The Ultimate List Of Ecommerce Marketing Tactics

ecommerce-marketing-tactics-tips-ideas

This is the biggest and baddest list of ecommerce marketing tactics on the planet.

It contains everything from quick wins to get more traffic to your online store, all the way to other tactics that will take months of hard work to pay-off.

Many of these tactics are powerful, but they require your full attention. Do not try to do a little bit of everything, but pick a few and focus hard.

Use the filters to find the marketing tactics that make sense for where your store is at today. Maybe the exact tactic outlined won’t work for you, but you can freestyle and mix and match these to create something to truly suits you.

Dig in!

Free PDF: Get access to a free downloadable pdf with all of the strategies and tactics in this post. You’ll get 54-pages of actionable marketing tips.

 

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  • Blog Commenting

    Content, $, free, easy

    Yes, blog comments!

    When you leave a comment, most blog systems will ask you for your name, email and optionally your website. When the post is published your name will link to your site.

    But let me clearly say that this tactic is not about getting a backlink. Most blogs add a nofollow to the link, which means none of that sweet Google juice is passing.

    So how does this benefit you?

    The way you get people to click through is by adding real value to the conversation. If people read your comment and think you’ve got something interesting to say, there is a big chance they’ll want to know more and visit your site.

    Pro-tip: to get more out of this tactic is to focus your comments on new or recent posts. Most articles see 75% of their traffic within the first 24 hours after they’ve been published. So you’ll need to make sure to get your comment in as soon as possible. You can use an RSS feed reader or Google Alerts to alert you of new articles in your industry.

    Resources:
    10 Insane List Building Secrets I Discovered While “Comment Hacking” Neil Patel’s Blog

  • Forum posting

    Content, $, free, easy

    In fora it’s all about discussion. So if you’re an expert in what you’re selling, it’s time to shine. Even if you’re just good at helping people out (or you’re simply good at Googling), do that.

    Be helpful and point them in the way of your store when it makes sense. For other helpful posts there are always the links in your signature 🙂

    Pro-tip: If one forum is particularly valuable to you, try to get on the good side of other members of the forum. People are spending enormous amounts of time for which they are not compensated. A free product or discount can go a long way. But don’t be too salesy and openly buy their loyalty, make sure it’s coming from a genuine place.

    Resources:
    Using Forums to Generate New Business

  • Guest blogging

    Content, $, free, medium

    If you’ve got no one visiting your store, there probably aren’t too many people reading your blog either.

    But luckily there are other blogs out there in your space with a good amount of readers. Think about which blogs you like to read.

    If you could write a great article relevant to that site (and your store), you can pick up a good amount of new visitors.

    Not sure if they accept guest bloggers? Look at who wrote the latest 10-20 articles on the blog. Any links in the bio at the end of the article that point to different sites? If you can’t figure it out, have a look at the contact or FAQ pages or simply get in touch with the person behind the site.

    Guest posting doesn’t happen overnight: you have to find the right blogs, reach out to them, pitch your article, write the article and get it published. This takes time but is worth if you get published on the right sites.

    Resources:
    Guest-Posting on Steroids: A 4-Step Blueprint That the Top Guest Posters Use

  • Email outreach

    Content, $, free, medium

    With this approach you grab the bull by the horns and reach out to people via email.

    Your family and friends care about you (I hope), so if they can help you by visiting your site, sharing a link on Facebook or forwarding an email, they will be happy to do it.

    With people that you don’t know that well, like with professional contacts, you have to be more selective in who you reach out to. Think about who your store or products are relevant to?

    Spend some time on creating a good core message and tweak it slightly for every person you reach out to.

    One way to supercharge the effectiveness of this approach is to include a referral hook. This simply means that you not only mention your store or product, but that you also actively request them to share it with others.

    The easier you make it for them, the more they will share it.

    Example: “I’m working really hard to get this things of the ground, and can use all the help I can get! So if you could share it on Facebook, that would be awesome. Below I’ve included a short description that you can use if you want to.”

    Resources:

  • Social media outreach

    Outreach, $, free, low

    Almost any social media platform has the ability to send private messages, use it!

    On some platforms, your connections might be a bit more distant. With people you don’t know that well, the basic rule is even more important: tailor your message to the person you are writing to and add value.

    If you know and old colleague of yours has a little girl, catch up with her and casually mention your line of headbands for children.

    Don’t just limit yourself to the people that you interact with often. All your contacts on all platforms are potential ambassadors.

    Even if you don’t get a visit or sale, it’s never wasted time to connect a bit better.

  • List products on classifieds sites

    Content, $, free, medium

    Online classifieds might seem like a backward way of doing business. Why would you want to list your products on their sites?

    One reason: they have the customers you need. Sites like Craigslist or even your local second hand site get a ton of visitors that are actively looking for the products that you are selling.

    You can list some of your top selling products, add photos, a description and a link back to your site. If that’s not possible, just pass the link to your product page when people contact you through the site.

    Classified sites are also great to validate your concept if you’re just starting out. You can see if the products will sell, before investing in your own store.

    Resources:
    Why online classifieds are an ally in the ecommerce world

  • Get Your On-Page SEO Right

    SEO, Content, $, free, medium

    On-Page SEO is the practice of making the pages on your site as attractive as possible for search engines.

    To do that you first have to make sure your pages are accessible for search engines (something called indexing).

    Then you need to work on the actual content of the page. What is this specific page about? Is that reflected in the content? Are the most important keywords actually used in the text? In the page title? The headers? The URL?

    Pro-tip: Use Google Webmaster Tools to discover keywords which keywords already bring you traffic and start optimizing those.

    Resources:

  • Add an XML Sitemap to your site

    SEO, Content, $, free, low

    The first step to getting organic traffic is to make sure that your pages are actually being picked up by search engines. A sitemap is an XML-file that tells Google about every page you’ve got on your site.

    Another benefit of a sitemap is that it’s an efficient way to let search engines know about new or updated pages.

    Resources:
    SEO Tools and Search Engine Services

  • Send out an online press release

    SEO, Content, $, free, lo

    Create an online press release. It’s not too hard to write something up about your store, products or even your content and send it out.

    You can use a free or paid service to spread your press release. But most of that is automated: sites will simply publish the it as an article on their site.

    The real magic happens when what you were writing about is so interesting that a real person reads it and uses your information or story to write a new piece.

    You can only accomplish this if you have a great story that has more value than just promo babble about your company.

    Resources:

  • Linkbuilding

    SEO, $$, free, high

    The key deciding factor of how high your store will rank in the search results are still links. But not all links are created equal. A link from a big and well-known site carries a lot more weight than a tweet with your store’s link from a random Twitter account.

    Always keep quality over quantity in mind. Don’t buy links and don’t fall for offers that seem to be too good to be true, they usually are and will hurt you in the long term.

    Here are some good places to get started:

    • Links from your manufacturers or suppliers
    • Links from industry associations or groups
    • Research the links your competitors have and see if you can get the same

    Resources:

  • Improve your website speed

    SEO, $$, free, medium

    If your website is slow, your visitors will be frustrated and they’ll leave for another store where they don’t have to wait for everything to load.

    Google knows this and it punishes websites that are too slow, they don’t appear very high in the search results. That means that a faster website will improve your ranking in the search results.

    Slow load times are often due to slow website hosting and images that are too big. Use the link in the resources to test your store’s speed and start tweaking!

    Resources:

  • Submit your content to aggregators

    SEO, $, free, low

    People flock to link aggregator sites because they do the hard work of sorting through content and surface only what is interesting. These are sites like reddit, Digg Alltop or Stumbleupon.

    The site that will work best for you totally depends on your audience.

    Through Hacker News you’ll be able to reach techies while this subreddit will keep you up to date on everything around Vegan Fitness.

    First you’ll need content that is valuable, these probably not the most promotional things on your site.

    Next find out which sites your audience use when they’re online. Then post your content and monitor the results.

    Sometimes a post seems like a sure hit but bombs when you submit it. Other times the reverse will happen.

    You can’t be sure beforehand what will work so switch up what you post, how you post it and what sites you post on.

    Resources:
    20 content aggregator websites

  • Volunteer to become a case study

    SEO, $, free, high

    Most companies are always looking for more success stories about their customers. So if you’re happy using a service or software, reach out to the supplier with your results.

    They’ll be happy to cover you: whether it is as a short blurb on their site or an in-depth video case study, it’s free publicity for your store.

  • Reach out to roundup blogs and newsletters

    SEO, $, free, low

    When you’ve finally hit publish on your article it may seem like the hard work is over. But unless you actively promote it, few people will discover what you have just created.

    Common advice is to spend up to 50% of your content marketing time on promoting your content. And for new sites this should be even higher.

    Reach out to blogs or newsletters that do round up posts. They curate the best new content (articles, videos, promotions, etc.) in a certain industry in a certain time frame.

    For them it’s an easy way to put out new content and for you it’s great because you get access to a new audience. You’ll also get a link back to your site and often you’ll also be included in their newsletter.

    To find blogs to reach out to, search for intitle:roundup + your niche

    Resources:
    The Best Content Curators Follow This Surprisingly Easy Framework

  • Create a discount section on your site

    SEO, $, free, low

    People will look for discounts of your products. Especially is they see the discount code field appear during checkout.

    If you create a well optimized discount or promotion page, you can attract some of those searches back to your website. This doesn’t mean that you have to supply a promo code.

    The page can simply say: “We don’t have any promotions running this month. Please check again next month”. That might also stop people from frantically continue their search for a valid promo code.

    Resources:
    Use SEO To Maximize Your e-Commerce Promo Code Traffic

  • Send out an email newsletter

    SEO, Content, $, free, medium

    Collect emails addresses from people that have visited your site or that have purchased before. Now send them an email newsletter every week or month to let them know what has been going on and why they should visit your store again.

    This helps your store stay can stay top of mind and generate revenue.
    To get more people to sign up for your list, make sure you offer something valuable in return for them joining, like a discount or content.

    The key to getting results is being consistent with your newsletter. Before you start, pick a schedule that you can maintain. Plan ahead and block some time in your schedule so this doesn’t fall between the cracks.

    Resources:

  • Video marketing

    Content, $, free, medium

    Video can be a great and fun way to infuse some life into your store.

    You can create product reviews, tackle common questions, offer advice through tutorials or show what goes on behind the scenes.

    Example from IKEA:

    After you’ve created your video you need to decide where you’ll host it: on your own site or blog or post it to a bigger platform.

    The first option gives you more control on where the video can be used. The second will give you a wider reach.

    It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You could create product videos that are hosted on your own product pages. But then create other types of video and put it on a big platform like YouTube or Facebook.

    Apart from these produced videos there is also a growing audience for live videos on platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope or even Snapchat. It’s still early so not 100% clear yet how you can leverage these platforms.

    One idea could be to host a webinar or your own shopping network show where you create a mix of entertainment and your products.

    Resources:

  • Start Your Own Podcast

    Content, $, free, hard

    Like all marketing tactics, on of your first questions should be whether you can reach your ideal customers through a podcast.

    First check if there are active and popular podcasts in your niche.

    Not sure about the numbers? Check in with some of those podcasts to get a feel for the number of listeners. You could even sponsor one of them to get an idea of the response.

    Once you’ve got that nailed down it’s time to decide what you’re going to talk about. With a podcast you need great content. Few people discover and listen to one-off podcast episodes. So to be successful you need subscribers. And to get and keep those you need great content.

    You can’t just talk about your products or your store. The topic has to go way beyond that. Talk about the niche in general, topics that keep your customers awake at night or do interviews with big people in the niche.

    To me the best podcasts are the ones I can rely on, create a habit with. They always show up on a specific day of the week or month. To do that you need consistency. So do commit to a schedule you can keep.

    Once you’ve done the above, the practical side is a walk in the park (maybe not :p).

    Resources:

  • Launch a PR campaign

    Outreach, Content, $, free, hard

    Your goal with a PR campaign is to get coverage for your store, both on or offline.

    Public relations or PR can really level up your store. You reach out to writers or editors at relevant publications and give them your pitch.

    To be successful you to approach them from THEIR point of view. Give them a reason why they should want to cover your store.

    Usually that involves thinking broader than your own world. Is your store part of a new trend? Is there anything special about the way you run your store? Can you hook into a hot news item?

    This is also a long term game. Your first pitch might not be successful. But if you keep in touch, you might be able to build relationships with relevant blogs or journalists that could be useful in the future.

    Resources:

  • Help A Reporter Out (HARO)

    Other, Content, $, free, low

    This is very similar to traditional PR work. The only difference is that the main work isn’t coming from you. Help A Reporter Out is a service that connects journalist to topical experts.

    So if a journalist needs to write an article about something that you know a lot about, you can reach out and offer your thoughts. If they decided to use your input, you’ll get exposure and might even get a backlink.

    Resources:
    Help A Reporter Out

  • Start a blog

    Content, $, free, medium

    It’s easy to write an article, but it’s hard to run a blog.

    And like all other content marketing initiatives, you’ll need to create stuff your potential customer will actually care about.

    That means you need to go beyond your own products and interests. Why do people buy your products on the first place? What are they trying to do? Are they solving a problem?

    Just because you publish an article doesn’t mean someone will read it. Especially in the beginning there will be few people that show up. That means you need to go and promote what you put out. Picking certain topics can help attract more people to your site: interviews with industry insiders, controversy, news, etc.

    Progress will be very slow in the first couple of months. But if you stick with it and put out new content consistently, you should see the numbers pick up slowly and you can get started to turn visitors into subscribers and ultimately customers.

    Resources:

  • Reach out to your marketplace customers

    Outreach, Advertising, $, free, easy

    If you get a new customer through a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, they are Amazon’s or eBay’s customers.

    But if you do your own fulfilment, you have an opportunity to get that customer over to your site for their next purchase.

    Most common approach is to add a flyer to their order that promises a discount on their next order over at your own website.

  • Write a book and publish it to Amazon

    Content, $, free, high

    This sounds like a roundabout way to get traffic to your site. And that’s exactly what it is. You won’t see short term results from writing and publishing an (e)book.

    But if you’re an author, you’ll automatically gain more authority and expertise.
    And that’s useful if you are selling products where this is important. Usually higher priced products that you only buy once.

    One example is an interior designer that created a book on interior design and launched an ecommerce store on the back of it. If people like her style from the book, her store will attract them as visitors.

    So why publish it on Amazon? Can’t you just sell it on your own site and keep higher margin?

    The goal of the book isn’t to generate money from, you don’t want to lose money either, but you want it to reach as big an audience as possible. That’s something only a site like Amazon (or your local variant) can deliver.

    Resources:
    How To Self-Publish Your Book Through Amazon

  • Run a Kickstarter campaign

    Content, Outreach, Community, free, $$, hard

    If you’ve got a cool product (or even just an idea for one) but no audience, where do you find the money to start?

    A crowdfunding campaign helps you to leverage the audience on those platforms and attract them to your product.

    44% of all Kickstarter campaigns fail (and the numbers are even worse for Indiegogo).

    So to succeed, you’ll need to do the necessary legwork before the launch.

    Which audiences does your product appeal to? Which publications, blogs, magazines could potentially cover it?

    Next you need to work on your presentation. Even the best ideas go unfunded if their presentation sucks. A poor video, confusing reward structure, etc. Backers have so many projects they can fund that you’ll need to appeal instantly to make a chance.

    Kickstarter might be the biggest, but it is not necessarily the best crowdfunding platform for your specific product or market. So be sure to consider other alternatives like Indiegogo, Smallknot, RocketHub, Fundable or Plumfund.

    Resources:

  • Create an Infographic

    SEO, Content, free, $, medium

    One of the challenges for online stores is to get their content shared. Most product pages aren’t that exciting or funny to share them with your friends.

    By creating other types of content you can attract new audiences to your online store. An infographic can be a great way to do that.

    Your goal with creating this infographic is to bring more potential customers to your store.

    To do that you can create one about a specific problem your audiences is facing, something more general about the industry or even how to use a specific product.

    If you’re selling trekking gear, you could create one about The Perfect Camping Trip or Caveman Camping: How To Survive Your Next Trip Without Any Gear. The crazier, the better, as it will spread further.

    Resources:

  • Organize an event

    Other, Community, $, free, hard

    Besides virtual community building, you can also organise real-life events. This will help your community to come together, allows you to get to know your customers a bit better and it might give you an opportunity to leverage some press.

    Don’t immediately think you need big budgets or a fancy location. An event can be as simple as inviting your best customers for drinks at a local bar. Other alternatives are an exclusive evening to present new products, a workshop or a temporary pop-up store.

    Resources:

  • Create a flyer

    Other, Content, $, free, easy

    Using flyers is a great way to promote your store in the physical world.

    You can hand them out in place where your target customers hang out, put them in the packages you send out or make deals with other companies to distribute your flyers to their customers. You could approach a store that sells complementary products and offer to insert flyers promoting each other’s store.

    A great offer is key to getting people to respond to your flyers. If you online print your store URL on the flyers, few people will feel the need to act now. But if you tie it to a promotion or a time-limited offer, you’ll see higher response rates.

    Resources:

  • Opinion

    Other, Content, $, free, easy

    Do you have strong opinion about what is happening in your industry or in which direction it is headed?

    Opinions are what draws people to the news websites. The more polarizing the better.

    Your opinion can take the form of an article on your blog, or a quick video with your thoughts.

  • Sell your products on Amazon

    Other, $$, free, medium

    Many stores look at Amazon as a way to increase volume, or generate some revenue, while they build up their own website & marketing efforts.

    The main advantage of Amazon is that it has a massive amount of customers and they are used to buying all kinds of products on the site.

    That attracts a lot of competitors that sell the exact same products than you are, so your margins will need to be razor sharp.

    A downside is that after a sale the customer remains Amazon’s customer. You can try to get them onto your site by including a flyer with a discount if they purchase from your store next time, but many will just stay at Amazon.

    One piece of advice I’ve gotten from people that have been successful selling on Amazon is to always remember that they are a competitor.

    You can work with them to kickstart sales or get additional volume. But also have a plan to build out your own assets.

    Resources:

  • Create or sell unique products

    Other, $, free, hard

    If you sell shitty or boring products you will need to work your butt off to make people care. It all comes down to presentation.

    Not so if you are selling products that stand out. That can be because they stand out, are over the top or simply 10x better than what’s on the market.

    Some examples:
    Exploding Kittens Cards game

    Other examples are Cards Against Humanity or BetaBrand’s disco hoodie.

    betabrand-disco-hoodie
    These products are not only exclusive products, customers can only buy them in one place. But they also work wonders to attract attention. A lot of these brands thrive without spending any money on advertising.

    Because of their appeal, it is a lot easier to generate press or get coverage in magazine.

    If you aren’t a genius inventor, look for these type of products, or create your own bundles like the $24,000 Zombie Survival kit.

    Resources:
    Sell a Unique Product

  • Hire a Guest Curator

    Other, Content, Outreach, $, free, medium

    Fashion brands kill each other over getting hot designers to create a special collection for them.
    You can do something similar on a smaller scale.

    Get an industry influencer to put together a collection of products that you sell.

    You can even go one step further and have that influencer to a takeover of your social media account.

    The goal is to create unique content and leverage the following of the party that’s doing the curation.

    One Kings Lane uses a slight alternative approach uses an interesting blend of curated products with content.

    guest-curator-one-kings-lane

     

    Resources:

  • Unbeatable introductory offer

    Other, $$, free, medium

    Just like a great product can drive traffic and sales, the same is true for an amazing offer for new clients.

    Hailing from the era of CD or book of the month clubs where you could get 10 CDs for $1.

    Supermarkets also use popular products as loss leaders, to get people in the door and then upsell them while they are there.

    To stand out, a great offer needs be a product that’s so unique you can’t buy it anywhere else or a product with a sharp price.

    For this to work you have to know your numbers. What is a new customer worth to you (calculate the lifetime value) and what can you afford to pay today? Find your break even point and also consider your cashflow.

    Resources:

  • Unique product packaging

    Other, $, free, medium

    Having packaging that’s unique, stands out and is talked about seems great. But slight variations in dimensions or weight can quickly ramp of fulfilment costs.

    So you don’t want to go to crazy from day one. But unboxing videos are getting more popular, so people are paying attention.

    If a special box doesn’t seem possible, think inserts, thank you notes, wrapping paper or even a simply stamp to make your orders uniquely yours.

    Resources:

  • Word of mouth

    Other, Community, $$, free, medium

    Happy customers are your best marketing asset.

    To make people happy, your products need do what you promise and your customer service needs top notch.

    So do you just sit back and hope those happy customers will tell other people?

    There are a couple of things you can do to make the effect of happy customers that spread the word more powerful:

    • Dominate a small niche: this make it more likely for someone new to hear about your store multiple times
    • Make it easy to tell others by getting the fundamentals right: what’s unique about your store? Why should people shop there?

    Most of the word of mouth action happens in a way you can’t track.

    But there are a couple of moments where you can make it easier for the word to spread:

    • Ask them to share the news of their purchase on social media right from your order confirmation page
    • Ask for a review a couple of weeks into their purchase

    Resources:

  • Create a quiz

    Content, Other, $, free, medium

    Blog articles are a pretty passive way to consume information. If you tailor your content to your visitors, they’ll engage with it more and you’ll see better results from it.

    Creating a quiz around your industry or products is an easy way to do that.

    Quizzes are great to get people onto your email list or for visitors to find the product that fits their needs.

    Beauty retailer Birchbox created a quiz that helps women determine the right face mask for their skin type.

    birchbox-quiz-ecommerce Resources:

  • Customer service

    Other, $, free, medium

    Many store owners look at customer service simply as the cost of doing business. Others consider it a vital part of their success.

    The way you treat your customers is why satisfied ones become advocates and why disgruntled customers can wreak havoc on your business.

    So in either case, word will get out about your business. So it’s up to you if it will help or hurt sales.

    And the bar for providing a good experience is lower than you would expect. Too many companies still get away with treating the customers like crap.

    First you need to give customers that contact you the feeling that they are being heard. If you are really busy, send them a quick email that you’ve received their inquiry and that you will get back to them before a specific date and time.

    Then really try to fix what’s wrong. Don’t be too stingy when it comes refunds, eating credit card fees or shipping costs.

    Resources:

  • Repurposing content in other formats

    Content, $, free, easy

    The biggest challenge store owners have with content marketing is simply to find the time to create any.
    One solution to that is to repurpose content that you already have created into other formats.

    If you have a text article, you can reuse it as the script for a video. An interview can be transcribed and turned into an article. A 2000 word blog post can turn into several shorter pieces. Take the main findings out of an article and create a nice image from it.

    This will not only give you more content with little extra work, by varying with formats your audience will choose the medium they are most comfortable with.

    Some people hate reading a long text but don’t mind watching a 15 minute video. Others might feel the other way.

    Resources:
    11 Genius Ways to Repurpose Content

  • Be a guest on a podcast

    Outreach, $, free, medium

    If podcasts are big in your niche but you don’t want to start one yourself, being a guest on another podcast is a great alternative.

    You’ll be interviewed and have an opportunity to discuss your ideas or opinions.

    Depending on how confident you are you’ll need to prepare for it. But being a guest is generally less work than writing the same information as a guest article.

    Pro-tip: To get the maximum result from your podcast appearance, you’ll need to have a good offer for the people that are listing. Make it worthwhile and easy to get.

    Resources:
    Why guest on podcasts?

Comments

  1. says

    Great and useful tips! Thank you for sharing them 🙂
    I think that the best way to demonstrate my appreciation to your article is by following your suggestions right now in particular about the “Blog Commenting” tip.
    You wrote about creating unique packaging product and I cannot avoid to suggest you to have a look on Packly (www.pack.ly), the complete packaging solution to create and download die-cuts immediately, get a 3D Virtual Mockup of boxes and print high quality personalized package in 48Hrs without minimum order 😀

  2. says

    These are the considerable advertising strategies to drive more deals and get pertinent clients.thanks for sharing The Ultimate List Of Ecommerce Marketing Tactics. These tactics are so useful & helpful.

  3. says

    He Dennis, thanks for this huge list of tactics! I will use some of them from one of my ongoing eCommerce projects and will also mention your list in one of my upcoming blog posts.
    As Seema said it above, it is very important to combine the different strategies in order to achieve some good results. Doing eCommerce is harder than many people think, but following the right direction can bring you amazing results.
    Thanks for your share!
    David.

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