E-commerce is all about selling and to sell more, companies use a variety of channels to communicate their message. Some of these marketing strategies can actually be applied to your own selling practice — read to find out the most efficient ones below.

What is e-commerce marketing?

E-commerce marketing is a set of activities aimed at promoting a business that sells goods or services online. Activities are aimed at expanding audience reach, driving sales, and increasing brand awareness.

E-commerce demands a different approach to marketing due to the online presence of the business and uses a diversity of channels to communicate the message to the customers.

101: E-commerce marketing for beginners

Because e-commerce revolves around digital, it’s fair to say that its marketing will be correspondingly digital. To successfully promote an online store, entrepreneurs typically focus on the following areas:

  • Search engine marketing (SEM): include PPC (pay-per-click) campaigns,
  • Email marketing: creating email campaigns to upsell, cross-sell, reduce shopping cart abandonment,
  • Social media marketing: selling and promoting on social platforms,
  • Digital content marketing: writing original content and posting on external sites as a guest writer.

The marketing strategy also depends on e-commerce store platforms. The most popular platforms are Magento, WooCommerce, and Shopify. Each of these platforms has specific features that define the recommended platform use.

The availability of third-party extensions (like social media plugins) and the level of customization impact how much e-commerce marketing can be done. Magento is considered to be the most optimized for online marketing and SEO, but with a necessary amount of effort, Shopify and WooCommerce can provide equally good performance.

Since every online store is unique, there is no ultimate guide for planning an e-commerce marketing strategy.

However, some processes would be universal for any e-commerce business and any industry:

Define your goals

Do you want to increase sales, grow your traffic or expand your audience?

Different goals will require different approaches and can be achieved faster and better via different channels.

Make sure you have a clear vision of your target audience

Social media is great but are you sure your 50-year-old customers visit Pinterest often?

This is a basic example, but it’s necessary to keep in mind.

Draft a basic SEO plan

Your plan should include proper keywords and titles, product descriptions, etc. Search engine optimization is a must as it affects how your e-commerce website is ranked by search engines.

Write high-quality content

Content is King and is key when communicating with your audience. Content gets your message across, shows your expertise and informs customers.

Enhance your online presence

Register on a few social platforms, engage in conversations and promote your brand via word-of-mouth.

The psychology of selling and Sugarman’s tricks

Joseph Sugarman was an outstanding copywriter and one of America’s best marketing specialists. He sold a used airplane (that cost $190,000) for $240,000 through a magazine ad (you can read the story in his book) and because of his experience he created a number of brilliant ads.

Sugarman knew a buyer’s psychology and came up with a selection of psychological triggers that support the purchasing process. While all of them are perfectly suitable for e-commerce, some are pretty universal and can be used by anyone.

1. Limited time

This method is incredibly popular with sellers as it creates a sense of urgency and thus motivates the user to take action as soon as possible. Of course, the level of “pressure” depends on the industry: it can be either a “limited time” offer or a friendly reminder that the due date is near. But either way, this method works well and usually results in increased conversions.

2. Reciprocity

Reciprocity means you receive something and give something equal back. So when you offer your potential customer a little something (like an incentive or special offer) for free, a person will feel obliged to give something back.

So if your email or website contains a promo code, a special offer, or whatever you can think of, chances are high the recipient will respond positively.

3. Personal touch

People enjoy communication and are willing to learn the stories behind the brand. Add personal signatures to your emails, send personalized handwritten letters, and add a twist to your “About us” page.

4. Consistency

All people tend to be consistent — use this to your benefit!

To encourage users to take consistent actions, first ask them for a commitment, i.e. email sign-up. After that, the user will be more likely to complete the action.

5. Curiosity

A sense of curiosity is a powerful motivator if used properly. Don’t overdo it with enthusiastic messages but try to intrigue the user. For that, you’ll need to work on your copy but the result will be worth it.

6. Desire to grab the opportunity

Many companies started using this strategy in their pop-ups. These windows normally suggest signing-up or buying a service and have two options: you can hit “yes” or “no” buttons.

However, it’s all about the words being used. A “no” button would be the following: no, I don’t want to increase sales / improve my performance. And “yes” button can contain the following message: yes, I want to sell more. Evokes certain feelings, doesn’t it?

7. Trust

Make it clear that your company is trustworthy and reliable. Incorporate reviews, use the client’s testimonials, mention your expertise. There are hundreds of companies out there so help the user understand why they should choose you over someone else.

8. Emotion

It’s been a long time since companies stopped using polished and formal communication style. Now people root for friendly and casual communication that causes positive emotions and encourages to perform the action or respond.

9. Unobtrusiveness

Aggressive marketing is a legacy — modern users hate being pressed. Allow your users to take some time and think about your offer. Such an approach would work much better than “in your face” marketing.

10. Desire to own and try

Users want to be involved with your product and try it before buying. That’s why there are so many “free demo” offers. Give users a chance to try how your product/service works and let them decide whether your product is really worth paying for.

A bonus tip: work on your content

Selling copy is a good copy. It’s valid for any content you create, including emails, proposals, and documents. The reader should 100% understand what you want to say and become engaged with your content.

So when crafting a copy, pay attention to its quality and double-check whether it motivates a user to take action — positive results will be seen in no time!