Ecommerce marketing can be hard, especially when you’re busy trying to create your products, keep up with your competition and in general run every single part of your store.
That’s why we reached out to 26 experts in the small business, marketing and ecommerce world to get their most innovative ecommerce marketing tips.
But before we get into these amazing expert tips, let’s look at what ecommerce marketing is.
What is ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing is very much like traditional marketing. It involves the four Ps: Product, Place, Price and Promotion.
However, it works on these things through digital means only. That means that, for example, place will include, not malls and billboards, but instead include social media platforms, forums, and search ads.
Generally, ecommerce marketers are focused on two big areas: getting visitors to the ecommerce store, and optimizing the visitor’s experience when he or she is on the store.
Ecommerce marketing is also more data-driven, seeing as it is easier to track (and improve) digital experiences.
In total, ecommerce marketing usually contains the following channels and strategies:
Now that we’ve got a good idea of what ecommerce marketing is, let’s look at some great expert tips.
So what will our experts teach you today? You’ll learn:
- how to use simple SEO hacks to boost your rankings in search engines and get organic traffic
- traditional marketing techniques that still work (and which are easy to implement)
- ways to surprise your customers to make sure you get great word-of-mouth
- and much more
So check out the most innovative ecommerce marketing tips from these 25 experts below.
The most innovative and inspiring marketing tips
Cristian Rennella, VP of Marketing & Co-Founder of elMejorTrato.com
After working on the internet for the last 9 years and having tried more than 54 strategies in content marketing, I can assure you that there is only one innovative marketing idea that generated excellent results:
Answer the questions of your users as an expert!
We receive more than 50 queries per day on different aspects of our service, but the vast majority are general questions, and the answer will not only help that particular user, but also hundreds or thousands of people who have the same question.
That is why for each question of a client we respond in a special way, and we dedicate time and effort to give a perfect answer. This response is not only sent to this user, but we publish it on our site as if it were a post on our blog.
Then Google or any other search engine indexes this content and new potential customers can use Google to find our answer.
As the answer was valuable, with very useful information, these new customers take our brand as a reference and begin to see (and eventually buy) our products.
This mechanism of transforming the traditional frequently asked questions (FAQ) section into a blog post where we publish all our answers helped us to grow 34.7% with content marketing, which today represents a revenue of $3.4 million per year—amazing!
Cécilien Dambon, SEO & Growth Lead at Venngage
When it comes to getting organic traffic to your website, it’s no longer a secret that you need sites to link to your website.
While guest posting is still an effective way to get those backlinks, I find that “guestographics” are much more effective.
What is a “guestographic”? Simply put, it’s an infographic made for someone else’s audience (similar to what we did with the Omnisend Blog’s email marketing trends post).
Let me share with you 6 actionable steps to help you create guestographics and get the most out of them.
- Find influencers in your industry. You can use tools like Buzzsumo, or even Google, to get influencers in a particular industry.
- Go to their website and find an article that could use an infographic. This could be a list-type article, a research supported by data or even an expert roundup post.
- Get the author email. You can use an extension like Hunter or hire someone to do it for you.
- Offer this author to collaborate on an infographic for his article. Now, when pitching an author, think about their audience before all. You want to help them better communicate their content to their audience. An infographic will provide them with some great visual content to share with their readers. If they accept your offer, request an outline of the article you’re targeting and mention that you’ll take care of the design part.
- Use an infographic maker (like Venngage) to create your infographic in minutes. The best thing about infographic tools is that they don’t require any design skills and offer tons of professionally-designed infographic templates that you can edit easily. If you don’t feel like making an infographic on your own, you can still hire someone to do it for you.
- Send your infographic and ask for a favor in return. Once the author you reached out to is satisfied with your work, ask if he/she would be willing to return the favor by including the infographic in their post with a link to your website.
Trust me, the success rate is high and this offer is quite irresistible! With more quality links, you’ll see your rankings increase and your organic traffic grow accordingly.
Bret Bonnet, Co-Founder and President of Quality Logo Products, Inc.
Creating Gmail ads is an effective way to increase awareness about your brand, especially for new businesses starting out in an established industry.
Gmail ads show up at the top of your inbox and they’re a much cheaper option than running other types of online ads!
Through Google AdWords’ low-bidding of brand terms, you can set the target audience for ads to appear when something similar to a competitor’s name appears in their inbox.
When your audience is reading the email, they can easily look up and compare your brand to the competition.
This creates top-of-mind awareness of your brand since you’re reaching them at an opportune time when they’re already thinking about similar companies.
If your business is offering something bigger and better than the competition, a little side-by-side comparison never hurt!
The good news is your competitors have a difficult time figuring out whether you’re targeting their audiences this way.
However, you still have to find a way to stay classy with these actions. You don’t want to end up tarnishing your own brand in the process of trying to create awareness of it!
Robert Marczak, Ecommerce & Marketing Director at Woolet
If you’re a startup with a great product I suggest you launch your product on crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter or Indiegogo.
We did it with our Woolet—thesmart wallet you will never lose. Those platforms can help you achieve your business goals, but you need to do it in a smart way to make it happen.
If you are thinking about a crowdfunding campaign you need to build a community around your product and, besides this, you need a great product too! Building a community will give first backers to your Kickstarter campaign, which will be signal to the Kickstarter community that your product is worth their money.
But it won’t guarantee success.
You need to take care of brand awareness to make people mad about your product. Parallel to building a community, prepare a list of services and influencers who you want to inform about your ongoing crowdfunding campaign.
Prepare unique press releases and make sure journalists will add a dofollow link to your website. Working this way, you will not only get new backers but also you will show your startup to a new audience and get links that can help you build organic traffic.
This is a great mix of crowdfunding + PR + SEO!
Shelley Grieshop, Creative Writer at Totally Promotional
Start by creating a company logo that 100 percent reflects who you are. If you don’t have in-house graphic talent to get the job done, hire someone. It will be worth it in the end. Your logo will represent your good name for years to come and is essential for promoting yourself.
Start-ups typically face a lack of funds and exposure. So the biggest obstacle is getting your name out there the cheapest but most professional way possible.
Put your logo on all your signs, your website, newsletters, press releases, even employee apparel. Introduce your business to prospective customers with giveaway items showcasing your name and contact information.
Distribute those items at your open house, local events such as festivals, and any trade shows or conventions you attend. People will remember the items you gave them; they’ll think of you as a positive player in your industry.
Giveaway items stay in the hands of recipients for weeks, months and sometimes years, making them one of the most economical advertising tools out there.
As a digital marketing agency we get a lot of opportunities to try innovative marketing ideas for our clients across a range of channels and industries.
One of our most successful ideas was a using Adwords to bid on terms for industry conferences.
Our client was a in a competitive real estate software industry and we knew the target audience attended these conference. So we bid on keywords for all the industry conferences to reach them more cost efficiently than on the highly competitive general industry terms.
To this day, that is still our best performance campaign.
We even replicated this conference keyword tactic for clients in other industries for similar great results.
One technique that businesses should be aware of to help with increasing brand awareness and getting traffic is taking advantage of micromoments.
Google defines micromoments as:
when people reflexively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to act on a need to learn something, do something, discover something, watch something, or buy something.
Understanding the concept of micromoments should help refine a business’ content strategy so that they serve content that’s more relevant to customer intent. This in turn can help with traffic and sales.
For example, if you look at Google Search, it’s increasingly using Answer Boxes to try and help searchers find what they’re looking for.
To be featured in the Answer Box aka position zero, a businesses needs to provide information that’s centered around what the customer is asking for—to do that a business needs to understand a customer’s intent.
The point is it’s becoming more important to understand where a customer is in the funnel and what their preferences are if you want to executive high value and authentic content that connects with your audience.
Tracy Julien, VP of Marketing at GuidedChoice
Ecommerce Marketing Tip #1: Utilize LinkedIn To Increase Traffic
There are two important ways to capitalize on using LinkedIn as part of a marketing strategy.
The first avenue is LinkedIn Answers, which is a great forum to build up authority and credibility for a small business.
It also has the ability to link to outside resources, where a brand can link back to their own site, provided that it fits with the topic and is valuable.
The second is LinkedIn Pulse, which essentially allows a small business’ article or blog post to be seen by a large audience, and is equivalent to publishing a guest post on an industry specific site.
The most important takeaway is to only publish content that is practical, useful, and provides significant value to the end consumer.
Ecommerce Marketing Tip #2: Create Targeted Content Focusing On Different Customer Stages
2017 saw the rise of fake news and the internet is the most cluttered it has ever been. Modern consumers do not like to sift through “junk” posts to find content that is unique to them.
Therefore, small businesses should create and integrate more targeted content that focuses on different stages of the customer journey.
For example, when a consumer is just starting to get to know the brand and become aware of it, they will be more attracted to content that is inspirational and compelling, such as engaging video and images.
Once they have come to understand the brand’s purpose, content should be curated that answers questions or teaches consumers about the features of the product or service, as well as share their own experiences with the brand.
In the later stages of customer acquisition, they will become more receptive to promotional content that will call the consumer to act on purchasing a product.Instilling these touch points in each stage of the customer acquisition process will increase the likelihood of a future purchase and repeat business.
Gene Caballero, Co-Founder of GreenPal
Unexpected, exceptional customer service should be every business’s best practice to build up brand equity with their customers.
After brainstorming we came up with an idea to tap into our customer’s soul through their pets.
When a homeowner signs up for our service we gather information on whether they have pets, and if so what their names are. We do this so our lawn vendors know to be careful when entering the lawn.
We decided we could use this info about our customer to send a personalized gift to our customers’ pet, addressed to them.
This really wowed our customers—we received personal thank you notes, videos of their dog chewing the bone we sent posted to FB and thank you tweets. It worked really well for the time and money we invested.
Nelson Fortier, Associate Director of Fjuri
Get feedback from your customers
But how can you gauge the quality of your product(s) and customer experience? Sure, your friends and coworkers think it’s great, but what about your full-retail-paying customers? Turns out, the strategy to getting those answers is pretty simple: Give them an offer they won’t refuse.
In other words, provide your target with deep discounts or offers, that clearly explain you’re more interested in building a long-term relationship with them, versus making as much margin you can from them.
The catch? Feedback—nope, this isn’t rocket science, nor is it a secret. Instead, think of it as a “beta” phase, where your primary goal isn’t built around revenue generation, but more on feedback conversion.
Not only will a two-way conversation foster your brands relationships with customers, it’ll give you concrete data about what the brand can do to better address the needs of the buyer, while also giving you a good indication of how many people are actually listening. (Unfortunately, it’s often far less than most people think.).
As a bonus, you’ll get your product in the hands of your target, which should be the goal of all brands during their infancy.
Not only will your customers thoughts/opinions help drive insights for where to best put your future efforts, it’ll support a myriad of other levers brands pull at this stage including: SEO, product reviews, original content, affiliate marketing, digital advertising, etc.
As you can imagine, pulling this off isn’t a one-size-fits-all exercise.
Based on the nature of your product(s), your targets, and your current GTM approach, you’ll need to design feedback conversion tactics that best fit within your existing strategy.
Wes Marsh, Director of Digital Marketing at DigitalUs
Work in a non-traditional order when it comes to developing a content marketing strategy.
First, understand your audience and who you’re helping. Identify their pain points and brainstorm exactly how your product solves their problems. Once you’ve done this, don’t go into the numbers, SEO, and content strategy planning just yet.
Hire a copywriter as your next step—and if you really want to break out of the mold, hire a writer who isn’t a traditional content marketer. Hire someone who embraces narrative and storytelling, who knows people, and who knows how to write for people.
Give the writer what you’ve discovered about your target audience, and have them develop personas to tell stories on how to help out your audience.
Let your writer craft names and personalities, and once you feel like those personalities reflect your clients, share those personalities with everyone in your operation so that employees intimately understand the type of person they’re helping.
That investment in storytelling will help your marketing department (and ultimately entire business) look beyond the metrics and see people first. And let those narratives seep into every aspect of your marketing.
Does each element of a marketing campaign show one of the ‘characters’ how your business helps them solve a problem? If not, don’t bother investing in that marketing element.
Spencer Chambers, The Chambers Organization
Nowadays, social media has really revolutionized marketing and has the ability to build a brand’s image with little to no financial investment. Success in social marketing starts with good content. Make sure your content is clear, unique and speaks to your audience.
Also make sure you vary the types of content; a mixture of photos, videos and text keeps things fresh. If you make sure to follow this with every post, you will also maintain consistency, which is crucial to your social media brand.
A great help in managing your profile is to use a third party platform to pre-load your posts.
This of course does not apply to all of your content, you still want a good amount of candid in the moment posts, but any campaigns or general content can be planned and scheduled in advance for efficiency.
Finally and empathically, make sure you make use of all 30 hashtags! I cannot emphasize this enough, as this is how you enable your post to reach the correct audience and the largest audience possible.
Shannon Howard, Small Business Consultant
After working with thousands of first-time business owners, what I have hands down seen to be the most effective is talking to people you already know.
Simply reaching out and saying:
“Hey so-and-so, hope you’re doing well! I don’t know if you know this, but I recently launched a new business doing X. I’m looking to meet [target market] who need help with [main pain point], so if there’s anyone you think I should know, I’d love if you’d make the connection!”
I’ve had this work for students and clients alike to get them their first customers (whether those were in-person or digital/virtual). When I went into consulting after leaving a corporate career, I did the same thing to get my first 6 clients.
That being said, the key here is to be super specific.
Not “I’m a personal trainer”, but “I help busy corporate professionals get in shape without spending all their free time in the gym.” Not “I opened a gym”, but “We help competitive athletes recovering from injury get back in the gym in a way that’s safe, fun, and effective.”
Otherwise, no one really knows what you do or who to send your way, so they don’t send anyone.
JV Ortiz, Small Business Consultant
In the past 6 months, I’ve grown the site from $0 in monthly revenue to comfortably in 4 figures in profit from eBook sales. Before that, I was selling shoes on eBay at five figure monthly amounts at my peak.
My 2 cents regarding innovative marketing ideas is to quickly deliver a broad execution strategy and closely monitor what works and to double down on that.
This strategy relates to beginners who already have branding in place and are stuck with what next step to take to market effectively.
- When growing my eBook, the #1 impactful event for my sales was to have an influencer mention my work through an article I wrote for their site. During the time of reaching out to influencers in my niche, I was also aggressively posting YouTube videos and writing articles on my site.
- Of the 50 videos I put out in a short timeframe, one resulted in over 10,000 views and fresh leads to my site, while just about every other had less than 100. One of my blog posts I wrote generated nearly 100 visits daily while the majority had less than 10 per week.
- When I was selling shoes, I sold on over 5 different online platforms/apps and also sold in person from anywhere to Craigslist and conventions. All had mixed results and their own pros and cons, but when eBay proved the breadwinner I doubled down on that.
I’ll call this the shotgun strategy: when in close range (i.e. after developing a target), quickly spray an arsenal of marketing strategies in the direction of your goal, and by doing so you’ll hedge the odds in your favor for getting an incredibly impactful hit.
The numerous pellets are more likely to be more lethal as a whole than a single .22.
The goal is to try everything at a certain quality level, and to just ship without overthinking. When one method works, you double down on its quality and make that priority.
As a newbie to ecommerce, you don’t know what’s going to work. Ideas in your head or things that worked for others in the past won’t necessarily work for you because the internet is changing every day and everyone is in different industries.
By trying many, you’ll find the one that works for your business.
Isaac Lekach, CMO and Co-Founder of REP
Our biggest tool for growth (and by extension creating brand awareness) was hiring influencers from within our platform to replicate our message on their social channels.
Of course, it’s not the only strategy: I have a Facebook ad campaign and cold email marketing strategy running in tandem.
That said, it was the influencer marketing strategy we executed from within our own platform that paved the way.
Fiona Adler, CEO of Actioned.com
#1: Use customer case studies
Case studies are the best way to convince potential buyers that are sitting on the fence to choose your business.
They are the third-party endorsement that businesses need – particularly if the case studies is from a customer or situation that is similar to that of your target market.
Plus, case studies are a fantastic way to strengthen the relationship with your customer, and they create in-depth content which is great for SEO.
#2: Leverage your team
Lot’s of business owners forget that if you’ve got a team, you can leverage them to help spread the word about your business.
Give staff something specific to talk about and share with their networks—preferably an exclusive discount that they can share with their friends via email or social sites.
Make sure it’s substantial though so that your team is motivated to share it.
#3: Use a quiz
To generate leads, try creating a fun quiz that your target market will want to take (eg “What kind of marketer are you?”).
There are several tools available to make this easy to do and done well, a quiz can go viral and help you spread the word about your business.
A quiz can be sent to your existing customers too, with links for sharing on social sites.
Steve Spatucci, Marketing Manager at Sugarplum Studio
#1 Use flyers
When it comes to traditional marketing, don’t underestimate the power of the old stand-by—the printed flyer.
We’ve had success by printing our monthly workshop calendars on half-letter size paper (double-sided and folded) and posting them at supermarkets, pizza places, liquor stores—any place with a bulletin board that will allow it.
Posting a batch of flyers (6 to 10) at once (overlapping them as necessary to save space) makes them much more likely to be taken.
The lone flyer tends to stick around forever—nobody wants to be the one who takes it! Hitting the same venues twice a month takes time but it’s brought many new customers into the business.
#2 Build up your email list
A new store absolutely must maintain an email list of their customers right from the beginning.
We gather e-mail addresses from a physical sign-up sheet in the studio as well as from a contact form on our website and through our online ticketing/registration system.
The online signups are opt-in and because of that, we’ve maintained open rates at the upper end of what’s common for the restaurant/food services industry. We send weekly newsletters with information about workshops, special events, and other newsworthy items.
The newsletter goes out at 10 am on Tuesday mornings and we see a wave of workshop signups as soon as it’s sent—often within the first fifteen minutes.
Becky Dobyns, Qualbe Marketing Group
For new businesses, the most important thing is to let the community know you exist!
The best way to increase initial awareness that we’ve found is Facebook advertising. You get an excellent ROI without having to spend as much as you would on a platform like Google AdWords.
Another thing: your website must be optimized for mobile search! Google is now indexing sites based on the mobile version first, which means clients’ sites must be mobile-responsive, user-friendly and quick to load.
Our favorite e-commerce plugin for getting customers their first online sales is WooCommerce.
It integrates perfectly with the WordPress CMS (we love the Divi theme for our client sites). Facebook advertising that leads to a WooCommerce shop on their mobile-optimized website = golden!
Mark Velarga, Director of Marketing at PakFactory
Build a fully keyword-optimized website including all high volume keywords and most importantly, long tail keywords that are relevant to your services and industry.
Your long tail keywords are going to provide you the initial traction on Google so apply them to your specific landing pages and product pages. Utilizing adwords can be beneficial to getting initial leads as well.
Getting leads doesn’t necessarily turn into conversions, however, so focus on customer experience when designing your website and make your value proposition as clear as possible.
Lastly and most importantly, practice effective content marketing on your website, blog, email and outreach activities. This is where the trust and customer nurturing comes from and this will naturally build you more traction on your website as well.
Keep your marketing activities as simple, actionable and consistent while making adjustments as you go. By creating a marketing process that can be duplicatable and help you execute more efficiently, there is no doubt you’ll be getting those sales within the first few months!
Carmine Mastropierro, President OF MastroDigital
New businesses should take advantage of influencer marketing to propel traffic, brand awareness and sales.
This works by sending a free product to a larger blog or influencer to review. It also builds relationships which can lead to further opportunities.
Secondly, I’d recommend new businesses to focus on guest posting.
Similar to influencer marketing, it allows you to gain brand awareness along with referral traffic and high quality backlinks.
Simply reach out to relevant businesses in your niche and pitch topics you’d like to write about for them.
Lili Le, Marketing and PR Manager at GREAT WINE, Inc.
Effective marketing is built on the company’s core values and customer-focused.
#1 Customers learn about a product via omni-channel marketing, a multi-path experience that seeks to provide the customer with a convenient and seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store as a tool to communicate with customers.
This method provides a seamless, consistent, and convenient communicating channel between the company and customers.
Omni-channel marketing creates 1:1 experience between the company and customers. Our wine specialists and even our CEO are just few clicks away from clients.
#2 Cross-media promotion achieves high number of audience reach to increase brand awareness.
We are on four social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Our goal is to build a community where we can share wine knowledge, offer promotions, and communicate with everyone.
Through social media, the company hopes to build personal relationship with its customers and people who are interested in the company.
#3 Different groups of audience needs different messages.
Digital marketing makes personalization easier. GREAT WINE, Inc.creates different key messages for each groups of target audience. For millennials, the company emphasizes on “affordable everyday wine,” with additional classes on “vinotype.”
For generation X and Baby Boomer, it highlights the concept of “ vinotype,” wine tasting, and wine lessons.
Because messages present a product in such a way as to get the attention of, and be understood by, the specific people or groups they want to reach, the company tailors the message to each audience.
Therefore, personalization highlights the uniqueness of each audience group.
Joe Goldstein, SEO Director and Operations Manager at Contractor Calls
If you’re a small business, the best thing you can ever do for your marketing is to make yourself newsworthy.
If you sell burgers, make the biggest, or the spiciest, or the cheeziest. If you’re a dentist, put something over the top in your waiting room, like a full-sized pool table.
If you’re a plumber, go out dressed as Mario on Halloween.
As long as it doesn’t make you look bad, or doesn’t contradict your business’s strengths and values, almost anything is fair game.
At the worst you’ll be able to earn a little word of mouth, but at the best you might secure local, regional, or even national coverage.
Mia Sharpe, Owner of Pamper’d Mobile Kids Spa
One of the most successful tactics for us has been pop-up parties.
Since we are a mobile spa service for kids, we typically go out to our clients to provide the service.
Since we are new, we want to ensure that people know who we are and what we do, and what better way than to provide them with a small portion of our awesomeness!
The pop up parties have help generate a buzz in our communities, get parties pre booked and drive more people to both our website and social media pages.
We have only done 2 parties so far, but have seen more success with this than relying on Yelp, traditional marketing, raffles and vendor tables at events.
Alexandra Bohigian, Marketer at Enola Labs Software
When starting out, many novice marketers or small business owners will immediately go in for the ask within their marketing strategy.
Unfortunately, consumers aren’t going to immediately trust your business or brand and buy in—that’s just not how it works these days.
My number one tip is to give something of value to your audience first: a discount code, a premium piece of content, or a shoutout on social media before expecting them to convert.
Be creative with what your “give” can be so that it is reflective of your business and brand.
Amanda Austin, Founder of Little Shop of Miniatures
I recently wrote a blog post about the best Instagram accounts to follow if you love miniatures. All of the people behind the Instagram accounts were all thrilled—including The Daily Mini, who has nearly 130,000 Instagram followers.
She shared my post on Facebook to her audience of 45,0000 before sharing a product from my store Instagram.
This opened the door for me doing a giveaway on her site and she featured me in a Q&A interview on her site.
I highly suggest writing a “best of” roundup post and using it to connect with influencers in your industry. They will almost certainly promote the content, which will drive lots of traffic to your site.
Matteo Gasparello, Digital Marketer and Founder at Strategico.io
Let’s say that you are managing the marketing strategy for an ecommerce that sells Spanish products online in the UK.
As part of your content strategy, you analyse the top food bloggers in London and come up with a great article about Spanish Easter Food.
You publish the article, share it on your social channels and pitch it to bloggers and influencers to get additional views and shares.
Now that’s when retargeting comes useful.
If you previously installed the Facebook and Adwords pixels on your website, you can now gather products related to Easter from your ecommerce store, and you’ll show them with ads only to people that you previously educated with your content.
You can check this case study if you want to learn how to optimize your budget and AB test your ads and products.
Retargeting is amazing, but don’t stop with the easy strategy of just retargeting people that visited the homepage or that didn’t check out.
Think outside the box and you’ll get great results.
Ready for more?
To get even more great ecommerce marketing tips, check out Thomas Bennett’s ecommerce marketing strategies for 2018.
Which of these innovative marketing tips have you used? Know of any other great, effective marketing tips? Let us know in the comments below!