You’re heading the eCommerce marketing strategy of an awesome business.
You’ve got a great product, an attractive website, and a team of employees who are dedicated to helping the business succeed.
There’s just one problem.
You’re not quite sure how to scale your eCommerce marketing strategy. Maybe you’ve tried a few different tactics with moderate success, but nothing seems to be working as well as it should.
So, you feel stuck and unsure of exactly what you’re doing wrong.
Does that situation sound familiar?
If so, you’ve come to the right place.
By the time you’re done reading this post, you’ll be able to make changes to your eCommerce marketing strategy that’ll help you attract your target audience and boost your sales.
Let’s get started.
6 Critical eCommerce Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #1: Being too promotional on social media.
Put yourself in a customer’s shoes for a second.
How would you feel about an eCommerce business that always posted self-serving, sales-y content on social media?
You wouldn’t like it. In fact, you’d probably end up disconnecting with the brand.
And you can bet that your customers feel the same way. They don’t want to connect with eCommerce brands that promote products 100% of the time.
What they do want is to build relationships with brands they can relate to. And you can start building those relationships with your target customers by sharing – not selling.
Let’s look at an example of how it’s done.
Here’s the Instagram feed of an eCommerce store called The Elephant Pants:
They sell – you guessed it – pants with elephants on them. And they donate a portion of every sale to help prevent elephant poaching.
You can see that they have lots of product photos on their Instagram feed. But what about those photos of elephants? What purpose do they serve?
Well, the people attracted to The Elephant Pants brand tend to be passionate about animals – specifically, elephants. So, these cute photos with relatable captions easily engage the brand’s ideal customers on Instagram.
While the elephant photos don’t directly drive immediate sales, they do help The Elephant Pants build a stronger brand that resonates with their target audience.
And in the long run, that strong brand is what will help them attract new customers and retain their existing ones.
So, when you’re looking at your social media marketing strategy, make sure you aren’t posting promotional content 100% of the time. Ask yourself what kind of content would delight your target audience, and use that knowledge to make positive changes to the way you use social media.
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #2: Failing to use email marketing.
First of all, if you’re not capturing email addresses at all, you should start doing so ASAP. Since 91% of people check their email every day, email marketing is a great way to stay connected with your target audience.
If you’re not quite convinced, these statistics might change your mind:
- Email accounts for over 7% of all e-commerce user acquisitions, making it the second most effective acquisition channel after search. (Source)
- The average return on an investment in email marketing is $44.25 for every dollar spent. (Source)
- 68% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional company emails. (Source)
Here’s another fact that may surprise you:
Email is more effective than Twitter and Facebook for boosting online sales. Take a look:
But maybe you already know how effective emails can be – you just aren’t sure how to use them to sell more products.
If that’s the case, follow these tips to start driving eCommerce growth with email marketing:
- Send your loyal customers discount codes. You can send them randomly and on special occasions (like the customer’s birthday).
- Check in with customers who have incomplete purchases to remind them of their shopping cart. Doing this can help improve your checkout conversion rates.
- Let customers know when you have new arrivals in stock. You’ll create excitement around your brand and encourage repeat purchases from your loyal customers.
Remember, there’s no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” email marketing strategy. For best results, you’ll want to try different tactics and run A/B tests so you can figure out what works best with your target audience and adjust your strategy accordingly.
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #3: Replying to customers on social media too slowly.
Here’s something you may not realize:
You probably aren’t responding to your customers on social media quickly enough.
And it that’s the case, you need to improve.
That’s because showing you care about your customers online by responding to them quickly will make your target audience perceive you as trustworthy and likable, which means they’ll be more likely to buy from you.
On top of that, responding quickly is important because your customers don’t simply want a response from you – they expect one. And research shows that they want it fast.
How fast, you ask?
Lithium Technologies survey data shows that 53% of users want a response within an hour.
And when the customer has a complaint, that number rises to a whopping 72%.
If the eCommerce brand doesn’t respond, 60% of users take unpleasant actions to convey their dissatisfaction with how they’ve been treated.
You can bet that lots of those “unpleasant actions” include saying something negative about your eCommerce store on social media.
Since the last thing you want is a crowd of people talking about how much they dislike your brand online, respond as quickly as you can to customer complaints.
And make sure you’re sympathetic and friendly like Nike Support was in this customer interaction:
In other words, don’t use stuffy language and canned responses like this one:
“I apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused. Please call our customer service number for further assistance.”
Twitter customer service research shows that 77% of consumers are likely to recommend a brand if they receive personalized customer service, and responses written in a robotic, corporate-y tone like the one above are pretty much the opposite of personal.
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #4: Failing to create a mobile version of the eCommerce site.
Comscore data shows that consumers spend more time shopping on their mobile devices than they do on desktop computers. So, if you want to succeed at marketing an eCommerce website, that website must be optimized for mobile devices – period.
If the desktop version of your eCommerce website pops up when customers search for it on mobile, they probably aren’t going to stick around and make a purchase. Instead, they’ll get frustrated by how difficult it is to navigate your site on their mobile device and search for a more accessible product elsewhere.
Don’t let that happen. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile devices right now, have your web developer start working on it ASAP.
Otherwise, there’s a good chance that your website will continue to send your target audience running off to your competitors.
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #5: Not partnering with Instagram influencers.
If you have an established eCommerce business, you’re probably already posting photos on Instagram.
But if that’s all you’re doing to drive sales from Instagram, you’re missing out on a big opportunity. I’m talking, of course, about the opportunity to partner with influencers and expand your brand’s reach.
Seriously. If you’re wondering how to grow your eCommerce business fast, this is the answer.
Cluse is a company that sells elegant, minimalist watches, and they’ve been able to boost their eCommerce growth by increasing their Instagram following to 216K people using this strategy.
What they do is reach out to the influencer they want to work with, offer to send them a watch for free, and pay that influencer to share a photo that features the watch.
Here’s an example of an influencer post that features a Cluse watch:
The influencer account pictured above has 889K Instagram followers, so you can imagine how effectively just one post like this could drive sales for Cluse.
So, now you’re probably thinking:
How can I make this Instagram influencer marketing strategy work for my eCommerce business?
Here are the steps you should follow:
- Identify Instagram influencers who have high-quality photos, a following that includes your target audience, and a high engagement rate. For example, if you sell bohemian-inspired jewelry, you could partner with a successful fashion blogger who wears lots of bohemian-inspired clothing. That way, you’d know that her Instagram followers would likely be interested in your jewelry.
- Contact the influencers to talk about how you can collaborate. When you do this, you’ll want to discuss payment for their Instagram post, any details about what the post should look like, and instructions on what the caption should be (make sure you include a call to action and consider including a discount code to help drive sales). Keep in mind that conversational content that tells a story – not overly promotional content – will most effectively build your brand.
- Engage with the photo and re-post it to your account. Don’t be afraid to respond to people who comment on the influencer’s photo of your product – doing so is a great opportunity to engage with your target audience. You’ll want to save the influencer’s photo and re-post it to your eCommerce business Instagram account too (as long as you ask first and tag them in the photo).
You can also use Photoslurp to collect all of the influencer photos that feature your products and display them on your website. Since each of these photos would link back to the product page of the featured product, it’s a great way to get the most out of your influencer marketing efforts.
Keep in mind that you should fill out your Instagram profile completely before you try influencer marketing on Instagram. It should include a description of your eCommerce business that entices your target audience and a link to your website.
And if you want to drive sales even more effectively, don’t just add your home page link to your profile – use the Photoslurp Shoppable Instagram feature to get a custom link that allows customers to shop the looks featured in your profile.
This feature gives customers a direct path to purchasing something from your store, making it a great option for business owners who are serious about driving eCommerce growth with Instagram.
eCommerce Marketing Mistake #6: Writing lackluster product copy.
Make no mistake – your product copy can absolutely determine how many products you sell.
And it’s easy to understand why. Your product copy is your opportunity to persuade the customer to buy a product by telling a story that makes it irresistible, like this:
See how that little paragraph above the bulleted list helps potential customers envision themselves wearing the dress?
That’s how you know the product copy is well-written. It tells a story that sells.
Here are 3 more ways improve your product copy:
- Use sensory words.
For example, if you’re selling an article of clothing, you could use appealing words like “velvety” or “silky smooth” to describe its texture.
But sensory words can work for just about any item. Take a look at how See’s Candies writes their product copy to get people’s mouths watering:
Sensory words (like “crunchy” in the example above) make a strong impression on readers and help drive sales because they depict how pleasant the reader’s experience will be like when using the product.
- Eliminate buyer’s guilt.
When someone’s thinking about making a purchase on your eCommerce website, they might not go through with it because they feel too guilty about spending money on themselves.
That’s why it’s so important for you to write your product copy in a way that eliminates buyer’s guilt.
You can do this by:
- Letting them know that they’re getting a great deal – If they feel like they’ve found a bargain, they won’t feel as bad about spending the money.
- Making them realize that the product could save them money in the long run – For example, if you sell jackets that are made to last, you could say that a benefit of buying the jacket is that you won’t need to buy another one for X number of years.
- Talking about all the different ways the product can be used – Let’s say you’re selling shoes that look nice enough to wear to formal events but are also comfortable enough to wear on a daily basis. Here’s an example from Groupon:
You can see how that little paragraph under “In a Nutshell” mentions the shoe’s versatility, helping the buyer feel like they’re making a practical purchase.
- Make sure your descriptions are easy to read.
That means no giant walls of text.
Because research shows that 79% of people don’t actually read website copy – they scan for important points. That’s why it’s important to break up your copy with white space, bulleted lists, and other elements that make it easy to scan.
And since text that’s going to be read by the general public should be written at an 8th-grade level, you’ll want to leave out complex language and difficult words too.
Now that you’ve learned some foolproof tactics for marketing an eCommerce website, it’s time to get to work. Use your new knowledge to make strategic improvements, and there’s a good chance that you’ll see your eCommerce sales numbers increase.
And remember that the most profitable eCommerce brands are the ones who consistently make an effort to connect with their target audience. If you keep that in mind in everything you do, you’ll find it much easier to set your business up for success.
Do you have any questions about how to grow your eCommerce business with online marketing? Ask away in the comments section below!