Launching an ecommerce business is a monumental event that’s often accompanied by high expectations for immediate success and exciting sales numbers.
If you’re like many other ecommerce business owners, however, you may be discovering that driving traffic to your website and converting leads to sales can be tricky. These are often overwhelming obstacles that must be overcome in order for your business to survive.
For many new online stores, marketing funds are limited. Maximizing all free or organic marketing methods is essential as a first step in any marketing campaign.
However, developing and executing a strategic plan for paid advertising can also play a significant role in attracting potential buyers to your website and getting customers for your ecommerce business.
Creating a marketing plan that’s tailored to suit your online store requires you to understand what ecommerce advertising is. You should also know the many strategies available for incorporating advertising methods into a cohesive plan that’s designed to help boost sales.
What is ecommerce advertising?
While there are various ways to reach potential customers offline, such as with TV and print ads, the most direct and cost-effective way involves digital marketing for ecommerce.
As the number of online shoppers increases, the cyber mall of ecommerce stores is growing at an astonishing rate as well.
All of these stores are vying for the attention of these online shoppers. This means that many marketing messages are getting lost in the shuffle.
You must find a way to connect with your target audience, motivate them to take a specific, desired action, and convert them into customers.
Your ecommerce marketing checklist can involve different kinds of methods for promoting your products on the internet.
Online marketing can be organic, such as using SEO techniques to improve your website’s ranking on search engine results pages. It can also be paid, such as by purchasing ad space on social media sites.
This latter option is known as advertising. Both online and offline businesses can pay for internet advertising in various ways.
One of the primary goals of ecommerce advertising is to bring targeted traffic to a website to help generate sales. However, it also has other benefits and purposes.
It can be used to build a subscriber list, develop and promote a brand’s image, spread the word about special promotions, and accomplish other goals. Identifying your goals for each online marketing campaign will help you to make tough decisions during the campaign development phase.
What to do before planning the advertising strategy for your online store
An ecommerce advertising strategy that works well for one business may produce dismal results for another. There are all kinds of reasons for varying results.
However, two of the more significant involve the demographics of the business’s target market and the website’s optimization for search engine visibility and rankings.
Before you spend time creating a well-designed ecommerce advertising strategy, it’s a good idea to focus your attention on the following steps.
Research your target market
Taking the time to understand who your target market is when developing your marketing strategy will yield dividends. After all, you need to know which platforms to use for ecommerce advertising and how to shape your messages so that they speak to your customers.
Keep in mind that understanding who your ideal customers are extends far beyond knowing these potential customers’ income levels and ages. You also need to know their goals, motivators, values, common problems, and social or political leanings.
How can you get to know this group better? You can rely on data from Google Analytics and Facebook.
In addition, your ecommerce marketing plan should include you using an A/B testing strategy after you launch your campaigns. Surveys and monitoring sales trends are a few of the other effective strategies to learn more about your customers.
Keep in mind that your target market’s passions, preferences, and other factors will evolve. You must continue researching and analyzing available data so that you can continue to appeal to them and adjust the content in your campaigns accordingly.
Optimize your ecommerce website
When you spend time, money, and energy developing and executing your advertising campaign, you need to deliver an amazing shopping experience to each customer.
After all, you want these people to turn into loyal customers who support your business with word-of-mouth advertising.
What can you do now to promote a better customer experience?
Many of your customers will visit your website on a mobile device. All aspects of your website should be functional and easy to use on all mobile devices if you want to attract more customers and increase sales.
Why not avail of the Google Mobile-Friendly Test? It’s a free, fast, and comprehensive way to determine if your ecommerce website requires work in various areas as your traffic increases.
You also need to review your store’s payment options and policies. When online shoppers make a purchase, they usually have a specific payment method that they’re planning on using.
In some cases, they may not have another option available. You must provide your customers with their preferred payment method in order to maximize sales.
Now’s the time to determine if you must make improvements in this department to help provide a better experience for people shopping on your site.
A final and critical area to review is your shopping cart process. Online businesses miss out on a tremendous amount of revenue because of customers abandoning their shopping carts.
One of the reasons for a high abandonment rate is a complicated checkout process. To combat this issue, you may want to create a one-page form and only require that customers input essential information.
Ways to advertise your ecommerce business
For many businesses, the best ecommerce advertising campaign is a comprehensive one. Rather than focusing solely on one advertising method, you should experiment with all relevant methods to determine their effectiveness for your unique business.
However, it makes sense to try out only one or two methods initially with potential customers. This enables you to more easily monitor and analyze results from each strategy.
Here are six leading ecommerce advertising outlets that you can tap into to varying degrees.
1. Display ads
Display ads have been used successfully by businesses for the last several decades, but they’ve evolved over the years. At one time, these ads canvased various pages with little or no focus on demographics.
Because Google’s analytics have become so sophisticated, advertisers can now focus the placement of their ads based on a user’s location, interests, and various other demographic data.
However, these ads continue to have a relatively low direct response rate. In fact, based on data from SmartInsights, the typical click-through rate is .05. A click-through rate is only one way to measure the effectiveness of a display ad.
Keep in mind that the majority of the people who see your ad probably won’t click on it. Nevertheless, the ad can make an impression on each person. Increasing brand awareness and memorability can yield exciting and indirect results from campaigns involving display ads.
If you choose to avail of these ads, a smart strategy is to test the waters using a small budget. Run multiple ads targeting different keywords and using different messages. This will help you to see what gives you the most bang for your buck.
2. Facebook ads
Regardless of whether you’re targeting a domestic audience or shoppers around the world, you can tap into Facebook’s billions of active monthly users through paid ads.
The number of people using social media is increasing every year, and Facebook is one of the most popular platforms. Facebook ads have a higher average conversion rate than Google ads, so this could be a great starting point for your ecommerce advertising campaign.
As is the case with all types of paid advertising, you must define what your goals are before you develop and publish your Facebook ads. Two of the more common goals are conversions and awareness.
After defining your goals, you can choose between the many types of Facebook ads available. These include photos, videos, carousels, lead forms, slideshows, retargeting, and dynamic product ads. Be sure to incorporate high-quality content in whatever ad formats you select.
After you create your ad on Facebook, you can define your target audience for the campaign to maximize the reach of your marketing dollar. Gender, age, location, job function, and other factors are available for you to define through Facebook’s ad creation platform.
The final step before publishing your Facebook ad is to establish your campaign’s budget and timeline. Your ad can run for as little as $1 per day.
3. Instagram ads
Instagram has more than a billion monthly users and continues to be among the fastest-growing platforms.
The social media network has a high rate of engagement and many niche communities. It can therefore be an effective outlet for many types of ecommerce businesses.
Facebook owns Instagram, so you can conveniently run your same Facebook ad through the Instagram advertising interface. This can be done by simply selecting this option on the Facebook ad creation platform.
Instagram also has its own benefits for ecommerce stores. For example, you can tag photos of your store’s products in images. Users just have to click on the image to make a purchase through the platform.
You can also create and post ads directly on Instagram. Paid photo ads are displayed in the feeds of the potential customers who you’re trying to attract.
Another option is a sponsored ad, which adds the benefit of a direct link on the Instagram ad to your store. You can also advertise in the Story section or with video ads, carousel ads, and Instagram TV.
High-quality images and videos are essential across all online advertising methods. However, Instagram is specifically a photo-sharing social media platform where superior image content is expected.
Your advertising images should therefore be eye-catching and well-designed to make your products stand out positively among so many other photos that users will be scrolling through.
4. Google Ads
Google stands far apart from the other search engines as a dominant leader. For this reason, any plans to use search engine advertising should include Google.
There are several ecommerce marketing solutions available with Google, and these options begin with Google Ads. This ecommerce advertising method offers a great average conversion rate with the ability to finely target your audience for each campaign.
You can generally choose between search and display ads for your campaigns. For both types of Google Ads options, you’ll define your budget and the keywords that you want to target.
Search ads are text-based ads that are placed on top of search results for the targeted words. They sit above the top-ranked organic results and have excellent visibility.
Display ads are placed in the sidebar of the Google search results. While these ads have exceptional visibility, they have a lower conversion rate than the search ads.
On the other hand, they’re usually more affordable to run than the search ads and are often a cost-effective ecommerce advertising method.
5. Google Shopping ads
Another advertising option you have with Google is through the use of Google Shopping ads.
These ads can appear in a variety of places on Google, depending on the country in which you’re based and other factors. Consumers might see your Shopping ads next to the search results in the sidebar; at the top of the search results, above the search ads; or on the Shopping tab.
They usually show individual product images mounted in a row or a grid. The product description, cost, and vendor or store are listed as well. When a search engine user clicks on the image or accompanying text, the user will be taken directly to the product page.
Your Google product ads may be placed in the same grid as some of your competitors’ ads. For this reason, this type of paid advertising is most effective if your spotlight products have key selling features.
For example, your products may be priced lower than competing products. Perhaps they instead have a special function, come with free shipping, or have other standout benefits.
6. YouTube ads
YouTube sits directly behind Facebook in a list of the most popular websites in the world. It consistently has at least a few billion visitors who log in each month. Furthermore, there are many others who watch videos without logging in.
YouTube has several advertising opportunities available for ecommerce businesses like yours. These include skippable in-stream ads, non-skippable in-stream ads, video discovery ads, and non-video ads.
The skippable and non-skippable in-stream ads are video snippets that play before or during the actual videos that the user wants to watch.
With these, you have considerable control over the target audience that may see your video. Rates are determined based on how much of the video ad is watched and if a viewer clicks on your video to visit your website.
Discovery ads are comparable to Google’s search ads. They’re displayed directly in the user’s search results in a list of videos. These ads include a thumbnail image along with three lines of text, so they have the same look as other video search results.
Non-video ads are YouTube’s version of display ads. These may be placed in the sidebar or even as an overlay on videos. They usually include the advertiser’s preferred image and text rather than a video.
Now that you have a better understanding of the leading types of paid ecommerce advertising solutions available, you can begin developing your campaign!
A smart starting point is to determine how much you want to spend over the next month or two. Then, define what your primary goals are for your campaigns.
After you ensure that your website is ready for potentially heavy traffic and have carefully researched your target audience, you’re ready to create ads.
While designing your campaigns, think about how your target audience may use each platform. This will help you to decide which available advertising solutions you should focus on initially to attract customers.
Before launching your campaigns, establish a method to capture and analyze data. You should also consider incorporating an email newsletter or promotional opt-in campaign feature. By doing so, you can take full advantage of all traffic that arrives at your website.
Keep in mind that you can spend a lot of money on ineffective ecommerce advertising campaigns that don’t bring in any new customers or sales. It’s always a good idea to start small and to scale up when you discover what works best for your business!