The 20 Best Ecommerce Marketing Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness & Sales
July 14, 2022
The biggest job of an ecommerce business is to get people in the (digital) door and on into checkout.
So, finding ways of increasing traffic to your store and guiding shoppers toward conversion is incredibly important. Ecommerce marketing, when done right, brings your ideal customer to your store, ready to buy.
But, what strategies are most effective for growing traffic and boosting sales?
In this post, we’ll talk about what digital marketing strategies are, what to know before implementing them, and 20 ecommerce strategies you can use to drive traffic and convert shoppers.
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What are ecommerce marketing strategies?
Ecommerce marketing strategies are the methods you use to drive targeted traffic to your online store, convince those visitors to purchase your products, and keep those customers coming back for more.
Let’s break that down into the three logical parts:
- Acquisition. People don’t know about you, but they inhabit the internet. You find where they hang out and advertise your brand and products to them.
- Conversion. People know about you and are perusing your store. You make their shopping experience simple, intuitive, and compelling so they click the buy button.
- Retention. People have purchased from you and you have a relationship. You keep interacting with them in a strategic way to encourage loyalty and repurchase.
To make your strategies land and continue to land, you’ll want to do a couple of important things: understand who your customers are or should be and create tangible goals for each strategy.
Let’s look at each of these briefly.
Know your target audience
If you don’t know who you are selling to, you won’t get anywhere with your marketing efforts.
Your products undoubtedly solve particular pain points for a particular segment of consumers.
Being able to define that audience in real terms will give your marketing a clear target and the ability to achieve goals.
The result of your research into your audience should be buyer personas.
Buyer personas are profiles of typical customers, describing their age, gender, salary, hobbies, home life, how they consume media, etc.
With these, you can craft targeted marketing messaging, define unique ad audiences, and make informed design decisions when executing marketing strategies.
Attach goals to your marketing strategies
Goals and constant measurement will make it obvious whether or not your marketing strategies are succeeding or failing.
While it can be tempting to just start implementing a marketing strategy, you’ll save a lot of time and frustration in the long run by spending a little time defining achievable goals beforehand.
It may be hard to find the right target in the early stages of your marketing, but over time you’ll be an expert.
When creating your goals, go for something that you can achieve but will still be something you have to stretch for.
If your goal is too easy to hit, growth can stagnate in the resulting self-satisfaction.
A few examples of goals that you might set for your marketing strategies:
- Increase organic site traffic by 15% month over month
- Boost Instagram followers by 20% in Q3
- Add 5000 email subscribers in 2022
It is important to make your marketing goals SMART. That is:
If it is vague, unachievable, or doesn’t have a time period, the goal won’t be of much use.
#cta-paragraph-pb#Need to level up your ecommerce knowledge? Take a look at our roundup of the top 26 ecommerce blogs to bookmark for online success.
20 ecommerce marketing ideas and strategies for getting traction online
There are many strategies that ecommerce marketers can use to attract, convert, and retain customers.
For our purposes, we’ll start at your homebase (the store) and work outward from there.
After all, to get the most out of the traffic you attract, you’ll want to send them to a well-optimized store that is built to convert.
Let’s get into it.
1. Optimize your store pages for conversions
The pages on your store all serve a purpose unique to where a customer is on their buyer journey.
Starting at your homepage, visitors are given an introduction to your brand and what you sell. You want to show a representative selection of your products and collections as well as your brand’s story and vision.
From the homepage, visitors can explore your product collections, your About Us page, your FAQs, and your blog. These pages help to deepen their understanding and connection with your brand.
Your product collections should cover the many categories your products can fall under—not only type, gender, color, and size, but also season, clearance, new launches, gift guides, and more.
Your FAQ pagesettles any open questions commonly asked and your Contact page takes up the slack with help ready when visitors need it.
When they are quite convinced and have narrowed in on something they like, your product pageswork to persuade shoppers that they are in the right place.
This is done with elements like product photography, product descriptions, highlighted benefits, detailed ingredients/materials, size charts, customer reviews, social proof, and more.
Outside of the traditional store pages and typical online store sales funnel are landing pages.
Landing pages are built for specific marketing campaigns to speak to targeted audiences with the central focus of converting that traffic.
There are a number of landing page best practices to squeeze as many conversions from them as possible.
2. Create a mobile-optimized shopping experience
Being optimized for the ubiquitous little computers in people’s pockets is super important for ecommerce sellers.
In 2022, mobile commerce sales in the US are projected to exceed $430 billion USD, nearly double that of 2019.
As a percentage of global ecommerce sales, mobile commerce accounts for more than 70%! And this is only increasing each year.
If that doesn’t convince you to make your store look stunning on mobile, I don’t know what would.
To add one more bit of persuasive information to this already persuasive point, Google actually uses the mobile version of your store to index. So, your SEO also depends on how great that looks.
Store design isn’t meant for one type of screen, so you need to optimize for all types.
And, since seeing how other stores do it is compelling, we put together a roundup of great mobile landing page examples we’ve found.
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3. Use cross-selling and upselling tactics
What you include on your store pages has a big impact on the behavior of your shoppers.
To drive up your average order value (AOV), a great strategy is to employ cross-selling and upselling.
Here’s a quick 101 on these powerful tactics:
- Cross-selling is when you convince shoppers to add complementary items to their carts.
- Upselling is when you persuade them to buy the upgraded version of the product they’re considering.
Not only do these strategies boost AOV, but they also help reduce fulfillment costs, introduce new products, move inventory, and improve the customer experience.
Often, you can find these elements on product pages and at checkout. It could be in the form of a dropdown menu for upgrades or add-ons, a related products section, or a subscription widget.
Apparel brands can apply a level of curation by including a ‘Complete the look’ section to suggest other clothing that would go well with whatever the shopper is looking at.
4. Leverage personalization for a great buyer experience
People increasingly want shopping experiences that are tailored to them, and they are willing to dish out the personal data to get those experiences.
In fact, when website content is not personalized, 74% of consumersactually feel frustrated.
According to Accenture, 83% of consumers are willing to share their data for a more personalized experience. You can use that data to create shopping experiences that center the customer.
Some examples of ways you can use personalization:
- Show products that shoppers have viewed along with related product suggestions
- Recommend products based on user location and weather
- Redirect returning visitors to where they left off
- Send order follow-up emails with customized recommendations
- Retarget with ads based on shopping behavior
There are many ways to effectively create a personalized shopping experience that will boost sales.
5. Make your blog into a content marketing machine
Content marketing is your best bet for driving organic traffic to your store.
Where great on-page SEO is amazing for your usual store pages (see next section), content marketing via your blog posts and landing pages helps you target a broader set of keywords that leans more educational and less commercial.
If you know your target audience well, you have insight into the questions they need answered.
Doing this demonstrates your topical authority in a particular area not only for your potential customers but also for Google, which rewards great content with better rankings.
When you get new organic visitors to your blog and you’ve created content that answers their questions, they will have a positive introduction to your brand and it’ll endear them to future interactions with you.
In the future, they will have a greater sense of trust in your products.
Many consumers want to learn the best ways to do typical things, so how-to and best practices content is a good bet.
To get an idea of what this might look like for different types of brands, here are some examples:
- Verve Coffee Roasters – How to Brew At Home: French Press
- Barebones Living – How to Clean and Season Your Cast Iron Skillet
- Beardbrand – How to Grow an Awesome Beard
Based on what you sell, you can find your area of expertise and start researching the questions people are asking. You can use SEO tools like SEMrush and Ahrefs to get these details.
As you are building your blog, don’t slack on design. It is just as important there as the rest of your store, and you want it to be consistent with your brand style.
On Shopify, there are several themes with great blog styles. You can also build your blog entirely in Shogun Page Builder so that it is as unique as your brand.
6. Check the ecommerce SEO boxes
Where ranking for educational, non-commercial keywords helps you gain brand awareness, ranking for commercial keywords gets high-intent traffic straight to your most important pages.
Search engine optimization (SEO) for your ecommerce store is all about making your website and the content thereon easy to understand, index, and rank for the search engines.
Google and the other search engines are extremely important to show up on since 44% of consumersstart their shopping journey with a search engine.
In short, you need your product pages to show up in search.
Just as with your content marketing efforts, you need to do keyword research to ensure your naming conventions and copy are using language that your target customers use.
When you’ve found the right words to describe your products, you can use them in:
- Product titles
- Product descriptions
- Meta descriptions
- Image alt text
Just make sure you are writing for a human audience as you are optimizing your content for search. If it looks like it’s made for robots, they’ll bounce anyway.
Outside of keywords, you want to build a site structure that is easy to navigate.
Creating clear product collections that cover your customer needs and including them in your main navigation is essential.
User experience is an SEO factor, so make sure they can get to their desired product in just a few clicks.
Finally, getting backlinks from authoritative sources will help increase your standing with search engines and boost your rankings.
7. Tell your brand story
Mysterious ecommerce brands don’t go far. When shopping online, mysterious just means suspicious.
Shoppers want to know who they are buying from and actually have some sort of connection with the brand.
Customers that are emotionally connected to a brand have a 306% higher lifetime value (LTV) and will recommend a brand at a much higher rate.
When building your store, you want to include pages that educate shoppers about what your brand is all about, what your team looks like, how the products are made, initiatives that you support, and more.
On your store, this comes in the form of your About Us page, a page about your sustainability efforts, a team page, a breakdown of how your products are made and where they’re from, etc.
Outside of your store, social media is a great place to showcase your brand personality.
The accumulation of this brand exposure will be increased trust in you and your products.
8. Weave user-generated content (UGC) into your store
Trust comes in other forms too.
When you tell your brand story, it encourages your customers to tell their stories about your brand.
This is called user-generated content (UGC) and it verifies for potential customers that your brand is good and legit.
After all, self-created marketing content can only engender so much trust. What consumers really trust is the word of other shoppers. So, your customer base is a powerful resource.
When asked how much UGC plays into their purchase decisions, 70% of Baby Boomer respondents said some or a lot compared with 84% of Millennials.
This form of social proof obviously plays a significant role in whether or not shoppers buy.
UGC doesn’t come in just one form, though. It includes:
- Customer quotes and testimonials
- Social media posts
- Customer reviews
- Video reviews
To get these vital marketing assets, you need to ask for them.
For customer reviews, that’ll be emails sent after purchase. For image and video UGC, that may be Instagram contests or a regular hashtag.
#cta-paragraph-pb#Are you posting when your audience is online? Learn the best times to post on Instagram for better engagement.
9. Enrich the shopping experience with live chat and chatbots
Continuing on the narrative of building customer trust, live chat is a powerful tool for keeping shoppers and customers within your brand orbit.
The little widget in the corner of the screen lets shoppers know that you are there to help them when they need it. It also gives them the reassurance that they won’t be left waiting for a response.
If you can’t help them when they need it, they’ll go. In fact, 53% of shoppers are likely to abandon their carts if they can’t find quick answers to their questions.
If you’ve built out a super helpful FAQ page, your live chat will be there to pick up the curious crumbs that remain.
Beyond answering questions, both live chat and chatbots are effective at getting shoppers to the right place on your store, enhancing your navigation.
10. Build a loyalty program for customer retention
Loyalty goes a step beyond trust. Once you’ve earned a customer’s trust, you can begin to earn their loyalty.
And the dividends of one loyal customer go beyond their own repeat purchases (which is pretty great already). A loyal customer is one of your most valuable marketing tools.
But being a great brand isn’t enough to keep your customers coming back and telling their friends to join in.
For that, you need a loyalty program.
In one survey, 75% of respondents said that after receiving an incentive from a brand, they were likely to make another purchase.
Those incentives from loyalty programs quickly pay for themselves through repeat purchases, word of mouth marketing, and referrals.
As you gain more loyal customers, you’ll see increased repeat purchases and more customers through referrals (which may go on to become a part of your loyalty program).
There are many ways to do a loyalty program.
Some are member programs that bestow special deals on a select group, others use points that accrue with purchases and can be redeemed. You can also create referral programs where both the customer and their referral get an incentive.
Find the best fit for your brand to reap the rewards (as your customers do the same).
11. Get more email subscribers
Before you go on to do awesome email marketing, you’ll want to build an email list that is ready to receive those emails.
But, how do you get people to hand over emails?
Easy, you give them something in return. This is one of the most popular promotions that ecommerce brands offer. Stay on an online store for long enough and you are bound to see the offer or get the pop-up.
#cta-paragraph-pb#“Get X for subscribing today!”
And, it works! Quid pro quo, in this case, is an effective way to build your email list.
Some brands offer a discount on an initial purchase for subscribing to their newsletter while others go the free gift route, giving a taste before serving up some email nurture campaigns.
Those emails are a precious resource for your brand, which can be segmented into distinct groups and sent the right messaging at the right time to drive conversions and retention.
12. Develop powerful email marketing campaigns
Having a healthy email list is a great start for building email marketing campaigns that drive results.
The great thing about email marketing is that you can adapt it based on the scale of your segmentation. With a great email marketing service, you can build in triggers that move them into different segments depending on their shopping behaviors.
So, you can build out email sequences for:
- Welcome campaigns. Show them around your brand and products in a few emails.
- Abandoned carts. Make shoppers aware that they’ve got something waiting for them in their cart. Sometimes discounts help here.
- Browse abandonment. When people look around your store but take no action, you can nudge them toward purchase with a gift or discount.
- Post-purchase campaigns. Keep customers notified of what is happening with their order and request a review.
- Re-engagement campaigns. For subscribers that haven’t interacted with your emails in a while, here is the last chance to pull them back into the fold with a special deal.
These allow you to stay in touch with customers throughout their relationship with your brand but not so much that they toss you in the spam folder.
Beyond that, you can also create manual campaigns that announce new products and flash sales.
13. Expand into SMS marketing
Mobile phones are in just about every pocket now and texting is the main avenue of communication. That’s why brands are adding SMS marketing to their repertoire.
The fact is that people are more responsive to text messages than to emails.
According to Gartner, open and response rates for SMS are as high as 98% and 45% respectively. Email could only hope to get numbers like that.
By adding one more field on your forms to capture phone numbers, you could begin sending out marketing messages right to your customers’ pockets.
14. Create a following on social media
If you want to find people, social media is a good place to look. More than half of the world (58.4%) are active social media users. That’s 4.62 billion people!
With your buyer personas, you’ll have a clearer idea of where to start with social media platforms.
Many ecommerce brands use Instagram since it has a visual focus that favors great product photography. It also has Stories and Reels formats that can be easily discovered on the app.
With Instagram comes its Meta siblings Facebook and Whatsapp.
While Twitter isn’t the best format for ecommerce brands, it can be a good place to make your brand voice known. Also, they’ve recently partnered with Shopify to allow for products to be showcased on brand profile pages.
Video marketing is increasingly popular, with brands using Instagram Reels and TikTok to capture marketing videos that resonate with viral trends.
The bottom line is that you have to know where to focus your social media marketing efforts and where that energy is wasted.
Knowing who you are trying to reach will make it obvious where you need to start building a following.
15. Find new fans with influencer marketing
Sometimes your brand needs a little boost on social media to get in front of more eyes.
Influencers have lots of fans who make purchase decisions directly as a result of their endorsements.
According to Rakuten, 65% of consumers discover at least one brand or product on a weekly basis.
Just as with finding the right social media platforms, you’ll want to use your buyer personas to find the right influencers for your brand. No use in paying someone to tell the wrong audience about your products.
The most popular platform for influencer marketing is Instagram, with 65% saying that’s where they follow influencers. Close behind are YouTube and Facebook.
#cta-paragraph-pb#Learn how to find and partner with influencers in our guide to influencer marketing.
Other platforms where influencers can be found are TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitch.
When you find the right influencers for your brand, they can have a big effect on your sales. Whether you choose nano- and micro influencers or go with the bigger fish, their audiences will be a sure fit for what you sell.
16. Run incredible promotions
Everyone loves a good deal and brands can really clean up by running a special deal.
How you go about running a sales promotion will depend on what you sell and who you sell it to.
Certain businesses, like Beardbrand, prefer to create bundle deals instead of discounting individual products.
This strategy helps to maintain the perceived value of their products while rewarding customers for buying more. They also see a higher AOV with this strategy.
Outside of product bundling, there are many examples of sales promotionsthat you can do, including:
- Buy One, Get One Free (BOGO)
- Flash sales
- Free shipping with minimum order value
- Clearance sales
- Coupon codes
As you run your promotions, record the results and find what works best for you and your customers.
As your brand matures, you’ll be able to look at years of data to find the deals that resonate best with your customers and drive the most revenue for you.
17. Dive into paid advertising
While many sources of traffic take time to build to a respectable number, paid advertising gives you access to a lot of traffic immediately.
You just have to pay for it.
Not only do you get traffic quickly, it’s also just the right type of traffic because of targeting. If you’ve done your homework and built great buyer personas, you’ll be able to narrow in on the people you want to visit you store.
As we covered in our guide to ecommerce advertising, there are lots of good platforms for placing your digital ads, such as:
- Google Search
- Google Shopping
And that’s just the start. Every platform—from TikTok to Pinterest—has an advertising aspect to it.
18. Get visitors back with retargeting
Continuing on the topic of paid advertising, retargeting allows you to deliver display ads to people who have visited your store.
By leveraging tracking pixels on your site—which can be from Google, Facebook, Adroll, etc.—you can funnel curious shoppers back to your store.
Or at least keep them aware of your existence.
The great thing about retargeting ads is that they are cheap compared to other types of digital ads.
When a visitor leaves your store, they’ll start seeing your ad on websites they visit. Which sites will depend on the pixels you’ve added to your store.
The Facebook pixel will allow you to show up on Instagram and Facebook. Once you know about retargeting ads, you’ll see them throughout your own online experience.
19. Start selling on Instagram and Facebook
Instagram and Facebook aren’t only for finding followers and showing ads. They also serve as full-on ecommerce storefronts.
With ecommerce platforms like Shopify, you can easily connect your store (and inventory) to Facebook as a sales channel. This allows you to sell on both Facebook Shops and Instagram Shopping.
You can even allow for checkout directly from Instagram.
Big brands like Nike, Blueland, and Warby Parker use these sales channels to make the shopping experience all that more convenient and easy.
Shoppers don’t even need to leave their app.
For those that have just started following you or found your brand through an ad, their first transaction will be a super smooth experience that will likely convince them to come back.
On top of that, you’ll be able to start nurturing the relationship through email and/or SMS marketing.
20. Go multichannel with marketplaces
You can keep adding sales channels to increase your reach and boost your revenue.
Marketplaces can be great additional sales channels for your brand because they come with their own considerable audiences. This can be a great boost to brands just getting started.
Two such marketplaces with enormous audiences are Amazon and Walmart, both of which can be linked directly to your Shopify store.
For brands selling handmade and crafty products, Etsy can be another excellent choice.
The caveat for all marketplaces is that you don’t have real access to the customers.
The marketplace owns the relationships and builds in rules for what you can include on your store page and in packaging.
But, that’s why you should use an ecommerce platform as your main channel and use these marketplaces as secondary sources of sales.
Where you can, keep your branding as consistent with your ecommerce HQ as possible. It was found that keeping brand presentation consistent across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%.
If your branding is strong, people can more easily find your main storefront on their own.
Squeeze more revenue from your store with the right tactics
You don’t have to use every marketing strategy in this guide to find ecommerce success.
There are many avenues to becoming successful with your ecommerce marketing, and each business will find that certain strategies work better than others for their audience.
Nonetheless, by starting your marketing from your storefront and working out, you’ll find your efforts are more handsomely rewarded in the long run.
After all, your store is where all the traffic converges to make those important purchasing decisions.
#cta-visual-pb#<cta-title>Start by building a high-converting store<cta-title>The best marketing starts with a stunning storefront—start building yours today with the best drag and drop page builder.Get started now
Sean is one of Shogun's tireless content marketers. When he isn't creating exciting ecommerce content, he's probably biking or at the park.