Data show that 58.4% of today’s working-age internet users buy something online every week. If you’ve started an eCommerce business, that should be music to your ears. It means there’s a ready market for your products. 

However, to make the most out of this opportunity, you must first come up with an eCommerce marketing strategy. A marketing strategy helps you enhance brand awareness, drive steady traffic to your eCommerce site, and stimulate more regular and lucrative orders. 

In this guide, we’ll share a step-by-step guide on how to build an effective eCommerce marketing strategy. We did comprehensive research and compiled an actionable guide that will give your online retail business the impetus to thrive. Let’s get straight into it.

1. Outline your Goals

Doing eCommerce marketing without SMART goals is akin to taking a shot in the dark. You’ll waste your resources barking up the wrong tree, and your business won’t thrive. So, before anything else, stipulate your eCommerce marketing goals. Here are some of the marketing goals that you might choose to focus on:

  • Increase website traffic
  • Boost referral traffic
  • Improve brand awareness
  • Increase the number of repeat buyers
  • Increase overall revenue

You should also decide on the key performance indicator (KPI) for each goal. What will success look like once you implement your eCommerce marketing strategy? You’ll need the KPIs so you can measure performance and determine if your tactics are working. 

2. Research Your Target Audience

Next, identify your target market and create buyer personas. Conduct in-depth audience research and determine who is your archetypal customer based on the products you offer. 

If you already have a following on social media or a solid email list, the best way to get to know your ideal customer better would be through a survey. Alternatively, if you’re just getting started, then define who you’d want your ideal customer to be. Also, look at businesses that offer similar products and who they cater to. Find details about the customers they sell to and identify the following:

  • Average age
  • Location
  • Buying behavior
  • Average income
  • Social media preferences
  • Interests

Armed with these datasets, build your customer personas. Well-researched customer personas help you run efficient campaigns without wasting money on low-converting, unqualified prospects. 

3. Research Competitors

We already mentioned researching your competitors when identifying your target market. In this step, your research should transcend the customers they target. Instead, it should be strategic research to zero in on what your competitors do. 

  • What makes their product or service unique?
  • What are the price points? (you’ll need this information in the next step)

More in-depth research should hone in on more aspects of your competitors’ business, such as: 

  • Checkout and shipping options
  • Social media engagement and strategy
  • Website design and features
  • Content marketing strategy
  • Position in search results
  • Promotions and offers
  • Analysis of customer reviews

A competitive analysis allows you to better understand your market and where you fit in. It helps pinpoint the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, so you can identify opportunities to gain an edge. 

4. Determine Pricing and Positioning

The results of competitor analysis will help you define your value proposition. In other words, since you already know what competitors offer, crafting a statement or highlighting a unique selling proposition that sets your brand apart from the crowd is the next step.  

Moreover, with the data, you should determine the correct pricing for your products. Compare what your competitors charge vis-a-vis the features they offer. Do you provide a unique feature that warrants you to charge slightly higher than the competitors? 

If yes, then you could charge slightly higher than a competitor. However, ensure the price is within what your customers can afford, keeping in mind 47% of shoppers choose a retailer because of price or value

5. Prioritize Methods and Tactics

By now, you have everything you need to start marketing your eCommerce brand. You know your goals, ideal customer, value proposition, pricing, and you have studied competitors to find the perfect opportunity for your business. What’s lacking is a marketing tactic that can bring all these together and help you achieve your goals. 

Since you’re an eCommerce brand, every marketing method and tactic will revolve around your website. 37% of your buyers will visit your website prior to the moment of purchase. For this reason, you need first to ensure your eCommerce website is optimized to give buyers a great first impression.

Test the website layout and placement of conversion elements, such as CTAs, and make sure they are customized to deliver an excellent user experience. Most importantly, ensure the checkout process is a cinch, making buyers naturally inclined to complete a transaction.

Once your website is set, decide the best marketing tactic to bring traffic to your online store. Some of the methods to consider include the following:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Content marketing
  • Paid ads and Pay-per-click advertising (PPC for eCommerce)
  • social media marketing

You may have to adopt a multi-channel marketing strategy to maximize your marketing efforts. Create high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. Most importantly, ensure the message is consistent across channels to enhance customer trust and loyalty.  

Make sure you also have an email marketing strategy in place. You’ll want to encourage new site visitors to sign up for your email marketing so you can send them information about your brand and sell your products.

6. Measure Performance and Iterate Processes

No one gets it right on the first attempt. Once you have implemented your marketing strategy, continue to measure performance to understand what is working. Determine what needs improvement and pinpoint where there’s an opportunity for further growth. If an approach yields desired results, don’t hesitate to ramp up the budget and scale up. 

Remember that technology, marketing practices, and customer behaviors change frequently. In addition, your company will run into headwinds in the form of inflation and recession. Don’t stop refining your strategies to adapt to changes. By staying agile, you’ll continue to optimize your marketing performance.