5 proven eCommerce marketing strategies to increase sales in 2018
When it comes to eCommerce marketing strategies, they’re a dime a dozen. Just googling “eCommerce marketing” brings up over 160 million results.
But the thing is, starting an eCommerce business is easy. Growing one is hard.
So how do you figure out which marketing strategy is worth pursuing, and which are just distractions?
As eCommerce marketers with years of experience growing online stores, we've figured out what works (and what doesn't) so you don't have to.
In this guide, we'll cover the following:
- How to do keyword research & SEO that works
- How to rank a "Buyer's Guide" on page 1 of Google
- How to find & engage influencers
- How to find niche sites that will review your product
- How to run a successful Facebook ad campaign
Let's dive in!
1. Perform keyword research & SEO
Did you know that search engine traffic converts almost twice as well as social media traffic? (Source)
This is because people who are searching for something on Google have a higher buyer's intent - they're on Google to solve a specific problem.
Plus, ranking on search engines means guaranteed traffic month after month. Once you rank, you don't have to continue to put more time and energy into that channel to maintain your traffic.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) starts with proper keyword research. Without it, you won't know how best to optimize your pages to show up in search.
Here's how to find the best keywords for your product pages in less than 5 minutes using a tool called Ahrefs:
1. First, find your top competitors on Google by searching a term you think you'd like to rank for.
2. Once you've found 3-5 competitors, plug your site into Ahref's site explorer and click "Content Gap."
3. Plug in all your competitor's URLs and click "Show Keywords."
4. Finally, scroll through the keywords and save any that look promising. Aim for at least 50 keywords, but more won't hurt.
To save the keywords, right click and "Open in a new tab." In the top right corner, click the "Add to list" button, then create a list. Save all your keywords to this list.
To view the list you created, go to Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer tab and scroll down.
Once you've done your keyword research, it's time to optimize your pages. To learn how to do that, read our full guide to on-page SEO.
Pro tip: Choose one main keyword for each page on your site - from your product pages to your category pages and even blog posts. This will prevent keyword cannibalization (pages competing with one another to rank).
2. Rank "buyer's guides" on page 1 of Google
Have you ever done a search on Google for "best [insert product here]"?
Under the advertisements, the results are usually articles called "buyer's guides" that help you choose the best product based on reviews, comparisons, price, your specific needs, and more.
They're hugely popular. When done well, buyer's guides build trust and push visitors down the marketing funnel to buy.
Unfortunately, they can be extremely competitive and require a lot of backlinks in order to rank. Fortunately, there's a way around this:
Crowd sourced buyer's guides are like expert roundups, where you find influencers in your niche with large audiences and ask them to contribute to the article.
This is a win-win-win-win;
- You get the best product recommendations right from the experts and it cuts down on how much writing you have to do.
- The experts get publicity and a back link to their site(s).
- You get promotion and links to your article from the experts.
- Your customers get quality information and that builds trust in your brand.
I'll discuss how to find influencers in the next section on influencer marketing. For now, I have another bit of advice...
Write "best X for Y" posts.
For example, "best mouse for gaming" or "best A/C for small apartments." The more specific you can get, the better (as long as that key phrase gets search traffic - be sure to check on Ahrefs).
This is because hyper-specific articles will rank more easily for their exact search phrases than a generic "best product" article. Plus, you speak directly to a specific audience, so the chance they'll buy increases.
Before you move on, here are some great examples of buying guides:
3. Launch a successful influencer marketing campaign
Influencer marketing means finding influential people in your niche, building a relationship with them, and getting them to promote your brand and link to your website.
First, find your influencers.
Head over to Google and search "best [niche] blogs." Check out the top 20-30 results, and save anyone that looks promising.
Start a Google spreadsheet with their URL, the owner's first name, and their email address. You can find it on their contact page, about page, or on their Facebook details. Use a tool like Hunter.io to speed up this process.
Other ways to find influencers include...
- Influencer databases like Influence.co
- On social media (just do a search with keywords like "fitness," "cooking," etc.)
- Through your network (you'd be surprised at who you know)
Once you've found the influencers, connect with them.
Follow their accounts, share and comment on their statuses and blog posts, and be friendly towards them. After they know your face a bit, send them an email to see if they'd like to work with you.
Pro tip: You can reach out to these people to get quotes or tips to add to your expert roundup buying guides.
To learn more about influencer marketing, check out Sumo's guide.
4. Start a successful affiliate program
Affiliate marketing is one of the best ways to scale your online store - you can have an army of people promoting your products for you!
It works like this: Bloggers and social media influencers promote your product using a special link or coupon code. Any time someone buys your product from their link/code, you pay the influencer a commission on that sale.
First, you need to set up an affiliate tracking system.
Some affiliate networks are: Share-a-Sale, Tapgerine, Commission Junction, AffiliatePrograms.com, and LinkShare.
Just choose one you like (some of them only work with certain product categories) and set up an account.
Another option is to use a free affiliate app on Shopify, or a low-cost alternative like Kickbooster. That way you can set up your own program and not have to worry about going through a third party.
Next, find your affiliates.
A good place to start is that list of influencers you created in the last section. But if you exhaust that list, another idea is to search for more buyer's guides. Just go to Google and search "best [insert your product here]."
Scout the results and look to see if the writers have any kind of affiliate disclaimer (99% of them will have it somewhere, even if it's not obvious), like this:
If they have it, reach out and see if they'd like to promote your product in their buyer's guide. Easy peasy!
If you want to learn more, check out this guide to setting up an eCommerce affiliate marketing program.
5. Run Facebook ads that really work
The last eCommerce marketing strategy on this list is one of the most common: Facebook advertising.
A lot of people waste loads of money on Facebook ads because they don't understand how to target the right audience or create the best offer and ad copy.
Luckily, there are tons of resources to help you learn.
The best resource is The Beginner's Guide to Facebook Advertising, an eBook I wrote for Oberlo that walks you through the entire process step-by-step.
There are a lot of eCommerce marketing strategies that work. But only a few are truly effective. While this guide isn't an exhaustive list, it's an excellent starting point for a new or experienced store owner.
Next, drop a comment with your favorite marketing tactics, then check out some of these other eCommerce marketing resources:
- How-to guides