Running a successful e-commerce business requires developing and implementing a marketing strategy that enables you to establish a brand that customers can easily recognize, identify with, and trust. Just because you don’t have a physical store location doesn’t mean that you can skip the basics when it comes to establishing customer loyalty in your brand. Honesty, integrity, and quality matter just as much – if not more – when convincing customers to purchase a product or service sight unseen.
To foster this type of relationship with your target audience, you need to craft a marketing message that resonates. With that in mind, here are a few marketing tips that every e-commerce business should consider.
Make your marketing messages personal.
While you’ll never have the opportunity to greet the smiling faces of your e-commerce customers in person, you still need to anticipate their needs in advance. This means understanding what your customers want, when they want it, and why they’d willing to make a purchase from your business just as intimately as if you had regular conversations with them while standing around the register. In a recent survey, over 50 percent of respondents expected the marketing messages they receive from online businesses to be relevant to their individuals tastes, styles, shopping needs, and preferred price points.
Trying to determine the shopping and personal habits of a customer you’ll never meet may seem like guesswork, but there are tools at your disposal. Remarketing campaigns through avenues like Google Adwords and personalized email campaigns built around previous purchases and product interest can help you determine a customer’s activity and interest around your products. While these types of campaigns take time and energy to properly execute, they also offer the promise of a higher return on your marketing investment. The same study as mentioned previously also found 10 percent of respondents spent significantly more money with e-commerce businesses that provided personalized ads, while 30 percent spent slightly more overall.
Speak to your customers, don’t just market at them.
With the rise of content marketing, consumers now expect to be educated, entertained, and informed by the businesses they interact with. Consumers don’t want to hear your marketing pitch about why your products deserve their hard earned money. They want to read your blog, listen to your podcast, be entertained through your social media posts, subscribe to your newsletter. Content creation offers interaction and the opportunity to add a unique voice to your brand that invites participation from your target audience. If your e-commerce site, for example, sells the latest fashions, you could invite your customers to create content by posting photos that combine their own unique style with your products. If you’re an outdoor equipment retailer, invite your customers to share exciting stories about where they’ve been, what they’ve seen, and which of your products they’ve found handy during their adventures.
Create a message that highlights the importance of building a community. The more your content allows for participation among your target audience, the more you help establish your online business as a familiar brand, despite not having a physical location.
Make shopping online safe and convenient.
Nearly 20 percent of consumers choose to not shop online out of concerns about payment security. Almost 50 percent of e-commerce shoppers will abandon their shopping cart due to encountering unexpected fees – such as shipping – during the checkout process.
E-commerce businesses have the deck stacked against them in many ways brick and mortar stores don’t. Running a successful online business means finding a way to overcome these types of challenges so that when a customer clicks on your website they don’t back out over concerns regarding secure payments or the cost of shipping. It seems every few weeks news breaks regarding the theft or hack of personal consumer information from banks, businesses, and websites. Naturally, this type of news only heightens consumer concern regarding their personal information, especially when it comes to trusting a small business with their sensitive financial data.
To combat this unease, you need to craft a marketing message around the concept of credibility and trust. You can still be the little small business that could while still offering the most sophisticated data encryption and payment protection possible. Checkouts that include the use of payment processing tool that meet PCI compliance and that adhere to the industry’s best payment security practices can go a long way towards encouraging customer trust.
Your website needs to include contact information where customers can connect with a living person if necessary, and a physical address. While your business might operate on the ethereal plane of the Internet, you still need to present the appearance of being a physical business run by real people. By providing these types of details, you provide customers with the information needed to visualize a physical representation of your business. Even if this might seem like a fantasy, people don’t trust what they can’t see.
Out of sight, but not out of mind.
Don’t assume that a customer – even one entirely satisfied with his or her purchase – will automatically become a repeat customer. They’re a lot of businesses out their desperately seeking your customers’ attention, and they can become easily distracted by what they see in front of them. To keep your business at least at the edge of your customers’ periphery, you need to create a marketing strategy that deepens your existing relationships. This means you need to keep an eye on the types of offers and promotions customers take advantage of, and which ones they ignore. Provide your customers reasons to buy again – which may come in the form of special discounts, a loyalty program, or referral incentives. When you don’t have the luxury of a storefront your customers regularly drive by, your marketing strategy needs to work harder at keeping your brand relevant and constantly in mind.
Developing a successful e-commerce marketing strategy takes times. Understand your target audience, and make a continuous commitment to getting know what they like and what they respond to best. The better you know your customers, the better prepared you become to design a creative marketing strategy that enables to you offer benefits that your competition cannot.