The world of ecommerce has always been set to experience growth and expansion. What no one could have predicted is the speed at which this would be happening in 2020.
When the world is forced into lockdown, shopping online becomes the new normal. Consequently, ecommerce stores have found (and are still finding) new ways to stay relevant, reach their target audience, and improve user experience. It’s not a matter of reinventing the wheel but rather of creative adaptability – naturally, a large part of these new strategies is going to be an adaptation of old ones.
Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts of ecommerce marketing in 2021 you can start implementing as the end of the year approaches.
Ecommerce Marketing Dos
Our list opens with some of the best and most universally applicable marketing tactics to focus on in 2021:
Create Amazing, Valuable Content
53% of marketers consider blog content creation their top priority. Even brands who don’t work with a digital marketer have realized that they need to produce content in order to rank, attract attention, and boost their sales.
However, a lot of content marketing and content creation is still done just for the sake of it, without too much value being provided. That’s content that will pretty much never be noticed.
To make your marketing campaigns a success, you need content that provides real value, content that is relevant to your audience, and content that is written amazingly well. There are over 4.5 million blog posts published every day – so value becomes crucial.
For example, Beardbrand has absolutely mastered the art of valuable content. Yes, they publish a post here and there that can be considered average – but their core blog posts about beard growth and beard care are amazing pieces of content that provide actionable tips and advice and offer genuine help to their readers.
Image source: beardbrand.com
Encourage User-Generated Content
Apart from your own awesome content, you’ll also need to rely on user-generated content both on your website and social media channels.
The beauty of UGC is that it allows potential buyers to see how your product is used, what others have thought about it, and how it can offer a solution for them or fit into their life.
User-generated content also inspires more trust – after all, it’s not something a brand has purposefully created and pushed out. It’s honest and comes from regular Joes and Janes, and its value can be immense.
Images are usually the first to come to mind when talking about this kind of content – however, you can also use reviews and testimonials very successfully.
A good example of a company putting their own user-generated content to very good use is Zoma. Their homepage features an image roll of professional athletes using their products, and they also have a customer review section. They’re showcasing their celebrity customers to provide that wow effect, but they also don’t fail to rely on the power of an “ordinary” review that comes from a regular customer. These tactics combined significantly boost their authority and appeal. Bonus points if you can get reviews crawlable for Google search results.
Image source: zomasleep.com
More ecommerce websites are created every day, and people are spending an increasing amount of their time and money online. Naturally, those who are looking to make a quick buck, or even those looking to blatantly scam people get their own chance to attract some attention.
Not everyone is well-versed in the art of online research. They may be taken in by a flashy ad or they may fall for some clever marketing copy, only to realize that the product they’ve purchased is nothing like the product they were hoping to get.
In a world where dishonesty is commonplace and where people still don’t quite trust the internet, you need to do your very best to showcase your own value and worth. In short, you need to be wholly transparent about every aspect of your product, delivery, and returns – and every other possible aspect of customer interaction.
Transparent Labs is a great example of this kind of approach. Not only do they have the word “transparent” in their actual brand name, but they are also equally transparent about the ingredients they use and how those ingredients can impact your health and wellbeing.
Image source: transparentlabs.com
This is especially significant in the fitness industry, where “proprietary blends” are often used to hide the fact that what you’re buying is not what is actually being advertised. Add to that the fact that all of their content is reviewed by a team of scientists to ensure maximum value and impact, and you have a truly winning combination.
Build and Use an Email List
Many people still consider email marketing to be a bit of an outdated practice, but it is definitely anything but – in fact, you can expect to make $42 for every dollar you spend on email marketing.
This is precisely why one of the first pieces of advice you often hear in the world of digital marketing is to start building a list as soon as possible and to use it religiously.
How to build this list is another matter – you can use the CTAs on your blog and other landing pages; you can use pop-ups, gated content, surveys, social media. All of these tactics work, but which one works best will depend on your target audience.
As for the emails you send, they should be tailored to each audience segment, and they need to be as personalized as possible. As for your “excuse” to send an email, it can be anything from signing up to your newsletter, abandoning a cart, promoting a new offer, offering a discount, and so on. The opportunities are endless – you just need to capitalize on them.
Beauty Bay provides a great example of email marketing done right. They send out daily emails, which vary in content, are always image-heavy, have a neat title, and are often personalized. They do offers and discounts, ask for reviews, and remind you of new stock’s arrival, all in a very brand-centric manner.
Generate Both Paid and Organic Traffic
Ideally, you want to generate both paid and organic traffic.
Paid ads (i.e., on Google or on social media) are a great way to drive initial traffic to your ecommerce website, promote specific offers, reach new audiences, and collect useful data on which pages and keywords convert well.
Paid ads are also great for promoting your blog posts – especially on a platform like Facebook, where you can easily access new audiences by promoting specific articles that might be of interest to them.
As for your organic traffic – you ideally want to be ranking high for as many keywords as you possibly can. This may be more or less difficult, depending on your industry and niche, and the competition you are faced with.
You can start by identifying keywords that have low competition and some decent traffic (with the use of a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush) and create valuable and in-depth blog posts around them. You should then build links to these posts in an aim to rank as high as possible. This will help you position your entire website better.
You also want to be building links to your product pages – and use the data from your paid search campaigns to steer your SEO efforts.
Ecommerce Marketing Don’ts
Now let’s take a look at some of the practices you should refrain from in 2021:
Trying to Please Everyone
When you try to please everyone, you often end up pleasing no one. In other words, when you try to appeal to absolutely everyone who might possibly be interested in your products, you end up not actually targeting anyone and wasting a lot of time and energy having nothing to show for your effort.
The key to ecommerce marketing is targeting a specific niche – a target audience that will be the most interested in your products.
Not only that, but you should also advocate and stand for a specific message, a set of values, a belief system that defines your brand. If you are a people-pleaser, you won’t actually be standing for anything, and you will be much less of a recognizable brand.
Take a look at how Elemental Labs does this. Catering to the paleo-keto crowd as well as martial arts enthusiasts, they are definitely not crowd-pleasers. This can be seen on their homepage and all across their social media, and it makes them a brand that someone belonging to this group will more naturally gravitate towards.
Image source: drinklmnt.com
Trying to Avoid Amazon Entirely
While you should certainly always aim to invest in your own web platform and your own brand’s independence, you also don’t want to shy away from working with the biggest names in the industry, like Amazon. After all, selling on the big marketplaces can be your ticket to a wider audience, and you can use their resources to get started.
However, don’t forget that you are essentially just renting their traffic and customers in that case. You don’t own and are not in control of any of it. You still need to be investing in your own space on the internet, where you will have complete control.
Don’t Get Carried Away with the Latest Fads and Trends
In the world of ecommerce, there’s always something new to try. A new product to sell, a new way to market yourself, a new way to attract customers.
Instead of trying to keep up with these fads and trends, focus on doing what your brand naturally does best, whatever that may be. Although it may be tempting to try a tactic you’ve heard wonders about, only do it if you reasonably have the time and the resources available. Otherwise, you might end up losing more than you could have gained.
While we hope that 2021 will be very different from 2020, we trust that it will remain an excellent year for ecommerce. And hopefully, some of the dos and don’ts we have outlined above will help you make the most of it, whatever niche you’re operating in.