Affise Reach is now open for brands and publishers
Join Now
How to Create Your Digital Marketing Plan Template For Ecommerce

Tips & Guides — 21 Feb 2022

Marketing Plan for eCommerce

  • Blog
  • Tips & Guides
  • How to Create Your Digital Marketing Plan Template For Ecommerce

How to Create Your Digital Marketing Plan Template For Ecommerce

Online shopping is one of the world’s most popular online activities, with sales of $4.28 trillion generated in 2020, and these looking to grow to $5.4 trillion by 2022.

These are serious numbers. Numbers that your ecommerce business can contribute to if your digital marketing plan is up to scratch. 

To get started on your journey and acquire a large piece of the ecommerce pie, you need to create a top-notch marketing plan and execute this.  

In this post, we’ll cover all the essential steps and tips to help you build an effective digital marketing plan for your ecommerce business:

First and foremost…

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan provides a blueprint for how a company should carry out its marketing strategies to promote its brand, acquire new customers, communicate with and retain existing ones, and achieve any other designated goals. 

It’s written for use over a specific period and provides a current situation analysis of your business and, tailored to your industry, target audience, and chosen strategies builds a bridge between this and your future goals.

Some examples of elements that make up a marketing plan include buyer personas and a mission statement. 

Your marketing plan doesn’t have to be war and peace. But it does require careful consideration. Composing a detailed plan with all the necessary information to carry out your campaign in one place will help you stay on track and measure the success of your strategies and where you are in achieving your goals.

Marketing plan vs. Business plan 

Both plans are integral to helping businesses organize their operations and benchmark their successes and failures. However, a marketing plan is a much more specialized and comprehensive document and makes up just an element of a business plan. 

The purpose of a marketing plan is to set out exactly how to promote your business’s products or services to your target audience. Your plan should establish the marketing strategies you’re going to utilize, pinpoint your buyer personas, identify the best marketing channels, and show an awareness of the competition to achieve your short-term goals.  

A business plan looks at the business as a whole – covering financial plans and statements, sales, operations, your products or services, and how these elements all relate to each other. It sets out your company’s future objectives and strategies for achieving them in the medium and long term.

Business plans are typically only shared with key executives, potential investors, and financial advisors, while the audience for marketing plans tends only to encompass only the employees responsible for marketing, sales, and advertising.

Marketing plan vs. Marketing strategy 

A marketing strategy is your approach to achieving and maintaining a competitive advantage. It’s shaped by and should reflect and support your business goals. 

Driven by your marketing strategy, your marketing plan details the activities you must execute to achieve your marketing goals over a set period. A marketing plan typically explains what you’re going to do, when, where, who your target audience is, and how you’ll track the progress toward your goals.

Marketing strategies have longer lifespans than marketing plans because they contain value propositions and other critical facets of your brand, which tend to remain constant in the long term.

In short, your marketing strategy is your big-picture messaging, and your marketing plan breaks down the operational details behind this and specific campaigns.

Your marketing strategy and marketing plan work together to promote and grow your business.

Why does your ecommerce store need a marketing plan?

54% of all ad expenditure in 2020 was attributed to online marketing activities. It makes sense, therefore, to plan well for this major portion of your marketing spend. 

Creating a marketing plan helps you to gain a clear vision of your ideal customer base and use this to drive you toward your goals. After all, the success of ad campaigns hinges on ensuring your ads reach the right audience. Your plan should therefore detail how you’ll do this. 

Adopting a platform for ecommerce like Affise can help you establish a successful marketing plan by enabling you to identify your target audience and broaden this. Affise equips you with smart targeting tools, allowing you to perform accurate geotargeting and build better customer profiles. 

Ad agency AppricotAds enjoyed a 58% increase in ROI after they started using Affise’s platform with access to its valuable IP intelligence tech.

Marketing Plan
Source (statista.com)

In today’s market, an all-encompassing digital customer experience definition includes completely personalized, bespoke experiences for every customer. Your marketing plan should help you deliver these, detailing how to tailor messaging to your target demographic and reach this on their preferred platforms.

It can also help to inform your strategy. With a thorough overview of your current marketing activities, metrics, and competitors, you’ll be able to identify your weaknesses and how you can address these. 

If, for example, you notice that your website hasn’t been updated for a while, your traffic is low, your bounce rates are high, and competitors’ sites are more modern and appear higher up on SERPs, you’ll be able to recognize the need to invest in web development and content marketing.

Your plan will also help you track your progress towards achieving your goals. By setting timeframes and picking out KPIs to monitor, you’ll be able to assess the success of your efforts throughout your campaign to make sure you’re headed down the right path. A platform like Affise can also provide you with a detailed view of your performance metrics.

How to develop your own digital marketing plan 

There’s a lot to a marketing plan. But don’t fret. We’re going to talk you through the stages step by step, with plenty of business marketing plan examples

Decide on your approach

Based on your goals, you need to determine if you’re going to take a broad or specific approach to your plan. Do you want to focus on overall improvement, or does achieving your goals necessitate a narrower focus?

Say that your business develops testing software, and, using an agile approach, your team has made efficiencies to the way exploratory tests are generated within this, revolutionizing the effectiveness of this type of testing and making you stand out from competitors. 

If your goal is to make prospects aware of the benefits of your product, a broad approach would work on boosting your marketing efforts as a whole, promoting your message across channels, from social media to paid marketing, using a combination of tactics.

A more specific approach would instead see you zero in on certain channels and tactics. You might direct your attention to SEO (Search engine optimization) to optimize your website for keywords relevant to “exploratory testing” so that it appears higher in the search results when prospects search for these terms. A content marketing approach might tie into this to lend your brand and site authority and credibility in your area of expertise – both boosting your SEO efforts and building your reputation in the eyes of your audience as a key figure in your industry.

A specific approach will also allow you to monitor key metrics in detail instead of more generic KPIs. As per the above example, your detailed metrics to track might include keyword rankings, organic traffic, organic click-through rate, blog post visits, and bounce rate. But following a more generalized approach, your metrics could consist of sales growth, leads, and conversions. 

Know your channels

Prospects can find and interact with you across a huge variety of channels, so it’s crucial to understand which of these are your primary drivers of business, traffic, and conversions. Auditing each platform you operate on and producing a report that encompasses metrics like site traffic, your average number of posts, or click-through rate over the last year will help you assess this. 

Core marketing channels include:

  • SEO
  • Your website
  • Social media platforms
  • Email
  • Partnerships


You should then rank these channels in order of effectiveness to determine which to prioritize.

Identify your objectives 

To identify your objectives, think about the “what”, “how”, and “when” of your campaign. Specifically, what you want to achieve, how you’re going to achieve it, and “when it must be achieved.” 

Think SMART:

Specific
Measurable
Attainable
Relevant
Time-bound 

Let’s break it down:

Specific 

Keep your objectives precise and quantifiable. Ask yourself why each goal is important and which of your teams are required to help you carry these out.

Measurable 

Make sure your progress toward your goals can be monitored easily. Have a plan and equip yourself with the tools to track key KPIs like your number of conversions, impressions, clicks, etc. This will help you stay motivated on the path towards your goals and allow you to check your progress and tick off tasks to meet deadlines. 

Attainable 

Analyze if meeting your objectives is realistic at this current time. Consider if there are any constraints to you achieving these. 

Relevant

Why is it essential right now to execute these aims? Do these objectives align with your other business goals

Time-bound

Set out a realistic time scale within which you aim to reach your objectives. 

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.”  – Bill Copeland 

Do your research

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a framework that allows you to identify your business’s Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats to gain a better understanding of your business’s position in the market and in comparison to competitors. It assesses internal and external factors and your current position and future potential to help you develop your strategic planning.

Take advantage of the SWOT analysis technique to assess four crucial aspects of your business:

Strengths – These describe what your company excels at: What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)? How can you use this to out-maneuver your competition? What are some of the key resources, processes, and capabilities that your company has? Which products are performing well?

Examples: a loyal customer base, robust supply chain, strong, recognizable brand, advanced proprietary tech 

Weaknesses – These identify the areas in which your business needs to grow to stay competitive: What is your company lacking compared to your competitors? Which products are underperforming?

Examples: poor cash flow, a lack of capital, high customer turnover, inadequate supply chain, low employee retention

Opportunities – These refer to external factors that could give your business a competitive advantage. What are the biggest trends in the market that could give your company an edge? Are there any new markets you could explore? Could you use new tech to make efficiencies to your operation?

Examples: tariffs on particular goods might be decreased in a new market, providing you with the opportunity to grow your market share and sales. You might have the chance to switch to a new supplier or collaborate with a powerful influencer in your industry.

Threats – These describe factors that could potentially have a negative impact on your business. What consumer trends could threaten your business performance and success? Are there any new regulations coming into play that will affect operations? Are any competitors impinging on your USP?

Example: increased cost of materials, competition, droughts, changing tariffs, regulations

Here is a real-life SWOT analysis using Amazon as an example:

SWOT Analysis
Image created by writer

As you can see, this analysis must be realistic, fact-based, and data-driven to provide a completely objective view of where the problems lie and how to solve them. 

Check your SWOT analysis to see if your business strengths align with potential opportunities. Ask yourself: if you address relevant weaknesses, would that uncover more opportunities for business growth? 

A SWOT analysis is a valuable business tool. Executed correctly, it can inspire your team to think outside the box and discover valuable new opportunities to include in your plan. 

Competitor Analysis

You must make yourself aware of your competition and the competitive landscape in your industry. Research your key competitors and create profiles on these to determine their marketing strategies, how they’re executing these, and on which channels their efforts are centered.  

Conduct a thorough analysis of competitors’ target audiences, their websites, their content. You want to know it all. 

Then consider strategies to counter those of your competitors and gain more business. 

Another benefit of performing competitor analysis is that it will help you predict future market trends and development opportunities, allowing you to adjust your marketing strategies as quickly as possible. 

Buyer personas

Buyer personas should be a reflection of your business’s existing customers and those you aim to attract. Generating profiles for your customers gives you a great insight into who is actually purchasing from you. These personas can include customers’ age, sex, location, family size, job title, and more. 

To build realistic buyer personas, put your customers’ hats on. See what they see and understand their problems. Only then can you attempt to solve them with your business’s solutions. 

10 Steps in creating your digital marketing plan 

We’ll now uncover the key aspects of a digital marketing plan in more detail.

Step 1. Write your executive summary

No pressure, but this bit is really important. What you write here has a considerable influence on your overall plan.

Your executive summary should include a high-level, succinct overview of your brand objectives, marketing tactics, and activities. Shoot for this to make up between 5-10% of your entire plan.

This intro to your plan lets readers understand where your business is heading and how it’ll get there.

Just because the executive summary acts as an intro to your plan doesn’t mean you should start with it. Aim to write this when you’ve finished planning and established all your necessary marketing actions. 

Elements to include:

  • Introduction – Detail what the reader can expect, why your marketing plan exists, and what benefits you can offer customers.
    Example: This marketing plan is presented for Meerkats Want Nose Rings Too, which sells unique nose rings for meerkats. Our intention is for zoos worldwide to jump on board with this opportunity to make their meerkats stand out from the rest.
  • Description of market trends and factors Describe where you sell your product or service and any trends affecting the industry.
    Example: There is no current market for this product, but we have just launched an ecommerce website and, thereby, aim to bring something brand new to the world.  
  • Description of your company and team – Provide a brief description of your business’s history, structure, and pricing strategy.
    Example: Our business was founded in 2021. During this time, our founder realized that meerkats enjoy wearing accessories. After investigation, it transpired that there was a gap in the market. Our team of three is based in Oklahoma. 
  • Product or service description – Explain the key features and benefits of these
    Example: This groundbreaking nose ring, created just for meerkats, is something no one has seen before. Our materials are sustainably sourced and comfortable.
Product
  • Description of your customer base and marketing activities – Detail how you’ll identify your customer base, engage with your target audience, and launch key marketing activities.
    Example: We plan to reach out to zoos and animal parks with our product on social media channels and apps with a view to partnering with one of these and providing them with our products in exchange for their promotion. We intend to use infographics to showcase results found that meerkat nose rings garner extra attention from audiences.
  • Summary of financial planning and projections – Provide your short and long-term financial projections for marketing activities
    Example: The annual business marketing budget is set at $70,000, targeted at the aforementioned marketing activities.
  • Overall business marketing objectives – Include your project goals and how you’ll achieve them
    Example: Our marketing plan will help us to reach our target demographic and raise awareness of the joy derived by animals from wearing accessories. Our team has a wealth of experience in meerkat habitats and can answer any meerkat-related questions thrown at them.

From reading your executive summary, it should be possible to gain a strong understanding of your marketing goals. Remember to keep it up-to-date to reflect any global changes. 

Pro tip: Use engaging language to spark and maintain interest. Relaying your brand’s story and journey compellingly will help persuade readers to stay focused until the end of the marketing plan. 

Step 2. Create your mission statement

The big WHY. 

Why did you decide on this business model? What’s your solution to your customers’ problems? 

Mission Statement
Source (blog.hubspot.com)

There are typically the three core elements to a great business mission statement:

  1. The business’s overall vision 
  2. Its core values
  3. Its aims and objectives 

Think concise, strong, and to the point, with personality. 100 words are plenty. 

Want us to break it down more for you? Go on then.

The business’s overall vision

Your vision for the business encompasses the overarching goal of the company and the actions that you’ll take to attain this.

For example: 

To connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful.” – LinkedIn

The business’s core values

The principles that support the business’s culture and overall vision. 

Aims and objectives 

Your business goals and the time frames within which you aim to achieve these. 

Pro tip: Ask your marketing team for their input into your business’s mission statement, as their opinions must align with the business’s goals. Ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of their aspirations.  

Step 3. Discuss your SWOT analysis

Delving into your SWOT analysis a little deeper, we’ll now explore some examples of business strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and how to address these. This will help to develop your messaging and position in the market. 

Strengths

Consider your capabilities and how these help you stand out in your industry and discover how you can make the most of these.

Business example: Walmart’s business strengths include highly-efficient global supply chains. This means they are resilient to smaller supply chain threats.

SWOT recommendation: Implement strategic changes to prepare the business for long-term developments of a globalized and increasingly ecommerce-based business market. 

Weaknesses

Identify what might be missing in your business model that your competitors excel at so that you can make improvements quickly.

Business example: Tech giant Apple are aware of their weakness in pricing. Their prices are high, so their products don’t appeal to the whole market. They also have a limited distribution network. 

SWOT recommendation: Continue the rapid innovation of products and establish partnerships with more distributors to improve market reach. 

Opportunities

How can you capitalize on external factors to give you a competitive advantage?

Business example: Samsung enjoys an exclusive partnership with Spotify, facilitating business growth and great benefits to their consumers. 

SWOT recommendation: Take advantage of partnerships like Spotify to seek new opportunities and continue to offer great value services to the target market.  

Threats

Threats include market changes affecting business success and overall performance. Threats are external factors out of your control, but being aware of them helps you prepare to handle them.

Business example: PepsiCo recognize a huge threat in their major rival, Coca-Cola. Competition is fierce, and they also suffer backlash from healthy lifestyle influencers

SWOT recommendation: Seek to improve their product’s image to gain more consumers.

Step 4. Competitor analysis

This should enable a reader to understand your competition and what the competitive landscape looks like within your industry or niche. 

General information

Firstly, find out more about companies in your industry. Start noting down the following information about these:

  • Staff numbers
  • Annual revenue 
  • Location and number of locations
  • Time in business
  • Funding sources 

Target audience 

Next, discover who your competitors’ target audience is. This gives you an insight into potential demographics your business might not currently reach or target.

Content 

To stay competitive across all platforms, you should maintain an awareness of your competitor’s content strategy. Examine their content to determine who their potential customers are, how engaged they are, and whether their demographics overlap with yours. 

Look at things like:

  • Tone of content
  • Types of promotional messaging 
  • If their products or services are comprehensive

Website

Their website is a treasure trove of information. What your competitors include on their websites can influence your own approach. It’s great news if your competitors are missing obvious tricks on their websites; not so great if they’ve captured a sought-after market. Whether good or bad, you need to know it all to improve your business’s offering. 

Takes notes on:

  • The visitor roadmap – how easy is it to find what you’re looking for and make a purchase?
  • Mobile responsiveness – is their website accessible on all devices?
  • Blog topics and relevance – are they answering their audience’s questions?
  • Whether it includes clear calls to action – check where CTAs are placed and how obvious these are
  • Position of social media links – a non-prominent position is best
  • Promotions or special offers – which services or products are highlighted?
  • Product description details – are they factual and complete? Is there any essential information missing?
  • Quality of product images  – are they a good representation of the real products?
  • Subscribers –  what content do people receive after signing up? 
  • The total customer experience – from order to fulfillment

 

Competitor SEO
Image created by writer

SEO

This is a crucial step. You need to know how your competitors fare against Google and its ever-changing algorithms. You can also discover the keywords your competitors rank for to add these to your target list for search engine optimization

To assess their SEO strategy’s success, search relevant industry keywords to see where they appear in search results. Check different search engines, such as Bing, to find out where they appear on SERPs. By identifying the terms competitors rank for, you’ll uncover potential gaps to exploit. 

Do your competitors currently display featured snippets as search results? This is a gold star from Google, demonstrating their content is extremely valuable and worthy of display. 

Social media 

Check out your competitors’ social media profiles to gain an insight into their content marketing strategies:

  • Follow all your competitors’ social media accounts to track how often they post and the platforms they prioritize. 
  • Find out if they have any partnerships with influencers or other businesses
  • Establish if their content is purely promotional, or educational too 
  • See how long it takes them to reply to comments on social media

Social platforms are great for finding out what their customers think of their brand and if they experience successful referral trade. 

For example, they may be publishing great Facebook posts, but the responses from their audience might reflect that their customer service is poor. This would make for a perfect opportunity to showcase your own superior customer service.    

Customer feedback

Head to review sites such as Trustpilot for customer insights. Once you’ve identified competitor weaknesses, you can ensure your business’s offering is better. 

Your competition’s marketing goals may not align with your own, but it makes sense to gain as much knowledge as possible about them to build an all-encompassing plan. 

Step 5. Identify your USP

Your USP is what converts site visitors into new customers, and you should promote it at every online opportunity. Your USP is your differentiator for consumers. When faced with similar products or services, they’ll need help understanding which product is best for them and why. 

To determine your business’s USP, consider and make clear who your business exists to serve and the problems you want to solve.   

Business example:

Stripe is an online payment processing provider. Their main competition is PayPal. To differentiate themselves, their USP reflects their desire to align with developers:

“Millions of businesses of all sizes – from startups to large enterprises – use Stripe’s software and APIs to accept payments, send payouts, and manage their business online.”

The message is clear – Stripe offers businesses complete control of payment processes.

USP’s are typically placed in one of three categories:

    • PriceFree shipping, cheapers than competitors, price matching, bulk discounts.  
    • Quality – Exceptional materials, better manufacturing methods, unique products.  
  • Additional features – Better functionality, advanced tech, more environmentally conscious, high-quality post-purchase support.

Communicate your USP

You should plan to draw prospects’ attention to your key differentiators using a range of techniques:

  • Digital marketingincorporate your USP into your digital marketing operations’ tagline.
  • Content marketing –  create content around your USP that your target audience will find valuable. 
    • Social media  – a strong social presence is crucial and a great place to shout about your USP.
    • SEO – overhaul your search engine optimization by including highly relevant keywords to rank for your USP terms.

Step 6. Who are your customers?

The next step is to gain a strong understanding of your target demographic and create buyer personas to reflect this.

Taking the time to identify buyer persona traits, goals, and habits makes it simpler to cater your marketing strategies to them. 

Let’s look at some methods to identify your target market. 

  • Tracking
    Track every user action on your site and automate and distribute questionnaires to find out more about potential customers.
  • Analytics 

Google Analytics is a great dashboard for establishing who is searching for what on your website. One step further is to investigate Google Ads for retargeting purposes and customized customer data. 

Create your different buyer personas and bring your target audience to life. To reach new customers, you need to visualize them and understand what they want and need. 

Start by drafting some questions to create the first buyer persona. This person should be a representation of your ideal customer. 

Target Market
Image created by writer

These are some key questions: 

The following is an example of a real estate development company’s ideal customer. 

  • Name: Mr. Seasoned Investor
  • Age: 42
  • Marital status: Married with two teenage children
  • Location: Philadelphia 
  • Job title: Real estate investor
  • Hobbies: Wide-ranging from travel to golf
  • Car: German, high-powered, and prestige. Mr. Investor likes a status symbol  
  • Emotional hot buttons: Trust and transparency
  • Most used app: Realtor
  • Most browsed websites: Realtor.com, Facebook 
  • How do they typically get in touch?: Email or website contact form 
  • What worries keep them up at night?: Project financials or the thought of having to consider something out of the box that isn’t part of his mainstream thinking 
  • Greatest wants: To land a great deal that has longevity 
  • What don’t you like about your current situation?: His latest projects are reaching their finale, so he is seeking new opportunities and areas to invest in  
  • What do they read: Mainly newspapers 
  • Holiday destinations: Exotic places such as Hawaii, Barbados, Maldives 
  • Who do they want to please?: Himself and immediate family 
  • Are they hard to please?: Although he has been in this business a long time, he requires a lot of reassurance 
  • What are their greatest business frustrations?: Colleagues and potential partners being dishonest
  • What’s likely to draw their attention to your business and appeal to their values?: Rental yield and capital growth. The prospect of earning money, getting the best deal, and being part of something exclusive 
  • What’s stopping them from converting?: Withheld information, and a lack of transparency

Painting such a detailed picture of your customers will allow you to understand them well and target them more effectively. 

From his profile, we’ve learned that to win Mr. Seasoned Investor’s custom, a real estate business should: be honest and transparent with him throughout the customer journey, make clear the prospects of yielding a good return, and assure him of the longevity of this opportunity.

Step 7. What are your KPIs?

Your business’s KPIs underpin your marketing plan. We’ll explore some marketing strategies and the KPIs that correspond best with these, and how you should select KPIs based on your own specific goals.

Marketing KPIs 

The KPIs you select will depend on the marketing strategies you plan to execute. 

The success of an email marketing strategy is typically defined by open and click-through rates (CTR). 

But the outcome of a content marketing strategy is assessed by page visits, bounce rate, organic traffic, and conversions. 

These metrics can be tracked by Affise’s Analytics and Business Intelligence tools. Monitor marketing performance through an intuitive dashboard, and create meaningful reports from data to share with your marketing team

This analytics solution integrates data from other analytical tools such Google Ads, Facebook for Business, and TikTok for Business. 

Referral marketing KPIs refer to the percentage of referrals converted into new customers. And social media KPIs are all about generating lead and customer conversions driven from your social media platforms.  

Marketing KPI
Image created by writer

How to pick the right KPIs for your specific business goals

Remember our SMART business goals from the beginning? They’re back in play. 

The metrics you choose must align with your business goals

To select appropriate KPIs, ask yourself:

    • What is your desired outcome?
    • How will you measure progress?
  • What are your areas for improvement?
  • How will you know when you’ve achieved the desired outcome? 

For example, let’s say you set a business goal to improve your website to boost the customer experience and drive traffic.   

    • What is your desired outcome?  To make the customer experience better and increase your number of site visitors and conversions. 
    • How will you measure progress? By seeing how revenue compares to that last quarter or for the same quarter last year. Comparing the number of transactions/ purchases that have taken place in comparison to the previous quarter. Monitoring website traffic and individual page engagement rates. 
  • What are the areas for improvement? Website content is currently unengaging and not optimized for SEO. Search engines don’t promote the site and drive traffic to it. The site is tricky to navigate, there aren’t enough payment options, there are broken links, and products are not easy to search for. 
  • How will you know when the outcome is achieved? When more sales are driven from the website, traffic is high, and there are no complaints from customers about payment options and broken links.  

In this example, relevant KPIs to track are:

  • Bounce rate
  • Exit rate
  • Shopping cart abandonment rate
  • Net promoter score
  • Average session length
  • Website traffic 
  • Position on search engine result pages 

Step 8. Define your marketing channels

This is where you lay out the plans for your intended promotional and distribution channels. 

What kind of marketing content will you be distributing? On which channels? How often?

Content strategy

Your digital content is written to communicate your brand. This should include:

  • Landing pages
  • Blog articles
  • Email marketing
  • Social media posts
  • Website copy
  • Newsletters

Consider the creation and distribution of your digital content. All content must be well structured, offer value to your target audience, and improve the overall user experience. 

Social media

Ah, social media. It’s a love/hate relationship, isn’t it?

Your social media marketing strategy is critical, and while the overarching goal for each of your many channels might be consistent- to increase engagement, and therefore, conversions, your approach to each of these should be unique. Different platforms require different messaging. The content should be different, and the posting times different, too. 

But which platforms are best for your business message and ethos? 

Facebook 

Facebook is for your business if your:

  • Marketing goals include lead generation and conversion
  • Target audience is older generations or millennials  

Facebook’s largest age group is 25-34 year-olds, spending on average 33 minutes per day browsing this social platform. 

Facebook ads and videos are the strongest performing strategies on this social platform.

Facebook
Source (statista.com)
Twitter

Twitter is worth using if your:

  • Marketing goals include brand awareness 
  • Target audience is made up of people with higher levels of education or income
  • Customers are mainly millennials or Gen Z

Primarily, 30-49 year-olds are the main age group using Twitter for an average of 31 minutes per day. 

Interactive content, such as engaging images and videos, is ideal for Twitter. Users love immersive video content. Use relevant links and jump in with up-to-the-minute memes and GIFs for maximum traction.  

Instagram 

Instagram is great for content if your:

  • Target audience is mainly women
  • Marketing goals include brand awareness and boosting your ecommerce site traffic
  • Content is aimed at Gen Z and millennials 

Instagram’s main audience is also 25-34 year-olds, scrolling their feeds for an average of 29 minutes per day. 

Partnership marketing is a valuable tool on this platform. Connecting with industry-relevant influencers is a natural fit and a high-yield strategy on Instagram. 

Affise automates the management of ecommerce partnerships, analyzes performance, and optimizes campaign settings to make finding great partnerships, communicating with partners, and maximizing the productivity of your programs effortless.

The content most engaged with on Instagram includes carousels with high-res images, reels, Instagram Lives, and Stories.

Instagram Stories are perfect for bringing your brand to life. Some great examples of content to include in this format include:

  • How-to tutorials
  • Announcements and updates
  • Pre-order sales opportunities 
  • List-sharing 
  • Storytelling 
  • Special offers, promotions, and giveaways
LinkedIn

LinkedIn is perfect for your business if your:

  • Target audience is in the age range of 46-55
  • Demographics are an equal split of male and female 
  • Content is aimed at C-suite executives and business owners 

LinkedIn‘s largest age group is 46-55 year-olds utilizing the platform for powerful lead generation connections. 

To engage with LinkedIn users, short-form, relatable content is your best bet. Focus on encouraging discussions and helping other LinkedIn users. 

Social Platforms
Source (sproutsocial.com)
Other social media channels 

Don’t limit yourself to the social networks above. TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest are up there with the big boys. If your target audience is firmly in the Gen Z camp, TikTok is ideal for targeting influencers

On to the queen of inspirational content – Pinterest. It’s fantastic if your ecommerce store products contribute to beautiful lifestyle images. In addition, even better if your target audience falls into Pinterest’s key demographic of 50-64 year-olds. 

The most popular sections on Pinterest are home decor, food and drinks, design, and DIY. Shoot for 2:3 aspect ratio images with a minimum width of 600 pixels. 

Be sure to include targeted and researched keywords on each pin, as they are searchable and indexed by Google. Bonus SEO points!  

Your business’s personality comes to life with Snapchat. Experiment with crazy filters and snaps showing behind-the-scenes business activities. With 306 million global daily active users, Snapchat could be just the place for your business to shine.  

Social Media Channels
Source (statista.com)

Of course, you can repurpose your digital content for different social channels with a little effort. Ensure you use relevant platform hashtags and abide by best timings (that’s coming right up!).  

Email

Email remains a fundamental part of daily online life. The number of email users in 2020 stood at 4 billion. This figure is predicted to rise to 4.6 billion by 2025. 

That’s a lot of opportunities to get your email marketing message out to your target audience

Suggestions for consumer email communications include:

  • Weekly campaigns
  • Automated welcome emails
  • Cart abandonment automation 
  • Ebook download email automation 
  • Newsletters 
Emails
Source (statista.com)

Don’t forget to monitor your email marketing efforts continuously with ecommerce analytics, to ensure what you’re sending is viable. 

Relevant email KPIs to cover with analytics include:

  • Number of opened emails 
  • Number of clicks
  • The links with the most clicks
  • Time of email opens
  • Number of unsubscribes  

Play around with: different types of email content to see which sparks the most engagement,  engaging email subject lines (include emojis if relevant to your audience) to encourage opens,  personalized subject lines are great to tempt your recipients into opening your campaign emails.  

Combined with partner marketing, emails are an effective digital marketing strategy. Reach out to your marketing partners to collaborate on an email marketing strategy. Ensure the offering is lucrative for both your partners and your business to drive maximum engagement. Your partners will spend more time creating engaging campaigns when there’s a lucrative offer on the table! 

For the most successful partner marketing strategies, the offers must be relevant to subscribers’ interests. Consider incorporating evergreen content to minimize the requirement of altering email communication sequences.   

Post-sale communications 

Communication shouldn’t stop at the sale. 

Automate emails to:

  • Thank the customer for their purchase, and create hype around the imminent product shipment. 
  • Offer useful information about the product – how to use and care for it, etc. 
  • Communicate future pre-order opportunities. 
  • Answer FAQs around customer onboarding to pre-empt concerns.
  • Send regular shipping updates.
  • Deliver a repeat business offer for their continued loyalty to your brand. 

Pro tip: Evergreen content is effective at generating steady streams of new customers – without the need to change email templates constantly. 

Post-Scale Communication
Image created by writer

Social media timing 

Getting seen in newsfeeds requires planning. Timing is everything. 

The optimal times for posting on social platforms are as follows:

Facebook 

With 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook provides a huge audience to engage and gather data from. One post per day is plenty for Facebook. 

  • Post-your-content-right-now times*: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 am – 1 pm
  • Post your content on: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. The middle of the week is deemed the best time for the most important announcements 
  • Diabolical posting day: Saturday 

Fun fact: 98.3% of Facebook users engage from mobile devices. 

Facebook Global Engagement
Source (sproutsocial.com)
Twitter 

Twitter remains the consumers’ choice for up-to-date news. Bear in mind that Twitter offers the most direct line of engagement from consumer to business. 

Try and aim for at least three tweets per day to keep up with this rapid-fire social media platform. Engage as much as possible with tweets and retweets to continually show up in newsfeeds. 

  • Tweet-your-content-right-now times: Wednesday 9 am – 3 pm, and Tuesday through Thursday 9 – 11 am
  • Tweet your content on: Wednesday
  • Diabolical tweeting day: Saturday 

Fun fact: 52% of Twitter users in the US access the social media platform on a daily basis.

Twitter Global Engagement
Source (sproutsocial.com)
Instagram 

Instagram is an ideal platform for social listening. Ensure your business is keeping up with the latest trends in this highly immersive social media space. Think high-quality images (one per day) to boost brand awareness, and explore Instagram Live to connect with your audience. Stories on Instagram can be posted up to 10 times per day. 

  • Post-your-content-right-now times: Tuesday 11 am – 2 pm, and Monday through Friday 11 am
  • Post your content on: Tuesday
  • Diabolical posting day: Sunday

Fun fact: Instagram influencers in excess of 90,000 followers garner partner marketing revenue of $1,221 per post. 

LinkedIn

This professional platform is predominantly active during the working week. Initially the go-to platform for recruiting, LinkedIn has established its place for quality content. Encourage your marketing team to appear on LinkedIn, as it’s a perfect fit for employee advocacy. 

  • Post-your-content-right-now times: Tuesday through Thursday 9 am – 12 pm
  • Post your content on: Tuesday and Wednesday
  • Diabolical posting day: Sunday

Fun fact: As of July 2021, LinkedIn had nearly 31.2 million profiles. 

*Posting times are recorded in US Central Time.

LinkedIn Global Engagement
Source (sproutsocial.com)

Step 9. Decide on your marketing strategies 

Now that we have all the relevant information in one place, it’s time to pin down your marketing strategies. 

Incorporate timelines with milestone tasks to make it easy for your marketing team to see which tasks need actioning and when. 

Co-create your strategies with the rest of your team. This can take the form of brainstorming sessions, informal chats (remember the watercooler?), feedback, and classic question and answer scenarios.

Step 10. Nail down your budget 

Your marketing budget should center around the estimated cost of your marketing campaigns and activities that will navigate you towards your business objectives. 

To set a realistic budget, firstly audit your results from previous marketing efforts. For example, did your Facebook campaigns generate your past goal of driving 20% more traffic to your website?

Some tactics to explore when setting your budget:

  • Which channels drive the best results? Continue to invest here and increase the budget portion if possible 
  • Which channels under-perform? Cut down the budget here or eliminate badly performing channels entirely
  • Which marketing efforts have you used before? What was the ROI on each effort? 

7 Tips to build your digital marketing strategy

Let’s look over some of the key steps to creating your ecommerce marketing strategy.

1. Identify your objectives

You can’t achieve objectives without a solid strategy in place. Nail them down. Then write them down. 

Objectives should be achievable but not so super simple that they require no effort. 

Something along the lines of:

  • Increasing new leads
  • Building a community of potential new customers 

Things to bear in mind when assembling your marketing plan objectives:

  • Set industry-relevant attainable goals that matter in your market. 
  • Review your business growth to date to set challenging objectives. 
  • Ensure your objectives align with your mission statement and vision for the business.
  • Set less than five supplemental goals to no more than two major objectives. 
  • Create objectives milestones to promote engagement and a sense of achievement.
Selling Proposition
Image created by writer

2. Leverage your USP

Your USP strengthens your business’s brand and persuades potential customers to commit and become customers.

Apply this template to your business. For our example, let’s revisit our meerkat nose ring company. You should identify:

  • Your audience: zoo owners
  • Your unique value proposition: our company is the sole global distributor of meerkat nose rings
  • Your product/ service’s features: we provide functional and beautiful nose rings designed for meerkats
  • How you differ from competitors: other animal accessory companies don’t specialize in meerkats

This format quickly explains the business’s USP, placing the emphasis firmly on the customer. 

3. Boost your branding 

Your business’s brand encompasses so much more than that logo you spend weeks agreeing on. The logo is the cherry on top of what is the whole customer experience with your business. 

To solidify your brand’s identity, think long-term about its purpose and how you’ll connect with your audience. Consistent positive customer interactions increase brand awareness overall and reinforce a solid connection between your audience and your brand. 

Consider these points when solidifying your brand’s identity:

  • Target audience

Who are your products for? Consider your target audience’s buying behaviors, lifestyles, and habits.

  • Competitors

How are you different from your competition? Research the rest of your industry – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

  • Brand purpose 

Why is it that you do what you do? It’s imperative to understand your why

  • Brand voice

This is all about the tone your brand uses to connect with your consumers. Maintain the same voice, style, and personality across every business communication to send out consistent messages across all digital channels.

  • Qualities and benefits

What makes your business great? Pinpoint the qualities of your company – these can include your team, skills, and processes.

  • Brand recognition

How will you communicate with your audience? Engaging consistently promotes brand trustworthiness and recognition. 

  • Brand positioning

Where is your brand positioned compared to the rest of your industry’s market? Find out which of your business values your customers resonate with. You can learn a lot from discovering why your customers think you stand out from the crowd. 

4. Optimize your website

Make sure your website provides a top-notch customer experience. The purchasing journey must be enjoyable and effortless. Prospects must be able to find what they’re looking for without wading through a load of unnecessary content. 

Your primary contact with users is through your website. It’s the 24/7 showroom for your business, available worldwide on many devices. It puts a face to your business name and brand. 

Website visitors are fickle creatures – those first five seconds are crucial (if you’re lucky!) to keep their attention. 

Top tips:

  • Check your bounce rate, clicks, and impressions using Affise BI (business intelligence tools) to determine where your visitors are dropping off and improve content accordingly.
  • Run your website score through Google’s Lighthouse report. This gives fantastic insights into website performance, speed, accessibility, SEO, and more. Your website can be beautiful and full of crucial information, but if it’s slower than the proverbial tortoise, your visitors won’t convert.
  • Split test CTA buttons, and ensure your visitors know what to do next. Go back to the buyer persona journey and hone in on users’ predicted behavior to tailor experiences.
Optimize Website
Source (developers.google.com)

5. Content marketing 

Inbound marketing is driven by content. Content is what brings your prospects to your website in the first place, and the content on your website is what converts them into new customers

Search engines use the keywords entered by users to navigate visitors to your site. What you do with these visitors next determines if they bounce or stay. 

We know Google values quality, relevant content. But why? 

Content that answers browsers’ questions, alleviates their problems, and provides value is what Google wants to promote. Your website will receive thousands of visitors if you give Google what it wants (that isn’t intended to be as sinister as it sounds). 

If Google knows your website provides solutions and quality information people want, they are directed to your website, and everyone is happy. Google has done its job. 

Content Marketing
Image created by writer

Free, informative material speaks volumes on your website. You become the go-to source of information for potential buyers. Your business credibility soars. And when they’re ready to buy – guess who they are going to buy from? 

Up next are the different types of digital content strategies, along with when and where to unleash them for maximum effect (conversions). 

Attention phase

Information, information, information. Whatever is relevant and correct to your target audience, write it and publish it:

  • White Papers
  • Reports
  • Blog articles
  • Ebooks and guides 

Deliberation phase

Now it’s time to deliver reassurance:

  • Podcasts
  • Video content
  • Webinars
  • Case studies 

Conversion phase 

You’re nearly there now. Reel them in with:

  • Testimonials
  • Product comparisons
  • Free trials
  • FAQs
  • Product demos
  • Competitor comparisons
  • Product-related content 

Going back to our target audience and buyer personas- you should tailor your content to suit these and place it strategically where these will find it most accessible.  

Your content strategy and SEO drive your website traffic. Continuously assess all digital content, including email marketing content with fresh eyes to see what you can improve. 

6. Enhance your online presence with marketing partners 

Partner marketing, when done right, is a no-brainer for expanding your business’s reach across multiple digital channels. Marketing partnerships in ecommerce businesses can increase brand awareness and boost sales. If marketing partnerships are part of your business model, they need to be in your digital marketing plan, too.  

Data transfer and connections technology make collaboration with marketing partners simple. If your business handles large volumes of partner marketing offers, they can be time-consuming processes, particularly if they’re carried out manually. CPAPI is the market-leading data transfer platform for partner marketing offers, enabling a fully automated process for transferring and synchronizing data. 

The ability to connect seamlessly with advertisers and generate business intelligence easily empowers businesses to harness more than 200 integrated offers sources.  

Of course, the success of your partner marketing campaign is down to  finding a great partner. For the best results, check out Affise’s partner marketing solution. This platform connects brands with a wide variety of partners to leverage target audiences effectively. 

If offers and promo codes make up a large part of your partnership programs, consider adopting Affise’s offer management feature. This allows you to increase brand awareness by creating memorable, product-associated promo codes for partners. Unique promo codes supercharge customer acquisitions and work well both in digital content and social media marketing strategies. Affise’s promo codes tracking feature then enables you to track the success of these with ease.

Specialist performance marketing agency AppMarket Media knew they needed a reliable technology partner to manage their ad campaigns. And thanks to the partnership with Affise, AppMarket Media now have a complete insight into best-performing and live offers. The affiliate link checker features enabled AppMarket Media to stop losing revenue on dead offers and increase their CR.

7. Test and measure

Include testing and measuring as an integral strategy in your digital marketing plan. Your KPIs are back in play. Attach meaningful KPIs to each campaign, test performance, and learn which strategy is most beneficial. 

Consider your industry’s current market conditions when comparing your own business’s performance success. Aim to review your marketing plan every quarter. This is much more often than a business plan, as you need to review your marketing goals frequently. Regular digital marketing plan reviews will allow you to identify patterns, track success, and any failings easily.

Just as the first step in a marketing strategy involves knowing your audience’s online behavior, the last step will always be to measure results and correct possible flaws. But anyone that thinks this process should only be carried out once or twice is wrong. This is a recurring and constant action.

Start tracking as soon as your ecommerce marketing plan comes to life. Test all elements as you go, and make sure your marketing efforts are in the right places. Evaluate possible barriers in your customer’s digital journey, test, and improve. Rinse and repeat. 

Investigate negative friction that’s stopping leads from converting into customers and monitor different content types to see if video or blogs are best for conversions. 

Monitor on an ongoing basis and continually research your market to develop your marketing plan into a customer-converting machine. 

Always keep the key question in mind: “Why do you want to test this metric?” 

Whether the overall marketing goal is to increase engagement, CTRs, or revenue, answer the question specifically. This will define how you carry out your analysis and the value of the data you learn. 

Takeaways

There’s a lot of information to absorb here. Take your time to digest it and work through each stage methodically. 

Your ecommerce digital marketing plan is so much more than a generic business document. Done right, it offers your business a gold mine of valuable information. The process of creating the marketing plan is an eye-opening one. Be honest with the objectives and your business’s weaknesses to improve. 

A marketing plan is a document designed to evolve due to knowledge gained throughout the process. Incorporate ecommerce analytics as part of your process to understand user behavior and boost your conversion rate and retention.     

Remember – you must create every single piece of marketing content with this thought in mind: “How is my target audience going to get from here to the checkout?”.

Your goal is not to convert every single customer in the world. It’s to create and nurture your relationships with your target customers.

To achieve true ecommerce success and your ultimate dreams, you have to plan for it- target precise goals for business growth and detail how you’ll achieve these. 

Hold yourself accountable to the targets set, and success is yours for the taking!

Share this article
Joanne Burman

Written by

Jo is the Head of Strategic Marketing at PureClarity⁠— a fast-growing AI-based ecommerce personalisation SaaS solution driving revenue and conversions through personalised shopping experience. She is an expert with over 20 years experience in Marketing, Ecommerce, and Project Management. Jo dedicated her career to empower online retailers and propel their ecommerce growth.