Let’s say you’re in the market for a rose gold watch for a woman, be it yourself or someone else. When you search for this on Google, you’ll see everything from rose-tinted stainless steel for $25 to complete rose gold watches studded with chocolate diamonds and a mother of pearl face that costs several thousand.
And you’ll find hundreds of thousands of results—if not more—in between.
There is a ton of competition online for ecommerce businesses, so knowing how to set yourself apart and get your name out there is essential. Your ecommerce marketing strategies should focus on capturing people looking for products and actively using several outbound strategies to get people to want to find you.
There’s a large number of different ecommerce marketing strategies out there, and in this post, we’re going to take a look at 14 of the most essential strategies you can use to set yourself apart and get more sales.
Note, this blog post was updated on May 16, 2019.
Low-Cost Ecommerce Marketing Strategies
Virtually all ecommerce businesses can and should use these low-cost marketing strategies. I consider these tactics to be the building blocks of an ecommerce marketing strategy, because even one single action (like updating keywords or just one blog post) can yield return for years to come.
1. Optimize Your Site for Search
Search engine optimization (SEO) is still an essential part of marketing and you want to make sure that both your site and all of your individual product pages are fully optimized for the exact keywords your audience is searching for.
Keyword research can help with that. You can check out our full guide on how to conduct thorough keyword research here.
Watch out for dialect differences, too. Are they searching for “timepiece” instead of “watch?” Make sure you’re optimizing for those keywords correctly, even if the general population is searching for them less overall.
2. Include Reviews on Product Pages
I can’t overstate the importance of reviews. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as they trust their friends. That means we either really trust reviews or we all have really bad friends…I’m going to assume it’s the former.
3. Use Content Marketing
For many ecommerce businesses, content marketing means blogging, but also can include using lead magnets like ebooks to bring customers to your site and encourage them to purchase or sign-up for your email list.
Content marketing is free if you do it yourself, though you can also hire content marketers to develop your strategy for you or to write the posts entirely.
4. Guest Post
You can extend your reach to other blogs and publications, putting your content in front of a new audience and getting a few key links back to your site.
Only submit posts to high quality, high authority publications that you want your business to be associated with and preferably only those with engaged readerships.
5. Market on Social Media
Social media marketing is entirely free (unless you outsource it) and it’s an excellent way to build and nurture relationships with customers. It can also help you connect with new users thanks to sharing, Facebook recommendations and algorithms that share what your friends are up to.
When it comes to social media marketing for ecommerce, make sure that you’re focusing on customer relationships more than just endlessly and exclusively promoting your own products. You also want to answer questions fast to avoid abandoned carts.
6. Put Influencers to Work for You
Depending what influencers you go with, this one might not be so low cost, but for a lot of relatively small or medium-sized ecommerce businesses, influencer marketing doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
7. Start Email Marketing
Email marketing is a cornerstone part of ecommerce marketing and if you don’t think it can be effective, you’re wrong. With great visuals and great copywriting, you can deliver targeted suggestions, product announcements and discount offers to an audience who is already interested in your product.
8. Create a Shoppable Instagram
Instagram is a highly visual platform, with all the emphasis being on images and videos. It’s also a platform where users are thrilled to engage with brands, so it’s the ideal solution for ecommerce businesses selling products.
You can get the most out of the platform by making your Instagram shoppable.
Shopify stores and certain select brands can create actual Shoppable posts, where you tag products in your pictures. When users click on them, they see basic information like price and they can click again to purchase.
9. Google AdWords
With Google AdWords, you target specific keywords, effectively bidding to show up in relevant searches. Ads are displayed above search results, giving you an edge.
AdWords can help you connect with users who are actively searching for certain products or services, meaning they’re further along in the research or buying cycle, making AdWords a valuable system to invest in.
There’s a lot of strategy that comes into play when it comes to Google AdWords, so consulting an expert agency (like us!) can help make sure your money is well allocated to yield high returns.
10. Facebook & Instagram Ads
Facebook and Instagram Ads operate under the same interface, so we’re lumping them in together here.
These ads work differently than AdWords. Instead of targeting users by search intent and showing them ads when they’re looking for you, you target users based on different qualities like age, interest, and location to introduce them to your product. It’s inbound marketing at it’s finest, and it’s a great way to create demand and introduce users to your products.
Ready to get started with Facebook Ads? Check out our 101 guide here.
11. Promoted Pins
Promoted Pins is Pinterest’s PPC system and works a little like a combination of Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Promoted Pins work in several different ways, giving you the option to just have your ads pop up in relevant users feeds and/or to have them appear in relevant searches. It’s the best of both worlds, and since a large percentage of pinners use the platform to make buying decisions, it’s a great investment for ecommerce businesses.
Retargeting is the practice of sending targeted ads to specific users who have already interacted with your brand. This could include targeting users who:
Have recently visited certain pages on your website
Have purchased from you in the past
Are email subscribers
Were customers in the past, but are no longer engaged
Facebook is the king of retargeting, but Google AdSense also has strong retargeting capabilities.
13. Develop an App with Push Notifications
Having apps just for your business that customers download is a fantastic way to make sure that you’re staying at the forefront of their minds. Just think about how often users are on their phones, looking for something to do.
14. Target Virtual Reality Technologies
There are a lot of different ways to get involved with Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR), though it’s worth nothing that the latter in particular may only put you in front of very specific types of audiences. These audiences will be tech-savvy and likely relatively high income.
Augmented Reality is a type of VR and is often the best option for ecommerce businesses. Examples could include: