The Who, What, Why, & How of Digital Marketing for Ecommerce

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing refers to any and all marketing efforts that involve the use of the internet or electronic devices. It encompasses a wide range of tactics, channels, and strategies that ecommerce businesses can use to promote their products or services and connect with their audience online.

How does a business define digital marketing?

Each ecommerce business may define digital marketing differently based on their specific goals, target audience, and industry. However, the overarching goal of digital marketing is typically to attract, engage, and convert potential customers through a variety of online channels and tactics.

Why is digital marketing important?

There are numerous reasons why ecommerce businesses should prioritize digital marketing in their overall strategy:

1. You can focus your efforts on only the prospects most likely to purchase your product or service.

Digital marketing channels like social media and targeted ads allow you to reach the specific audience demographics that are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer, resulting in more effective and efficient marketing efforts.

2. It's more cost-effective than outbound marketing methods.

Methods like radio ads or billboards can be expensive and difficult to measure. Digital marketing, on the other hand, typically offers a higher ROI and more measurable results for a lower cost.

3. Digital marketing evens the playing field within your industry and allows you to compete with bigger brands.

Smaller ecommerce businesses can often struggle to compete with bigger, more established brands in their industry. But with digital marketing, smaller businesses have access to the same channels and tactics as larger ones, allowing them to level the playing field and reach their target audience effectively.

4. Digital marketing is measurable.

Gone are the days of relying on vague estimates and assumptions about the success of your marketing efforts. With digital marketing, you have access to precise data and analytics that allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaigns and make data-driven decisions for improvement.

5. It’s easier to adapt and change a digital marketing strategy.

If your business goals or audience demographics change over time, you can easily adjust your digital marketing strategy accordingly to better align with your new objectives. This flexibility allows you to stay agile in a rapidly changing digital landscape.

6. Digital marketing can improve your conversion rate and the quality of your leads.

The targeted and personalized nature of digital marketing can result in higher quality leads and better conversions, ultimately resulting in a higher ROI for your ecommerce business.

7. You can engage audiences at every stage with digital marketing.

From awareness and consideration to decision and purchase, digital marketing offers a range of tactics and channels that allow you to connect with your target audience at every stage of the buying journey.

Types of Digital Marketing

Ecommerce businesses have many different digital marketing channels and tactics at their disposal. Some of the most common types of digital marketing include:

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing your website and content to improve your visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs) and drive organic traffic to your ecommerce site.

2. Content Marketing

Content marketing involves creating and distributing valuable content to attract and engage your target audience. Examples of content marketing include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more.

3. Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing involves using social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to build your brand, engage with your audience, and ultimately drive traffic and sales to your ecommerce site.

4. Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC involves placing ads on search engines and other online platforms, and paying a fee each time a user clicks on one of your ads. Google Ads and Facebook Ads are both popular PPC platforms for ecommerce businesses.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing involves partnering with other websites or influencers to promote your products or services, and paying them a commission for any resulting sales or traffic.

6. Native Advertising

Native advertising involves placing ads that are designed to look and feel like the other content on the platform they appear on, ultimately resulting in a more seamless and less intrusive advertising experience for the user.

7. Marketing Automation

Marketing automation involves using software and technology to automate repetitive marketing tasks, such as email campaigns and social media posting. This can save time and increase the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

8. Email Marketing

Email marketing involves sending targeted emails to your audience, with the goal of building relationships, promoting your products, and ultimately driving traffic and sales to your ecommerce site.

9. Online PR

Online PR involves using digital channels to build relationships with media outlets and influencers, and securing coverage of your brand or products in online publications and blogs.

10. Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing involves creating valuable content that ultimately attracts potential customers to your site, rather than aggressively promoting your products or services.

11. Sponsored Content

Sponsored content involves paying for content to be created and distributed by an influencer, publication, or other third-party entity, with the goal of promoting your brand or products.

12. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM is similar to SEO, but involves utilizing paid search ads to improve your visibility on search engine results pages.

13. Instant Messaging Marketing

Instant messaging marketing involves using chatbots and other messaging tools to engage with your audience through popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

What does a digital marketer do?

There are many different roles and responsibilities within a digital marketing team. Some of the most common roles include:

SEO Manager

An SEO manager is responsible for improving a business's visibility on search engines and driving organic traffic to their ecommerce site through tactics like keyword research and on-page optimization.

Content Marketing Specialist

A content marketing specialist is responsible for creating and distributing valuable content that engages a business's target audience and builds brand awareness.

Social Media Manager

A social media manager is responsible for creating, executing, and analyzing a business's social media strategy to build brand awareness, engage with their audience, and drive traffic and sales to their ecommerce site.

Marketing Automation Coordinator

A marketing automation coordinator is responsible for creating automated campaigns and workflows that help streamline and optimize a business's marketing efforts.

Inbound Marketing vs. Digital Marketing: Which Is It?

While the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, inbound marketing and digital marketing are not the same thing. Inbound marketing is a subset of digital marketing, and refers specifically to the tactic of creating valuable content that attracts potential customers to your site. Digital marketing, on the other hand, encompasses a wider range of tactics, channels, and strategies for promoting your business online.

Does digital marketing work for all businesses?

Yes, digital marketing can be effective for businesses of all types and sizes, regardless of their industry or niche. However, the specific channels, tactics, and strategies that work best may vary depending on your goals, target audience, and budget.

B2B Digital Marketing

B2B digital marketing may involve more targeted and personalized tactics like account-based marketing (ABM), with the goal of reaching specific decision-makers within a business.

B2C Digital Marketing

B2C digital marketing typically involves a more broad-based approach, with the goal of reaching a wider audience and driving more traffic and sales to an ecommerce site.

What types of digital content should I create?

The types of content you create for your digital marketing efforts may vary depending on the stage of the buying journey your audience is in:

Awareness Stage

At this stage, your audience is just becoming aware of your brand and what you have to offer. Helpful content like blog posts, social media posts, and infographics can be effective for building brand awareness and establishing your credibility in your industry.

Consideration Stage

At this stage, your audience is considering whether or not to purchase your products or services. Content like product videos, customer reviews, and comparison guides can be helpful for providing the information and reassurance they need to make a decision.

Decision Stage

At this stage, your audience has made the decision to purchase from your ecommerce site. Content like product demos, user manuals, and coupon codes can be effective for encouraging final conversions and driving sales.

How to Do Digital Marketing

If you're ready to implement a digital marketing strategy for your ecommerce business, here are some key steps to follow:

1. Define your goals.

What do you want to achieve with your digital marketing efforts? Set specific, measurable goals that align with your overall business objectives.

2. Identify your target audience.

Who are you trying to reach with your digital marketing efforts? Take the time to define your target audience and understand their needs, pain points, and purchasing behaviors.

3. Establish a budget for each digital channel.

Different digital channels may require different budget allocations depending on their effectiveness and your specific goals. Plan accordingly.

4. Strike a good balance between paid and free digital strategies.

Paid digital strategies like PPC can be effective, but don't neglect free channels like social media and SEO that can also drive results.

5. Create engaging content.

Create valuable, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with your target audience and encourages them to take action.

6. Optimize your digital assets for mobile.

With more and more users accessing the internet on their mobile devices, it's crucial to ensure that your digital assets (like your website and emails) are optimized for mobile users.

7. Conduct keyword research.

Research the keywords and phrases that are most relevant to your ecommerce business and your target audience, and use them strategically in your content and ads.

8. Iterate based on the analytics you measure.

Track and analyze the results of your digital marketing efforts, and make data-driven decisions to improve your strategies and tactics over time.

I'm ready to try digital marketing. Now what?

If you're ready to get started with digital marketing for your ecommerce business, there are a variety of resources, tools, and agencies available to help. Consider reaching out to a digital marketing agency or taking online courses to improve your skills and knowledge.

Digital Marketing Examples

Looking for inspiration for your ecommerce business's digital marketing efforts? Check out these real-life examples:

5. Topicals - Email Marketing

Skincare brand Topicals uses targeted email campaigns to build relationships with their audience and drive sales.

6. Ashley White - Affiliate Marketing

Fashion blogger Ashley White uses affiliate marketing partnerships with brands like Sephora to earn commissions on her recommendations.

7. Samsonite - Search Engine Marketing

Luggage brand Samsonite uses search engine marketing tactics like Google Ads to improve their visibility on SERPs and drive traffic to their ecommerce site.

8. Yes Williamsburg - Sponsored Ad

Clothing brand Yes Williamsburg uses sponsored Instagram ads to reach a wider audience and drive sales.

9. HubSpot Blog - Content Offers

Marketing software company HubSpot offers valuable content like ebooks and templates in exchange for user information, allowing them to build their email list and nurture leads.

10. For Keeps Bookstore - Local Business SEO

Small business For Keeps Bookstore optimized their website and online presence to improve their visibility in local searches and attract customers to their store.

Integrate Digital Marketing Into Your Strategy

In today's digital age, ecommerce businesses can't afford to ignore the importance of digital marketing in their overall strategy. By understanding the who, what, why, and how of digital marketing, and implementing effective tactics and channels, ecommerce businesses can effectively reach their target audience, drive traffic to their ecommerce site, and ultimately grow their business.