From pay-per-click advertising to blogging and search engine optimization to analytics, e-commerce marketing is large, diverse and, potentially, complex. The goal is to find the activities, promotions and tactics that generate profits.
Five years ago, Practical Ecommerce published an article outlining Essential Skills for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs. The suggestions were perhaps counterintuitive: to be able to write, to know how to learn and to be a good listener. These skills were about the strategic capabilities that entrepreneurs need.
Building on those skills, here is a set of tactical abilities that should help your ecommerce marketing be successful.
1. Copywriting, content marketing
The ability to write is, in essence, the ability to communicate online. Every ecommerce product description, every blog post, every how-to post, every about us page, every video script is an act of writing. Done well, writing will help boost your ecommerce marketing. Badly done, it will bring laughter and embarrassment.
An example should make the point. This real message was sent to thousands of subscribers in support of a retailer’s “Sizzling Saturday” sale.
âIf you’ve been waiting for the best spring year, your patience pays off! TO [name of retailer removed] it sizzles [sic] Saturday this weekend, and for just one day you can save big! Plus, see a week’s savings too! “
Clear writing is a requirement for successful ecommerce marketing.
2. Data analysis, analytics
Successful marketers look at facts and statistics to make good decisions on how to invest in marketing and promotion. This ability to look at facts and understand the implications of statistics is called data analysis. It is important for modern ecommerce marketing.
In a November 2015 article on the difficulty of quantifying the impact of marketing analysis on a business, Harvard Business Review made three observations:
- According to a survey, companies plan to increase their investment in marketing analysis by 73% over the next three years;
- Data analytics impact many areas of marketing including customer acquisition, marketing mix, customer retention, social media, segmentation and promotion strategy;
- Marketing organizations aren’t as good at processing data as they should be.
Online marketers who can use and understand data more effectively are more likely to be successful.
3. Testing and data collection
Closely related to the interpretation and analysis of data is the ability to collect facts and statistics about the marketing performance of your business.
This marketing skill encompasses the ability to properly configure Google Analytics or similar, optimizing it for your ecommerce business with specific and meaningful reports. This includes understanding how testing works and using testing platforms like Optimizely or similar. It also includes the ability to glean data from every software package your business uses, such as sales data, email reports, or order management.
If you can collect good information about your marketing performance, you are more likely to make good decisions based on that information.
Graphic design and website design are fundamentals of online marketing. The appearance of an ad, article, or even a product detail page can have a significant impact on how the marketing message or even the product is perceived.
âCampaigns aim to raise the profile of brands or steer customers in a specific direction to purchase a company’s products or services,â Liz Alton wrote in a HubSpot blog post in 2013. âOne of the elements key to getting people to buy is trust. Brands are essentially how customers code a specific offering in their minds: this brand represents quality and luxury, or this brand represents comfort and value.
Alton continued, âRegardless of what your target customers hold in high regard, a brand is a shortcut for it. Every creative element you post – blog posts, brochures, Google PPC campaigns, or Nimlok booths at trade shows – says something about a brand. If the design is less than professional and aligned with the main brand message, it can undermine years of work and good impressions. On the other hand, a good design speaks volumes about the professionalism, the quality and the positioning of a company in the market.
The appearance of your site, ads, and branding material is important to e-commerce success.
The ability to write code can be of huge benefit to marketers. This ability can be as basic as understanding HTML and CSS so that you can better publish posts in WordPress. Or it could be the ability to develop your own marketing tools and reports.
By some estimates, half of all digital marketing jobs require at least some technical expertise. This is the case because much of what is done online requires at least an understanding of coding.
Learn to code and you’ll have more control over your marketing. With more control, your chances of success increase.
Online advertising needs to be planned, created, bought, executed and measured. And it needs to be done across many channels, using many forms of media, including pay-per-click advertising on search engines and on social media sites, display advertising, native advertising, mobile advertising. , video ads, etc.
The effective online marketer understands how advertising works and seeks the best possible return on investment.
Ad management is a high-end marketing skill that can take a long time to learn and even more to master. But it is worth it. Advertising can boost sales and profits.
7. Email marketing
To paraphrase the Direct Marketing Association, an email address can define you online. It is, to some extent, your digital name, and email marketing can be one of the best ways to reach ecommerce customers. You can communicate directly with consumers who know your business and are interested in your products.
In fact, a survey by the Direct Marketing Association of Digital Marketers found that many believe email marketing is, in fact, the most effective marketing tool.
Learning how to market effectively through email can be the best thing for your ecommerce marketing.
8. Marketing automation
Marketing automation can reduce marketing spend, increase conversion rates, increase average order value, and in some cases even improve the customer experience.
As a skill, marketing automation is about managing processes and workflows in an automation platform like Marketo, Infusionsoft, or even MailChimp.
For your e-commerce marketing, find the automation tools that work for your business and master them.
9. Search engine optimization
Search engine optimization is the process that makes it easy for crawlers to access and index your web pages. The idea is that if Google, Bing, and other search engines can easily find and catalog what’s on your page, it can more easily list your site on the appropriate results pages.
The goal of SEO is not to trick search engines with fake content or keyword stuffing, but rather to help search engines locate and understand your content.
Done well, SEO will help make your site easy to find, which can lead to marketing success.