You’ve decided to take the plunge and launch an online store. Congrats! You’re one step closer to realizing your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
There are so many aspects to this journey, but if you’re looking to quickly add value to your new venture, consider using online marketing to attract and retain customers. We’re going to walk you through the basics so you can get started building up a solid marketing strategy that will help you reach your sales goals.
The Basics Of Online Marketing
Before you begin marketing your online store, it’s important to understand the basics. Online marketing is the use of various methods and tactics to promote products or services on the internet.
Like traditional marketing, online marketing is typically divided into two distinct but interconnected parts: marketing research and communications strategy.
Marketing research is simply gathering information about your ideal customer and creating buyer personas. We’re going to walk you through a simple exercise to get you started creating buyer personas. For the purposes of this article, we’ll use Shopify as an example of an e-commerce platform.
Examine The Competition
The first step in any marketing plan is to examine the competition. This is especially important with online marketing, as you’ll want to make sure that you’re not producing content to simply replicate what your competitors are doing. That being said, sometimes the competition can be a useful guide for inspiration. You don’t want to completely copy what they’re doing, but you can learn a lot from watching how they interact with customers and determining what makes their experience unique. It’s also important to look at what is working and incorporate that into your own strategy.
Determine The Online Marketing Goals And Metrics
After you’ve determined the basics of your strategy, you’ll want to set some measurable goals and metrics to determine its success. Just remember – this is all in the name of improving your marketing strategy, not making you feel like you chased some imaginary dollar sign. Your overarching goal should be to grow your business in a sustainable way, and the metrics you choose should be capable of measuring your success toward this goal. In the case of Shopify, your online marketing goals may be to:
- Grow your store’s brand awareness
- Generate leads and boost customer loyalty
- Build a community of engaged shoppers
- Examine your store’s performance in terms of conversion and average order value
- Attract more customers through growth and acquisition
- Boost digital engagement through social media and blogging
Keep in mind that not all of these goals and metrics will be easily quantifiable. For example, did you choose HubSpot because it was the most popular digital marketing tool or did you go with it because you truly believe in its ability to help you grow your business? The key is to choose measurable metrics that will allow you to determine the true effectiveness of your strategy.
Determine The Target Audience For Each Type Of Content
The next step in building a digital marketing strategy is to determine the target audience for each type of content you produce. This is particularly important when deciding what type of content to produce given your goals and metrics. Your overarching goal should be to grow your business and attract more customers. For this purpose, you may want to choose content that is most appropriate for your target audience. In the case of Shopify, your target audience may be existing customers or potential customers who have an interest in your product or service.
With your target audience in mind, you’ll want to choose content that is most beneficial to them. Perhaps you’re producing sales blog posts for a B2B audience, or you’re creating videos to promote your luxury fashion brand. Whatever the case may be, you’ll want to create content that is most suitable for the people you’re trying to reach. As a general rule of thumb, try not to overuse product/service promotions within your blog posts. People hate being hit up constantly for incentives to buy your product or service. Instead, use other types of content to build your audience.
Produce Regular, Quality Content That Is Relevant And Fresh
A major key to effective online marketing is producing relevant, high-quality content that is fresh. To achieve this, you’ll want to schedule posts frequently throughout the year. This may mean creating content multiple times per week or even daily depending on the nature of your business. The general rule of thumb is to try and post at least once per week, if not daily.
To illustrate the importance of fresh content, consider the case of HubSpot. This marketing application provides inbound marketing strategies and tools to digitally market your business. In a nutshell, inbound marketing is the practice of attracting, engaging, and delighting people to grow your business. Inbound marketing is a combination of marketing and sales, as you’re attracting prospective customers who may become customers at some point in the future. Even though your ultimate goal is to generate sales, inbound marketing aims to achieve this through engagement and interest in your product or service.
Even though you might not always have fresh content, you want to produce content that is good enough to entertain your audience without being too much of a distraction. This is a tricky balancing act, but you’ll master it with time. As you get more comfortable with content marketing, you’ll want to produce more engaging and varied content that will keep your audience interested and coming back for more.
Use Data To Form A More Perfect Marketing Plan
The best marketing plans are formulated based on data. It would be best to use Google Analytics, for instance, to examine the performance of your blog. This analysis can determine the effectiveness of your marketing strategy and provide you with valuable information to improve your plan. One important figure to examine is your conversion rate. This is the percent of visitors to your site who take some action – whether this is making a purchase or subscribing to a newsletter – after visiting your blog or using your digital marketing tool.
A high conversion rate shows that your content is valuable and that your strategy is working. However, if your conversion rate is low, you may want to examine what is limiting the effectiveness of your strategy. Consider examining the design of your blog or website. Is the language used clear and engaging? Is the appearance of your blog or website unappealing and uninteresting?
Measure The Results Of Your Strategy
The final step in a marketing plan is to measure the results of your strategy. This is typically done by examining your key performance indicators (KPIs). Your KPIs should be based on your goals and the metrics you chose earlier in the process. The best part about this step is that you can actually measure the results of your strategy in the near future. In the case of Shopify, you can measure the effectiveness of your blog by looking at the number of sales it generates per week. This can then be compared to future goals to see if your strategy is working or needs to be adjusted.
If you’re just getting started, it can be difficult to determine what are the best KPIs to use. Just remember that the more you measure, the better your strategy will be. The more you measure, the more you’ll understand what is working and what needs to be changed. A general rule of thumb is to choose metrics that are easy to track and understand so that you can determine the success of your strategy without too much effort. Look at the examples below to see how measuring the results of your strategy can be easily quantified:
- Visitors to your blog
- Sale or order value of items purchased from your e-commerce store
- Feedback on your social media platforms
- Engagement metrics from your marketing management tool
- Demographics and psychographics of your ideal customer
As you can see, there are many ways to measure the results of your marketing strategy. The key is to find the right metrics and track them regularly to determine the success of your plan. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different marketing strategies. Just remember to measure the results of your strategy so that you can determine if your efforts are proving effective or not.