Alright, so you’re planning your multi-million dollar brand’s ecommerce marketing strategy and need ideas.
But the basic tips commonly available aren’t cutting it—you want actionable advice that will set your brand up for massive growth. You’re looking to borrow proven ideas from brands that are doing it right. Which makes total sense. Other ecommerce marketing playbooks can totally work for you too.
So we talked with industry leaders, and scoured the web to find the best and under-used marketing tactics for scaling brands.
Below, learn about the ecommerce marketing tactics used at successful household-name DTC brands, and how your store can adapt them to drive and convert more traffic. No wheel-reinventing needed 😉
Want a refresher on ecommerce marketing, or prefer to skip to the actionable tips? Try the jump links below:
In a nutshell, ecommerce marketing encompasses all of the individual tactics your brand uses to capture shoppers’ attention. Generally, the goal of which is to create brand awareness for your store that boosts site traffic. From there, site traffic can be nurtured or converted into customers and repeat customers over time.
The primary focus with ecommerce marketing is on store purchases. For example, a restaurant or physical retail store's goal could be for you to come in person to shop, or attend an event. But the end goal of marketing for an ecommerce brand is largely in pursuit of online sales—or secondarily subscribers you intend to convert to purchase eventually.
Ecommerce marketing is often framed up as a topic for a direct-to-consumer (D2C) style businesses. But, your ecommerce marketing strategy can take learnings from business-to-consumer (B2C) tactics too.
Each requires different channels to achieve success. And so, learning about how to use them best in your marketing strategy can help you grow.
For choosing channels best fit for you—it’s largely about who interacts with your end consumer: you as a business directly (D2C)? Or the case where you communicate with your customers indirectly (B2C). This will determine the channels you try to win with.
For example, if your brand sells D2C (think: YETI) you often sell on the level of specific products or product lines (i.e.: coolers). Selling via online via channels like your website presence, search, social, and email are great choices for this and help you build your brand identity 1:1 with the customer.
But, if you’re Home Depot or sell products from many different brands (B2C), your brand identity sits atop all your other products and you operate on the level of category (i.e. “home improvement”). You might place more importance on channels like television and radio to accentuate your unique value. And then use social, influencers, and email to really hone in on attracting audience segments (i.e. those interested in hardwood flooring).
Overall, we’re seeing more crossover in the channels both D2C and B2C brands are using to achieve their goals, as more B2Cs are realizing the need to build incredible experiences, similar to the experiential approach of D2C.
As you start to plan your strategy, it’s worth noting ecommerce marketing is largely digital-first, but there are multiple channels fit to market your ecommerce business. Here’s a handful of channels you’ll likely be planning for:
Typically, as you run your marketing campaigns, you’ll be looking at channel-specific metrics to inform your decisions on those channels. For example, metrics like conversion rate, bounce rate, average order value, and revenue per user specific to your website help you better understand your customers and what they buy. With email, open rate and click-through rates can help you better understand how engaging your offers are.
An ecommerce marketing strategy details all of the initiatives you’ll undertake to attract shoppers to your site and convert them. When your brand first sets out writing your marketing strategy, it might be simple and only include one or two marketing channels to start.
But, as you grow, your all-encompassing marketing strategy will likely expand to include more channels. Also, your strategy might become more specific to your brand and what you’re learning works best for your store. In other words, how to execute your plan and how advanced your tactics are become more important than simply isolating what channels you'll use high level.
Generally, a plan will include the following, at a minimum:
Alright, so as you start considering what’ll make it into your upcoming year’s worth of marketing activities, who’s playbooks should you be looking at for inspo? Let’s have a look at the brands doing it right.
Here are 10 conversion and traffic-driving tips to inspire your best ecommerce marketing strategy yet.
You already know it’s a great idea to segment your audience to create personalized emails that better capture shoppers’ attention. Likely, you have at least a few segments set up already. But, segmenting is still an often underused tactic. Email marketing tools usually don’t cap the number of segments you can create for your audience. So, this is your chance to test and play with new target groups and options. Try creating segments (and associated ecommerce promotions and site pages) based on:
Then, use theses new segments to send more strategic, targeted emails with a higher chance of converting. For example, suppose you have a segment for VIP customers, those who have bought from your brand over five times. In this case, you could:
Eventually, all brands make mistakes, regardless of how much planning they do. What’s important is your brand’s response after making one.
Small mistakes are incedentental, and typically don’t have a major affect on your customer. For example, not enabling discount codes on the right day/time could be annoying, but it’s an easy fix. Small mistakes like this can be prime opportunities to extend deals or savings.
Here’s an example of this from Pendleton. Their store used a small mistake to offer a discount, potentially leading to happier shoppers and more sales.
A medium-sized mistake might affect a customer, but it’s easy to fix—like charging too much for shipping. Mistakes like this can be remedied (offering a refund) while at the same time offering a discount for a future purchase. Going this route fixes the issue upfront and offers an apology (and a reason to come back and shop again).
However, know when to avoid offering a discount or sale. If the problem stems from a bigger mistake, offering a deal could come across as disingenuous and upset the customer rather than help them. Big mistakes are things that personally harm an individual or group—like accusations of cultural appropriation. These issues should come only with a sincere apology, no deal or discount.
Track your click-through rate, open rate, unsubscribe rate, and conversion rate over time to make improvements to your marketing. By tracking email analytics over time, you can see seasonal changes as well as one-time successes or failures. If you only check data after each email, you only see how that email performed during that week of that year.
For example, if you track your email metrics for three years:
You can use your brand's email marketing software to track year-over-year trends. The longer you use your software, the better data you'll have to analyze. However, it’s also a good idea to monitor the basics—click-through rate, open rate, unsubscribe percentage, and conversion rate—in a spreadsheet for a historical view.
This way, you can learn over time what seasonal trends and one-time wins were featured in your brand’s marketing (and which worked)—regardless of what software you use or switch between.
Test out brand new marketing channels often, or even the added features of social media channels you use—like when Facebook added shops, for example.
Though you might want to wait and see how beta features turn out on a social platform, being an early adopter often helps you reap the most rewards.
For example, Katwise, an upcycled sweater brand, was an early adopter of the market platform Etsy. During a tour of her home, Kat (known by Katwise to her fans) shared how joining Etsy earlier than most helped her become an ecommerce brand and buy the home she was showcasing.
Similarly, bigger brands should invest in new channels to see where they may (or may not) go. Think about setting aside a budget and time to invest in beta trials. Budgeting for trendy channel experimentation to see what works. Then, leave behind what doesn’t and continue experimenting to reach new shoppers.
Recently, we talked to Charles Melber, the marketing director at Nomad, about Nomad’s email marketing strategies. He mentioned his team scrubs old contacts from their database frequently. Instead of keeping a huge list, they keep a smaller list of high-quality (higher potential to convert) contacts.
According to Melber, you must prune and maintain your active email list to keep it valuable in the eyes of the email service providers (ESPs). This is because—when you prune your list—a higher percentage opens each email. And this makes your emails “more important” (valuable) and less likely to be marked as spam.
He recommends you remove people from your email list once per season or yearly, depending on how many emails you send. As you increase the number of sent emails, you increase how often you can prune your list.
At Nomad, Charles has created an automation that determines whether or not people have opened an email in the past three months. If they haven’t, he sends one last email to try and recapture them. If they don’t open that email, that contact is moved to an inactive list.
Ecommerce marketing often looks to develop more and deeper relationships with customers. One method of creating those deep relationships is through texting—especially if your target market is younger. In February of 2021, Twilio asked businesses what channels they planned to add in the next 12 months. Over 20% said an SMS-based chatbot, while 20% said SMS in general.
Give voice to your brand by finally texting your customers. Use a program like Sendinblue to gather customers’ phone numbers and reach out to them with sales and other important information. Think about creating a set time each week to respond and chat with customers who want to talk with your brand to further develop those relationships.
Customers are your most valuable design tool for new products and product launches. But many brands don’t think to reach out to them as a part of the marketing plan. As a form of marketing, involve your customers in the design process of your products to give them a preview of upcoming launches and to build hype.
Give them the power to decide (or the illusion of the power to decide) between two different versions of a product. If you want, you can even go deeper, asking the main reason why they chose your brand or what they find most important in a brand as a way to gauge your target market and industry.
Use social media polls, text surveys, or email surveys to get answers to your questions. A Twitter Poll or a simple text survey will work when something is simple. However, suppose you have more complex questions. In that case, an email will be ideal as you can attach a program like SurveyMonkey for longer questions.
Canadian-based retailer Poppy Barley are excellent examples of using “this or that” polls in their social marketing. Check out how they get instant feedback from their social audience on what holiday edit pieces they like best:
According to Psychology Today, it takes less than a second to form a first impression. And, while websites aren’t people, a slow-loading ecommerce site (just a one second delay on mobile can decrease conversions by 20%), could leave you at a disadvantage for your first impression.
Shogun customer Daring Foods is a prime example of what optimizing and enhancing your website can do for your brand. When they took their Shopify store headless, they increased the number of sessions with a product view by 39.8%.
To optimize your high-quality site, make sure it:
#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>See how brands are going headless to create incredible experiences<cta-title>Browse some of our favourite examples of sites built to impress. Read more
According to Statista, 38% of brands spend between 10 and 20% of their marketing budget on influencers. And, influencer marketing is highly effective for ecommerce brands as they often fall in the beauty (53% effective) or clothing and accessories industries (45% effective).
The problem often is the cost of working with influencers. For example, to work with Kim Kardashian, you can expect to spend an estimated $352k to $586k per post. Alternatively, working with smaller influencers (those with 1,000 to 100,000 followers) costs far less and can see higher engagement rates. This cost-to-engagement rate ratio leads to the potential for more conversions per dollar spent.
Influencer Marketing Hub is an easy way for brands to find influencers. Their guide to influencer marketing costs showcases the expected costs and return on investments for different-sized influencers and methods for the two to work together. Consider adding influencer marketing to your strategy this year, or experimenting with just a few micro influencers tailored to your audience.
Take your ecommerce brand’s blog to the next level (and stand out from the competition) by ensuring that only high-quality, reader-first content gets published. Blogs are often a missing part of an ecommerce marketing strategy because brands don’t always see such an investment pay off as quickly as a new product launch, for example. However, the long-term effects can be well worth it, here’s why:
Creating valuable content on your site makes you the expert that shoppers look to for information about the industry (new lipstick, wallet technology, etc.). In addition, high-quality lifestyle content brings them back to your site each time a new blog is published and shows potential products each time they read a post.
In this example from Shogun Page Builder customer, Alchemy Fine Home, the brand creates a visually appealing blog where readers can learn about the latest design trends:
Create a high-quality content strategy like Alchemy’s by answering customers’ questions first in your blog. Of course, you can still rank for keywords, but if you look just for keywords, you might begin ranking for terms your customers don’t search. Alternatively, you can hire an agency or freelancer to create the strategy and write the content. With this route, you have an expert team without devoting internal resources to the effort.
As you plan your 2022 ecommerce marketing strategy, include which channels you’ll use, how often you’ll interact, and budgets for each tactic. Draw inspiration from major brands as they offer great and time-tested ideas that have worked before.
And create a seamless path, from your marketing offers to eventual purchase, by pairing your tactics in execution with a high-quality owned website. At Shogun, we enable brands to create differentiated stores with incredible performance.
#cta-visual-fe#<cta-title>Start building your store with Shogun Frontend<cta-title>See how going headless can help your brand create exceptional experiences. Learn more