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Optimize your e-commerce digital marketing strategy with the RACE Framework and 3 questions

Author's avatar By Gabrielle Wright 29 Apr, 2021
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When was the last time you adapted your e-commerce digital marketing strategy? Is it a static, unchanged marketing plan, or an agile, practical marketing funnel?

Smart Insights offers invaluable e-commerce digital marketing strategy solutions for online businesses of all shapes and sizes. It's no exaggeration that we have transformed members' businesses with our strategy and planning solutions. One of our most popular resources is the RACE Framework, a marketing funnel centered around customer lifecycles.

Applicable to just about every marketing industry (across B2B, B2C, and D2C), the RACE Framework focuses on your customers' experiences of your marketing activities. Naturally, this focus is vital for those selling online, which is why we recommend the RACE Framework in particular for e-commerce digital marketing strategy planning.

The RACE Framework is popular with so many members because it offers a streamlined, data-driven approach to marketing strategy planning which centers all around the customer journey. RACE funnel users find tracking and adapting their marketing strategies and tactics simple, and are therefore minded to check-in more regularly (for example through our bespoke dashboard) rather than putting it off until the end of a campaign.

Omnichannel Marketing funnel

As you can see, our RACE Framework splits up the customer journey into five stages: plan, reach, act, convert, and engage. We have isolated these five stages since your marketing activities will play a different role in each stage. An example of RACE marketing activities at each stage within an e-commerce digital marketing strategy could be: persona research, targeted Instagram advertising, 10% discount on-site popup, personalized email sequence based on behaviour, and a text encouraging a post-purchase review.

In this blog, I'll be looking further into some frequently under-optimized activities within the RACE framework. Plus, you'll find our recommended marketing tools and templates to boost your e-commerce digital marketing strategy performance, with the aid of three questions.

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

Does your e-commerce digital marketing strategy prioritize growth?

It makes sense that you would prioritize investment that adds the most value to your marketing strategy. Although growth looks different for different companies through the startup process, for SMEs and enterprises, it's likely that your e-commerce digital marketing strategy is aiming for business growth of some form. So, how do you measure and prioritize your 'heavy lifters'?

Tracking channel performance

The matrix below is an example from the module on selecting media investments in our Campaign Planning Learning Path. Using our recommended metrics, you will soon put together a picture of your channel performance, and select well-performing channels to scale up, alongside weaker channels to fix or scale down.

When managing marketing channels, the things you need to pay attention to for ROI are the number of qualified leads and sales each channel is creating, and the human and financial resources required to achieve these results. By this measure, both the pricey top-performing and the low-cost mid-performing channels are winners for growth, when applied effectively.

If you're looking for rapid growth, chances are the bottom right-hand side is looking favorable to you right now, which is a great short-term strategy. But don't underestimate the benefits of slow, steady investment in all aspects of the marketing mix to maintain your market position.

e-commere digital marketing channels

Tracking market growth share performance

The BCG matrix is a popular tool for business strategists around the world. Now, while keen marketing theorists will gladly cite that the first P of marketing is 'product' (or service), it can sometimes become easy for digital marketers to get fixated on particular aspects of, for example, your promotion, and not take a step back to consider your broader marketing strategy.

To generate growth for their e-commerce business, marketing leaders must throw their weight behind their company's 'stars' as well as their 'cows'. They need to critically research and develop their 'questions' to nurture them into stars. And, savvy product marketers know they must strip out the 'dogs' from their portfolio to redistribute their investments for growth.

e-commerce digital marketing strategy models

We've got marketing models and templates to help you create a winning marketing strategy to achieve your business objectives. Strategic prioritization is hard, especially when looking to invest to accelerate your ROI. That's why our step-by-step marketing solutions combine best-practice recommendations with real-life case studies to empower you to make the best decisions for your company.

E-commerce marketing mix

The 7Ps of marketing consist of product, promotion, price, place, people, process, and physical evidence. Of course, in the case of your e-commerce digital marketing strategy, your 'place' is your website - your digital storefront!

Within each of these 7 pillars, there are opportunities for growth for your company. That's why we recommend getting stuck into our marketing resources to help you identify and prioritize your 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month growth strategies.

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

Does your e-commerce digital marketing strategy engage your customers after their first purchase?

Although 'engage' is the final step in our RACE framework, it is certainly not one to be overlooked when planning your e-commerce digital marketing strategy. In fact, research shows that acquiring a customer can cost five times more than retaining a current one. By this maths, increasing your customer retention by 5% could increase your profits from 25%-95%! It's a no-brainer. Here are some case studies in customer retention with lessons to be learned for any budding e-commerce marketer looking to increase customer engagement.

Loyalty rewards

Hotels.com has an effective retention program. Their rewards program has various levels including the prestigious Gold reward level which offers discounts and ‘secret prices’ as well as flash sales, on top of the existing program.

The program allows customers to collect one free hotel night (average value is based on orders) when they purchase ten nights via hotels. com. It is favored over other hotel loyalty programs, such as Starwood Preferred Guest, as customers realize they will not stay often enough to get the benefits. The same is true for Avios, as it takes significant spending to get discounted and free flights. But after every ten hotel stays a hotel room is all yours with hotels.com.

E-commerce digital marketing strategy loyalty

Research by Bond has found that the average consumer belongs to 14.8 loyalty programs but is only actively using 6.7 of them. Just 15% of loyalty program members interact with them on a daily basis (PDI), but 84% have made at least one redemption from the program, such as a coupon code (Bond)

Customer retention is important. Encouraging customers to purchase again is far easier, quicker, and cheaper than attracting new customers. A focus on quality service always helps, as shown by IKEA keeping customers up to date with their delivery, ensuring they give a customer experience to remember.

Discounts and recommendations

Companies such as Uber Eats have also developed an extensive discounting and recommendation scheme that sees their customers coming back for more - boosting sales of food (and thereby making money for Uber Eats).

Users are regularly emailed with personalized deals relating to their previous purchases and are motivated to recommend friends to sign up to use Uber Eats, with discounting available for successful signups. Users can also stack up reward points to receive money off or special deals at their favorite eateries.

E-commerce digital marketing strategy

Introducing some form of loyalty or discounting system is a great way of stimulating sales and offering great content for emails.  The key is not to undersell your product too much or too often as it can hurt your bottom line and could have an impact on brand perception.

As we know, getting repeat customers is easier than new customers, and the easiest way of doing this is through emails. Try to develop an offer and roll it out to an audience segment comprised of first-time buyers. Email subjects like "John, here's a deal to say thanks" can help increase open rates and make the customer feel valued - all the while motivating a repeat sale.

We've got marketing training to support you to build an agile, data-driven marketing strategy integrated across all elements of the RACE Framework of plan, reach, act, convert, and engage. With our bite-sized, actionable marketing solutions, you and your team will have everything you need to rapidly plan, manage, and optimize your e-commerce digital marketing strategy to win more customers.

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

How are you supporting continuous marketing skills development on the job?

Digital marketing excellence moves so quickly. If you don't keep up to date with the latest developments, you may find yourself slowly losing more time, energy, and money to slow, out-of-date marketing processes, based on guesswork. From this position, inspiring change is harder than ever. That's why our actionable quick wins, tried and tested templates, and bite-sized marketing training are so popular with busy marketers looking to rapidly optimize their strategy and improve their skills, to drive results.

Not sure how to get started? Our capability grader walks you through the process of grading your digital marketing skills and capabilities. You will receive an overall score and a set of recommended training to help you upskill.

If you're an e-commerce marketing manager, you should encourage your whole team to take this grader, since this will help inform your e-commerce digital marketing strategy.

E-commerce digital marketing strategy and planning

Join thousands of Business Members who are putting their marketing strategies into action with our strategic marketing training. What's more, all our marketing resources are integrated across the RACE Framework, so you can be confident that your marketing strategy unifies all your marketing activities and drives the results you need to achieve your company's vision. 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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