E-commerce strategies 3: Marketing

Fatih-Kağan Taşkoparan

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In parts 1 and 2 of this series, you learned about the importance of the business model strategy and the brand strategy for e-commerce. Part 3 of our mini-series on e-commerce strategies is about your company's marketing strategy.

The marketing strategy is the third pillar of your e-commerce strategy. You have created a stable basis with the business model and defined what needs to be communicated to whom with the brand strategy. Now you need to get this message across to your customers via the appropriate channels.

The key questions you need to answer here are:

  • How do you want to attract customers?
  • If you sell a product or service, how do you make sure that the people who need it know about your business?
  • How can they find you via Google?
  • What tools do you use to reach them?

You may have the most sophisticated business model, the most coherent Branding strategy and have the most beautiful e-commerce store - if nobody knows about it, it won't generate any sales or business success. Even a beautiful website with fantastic usability doesn't attract customers just because it exists - they have to know about it somehow.

Your marketing strategy defines how you reach your customers. These channels or strategies are primarily relevant:

  1. Search-Engine-Optimization
  2. Social media marketing
  3. Paid advertising
  4. E-mail marketing
  5. Content marketing
  6. Influencer marketing

Strategy No. 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

A comprehensive SEO strategy is a must for every e-commerce company. Because if you want your customers to find you online, you need to make sure that search engines understand what you offer. Your website needs to be optimized for people first and foremost, of course, but also for search engines.

SEO is a very complex topic that is constantly evolving. But there are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. In any case, make sure you take the time to implement it properly - or hire professionals to keep an eye on your SEO strategy and constantly modernize it.

Strategy no. 2: Social media marketing (SMM)

Social media is one of the most effective ways to market your products and services - and not just in B2C. More than 80 percent of B2B marketers use social advertising. This means that social media marketing is now the second most important strategy in e-commerce after SEO.

Social media can therefore be a hugely effective tool for your marketing efforts - if you approach it correctly. Here are three tips to help you get started:

  1. Create high-quality content
    There's more than enough advertising on the web. So create content that is useful in some way - whether it is worth knowing, funny, helpful, witty or otherwise "beneficial". If you deliver something that people like to share, you've won.
  2. Interact with your followers
    Don't just post updates and expect everyone to jump on them. Spend time engaging with your community and responding to comments about your brand. This will make your target groups and prospects feel heard and valued.
  3. Place targeted advertising
    Targeted advertising on social media can be a good way to reach more of the "right" people. This is where the target group analysis from the Creation of the brand strategy.

Strategy no. 3: Paid advertising

Paid advertising is a great way to introduce your products and services to potential customers. And with the right approach, it can be very effective. But without precise planning and sound expertise, it can also be a big waste of time and money. It's important to carefully examine which channels make sense to invest in and to cap budgets so that pay-per-click ad campaigns on Google, for example, don't suddenly get out of hand.

You can place paid advertising in various ways:

  • Display ads appear on websites and search engine results pages (SERPs). The largest platforms in this area are Google, Facebook, Twitter and Bing.
  • Native Ads mimic the appearance of the media format in which they appear, e.g. an ad that looks like a social media post or a magazine article. The most commonly used platforms here are Instagram and TikTok.
  • Want ads are triggered by keywords that are related to online search queries. Google is by far the biggest player here, as its AdWords program accounts for the vast majority of search ads.
  • Video ads are displayed before online video content is played, most frequently on YouTube. They are also often shown during the videos, just like a commercial break in a traditional television program.

Strategy no. 4: Email marketing

The prophesied dead live longer! Despite all the prophecies of doom E-mail marketing an effective and essential tool for every e-commerce company.

This form of marketing offers you an excellent opportunity to reach potential customers and expand your business. It allows you to cultivate your contacts in an unobtrusive way, build new relationships and promote your products or services directly and at relatively low cost.

Clever email marketing makes it possible to increase brand awareness, signal credibility and build lasting relationships with customers. It is also still an effective way to generate leads, increase sales and drive traffic to the website.

And the most important aspect, which is often underestimated: Unlike the community on social media or the target audience for paid ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, this customer data belongs to you alone. You are not dependent on an external platform or an unknown algorithm to access this data.

Many young entrepreneurs make the mistake of putting off building an email list until "later". Don't make this mistake. Building a list is one of the first to-dos when starting your e-commerce business.

Strategy no. 5: Content marketing

The main goal of content marketing is to attract and retain customers with useful, helpful content. It is the art of communicating with your customers and giving them something valuable without selling.

Instead of advertising your products or services, you provide information that helps your target group with their problems. The target group analysis that you created as part of the brand strategy helps you to find the right content and present it in an attractive way.

According to a recent study are the most important advantages of B2B content marketing:

  • Create brand awareness (86 %)
  • Educating the audience (79 %)
  • Building credibility and trust (75 %)

The core of a content strategy is conviction: If you continually deliver valuable information to your target audience, they will ultimately reward you with their business and loyalty.

Content marketing can therefore not be about creating a single piece of content and expecting it to do all the sales work for you. It's about building an authentic relationship with (potential) customers through continuous service and the provision of articles, guides, videos, podcasts and the like.

Strategy no. 6: Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing that uses recommendations and product mentions from "influencers" - people who have a large following and are considered experts or simply good entertainers in their niche. Influencer marketing works because of the great trust that these influencers have built up with their followers. Their recommendations serve as a kind of social proof for potential customers of a brand.

This is a great opportunity for you to reach an even larger audience beyond your own community.

The key to success in influencer marketing is to find the right influencers - those who have a large following, are relevant to your industry and fit with your brand. Once you've found them, it's important to nurture these relationships and create value for both parties.

A good basis of trust is important here. A lack of transparency or certain misconduct that the community condemns can also backfire on influencer marketing. In the worst-case scenario, the influencer's lost credibility can then rub off on you. Detailed contracts about responsibilities and mutual obligations are therefore a basic requirement if you want to work with influencers.

Conclusion: Measure, experiment, adapt, improve

The aim of a good marketing strategy is to bundle the various elements of communication as well as possible and tailor them to the target audience. On this basis, you can develop an effective strategy. The best marketing strategies are those that are geared towards both the company and its customers. Above all, however, they are dynamic.

Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things when defining and developing your marketing strategy. Determine your metrics for success, learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes. Your marketing strategy doesn't have to be a daunting task - it should be flexible and fun to play with.

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