The Quick Guide to eCommerce Marketing

Jun 16, 2021
10 mins read

Online retail has shown no signs of slowing down, especially since the pandemic closed many highstreet stores and pushed retailers to focus on their digital efforts. It’s reported that the value of global eCommerce will reach $4.97 trillion this year - up a staggering 400% in 7 years.

Ecommerce platforms like Shopify have changed the game for online retailers, making setting up your online store and selling your products incredibly easy, affordable, and accessible. Whilst being part of a growing market is good, how do you cut through and draw more people to your site, then convert them into paying customers? The answer lies in eCommerce marketing via PPC ads to drive targeted traffic to your webstore.

If you want to grow a profitable eCommerce business, you’ll need a well-thought-out PPC strategy that can drive brand awareness and increase sales.

This article will help to get you clued up on:

  • Different types of eCommerce marketing
  • Ecommerce tips
  • How to make an eCommerce marketing strategy
  • How to use paid ads to grow your ecom business

Most of the 'magic' comes from your team’s ability to think critically and creatively when crafting a good marketing strategy, but knowing the basics will definitely give you a head start. Remember: experience, innovation and some savvy tekkers will be the thing that gets you the best results.

To give you a sense of what a proper eCommerce marketing strategy should look like, here are some common marketing channels and how you would use them to build an audience for your online store.

Social Media Marketing

Most brands, publishers, and growing businesses know that you need to be on popular social networks to succeed in today’s digital era. It’s the best way to connect with your audience directly. Your social profiles will give audiences a huge insight into your brand. It communicates who you are, what you do/sell, your brand ethics, your tov, plus so much more, so it really can’t be neglected in your marketing strategy.

As an eCommerce marketer, you should remember that not every social network is a good fit for your requirements. Not every campaign/creative is going to work on every platform. You’ll need to be prepared to adapt your ads depending on the message and where it’s being said. One ad might work on TikTok, whilst one will work on Facebook - and they might not look the same. If done well, it can drive a good amount of attention and traffic to your product pages.

Additionally, you can take your social media posts a step further by making shoppable content. This is content that enables visitors to make an immediate purchase. It includes anything from display ads in a social feed to additional tags that take users directly to a shopping cart. Ultimately, these methods help you remove any friction during the purchasing process.

Content Marketing

When people mention content marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is blogging and video marketing. This type of content is meant to improve your website's ranking in search engines and answer your industry queries. However, if you're selling a product online, is it necessary to have online articles and videos? Definitely.

Here's what to do:

  • Optimise your product page

Include short, product-driven keywords in your product descriptions. If you’re selling wedding dresses, a Google search for "purple bridesmaid dress" is most likely to produce product pages like yours if you’ve incorporated that term on that page.

  • Create relevant blog posts

Attract customers to your store with clever seo-optimised blog posts. Use them to talk about your products, your brand and anything else that you'd like your audience to know/see. It'll help to grow the connection between you and your customers.

  • Focus on backlinks.

By submitting guest posts, you’ll get more domain authority for your eCommerce website, which means search engines will understand that you have a reliable site and rank you higher.

To do this, you need to find sites that rank for keywords related to your product. Sometimes, you might not even need to create an entire post from scratch. Some sites already have posts related to yours, so you can offer to expand on it and provide additional content with a link to your site.

Search Engine Marketing

While SEO depends on your knowledge of search engine’s ranking algorithms to optimise content, SEM involves pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display campaigns or product-specific ad campaigns (like Google Shopping), which let you pay for the top spots on the search engine results pages.

For example, on Google, PPC campaigns guarantee that potential customers will see a link to your page when they type in search terms that match your campaign’s terms if you have your bidding strategy set up correctly. The campaign puts users directly in front of your product if they click on a paid result, boosting the likelihood that the searcher will purchase before exiting your website.

Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing can be a powerful marketing tool when it’s done correctly. It relies on brands paying a small percentage of sales linked to a specific ‘brand ambassador/affiliate’. This has proven to be popular with people who have large followings on social media/blogs/YouTube - like influencers or celebrities. It allows them to promote a product or service, and for everyone that goes on to buy through their link, they make some money.

For brands, this can be incredibly useful as it’s a way of latching on to a famous person’s following and having a trusted influencer talk highly about your product. This helps to grow not only sales of product but increases your brand awareness and trust signals.

Companies like Amazon, eBay and Shopify have easy to implement affiliate marketing tools for individuals and stores that use their platforms.

Google and Facebook are by far the heaviest hitters when it comes to online ads and customer reach. With that in mind, here’s how you can use paid ads to grow your eCommerce business.

  • Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC)

PPC advertising is one of the most important elements in your marketing strategy. There are several types of PPC ads that need to be highlighted – paid search, display, and shopping campaigns. These are the most relevant to a great eCommerce marketing strategy. Each type of PPC ad plays an important yet different role in your overall marketing strategy. To make things easier, let’s consider Google as the primary source of PPC ads since it’s popular and easy to use. There are other PPC ad networks like Bing Ads and Amazon Advertising, and they are also definitely worth including in your PPC strategy.

Paid Search Ads: This ad will appear at the top of the search engine results and will not have any type of imagery. Google provides the user with a text-only ad based on the user’s search terms.

This makes it an excellent strategy for in-market sales leads. If you’re specifically searching for “non-iron button-down shirts”, you’re most likely looking to purchase that item. You’ve identified a unique need, and you’re searching for the best available option. Paid Search advertisements can lead to high conversion rates and need to be included in your overall strategy.

Display Ads: Commonly referred to as banner ads, they can be seen all over popular websites, apps, and even mobile games.

Unlike Search ads, Display ads usually follow you around depending on your past browsing history. This is known as “retargeting”. These display ads can also be shown to the user based on the content of the article or website the user is viewing. Display ads are great for building brand awareness and generating conversions when used to retarget a customer, but in general, click-through rates will be much lower than Search ads. Note that the average conversion rate for Display ads is 0.77%, while Search Ads is 3.75%.

Shopping Campaigns (Product Listing Ads): You can use Google Shopping Campaigns and Bing Product Ads so your products can directly appear within the search engine results. This means that if the user searches for “women’s yellow boots,” they’ll see images of yellow boots at the top of the search results.

Depending on whether the products suit the user’s taste, they will click on the ad and be redirected to your online store. Ultimately, this is an excellent tool for your eCommerce store. Advertisers have been flocking to Google Shopping, and back in Q1 2018, it generated 60% of all the clicks on Google.

There are many tactics that you can use to drive visitors to your online store. Here are some creative tips you can use to market your eCommerce business:


Companies that use personalisation often see revenue increases that range from 6-10%. Tailor your messages to reflect the unique needs of individual customers.

This can be as simple as including a prospect’s name in the email subject line or showing smart content when a user visits a page for a second time.

Personalisation can expedite the buyer’s journey — instead of looking for something they need, you put it in front of them and make it easy for them to make a purchase.

User-generated content (UGC)

How great would it be if you could have your customers market for you absolutely for free? Well, that’s exactly what user-generated content (UGC) is. Ultimately, it’s finding ways for your customers to share and promote your business.

This helps in a few ways: It drives traffic to your online store, and it builds a faithful following of people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer.

Here are some creative and effective ways to drive UGC:

  • Competitions: Customers can enter to win a prize by showing your product somehow on their social profiles.

  • Review platforms: Customers can share feedback about your product on reputable review platforms.

  • Social media hashtags: Users can submit content related to your product by using a branded hashtag.

Build a loyalty program

They say a loyal customer is a customer forever. Who doesn’t want repeat business? By introducing a loyalty program, you provide your customers with an incentive to continue doing business with you through exciting offers and discounts. Building a customer loyalty program can take some planning and work, but all in all, it leads to excellent repeat business, referrals, and retention.

There are a couple of things you should consider when creating a loyalty program. You should try diversifying how users can show loyalty. It can be through repeat purchases, mentions on social media, or simply sharing your content with friends and family. You also need to come up with ways to pay off their loyalty. It can be through points, exclusive perks or even discount codes.

Set goals based on industry standards

Depending on the size of your business, your location, the industry, and a bunch of other factors, there are some benchmarks you can use to gauge your goals.

Look at milestones like click-through rates, website visits, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs and compare them to other eCommerce companies in your field. You’ll need to have a benchmark to aim for until you know your expected ROI.

Simplify your strategy into achievable metrics

We listed several different ways to market your content, and while it’s tempting to chase waterfalls, it’s better to focus on a couple of critical strategies that enable your business to bring in the most ROI.

Let’s say you want to focus on a paid strategy that drives users to your store. Some of your action items would be setting up a Google Ads account, determining your ad expenditure, audience planning, creative execution, creating an ad group based on the targeted keywords while also monitoring your account daily.

You don’t want to get lost in switching between strategies without executing one properly and allowing it to reap the benefits.

Target customers & markets

If you don’t clearly understand who you’re targeting, the characteristics that define them, and their location, you’re going to run inefficient campaigns that waste money on low-converting, unqualified individuals.

You need to make sure you know:

  • The age ranges

  • Gender break up

  • Geographic location

  • Purchasing ability

Analyse your situation

Conduct a thorough analysis of your business’s current state, competition, and overall marketing strategy.

There’s a strong emphasis on ‘thorough analysis’ here, as you need to leave no stone unturned. If you have a better understanding of your current situation, it will lead to better decision-making and results.