Having a business in the “startup” stages is an incredibly exciting, but stressful, experience.
You have an idea you’re passionate about turning into a business, but there are inevitably a million challenges and hiccups right out of the gate.
One of those is marketing your business. Gone are the days of waiting for customers to come to you, in today’s market we need to put our products in front of customers.
As an e-commerce business, you definitely want to invest in digital marketing to get your business off the ground.
The real question is, where do you even start?
Cash flow is probably tight – and it’s unlikely you can afford to outsource to an agency or in-house marketer at this stage.
That’s why we recommend focusing on platforms that are both cost-effective and can effectively drive short-term sales.
1. (SMM) Social Media Marketing
In our books, social media marketing is the number one strategy any new e-commerce business should consider pursuing.
It offers the absolute best mix of versatility and cost of any platform on this list.
It’s both geared for creating immediate sales using targeted advertising, and growing an organic platform that lets you get free exposure for your brand.
This means that by investing in social media marketing you’re securing those crucial immediate sales, but also investing in the long-term success of your business.
Historical data can be invaluable for any business, and a lot of social media marketing is trial-and-error, so the sooner you start the better.
Best Social Media Marketing Platform for E-commerce Startups
We like to start with the Facebook suite since it has incredible reach and good targeting features. As an added bonus, you can also start running on Instagram through the same platforms.
If you’re a B2B business, we recommend also setting up a LinkedIn presence as soon as possible.
While running ads on the platform is very costly, when done properly the lead quality more than makes up for this. On top of that quality content can have an incredible organic reach on the platform.
2. Email Marketing
While not as versatile as social media marketing, email marketing is a close second in our opinion.
This is because of its amazing cost-effectiveness and incredible conversion rates compared to other platforms.
Being able to send past customers targeted offers will get you some of the best conversion rates possible via any form of online advertising.
The risk that you face is not abusing the platform.
“Spamming” people with too much, or poor quality, email content will force them to unsubscribe. That’s why we recommend being very deliberate and planned in your use of email marketing – to maximise its utility as an amazing short-term and long-term strategy.
We like Mailchimp for its easy to use block editor and relatively generous free plan – if you’re looking for an email service to try out.
3. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Search engine marketing can return great short-term results, depending on the format you focus on, but it’s a lot harder to get it to work (which is why it’s at the bottom of our list).
As for platforms, there’s really only one worth considering as a new business, and that’s Google.
Smaller search engines like Bing have some niche uses, but in general, you want to go where all the people already are – and right now Google dominates the market.
There are two main search engine marketing strategies, and they’re incredibly different, so we’ll break them down below:
Paid search refers to paying for your results to be shown at the top of the search engine results page (SERP).
Unlike organic results, this is temporary, and you typically pay each time somebody clicks on your search results (pay-per-click or PPC marketing).
All of these can create great short-term results, but it can be much tricker than social media marketing to get it to work as a novice marketer.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Search engine optimisation is the process of trying to get your website to rank higher in the organic (unpaid) search results.
There are a million different ways to do this, but worth noting is that they all take considerable time to yield meaningful results.
For this reason, the sooner you start investing in SEO the better, but if you’re having cash flow problems it’s not the right platform for you.
We recommend using any of the above strategies to get your business off the ground before considering SEO.
If your site was set up by a reputable web designer – it should start ranking some pages organically anyway without you needing to do anything.
We hope this helped clear up the best digital marketing strategies to focus on, for your e-commerce startup.
To sum up; this is roughly the order of strategies we recommend any new business follow:
- Social media marketing (SMM) across relevant platforms
- Email marketing
- Search engine marketing, starting with paid search
If you put in the time and effort to get all of these platforms working for your business, you’ll be well on your way to success.
To further your learning, check out more e-commerce marketing content on the inSyte blog or listen to the inSyte Podcast for insights straight from the mouths of fellow entrepreneurs.
This article was brought to you by Syte.
We’re a specialist e-commerce digital marketing agency dedicated to driving up your bottom line.
We tend not to service startups, but once your business is established and you’re looking at upping your digital marketing game feel free to reach out with the form below or check out our case studies page to see what we’ve been able to do for our clients.