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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
As Google's advertising platform, AdWords pioneered the PPC model and capitalizes on the company's majority share of the search market.
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.
In ecommerce marketing, conversion rate optimization is a system for converting more visitors into customers, or to take a specific action on a webpage.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.