Best Practice

Top 11 Best Practices to Optimise Your E-commerce Marketing

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Victoria Doherty

Reading time: 9 minutes

E-commerce marketing strategies that maximise ROI are an absolute must for online businesses, but it can be hard to cut through the noise and get down to the ones that actually work.

Some of the best practise e-commerce marketing strategies include increasing your social media reach, creating original and relevant content, and running a fully optimised PPC campaign.

We’ve rounded up 10 of the top best practices to make you stand out from the crowd by truly optimising your e-commerce marketing tactics. Investing time in implementing and measuring ROI on strategies like these can pay dividends. Read on to find out more.

An image showing a shop sign that says "Buzz". This refers to creating buzz with your e-commerce marketing strategies.

1. Create relevant, original content

You might have read this a thousand times but it can’t be reiterated enough: the internet is at content saturation point. This is widely referred to as “content shock”. One study even reported that the content on the entire internet is doubling every 9-24 months. Imagine all the websites pumping out content every single day and you appreciate the scale of the phenomenon.

But what does this mean for your e-commerce marketing strategies? It means you have to be different. You have to be original. You have to be relevant, otherwise you risk being lost in the sea of other companies trying to do exactly the same thing.

High-quality, original content not only gets you found by potential customers through organic search but it also gives them something to follow. Creating a brand “story” is a great way to build a long-lasting relationship with them. This could take the form of the life cycle of new product releases or regularly promoting causes that your company feels passionate about.

It’s wise to avoid simply re-purposing (or worse, copying) existing content that you find in the first page of Google’s search results. This is the content that people have already read and considered. Your mission is to create something new by providing fresh solutions to and angles for customer’s problems. Do this right and they’ll keep coming back for more.

That’s not to say that reposting other people’s content should be excluded from your e-commerce marketing strategies. In fact it can be a great way to maintain a steady contact with your audience. However as with your own content, keep it relevant and remember to attribute anything you post to the original author.

Finally, creating compelling and quality content (a separate but very important matter we covered in another blog post) should be a key component of your SEO strategy. This is because it’s one of th factors that Google’s algorithms consider when determining your ranking in the search results.

An image showing "SEO" in scrabble letters. SEO is a key element of your e-commerce marketing strategies and should be consistently revisited and improved.

2. Increase your social media reach

Social media is quite literally everywhere. With mobile use exploding, the average person spends 135 minutes on social platforms every day. You need to put your business in their line of sight, whichever platform they’re on.

It’s not good practise to only have a Facebook account that you update once in a while. You need to extend your social media reach to the other main platforms. These might include Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ and Pinterest, although there are plenty more to consider.

For example, when you publish a new blog post, tell the world about it! Broadcast it across all your social platforms to generate those shares and backlinks so highly coveted in the world of SEO. Although bear in mind that each platform has its own demographics. For example by posting on Instagram you’ll arguably be reaching a younger audience, whereas the majority of the users on LinkedIn are in the older generation.

We mentioned brand storytelling in the first point, and social media is certainly the place to do this. Build a relationship with your customers by taking them on a journey that has a real human element. This gives users something they can actually relate to.

Don’t let the potential scale of managing all these social media networks at once discourage you. Use a social media management tool such as hootsuite which facilitates your social media endeavours by allowing you to send out timed posts across several platforms at once. It also allows you to analyse how many people viewed your post, their demographics, how many shares your post got and so on, much like the Google Analytics tool. This is key in measuring the ROI of your e-commerce marketing tactics and campaigns.

3. Revisit and enhance your PPC campaign

Is your Google AdWords account a somewhat neglected area of your e-commerce marketing strategy? Then blow off the cobwebs and rediscover the importance and advantages of a well-planned and executed PPC campaign.

Most Google advertisers might log in to their AdWords account once or twice a month. Ideally you should be checking in once a week, even if only for 20 minutes to make sure things are on track and to check back on any split tests you’re set up.

Revisit the logic behind your ad group structure. This is fundamental to PPC success and directly translates to getting your ads seen by the right people in the right places at the right times. Your ad groups should be broken down into highly specific themes built on related keywords. Creating lots of ad groups with fewer, more relevant keywords in this way practically guarantees you a higher CTR. This is because it allows you to serve the most relevant ads possible, meaning searchers are more likely to click on them.

All too often advertisers and business owners create their campaigns in a bit of a jumble, stuffing all the keywords into one or two AdWords and simply hoping for the best. Unfortunately, this won’t cut it, so get your PPC campaign in shape and make the most of this valuable e-commerce marketing channel. 

An image showing a Google results page for Google Analytics, an important tool in measuring the success of your e-commerce marketing strategies.

4. Banish shopping cart abandonment

Seeing people add items to their cart only to then bounce off your site can be discouraging. But it’s important to focus on why the customer did that. Were the shopping costs too high? Was the checkout process too long? Did your site take too long to load? Were they simply in the research phase of the buying cycle? There are a number of reasons why consumers exhibit this behaviour. By properly analysing them, you can work to reduce shopping cart abandonment rate.

Firstly, are customers able to clearly view shipping rates and delivery windows on product pages? They are not likely to appreciate being confronted with the shipping costs by the time they get to the checkout, especially if they view them as too high. They’ll simply look for a site that offers lower or free shipping costs. The figures back this up, with Statista reporting that 56% of customers abandon their cart due to unexpected shipping costs.

Then, take a look at your checkout process. Customers want to be able to get what they want as quickly as possible. If your site makes navigation tricky and a customer then has to go through several steps to create an account, they may well give up. Think about allowing all customers to checkout as a guest for a speedier process. If they end up becoming returning customers, they’ll likely create an account the next time round.

Finally, remember that when consumers are in the market for a product or service, they will want to conduct research. This means they may well add several items to their cart without necessarily having the intention of purchasing them. This is an important stage of the buying cycle and a key component of ROPO consumer behaviour. Take a look at our article on the rise of ROPO for more information.

5. Personalise your approach

Personalisation is key in the 2018 digital marketing landscape. With the sheer mass of content and options on offer to consumers, companies that personalise their approach really stand out.

By sending all your customers the same emails, you may not be getting the best results. Customers can become frustrated with content that means nothing to them, meaning they may develop the tendency to delete future emails from your business, or simply unsubscribe altogether.

If you’re unsure where to start, try examining the different behaviours that users exhibited on your site and segment them. You could look at all the people that clicked through on your email campaigns, which products people clicked on, which pages of your site they visited and so on. From this you can really personalise your approach to each of these behaviours and send out content to people that is relevant to their interaction(s) with your company. Users will recognise and appreciate this, making them more likely to interact with you.

These are known as behaviour-triggered emails, and research showed that these types of campaigns were responsible for over 75% of revenue generated through email marketing.

Our bluCommerce platform is integrated with a variety of well-known email marketing partners to allow you to fulfil your personalised email marketing goals.

6. Run loyalty and reward programmes

Customers are drawn to perks and rewards for being loyal, but they do it for more than just savings.

A study conducted last year actually showed that loyalty programme members are more likely to recommend products and services, and even pay higher prices. It also showed that these people tend to spend more over the same amount of time as people who are not part of loyalty programmes.

Having loyalty and reward programmes in place shows that you recognise customers and that you want to maintain lasting relationships with them. We, in turn, recognise the importance of this here at blubolt and it’s why one of the key features of our bluCommerce platform is improving customer retention.

7. Conduct A/B testing wisely

A/B testing is an excellent method of seeing what works and what doesn’t with your e-commerce marketing strategies across the board. It involves taking to different strategies, implementing them and then reviewing which produced the best results. It’s important to conduct regular analysis and A/B tests of this kind. They give you insights into what produces results for your company and allows you to identify areas for improvement.

A/B testing also allows you to validate your hypotheses and to support changes in your e-commerce marketing strategies, and even on your website. Implementing changes without the data to back them up could cost you time and money. Unsure exactly which tests to carry out as part of your analysis? Then take a look at this comprehensive list for ideas.

8.Clearly display shipping costs, delivery windows, expected delivery dates

This one might not seem an obvious e-commerce marketing practise, but it is.

Delivery information might seem obvious to you, but is it obvious to your customers? They expect shipping costs and possible delivery dates to be clearly displayed. Furthermore you definitely don’t want to take people by surprise when they do eventually head to the checkout and see a delivery cost that they weren’t expecting. This is a surefire way to have them bounce off your site and look elsewhere.

People want to be clear and confident on their total running cost as they’re browsing the site. A good way of doing this is by having a mini-basket function. This works by showing a confirmation to the customer every time they add something to their basket, the items they already have in their basket and how much their current total is including shipping. In fact it’s one of the features offered on our bluCommerce platform as we recognise it makes customers feel more informed and comfortable as they browse a website.

In terms of delivery windows shorter is of course better. This is particularly with so many companies offering next or even same day delivery. A pick up in store option is also attractive to consumers who want to get their hands on an item as quickly as possible and are willing to travel to your nearest physical store to do so.

An image showing a letter box on a front door to highlight the importance of clear shipping information in e-commerce marketing.

9. Make your call to action as clear as possible

We are in an age of omnipresent information and options available at our fingertips in literally milliseconds. As such, consumers are not prepared to play guessing games.

Ever landed on a website and been unsure as to what exactly they were offering? You probably bounced off it pretty quickly to continue your search. This is why you must ensure that the call to action on your website is as clear as possible. It must capture a user’s attention as soon as they land on your website, leaving them with no doubt as to who you are and what you offer. This is the information that encourages them to delve deeper rather than bounce off.

Your call to action should be made up of answers to the following question:

The answer to these questions could come in many different forms, not just text alone. Images also play a huge role in grabbing attention, as does your chosen colour palette, believe it or not. 

10. Include trust badges on your site

Trust badges are logos or “seals” that appear on your website showcasing the companies that you partner with. The most common ones are those that appear at the checkout and they can have a direct influence on conversion rate. This is in no small part due to the rise in online fraud and customers concerns about payment security.

Customers recognise these logos and are more likely to feel comfortable about spending money on your site if they see them. They should be displayed as clearly as possible and in the right places. Most obviously during checkout, but also on your delivery info pages to show the couriers that you use, for example. People that are particularly unsure about online shopping may also like to review your partners themselves for total confidence.

We have integrated household name partners into our bluCommerce platform to give customers peace of mind when using your site. These include PayPal, DPD and Collect+, among many others.

11. Create timely campaigns

Create an excel calendar of the key e-commerce retail dates in the year as your point of reference. It may be that not all of them are relevant to you. Focus on the ones that you know your customers will be participating in.

This can then guide your marketing campaigns throughout the year, ensuring that you have enough time to properly plan, execute and deliver any relevant content and promotions. A last minute scramble to put something together for the next royal wedding is the last thing you want. Give yourself the time to create timely campaigns and you’ll reap the benefits of this essential e-commerce marketing strategy.

Conclusion

Your e-commerce marketing strategies and their individual ROI’s should be reviewed regularly for optimum results. Try not to get comfortable with what you do. That could be exactly where you slip up and let the competition overtake you. Revisit your Google Analytics account to analyse and monitor the behaviour of your site users. Investigate what works and what doesn’t.

Build trust with new and returning customers by personalising their experience as far as possible. This lets them know that you’re not just churning out the same content for the sake of making a sale. It also demonstrates an element of “humanness” and avoids overusing the hard sell approach.

In short, you should be constantly optimising your e-commerce marketing strategies. Capitalise on the vast range of tools and information at your disposal and ensure that your campaigns are directly in line with your business objectives.

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