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Best e-commerce marketing strategies to accelerate your ROI

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 21 Jul, 2021
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What are the best e-commerce marketing strategies to attract and retain high-value customers online? And which channels should retail marketers prioritize for growth?

Online retail is a cut-throat competitive landscape right now. Get it right, and your growth is through the roof, but, failing to meet your customers' high expectations can be costly. Moreover, these decisions must be made according to your business' people and financial resources. In this blog article, we'll explore the best e-commerce marketing strategies to help you prioritize your digital investments and growth-hack your business to improved performance and increased ROI results.

What's more, all these recommended strategies can be integrated and implemented using our acclaimed RACE Framework. As we explore the best e-commerce marketing strategies, we will also position your marketing activities within our ready-made marketing strategy structure. With the RACE Framework, you can be sure that all your key marketing touchpoints are aligned, and your strategies are working effectively, with no gaps.

Use the RACE Framework to identify your best e-commerce marketing strategies

Disclaimer: The best e-commerce marketing strategies for your business will look and feel different from what works for others. But, the good news is you've got access to the raw data that helps you identify and prioritize your most successful marketing activities, so you can scale them up, before wasting any more of your precious time and money on marketing that doesn't deliver results.

Our customer-focused, data-driven RACE Framework puts the tools in your hands to make the best decisions for your e-commerce business.

RACE framework lifecycle

The best e-commerce marketing strategy funnel for growth

No 2 companies' marketing plans will be the same. However, here at Smart Insights, we have recommendations to get you started towards accelerating your ROI from marketing, and that starts with the RACE Framework. The best e-commerce marketing strategies operate as a funnel, as you can see below, after planning, your first marketing activities are all about increasing your reach - eg, attracting more high-value customers onto your site.

The purpose of this blog is to outline the best e-commerce marketing strategies for online retail marketers and managers to increase their revenues, and grow their businesses. That all starts with your customers.

So, let's take a look at 2 complementary TOFU and MOFU strategies (top and middle of the funnel), integrated within the RACE Framework, that will help you start seeing results fast. One strategy is using paid, owned and earned media to increase reach. The other strategy is increasing interaction through user experience on your site. There's no point investing in driving huge volumes of traffic to your site if, once they're there, you can't generate interactions.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

Of course, all the best e-commerce marketing strategies will also have conversion and engagement tactics, these come into play in the MOFU and BOFU stages, after your customers' initial interaction. You can find out more about our full e-commerce marketing strategy and planning solutions when you visit our dedicated resource area.


Omnichannel Marketing funnel

So let's get to it - what are the best e-commerce marketing strategies today?

REACH E-commerce strategies: Paid, owned, and earned media

It can be helpful when considering your digital media options to break down your media across paid, owned, and earned. This diagram gives examples of different marketing activities you can choose to dial-up or down according to your retail company's objectives for growth.

Owned Earned Paid media for e-commerce

Increase your organic growth through strategic owned media activity

Owned marketing activities, like generating organic traffic to your blog or social profiles, are obviously very cheap, providing you have copywriting skills on the team. Dedicating more time and resource to your owned media can quickly boost your reach. But so, too, can longer-term strategic keyword research and implementation, content marketing planning and optimization, and aligning your brand positioning with your persona's behavior and needs.

Ultimately, businesses need to consider reach in terms of volume and also quality, hence filling the funnel for activities after the initial 'reach'. Free tools such as the Google Adwords planner can add value to your owned media planning as well as paid.

Best e-commerce marketing keywords

Moreover, unliked earned organic media, when you own the media yourself, you can control exactly what's being said about your brand, and to who. However, it is getting harder to stand out from organic credentials alone in today's cluttered digital landscape.

Why invest in paid media for e-commerce?

Unfortunately, the days of easy organic reach are long gone. Competition to get onto the first page of SERPs is fierce. Organic visibility is reduced even further by Google snippets and ads. Social media analytics company Locowise has reported unprecedented low levels of organic reach on the largest social media network too. Across the Facebook brand accounts it monitored, typical reach figures were:

  • 6% average organic reach versus page likes or followers
  • 27% average paid reach versus page likes or followers

So, paid media may help you quickly reach and attract new, high-value customers. Paid media also offers excellent value for money when retargeting (eg targeted messaging prospective customers who have already interacted with your site/social media once but didn't convert).

What is earned media?

Earned media activities like influencer outreach and public relations can help drive awareness at a relatively low cost compared to advertising. The bonus of earned media is that, when done right, this marketing activity builds social value and trust.

Earned media today can include but is not limited to: word of mouth, viral and social media marketing, conversations in social networks, blogs, and other communities.

Identify and prioritize the best e-commerce marketing strategies for you and your business by joining Smart Insights as a Business Member for instant access to marketing templates and tools proven to drive business growth.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

ACT E-commerce strategies:

What makes a good e-commerce landing page?

A landing page is the entrance page to a site where a visitor arrives when they click on an ad or other form of link from a referring site or an offline campaign. It can be a home page but is often a page deeper within the site with the messaging focused on an offer featured in an ad or another site.

For e-commerce marketers, you will often find high-intent customers entering your site on product pages, via long-tail searches for example. When visitors arrive deep on the site, it’s important that your landing pages still communicate your key messages for new visitors which would typically be answered on a home page, i.e.

  • Who we are?
  • How can we help you?
  • Where? (If relevant)
  • What makes us different?

Strategize your campaign landing pages to boost interaction and conversion

This type of campaign landing page is often what companies that use their website for lead generation refer to when they discuss landing pages.

Often, digital marketers don’t have an existing web page that satisfies the unique requirements of a marketing campaign. For example, they may be targeting an audience segment for which additional content and different calls to action are required.

In this case, as a marketer, you must make the call to either direct them to the 'best-fit' landing page, or design new campaign conversion-focused content. If you're looking for fast growth, it's worth delving into your campaign reach and interaction stats to decipher which stage of the funnel will help convert the most traffic.

The content of your page is not the only way to attract new customers. Calvin Klein offers a 10% discount to visitors via an exit-intent popup.

E-commerce marketing strategy popup

Understand your customers' website journeys

Customer interaction on your site is key to securing more business for your e-commerce company. While analyzing customer behavior on Google Analytics is 'free', the time spent on this platform can quickly add up and, without specific research aims, it can be difficult to pull together any practical findings.

Forward and reverse path analysis is a great technique that is particularly useful for e-commerce style sites due to the typical product-focused structure. With forward and reverse path techniques, a confident mid-senior level marketer can pull out practical insights and actions within an hour.

Our strategic marketing platform unlocks step-by-step analysis training for marketers of all levels to learn new skills on Google Analytics and more.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

What is forward path analysis?

A forward path analysis considers how people move forward through a site from key landing pages. This will depend on:

  • Visual prominence of ‘calls-to-action’
  • Value to users and fit with their ‘top tasks’ indicated by ‘scent trails’
What is reverse path analysis?

A reverse path analysis works backwards from a page to determine previous pages from which people prompted a visit to the page. Reverses path analysis is of most value when working back from a key outcome page such as a lead generation form or checkout page to see which pages refer the most visits.

E-commerce marketing strategies analysis

Unlock the best e-commerce marketing strategies to convert and engage more customers

Smart Insights Business Members have access to a wealth of best-practice advice, real-life case studies, plus tools, templates, and training to upskill themselves and their marketing team. Find out more about how your e-commerce business can benefit from membership. Get started today.

Is your E-commerce or Retail business competing online?

With so much competition, you need to stand out. Use the RACE Growth Process to win more customers

Get started now

Author's avatar

By Gabrielle Wright

Gabrielle Wright is the Smart Insights blog editor, managing the company's SEO and social media strategies. With specialisms in marketing for the pharmaceutical/healthcare industry, financial services, manufacturing, IT/high tech, brands and e-commerce, Gabrielle can generally be found in her second-floor Bingley terrace home office, with a cup of tea, reading and writing about marketing theory and its practical application in the global economy! You can connect with Gabrielle on LinkedIn.

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