Your Ultimate Guide To E-commerce Marketing For 2018
With so much new tech, and so many new trends on the horizon, it feels like the world of e-commerce is due to be shaken up in 2018. The reality of self-driving cars and widespread automation looms closer every day…
If you’re at the forefront of the marketing game, you’ll be in prime position to surpass the competition and cement yourself as a major player in your industry.
Social Media Spending To Increase
Social media isn’t new, poorly understood, wildcard that it once was. Companies have learned how to best use it, but in doing so, have watered down its effectiveness.
The social media sites themselves understand the fickle nature of their users, and they will do whatever it takes to stay relevant. This means moving the focus back to the content their users came for — posts from their friends and family. But this leaves all those companies who have been enjoying their free advertising out in the cold.
It’s already happened on Facebook — even if you have a massive following, you will see a very little effect from your posts. Does this mean social media marketing is over? Not exactly.
Money makes the world go round, and social media is no longer an exception to that rule. If you want to reach your audience on social media you’re going to need to turn to paid ads and influencer marketing.
Facebook is an ecommerce advertiser powerhouse, with loads of engaging formats to try (like the carousel ad below).
The strength of Facebook advertising it the ads ability to reflect user behavior on your website thanks to e-commerce/Facebook integrations. This means that you can engage existing or lapsed customers with social ads by sending them reminders, free samples, or simply some great content they’re likely to engage with.
On Instagram, there is loads of potential for branded collaborations — especially if you are willing to share products with influencers. Check out this example:
Optimizing Your Store for Mobile Users
A big part of your website marketing strategy will be your actual online store experience.
It’s already important to have a site that works on mobile, but the bar is being raised and soon, simply ‘working’ won’t be good enough, as consumers start to expect a better experience across the board. Having your site work on mobile is now the first step in a never-ending process of optimization. You need a clean UI designed specifically for mobile, and you need a simple checkout process.
A bad experience on mobile is ten times worse than a bad experience on a desktop. And as the number of mobile users continues to grow, there’s huge value in boosting their conversion rate. Your site needs to load fast. Make sure the first thing you’re loading on a page is the thing the consumer came to see.
A clunky UI and overly complicated checkout process are two other major pain points on mobile. Run plenty of user tests to make sure your user experience is seamless, and accept as many online wallet payment solutions as possible so the user can checkout with one button.
The final reason you need to have a cutting-edge mobile site is due to Google’s upcoming mobile-first index. Google’s ranking system considers a large number of factors, but with the mobile-first index, sites with a poor mobile experience will be heavily penalized and see their ranking plummet.
Optimizing Your Ads for Mobile
We don’t use tablets and phones the same way we use our desktops. Clicking an ad on your phone can completely derail what you were doing and unintended ad clicks cause great frustration. If you want your mobile users to convert, you need to do everything in your power to avoid annoying ad formats. They won’t convert and they will lower the status of your brand by associating it with underhanded click-farm tactics.
You need to think about the user experience after your ad has been clicked too. It should be quick and easy for the user to perform the action you want, whether it’s buying an item or signing up for your mailing list, don’t make the user do the work.
Bored of ads? Here are 20 other creative ways to plug a product — including things like pop up shops, Reddit, and Periscope.
Get Personal With Machine Learning
We’re all so used to seeing ads everywhere in our day to day lives that it takes something special to reach us. An ad that feels like it was tailored specifically to fit your needs is going to stand out from the sea of impersonal ones. There are a number of ways to achieve this personal feeling in your marketing, but most of them involve machine learning.
Machine learning is set to revolutionize marketing in all forms. There’s no functional limit to what machine learning is capable of: one day an algorithm might be able to analyze the way you write on social media and work out what sort of advertising is most likely to convert you.
We’re not quite at that stage yet, but machine learning in its current form is still a powerful tool that allows you to personalize your marketing at scale.
But wait, ‘personalized at scale’ isn’t that an oxymoron? No, that’s the magic of machine learning, with a database of user information and a machine learning trained algorithm you can segment your user base and offer different marketing to different people automatically.
You could write up several versions of the same email and let the algorithm segment your audience and decide which users will respond best to each version, and if it happens to be wrong, it will detect that and improve for next time.
So there you have it, you’re now ready to face the challenges that 2018 is getting ready to throw at you. You know why your mobile users are important, and you know what’s important to your mobile users. You’re ready to build your marketing campaigns from the ground up around the latest growing trends, and turn them to your advantage, instead of being caught unaware and losing out. Now all that’s left for you to do is to get out there and let the world know what you have to offer. Good luck!
Victoria Greene is a content consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, VictoriaEcommerce, she shares tips on e-commerce and how companies can improve the way they represent their brand. She is passionate about using her experience to help brands improve their online reach.