discount is relevant to them. If they really like your products and want to buy from you, they will gladly join your mailing list in exchange for a coupon offering them a 20% discount, for example. This is also a great way to filter out undecided visitors and only keep people who want to stay in touch with your store in your database.
These pop-ups can be A/B tested for increased conversions– you can work on the copy or the visuals to maximize the results. You can also personalize them based on referral source or, better yet, tailor them to the interests of your audience by offering some options they might be interested in, out of which they will have to choose the one that suits them best. This way, you can come up with more relevant messaging and discount strategies.
When users show signs of exit intent, you can show them a pop-up that plays on urgency (limited-time offers), offering free shipping, or the option to join a mailing list tailored to their interests. For the last option, you can choose to display any kind of social proof, the benefits of joining that specific mailing list, the number of people who have already joined each of them, maybe even a testimonial or a short piece of compelling storytelling. Use a conversational tone and try to overcome all the possible obstacles that would prevent a visitor from joining your mailing list by mapping them out in advance.
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Upsell & Cross-Sell your products
According to Hubspot, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%. Meanwhile, the likelihood of selling to a new prospect is about 5-20%. If we look at things this way, it becomes easy to understand how much of an opportunity upselling and cross-selling are. While your existing customers have high chances of becoming “regulars”, you don’t know anything about the ones placing their first order with your shop. This is why you should try to maximize the profits from that transaction by attempting to convince them to buy something similar but of higher value and quality or by suggesting products that might fit well with what they are planning to buy.
Upselling is the strategy of suggesting a product of a superior quality or an upgrade to the product that the customers are buying. For example, if they add to cart a phone with 16 GB internal storage, you may suggest them the version with 32 or 64 GB and convince them that the deal is much better because the price difference is less significant than the difference between the storage capacities of the devices.
Cross-selling means suggesting alternative items that would go well with what your customers are purchasing. If we were to use the example illustrated above, cross-selling would mean recommending the customer a pair of headphones, a phone case, or a glass screen protector. Another common way to cross-sell is to add to each product page a list of similar products belonging to the same category or a section titled “People who bought this also bought…”. Proposing bundles, such as the phone plus a protective case, plus a screen protector for a special price is also a great way to cross-sell.
As a general rule, it’s easier to persuade customers to buy a more advanced solution or product than to convince them to buy additional products. That’s because they have already made it clear that they want that specific product. It takes less to have them understand the value of the superior version than to “trick” them into buying additional products or accessories related to what they are purchasing. Nonetheless, it’s good to use them both to increase your chances of maximizing the profit you get out of a specific sale.
Here are some best practices for upselling and cross-selling:
- Promote the most popular products and the ones that have the best reviews.
- Make sure the upsells are not more than 25% more expensive than the product the customer is interested in buying.
- Make add-on features like insurance, extra storage, or anything that might be related to the product pre-selected and ask customers to deselect if they are not interested in the offer.
- The products chosen for cross-selling should be at least 60% cheaper than the product the customer added to their cart.
- Suggest products that are easily forgotten but go really well with the main product.
- Narrow down the choices and, if possible, use your customer personas to determine the best options for upselling and cross-selling.
Reduce shopping cart abandonment
Unfortunately, this is a frequent situation, and any eCommerce strategy should offer you some resources to overcome this obstacle. We’ve got some tips to reduce cart abandonment.
The first thing you need to do is to keep the checkout as simple and straightforward as possible, with a minimum of steps required from the part of the customers.
Consider adding a one-step checkout option so that users won’t have to move back and forth to introduce their information in the dedicated fields. This option should also allow them to see clearly what their cart contains and display all the fields they need to fill in so that they can correct their mistakes right then and there.
Another effective strategy is to offer guest checkout, as many people don’t want to deal with the complicated process of creating an account on your platform. Also, make sure that all additional taxes are signaled accordingly so that they won’t have any “surprise” during the last step of the checkout process that might prevent them from completing the order. Consider adding a threshold above which the shipping is free- this might incentivize people to buy a bit more just so that they won’t have to pay for shipping.
Additionally, you can work with exit pop-ups, reminding people they left something in their cart and offering them a discount to make sure you close the deal. If you already have their email address, you can also send them a cart abandonment reminder. Just make sure that you’re not being too general. Be funny, original, engaging in your copy- make it a pleasurable experience to buy from you. Nobody likes intrusive messages or emails. Instead, everybody likes to be treated as an individual and receive personalized content that takes into account their wants and needs.
One last thing you could do is to create a sense of urgency or scarcity, by offering a flash or limited-time offer and showing how many units of that specific product are left in stock, as well as how many people are currently looking at the product, or how many people have purchased it in the last hour. Consumers respond well to such incentives because they play with their perception of those specific items: once they appear less available, they suddenly become more interesting. Additionally, flash deals leave them wondering- “What if this is the best price I can get? What if I will never find this product at a better price?”.
Create Lookalike audiences of your best clients based on RFM Segmentation
It has never been easier for business owners to find high-quality leads for their eCommerce websites. If you want to increase your conversion rates, then Facebook’s Lookalike audiences are the right way to do it. You’ve got all the relevant information about your customers in your CRM and analytics software.
But creating lookalike audiences based on your best RFM segments takes it up a notch by identifying patterns in customer behavior and offering you a complex overview of your customer base. Basically, RFM segmentation helps you identify and highlight your best customer segments and it offers you the data you need to advertise more efficiently on Facebook.
RFM automation is, once again, important if you want to keep your CRM updated with RFM segment tags. To do so, you can use Reveal’s features and make sure that you are always targeting the audiences that are more likely to convert and to become repeat customers and generate more value in the long run.
Once you know who your best customers are, you can easily find similar ones based on demographics and interests. As the guys from Hootsuite put it, Facebook’s Lookalike audiences are like a “sophisticated audience matchmaker for marketers”. Here you can find their comprehensive guide on how to create Lookalike audiences that will bring qualified leads to your website and which will ultimately result in increased online sales.
Implement Google Shopping ads
The shopping ads from Google are something that must be integrated into all eCommerce marketing strategies. They complement your text ads (that usually appear first in the results) and are shown on the right side of the page, along with the picture of the product. They also appear in the Shopping tab on Google Search, on Google Search Partner websites (if your campaign is set to include search partners), as well as in the Google Display Network (YouTube, Gmail, Google Discover).
The main advantage of shopping ads is that they are visual: apart from a short description of the product, the price, the name of your brand, and the name of your store people also get to see the picture of the item you’re advertising, which increases the chances of them clicking on the ad. This will bring you more qualified leads. Moreover, this strategy also has the potential to increase your presence and visibility on the first results page, as your shopping ads can appear alongside your text ads, thus doubling the chances of people discovering you and your offerings.
Another special feature of these types of ads is that shopping ads use the product attributes you defined in your Merchant Center data feed instead of the “traditional” keywords to place your products in the results of relevant search queries. You can use Google Ads to browse your product inventory and create product groups based on the items you want to bid on.
What you need to do to start advertising your inventory with the Google shopping ads is to send your product data to Google using the Merchant Center, then create a campaign on Google Ads. Google will then use the campaign to create ads on the results page, as well as around the web, where potentially interested customers can see what you’re offering.
We hope that you added some new ideas for your efforts to create better offers for new and existing customers based on our list of eCommerce marketing tips.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg and there’s still so much to learn. With that thought in mind, we think you would love to read more about how to create better customer experiences for your eCommerce business, so we’ve prepared an eBook that shows you how you can stop using customers and start creating memorable experiences.
There are many elements that customers take into account when they buy online. First and foremost, you should have optimized product pages, with high-quality pictures or even videos and detailed descriptions. Additionally, you should place more emphasis on the identity of your eCommerce business, highlighting the elements that make it distinctive and relatable. Moreover, it would be useful to create a sense of community around your brand, both on social media and on email. Now, more than ever, people crave connection, personalized approaches, and the opportunity to meaningfully engage with businesses and like-minded peers.
Then, on a more technical note, you should focus on the user experience on your eCommerce website and remove all the potential friction points. The one-step checkout process we talked about earlier is just an example of what you can do to make your customers’ lives easier. Run paid ads across all the relevant channels- be it search campaigns on search engines, Google shopping ads, or ads on social media (in the feed, on Messenger, and on stories). Consider creating a loyalty program and don’t forget about offering discounts every once in a while.
Last but not least – don’t forget about upselling and cross-selling. These are just a few eCommerce marketing tips to help you increase online sales in 2021.
The shortest answer is: by knowing as much as you can about your industry and the trends within it but also about your customers and the trends in their behavior. To stay on top of your game, you need to consistently carry out market research and keep a close eye on your competitors to see what they are doing and how these strategies work out for them. But what’s even more important is to know your customers and identify patterns in consumption and shopping behavior in a timely way. This is how you can get a sense of who your best customers are and treat them the way they deserve.
By using Reveal’s RFM segmentation tool and eCommerce analytics, you can see how your products are performing, how much people are buying from you, how often they return, as well as how much they spend with your eCommerce store. This kind of segmentation allows for a more granular view of your customer base and it will help you personalize your marketing efforts and improve the overall experience people have on your website.