Definition: Ecommerce marketing is the process of driving sales by raising awareness about an online store's brand and product offerings. Digital marketing for ecommerce applies traditional marketing principles to a multichannel, data-driven environment.

When you break it down, ecommerce marketing can be divided into two general initiatives: driving website traffic and optimizing the user experience to convert more shoppers. Both are crucial components of your ecommerce marketing strategy and growing your online business, and they should be treated as equally indispensable.

To gain an understanding of ecommerce marketing basics, start with a solid foundation of commonly used terms.

Ecommerce Marketing Channels:

1. Pay-per-click advertising (PPC).

Running an effective PPC campaign involves strategic bidding on the keywords or phrases used in the ads you create. Your ads will appear above or below non-paid organic search results, with higher bids earning the #1 position. Search engines earn revenue on a per-click basis, while impressions are determined by user search query.

2. Search engine marketing (SEM).

Often used as a synonym for PPC, SEM refers to paid advertising campaigns. This multifaceted term is used by many marketers to describe all paid and organic efforts. It’s also used to describe efforts on Google’s AdWords platform and paid platforms on other search engines, such as Bing.

3. Search engine optimization (SEO).

Unlike the paid advertising methods described above, SEO traffic generates unpaid, “organic” results across search engines like Google and Yahoo. Successful SEO combines adherence to best practices on a product level in tandem with content creation, inbound links, social media engagement and many other factors taken into consideration by search engine algorithms.

4. Display advertising.

Display advertising refers to banners, sidebars and other predominantly-visual advertisements that appear on other websites. Display ads are facilitated by ad networks such as Google Display Network.

5. Affiliate marketing.

Affiliate marketing leverages product-focused referrals such as reviews, comparisons and testimonials, to drive traffic to an online retailer’s website. Receiving a set commission for referred sales, affiliate marketers typically have a loyal following or receive traffic from some of the above channels. Many online stores make a large portion of their revenue by starting an ecommerce affiliate program.

6. Email marketing.

Email marketing is used to target current, potential and past customers with newsletters, abandoned cart email notifications, remarketing and automated emails to drive sales.

7. Influencer marketing.

Influencer marketing utilizes the credibility and reach of influential people in a niche to gain exposure to their product. This can include bloggers, social media personalities, celebrities or any person with a following.

Ecommerce Marketing Terms:

1. Google AdWords.

As Google's advertising platform, AdWords pioneered the PPC model and capitalizes on the company's majority share of the search market.

2. Search engine results page (SERP).

The cumulative results from users executing a search engine query, comprising organic and paid listings. Having results on the first page of SERPs is critical to acquiring new customers.

3. Conversion rate optimization (CRO).

In ecommerce marketing, conversion rate optimization is a system for converting more visitors into customers, or to take a specific action on a webpage.

4. Conversion funnels.

A conversion funnel refers to the journey a prospect takes to become a customer, beginning with the awareness stage and ending in a purchase. For higher-priced items, a longer sales cycle is common, while low-cost items convert in a much shorter time frame.

5. Ecommerce advertising.

Ecommerce advertising encompasses any kind of advertising, online or offline, that drives traffic to an online store. The most common examples include Google AdWords, display ads, and social media advertising like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Price bidding between marketers and the ad space owner determine the cost and placement of each ad.

Keeping Up With Ecommerce Marketing Trends:

You must know the latest industry trends to ensure you have a successful ecommerce marketing strategy. All industries evolve, but online marketing tends to advance at warp speed, making it crucial to adjust your ecommerce marketing plan accordingly. Search engines and advertising platforms are constantly altering their requirements, rules and algorithms that determine results — so it’s essential to stay mindful of any major updates.

Some extremely successful SEO tactics, for example, can become liabilities overnight. As Google and other search engines refine their algorithms to deliver the highest-quality results, it's critical to monitor these developments and make sure your store is compliant.

Conversely, algorithm updates can also present opportunities. Hummingbird increased the importance of semantic search, allowing SEOs to rely less on exact-match keywords. Less stringent keyword requirements leads to more creativity, and high-ranking product results today are not as reliant on inclusion of precise product keywords. Other updates have favored websites with quality informational content, increasing the importance — and opportunity — of utilizing blogs, buying guides and other forms of content.

Staying plugged into the community and getting the scoop on the latest ecommerce marketing tips is a great idea for online business owners who want to discover proven tactics and implement them for short and long-term results.

Ecommerce Marketing Tips To Help Drive More Sales:

  • Create an automated email marketing campaign.
  • Adopt tools for reducing cart abandonment.
  • Sell your products in more places, across channels.
  • Optimize your checkout process.
  • Build a better mobile experience.
  • Expand your presence across social media platforms.
  • Implement an SEO strategy.
  • Motivate customers to write product reviews.
  • Launch a loyalty program.
  • Personalize your content marketing.
  • Word of mouth advertising.

Common Ecommerce Marketing FAQs:

How do I best promote my ecommerce business?

  1. An SEO strategy is an essential component of your ecommerce marketing plan.
  2. Launch a blog.
  3. Offer promotions and discounts to attract customers.
  4. Take advantage of social media.
  5. Enlist the help of paid advertising for ecommerce.
  6. Motivate customers to review your products.
  7. Leverage free samples to garner word-of-mouth.
  8. Build out your email list.
  9. Engage with forums.
  10. Publish a guest post.
  11. Influencer marketing.

What is an ecommerce strategy?

An ecommerce strategy is an overarching term to describe the actions, channels, and tools used to expand your brand online, attract new shoppers, and retain loyal customers. Your ecommerce strategy should comprise of multiple marketing tactics, as opposed to relying on a single opportunity.

How do you write an ecommerce marketing plan?

  1. Start with an executive summary.
  2. Clearly outline your goals and objectives.
  3. Solidify your mission statement and value proposition.
  4. Pinpoint your target customers and markets.
  5. Run through a situational analysis.
  6. Establish a pricing and positioning strategy.
  7. Provide a distribution and fulfillment plan.
  8. Develop a cross-channel promotional marketing plan.
  9. Note existing marketing assets.
  10. Build a conversion strategy.
  11. Identify strategic partnerships and joint ventures.
  12. Create actionable measures to increase orders.
  13. Generate a referral strategy.
  14. Detail financial projections.

Should I hire an ecommerce marketing agency or do it all in-house?

Unless you’re a big box retailer, most businesses don’t have the internal resources to support widespread skill diversification, strategic partnerships or robust creative output. While an ecommerce marketing company can deliver these valuable advantages, businesses may find the associated costs and relinquishing of control a slight disadvantage.

What are examples of top ecommerce marketing companies?

  • 1 Digital Agency.
  • BORN Group Inc.

What ecommerce marketing tools do you recommend?

  • Google Analytics.
  • MailChimp.
  • Optimizely.
  • Unbxd.
  • Hotjar.

Further Reading:

Recommended Resources:

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