Research predicts that ecommerce will account for 95% of all purchases by 2040. The ecommerce market is already saturated, with between 12 and 24 million ecommerce sites operating worldwide. 

As a small business owner just starting out, ecommerce marketing is going to be your best friend. It might seem overwhelming at first — especially if you’re running a one man show. 

But have faith! With these tips (and some hardcore dedication), you can develop an ecommerce marketing strategy that will have you competing in the big leagues in no time.

What is ecommerce marketing in a definition?

Ecommerce marketing is the act of promoting a business that sells products or services online. It’s meant to drive sales for ecommerce brands and often uses digital marketing channels like social media, email, PPC advertising, content marketing, and product marketing.

What are the types of ecommerce marketing?

Since ecommerce shops can’t rely on curbside appeal or window shopping to attract customers, it’s easy to wonder how they manage to drive sales at all. Your answer lies in the very definition of ecommerce marketing. 

Ecommerce marketing uses digital channels to raise brand awareness and, ultimately, to sell. Not sure what that looks like from a practical standpoint? Here are seven of the most common ecommerce marketing channels:

1. Product Marketing

Nailing the product marketing channel is a solid way for product-based ecommerce businesses to drive sales. To do this, make sure your product’s positioning and messaging is on point before putting yourself out there. 

Launching product-specific ad campaigns is another vital aspect of product marketing for ecommerce, whether those are channels like Google Ads, Facebook Ads, or Amazon listings.

The results should be worth the money you invest in the campaigns, as PPC product listings put your products right in front of potential customers. Effective product marketing ads let shoppers know what you’re selling before you even click on their site, so clicks are more likely to result in a purchase. 

2. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) 

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) is a marketing channel where you pay an ad network every time someone clicks on your ad. Google is the most popular ad network for PPC, but other networks (like Amazon Advertising) are also solid options. 

In addition to the product listing ads mentioned in the previous section, these are the types of PPC advertising that are especially useful for ecommerce marketers:

  • Paid search ads. This is a text-only ad that sits at the top of the search engine results. These are especially effective for niche products, as ads that address a personal need will likely result in plenty of conversions. 
  • Display ads. These are also called banner ads. They’re displayed on websites, apps, etc and use retargeting (this is when ads follow you based on your browser history). While display ads are good for brand awareness, they tend to have a lower conversion rate than paid search ads. 

3. Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Social media marketing is a good starting point for small business owners dipping their toes into ecommerce marketing. While it takes time and strategy, it’s an inexpensive way to drive traffic directly to your product page.

And it works. Studies show that ecommerce brands with at least one active social media account make 32% more in sales than ecommerce brands that aren’t active on social media. 

A survey conducted by eMarketer even found that 30% of respondents would purchase a product through social media platforms if they saw and liked it. Your future customers are on social media waiting to buy your products. You just have to find them.

Ecommerce marketers use social media marketing to locate and connect with their niche audience. You’ll want to focus your energy on visual platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok where you can show off your products. 

In addition to product images, you can share video content on your social media platforms. Data from Google shows that 50% of online shoppers search for product videos before they make a purchase.

Treat your social media channels as a hub where potential customers can learn everything they need to know about your brand and your products. 

Make it easy for your customers to navigate from your feed to your product page. You can even make your feed shoppable so that users can buy your products right from your social channels.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing — an oldie but a goodie. The average ROI for email marketing is 3,800%. This means that for every dollar you put in, you get $38 in return. 

Put this marketing channel to work for ecommerce by creating nurture campaigns that guide your subscribers through the buyer journey. Email marketing is perfect for small business owners without a lot of time on their hands, as the entire process can be automated. 

For email marketing to work with ecommerce, your emails need to make your products shine. How can you do this? Add product videos to your emails, of course! According to MarTech Advisor, adding video to your email content can raise your click rates by 300%.

That means embedding product videos into your emails increases your click rates and shows off your products at the same time. It’s the perfect recipe for conversions!

5. Organic Search 

Organic search is an ecommerce marketing channel where search engine optimization (SEO) is used to drive organic traffic to your site.

SEO is a critical tool for ecommerce marketing because it increases your site’s visibility by ranking it higher in search engines. The better your SEO game, the more customers will find your products through a simple Google search. 

6. Content Marketing

If you’re posting videos on your site, you can use video SEO to get your videos on Google’s first page. Since video is such a powerful conversion tool, a video on the first page can drive a lot of traffic to your site.

Content marketing for ecommerce affects more than one marketing channel. Content marketing is a vast ecosystem where you can improve your site’s visibility for search, establish yourself as an industry authority, and connect with your target consumer. One might classify content marketing as the umbrella that all of these ecommerce marketing strategies fall underneath. 

Here are some of content marketing’s popular ecommerce applications: 

  • Product page copy. Optimize your product page copy with keywords that will drive traffic to your product page. Be intentional about everything on your product page, from your headers to the image alt-text. 
  • Blog posts. Put out informative content on industry-related topics that answers search intent and popular queries to position your brand as an expert. Include CTAs that prompt readers to purchase your products, read more, or enter your sales funnel. 
  • Product-related videos. Publish informative, entertaining video content related to your product or industry. These could be explainers or tutorials on how to use your products or services, or aspirational video campaigns you leverage on social and beyond. By the way, don’t forget to optimize your videos for search engines by writing helpful headers, alt-text, and product descriptions. 

Take, for instance, this quick, perfect-for-social-media explainer from Tappan Collective, an emerging player in the art world, which quickly introduces their mission in the video below.

7. Influencer Marketing

Ecommerce brands use influencer marketing to share their products with a wider audience and harness that audience’s trust to drive sales. Ecommerce stores actually account for 50.7% of brands working with influencers. 

Influencer marketing is especially suited to ecommerce as influencers engage with their communities primarily in the digital space. When followers watch their favorite influencers’ videos, they’re only one link click away from pressing “add to cart” on your website. 

Get the most out of your influencer marketing budget by finding a niche micro-influencer. Micro-influencers often have higher engagement rates and lower cost per engagement, and influencers who resonate with your brand are more likely to have audiences will buy your products. 

What are more examples of content marketing for ecommerce brands?

Content marketing for ecommerce brands can include written examples like blogs, newsletters, ebooks, guides, research reports, press releases, and product reviews. Other content marketing examples can include video, podcasts, infographics, social media posts, and webinars.

12 tried-and-true ecommerce marketing tips

As a small business owner, you’re probably gawking at how many ecommerce marketing channels there are. Without a full-fledged marketing team, juggling all of these channels at once will be tough. 

You can start off small — just pick out the channels you think you can manage well. Your plan should map out everything from your goals to your content strategy, and all that’s in between. Find overlap where you can to create content that can be easily published or repurposed for multiple marketing channels. 

Making an ecommerce marketing plan for your business is a big job. We’ve compiled 12 tips to help you get started:

1. Research.

This one may seem obvious, but it can’t be understated: don’t slack on the research! Understanding the wants, needs, and behaviors of your audience is so important for growth as a small ecommerce business. 

Requesting reviews isn’t enough — to truly know your audience, you need to dissect every step of the buyer journey. How can you do this? Market research. 

Primary research is data that you collect yourself, usually by surveying your target audience. 

However, secondary research is a good starting point, as it guides the focus of your primary research. Secondary research is basically data you collect on your audience or industry from pre-existing sources (like demographic and competitor info). 

As a small business owner, you’ll probably want to start by researching:

  • Industry stats and trends
  • Consumer stats and trends 
  • Consumer behavior 
  • Competitors’ strengths and weaknesses 

There are also plenty of Shopify integrations that make the research process easier, especially when it comes to organizing and filtering reviews.

2. Write it down. 

With so many different marketing channels, metrics, and goals to keep up with, there’s no way you can create an effective strategy all in your head. Even if you’re a company of one, it’s still important to document your strategy every step of the way. Not only will this help you measure your progress, but it will also help you stay on track and get the most ROI out of your investments — not to mention, you’ll be better able to replicate your results next quarter.

3. Map out your conversion funnel.

You want to make the buyer’s journey as frictionless as possible. One way to do this is by mapping out your conversion funnel. Are you a direct to consumer brand? What obstacles are keeping your potential customers from hitting the “buy” button? 

Check out your bounce rate and try to identify what’s sending customers off your site. Are iffy reviews scaring them off? Could your user experience use some tweaking? 

Even the smallest changes can make a massive difference in your total sales. For example, research shows that ecommerce websites can achieve a 35.26% higher conversion rate if they have a good checkout design.

Once you’ve mapped out your conversion funnel and identified the areas that need improvement, get to fixing them! 

4. Establish your KPIs and metrics of success.

Establishing measurable goals and assigning key performance indicators (KPIs) to track them is a great way for online businesses to achieve consistent growth, especially when you’re just starting out. 

It’s important for you to assess the goals of your online business and consider what KPIs are most relevant. Not every online business will keep track of the same metrics of success. An established company might judge success solely based on total sales in one week, while small businesses just getting their footing might be content after gaining a certain number of Instagram followers that same week. 

KPIs and metrics of success help you measure, pursue, and achieve your small business goals. 

5. Ask “Who is your perfect customer?”

This is the fun part! You get to decide exactly who you’d like your perfect customer to be. Are they tall, dark, and handsome? Are they someone who sticks around for life? Or are they someone who buys from you once and ghosts, never to be heard from again?

This is called defining your buyer persona. It guides your messaging, helps you make sales decisions, and defines your ad targeting so you can get the most out of your ad spend. Once you’ve created a detailed persona, pretend like you’re speaking to this imaginary person directly in all of your marketing materials (and even on social media). 

6. Test. 

Frequent testing is another step to staying in tune with your target audience. It’s especially helpful for ecommerce brands just starting to grow. 

You can install polls on your site, run consumer surveys, try user testing before releasing new products, test drive new marketing strategies, and even try pre-selling products. Record all the data and use it to inform future decisions and strategy.

7. Personalize. 

You’re a small business — your audience is going to start small, and that’s okay. Actually, it’s great! When your audience is still small, it’s easier to connect with them on a personal level. These connections foster long-term relationships and round out your brand’s reputation. 

Try to channel these connections while creating your email sequences. Use ecommerce marketing tools specific to your goals. Create the content for your emails as though you’ve formed a personal connection with your buyer persona. 

Also remember that your audience will vary from platform to platform. Customize your video content to form personal connections with your audience on all your social channels. 

8. Optimize for mobile. 

Ecommerce and mobile go together like Millenials and skinny jeans. 

In fact, around 51% of online shoppers make purchases directly from their smartphones. Mobile retail commerce sales are even projected to account for 53.9% of all ecommerce sales in 2021.

Optimizing for mobile is super important, especially if you don’t want to miss out on that 53.9%. Make sure your user experience on mobile is frictionless by using a responsive design. 

The changes don’t have to be major. For example, enlarge the “add to cart” button so customers have an easier time seeing (and pressing) it. Make sure your images are in a format that doesn’t slow down your site so that mobile users can still browse product images. Small changes like these make a big impact on your overall mobile UX.

9. Crank out the content. 

It should always be content creation time for your business, but it can difficult to know what types of content to prioritize, especially if you’re a small shop.

Start by setting up a content calendar with a consistent publication schedule on the channels where your consumer spends most of their time. This will prove your reliability and authenticity as a brand. You’ll also get a boost from social media algorithms for posting frequently and consistently, which fast-tracks your growth!

The beauty of having a regular content publication schedule is you’re able to see how things are performing daily, or even minute-by-minute in the rapid-fire world of social media.

Our take? Anything you can quickly splice together, edit, and turn into multiple types of content is going to be a winner.

You can create a professional-quality product video in less than five minutes with Vimeo Create‘s guided templates, which use AI to piece together a stunning video based on your existing product footage and answers to a few simple questions about your brand.

10. Distribute that content.

You know the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder”? That applies to your ecomm business’s content distribution strategy, too.

Once you have an awesome product video, turn that into a 16×9 asset for next week’s Instagram Stories. Or include a gif with a clickthrough to your video in your next marketing email. Embed that same content on your ecommerce website’s product page.

Content distribution doesn’t mean that you need to send brand new content out into the vast world of the Internet every single time. It’s a smart idea to repurpose your best assets into different lengths, cuts, and calls-to-action for different marketing channels.

11. Establish a sound feedback loop.

If you’re marketing in a vacuum — for example, only targeting certain demographics or using just one marketing channel as your go-to — you’ll eventually discover you don’t know what people are really thinking about your products or services.

Rave reviews and glowing customer testimonials can only get you so far, leaving you with blind spots in your ecommerce marketing strategy. Because you don’t have brick and mortar service to rely on, every customer interaction, thank you email, and even returns must be handled perfectly. The odds of getting a second chance among millions of other ecomm darlings? Slim.

That’s why a distributed content strategy gets your products in front of people who might not like (or even resonate) with your existing marketing, which is crucial to growth. We can’t just market to the people who like us. You’ll also need to find ways to cleverly position your business as a solution to specific problems — problems that you might not even know you had.

12. Repeat. 

The hardest part about starting an online business is knowing what is working, when. Once you have initial data on what’s selling, lean into that data. If you set up a campaign and see a direct correlation in sales, run with that and repeat campaigns with similar creative or copy. 

As your ecommerce marketing skills grow, dip your toe into A/B testing. This test uses software to show portions of your audience two different versions of your site simultaneously. The results will show you what copy, images, and videos resonate with your audience the most. 

Sum it up. What is ecommerce content?

Ecommerce content is content specifically designed to drive sales for online brands. It targets potential consumers over an electronic network and is a low cost option for marketing your online business, building brand awareness, and engaging with your target audience.

Wrapping up

There’s no one shining example of what ecommerce is. Rather, you can only define ecommerce marketing as a vast marketplace where anyone can be a buyer or seller, no matter what products or services you offer. Having a digital presence and a wide-reaching marketing plan is indeed possible with these tips – even for the little guys.

It’s never been easier for small businesses to leverage video for ecommerce marketing. Vimeo Create’s easy-to-use templates and robust library of video options help even the most inexperienced video editors make content fit for the pros.

Market your ecomm store with Vimeo Create.