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Events — 16 Jun 2022

6 Tips for Best eCommerce Marketing Plans

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6 Killer Tips for Creating the Best Ecommerce Startup Marketing Plan

Global ecommerce sales continue to climb. In fact, according to research published by Statista, e-retail revenues are expected to reach 5.4 trillion US dollars in 2022. But in order to get your new online store off the ground and start driving that all-important traffic to your website, it’s important to fortify your efforts with a robust marketing campaign. 

If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry. We’re going to share with you six tips for creating the best ecommerce startup marketing plan so that you can start converting asap!

Retail E-commerce sales
Source (statista.com)

What is an Ecommerce Startup?

It never hurts to start with some basics. So, before going any further, let’s define what an ecommerce startup actually is. 

So, in short, an ecommerce startup is just a new, up-and-coming ecommerce venture. It’s no different from any other startup aside from the fact that it exists entirely in the online realm. Just like bricks-and-mortar businesses, ecommerce startups can also experience difficulty building awareness of their brand in the early days. 

That’s why it’s so important that ecommerce startups employ the very best marketing strategies to get customers excited and business rolling. 

Role of Marketing for Ecommerce Startups

It’s completely normal for ecommerce startups to experience some growing pains at first. This is all part and parcel of establishing every business process that will get things running smoothly. Grabbing the customers’ attention (especially if you’re launching in an already saturated market) is a pretty cut-throat business. 

Ineffective marketing is one of the top reasons why startups fail. Marketing is what allows ecommerce startups to forge a place amongst their competitors and start driving sales and conversion rates. A good marketing strategy will generate public engagement, build brand reputation, and establish a clear brand persona, voice, and mission.

Source (litslink.com)

Marketing for Ecommerce Startups

But what actually goes into an ecommerce marketing strategy? Whilst marketing plans vary from business to business, there are some fundamental principles and practices that all ecommerce startups should employ as part of their marketing strategies. 

Advertising

Without effective advertising nobody will know that your ecommerce store even exists—no matter how fantastic you know it is. Since your ecommerce store exists in the online realm, online advertising is the way to go. 

Top advertising methods for ecommerce startups include social media ads (e.g., Instagram Ads, LinkedIn, and Facebook Ads), PPC, and banner Ads. Once you start to generate the first trickles of interest, deploy a series of retargeting Ads to keep customers who have shown interest but not yet committed to a purchase engaged. 

When launching an advertising campaign across multiple channels like this, it can be hard to keep track of all those key metrics. But it’s this data that will tell you what’s working and what’s not. Luckily there are tools out there to help you manage all of these insights more easily. 

Affise BI provides a set of digital tools that startups can use to manage all of this unstructured data from across their marketing channels. It also integrates with a range of industry partners and advertising platforms to bring you even more targeted reports and statistics. 

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is super important for all ecommerce businesses, no matter their stage of development. But when starting out, good SEO practices are even more critical. By employing SEO best practices like keyword and image optimization, meta-titles and tags, and page speed optimization, you’ll drive traffic to your ecommerce site.

SEO is what helps businesses rank higher on search engine results pages and show up in relevant customer searches. In fact, close to 30% of total global web traffic is generated by online search activity, according to Statista. A solid SEO strategy will help new customers find your landing page more easily and navigate users to relevant products.

Global Web traffic

Referring Websites

Referrals are a fantastic way to improve reputability. Generating backlinks to your ecommerce website will help drive search engine rankings. If you can get a number of high-performing sites to refer your website through internal links that can be a big driver of traffic and help start to increase those first sales and reduce website bounce. 

Email Marketing

It might sound outdated, but email marketing remains one of the highest converting marketing methods out there. One of the reasons that email marketing is so effective is that it harnesses more targeted leads and nurtures those prospects who are more likely to have real purchase intent (because they will have already had to sign up to your email list to receive correspondence from your brand). 

Furthermore, email copy offers a lot of flexibility and space to provide readers with engaging, personalized content that converts. Remember to include an engaging subject line, compelling copy, and an epic CTA that encourages readers to navigate through to a relevant landing or sales page on your website. 

Once your customers have proceeded a little further down the sales funnel, retargeting emails can help re-engage buyers (e.g., those who browsed your products without committing to a sale or abandoned their shopping cart) and close those deals. 

Print Media

Talking of things that sound outdated, even print media shouldn’t be neglected when it comes to marketing an ecommerce startup. Even though you’re an online business, your prospects will still be engaging with printed media sources in their day-to-day lives. Employing some physical marketing methods is a great way to broaden your reach. 

Print media includes any kind of hard-copy media such as magazine and newspaper ads, brochures, flyers, posters, billboards, and leaflets. Despite the digitization of our world, these marketing methods remain effective and can enhance your digital marketing efforts significantly.

Online Campaigns
Source (financesonline.com)

Email Newsletters

Email newsletters are a great way to disseminate information about your brand to a more targeted audience. In your email newsletter you’ll have the opportunity to deep-dive into product-specific, informational content that will keep your base of email subscribers engaged.

Providing consistent, and more in-depth, updates is a great way to establish your startup as an industry authority and show your subscriber base that you value their time and engagement. Plus it’s an opportunity to sell yourself and communicate your brand identity. 

The best email newsletters include:

  • Compelling subject lines
  • A consistent publication schedule 
  • Relevant and targeted information 
  • A clear, concise format
  • A mobile-responsive design
  • An option for readers to unsubscribe
  • CTAs, incentives, and links that will encourage readers to click through to a relevant landing page on your website. 

Relationships with Affiliates

Partner marketing (or affiliate marketing) is when one brand promotes the products of another brand in return for a stake in each sale via their affiliate link. Building a great affiliate program means you can share in the subscriber and customer base of other businesses with similar demographics. 

In other words, in return for a small commission on each sale, you get the opportunity to tap into a ready made market of high-quality leads. Affiliates might be other brands, or even media personalities with large, or niche, online followings. 

Content Marketing – Creating Content That Sells

Content is key. Make sure that you’re offering plenty of insightful, targeted, informative content. That applies to everything from your website copy, to your social media posts, to your emails, and blogs. 

If you haven’t factored a company blog into your marketing plan yet, then get right to it. Consistently publishing industry specific content to your blog will establish your brand as reputable, authoritative, and, most importantly, keep people engaging with your platform. The best content is original, concise, and should align with your brand voice (whether that’s fun and casual or more formal). 

Social Media

Using social media platforms is a given for any digital marketing campaign. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter harness mass followings and provide the ideal platform from which to market your startup with engaging content. 

Targeted social media posts spread the word about new brands, and get the conversation started. One of the best things about social media marketing is that it allows brands to interact directly with their customers. 

The more personalized the interactions, the better. Plus, these platforms offer brands the opportunity to partner up with social media influencers, bloggers, and other reputable businesses. 

The below Facebook post by Etsy is a great example of how brands can use social media to market themselves creatively. Not only has Etsy harnessed the power of social media but, by incorporating a customer testimonial, Etsy is also using social proof to boost brand credibility.

Source (facebook.com)

How to Promote an Ecommerce Startup

You can use all the best marketing tactics under the sun, but without a strong brand image your promotional efforts will fail to live up to their full potential. Building a strong brand image around your business is essential. This is what makes your brand recognizable and unique from all the other ecommerce stores competing in the same market.

Think about some of your favorite brands. What is the first thing that comes to mind? It’s probably a logo or slogan, right? Or perhaps a concept, ethos, or mission. If you can clearly articulate one (or all) of these things then that’s an example of successful branding in action. 

And that is exactly what you will want to achieve for your ecommerce startup, whether that’s by designing an eye-catching logo for your products or finessing your company name. Customers are more likely to place their trust in well branded businesses. 

Once you’ve got your branding perfected, use it consistently across all of your marketing channels, communications, products, and merchandise and ensure that your brand messaging toes the line equally well. 

How to Create an Effective and Successful Ecommerce Marketing Plan

So, now we know a bit more about the fundamentals of ecommerce marketing for startups, it’s time to get down to the details. Before launching your brand to the public, make sure that you’ve developed a robust and effective marketing plan that you can refer to throughout your launch. 

Using robust on-premise ERP software, or better still a cloud-hosted retail-specific solution, is a great way to streamline your business planning process. Here are some killer marketing tips ecommerce startups should take on board when devising their own marketing plans. 

1. Devise a Content Strategy

We already mentioned the importance of publishing quality content. In order to make sure that you’re consistently delivering engaging content, you’ll need to develop a content strategy. 

There’s no use just throwing any old blog post or social media content out there. In actual fact, that could do more harm than good. The key tenets of a strong content strategy are: 

  • Knowing your customer inside out
  • Identifying a problem that your content will solve
  • Finding a unique angle 
  • Picking a few different formats (e.g., blog posts, social, podcast, video, etc.) 
  • Developing a content publication schedule 

When developing your publication schedule, you may even wish to conduct some additional testing to determine the optimal days and times for posting in terms of customer engagement. 

Additionally, it can be helpful to collate a database of content so that you can be confident that you’ll always be ready with the next post or blog, and never miss an upload. Remember, consistency is key. 

2. Prepare to Provide Exceptional Customer Experience

Providing exceptional customer experience requires prior planning. Think about how you’re going to support your customers at every touchpoint along the sales cycle. That could be anything from providing 24/7 customer support, to making sure that your website page load times are super fast, or even providing attractive sales offers and incentives.

Customer Experience
Source (superoffice.com)

3. Figure Out How to Build Customer Trust

Find ways to build trust amongst your customer base. Customer trust is a delicate thing. As well as ensuring that you offer exceptional customer service, the following strategies will help reinforce the reputability and trustworthiness of your ecommerce store: 

  • Sharing customer reviews and testimonials
  • Asking customers for their feedback
  • Being contactable and responding quickly
  • Getting endorsements from industry authorities
  • Always being honest and transparent with customers

4. Set Up Multiple Reputable Payment Options

Another way to build more trust and boost customer experiences is to provide as many reputable payment options as possible at checkout. 

By giving consumers a choice as to how they want to part with their hard-earned cash, you’ll gain their trust and reduce any frustrations that could result in an abandoned cart.

Make sure that your payment gateway is safe and secure, and that it is compatible with all major payment options like Credit/Debit card payments, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Amazon Pay. 

5. Prepare a Generous Refund and Returns Policy

Looking for a way to stand out from competitors and keep customers happy? Having a flexible refund and returns policy will do just that. 

People don’t like risking their money on items that they might want to return. If your company has a super straightforward refund and returns policy (with no hidden loopholes), then your customers will feel more confident to make a purchase. Plus, you’ll encourage long-term customer loyalty and repeat purchases. 

6. Ensure You’re Offering Flexible Shipping Options

Last but not least, make sure that you have the resources and facilities in place to offer flexible shipping options. That might mean planning your warehouse management in a particular way based on customer demographics and geographies, for example. 

Perhaps you’ll want to consider implementing dedicated order fulfillment software. Ensuring that all customer orders will be fulfilled on time is essential. Plus, if you can, try to offer shipping and delivery free of charge to avoid any of those dreaded last minute cart abandonment spikes.

Flexible Shipping Options
Source (ecommerceguide.com)

10 Marketing Strategies to Remember

You’re almost ready to devise the best ecommerce startup marketing plan known to man. But before we let you go off to do your magic, let’s cover some additional marketing strategies. These strategies will help you bolster your marketing campaigns for even more success. 

1. Contextual Marketing Campaigns

First tip. Contextualize your marketing campaigns. By conducting in-depth customer research, you’ll be able to tailor your marketing campaigns to suit the needs, desires, and expectations of your target market directly. 

2. User-Generated Content

We’ve already established that quality content is important. But an extra little something that you can add to your content strategy is user-generated content. User-generated content is content produced by your customers themselves and acts as social proof to other customers that your brand is worth investing in. Things like customer reviews (written or video), photos, and star ratings are all examples of user-generated content. 

3. Relationships and Partnerships

Start networking in order to build strong relationships and partnerships with other brands and potential affiliates. This way you’ll gain instant access to their customer data and a ready-made database of potential leads. Establishing marketing partnerships across different verticals will increase brand awareness and boost ecommerce sales. 

With Affise Reach it’s easy to connect with potential business partners and start expanding your marketing channels. Our platform provides a space where brands can enter into collaboration and enlarge their target audiences in a safe and compliant way.

Furthermore, with Affise’s CPAPI platform, you’ll be able to scale and grow your startup even faster with automation features that automatically transfer data between your systems.  

4. Video Content

Content doesn’t have to be all writing! Video marketing is big business these days and YouTube is the perfect platform from which to interact and engage with prospects. 

Creating branded tutorials, product reveals, and informative videos will generate buzz around your products and keep potential customers listening. Plus, if you can engage prospects in conversation in the comments section, all the better!

Video Content
Source (blog.hubspot.com)

5. Product Giveaways

Everyone loves a freebie. Product giveaways are a great way to get people excited about a product release. You’ll generate more buzz around your brand and introduce your products and services to a wider audience who might previously have been priced out of your brand. 

6. Engagement With Your Audience

Engage, engage, and engage some more. Conversation and communication is so important when it comes to marketing in the digital realm. Personalized communications is the way to go. Make sure that customers are able to reach out (and, more importantly, get a swift response) across multiple channels including chat, email, phone, and social media. 

7. Target Key Audience Personas

Be targeted with your outreach. You’ve done your research. You know who your target demographic is. So make sure that your marketing materials are going to appeal to these individuals. Avoid generic content. It’s personalization that really sells. 

8. Launch an Affiliate Program

Now is a better time than ever to launch an affiliate program. Teaming up with influencers and/or other brands in your space will help build credibility and allow you to pool resources. 

Not sure where to start? Mobilizing a partnership marketing platform like Affise can help you connect with partners and start collaborating in no time at all. 

9. Build Your Own Email List

For your email marketing efforts to pay dividends you’ll need a comprehensive and targeted email list. There are a few ways to go about building up an email list. The most obvious one is getting consumers to sign up for email correspondence directly on your website or platforms. 

You can do this with targeted exit intent popups, on social media, alongside your checkout page, or even in combination with deals and incentives. Just make sure that you also give your customers the option to opt-out of email correspondence at any time should they wish. 

10. Launch Across Multiple Platforms

Last but by no means least, launch your marketing campaigns across as many platforms as possible to reach the greatest number of eyes. This way, you’ll spread awareness of your brand far and wide instead of limiting yourself to users of just one platform. 

Ready for Startup Success?

For budding entrepreneurs, creating an ecommerce startup is no mean feat. In order to get your small business through those challenging first few months, a robust marketing plan is essential. 

From content marketing and SEO to customer service and business partnerships, use the tips we’ve discussed today to create a strategic marketing plan, and you’ll go from strength to strength. 

Mobilizing a partnership marketing platform like Affise will help you launch more effective partnerships with other brands, advertisers, and marketing agencies and start growing from day one.

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Nick Shaw - Brightpearl

Written by

Nick Shaw has been Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) of Brightpearl, the number one retail-focused digital operations platform which encompasses sales and inventory management software, accounting, logistics, CRM and more, since July 2019 and is responsible for EMEA Sales, Global Marketing and Alliances. Before joining Brightpearl, Nick was GM and Vice President of the EMEA Consumer business at Symantec and was responsible for a $500m revenue business.Nick has written for sites such as Hubspot and G2. Here is Nick Shaw’s LinkedIn.