Ecommerce marketing

Ecommerce marketing: 8 steps + 15 tactics to boost online sales for 2021

Looking to boost online sales and increase brand visibility? Here are 8 steps to build a marketing plan plus 15 top ecommerce marketing strategies for 2021.
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Summary

The web is crowded. And it’s only getting more crowded. Trends show ecommerce business continues to grow year-over-year: ecommerce sales surged by over 30% in 2020.

With many competitors clamoring for attention, it can be a struggle to figure out where to focus your existing marketing strategy to help your brand stand out.

Enter ecommerce marketing, with numerous tactics you can use to drive visitors to your virtual doorstep. Broadly speaking, an effective online marketing strategy can:
  • Build brand awareness – bring attention to your business and expand your online reach
  • Improve online conversions – connect with the right customers and increase overall sales
  • Increase repeat sales – turn new customers into repeat customers and keep existing customers loyal
You may be new to online selling and just learning how to grow. Or maybe you already have an established store and are looking to increase awareness and sales. Either way, the right ecommerce marketing strategy can help you boost product visibility, improve online conversions, and win repeat purchases and customers.
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Did you know?

Amazon Advertising reaches 96% of all U.S. adults 25-54 every month.

Ad products reach shoppers at all stages of the marketing lifecycle, both on and off Amazon, to amplify your brand message.
A few practical strategies can positively impact sales. One success story: Happyganics, a family-owned laundry detergent business who took their business online in 2020.

More than 1.7 million small- and medium-sized businesses like Happyganics list products on Amazon, and you can too. Products from third-party sellers account for more than half of all units sold on Amazon.

Let’s look at several concrete steps you can take to build a marketing strategy for your online brand. Then, we’ll dive into top ecommerce marketing strategies for increasing online sales.
two women discussing ecommerce marketing strategies

8 steps to build an effective ecommerce marketing strategy

Ecommerce marketing isn’t a one-and-done task; it’s an ongoing and evolving process. Successful marketing strategies start with your business goals and leverage different online sales channels to boost sales. Here are 8 steps to build an effective ecommerce marketing strategy:

1.

Identify your business goals

What are you trying to achieve with your ecommerce business? Whether you’re in home improvement or designer electronics, your top priority is to create value for customers. Your business goals stem from there.

Not all goals are created equal. To give your ecommerce business the greatest odds of success, set clear and measurable goals and make sure they all meet SMART criteria:
  • Specific – Make sure to define the who, what, where, when, and why behind each of your goals.
  • Measurable – Include criteria to gauge progress.
  • Realistic – Can you realistically achieve your goals, given your resources and available schedule?
  • Timely – Set deadlines for time-sensitive goals and create a timeline to take each goal from start to finish.
Think of your marketing goals as arrows you can aim at a specific target. For example, saying you want to increase sales is not enough. Instead, saying you want to increase sales by 23% by the end of the second quarter is a timely, measurable goal.

Write down your goals and make sure each one checks all the boxes of SMART goal criteria. Revisit your goals regularly and keep them top-of-mind for inspiration, to maintain focus, and keep your sense of direction.

2.

Measure your current performance

Once you’ve defined your goals, it’s time to get a clear understanding of your current business situation.

Keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs). These are trackable criteria—think of KPIs as a regular “temperature check” on your business. KPIs can be things like:
  • Website traffic
  • Conversion rates
  • Referrals
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) revenue
  • Paid social traffic
  • Reviews and customer feedback
Choose performance metrics that show how your business is performing. They should help you identify what’s working, what’s not, and where you may need to redirect your efforts.

3.

Research your current and potential customers

Who is currently buying what you’re selling? What potential customers could you reach moving forward? Aim to be customer-centric: keep customers top-of-mind as you look to expand your customer base.

Customer reviews and feedback are a valuable way to gain insight into buyer needs and expectations. Be sure to use best practices for maintaining positive feedback and ratings.
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Did you know?

The Amazon Seller app can improve your performance

A product’s first review has been shown to increase sales by up to 3.5 times. Identify who gets the most value from the products you sell. Then, find out why by conducting customer interviews or using third-party reports. Take both new and existing customers into account as you assess customer behavior and notice buying patterns.

4.

Determine your budget and resources

Think about the expertise you have and need. What marketing responsibilities can you realistically handle yourself, and what would be better to outsource? Based on this, decide on a budget timeline for your marketing goals.

Which are short-term, and which are long-term? It’s OK to include a mix of both in your strategy.

Advertising and ecommerce marketing tools can help you reach your goals, so be sure to set aside part of your budget for what you’ll need.

5.

Choose the right channels

A sales channel could be a store like Amazon.com, your own website, or a social media account. Some businesses choose to use just one sales channel. Others opt for multiple channels to create more than one revenue stream. A multichannel approach may include your own website, several social media accounts, and Amazon all at the same time.

Based on your budget, target customers, and available resources, what channels can help you achieve your business goals?
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Pro Tip

Introduce new audiences to your business and build lasting connections

Performance advertising with Amazon Advertising can help connect products to the right audience, increase sales, and grow your business with advertising solutions. Promote product discovery, inform consumers, and optimize advertising to reach relevant shoppers, both on and off Amazon

6.

Create an action plan

You’ve done your research and identified the appropriate marketing channels to move toward your goals. How will you use those channels? The answer will depend on your business model and the sales channels you’ve chosen.

Now is the time to create a plan for each channel with concrete, strategic actions. Give yourself timelines and deadlines for completion. Consider covering the following points in your plan:
  • What are you setting out to accomplish?
  • What channels or activities will you focus on?
  • Who is responsible for each activity?
  • How often will you perform these functions?
  • How will you track progress?
  • How will you report on results?

7.

Track your performance

Are your goals on track? Check your progress regularly, whether a quarterly meeting, a daily check-in, a combination of both, or some other frequency.

See if you can identify where you hit the mark and what barriers kept you from achieving your benchmarks. You may find you need to tweak your goals. That’s OK! In fact, it’s to be expected.

Make adjustments to your goals where necessary to keep them achievable and realistic. Look for opportunities, seek out resources, and adopt tools to keep the momentum going.

8.

Optimize and refine

Optimizing an online store is a continuous process of evaluation and making tweaks to improve sales.

How do customers find your brand? Take what’s already working as a starting point. Then, refine your strategy with KPIs in mind.
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15 ecommerce marketing tactics to boost online sales

Whether you sell products or run a service-based business, here are 15 actionable techniques you can use to increase brand visibility and improve online conversion.

1.

Optimize an online store for search results

Small tweaks to store content can make it easier for customers to find your brand online. Here are examples of simple search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to improve an online store and increase sales with effective copywriting:
  • Product pages – Include descriptive and helpful keywords. Consider what search terms people might type into a search engine when looking for products similar to those you sell. Then be sure to include those words in your store copy.
  • Product descriptions – Help customers find products quickly through informative and organized descriptions. Ask yourself what questions customers might commonly have about the products you specialize in, then build in keywords naturally throughout the copy.
  • Product listings – Help customers discover the answers to their questions by including FAQs in product listings.
Aim for the best possible customer experience by making product listings concise, accurate, and easy to understand. Learn more about how to create comprehensive product pages and optimize an online store in this Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce, and be sure to follow best practices to avoid costly mistakes.
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Did you know?

Expand your SEO visibility using Amazon

Amazon product pages are optimized to show up competitively in search engine results pages (SERPs). You can increase the visibility of your products online by using descriptive titles, descriptions, and keywords for the product you sell in Amazon's store. You can optimize a product’s visibility with the Search Term Optimizer tool in the Brand Dashboard.

2.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing can be a great way to connect with customers and spread the word about your online business and the products you offer. Here are some tips:
  • Try starting with one or two social channels. Research the sites your customers are already using and focus on those.
  • Use well-written copy, engaging visuals, and videos to expand your reach and keep customers informed about new promotions and offers.
  • Consistently engage with followers, gather feedback, and court social influencers to build a loyal community.
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Did you know?

Amazon has an influencer program

If you're an influencer with an established social media following, you can earn commissions on Amazon.com purchases made through your referral links.

3.

Run product ads

Keep eyes on your brand, connect with target customers, and increase sales with strategic product ads.

There are several common types of paid search ads:
  • Pay Per Click (PPC) ads target a specific keyword on a search engine and make bids on the keyword, competing with others also targeting the keyword. You are only charged when a person clicks on your online ad.
  • Retargeting is a technique that shows online shoppers relevant visual or text ads when they visit other websites. This can be a way to remind visitors of products and services after they leave your ecommerce site.
Choose the right keywords to help entice customers, raise click-through rates, and drive consistent traffic to your brand with product ads.

Learn the lingo:

Paid search ads

Paid search ads are a form of digital marketing where search engines allow advertisers to show ads on their search engine results pages (SERPs).

4.

Try Amazon Advertising

Did you know there are sponsored ads specially for Amazon sellers? Amazon Advertising sponsored ad campaigns are easy to set up and appear in highly visible placements within shopping results or on product detail pages.
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Did you know?

Sponsered display ads help you reach the right audience

Sponsored ads with Amazon help you control costs, reach more customers, and measure success through tracking and insights.

Ready to begin? Check out this step-by-step guide to getting started with Sponsored Products: Advertiser Success Guide.

5.

Start an affiliate marketing program

Affiliate marketing programs can generate significant online revenue and drive sales.

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn a commission for marketing another person or company’s products. You search for a product, promote it, and earn a profit from each sale. Sales are tracked via affiliate links from one website to another.

The Amazon Associates Program helps content creators, publishers, and bloggers monetize their traffic. Associates can use link-building tools to direct an audience to their recommendations and earn from qualifying purchases and programs.

"Since we have a global audience, the Associates Program has helped us to scale our earnings internationally. It's been simple to sign up, expand and use!"
Impremedia

Learn more about how to use easy link-building tools to direct an audience to your recommendations: Amazon Associates Program

6.

Upsell and cross-sell with product recommendations

Upselling and cross-selling are two ways a business can assist a customer and boost sales at the same time:
  • Upselling persuades a customer to purchase a more premium product than one they’ve purchased, a higher-cost version of the same product, or an upgrade such as an add-on.
  • Cross-selling shows customers a comparable or adjacent offer related to a product the customer is interested in possibly purchasing to prompt additional purchases.
Try using upselling and cross-selling to increase a store’s average order value (AOV) and conversion rates.

7.

Make the most of reviews, testimonials, and case studies

Talk to customers as much as possible. Customer interactions are marketing gold. Here are three powerful ways to use positive customer experiences in your marketing:
  • Customer reviews can help you (or hurt you). They occur spontaneously, are visible to everyone, and happen without your control. Reviewers are candid, and many buyers read reviews before deciding to purchase: According to RetailWire, research shows customers trust online reviews as much or nearly as much as recommendations from family and friends. Don’t ignore reviews; instead, be sure to monitor, analyze, and respond to them.
  • Testimonials showcase a positive interaction your business has shared with a customer. Use testimonials on your websites and in other marketing materials to tell stories about your business and encourage customers to give your brand a try.
  • Case studies use storytelling to depict a customer’s journey and how your business helped someone succeed or solve a problem with a product. They can be written as an article or blog post or told in video format.
Showing how customers have benefited from products can go a long way in cultivating trust in your brand and attracting new business.

8.

Review store analytics

Ecommerce analytics can deliver data-driven insights into how customers interact with your online business, taking some of the guesswork out of optimization and revealing opportunities for improvement and innovation.

Study this information to understand trends and shifts in consumer behavior. Armed with store analytics, you can make decisions with the goal of driving more online sales.

9.

Use the Amazon Seller app

The Amazon Seller app allows you to manage your business on the go from the convenience of your mobile device. It’s free with a seller account and can help you:
  • Save time with quick and easy access to sales, listings, and other store features
  • Manage inventory and product prices remotely
  • Improve store performance by keeping up with customer reviews and requests
  • Get instant notifications so you can resolve issues as they arise and minimize any disruptions to your ecommerce business
  • Leverage additional management tools, such as account health, support, campaign management, and more
Download the Amazon Seller app for iPhone on the Apple Store or for Android on Google Play.
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Did you know?

You can manage your business on the go

Sellers who actively use the Amazon Seller App may earn a higher seller rating, have a lower account suspension rate, and have the ability to respond faster to buyer messages.
Click here to download the Amazon Seller app on Google Play
Click here to download the Amazon Seller app on the Apple App Store

10.

Build an email list

Managing an email list can be a highly tailored way to keep customers connected with your brand. You can send targeted emails to segments of your mailing lists depending on what actions you want customers to take. Here are a couple of common types of emails:
  • Cart abandonment emails can encourage customers to come back and purchase what they left in their carts.
  • Special offer emails let readers know about promotions and coupons. Get creative with free shipping offers, buy-one-get-one discounts, or digital coupons.
In order to get the most out of your email marketing efforts, collect customer email addresses as early in the sales funnel as possible. You can do this by offering incentives to capture a visitor’s contact information, such as a pop-up box with a freebie, coupon, or discount.
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Pro Tip

Use the Amazon manage your customer engagement tool

This tool give you a straightforward way to set up an email campaign in four simple steps.

11.

Blog

Blogging can be time-consuming but, done well, it can develop your brand voice, share your story, and drive sales. Keep these best practices in mind:
  • Strategically choose blog topics to help educate, encourage, and inspire customers. Do some keyword research to target concepts customers care about, then focus your posts on those topics.
  • Get creative with wishlists and free giveaways. The goal is to give people a reason to share your blog content and join your email list.
  • Guest post on other established blogs to drive traffic and position yourself as a thought leader in your arena.
Quality blog content isn’t simple product promotion. Instead, it offers expertise and helps customers make purchasing decisions.

12.

Nurture a community with the help of customer-generated content

Think about what unites your customers. For example, does your brand care deeply about a certain cause? Create a sense of community around your brand with the help of user-generated content (sometimes referred to using the acronym UGC).

Encourage your community to share their experiences with your business and product offerings. Here are some tips to get you started:
  • Categorize content and reach a wider audience with well-crafted hashtags.
  • Create clear guidelines to help inspire customers and let them know what type of content you accept.
  • Tailor content based on the channels you’ll be using, and adjust content as necessary for different social media sites.
Run a contest or offer rewards to encourage user-generated content and create buzz about your brand.

13.

Offer product bundling

Entice new customers and encourage existing ones to return with a customer loyalty program. A loyalty or rewards program can help motivate a customer to continue buying from you instead of a competitor. The more a customer buys or engages with the brand, the more rewards they earn.

Structure your program with special perks to keep customers coming back for more. While there are many program ideas out there, here are a few common methods:
  • Point-based programs allow customers to redeem points for credit toward their next purchase, perk, discount, or freebie.
  • Tiered programs offer customers different benefits depending on their rank. The higher the tier, the more exclusive rewards they’ll receive.
  • Paid loyalty, or fee-based loyalty programs, give customers ongoing benefits for a participation fee.
  • Free perks programs give loyal customers free products and services.
  • Mission-driven programs boost customer loyalty by aligning with a mission or cause.
You can also consider a service like FBA Subscribe and Save by Amazon to make it easy for customers to receive regular deliveries of items they order frequently.

14.

Offer product bundling

Think of product bundles as package deals: combinations of individual products sold as one package for one price. Bundling can help increase sales and brand loyalty.

Bundle items that make sense together and communicate the benefit to the customer. For example, if you sell clothing, you might offer a belt to go along with a pair of jeans or a matching set of earrings to accessorize a necklace. Or let customers bundle custom orders themselves with select items.

Bundling can also be a great way to promote new products. Use analytics to track data on what sells as a bundle, then use insights to make decisions on future bundles.
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Did you know?

Amazon can pack and ship your product bundles for you?

If you sell online with Amazon, you don’t need to ship items together to Amazon’s warehouses to offer product bundles. Instead, sellers using FBA can create a product bundle as a virtual offer. First, use Brand Analytics to learn what products customers are buying together, then create bundles in just a few minutes online. Then, when a customer orders the product, Amazon’s fulfillment center will package and ship the items together.

15.

Curate subscription boxes

Do you offer products that customers order again and again? Subscription boxes can be a creative way to build anticipation and get customers excited about items they receive regularly.

The ideas are endless: Pet products, food goods, craft kits, and beauty products are just a few examples of items that can make great subscription boxes. Consider growing your business with Amazon Subscription Boxes, where you can list, sell, and manage subscription boxes all in one place.

With strategy, effort, and the right tools in your marketing toolbox, you can help boost ecommerce sales in a big way. Amazon is here to help you succeed.

FAQ

What is ecommerce marketing?
Ecommerce marketing promotes brand awareness and drives customer loyalty with the intention of increasing online sales. It uses promotional tactics to drive traffic to an online store, encouraging customers to purchase products or services online.

The goal is to convert traffic into paying customers and turn them into repeat buyers. Ecommerce advertising falls under the umbrella of ecommerce marketing.
What is the difference between ecommerce marketing and digital marketing?
promote products or services. Any digital strategy for marketing your business applies to the term.

Ecommerce marketing is a category of digital marketing that includes strategies to market your ecommerce business online. It focuses on building a presence on the web.
What is B2B ecommerce marketing?
B2B (business to business) ecommerce marketing aims to increase online sales for companies that serve other businesses. B2B ecommerce marketing refers to techniques and tactics used to promote products or services to online businesses.
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Did you know?

You can reach business customers through selling with Amazon Business?

Create offers for registered businesses, complete with business pricing, quantity discounts, and more. Reach 1+ million business customers worldwide.
What is B2C ecommerce marketing?
B2C (business to consumer) ecommerce marketing aims to increase online sales between a business and an online consumer (customer). B2C ecommerce marketing refers to techniques and tactics used to promote products or services to online customers. It aims to make connections with buyers, raise brand awareness, cater to customers, and capitalize on the value of the brand.

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