eCommerce Marketing Strategy | Analyse, Optimize, Maintain and Scale

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Posted on 19.12.2019 | by Tigran | CEO at Smarketa

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Are you an online store owner in desperate need of a comprehensive and simple guide to optimize your marketing strategy? Well look no more, you have found it! This guide is written by marketing experts with consultation from real store owners to give you useful tips, no theory. 

A right eCommerce marketing strategy is the key to running a successful online shop, and you know it. No matter what you are selling, if you do not optimise and tailor the marketing strategy to fit your specific needs and the current market situation, you will fall behind in the race for more customers and sells.

A good digital marketing agency for eCommerce website takes into account all of the aspects of your online presence: the overall positioning of your store, the landing pages, the trust elements, the marketing channels such as SEO, SEM, SMM, the paid ads and their placement, the budget, the competition and so on.

This article will tackle the problem of your eCommerce marketing strategy, what steps are necessary to optimise it and keep it current, in order to stay ahead of your competition and reach your full potential.

We have created the following process for eCommerce marketing strategy optimization and use it when we perform such services to our clients. This is a proven working model to help you grow your business.

All examples and advice come from our marketing experts and 9 years of experience in the field of eCommerce marketing. In this article, you will find only real-life situations with practical and true cases.

Be prepared to perform these steps periodically. The optimization process is a circle, and once you enter it, there is no going out, if you want to stay current and continually look for ways to maximise revenue and minimise costs. 

In case you don’t fully understand the mechanism, here is a visual representation of the full process of optimization. Keep on reading to be able to go through the process of your eCommerce marketing strategy optimization without any hiccups or setbacks.

If this seems like too much work for you, or you don’t feel like you have enough expertise to see this through, seek the help of our professionals and click below to schedule an appointment.

Analyse

First things first, everything starts with analysis. You are an online store owner, which means you are doing some kind of eCommerce marketing.  What you need to do in this stage, is analyse all the metrics you have, i.e. your traffic count, channels, devices and of course your conversion rate. What many people forget to analyse in this stage is their KPIs as well.

To be able to fairly analyse if your store is performing well or not, you need to compare your data with the KPIs you have set. Later on, in the optimization stage, you will adjust your KPIs as well as your funnel and activities.  

Now let’s explore each analysis and see what exactly you need to look into to get a full picture of the situation.

Analyse your Metrics

When it comes to analysing your metrics, the best and most widely used tool is probably Google Analytics. Once you have all your tracking in order, it will show all the metrics you need to know, like traffic count, with all its insights, channels and devices. 

There are important metrics connected to your website, that sheds light onto your user experience, like bounce rate, average time on page, page per session, unique sessions and so on.

All these metrics combined have a great effect on your online store’s conversion rate. So deep analysis of your website’s metrics is a must to see what kind of adjustments are needed and where.

For example, if you have a high bounce rate, you need to look into your traffic, to make sure you are attracting the right audience or analyse your user interface and content. Maybe the language you are speaking to your clients is off, or maybe you have a confusing user interface, without a clear funnel and path.

Let us show how we handled the bounce rate in case of Mobile Signal Boosters. The bounce rate was running pretty high, on average 50%, and through website optimization,  we could achieve 25%, which is pretty great for an eCommerce website.

To further illustrate what we mean by website optimization, we can say that the loading speed was at about 8 sec. which is very high, and we brought is down to 3 seconds. Another factor in the Mobile Signal Boosters’ high bounce rate was the irrelevant traffic and targeting of wrong keywords

Thus, we performed an on-site keyword optimization, that gave great results. The last thing we analysed was the visitor’s interactions with the website, and that helped us make necessary changes, like changing the product filter and adding some user-friendly buttons. 

Another way to go is analysing your channels, to see which has a better time turnout and ROI. The channels include search engines, both paid and organic, social, referral, emails and so on.

For example, when analysing your organic traffic, you need to look deep into your SEO and perform an SEO audit. It will show you all the problems that affect your SEO health, like site speed, broken links, bad content, wrong site architecture, etc. and will give you a clear picture on how to solve them.  

It is a great way to go if you want to build organic traffic and not spend money on ads. SEO efforts become evident with time, however, they also last longer. Paid traffic disappears as soon as you turn off your ad. SEO will bring you free traffic for a long time, saving you money.

As to devices, there is a general rule that states – desktop has a better conversion rate, then mobile. Everything depends on the product you are selling and its price, however, keep in mind, that most often than not, people commit to a purchase on a desktop, rather than a mobile device.

As soon as Google started mobile-first indexing, people started to pay more attention to their mobile version. However, as a rule, mobile is used to bring more traffic to the website, and desktop, still, seals the deal. 

Analyse your KPIs

First of all, let’s see what is a KPI. A Key Performance Indicator (KPI) is a quantitative value that shows how efficiently the organization is achieving its business goals. As your store is already up and running, you probably have already set some kind of KPIs.  

So in this stage, you need to see if your goals in the form of KPIs are met or not. By analyzing your data and comparing it to your KPIs you can see where you have room for improvement.

For example, if your conversion rate KPI is set at 1.5% and your data shows 1%, you see that optimization is in order. Now you need to look deep into your customer journey from start to finish, i.e. traffic – funnel – sale, and see where you have troubles, in order to optimise that particular part.

For instance, your onsite funnel before the offer page is 2 pages, and your traffic drops dramatically from the second page, then you know your second page is bad. Here you need to analyze your client behaviour, see what is wrong by creating heatmaps, for example, using such tools as Hotjar.

Once you see the client behaviour, you will understand what to do to improve the situation. Your options here would be either to make a new page, improve the content and/or the UX/UI design, a/b test your buttons or skip the page altogether, taking it out of your funnel.

Optimize

Now that you have analyzed all your data and have a clear picture of what’s what in your current situation, it’s time to optimise.

Optimization in marketing is making your existing channels, landing pages, offer and so on work to its best. You need to keep what works and optimise what doesn’t or let it go altogether.

Depending on your findings and set business goals, you will have different optimisation opportunities. Depending on your findings and set business goals, you will have different optimisation opportunities. 

If, for example, one of your business goals is to minimise your costs in the long run, you will need to generate an eCommerce marketing strategy that will focus on your SEO and content marketing to boost your organic traffic.

Search Engine Optimization requires an initial investment for checking the SEO issues of your online store and implementing all the necessary changes, but once it starts to work, you will no longer need to spend money to generate traffic.  

In general, there are many things you are able to optimise, starting from your traffic and channels, finishing with your Conversion Rate and Average Order Value.

Conversion rate

When it comes to eCommerce optimization in general and conversion optimization in particular, there are 2 points of access – either website or marketing or both.

Each particular webstore and situation needs either one or the other, or a combination of both.

Here’s what falls under eCommerce website optimization – content, UX/UI design, landing page optimization and much more. If you use the right content marketing strategy for eCommerce, making your buyer avatar the focus of it, you will no doubt get great results.

Web design is another very important approach to adopt in your overall optimization of eCommerce marketing strategy. A/B testing your buttons, your landing page and the content will show you what works and what not and will lead you on the way of creating the best funnel that sells. 

As long as we are clear on what website optimization means, we can look into marketing conversion rate optimization. Here you need to focus on your channels, devices, campaigns (do micromanage, a/b testing), track your traffic by hours and days of the week, revisit your target groups and so on.

From the conversion rate optimization perspective there are many key points to look at two of which we highlighted: revisit your offer and traffic. Your traffic needs to be relevant to your offer.

If for example, you are bringing 1000 of traffic to an offer, that doesn’t correspond to their interests or searched keyword, your conversion rate will be very low. If you create a strategy to bring quality traffic, your conversion rate will definitely increase. 

There could also be a situation, where the keywords and traffic are relevant, but the offer is not attractive. In this case, you need to work on your offer and create one that will catch your potential buyers’ attention and push them towards making a purchase. You can do that by offering for example same-day shipping, have easily accessible support, the refund policy and so on.

All of these efforts serve one purpose – to reach your buyer avatar. The golden formula to follow is the right person – right ad – right page.

The trend today is that people don’t want to look for information, they want it to be very accessible, easy and fast to reach. If you take a person who is looking to buy an iPhone 11 Pro to a “Sold Out” page, you will, most definitely, lose that person. Every time you make your visitor do an additional step, you lower your chances of converting them.

Here is how we created the funnel for the ads on Mobile Signal Boosters. When the person is searching for 4G Signal booster, he/she sees the ad specifically designed for 4G boosters. 

When they click on the ad, they go to the final page of 4G signal boosters, with many to choose from, according to their area and original signal strength.

This is an example of the well thought and relevant funnel, that will leave your customer satisfied with their experience and you – a bit richer.

AOV Optimization

Average order value is a crucial indicator that shows the average amount of money spent by the customers in your online store per order and is tracked over a defined period, like a week or a month. This knowledge helps with setting up and modifying marketing and pricing strategies. AOV also presents a great scaling opportunity, which we will talk about further down.

As to how you can optimize your AOV, there are different things you can try. You can increase the price, which is a risky move, but possible. You can also change your funnel, directing your customers to a more expensive product through filter, landing page and ads optimization.

Traffic Optimization

Traffic is also another great scaling opportunity, which again, we will touch later on. 

As to traffic optimization, you need to look deeper into your existing traffic channels and see what can be done better.

For example, you see that your traffic from SERPs is performing well, but not great. In order to optimise your organic traffic, you need to focus on your content, both onsite and offsite.

Through blogging, content and keyword optimization, making sure you are using the right keywords to bring the right audience to the right page, you can achieve great results. Your content needs to be engaging, informative and easy to read. 

As you can see on the example of Mobile Signal Boosters, within 1-year traffic has grown 8 times. We were able to achieve such amazing results by applying a strategy of a unique combination of SEO optimization, both on and off-site, and paid advertising, both on search engines and socials.  

Maintain

Now that you have analyzed and optimised all there was to analyze and optimise, you need to keep track of what you did and maintain the high indexes got through hard work.

When it comes to maintenance, you need to make sure your whole cycle runs smoothly and all the KPIs are met, by tracking and keeping an eye on all of your departments. Make sure you get reports periodically in order to monitor and see if there are any problems on the way.

From a marketing point of view, you need to approach it from two points – channels used and customers you want to keep.

Channel maintenance

Choose your metrics

You need to look deep into your metrics and see which ones are important and affect your sales. For example, tracking your website traffic, positions in SERPs, CTR, page rankings and so on.

You want to have in mind a clear funnel for the customer and make sure that your customer doesn’t divert from that funnel and you are not losing people because of an unclear message or path. Here you can track your paid ads and see which channels work best for you. 

Tracking is everything

Once you know what metrics are important to you, set up tracking. There would be some indicators, like traffic, that needs to be checked on a daily or weekly basis.

However, there are metrics like AOV or conversion rate, that makes sense to look into on a monthly basis. So make sure that you are tracking your metrics in the right time-frame. Your channels, on the other hand, require weekly monitoring, to make sure there are no hiccups on the way.

Keep one eye on the competition

Tracking competition will give you lots of data, and explain in some cases drops in your traffic and sales. It will help you adjust your pricing and see how their ads are performing through Google auction insights.

For example, here you see traffic tracking from May to October, and there is a drop in June and September. This could be just a seasonal pattern in your niche or even a change in Google algorithm. When you see data like this, you need to look closely into your position in SERPs which includes your competitors as well. 

If you had 2nd position and now you see yourself in 3rd or 4th, that will explain the situation. Most often than not it’s one of your competitors being more active or maybe even a new player entering the market. Further investigation will let you know the measures you need to take to come back on top.

In this particular case, the drop was caused by competition’s aggressive bidding strategy, and after testing different response strategies, Mobile Signal Boosters has gained their traffic back.

The market environment is constantly changing, and you need to keep up and manage to benefit. It’s a never-ending race, so staying sharp is the key here.

Customer retention

Now it’s time to put on your creative hats and brainstorm ideas. eCommerce customer retention is done through various eCommerce marketing channels and strategies. 

Here you can be as original and inventive as you want to be. Of course, there are things that work, and ones that don’t, however, new and fresh ideas are welcome, since anyone can offer sales and contests. 

You need to offer something unique, to grab your customer’s attention, appeal to their feelings and want them to become your loyal customers.

You need to know your buyer avatar very well and speak to them with your eCommerce retention strategies, whether they are marketing campaigns, like contests, special sales for registered customers, coupons, recycling opportunities and so on. 

All your efforts here need to serve one purpose – to build brand loyalty. Even if you are a small online shop that sells everyday things like household items or cleaning products, you need to offer them something they won’t find anywhere else and will keep coming back for more.

On the example of Mobile Signal Boosters, we have created a bundle of services, to maintain customer retention. We offer 24/7 customer service, 30-day money-back guarantee, free trackable delivery, 2-year warranty, aftersale support, installation services. The list goes on.

By taking such good care of the customers, we make sure they keep coming back, instead of looking for new vendors to take care of their connection troubles.

Scale

The last phase of your eCommerce marketing strategy is the scaling of your operations. There are different approaches you can take to scaling. You can approach it from the angle of traffic, offer or average order value (AOV).

The goal and best practice in scaling your operations are to grow together and step-by-step since you don’t want to mess up your metrics. For instance, if your traffic has intense spikes, your other metrics, like AOV will take a deep dive, and you don’t want that. 

Another important step is to look into your competition. Many people forget to do that in this stage, but in order to get a real picture of what’s going on in the market and what works and whatnot, you need to analyse your competitors.

Let’s get into each one more in-depth and see what steps you can take to scale different metrics and achieve full potential.

Competitor Analysis

So now, when you have gone through all the steps of your eCommerce marketing strategy optimization and, more or less, run a successful and steady business, it’s time to look back at your competition to get some fresh look and analyse the digital environment you are in. 

Surely, you have gone through this process, when you were getting ready to launch your product, and may think why you need to do this again… Well, the previous analysis showed you who is your competition and what they were doing at that time.

However, the time has passed, and most likely there has been some new developments, maybe a new funnel, some new techniques or methods that are working now. It could also be the case that some of the parts of the funnel have dropped out, as it wasn’t working.

Competitor analysis at this stage will help you get an update on the latest developments, and show you opportunities for optimization and scaling. 

eCommerce market is a living organism, constantly changing and transforming. Thus, to know how exactly to scale your eCommerce marketing strategy, you need to know the current condition on the market. 

When it comes to eCommerce competitor analysis, you need to take about 5 competitors in your area and look into their data. Keep in mind to pick the ones in your geographical area, since the location is the key, in case you are a local e-store. If you are a global shop, take the top 5 competitors in your niche, sorting them by your buyer avatar.

If the merchandise you are selling doesn’t have much local competition, take a couple of competitors in nearby countries. For example, if your online store is based in the UK, look into your competition in France or Germany.

The goal of undertaking a competitor analysis is threefold.

  • Firstly it gives you an idea of what works. After you analyse all the competitors, chances are you will notice common threads and techniques used.

    If all or the majority of your competition is doing it – that means that the particular technique or channel is working, and you need to get on that train as well. 
  • Secondly, the analysis will give you new ideas of channels and techniques to try. There could be something that others haven’t tried before, and you can be a pioneer. We have tried this with MSB, changing the text of the ads.

    Some of our competitors weren’t mentioning the problem and the solution in the ad, just the price and the name of the product. As soon as we gave the solution in our ad copy, we saw an amazing 30% increase in conversion rate. 
  • Thirdly, it will show your competitor’s strong sides, where they beat you and give you a chance to come up with strategies to come on top and make it better, as Beatles suggested :).

Here landing pages can perform miracles. If your competitor is doing a strong segmenting of their target audience, but taking them into a segmented but indexing page on the website, you can create landing pages and direct your traffic through them. The beauty of landing pages is that you can create each one to speak to each segment. 

For example, you can target your ads by age, gender group, search keywords, and each will have their own landing page, which will speak to people, looking specifically for 4G Mobile signal booster for home, or men, who need to improve their connection and so on. This technique helped us increase our AOV by 50% at Mobile Signal Boosters.

When it comes to tools best used for eCommerce competitor analysis, they include SemRush, Ahrefs, Majestic, Moz and they show you all the important metrics you need to know about your competitors, like organic and paid search, backlinks, top organic and paid keywords and so on. As an example, here is an overview of Mobile Signal Boosters’ competitors using SemRush.

As you can see, it gives you all the necessary information, and you have an option to go into details and examine each indicator one by one, trying to understand your competitor’s strategy and goals.

Traffic

We have already talked about the optimization opportunities connected to traffic in the upper section. Here, traffic scaling requires different approach, techniques and execution. In the optimization phase, you had to work on existing channels, here you are exploring new ones. 

A good place to start would be to look into your competitors’ traffic. Average traffic depends highly on the industry and the particular niche of eCommerce that you occupy.

For instance, the average traffic of an online hardware store differs greatly from the one, of an online shoe store. However, if your top competitor’s traffic is let’s say 100.000 per month and yours is 20.000, you have room for improvement. 

In order to grow your traffic, you need to either explore new channels or new markets. For example, your Google ads are performing great, but you still haven’t explored Facebook ads, it might be the time to do so. If you want to scale your organic traffic, look into new keywords to target and start creating content accordingly.

When talking about new markets we mean new countries. For example, you are running a popular online store that sells bags in Germany. You can scale your traffic by trying to enter the Austrian or Swiss market.

You can also scale your traffic by selling new products with the same traffic channel or the same or similar funnel.

Offer

There is a great possibility to scale your business by offering too. Any new product that you introduce to your audience is scaling your offer. You can create a new category on your website, copy the funnel that works best for you, and start selling your new product. 

You can, of course, try to create a new funnel, meaning new landing pages, new design, new channels of distribution and traffic acquisition, and see if you can push your product in a new way. 

However, taking what works and using it to sell a new product would probably be a safer bet in the beginning. For example, you are selling tea through your website, and now you want to add teapots and cups. The easier option here would be to take your existing funnel of selling tea and direct the same traffic to pots and cups too.

Keep in mind that in this case, your organic traffic source will not work the same, since pots and cups are sold through different keyword targeting. Here you can take the same funnel of your tea ads, change the content to match your new product, and direct your audience to pots and cups. 

You can also try to target a new audience, use a new traffic channel not used in the past, like facebook ads for example, and create a completely new funnel for your new product. Either way, scaling your operation by the offer is a sure way in growing your business.

AOV & LTV

Average order value (AOV) and Lifetime Value (LTV) are other metrics that show scaling possibilities of your operations. We have talked about the AOV in the optimization phase, however, scaling requires a different method. 

The question of how to calculate the AOV and how to use that information in your pricing and other strategies in for another time. For now, we can tell you that such techniques as cross-sells and upsells are a great strategy in increasing your AOV eCommerce indicator.

Here is how we performed the Cross Sells for our clients – Kaoori chess shop. 

Here is how you can perform your upsells.

Lifetime value is another very important metric that shows the total amount spent by the customer, during their entire lifetime as your customer. LTV is probably one of the most important metrics to track and work on since it increases the profits like no other and touches each area of your business. 

For example, if your average Joe customer spends about $200 per month, and keeps being your loyal customer for at least 1 year, then your average customer LTV would be $2400. 

You can implement all kinds of eCommerce customer retention methods, also together with cross-sells and upsells. You need to figure out your own unique strategy and move forward. 

For example, we have created a funnel for upgrades on the product page for Mobile Signal Boosters, offering, for example, cables and antennas, which has increased their AOV by 20%. That is a great improvement, but the sky’s the limit. It really depends on the niche and the product itself.

Final Words

Here we have outlined very general and main steps on how you need to move forward with optimizing your eCommerce marketing strategy. Each online store and each marketing strategy requires very close attention and individual approach with tailored techniques and optimization plans. 

As the infographics in the beginning illustrate, optimization is a never-ending loop. If you want to stay afloat and keep prospering in the unstable and ever-changing market of online sales, you need to keep your hand on the pulse and adapt to all the changes that competition throws at you.

You can look into best eCommerce marketing strategies and even ask yourself questions like why SEO is important in a digital marketing strategy or how to create a digital marketing strategy for an eCommerce website that works, but only through trial and error, you will achieve your very specific formula of success. 

You can either attempt to create your strategy yourself or hire a professional eCommerce Marketing Agency to guide you through this process and take care of all the technicalities so you can solely concentrate and focus on your vision and business goals. 

If you choose the latter, contact us to set up a talk and understand your goals and optimisation opportunities. Just like our other clients, you will experience the amazing results that eCommerce marketing strategy optimisation brings, and the high quality we bring to the table with our 9 years of expertise.  

Tigran | CEO at Smarketa

Tigran Mirzoyan is the CEO at Smarketa and also loves to share his experience and expertise in blogs. Since 2010, the year Smarketa was founded, Tigran has worked tirelessly to grow eCommerce businesses, and now he can share his experience with those in need of professional advice.