Search engine optimization, paid search advertising, and digital banner ads are some of the most popular forms of ecommerce marketing, but they may not be the most effective for all businesses. A smart data-driven plan could help some online retail businesses do better.
By the end of the year, retail merchants will have spent about $ 15.9 billion on pay-per-click ads, banner ads and other digital promotions, according to eMarketer. In fact, retailers, online and offline, are expected to account for 21.9% of all digital ad spend in the United States this year.
When retail marketers aren’t buying digital ads, they’re probably worried about SEO, which remains one of the most popular forms of online marketing.
Play the Contrarian
There is almost certainly some merit in investing in both digital advertising and SEO, but these aren’t the only ways to grow an ecommerce business. Try to play against the grain by thinking about how your business invests in marketing.
A contrarian is a person who rejects or opposes popular positions. In our context, this implies that you don’t like or don’t want to use SEO or digital advertising. As you plan for the rest of 2016 and beyond, ask yourself how you would improve your business without these elements.
Here are some suggestions to guide your thinking.
Quality, convenience, value and customer service
“The marketing and advertising industries are in a state of great confusion right now,” advertising expert and “Ad Contrarian” Bob Hoffman told a London audience. “In fact, we are so confused that we have lost touch with reality and also with average consumers – or as I like to call them, people.”
âYou can’t be taken seriously in a marketing or advertising organization if you suggest that most of the consumer behavior is perfectly obviousâ¦ by saying that the reason people buy most products is because. they are tastier, prettier, cheaper or simply more readily available. “
Perhaps Hoffman’s point is that we forget that most of our clients have simple needs. They want a quality product that is good value for money, and they want it to be easy to buy.
Consider this, earlier this month Unilever, the multinational consumer goods company, agreed to buy online subscription retailer Dollar Shave Club for $ 1 billion. The Dollar Shave Club, established five years ago, has grown from no sales to more than $ 240 million in annual revenue, in large part because its razors were cheap and convenient.
While wearing your hat against the grain of marketing, ask yourself how you could improve the quality, convenience, value, and customer service of your online store. If you improved these areas, how would your business be affected?
Regular customers are worth more than new ones
Existing customers are almost always more profitable than new customers. And it always has been.
In an oft-cited August 2012 article, Adobe reported that a buyer returning to make a second purchase from an online store will typically spend three times as much as a new customer. And when a consumer returns three or more times to buy from an online store, that loyal customer will typically spend five times as much as a new customer on each purchase.
In 2014, Marketo cited a study by Bain & Company, which found that loyal customers tend to spend 67% more than new ones. In addition, “it costs between six and seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain the ones you already have”.
SEO and digital advertising focus on acquiring new customers. Its good. Each company wants to increase the total number of its customers. But the ecommerce marketer adversary knows that existing customers are worth more.
What can your ecommerce organization do to retain buyers?
Email Marketing Works Best
In February 2015, I wrote âWithout email marketing you are probably losing salesâ. This is still the case today. Email marketing is probably the best thing an online retail business can do to drive sales.
Still, it seems the majority of online marketers don’t segment, automate, or personalize email marketing campaigns.
From a vexatious marketing standpoint, how can you invest in other forms of promotion when you haven’t yet used the most powerful tool you have. It’s like digging a trench with a spoon while your backhoe is idle.
Content Marketing Will Generate Profits
Consider, again, the Dollar Shave Club. A few paragraphs ago, I noticed that the company was recently sold for $ 1 billion. While Dollar Shave Club has certainly been involved in many forms of advertising and promotion, it is content marketing that has propelled its revenue.
In March 2012, the company posted a 1.5-minute video on YouTube. The entertaining pseudo-commercial generated more than 12,000 subscription orders in 24 hours.
Not everything your online store publishes will increase sales like this Dollar Shave Club video did, but the opportunity is there.
Ask your inside ecommerce marketing opponent what kind of content you could produce if you redirected some of your other marketing investments. In the meantime, enjoy these videos.
Advertise locally for new customers
Digital advertising and SEO have a huge reach. An online store in Boise, Idaho, can sell to shoppers 10,000 miles from Johannesburg, South Africa. But are the people of Johannesburg really the customers that a Boise-based e-commerce company can better serve?
If your warehouse is in Boise, Idaho, you can ship to Idaho residents overland and expect it to arrive in a day or two. This means that you can offer free shipping and compete with services like Amazon Prime.
Plus, you probably understand the local market better than your distant competitors.
Last month, I wrote about how online stores could use direct mail to attract new ecommerce customers. As a contrarian ecommerce specialist, consider promoting your products to customers closest to you. And consider using tactics that your competition might not be.
Measure everything, analyze everything
When you take your hat off against the grain, remember to measure and analyze everything. Good marketing should be data driven.
If you generate a lot of sales through direct mail, understand why and repeat the effort. If emails are helping you build customer loyalty, find out which emails work best. If banner ads increase your income, figure out which creative does the best job.
The goal, after all, is constant improvement.