Written by Richard Protheroe
14th July 2017 • 27 min read
Regardless of whether you’re just starting your ecommerce journey or you’ve been a successful retailer for years, marketing your business is crucial to your success.
When it comes to ecommerce marketing, it is vital sometimes just to take a step back and evaluate how well you are doing things.
You may find yourself asking…
How are ecommerce retailers using social media to generate sales?
Are there new features on marketing tools I use that I haven’t explored?
What are good, free, simple ways to get traffic to my site?
Are there any new tools I can use?
Well you’ve come to the right place! As we’ll show you 21 simple marketing tips to increase your ecommerce sales.
Instagram is a fantastic tool for generating sales. Many people still believe that due to the fact you can’t upload links, it won’t drive traffic.
However, through Instagram Ads and the use of custom audiences you can start advertising to people who have already been connecting with your brand.
Instagram is run through Facebook now, so head to your Ads Manager > Audiences > Custom Audience.
From here you can import from a .csv file, directly from Mailchimp or try Facebook’s new LTV audience.
This is a great new tool that allows you to find like minded people to those of your highest valued customers. Jon Loomer wrote an excellent article on this recently.
You can then create some ad text and upload an image and within minutes your ad will be showing and (hopefully) look something like this.
Another great way to use Instagram is to use a tool like Webstagram.
Let’s say you sold bikes. It would be beneficial to you to find accounts related to bikes, and maybe some fan accounts of famous cyclists!
Via the search box above you can find these relevant accounts and then reach out to them. A lot of these accounts will have contact details in their bio, or their direct messages might be open.
So reach out to them and see if they’d be willing to promote your brand for you! It may come at a price, but it may well be worth it.
2. Facebook Store
With 1.7 billion people using Facebook every month it’s an ideal platform to generate sales.
If you have a Shopify store as well, your Facebook store connects directly to it, so there is no need to keep updating your inventory.
Facebook Store is an app which makes it simple for you to start selling straight away.
People on Facebook can not only click through to your site, but also mention friends in the comments box and share to their wall.
3. Live Chat
67% of millennials (born after 1980) prefer to buy online according to BigCommerce and spend 50% more time every week shopping online, than their elders.
If those millennials have a question to ask as well, they don’t like to call you. They are a generation who won’t answer the phone if a call comes through and just Google the number later!
Millennials prefer instead to use live chat.
Whilst you are sorting out a question or issue with a customer you can also market your social media channels, a latest offer, or a new product you have. There are some great affordable solutions available such as Olark, Fresh Desk and Zoho.
4. Abandoned Carts
The amount of sales that are left in your shopping cart will stagger you. According to the Baymard Institute it’s as many as every 2 in 3.
Therefore there is no harm in sending your customer an email to remind them to come back.
Here is a great example of an abandoned cart email by doogyloot. The use of language that the items are “almost sold out” creates that sense of urgency.
What works well for some retailers is to offer a discount to entice them back.
You may be thinking then though, won’t they just do this every time just to receive a discount. Well there is a way around that with Klaviyo! You can send emails to first time customers who haven’t purchased before and haven’t responded to your first abandoned cart email.
5. Out of Stock notifiers
When you are out of stock of an item, this can be very frustrating for your customer.
However there is a way you can alleviate that frustration by allowing your customers to be notified when an item is back in stock, with a tool like Out of Stock.
The added bonus here as well is that you can then add them to your mailing list for future marketing.
Also this feature is good for evaluating if a product you want to put to market would be popular.
Let’s say you have 2 items and you are not sure which to sell. Create 2 pages, put them both out of stock and see which item people want to be notified by the most.
6. Upsell and Upgrade
Every ecommerce retailer needs to upsell on their product pages.
MyProtein are a fantastic example of this, where they have 3 products running down the right hand side of their product page.
Additionally they display the (cheapest) price of that item, plus the ratings to entice the customer in.
Also if you can offer an upgrade of an item this works just as well, if not better. Customers don’t always won’t to think of other items and whether they are possibly better.
MyProtein do this expertly well in the checkout section, where you can upgrade any of your items.
7. Check the day of the year
People love random days of the year and they regularly end up trending on Twitter.
Not sure what I’m talking about?
Well, July has National Bikini Day, Paperback Book Day and er.. Embrace Your Geekness Day. These might well be related to items you sell! Put an email campaign together in the lead up to the day and remember to use them hashtags on social media!
8. Influential bloggers
Offering influential people/bloggers in your industry a commision on sales or a freebie, is a great way to get some instant leverage. You can Buzzsumo for this (which offers a 14 day free trial).
Just enter your preferred keywords and then you set the results by the number of their followers or their reply/retweet ratio.
Buzzsumo finds all these influential people via scouring their Twitter bios. You can then contact them straight from Buzzsumo then by linking your Twitter account.
9. Wish Lists
People visiting your website may not always complete purchases and this could be for a number of reasons.
This is where wish lists come in handy and it’s something that Amazon do very well.
It’s particularly good when your customers might not have the money to spend at the time and want to make a purchase at a later date.
This is an example of a tool by eshopadmin called Gift Reggie, which helps customers create wish lists when they log in and it keeps it in their account area.
10. Pop ups
If you overdo pop ups they can become frustrating for your potential customers.
However, there are some great pop up apps that allow you to segment based on the viewer. A good rule of thumb is to try a discount code for first time viewers.
Pop ups can also be used for lead generation in order to build up your email list.
According to Outerbox 62% of smartphone users have made a purchase via their phones in the last 6 months. Therefore it’s vitally important your pop ups are mobile friendly. Pop up Window from Lifterapps is a great example that is optimized for Google’s 2017 mobile SEO policy.
11. Facebook Groups
There are plenty of Facebook groups around that your target market are engaging in.
Let’s say you sell Golf clubs, simply just enter the keywords into the search bar, select groups and you will see all the results.
Rather than blindly posting links in these groups it’s good to introduce yourself and begin comment on random posts.
A good tactic as well is to search for keywords in the top left of the group. This way you can find specific queries and perhaps offer your expertise with a link to your product.
12. Twitter search
Searching Twitter for keywords relevant to you is a great way of engaging with your potential audience. It may not bring instant sales, but as long you have a link to your website and a good pinned tweet you’ll be surprised at the amount of traffic it will bring.
Also when that person is shopping for a product similar to what you offer, you’ll be in the back of their mind.
Just head to search.twitter.com and enter some of the following parameters:
- “” – Quote marks will identify people talking about a specific phrase e.g “Golf clubs”
- -filter:links – This will remove all tweets that include a link. This is great as it removes all promotional tweets
- ? – This will include all tweets which ask a question, which hopefully you’ll have the answer to!
- lang:en – This will only show tweets in a specific language
- near:Manchester – How important is location? Do you sell locally? Then this will show tweets near you
- -word – Is there a specific word you want removed. Perhaps it could be -free, which would stop tweets for people looking for freebies.
I had an example of this recently where I mentioned the word ‘reducetarian’ in one of my tweets, I then received this tweet.
This caught my attention and I visited their page to check them out. This led me to their website, and what happened next? Point #10 on our list, I received a pop up!
People love getting stuff for free!
Look around your desk now, I bet it’s cluttered with pens, stickers and mugs for various companies (mine is anyway).
MyProtein (you can tell I like them by now) do freebies expertly well.
Get 33% off EVERYTHING plus a free 250g pouch of Impact Whey Protein when you spend over £65 ??
— Myprotein UK & IE (@MyproteinUK) 10 July 2017
This graphic was also used on the front page of their website as well. What is good about this offer is that there is a spending limit.
This is ideal if you want to increase your average order value. If you haven’t figured out what that is yet, do so, and then raise it a little for people to get the freebie.
14. Google Remarketing
If you unaware, Google Remarketing will show banner style ads to users who have already visited your website, while they browse the internet.
The benefit of this is that these people are already aware of you and likely to convert. The more these people see your ads as well the more likely they will convert.
Another great way to use Google remarketing is to use TrueView in YouTube, where a short 30 second video advert will be shown before a YouTube video.
You can target users by demographic, location, topics, interests, or by what keyword they have entered into the search box.
What is fantastic about this is that you only pay when someone watches your video for 30 seconds or more!
You can have a click through to your website and it’s also great for brand awareness. Just head to the video tab in your Adwords account and select the below option.
15. Google Shopping
If you’ve been following the news recently you’d have seen that Google has been with a record EU fine for its shopping services.
Statistics from Sidecar showed that from Q2 in 2016 retailers began spending more money on Shopping Ads than Adwords.
The prominence that it has for retailers over text ads and organic searches, makes it a popular choice, as it amounts for 75% of all clicks. This is the reason Google are getting in trouble about its placement on search engines.
In recent times Google Shopping have made uploading the products a lot more manageable, as their Google Sheets templates already include all the fields you know.
Google’s Showcase Shopping ad format (shown below) allows users to create a gallery of items for when broader searches are used. Allowing users to browse items without leaving Google.
Google’s insight tool is also handy for identifying top trending and top products, which could give you some ideas for future items.
16. Get personal with emails
Personalised emails work better, that is a fact. If you include a name in the subject line it is 26% for likely to get opened.
However there are also other ways you can get personal. Such as:
Asking customers for their date of birth
Send them a message on their birthday wishing them a great day and perhaps a little discount code.
Take note of time and location
Maybe you have international customers, take note of where your customers open your emails and change the delivery time accordingly.
Automated behaviour triggers
Has a customer engaged for the first time in a while? Have they made a certain purchase? Have they just registered an account for the first time? Send them an appropriate message using a tool such as intercom or SparkPage
17. Don’t let them leave!
This is a pop-up, but is triggered as people are giving the intention that they about to leave the website.
This is a great and playful example above from SparkPage, who I just mentioned. They offer software, but as a retailer you could perhaps offer a discount or try to grab their email address before they leave.
What is also a good idea, that is less intrusive, is to ask them to interact with your social media channels, that way you can keep them in the loop. Here’s a great example from NOMAD.
A suitable app to use for this would be Justuno.
18. DIY SEO
The term “search engine optimisation” sounds daunting and complicated, but it doesn’t have to be!
There are some very easy things you can do yourself to ensure you boost your rankings and the organic traffic to your website.
Do you resell items on? If so, ask to be listed on your supplier’s website. In this example, Stanley Bostitch, refer all their traffic to Packability as they don’t sell directly to the customer. Imagine the traffic they’d gain from that!
Journalists are always looking for help with their blog post, article or feature, and you might be the expert they are looking for. In return you will get a link pointing back to your website which is great for referral traffic!
Also if you want to keep on track with your vital SEO statistics, download this fantastic ready made dashboard from Webris.
19. Get more reviews
Adding reviews to your website is an absolute dynamite way of increasing sales. Packability were able to increase their monthly annual revenue by over 300% just by adding reviews to every page.
Not only does it give you social proof, but if you display the reviews on your page it gives you great SEO value.
As you can see below from MyProtein (yes, them again) all of these keywords within the review are fantastic for SEO and will help bring traffic.
A great site to use for reviews is Yotpo. They allow you to send emails to your customers asking for reviews, and the customer doesn’t have to leave the email to submit it, making the chance of them submitting it very high!
Pinterest is a social media platform that is often overlooked by retailers for advertising. Primarily because it is out of the big 4 (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat).
Pinterest’s user base is 85% female so if that is predominately your target market then it’s essential you are marketing on there!
Also the average order value from Pinterest is higher than any other social media channel.
You should look to set up Rich Pins for your products, so people can link straight from your product image in Pinterest, straight to your website.
Pinterest is very visual and is a great platform for creating desire in people’s minds, so ensure your photography is on point!
21. Competition time
And last but by no means least is competitions!
These are ideal for generating sales and you can use a platform like Gleam to help you achieve this.
What is under utilised by retailers is using SMS when marketing, and in particular with competitions.
— jewellerybank (@jewellery_bank) 9 June 2017
Statistics have shown that 77% of people would opt in to a brand’s deals if they received them via text.
A competition therefore is a great way of initially getting someone’s number and then keeping them up to date with deals!
Any of these tactics worked out well for you before? Any that we have missed out? Leave a comment below!
Written by Richard Protheroe
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