Ecommerce Marketing Checklist 2017 – Practical Ecommerce

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As your business’s e-commerce marketing reboots in 2017, focus on a measurable strategy that will help you succeed.

For many online marketers, the promotional year doesn’t really start with the calendar. Rather, January is the time when you recover from the frantic holiday sales season and, perhaps, focus your attention on customer service, managing exchanges and returns, and “right sizing” your inventory. .

So your marketing efforts could really start in February. This e-commerce marketing checklist is meant to help you think through your marketing plan for 2017.

1. Plan to measure

Recently, I gave a presentation to a group of managers and directors of a chain of bricks and clicks stores. The group was interesting because of the wide range of participants. There were people who ran brick-and-mortar stores, always carried flip phones, and generally thought e-commerce was dangerous. There were also people who run the company’s online business and believe they are the store’s best hope for continued success.

During my presentation, one of the store managers asked me why I was recommending a particular new marketing tactic. I told him, jokingly, that I was guessing.

A colleague told me what I meant: “Guessing” was for me a real strategic experiment based on a lot of data collected over a few years.

“What you can measure, you can improve,” said this colleague. The point was that while I didn’t know with absolute certainty that a particular marketing tactic would work, I was confident because I had measured similar tactics and knew how those had worked. And, even if it somehow failed, I would still learn something from it because I had a detailed method to measure it.

So measure how you market. Try to have a few metrics for each marketing tactic and take the time to analyze those metrics with a view to improving.

2. Develop a marketing strategy

For your marketing measures to be effective in 2017, first know what you are trying to accomplish.

In 2017, is your e-commerce business focused on acquiring new customers, generating revenue, making a profit, or something else? And what do you mean by “acquiring new customers”? Is it two new customers or 200,000?

Your marketing strategy should help you make choices about how, when and where to market.

For example, if your marketing strategy is to increase profits and you have determined that repeat buyers are seven times more profitable than new customers, you might want to focus your marketing on existing customers. In this case, it wouldn’t make much sense to spend a lot of money on pay-per-click advertising or search engine optimization since those disciplines focus on getting new customers. You might be targeting new prospects, but your main activities would be somewhere else because of what you’re trying to accomplish.

For one of the companies I help market, the 2017 strategy was to increase profits by 5%, while increasing return on ad spend and increasing the amount of co-op funding received. Knowledge has guided our marketing choices.

3. Include content marketing

Smart Insights, consulting firm, interrogates over 2,300 marketers, asking which marketing tactics they believe would have “the greatest incremental increase in leads and sales in 2017.” About one in five respondents said content marketing.

It’s worth mentioning that the Smart Insights survey includes B2B marketers, which could impact the weight of the results against e-commerce. Nonetheless, content marketing can be one of the best or even the best long-term marketing tactic when it comes to acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers.

“The importance of content marketing for e-commerce brands has grown dramatically,” wrote Ross Paul, vice president of growth at LemonStand. “Content marketing is one of the most effective ways for retail brands to market themselves…in fact, statistically speaking, content marketing can increase your conversion rate…the average conversion rate of sites with content marketing is 2.9 percent compared to the average for sites without a content strategy, 0.5 percent.

Content marketing can increase e-commerce conversion rates.

Your 2017 eCommerce marketing plan should probably include content marketing.

4. Use more video

In September 2016, research firm Vanson Bourne conducted a detailed investigation on behalf of Brightcove, the video platform. The survey polled around 5,500 viewers (18+) of “social video” from five countries – the US, UK, France, Germany and Australia.

On average, surveyed viewers watched about six hours of videos on services like YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Additionally, about two-thirds of respondents said they had increased the amount of videos they watched on these services in the past year.

Americans watched the most social video, spending about an hour a day, and about 85% of Americans surveyed said they had interacted with brands on social media.

A June 2016 comScore and YouTube study reported that around 35% of millennials surveyed would prefer watching YouTube over traditional TV, while around 18% of that same group preferred traditional TV.

When planning your content marketing for 2017, include videos and post them to YouTube.

5. Make sure your site is correct

Your e-commerce website should be user-friendly, responsive, accessible, and high-performing.

Part of e-commerce marketing is having a functioning e-commerce website that meets customer expectations. In 2017, these expectations are quite high. The majority of site visitors will be using a mobile device, so mobile optimization is key. You will need to ensure that your site is accessible to consumers with disabilities and that no buyer will wait a long time for your site to load.

This item is a reminder on the checklist that your eCommerce website needs to be right.

6. Build your mailing list

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to generate sales online. There are very few marketing activities that work as well or as quickly as email.

Campaign Monitor, an email service provider, reported that for every dollar invested in email marketing, your business can expect an average ROI of around $38, making email one of the best marketing investments.

Campaign Monitor claims that email marketing has the highest ROI of the top digital marketing tactics.

With that in mind, spend some time building your email list. One of my favorites is running online contests. As part of the contest terms, when people sign up, they subscribe to email marketing messages.

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