7 Essential E-commerce Inbound Marketing Strategies That Work
Table of Contents
- What Is Inbound Marketing?
- The Purpose of Inbound Marketing
- Does Your Ecommerce Store Need Inbound Marketing?
- The Stages of Inbound Marketing
- Steps To Launch Inbound Marketing for Your Online Store
- 7 Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies and Tactics for E-commerce
- Other Important Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Tips
- Key Takeaways
Inbound marketing is a smart process that you can use to grow your business. It helps to build lasting customer relationships by drawing consumers to your brand using content marketing, SEO, video marketing, and social media strategies.
Instead of brands advertising to customers, inbound marketing methodology focuses on trying to get the customer to approach you. Inbound marketing for e-commerce is broken up into four stages – attract, convert, close, and delight. One of the main reasons it is helpful is because of the ‘pull power’. This can be achieved by publishing content that adds value, personalizing all your social media pages including website copies, and also trying out different types of techniques that we’ll discuss below.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a strategy used to attract clients and customers to you. The e-commerce inbound marketing strategy helps to attract and retain customers by giving them valuable content. Brands that provide high-quality content consistently may notice a significant growth in user engagement and repeat visits.
For example, if you work in interior design and you’re looking to attract people who may need assistance in this field, it’s important to focus on creating relevant and valuable content. This may include YouTube videos about interior design, how-tos, or other niche-related content that will be helpful. This will not only establish you as an expert but will also attract customers that may be looking for some design advice.
So simply put, inbound e-commerce marketing is to first provide value and later convert customers.
The Purpose of Inbound Marketing
With inbound marketing for e-commerce, you do not have to go out and search for new users as customers will come organically. This helps in a big way because you do not have to spend a lot of money and time chasing buyers.
This inbound lead generation strategy can also help to increase trust. 80% of customers do online research before they decide what to purchase. So, if you show your brand as authoritative, users are more likely to choose you over others.
Does Your Ecommerce Store Need Inbound Marketing?
Apart from customer needs, changes in consumer behavior are also something that needs to be considered. Earlier, businesses could easily create an e-commerce site, start paid campaigns, and watch the sales increase. Though that strategy isn’t outdated, today it has become more complicated.
By the year 2021, mobile is said to dominate the online sales market. These purchases are not only happening on e-commerce sites. In this omnichannel world, people are purchasing from platforms like Amazon, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. A smart inbound marketing strategy is important for your e-commerce store if you’re looking to draw in customers organically without wasting too much time chasing buyers.
Today, e-commerce is growing at a fast pace. It is getting more accessible and faster and inbound marketing is taking over devices and platforms.
For most retailers, inbound e-commerce marketing is a smart approach that helps them to increase engagement with past and current customers.
The Stages of Inbound Marketing
When it comes to inbound marketing for e-commerce it’s important that you understand the different stages of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing helps brands to improve their website copies and attract customers faster. There are four stages of inbound marketing – attract, convert, delight, and engage.
The very first stage of inbound e-commerce marketing is to attract. This stage involves the strategy of finding the right audience and attracting them. Ask yourself a few questions –
- Do you use relevant keywords in all your blog posts?
- Do you make use of targeted hashtags?
- What do you do to help people find your website?
Answering the above questions will help you tailor your content according to rank higher in a search and become more visible to your audience.
When we think about marketing, the first thing that comes to mind is about trying to convert users. After all, the end goal is to find new users and ultimately convert them. So, how can inbound marketing help to convert those users?
- Effective calls to action (CTAs)
- Sign-up forms
- Incentivizing users
In many cases, converting users isn’t straightforward as simply offering them a sign-up form and hoping that they join your community. One way you get into the closing stage is through automation. One such example is automated emails that are sent out to remind users about their abandoned carts. This can prompt busy customers to revisit your website and complete the purchase.
The final stage of inbound marketing is the delight stage. This stage is where you would reward customers for purchasing from you. This may include sending out a personalized email, a thank you message, offering discounts etcetera. During this stage, you can also include feedback forms and surveys that will help you gain insights and fix problems early on.
Steps To Launch Inbound Marketing for Your Online Store
The success of an e-commerce store starts when brands understand their customers. Unfortunately, this is something that is often overlooked and rushed into during the planning stage. So, before you start, take the time to understand your audience. Here are a few things to keep in mind when launching inbound marketing for your online store.
Create buyer personas
Creating detailed buyer personas for your inbound e-commerce marketing is very important. Consider creating ideal buyer personas and profiles to help understand your customer demographics and other information like hobbies, behaviors, interests, and lifestyles. Ideal buyer personas include the following information:
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of ideal customers. It’s based on real data and customer demographics, motivations, behavior patterns, and goals.
Define specific consumer behaviors by answering the below questions:
- How new are your buyers?
- How frequently do they buy?
- How much do they spend?
It’s important to understand that two users that have identical demographics may be motivated in different ways.
To pinpoint those motivations, you may ask the following questions:
- How do you use the product?
- What do you want to do with it?
- What are your goals for using the product?
To help with this, you can group buyers based on purchase speed including logical vs. emotional thinking.
Customers with shorter purchasing cycles are spontaneous and competitive. Competitive buyers usually rely on logic and will often look for awards and proof before choosing the ‘right’ option. On the other hand, spontaneous buyers rely on emotion and convenience to justify a purchase.
Customers with long purchasing cycles are humanistic and methodical. Humanistic buyers allow their emotions to guide their decisions, while methodical buyers will conduct extensive research before making a purchase.
Define business goals and objectives
Although e-commerce and inbound are similar, they still differ when it comes to key performance indicators and goals. Ecommerce campaigns usually focus on direct attribution and financial growth more when compared to B2B inbound strategies. Some examples of e-commerce KPIs are:
- E-commerce conversion rate
- Website traffic
- Average order value
- Online revenue
- Lifetime customer value.
Creating goal-based approaches using the above KPIs will help you to align your strategies and tactics better.
7 Essential Inbound Marketing Strategies for Ecommerce and Tactics That Actually Work
Now that you’ve understood what inbound marketing is and why it’s important, let’s discuss some of the best inbound marketing strategies for e-commerce and the tactics that work for sure.
When it comes to e-commerce inbound marketing, the first thing you’ll want to consider is search engine optimization (SEO). This can often seem like a huge task for many e-commerce marketers. However, it’s often about using non-technical and technical strategies to get organic visibility. Every product must have a web page, and the URL should include a unique target keyword. An optimized URL will have a keyword or product name.
Every URL created will have a page title tag. Keep it short as search engines typically read the first 50 to 60 characters.
Though you get some flexibility with this, make sure to include a product name, website name, and category in your page’s title tag.
Meta descriptions are the copy you’ll see right below a page’s title tag in the search results. Ensure that every page has a unique description that includes the target keyword naturally. Meta descriptions must be limited to under 300 characters to avoid getting cut off in the search results.
With regards to on-page SEO, there are a few things to keep in mind apart from header tags. This information will tell the search engines what type of content they must focus on. Every H1 tag must include a unique primary keyword.
You should also try to include other words in your lower headings like features, benefits, reviews, and specifications.
To improve organic visibility, every image on your website must include ‘alt-text’ with target keywords. By doing this, it helps your images to show up in Google’s image search results.
This was technical SEO, now let’s dive into non-technical SEO.
Blogging is an important tool when it comes to inbound marketing strategies. Successful blogs are designed to share expertise and valuable information with prospects. The information shared through blogs helps to improve trust, increases leads and brand loyalty. There’s no doubt that blogging is time-consuming, but dedicating a few hours a week can help give you significant returns on your investment.
When you write for your e-commerce store, always make sure to include a clear path on your blog where consumers can purchase. This can be done by adding product links and images that take consumers directly to the relevant product pages where they can purchase.
Offering free trials is one of the best ways to let the products sell on their own. For festive and seasonal content, you can try creating blogs on shopping guides. For example, “What to buy for your wife this Christmas?”. Putting up guides like this can have a great impact on organic SEO and also help consumers through the buying process.
3. User-generated content
This specifically means reviews and ratings. Have you ever looked for a specific product online, and checked out ratings, or read product reviews before purchasing?
When you add reviews to your website it offers two benefits:
- Helps to improve organic search ranking.
- Attracts visitors to your website and increases confidence in buying from you.
If your website does not have customer reviews, then it’s time you start including it. This may seem like a small change, but it can increase your customer satisfaction and e-commerce conversion rate to a great extent.
4. Social media
Social media also plays a key role in your inbound marketing strategies. They are even more important in e-commerce. Brands that use influencer marketing can reach out to a wider audience. So, apart from placing social buttons and incentivizing your social shares, you can also consider using social media in the best way possible to reach out to your target audience.
5. Paid media
Another inbound e-commerce marketing tip is to include paid media strategies as well. These include paid search advertising, social media advertising, and display advertising. Paid search advertising is a great strategy that helps to attract new prospects and buyers. This works because individuals who click on paid advertisements tend to have a higher purchase intent social media and display advertising are more focused on expanding brand reach.
6. Catalog optimization
Catalog optimization is all about optimizing, analyzing, and streamlining your products to maximize your revenue.
If you run an e-commerce website, you must ensure that you regularly analyze all your products and find out what products are selling, what’s not, and where you could improve. Classify your products by comparing conversion rates and website traffic.
First, take a look at your top-selling products as these would experience high conversion, high traffic, and sell well. Next, look at products that have a high conversion but experience a lower traffic rate. These products need more promotion to draw in traffic. Once you can do this, they will help to grow your e-commerce store.
For products that have high traffic but low conversion rates, you can try to experiment with the product content page and improve user experience to help with closing deals. Finally, take a look at products with low conversions and low traffic. These products are no good and should be removed from your website.
7. Email marketing
Email marketing plays a significant role in supporting your e-commerce sales. Apart from marketing automation, make sure to schedule emails to drive sales around your product promotions. Email still stands as the highest converting medium for a lot of e-tailers. When sending out emails, make sure to do the A/B test.
A/B testing is used to compare two versions of an app, email, webpage, etc., to find out which version performs better.
Other Important Ecommerce Inbound Marketing Tips
When you shop online there may be a few experiences that can be very frustrating. Especially, when you cannot find a particular product, you are searching for. Hence, if you’re running an e-commerce store, you can fix this problem by adding a site search to your store.
To optimize the site search you must evaluate the following:
- Product combinations that are purchased and viewed.
- Products that users search for compared to the ones they click.
- Products that are purchased.
- Products that have been added to the cart from site search.
Once you get an idea of how the site search works and performs; you can come up with more relevant search results that meet your customer expectations.
Regardless of the purchasing stage, users prefer a responsive customer care service. So, in addition to phone support lines, many e-commerce businesses offer live chat options as well. Today, many businesses have started investing in automated Q&A systems and chatbots that imitate human interactions using artificial intelligence. You can make use of such tools for your e-commerce store to manage customer inquiries.
You must allow more ways for a customer or prospect to contact you as this will improve the customer experience. Include an email address or form on your e-commerce website for customer inquiries. Providing a mobile-friendly and seamless checkout experience must be considered for a better user experience.
Average order value and conversion rates increase when clients offer certain upsell incentives. This may not work for every e-tailer, but you must explore different options that would make sense for your e-commerce business.
Shopping cart abandonment happens when users place items in the shopping cart but do not complete the transaction.
To solve the shopping cart abandonment issue, consider starting an abandoned cart automation workflow. This strategy includes different types of emails that tempt and re-engage users with discounts and special offers.
According to Peter Drucker, “What gets measured gets improved.” An important part of inbound marketing for e-commerce includes tracking your failures and success. Determine what’s working for you and what’s not and why. If you’re looking for ways to start analyzing and measuring your efforts, then take a look at this post. It gives you 11 metrics to analyze and track using Google Analytics.
Personalization marketing tactics also help in a big way when it comes to inbound e-commerce marketing. Including personalized notes or emails in your strategies can create lasting impressions and better customer experiences. Go a step further and implement personalization strategies to your e-commerce marketing.
Once a customer receives the product, it’s easy for brands to think that everything is done and completed. However, there are plenty of smart tactics that you can use to still connect with your customers and keep the conversion alive. When you follow up with your customers, ask them for product reviews, send them special discounts or recommend upsells that complement their purchases. Tactics like this can create a helpful purchasing experience and also increase the lifetime customer order value.
Unfortunately, there may come a time when existing customers disappear or go quiet. Winning over a new customer can be more expensive than getting an existing customer to purchase from you again. If you’ve noticed that a customer has purchased from you earlier, but has not purchased from you recently, then you must reach out to them before they disappear forever.
To deal with an issue like this, you can create a segmented list that gives you the date of the last order. This can include customers who have purchased from you in the last 90 or 180 days. Make sure to periodically check this out and try to re-engage customers as soon as possible.
Creating a loyalty program is one of the best ways to incentivize your customers to get them to purchase from you again. Through a loyalty program, customers are encouraged to make repeat purchases. Sending your customers gifts or notes on special days and occasions is one the best ways to keep your customers happy. Birthday and anniversary discounts are great ways to go about to create a lasting impact.
- Inbound marketing strategies are different from outbound marketing strategies. With inbound marketing, customers come to you organically rather than you chasing customers.
- Inbound marketing is divided into four stages – attract, convert, close, and delight.
- With inbound marketing, you save a lot of time and money as you do not have to chase customers.
- For most retailers, inbound e-commerce marketing is a smart approach that helps them to increase engagement with past and current customers.
- The 7 essential inbound marketing strategies for e-commerce are search engine optimization, blogging, user-generated content, social media, paid media, catalog optimization, and email marketing.
- Some other important inbound marketing tips are site search, live chat, forms, upsell incentives, customer recovery, analytics, personalization, reviews, re-engagement campaign, and loyalty program.
Inbound marketing is one of the most effective strategies to increase leads, buyers, and visitors. To attract the right customers you must understand their aspirations, struggles, and needs. Using the data, you must create valuable content that attracts your audience. Include SEO practices in a way that your customers can find you easily through search engines. Once you get the traffic, you must try to convert visitors with influencer marketing and free content that will help to drive traffic. With a great website and email campaigns, you can draw in your audience and grow your business.
Outbound marketing is about proactively reaching consumers to get them interested in your services or products. Inbound marketing is about creating the right content and distributing it smartly to pull consumers to you.
To create inbound e-commerce you must understand marketing strategy in the following way:
– Building buyer personas
– Set your inbound marketing strategy objectives
– Outline your customer’s marketing triggers
– Create a list of keywords
– Align content to the buyer’s journey
– Create a lead nurturing process
– Conversion-focused blogging
– Build a team of inbound marketing strategy experts
Inbound marketing helps you engage with your audience by getting them connected to you through useful content. It means drawing consumers to you in an organic way – through search engines and shared links. For example, a well-crafted blog post about a favorite product will speak to consumers in a much better way than a banner ad would do.
The five principles of inbound marketing are (S.C.O.P.E): standardize, contextualize, optimize, personalize and empathize.
The four stages of inbound methodology are: attract, convert, close, and delight.
The first step to developing an inbound marketing strategy is to define your business goals. It’s based on where you are at the moment and where you would want to go. You must create a map of how you get there.