Since the advent of eCommerce companies, the industry has only grown more competitive. That means standing out to consumers through marketing has become even more of a challenge.
It requires keeping up with effective marketing trends as well as the general trends on the Internet.
Here are eight ideas for marketing in today’s internet marketplace.
- Getting more shares from social media posts
This is one of the most obvious ones. Millions of people globally use social media on a daily basis, and there are plenty of different platforms that can be used in a variety of ways.
Twitter and Facebook are the best for getting people to share posts with ease and there are plenty of eCommerce companies that take full advantage of getting consumers to share that content. Airbnb, for instance, uses Twitter and has managed to reach large audiences through retweets.
Simply put, it’s connecting with the target audience (more on that later). This tweet from Airbnb is one that touched people and was calculated with consideration to the current climate of the United States, making it highly relevant.
The question is – how does one go about getting more shares? This also applies to Facebook and to a degree, Instagram.
If the content of a company’s social posts is comprised mostly of advertising, potential customers simply pass it off as another ad and move on. But a carefully crafted social post that is relevant and has something consumers can relate to is capable of drawing in more people.
- Targeting a niche audience
Companies like Wal-Mart or any other assortment of big-box stores can say they target every single person and accumulate enough likes and shares. But trust me, only companies like Wal-Mart can get away with that kind of marketing strategy. An eCommerce company needs to target a small audience and go hard at it.
Forever 21 is an example of a company that has a very niche consumer base. It’s meant for girls and women between the age of 16-24 (roughly speaking). They do this through social media and other general marketing.
This Instagram post is one of the many that feature purely young women. The reason for this is not just to put the company out there as an option for the target customer. It’s to dictate what these consumers think about the nature of the product.
Forever 21 is one of several influential factors in what young women want to wear because they put out pictures like the one above. This plants the ideas into the heads of young women and the rest is history. Online marketing is at its most effective when posts and advertisements are not seen as advertisements lauding how great the product is, but more of a display of the potential of the product itself in real life.
- Inspire people to use the product with videos
One of the side effects of the digital age is that everyone wants to consume things in some sort of visual medium. Think of how social media outlets like Snapchat and Instagram have evolved, with both being primarily visually-based with very few written words compared to the barrage of pictures and videos.
There are plenty of avenues to take with videos. Sports apparel companies like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour use videos that tell stories meant to inspire people to be part of the sports world.
Adidas put out a video earlier this year which, at its core, is an advertisement. But it has more than 31 million views on YouTube. Mainly because it is not a traditional ad. The video puts out a concept, an idea, that is meant to embody the brand and the people who use it.
This works for plenty of other types of companies as well. Travel companies can post great travel videos, companies focussed on food or cooking can create cooking videos that get people to want to try new recipes. This type of marketing works with essentially any product or industry.
- Create blogs/forums to draw in customers and keep them there
Blogs are an excellent way to develop consistent traffic and more importantly, get people coming back. This can also work with forums where people can discuss problems, talk about the product, or even just have a discussion.
Steam has an expansive forum covering everything from technical issues to a discussion link literally labeled “off-topic” for discussions that can be about anything.
Since companies will already be (hopefully) trying to target a specific audience, that group will generally mesh together in an online setting, making it easier to keep them around. So building a place for these like-minded people isn’t as hard as it seems.
This is basic marketing, but it’s the basic things that can win customers. When people see a great deal, they flock to it. If they like the product, they use it again.
Shop.com is currently running a cash-back promotion specifically designed to start a cycle of purchases at their website.
But don’t get stuck on one promotion idea. This one used by Shop.com might not be right for certain businesses. Companies need to think about what promotions work best with their consumer base. It’s not a bad example but I personally think it needs to be reworked.
- Awesome customer service
The trickiest way to market to people is to get it around via word-of-mouth. What makes it tricky is that the company can’t force people to talk about it with said person’s friends and family. The two easiest ways to get a company on someone’s lips is to either have horrible or amazing customer service.
Obviously, the former could spell disaster for entrepreneurs, so focussing on making customer service a positive experience needs to be a top priority. Firmoo is an eyewear company that has been noted for having solid online customer service. One review specifically mentioned the experience with the company’s customer service representatives.
No company is without bad reviews and Firmoo has plenty, so answering complaints quickly is great. But preventing these things by setting up a direct customer service hotline or online chat service is the best move. People want to talk to a real person who can come up with actual solutions and not give stock answers to every question.
- Optimize for SEO
Traditional businesses optimize their location to drive the most traffic. If people aren’t driving or walking by and seeing the company, there’s much less of a chance they will shop there.
The same principle applies to eCommerce. If people don’t see a website on their Google search results, they won’t shop at that website.
Unless a person in your workforce is an SEO expert, trying to do this alone can be tricky. Early mistakes can sink a company so digging a bit deeper into one’s pockets to get help with SEO is a sound investment. Performing effective optimization is much harder than setting up an eCommerce website.
- Have a solid subscription network
The ultimate goal of all of these tactics is outreach, and anything that can create a bridge of consistent contact between business and consumer is golden.
What to do with the subscription network is a whole topic in and of itself, but setting up that network is step number one. This primarily comes through email in the form of sending out newsletters that will do the things listed above.
People on the subscriber list will get notified of promotions, blog posts, and tons of other content and products from the business. The subscription network is a way to put a lot of a company’s other marketing tactics together into one package.
There, you have it – 8 marketing ideas to take your online store to the top. These are just some unique ones off the top of my head.
There are a lot more features you can use to stand out like accepting crypto payments, clearly stating out the environmental impact of products you sell (like Patagonia does), or providing excellent customer service (like Zappos).
Do you have any more ideas you’d like to discuss? Feel free to share in the comment section below.