Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Especially if you’ve got a new online store, you’re desperate for new customers to turn that side project into a proper business. In this article, I put together a list of marketing channels relevant to eCommerce.
If you’re running an established business, you’ve realized that you need a way to bring a steady stream of customers through your virtual doors. A reliable flow of new sales means predictable revenue, allowing you to plan and invest accordingly.
But what are the best ways to find new customers?
There is no right answer. It depends on the size of your business, the people you are selling to, and how long your store has been around.
You can increase sales by reaching out to family and friends when you’re just starting out. But that approach probably won’t move the needle for an eCommerce business with $1 million in revenues.
Luckily you’re not the first store facing this challenge!
So let’s analyze the best marketing channels for your eCommerce business.
Effective Marketing channels
Below you can find a list of relevant marketing channels for eCommerce. Most channels aren’t stand-alone. This means that success in one channel will very likely be beneficial for another.
Creating great content for example might also help attract attention on Facebook and get you backlinks, which will benefit your SEO.
For every of the following marketing channels, I’ve added a short description and an example of an eCommerce store that is making this marketing channel work for them.
By collecting email addresses of prospects or customers and engaging them with interesting content or great offers, you can stay top of mind and generate revenue.
Example: Huckberry, an online outdoor store, focused on creating in-depth articles that perfectly match what their audience wanted to read. To make distribution of these articles easier (and build up their subscriber base) they created an email newsletter. And it seems quite successful, in their first years of business, they managed to grow their list to about 130,00 subscribers!
Three years after its launch they continue to focus on email. Their homepage is an email opt-in box, without any mentions of products.
Search Engine Marketing (SEM or PPC)
This allows you to show text or product advertisements next to relevant search queries in the search results of Google or Bing.
With these types of campaigns, the customer is actively searching for a solution to his or her problem (or specifically for a product). Those customers are more responsive to good offers.
Example: It’s hard to find stores that are putting out real numbers for their advertising campaigns. But this B2B eCommerce store saw a nice increase in sales from their PPC campaigns.
Social & Display ads
These are banner ads on sites, apps, or social networks like Facebook or Reddit.
If you’re trying to reach a customer reading a news article or checking updates on Facebook, you have to stand out and deliver a message that grabs their attention.
Example: State Bicycle Company used Facebook Ads to target fans of certain music bands to promote its pages & store. Within a year they managed to sell an additional $500,000 worth of bikes with these campaigns.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
This is the process of getting your website to rank higher in the search results. This is often done by creating good content that attracts customers and links.
Example: Petflow, a store that sells pet products, started a new site with the latest viral news stories, pictures, and videos. Few of the articles have to do with pets or pet products, but the popularity of the media site has improved the rankings of their actual products.
These are traditional advertisements in magazines, newspapers, billboards, on radio, or TV. Using these to market your store might be counterintuitive, but they still offer a great way to reach a big audience. One problem with this marketing channel is that quite difficult to do tracking and attribution.
With this strategy, a third party will drive traffic to your site. You pay a commission for every sale that results from this traffic. You can find out more about affiliate marketing by checking the following guide: CPA marketing for eCommerce
Example: Sleepwear retailer Crazybargains.com generated an increase of 11% in revenue thanks to affiliate marketing.
By connecting with relevant blogs in your space, you can gain more exposure for your store. The most important thing is to deliver something of value to the blogger that you’ll be pitching. This could be providing a couple of products for a giveaway on their site or sending them free gear to review.
Example: Erin Condren sells personalized stationery and partners with bloggers to do product giveaways. This creates exposure for their products and drives additional sales.
You attract potential customers by creating content that resonates with them. This can be text articles, images, or videos.
Example: Onnit sells food supplements and workout gear. Their blog tries to provide value to people who want to get stronger or train smarter.
Viral marketing is all about getting your content, idea, or story to spread. These often are the most bizarre, scary, or awesome things.
This is a hard channel to get right and your first try will probably not be a home run.
Example: The Z.E.R.O. Kit (Zombie Extermination, Research, and Operations) is a $24,000 product bundle. Because of its outrageousness, it got shared like crazy. And although it is unclear how much bundle sales were generated, this campaign has brought a lot of exposure to Opticsplanet.com, the store that sells the bundle.
Besides virtual community building, you can also organize real-life events to create a tight-knit community. This can be small a get-together with your best customers, an exclusive product preview, a tasting session, a workshop, or a full-fledged pop-up shop.
Like offline ads, tracking and attribution are difficult to do with these marketing channels.
Example: Swell.com toured around with a Bikini Truck to make shopping for swimgear even easier.
Through public speaking, you can increase the awareness of your online store. You can establish yourself (and your store by extension) as the expert in a particular field.
What would be good events to speak at if you know who you are selling to? Remember to deliver value to your audience, whether they become customers or not.
This might be a great opportunity to grow your community if it is a consumer-focused trade show. If you’re creating your products, it could also be a great place to get new partnerships with distributors.
You do not necessarily need a booth to be present. With creativity, you can circumvent those costs and be very effective!
Find Your Marketing Channel
Instead of trying a little bit of everything and getting nowhere, this article’s framework will help you find the right marketing channel to help your store grow to the next level!
Relevant case studies of Todays.Agency
- We reached CPAs under 1 Eur in Google and Facebook campaigns
- Advanced Google Ads – dynamic search ads for Domo
- A small change to the website increased the conversion rate by 133%
- How an online medical supply store managed to use Google’s dynamic campaigns to its advantage and get 20 extra leads per month
If you’re struggling to get traction for your online store, check out the Todays.agency website to learn more about getting traffic and increasing sales!