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Digital Marketing 10 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Ecommerce Digital Marketing

Sarah Edwards photo

Written by Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

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Expert reviewed by Rachel Meyer

Associate VP of Client Success @ Galactic Fed

Published 17 Apr 2024

According to Statista, global retail ecommerce sales surpassed $5T in 2022. And researchers estimate that by 2027, that number will reach a remarkable $8T. With that in mind, if you have aspirations of growing your own online retail business, there is no shortage of opportunities to do so. But to truly get in on the action, you’ll need a solid ecommerce digital marketing strategy.

In many ways, ecommerce marketing strategies mirror other digital brand-building campaigns. Be that as it may, there are still some subtle nuances that you need to keep in mind, so here’s everything you need to know about getting noticed and boosting sales. 

What Is Ecommerce Marketing? 

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Ecommerce digital marketing (also referred to as ecommerce internet marketing) is the process of increasing online visibility, attracting leads, and boosting sales volume through a combination of organic and paid advertising strategies. You can think of the concept as an umbrella term, one that covers all of your digital efforts to grow your brand. 

Just like other forms of brand-building, ecommerce digital marketing is complex and multifaceted, which means you can’t rely on a single channel to get noticed. Instead, you’ll have to use a combination of tools, technologies, platforms, and tactics, including search engine optimization (SEO), paid ads, and social media posts, among others. 

Types of Ecommerce Digital Marketing

With four out of five Americans making purchases online, there are plenty of opportunities to expand your digital audience and boost sales. But in order to do so successfully, you’ll need to diversify your digital brand-building efforts using these three channels:

Ecommerce SEO

From a general perspective, SEO is the process of enhancing your website to make it more visible during online searches. As such, ecommerce SEO, in particular, involves conducting keyword research and incorporating the phrases you discover into the digital content that promotes your ecommerce business. 

However, there is quite a bit more to it than just that. You must also address the technical aspects of SEO, such as ensuring the website loads quickly and is responsive. You must also keep in mind that ecommerce keywords are highly competitive. Therefore, it may be wise to target long-tail keywords, which can be easier to rank for. 

For example, instead of trying to rank for the term “low-cut socks,” you could target the phrase “men’s low-cut athletic socks.” The second example won’t generate as much traffic, but people searching for the term do so with very specific intent.

Ecommerce Advertising

SEO, though a substantial aspect of ecommerce digital marketing, is still only part of the equation. Alongside it, paid ads play a major role in getting noticed by prospective customers and generating sales. 

There are numerous places to advertise, including digital marketplaces, like Amazon, social media platforms, and search engines, like Google. When promoting your brand on the latter, it’s important to use a combination of pay-per-click (PPC) search ads, banner ads, and display ads. 

Building a good mix of ads allows you to get more bang for your marketing buck, and it will give your site an immediate traffic boost. But even with that in mind, you must rely on more than just paid ads. Leaning too heavily into them can erode your return on investment (ROI) and hinder your brand’s long-term growth. 

Ecommerce Social Media Campaigns

Platforms like Facebook and Instagram are no longer used just to drive traffic to websites. They have evolved into ecommerce channels wherein customers can make purchases directly. In 2023 alone, over 106 million Americans shopped through social media. 

Launching social media pages for your retail business is, therefore, a great first step. But you can’t stop there. Work on building a large following by regularly posting engaging content, interacting with followers, and running paid ads. By doing so, you can reach a wider audience and generate increased brand awareness. 

5 Steps for Building an Ecommerce Marketing Plan

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Now that we’ve explored the basics, it’s time to dive into building a strong ecommerce digital marketing plan of your own. 

Here are five simple steps to get you started: 

  1. Define Your Market and Audience

When launching a new ecommerce brand, it’s important to determine your audience and the niche you’ll be operating in. And even with an established brand, it’s important to periodically revisit your audience, especially when revamping your marketing strategy.

Consider high-level variables like demographics and geography, as well as consumer behavior and history with your brand. Once you’ve got a grasp on your market, create audience segments so that you can appeal to specific wants and needs. 

  1. Set SMART Goals

Goal-setting is a critical part of ecommerce digital marketing. To that end, we recommend using the SMART framework. 

A SMART goal is defined as follows:

  • Specific: Your objective needs to be tangible and concrete
  • Measurable: Allows you to easily determine success or failure
  • Achievable: Set goals that are challenging to achieve but ultimately realistic 
  • Relevant: Your objective should contribute to your brand’s big-picture objectives
  • Time-Bound: Set a clear deadline or several progress milestones

Using the SMART framework will help you create a focused and actionable campaign. Moreover, it will give your team concrete targets so that they can measure their success.

  1. Build a Plan

Your next step is to create a roadmap for achieving your SMART goals and other objectives. It needs to be detailed, outlining what you want to achieve, how you plan to hit your target milestones, and the channels you’ll use to do so.

Get multiple stakeholders and team members involved in the planning process. Individuals from different departments can provide a unique perspective on your strategy. 

  1. Pick Your Tools

At a minimum, you’ll need a website and at least one social media channel to effectively market your digital retail brand, but preferably, your toolkit should also include the following:

  • An analytics platform for tracking key performance indicators (KPIs)
  • Content creation tools 
  • A Google Ads account

If you already have these resources in place, you’re off to a good start. But even still, now is a great time to reevaluate everything, from the quality of your website to the efficacy of your analytics tools.

  1. Act, Assess, and Optimize

Once your marketing content goes live, you must closely monitor its performance. Remember, ecommerce digital marketing is a long game, which means you can’t just set it and forget it. Be diligent, track your KPIs, and identify trends among your target audience as you strive to do better for them.

Most importantly, understand that it’s okay to implement changes on the fly, especially when it comes to paid ads. Be willing to pivot if something isn’t working out as you may have hoped. Don’t wait until a campaign is over to change course. 

Getting Noticed: The Best Ecommerce Marketing Strategies

Once you’ve developed a game plan and mastered the basics, deploy some more advanced tactics. Specifically, we suggest the following:

Deliver Personalized Offers

Today’s consumers crave personalization. In fact, according to a 2023 report, 42% of consumers are frustrated by content that doesn’t reflect what they want or need, and 49% are irritated by irrelevant offers. Therefore, you need to invest in personalization tools and strategies so that you can upsell and cross-sell customers. Just make sure you are offering relevant recommendations so that you don’t alienate consumers. 

Retarget Cart Abandoners 

Retargeting is a process that involves serving up personalized advertising content to people who have previously interacted with your brand. Among them, there’s one specific group that you need to prioritize: cart abandoners. 

People who abandon their carts are so close to making a purchase but end up bailing at the last minute. The most common reason for these outcomes is unexpectedly high add-on costs. Roughly 47% of people ditch their digital shopping carts due to things like expensive shipping rates. 

You can recapture these lost opportunities by sending them emails with digital coupons, gift offers, or other such incentives. 

Use Omnichannel Tactics 

Many brands think they’re making use of omnichannel marketing strategies just because they are active on more than one medium. But in actuality, they are confusing omnichannel with multichannel. 

A true omnichannel campaign involves creating an interconnected marketing ecosystem where consumers can seamlessly transition from one channel to another. For example, they may see an ad for your products on Google and then come across a product video on Instagram, which prompts them to visit your site and make a purchase. 

Thankfully, you don’t have to keep up with all of these channels manually. Ecommerce marketing automation tools help you streamline omnichannel campaigns by publishing content at pre-set deadlines, delivering targeted ads, and taking over other traditionally manual processes. 

Don’t Overthink It — Just Start! 

The most important thing you can do when it comes to ecommerce digital marketing is simply start. Don’t wait for the perfect time or a flawless plan. Set goals, define your audience, build a sound strategy, and start building your brand.

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Sarah Edwards photo

Sarah Edwards

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed