Most Important Ingredients for an eCommerce Digital Marketing Strategy – The Expert Recipe
I’m Eugenia, the SEO / PPC Implementation Specialist at Delta Growth. As a junior digital marketer, one area has always fascinated me: eCommerce.
So I wanted to reach out to some of the industry leaders and ask them this simple question:
What is the most important ingredient for an eCommerce digital marketing strategy?
The quality of the responses I’ve received has been absolutely amazing.
Here’s what they had to say:
Retargeting. Most specifically PLAs – product listing ads – and other dynamic product ads, such as Google Shopping. Most visitors come to your site and don’t buy. Many add a product to cart and still don’t buy. Dynamic retargeting puts the exact product they were looking at back in front of them on Facebook/Google and many other websites that they might be browsing. It’s a gentle nudge – a reminder – to come back and finish the sale.
For me, the most important ingredient for a strategy is knowing your goal(s). Without defining what those are, how can you determine what your strategy should consist of?
And once you have your goals determined, you need to be sure you are set up to accurately track your initiatives in order to know what is (or isn’t working) so that you can make adjustments if necessary.
THE most important ingredient is going to be the products themselves. A good product(s) will do the heavy lifting for most marketing campaigns. So that’s where the initial focus should be (product development). After you have a tested product (people have actually bought it), then it’s best to focus on the design and UX of your store.
Good products and a great experience are the foundation for an effective marketing campaign. Organic search is my go-to marketing channel, so developing an SEO strategy would be the next step. How you attack organic search will largely depend on your site’s authority and the level of competition in your niche. For example, if you have a new website (with no authority) and you’re in a competitive niche, then it might make sense to focus on parasite opportunities. Meaning, instead of trying to rank your website, it may be a better use of resources to focus on ranking a page on a powerful e-commerce platform like Amazon or Etsy. At the same time, you begin the process of building up your website’s authority by creating valuable content assets and acquiring backlinks.
In my opinion, the key ingredient is to understand the competitive landscape. When starting working with a new client I spend a lot of time researching their niche and figuring out who their real competitors are and how to they benchmark against them. I try and answer these questions;
– Content marketing: how often do they write content? what’s the quality & medium? does their content get shared and linked to?
– SEO: how do they compare in rankings and keywords targeting? how do they compare in terms of backlink profile and quality? how does their website compare from a technical and speed.
– Social: Which platforms are they active on? posts what is the engagement they get when posting? what type of content do they share?
We are of the belief that eCommerce digital marketing is most effective when they speak about solutions to pain points, rather than products. When you pitch a product, people hear a sales pitch, when you speak about a pain point, and offer a solution, that’s a way to improve somebody’s life. Any eCommerce marketing strategy needs to figure out a way of triggering a pain point and then offer a solution to that “problem” or “pain”.
The pain point is always going to be something which will resonate with the audience.
The above strategy works absolutely well for SEO, where you identify a pain point which people are searching for, and then offer a complete solution for that problem. If you have a product or service which fixes that problem, you could opt to slip it into the content as one of a number of alternatives (obviously then including why your product is actually better).
Create a strong user journey where needs at each stage of the funnel can be met with appropriate content. That content can be very top of funnel like blog articles targeting relevant keywords and topics. It can be mid funnel content served up via personalization platforms that can speak to known attributes such as what products the customer has viewed or their buying behavior. Or it can be very bottom of the funnel content such as a limited time offer that is designed to trigger a sale.
Without a solid product that serves a need in the market, and a belief in what you’re selling to service that need, there’s little point entering the ever competitive ecommerce world. You’ll quickly be weeded out as savvy consumers can sniff a fake from a mile away. Nothing else matters if you sell poor products or products that fail to serve a need. The last thing this world needs is more junk and noise cramming the marketplace. With the advent of ecommerce, the world market is more accessible now than ever, and ultimately, any man and his dog with an internet connection can sell ‘something.’ But you don’t want to be selling ‘some thing.’ You need to be the one selling ‘THE thing.’ Understand your customer’s needs and really hone in on being the expert in servicing that need.
Many eCommerce businesses do a lot right, but if they fail to understand search intent correctly, then they miss out on a whole host of new audiences and improved revenue streams. Intent-based optimisation identifies topics and queries that people are searching for in Google to help answer a specific term or question they might have. Taking advantage of these search terms and optimising content that addresses the user’s needs is a fantastic way of generating vast amounts of high-performing traffic from organic searches.
The most important ingredient for an ecommerce digital marketing strategy in my opinion, is to ensure that you’re sending traffic to optimized landing pages and product pages. Far too often I see ecommerce brands spending a lot on ads, yet they send that traffic to a homepage–or worse–a category page. These pages were not designed to compel visitors to take action in a specific, focused way. It would be much better to send traffic to a page that is customized to a specific audience, with a unique offer that is highly relevant to them. Be sure to include reviews, social proof, and other common landing page elements. That way you won’t be wasting your ad dollars, and you’ll have the best chances of increasing conversions.
The most important ingredient for an Ecommerce digital marketing strategy is an accurate understanding of marketing (winning the user in the right way, through their entire user journey) from all key stakeholders and technical implementers. What I mean by this, is that everyone from the intern to the CEO needs to understand that marketing follows the user journey, and their store user journey must be understood in order to be acted upon. While the roll of attribution, mobile, CRO, PPC, SEO, and all of the above needs to be done well, a strategy will not ultimately succeed if any single one of these things is done technically well without buy-in to the broader strategic objective.
I have seen Ecommerce accounts fail with solid marketing plans, because the executives did not understand the importance of top of funnel strategies and got too busy chasing last click tracked profitability. They failed to understand marketing (winning the user in the right way, through their entire user journey), and chased after metrics and “data driven decisions”. In this way, I would argue the most important ingredient is this bought into understanding of the full-funnel and user journey because if this is understood, then technical issues can occur in individual channels without destroying the entire business. However, you get this one wrong, and the entire house collapses (eventually).
In For me the most important ingredient for a strategy is knowing your goal(s). Without defining what those are, how can you determine what your strategy should consist of?
From an SEO perspective, never try to “game” the system and cheat the search engines. Google has a whole team that crack down on improper ranking techniques and even if you are using an unethical one that works now, it will soon be discovered and stomped out. Instead, focus on providing value and solutions to the reader instead of trying to impress the search engine. You are writing to a human, not a robot.
The majority of eCommerce stores have a huge number of SKUs, meaning that they carry a lot of different products. This number is often in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. This means that you have an even greater amount of different terms that may display your site in search engines such as Google. For this reason, search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most scalable ways of getting ahead of the competition. The majority of eCommerce stores have their on-page SEO up to standards, but because they all carry similar products, there is nothing to make the stores stand out in the eyes of Google.
This is your low-hanging fruit.
When it comes to Google rankings, it doesn’t matter if your product has the best price, friendliest customer support, or prettiest design – search robots cannot understand that. All they see is your code and the words on the page. Try to go beyond the same product description and feature list that all of your competitors have and create unique content for each page on your site. For products, this would ideally be at least 200 words. This 15-minute investment for each product will not help you with your conversion rates, thus driving more sales, but also help you climb the Google ranks much quicker.
The most important ingredient for an ecommerce digital marketing strategy has got to be a website which converts visitors at an optimal rate. And that encompasses two things: site optimization, and lead generation.
Driving traffic for ecommerce isn’t actually the most challenging thing – your products are visually appealing and people search for them. This makes Facebook and Google Ads easily profitable if you invest in them. The challenge, then, is in converting the visitors you’re paying so much for.
No matter what, 90-95% of your visitors are going to bounce before converting. So you need to be designing a website which quickly segments your visitors, drives them to a sale, sells them on your products (succinctly), gets them through a painless checkout process, and (perhaps even more importantly) collects their contact information.
For instance, an entry popup providing visitors with 10% off their first purchase in return for subscription is a fantastic way to provide value, frame the buying experience, and enable you to contact people who don’t complete a purchase via email.
A scrolling bar within your product directory which notifies visitors of a limited-time sale for the Fourth of July, adds urgency to their visit and gives them a reason to buy now, rather than at some time in the future.
To be honest, it’s just about giving your ecommerce business the best possible chance of converting the maximum percentage of visitors. Whether through list-building plugins, site/checkout optimization, product page optimization, whatever. You need to focus on testing and implementing conversion-focused strategies.
The most important ingredient for an ecommerce digital marketing strategy is to have a way to bring a customer back over and over again until they are ready to buy. These days, it takes a cold customer 4-8 touch points with your brand until they are ready to pull out their wallets. That is why it is crucial to get their email, pixel them for remarketing, opt them in on Facebook Messenger, push notifications etc… Basically, your main objective is to get their information in some way so you can contact them again.
The two most important traffic sources for ecommerce right now are SEO and Facebook DPA ads.
Your SEO strategy sound comprise of these 6 steps:
Find the highest volume and lowest competition keywords that are relevant to your brand. Only go after a handful of mid tail keywords. The more pages you have on the site, the more your domain rank or domain authority is diluted across those pages.
Map those keywords to the pages of your site. Buying intent keywords are mapped to collection and product pages. Informational intent keywords are mapped to blog pages.
Optimize those pages using on-page SEO best practices to let Google know which keyword the page is focused on.
Setup and maintain your sitemap, robot txt files and more.
Content Marketing (Blogging):
Create content focused on informational intent keywords to publish on your blog and wider publications. In the beginning post 3 guest post to every 1 post on your site.
Garner links through a variety of backlink building processes including guest posting, cold email outreach and more.
Your Facebook retargeting ads should:
Use dynamic products ads, personalised ads created based on individual user behaviours on your site. Like adding an item to cart. We recommend Smartly.io for tooling.
Make sure you have message match between your wider social content marketing and retargeting ads copy and visuals.
And that’s it! There is infinite eCommerce advice out there on the internet, but not every piece of information is coming from a qualified, experienced eCommerce expert. Thank you everybody for taking the time to contribute to the article!