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Posted By ECT News Network on 04/27/2019 in Marketing

The Winning Formula for Start-to-Finish E-Commerce Marketing

The Winning Formula for Start-to-Finish E-Commerce Marketing

By Trilok Hebbur 

With more than half of all shopping searches beginning on Amazon, online stores are scrambling to find ways to keep up and effectively promote their own goods. However, while Amazon may have set a hasty pace in the e-commerce domain, competing businesses should not bank on this race being a sprint.

Thousands of dissimilar products now stack the online shelves, forcing e-commerce businesses at all stages of growth to concentrate on the right marketing tactics.

For those only just off the blocks with their heads down in pulling in traffic, to the steady pacers turning clicks into sales, to the leaders of the pack coming round the bend in building brand loyalty, promoting products involves stamina and endurance. Those willing to propel their products out of the crowd and into the limelight need only stick to their lanes and abide by these strategies.

The First 100 Meters 

For new e-commerce businesses, it's all about forming relationships with the right customers and finding a suitable market fit. Product promotions cannot be forced, and it is therefore essential that the first 100 sales come in organically. To do this, early-stage businesses need to concentrate on their ideal customer profile and then be proactive by exploring organic ways to reel them in.

Pinpointing who the target customer is and defining a demographic is the first step. Then, businesses should move on to where they hang out by digging into different channels such as Instagram, Pinterest, etc.

Social media should not be about collecting the most "likes" or followers, but rather about building a trusting relationship with the ideal audience. Once businesses have the right information on their customers they can then proceed to brand messaging. Many businesses put too much focus on highlighting the features of the product. However, a successful content strategy is one built around the key problems that the product solves, and one that communicates the benefits.

Sumo Jerky, a beef jerky subscription service, was able to secure its first $1,000 within 24 hours, thanks to early efforts in defining its ideal customer. The company reached out to all of its email and Facebook contacts that fit the profile of young, healthy professionals and offices in need of healthy snacks.

They made sure to use the right style of messaging and language appropriate for this specific audience. After initial sales, they drew up some templates for buyers to help spread the word themselves.

Strength and Conditioning 

Turning those initial 100 sales into seven figures relies heavily on the groundwork companies put in from the outset. During this growth stage, companies should home in on three channels with maximum potential, based on feedback from the first 100 sales. Also, their resources should be split equally between the three to try and retrieve more insights -- such as when consumers are buying, looking into customer journeys and customer lifetime values.

Metrics are everything. With hundreds of marketing channels out there, metrics can help companies prioritize which channel will work the hardest, for the smallest amount of money.

Forming a growth strategy will come easily after calculating the Total Addressable Market (TAM), and Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV). This data will help give e-commerce companies a better overview of this early-growth stage, regardless of what channel they have chosen.

Companies should then look at the Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), which is dependent on the channel and should be lower than the CLTV for it to be profitable. Results should show which outlet sources the highest traction, allowing companies to scale and systemize it.

Soylent, a meal replacement drink, only really sells one product; however, by leveraging particular channels it has been able to turn its drinks into much more than a food product, attracting more customers.

By focusing efforts towards a blog channel, Soylent was able to market its product as a software platform with continuous updates, recipes and open-source ethos. The company soon realized Reddit would be the perfect channel to reach customers enthusiastic about updates to the formula and interested in leaving reviews or asking questions. Soylent has therefore made huge headway in targeting customers, thanks to specific channel prioritization.

Acceleration

Companies accelerating into the scaling and diversification stage need to switch gears slightly. Now is the time to diversify. Depending too much on a single channel will not be beneficial. Thirty percent of time and resources should, therefore, be given to trialing two new, or at least different, marketing channels.

Some of these channels may not be as cost-effective as the three previous channels already systemized and working. However, it is still worth investing in them for the sake of diversification.

With the uphill battle behind them, scaling companies should revisit some of the older channels every year or so. Online platforms change so quickly these days that one may be quiet one year and buzzing with activity the next.

For example, a few years back YouTube was not considered a top marketing channel of choice for e-commerce businesses. However, the video-sharing website now boasts over a billion active users and is the second largest search engine behind Google. Unpacking videos are now a great way to market e-commerce products.

Conclusion

Figuring out how to sell and to what audience is something all e-commerce businesses have to grapple with. Choosing the right marketing channel takes planning, data and tactical moves at each stage of growth.

A company that throws all its energy away in the first few strides will struggle later in times when it matters most. E-commerce businesses that approach these marketing strategies with stamina and commitment will cross the finish line not only with a winning product, but with one that will keep winning in races to come.

About the Author
Trilok Hebbur is the founder of Polymathic Guru, a marketing and advertising agency focused on helping e-commerce businesses skyrocket their growth.


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