With the global rise of digital shoppers, the stakes have never been higher for eCommerce businesses competing in flooding marketplaces or setting up their online retail shops. Whether you are in the early stages of starting your online store or you’ve reached the milestone of maintaining a well-established customer base, investing in a strategic marketing plan is crucial to the success of your business.
A successful eCommerce marketing plan consists of several components that lead to one common goal: converting visitors into customers. Although there are probably hundreds of different ways to go about it, there are certain practices that will send you in the right direction.
If you don’t have a dedicated team in place, you can always rely on a professional marketing agency to set up and execute the plan for you. Either way, you should be familiarized with the necessary actions that will have a measurable impact on your sales. To that end, let’s look at how you can build your eCommerce marketing plan.
Get to Know Your Customers
To build up your eCommerce business, just as much as your marketing plan, you need to have an idea of who your customers are. More importantly, you need to understand how they interact with your business.
The way customers experience their interactions with a brand directly impacts customer retention and brand loyalty. To understand the value of these interactions, you need to focus on all stages of the customer journey. You can do this by employing tools like this customer experience platform that will help you collect feedback and shed light on key customer experience metrics.
Remember that your customers know their answers to their problems better than you, so before you carve up a marketing plan, collect as much information as possible, either directly or indirectly. And, if you don’t have customers yet, make an educated guess about your target audience and re-evaluate that perspective frequently based on new data.
Create a Content Strategy
Once you know your customers a little better, you should start thinking about the type of content you are going to create.
To begin, you need to come up with answers to your customers’ questions. Put yourself in their shoes; what would you want to know if you were doing research or looking to purchase a product like yours? A great way to explore this question is to reach out to people who might fit that description or look at the success stories of your competitors.
Finally, the nature of your content will determine the channels you should use as part of your strategy. Will you communicate with your customers on social media, write blog posts on your website, or create videos? Whichever you choose, you should know where your customers are and reach them with valuable content.
Know Your Paid Advertising Channels
Even if you pour your heart and soul into creating the best content out there, if there is nobody around to read it, your efforts will be in vain. That said, you should think about how – and where – you’re going to promote your messages.
There are typically five ways that people will come to visit your website:
- Direct (a visitor types in your URL);
- Email (a click on an email link)
- Referral (a click from another website);
- Social (from social media sites);
- Organic search (from search engines).
When it comes to driving traffic to your website, search engine optimization (SEO) is the most effective source to scale. To make sure your website ranks high in search engines, you should research the proper ways to optimize your website for visibility and create a keyword strategy.
Direct traffic is the least likely source of traffic – especially if you’re looking to attract new customers or re-engage infrequent ones. Essentially, you should focus on targeting users with paid ads on the channels that make the most sense for your business.
Create Measurable Goals
A marketing plan should essentially look like a road map that helps your business move towards a specified goal. Or, when broken down, several measurable goals.
Let’s imagine by now you’ve defined your target customer, devised a content strategy, and explored the marketing channels you want to use. To create a marketing plan that is well defined and that you can follow, you need to establish a timeline, set goals along that timeline, and note how you’re going to reach those goals.
If your goal is to reach 50,000 visitors a month, you might run awareness campaigns on ad networks or social media with a set monthly budget. Or, if you want to increase your sales by 10% in the next three months, then you might divide your campaign into awareness, re-engagement, and conversion phases over that span. Either way, your goals should be well-defined and measurable.
Creating an effective marketing plan requires time but once complete, it should stand well on its own. Remember, however, that its effectiveness will depend on its applicability to your brand.
A successful marketing plan for your eCommerce website requires comprehensive knowledge of your customers, informed content strategy, knowledge of paid advertising channels, and well-defined, measurable goals.
A well-thought-out plan will keep your business focused, help you stay on top of all the crucial factors, and, ultimately, pave your way to more customers.