12 ecommerce marketing strategies that work

Today, we’ll show you 12 e-commerce marketing strategies that work! These tips and methods were collated by Medium Marketing experts and crafted through years of experience. There are a lot of ecommerce marketing strategies out there in the wild, but they are not all equal. Some work whilst many others become ineffective for various reasons, such as being outdated and not in-line with current marketing technologies or webmaster guidelines. That’s why we’ve chosen this golden dozen to help you optimise your ecommerce marketing strategies.

What is ecommerce marketing?

First things first. Let’s talk about the basics of ecommerce marketing. Basically, ecommerce marketing is the use of promotional techniques to drive traffic into your online store. It is also about converting that traffic into paying customers. Finally, it’s about retaining those customers after their initial purchase and making them want to come back for more.

For those who already have a bit of an idea on what ecommerce marketing is, they might assume it’s simply a marketing method of directing people to your website. However, you also need to upgrade the entire online shopping experience on your ecommerce site so that customers will want to purchase from you again and again.

A great example of a technique used in ecommerce marketing is social selling. This is the process of cultivating relationships with customers as part of the sales process. This commonly occurs in social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, among many other platforms.

If you have a brick & mortar store, social selling can take place offline or in-person as well. Think of the sales associates lined up at Macy’s who try to give you a concierge-style service or customer service reps who try to make things easy for you to make returns, refunds, and maybe even give you free discounts. You want to translate that same type of experience in your ecommerce site, as well as your apps on mobile devices.

However you choose to implement ecommerce marketing, your main goal is to present a cohesive and seamless digital experience for your users, regardless of how they found your website or where they complete their purchase.

ecommerce marketing

1. Optimise your product pages

Your individual product pages–not just the main page for your online shop–should be optimised. After all, these pages are where your products live and where your site visitors and potential customers will spend most of their time deciding whether they should click the buy/purchase button or not.

Here are some of the ways to improve your product pages:

Make sure you’re not using default URLs automatically created by your website when you publish a new product page. Use SEO-friendly URLs instead that contain the primary keywords.
Write title tags that are SEO-friendly and that will entice consumers who will see these title tags in the SERPs.
Write succinct but compelling meta descriptions that contain your important keywords.
Remember to use keywords in H1 tags for both website visitors and search engines.
Write original and unique product descriptions. Get creative, be witty, and think poetic rather than prosaic (leave the prose for the technical product details).
Offer similar product suggestions. Websites typically have widgets or plugins that insert an auto-generated gallery at the bottom of the product page that’s clearly visible but not distracting or cluttered.
ecommerce marketing Product Pages
Use high-quality product images with proper alt tags.
Avoid duplicate content. When you have hundreds of products to sell, it can seem daunting to stay creative and original with your product descriptions, but it’s important to not create clones. Customers will see the laziness and could change their view of your professionalism as a business.
Include product reviews or testimonials. Ratings and reviews are probably the most influential aspects in customer decisions.
Ensure pages load quickly. Use free programs like PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix.
Use structured data to capture rich snippets.
Optimise product pages for smartphones and tablets.

2. Improve your website’s SEO

If you’re reading this, we’ll bet that you already have a basic idea of what SEO means and what it entails–and boy, does it entail a lot!

If you’re not too familiar with SEO or don’t know where to start, no worries! We made a short SEO checklist to get you started.

Check the Medium Marketing blog for more SEO knowledge and advanced techniques:
Make sure that all important pages are indexed by Google.
Build a logical website structure that’s three clicks deep.
Improve page load speeds.
Conduct keyword research and align content with search intent.
Remove or rewrite duplicate content.
Implement structured data.
Ensure all pages are mobile-friendly.
Fix or remove broken links.
Write alt text for all images.
Ecommerce SEO

3. Partner with influencers

Influencer marketing has become one of the most powerful ecommerce marketing strategies over the past decade, especially as the social media boom continues to expand. Influencer marketing enables you to tap into a specific audience through someone with exceptionally strong bonds of trust in a community, industry or market segment.

Influencer marketing is especially potent when introducing new products. You don’t even need a Kardashian, Jenner or any other superstar to market your ecommerce site. There are influencers in just about every industry, from travel to beauty to cars. 

Although the top celebrities have enormous audiences, the more “Instagram famous” influencers have relatively smaller but more targeted groups of followers.

Rather than reaching out to influencers in their DMs (direct messages) or their agent’s email, a better way is to use a platform like Terakeet’s Chorus or Perlu, which can help you find influencers in your niche and then partner with them to create powerful marketing campaigns that generate significant exposure.

However, don’t think of Influencers as models or new money who take on any revenue opportunity. They got to the top because they themselves are very good at marketing. More importantly, influencers have their finger on the pulse of what their audiences like and respond to. So, you should use their expertise in the planning process as well as during campaign execution.

Influencer marketing

4. Improve your social media presence

It’s important for any ecommerce business to have a presence in most, if not all, social media platforms. These include Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, and many more.

Don’t forget about the popular blog communities and forums as well like WordPress (a big advantage if your website is already hosted on WP), Tumblr (a younger and more trendy demographic than who you might find on WordPress) and Reddit.

However, don’t think you can just set up shop and post every once in a while, or use multi-publishing platforms to generate or replicate social media posts. Social media audiences are the most savvy people in the world. They can easily spot “corporate” marketing and low-effort promotions from a mile away.

Instead, genuinely engage with your audience, get to know them, and create content they care about. Building a social media community organically will pay off big time whenever you promote a product or service.

Improve your social media presence

5. Incorporate Multimedia

Product photos are standard for any ecommerce site, but they are just the basics. Embed well-produced videos into your website. Instead of a static image banner at the top of your page, why not a video or GIF? Just remember to optimise the size of your videos and other multimedia without sacrificing image quality. That way they won’t affect page load speed.

6. Create how-to and introduction videos for your products

In line with the previous strategy, create videos that introduce your new products, similar to how Apple, Samsung and other leading companies promote their latest products each year. Think of it as commercials for your ecommerce products or services.

If your product is unique or has a specific way of usage, create high-quality and easy-to-follow instructional videos on how to use it. You can then post this video on your YouTube channel and embed it in a help center article or blog on your site.

6. Create how-to and introduction videos for your products

In line with the previous strategy, create videos that introduce your new products, similar to how Apple, Samsung and other leading companies promote their latest products each year. Think of it as commercials for your ecommerce products or services.

If your product is unique or has a specific way of usage, create high-quality and easy-to-follow instructional videos on how to use it. You can then post this video on your YouTube channel and embed it in a help center article or blog on your site.

7. Create a loyalty program and offer incentives

This is one of the most effective ways of creating returning customers. It’s a cycle of retail life, really. You reward your loyal customers and in return they keep coming back.

One way to reward returning customers and high spenders is by creating a customer loyalty program. There are numerous ways both you and your customers can benefit from a loyalty program. First of all, they give customers an incentive to make a purchase and make referrals and keep your brand at the forefront of their mind through automated reminders.

You also have complete control since you can choose how to reward customers, how frequently, and for what actions. For example, you could implement a point-based program, which has its own point-based currency that can be redeemed for discounts, free shipping or free gifts.

For instance, popular outdoor brand REI has an awesome customer loyalty program. Members pay a very affordable one-time fee to join and they receive access to exclusive online and in-store sales and events. They also receive coupon codes and earn back a portion of what they spend over the course of a year in store dividends.

loyalty program

8. Run PPC campaigns

This is one of the earliest forms of paid marketing and it still lives on today. In fact, it’s still as effective as when it first became popularised. In fact, Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is the main model of online advertising for both large and small businesses. Why? Because It’s backed by data, easy to scale, and offers a good return on investment.

PPC ads target online ad space in search engines, social media platforms, and/or websites. PPC campaigns work well for ecommerce brands because they target ready-to-buy shoppers and can lead to higher sales than organic marketing.

Currently, the two most popular platforms to run PPC ads on are Google (the one that started it all) and social media giant Facebook. Which one to choose?

Google shopping ads are popular for ecommerce brands. For example, when you search for “boy’s sneakers,” you’ll notice an ad that shows detailed information about various products related to your search.

Facebook ads run on Facebook and Instagram. You can also target specific demographics and leverage a variety of ad formats to promote your products.

Run PPC campaigns

9. Integrate Facebook and Instagram shops

Don’t just sell on your main website, leverage Facebook and Instagram shops. First of all, you must have a dedicated business page on Facebook in order to add products in your Instagram page. It’s annoying, but it’s the price we pay when Facebook bought Instagram. But having your products in both platforms is actually a good thing–a two-for-one if you will.

Even if your intent is to have customers come into your main online store rather than buy directly from your Facebook and Instagram shops, it won’t hurt to have your products in those social media giants simply to introduce them to a wider audience. In fact, some Instagram product posts direct users to a main ecommerce site rather than sell directly on the platform.

10. Improve the navigability and overall design of your online shop

In this visual-centered age, aesthetics and presentation is everything. So is an easily navigable and user-friendly user interface (UI). That’s why you should inspect and evaluate your ecommerce site, not just the shop page, to see what could be improved design-wise and in terms of navigation. You want to reduce the steps between viewing your products and checking out in the shopping cart.

11. Integrate a live chat to help your store visitors

Having a live chat or even an AI-powered chatbot is almost standard practice for many ecommerce sites at this point. If you have the budget to hire or outsource to a team of live customer representatives, then you should always choose that over chatbots. You want to be as helpful as possible to site visitors and customers. This is part of the social selling method we talked about earlier.

12. Implement content marketing

Every business, no matter the side or industry, should have a blog. In fact, any company, organization, brand or institution without a blog just seems wrong. Having content, particularly in the form of a blog, is one of the most essential aspects of SEO. Why? Because you can only cram a limited number of targeted keywords in your website’s copywriting (non-editorial text present on non-blog pages).

To make up for it, you need a well-maintained and regularly published blog. That’s how many businesses compete for rankings in Google’s first few results pages. All it takes is a few or even just a single blog post to rank high to dramatically increase your traffic. However, make sure you convert that traffic into sales or at least divert them to your product pages. You can do this by placing Call-To-Action (CTA) elements in your blog posts.