In today's digital world, companies of all sizes and sectors have an online presence. That makes the competition for shoppers' attention fierce. Out of the 2.1 million ecommerce businesses in the US, only a fraction of them will be able to attract enough customers and grow online sales.
As an ecommerce merchant, you've probably figured out that digital marketing is critical for the long-term success of your online store. But what exactly is digital marketing, and how do you do it? Let's find out.
What Is Digital Marketing?
In pre-Internet days, businesses could promote themselves through billboards, television spots, direct mail, or store window displays. But with commerce and consumers (and, let's face it, most of our attention) moving to the online world, marketing and advertising have moved online, too. Marketers can now reach their target audience via digital channels such as social media, search engines, websites, text messages, and email, and these comprise what we think of as digital marketing or online marketing.
Why You Need Digital Marketing
Though the traditional channels are still in play, the digital marketing world offers several advantages.
With online marketing you can reach global audiences.
Personalization allows you to target and segment more effectively.
Efficiency and automation let you do more with less marketing budget, even with a small marketing team.
Your brand can attain greater visibility across digital channels.
Software makes adopting digital marketing strategies faster and easier.
You can communicate with customers more rapidly and frequently.
Data collection and analysis enables your business to make better decisions.
Types of Digital Marketing
To capitalize on opportunities and stand out from your competition in this digital landscape, you need a successful digital marketing strategy. That means embracing a range of digital marketing activities. For example, software review site G2 has found that marketers using three or more channels in their campaigns see a purchase and engagement that's rate 250% higher than marketers using single channels.(1)
Your digital marketing strategy might include popular inbound marketing tactics like social media, paid advertising, email marketing, influencer marketing, content marketing, SEO strategy, Google Adwords, affiliate marketing, and conversion rate optimization.
And if your digital strategy doesn't yet include text marketing, it should. That's because text marketing consistently yields higher conversion rates than email and paid ads. G2 says text marketing “continues to be a best-kept secret ... 61% of marketers still don’t use it.”(2)
11 Top Digital Marketing Tips
Emotive helps ecommerce businesses harness the power of texting as a key component of a successful digital marketing strategy. But we know there's more to it than just texting, so we're sharing our best digital marketing tips with you.
1. Understand Your Customer
Understanding your target audience is an essential step in ecommerce marketing. Who are they? What are their interests, needs, and desires? Where do they spend their time? To identify and understand your customers, you may want to conduct market research: this can be as simple as surveying some of your existing customers. You'll use this data to develop various buyer personas and a customer journey, which maps the steps a prospective customer takes on the path from anonymous shopper to loyal purchaser. You'll want to define customer segments, based on factors like age, gender, occupation, income, location, and interests.
With a clear picture of your target customer, you can begin to create targeted marketing campaigns that speak to their interests. And don't forget customer feedback: this is a great source of data you can use to improve your offerings and your brand's customer experience.
2. Create Compelling Content
One of the most important aspects of digital marketing is creating compelling and relevant content that draws people to visit your website. Clickbait content might get shoppers' attention, but if it doesn't provide value to your target audience, they'll likely leave before making a purchase.
Valuable content can be in the form of blog posts, videos, infographics, or social media posts. Following are some marketing tips for effective content creation:
Post content regularly.
Create content that's entertaining, informative, and empathetic.
Ensure your content is original and reflects your brand values.
Make use of infographics and video.
Customize content for different digital platforms.
Consider asking customers to create user-generated content, featuring your products.
Don't skimp on photography or design: aesthetics matter.
Don't just promote your products: your content should speak to customers' needs and desires.
Maintain consistent branding so shoppers can more easily identify you.
3. Regularly Optimize Your Website for SEO and Conversions
Your website is the gateway to revenue, so it's important to optimize it for conversions. This means making sure it's easy to navigate, has a clear call-to-action, loads quickly, and offers frictionless checkout. Optimizing your website for conversions can yield a significant increase in online sales.
Your site can also help you collect valuable customer data, such as top purchases, browsing history, click pathways, and more. By analyzing this data and identifying patterns, you'll discover opportunities for future optimizations and can target and segment customers more effectively.
Your website and published content should also include top search keywords: the words and phrases that customers type into search engines when looking for products, services, and websites like yours. Google, most ecommerce platform providers, website builders, and other companies offer free tools that can help you research keywords and optimize your content accordingly.
4. Build a Presence on Social Media Platforms
Most of your current and prospective customers spend a large part of their days scrolling their social media accounts, or hanging out in online communities at Reddit and Discord. Here are some social media marketing tips to help you take advantage of these ubiquitous platforms.
Identify the platforms and communities where your customers spend time. Monitor what kinds of things they share about your business and industry, and their feelings about it.
Publish content that entertains, educates, or informs your target audience: not just about your brand and products, but about your audience's needs and desires.
Engage with your followers regularly by listening and responding to them on the social media platform or online community where they hang out.
Employ high-quality images and video, as these are the most popular content forms.
5. Create Mobile-friendly Content
Did you know that the Top 1000 North American-based online retailers receive 65% of their traffic from mobile devices?(3) If your website isn't optimized for mobile, you're likely losing new customers (and maybe even some loyal ones as well.) Make sure that your website looks good, loads quickly, and is easy-to-use on all devices. Optimize your site so that it's responsive on all digital devices like mobiles, tablets, and laptops. Measure your page speed as this is a critical factor to hook customers to your website. If the web pages load at a slow speed, chances are that your customers would leave the website. When framing mobile-friendly content:
Keep your content short and straightforward.
Use infographics and video content.
Create a presence on social media as mobile users spend most of their screen time on social media platforms.
6. Integrate Marketing Across Multiple Platforms
A key component of digital marketing is integrating your messaging, branding, and campaigns across many different platforms at once. Managing content across digital channels can be a challenging task but it's a critical to succeed online. Here are some digital marketing tips for integrating across platforms:
Develop long-term digital marketing strategies that map to your mission and goals
Use a CRM tool to track customer data and better understand audience behavior
Run A/B tests and pay attention to conversion metrics like open rate, CTR, etc.
Create a content calendar and socialize it across your organization
Maintain consistent branding (fonts, colors, writing style) across channels
7. Get on Google My Business
Google my Business is a free platform that allows businesses to create a listing on Google. It's free to use and a great way to reach potential customers, especially if you're a local business with customers who live near you. Make sure to claim your business listing and fill out all the information correctly. Other advantages of Google My Business:
You can add or update relevant information about your business, such as contact details, website URL, images, videos, events, business hours, and more
Customers can rate your business and add a review, which means you can respond to feedback and learn what your audience likes or dislikes
Adding your shop to Google My Business is a form of search engine optimization that enhances your search rankings
You'll get timely reports with data on your business listing, such as the number of page views, notifications about user reviews, and more
8. Use Email and SMS/Text Marketing Efficiently
There's a reason email is still the foundation of most digital marketing efforts: it's a high-volume, low-cost way to stay in touch with customers, remind them about your business, and promote your products, sales, and news. A plethora of software products make it easy to build email templates, track open rates and clicks, and keep your email list compliant and up-to-date. And adding a form, banner, or pop-up on your site to collect email addresses is an easy way to grow your potential customer base. Email is an ideal channel for communicating important information and timely information, but for urgent messages, look to SMS.
SMS marketing — especially when it's two-way and conversational – helps you build relationships, create a sense of urgency, and meet shoppers where they spend a majority of their time: on their phones. Though a majority of marketers rely on email marketing, research firm Gartner has found that text marketing campaigns have response rates are 7X higher and click-through-rates more than 30 times higher than email.(4) Texts are an ideal channel for high-conversion marketing messages, such as abandoned cart reminders, Black Friday sales and other promotional content, and personalized or segmented messages based on user data.
9. Invest in Digital Advertising
Pay-per-click advertising is one of the most effective digital marketing strategies for reaching your target audience and driving traffic to your site. It can feel risky to spend money on digital ads, but in the highly competitive ecommerce marketplace, PPC ads are table stakes.
PPC ads can be a useful tool for experimenting with your message and brand, with the end goal being that you learn what gets the most clicks and can constantly improve your ROI. Google Ads and YouTube Ads are examples of PPC advertising, as are social media platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
10. Personalize Content
Every day we share key pieces of information about ourselves online. As an ecommerce business, you can harness this data in respectful and legal ways to better understand your shoppers and connect them with the products they need and desire. This kind of personalization — whether it's addressing emails to customers by their first name, or notifying customers that an item they browsed at your website is back in stock — is a key competitive advantage in digital marketing. Research from Demand Metric finds that 82% of customers feel more positive about a brand after engaging with personalized content.(5) By personalizing your content to shoppers' needs and interests, you'll be able to improve your conversions and see a higher return on investment for your efforts.
11. Make Use of Modern Digital Tools
Just as online stores are an evolution from brick-and-mortar stores. digital marketing tools make marketers more efficient, data-driven, and effective online. They can also help you improve your site's customer experience and customer journey, from lead to referral. Here are some examples to explore if you're not already doing so.
Chatbots use artificial intelligence to communicate with visitors. They can be used to answer questions, provide customer support, and promote products. Chatbots are a scalable and affordable way to connect with customers on a personal level when you can't have a real human available to answer every question.
Video is a growing medium for connecting with consumers: the amount of video people watch online has doubled since 2018, and 87% of marketers who use video say it has positive ROI.(6) Try video prospecting: using short, personal videos to introduce your business and brand, explain your products, and build relationships with potential customers. Or add product demos to your site to help educate customers and speed up the sales process.
Make sure you're using all the integrations available on the ecommerce platform you're using. These integrations are designed to make your business more efficient and free you up to focus on other things, primarily by connecting your data across software platforms and giving you a more accurate view of your business.
Put These Digital Marketing Tips to Use
Now that you've learned about the most essential digital marketing tips, it's time to employ them to boost online sales and grow your business.
Why not get started with a high-ROI SMS marketing strategy? Sign up today for a free demo.
(1) G2 Crowd
(2) G2 Crowd
(3) Digital Commerce 360
(5) Demand Metric