Whether you realize it or not, every business engages in some kind of channel marketing. The question is, what kind of channel marketing should you focus on to help you scale? The first step is to understand that not every business is the same. Some channel marketing strategies that work for brick-and-mortar stores won’t have the same effect for ecommerce brands. Since ecommerce stores live online, you’ll want to focus your strategies in the same world.
Marketing channels are used for three main goals: to boost brand awareness, to build product awareness, and to drive traffic to your store. There are many types of marketing channels that ecommerce businesses can use to nurture each of these goals, but we’re going to share a list of the top eight that have been successful for brands during 2020. This list includes both organic and paid marketing channel strategies—that means there’s something that can be used for ecommerce businesses of any size. Let’s get started, so you can start boosting your revenue!
1. Engage with customers on social media
Every ecommerce brand should have social media accounts on at least a few platforms. Think about where your customers spend a large chunk of their time every day: online! In fact, the average user spent 153 minutes on social media every day in 2019, and this number continues to rise every year. This is why it’s important for your business to offer an opportunity for visitors and customers to engage with you beyond your website and on a channel that’s meaningful to them.
The popular digital marketing channels you’ll want to be using are Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and TikTok. As a quick tip, always ensure you're optimizing your business bios on all platforms. This is where customers discover more about your business, so think about what information is valuable in these sections. There are a ton of Instagram bio link tools available to try for free that will help you get started. Between paid ads on these channels and organic posts, your store has a great opportunity to be seen and discovered by thousands of customers on social media.
You may be questioning TikTok as one of these opportunities, but TikTok is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms out there with users spending an average of 52 minutes per day on the app—this accounts for users creating, sharing, and watching videos. In fact, 90% of users are interacting on the platform every single day. Overall, TikTok is a great opportunity to engage with your customers, so get on it and follow your target audience, share valuable content (such as behind the scenes of your business, packaging, and more), and let yourself be discovered.
Are you an ecommerce business owner who’s interested in increasing sales and ROI through TikTok? Check out MuteSix, a digital agency that can support you with driving growth on social media, including TikTok!
2. Set up an automated chatbot for your business
Chatbots are a great hands-off approach to nurturing your customers throughout the sales funnel. By creating custom AI responses, you can use a chatbot directly on your Shopify site to answer customer inquiries and share valuable content that will drive visitors toward making purchases. A recent study found that 57% of businesses agree that chatbots deliver large ROI with minimal effort. This is why they’re a great opportunity for your business. With a quick, one-time set up, you’ll be generating value with your chatbot.
A great thing about chatbots is that you can also use them to retarget customers by sending sponsored messages, browse abandonment messages, or cart abandonment reminders. This allows you to keep your brand relevant in a customer’s mind, and it reminds them that there is something valuable about your products that they need to have them. Trust us, let the bot do the work for you, so you can focus on other initiatives.
Messenger marketing with Octane AI is a simple way to build back-and-forth conversations that drive engagement and purchases. See what automation we have to help your Shopify brand succeed!
3. Start sharing value-added content on a blog
You may have seen some ecommerce brands that feature a blog on their website. However, there are many that don’t do this. For industries like apparel and jewelry, some business owners don’t think a blog will provide any value. This is completely wrong! In fact, blogs provide a lot of benefits for your business, such as:
- It will increase your website SEO.
- It’s a great space to make announcements.
- It’s a different way to engage with your customers.
- You can become seen as an industry expert.
- It can amplify your social media presence by sharing your content.
- It can drive more traffic to your store.
These are only a few benefits that blogging can do for your business, and its worth the added effort to build content to share. In fact, Companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. If you’re not sure what to blog about, do some research on what other brands are doing: you could write and share recipes, fashion trends, or educational pieces. You could also talk about any organizations you’re collaborating with or supporting, and discuss worldwide trending topics in a way that’s related to your brand and what you sell. Check out Live Love Gameday’s blog as an example.
Live Love Gameday uses their blog as a way to share personal experiences and stories. They also tie in one of their products that is relevant to the story, making the content valuable to readers who are interested in the products as a result of what they read. This is one example of how an apparel brand can use a blog strategy to drive traffic and sales.
4. Get involved in the podcast industry
Whether you’re a new entrepreneur or an experienced ecommerce business owner, podcasts can provide a lot of value for you. There are many podcasts that are specifically about the ecommerce industry where you can purchase ad space or feature as a guest. But even outside of the ecommerce or tech niche, purchasing podcast ad space on shows that your target audience is listening to is a great opportunity as well. For example, if you’re a beauty or cosmetic brand, getting a 30-second snippet on a podcast about the beauty industry may have a higher impact on your sales because the audience is likely people interested in learning about new products and brands to try.
Spotify is one of the leading apps for people to listen to podcasts on. In a recent study, they found that 81% of podcast listeners would take action (like researching a brand online) after hearing an audio ad. If you’re featured with an audience that’s relevant, you’ll find podcast ads worthwhile.
Keep in mind that being featured on a podcast isn’t going to be free; in fact, good podcasts will be costly. But, nonetheless, podcasts are a really great marketing channel to talk about your business with an audience that you know is relevant. If you’re interested in discovering new podcasts that ecommerce experts are listening to, we’ve compiled a list of 24 podcasts, newsletters, and books.
5. Engage with customers through SMS marketing
We’ve seen the power of email marketing, and we’ve seen engagement rates boost with chatbot and messenger marketing, but engaging with your customers over SMS is another whole area for your to amplify your revenue. Did you know that SMS messages have an average open rate of 98%? Also, 90% of those messages sent will be opened and read within the first 3 minutes of delivery. With stats that high, it’s hard not to think about SMS marketing as a golden opportunity. Here are a few examples of SMS messages you could send, featuring one of our fav’ brands, Skinny Mixes.
Sharing coupons and discounts are valuable through SMS because they are 10 times more likely to be redeemed through this channel than any other. For customers that are genuine advocates of your brand, they’ll want to engage with you through SMS, so make those engagements valuable by sending them cart abandonment reminders, discounts, sales updates, and any information they’d enjoy to help you boost sales.
Want to see how you can maximize sales with both SMS and Messenger marketing? Book a demo with us to find out how these channels can help you skyrocket!
6. Pair all your efforts with email marketing
Email marketing is no new phenomenon, but it is a channel that you should continue to use in 2020. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, the average ROI is $42. So even though open rates aren’t as high as SMS or Messenger marketing, it’s still worthwhile to use this channel to send messages to your customers and keep them engaged. If you’re questioning whether you should still prioritize your email marketing, read these stats:
- The average open rate for a welcome email is 82%.
- 73 percent of millennials prefer communications from businesses to come via email.
- 49% of consumers would like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands.
- Sending 3 abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email.
- 99% of consumers check their email every day.
As you can see, email is still a highly effective channel for ecommerce businesses in all industries. No matter if you’re selling pet supplies or home goods, your customers want to hear from you. Along with your Messenger and SMS efforts, send customers welcome emails, discount codes, abandoned cart reminders, and sales updates. Include upsell products, like how the brand DoYouEven has in the email example below, to increase your chances of your customers making a purchase from other products that suit their interest.
7. Build credibility with user-generated content
Have you ever heard of the term user-generated content? The definition is exactly as it sounds. User-generated content is any type of content, whether it be images, videos, audio, or written content, that has been created and posted by users online. The most obvious example of user-generated content is when your customers take pictures of themselves using or wearing your products, posting them on their social media accounts, and tagging your store. You often see this with influencer marketing, but when you have a strong community of brand advocates, they'll willingly post about your brand without any incentive.
For example, on the Swank Store’s Instagram page, you can click on the “tagged” section to see hundreds of images of customers that are wearing their products and tagging the store in the images. This is a bonus for your brand because when new visitors discover you on Instagram, they can go to this section to see that there are many people that enjoy your products.
Another great piece of user-generated content that you can use to your advantage is reviews. If you offer a loyalty program, you can give customers points if they write a product review directly on your product page, or you can use your email or messenger channels to ask customers for feedback after they’ve made a purchase. Use these reviews when you send abandoned cart messages to ensure customers know your products are trusted by other shoppers. For example, see how Ella + Mila included reviews in their Messenger marketing. This helps build brand credibility.
Start using the top marketing channels for long-term success
As you can see from the above list, there are a ton of channels you can be using to reach your customer base and boost your revenue. If you’re a new business, try to focus on at least three channels, and social media should definitely be one of those. If your business has been around for a while and has seen positive growth, it’s time to start unlocking the marketing channels that will help you continue to succeed, like TikTok and podcasts. The more channels you discover for yourself, the more customers you’ll have discovering you too.