How to Market E-Commerce Businesses: An Actionable Guide

Technology has changed how we live, interact, and trade. These days, location, work hours, and the stress of visiting a physical store don’t restrict buyers and sellers.

The modern way of buying and selling is through e-commerce.

E-commerce is a radical shift from conventional brick-and-mortar stores. However, competition is fierce in the e-commerce industry, and online retailers have begun crafting more meaningful ways to market for e-commerce.

Keep reading to learn:

How E-Commerce Is Different From Brick-and-Mortar Stores

E-Commerce Marketing 101

E-Commerce Marketing Plan

1. Use Emails To Drive Conversions

2. Improve Business-Consumer Interactions

3. Let Your Customers Market Your E-Commerce Business

4. Prepare Your Website for Promotions and Sales

5. Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Final Thoughts: Marketing for E-Commerce — 5 Effective Strategies

How E-Commerce Is Different From Brick-and-Mortar Stores

There are many things that differentiate e-commerce from brick-and-mortar (also known as physical) stores.

Online shopping can be done anywhere at any time, regardless of where the retailer or shopper is located.

Online retailers can increase conversion rates by optimizing their product descriptions, checkout process, social media marketing tactics, and paid marketing campaigns.

Brick-and-mortar stores, on the other hand, need to be physically located between the buyer and seller. Small businesses established as physical stores have more expenses such as rent or construction of physical space.

A physical store has a limited reach, with its influence extending to the entire town at best. That’s why several physical stores now use online marketing efforts to increase their customer base.

Essentially, creating an online store is an easier and more accessible way to sell products.

The number of online shoppers will reach 2.14 billion in 2021. That’s why we recommend brick-and-mortar stores create e-commerce websites to strengthen their conversion rate optimization.

E-Commerce Marketing 101

E-commerce marketing is when small businesses or large enterprises increase awareness, drive traffic, and optimize their processes through various marketing channels and tools.

Customer shopping as a result of effective marketing for e-commerce

Performing effective marketing for e-commerce is important because it helps you:

  • Build brand awareness
  • Stand out among the competition
  • Maximize online sales and revenue

Marketing for e-commerce is not a spontaneous action. It has to be a planned, thought-out process.

To get the hang of it, here’s how to market e-commerce platforms:

E-Commerce Marketing Plan

  1. Use emails to drive conversions
  2. Improve business-consumer interactions
  3. Let your customers market your e-commerce business
  4. Prepare your website for promotions and sales
  5. Build a content marketing strategy

There are about 12-24 million e-commerce websites around the globe and more to come.

With giant e-commerce businesses like Amazon and Shopify leading the industry and several small businesses just getting started, how do you make sure your e-commerce website stands out?

By creating an e-commerce marketing strategy.

Here are five ways to do effective marketing for e-commerce:

1. Use Emails To Drive Conversions

In this era of speedy direct messages and high-quality posts on social media platforms, email marketing may not seem like the go-to strategy for an effective digital marketing plan.

But emails are super-effective tools to market e-commerce businesses.

According to Forrester Research, email accounts for 17% of marketing budgets and generates more than 24% of revenue.

That’s because you can use personalization, segmentation, cohesive branding, and your authentic brand personality to grow your email list and increase the number of current customers.

To leverage email marketing as a way to market e-commerce stores, you should:

  • Grow your email list with pop-up opt-ins and lead magnets on landing pages
  • Personalize your email campaigns
  • Segment your audience based on their interests and the stage their buyer’s journey stage
  • Use marketing automation to engage consistently with your audience
  • Send abandoned cart emails to prompt shoppers to complete their purchases
  • Send emails to alert them about new products

You can use email marketing services like Constant Contact to simplify the process.

2. Improve Business-Consumer Interactions

Business-consumer interaction as a strategy for marketing for e-commerce.

When it comes to brick-and-mortar stores, people think of a cashier, managers, and other employees. Customers can walk up to them and ask their questions or opinions on things to buy.

E-commerce stores don’t have that, but there’s good news.

You can create a business-consumer communication experience through live chats, help desks, and chatbots.

You can guide and engage new website visitors from the moment they land on your website until they find what they’re looking for. You can also set up chatbot automation for all your marketing apps.

Business-consumer interactions empower you to market e-commerce sites because you can:

  • Direct customers to the product pages of interest
  • Market new products
  • Recommend personalized offers
  • Ask for product reviews
  • Send post-purchase thank you messages

You can use customer services tools like LiveChat.com, HelpDesk.com, and ChatBot.com.

3. Let Your Customers Market Your E-Commerce Business

Word-of-mouth and referral marketing work well to market e-commerce sites and get new customers.

About 89% of consumers read online reviews before buying things, and 79% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from their families and friends.

You can use referrals and word-of-mouth marketing for e-commerce. To do so effectively, you can:

  • Display a review banner on your website
  • Create an account on a third-party review website like Google My Business and Yellow Pages, and ask customers to rate you
  • Do referral marketing with a simple tool like ReferralCandy to promote customer loyalty and turn your buyers into brand ambassadors

The bottom line: Encourage your customers to talk about your products. Other people will become consumers through that online marketing.

4. Prepare Your Website for Promotions and Sales

While that might seem like a simple tip that everyone knows already, you might be surprised how poorly designed some e-commerce websites are.

How to market e-commerce Online store owner preparing her website for promotions and sales

You need a scalable website for effective marketing for e-commerce. Your e-commerce site should:

  • Be easy to navigate
  • Have a fast load time
  • Have a responsive website design

Slow-loading and poorly-designed e-commerce websites can quickly put off prospective customers, which is not something you want as a seller. That’s why you need a reliable hosting service and user-centric design.

Here’s the good news:

With Bluehost Website Builder, you can set up a custom-designed website with powerful e-commerce marketing tools, security, and expert guidance for your business.

You can also host your online store with a plan designed for e-commerce — such as WooCommerce hosting — for maximum scalability.

5. Build a Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing for e-commerce means improving your brand visibility, lead generation, and ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs) through content creation.

A content marketing strategy is an excellent way of marketing for e-commerce sites because it empowers you to position yourself as an expert, build authority, and gain customer trust.

Here’s how to market e-commerce stores through content marketing:

  • Start a blog: Blogging is one of our standby marketing tips because it lets you share what your audience wants to see.

For example, if you sell clothing, your blog could share styling tips and upsell relevant products. You could acquire leads with blog posts like “10 ways to rock your winter wardrobe.”

  • Begin a podcast: With a podcast, you can build a community of like-minded people, talk about your expertise, share your insights, and feature top industry experts and influencers to gain credibility.
  • Guest post on other websites: Guest posting on other industry websites, especially top domain sites, can help you build recognition among a broader range of your target audience.

You’ll also generate meaningful backlinks to build your domain authority and search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Use videos to increase your reach: You can use a platform like YouTube to market your e-commerce website. Videos are a super-effective marketing tool that 89% of marketers use to generate great ROI.
Online store owner using video marketing for e-commerce

With over 2.1 billion active users, YouTube videos and paid promotions are an excellent way to market your pay-per-click (PPC) and Google ads.

  • Share social media posts: Social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are quick ways to get potential customers to check out your website and fill their shopping carts.

You can use hashtags, videos, live broadcasts, feed posts, and stories to market e-commerce on your social media profiles and pages.

Final Thoughts: Marketing for E-Commerce — 5 Effective Strategies

Learning how to market e-commerce stores is essential to generate sales, acquire loyal customers, and expand your business.

It isn’t news that there’s high competition in the e-commerce industry. However, with the e-commerce marketing strategies we have listed above, you can perform results-driven marketing for e-commerce and greatly increase your leads and revenue.

Ready to get started on marketing for e-commerce? Prepare your website for sales using Bluehost’s WooCommerce hosting today.

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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