Exploring the best digital marketing channels to promote your eCommerce Business

October 29, 2021
Reading time7 minutes
Evelyn S. Myers
Evelyn S. Myers
Content Writer - SDK Marketing

Knowing how to build a site and set up an online store is just the first step in having a successful eCommerce business. Promoting the company is just as important. After all, it’s difficult to make a profit if no one notices your website.

That’s why you should use digital marketing channels to let the world know about your eCommerce business. However, it can be daunting for business owners not familiar with digital marketing to choose suitable ones.

To help you out, we’ll cover the top seven marketing channels – by the end of this article, you will know which to choose for promoting your business.

What Is a Marketing Channel?

A marketing channel is a platform or strategy to communicate a brand’s messages to the target customers. 

With many options available, consider these essential aspects before you choose digital marketing channels:

  • Target audience. Find out your audience’s favorite channel and devices. Sites like Statista are helpful to check such data. 

Statista graph on most popular social networks worldwide as of July 2021

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  • Competitors. Research their marketing channels to see if their campaigns are successful. 
  • Budget. Calculate whether the marketing channel’s tools and strategies suit your budget. 

The Best Digital Marketing Channels to Promote Your eCommerce Store

This section will discuss how these seven digital marketing channels can benefit your eCommerce business and give examples of how major brands use them for promotion.  

1. Content Marketing

Content marketing refers to creating valuable information for existing and potential customers. 

There are various content marketing formats, including:

  • Product copy
  • Blog posts
  • FAQ page
  • eBooks
  • Infographics 
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Interactive content, like calculators and quizzes. 

Northern Brewer is one eCommerce brand that has a top-notch content marketing strategy. This home brewing company has an entire section dedicated to customer education, from homebrewing 101 to the video library and sugar calculator. 

Step 1: menu option

It covers step-by-step instructions and tips on making beer and helps the brand promote relevant products seamlessly. 

Step 2: brew

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However, to have excellent content that drives organic traffic, you also need to optimize it using proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. 

2. Search Engine Optimization

68% of online experiences begin with search engines, so no wonder they bring more traffic than social media. However, you need to gain top-ranking results on the first page to attract high traffic, as only 0.78% of searches go to the second page. 

One SEO strategy that helps boost ranks is keyword research. 

Some tools for researching keywords are Ahrefs Keyword Explorer and Keyword Tool. They provide many keyword suggestions around the main query and important keyword metrics, like search volume and difficulty. 

Keyword tool interface

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Another aspect of SEO to pay attention to is technical SEO. It delivers a better user experience and helps search engines crawl your website better. Some elements of technical SEO include website speed, URL structure, and mobile-friendliness. 

3. Pay-per-Click Advertising

SEO is excellent for long-term strategy, but it can’t drive traffic instantly. In this case, consider using pay-per-click advertising (PPC) to boost visibility and distribution quickly. With this strategy, it’s also possible to target specific audiences and attract more qualified leads. 

To use PPC, sign up for a particular ad network and set the budget. Some popular ad networks include Google, Facebook, and YouTube Ads. 

There are also kinds of advertising options to choose from, such as:

  • Paid search ads. Appear at the top of search engines’ first result page. 
  • Display ads. Can be seen on apps, websites, and social media banners. 
  • Product listing ads. Refer to images at the top of search results. 

Bing headphones search engine result page

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4. Email Marketing

Email marketing helps deliver personalized content directly to the subscribers’ inboxes. It includes welcome emails to new subscribers or product recommendations related to their previous purchases. 

This digital marketing channel can also improve website traffic. 

For example, BuzzFeed sends newsletters to their subscribers, providing a sneak peek of their blog posts and encourages them to click. With this strategy, email becomes one of the top five referrers of BuzzFeed’s website traffic. 

However, you should increase the number of subscribers first to get the email marketing benefits. 

Here are some ways to grow your email list:

  • Use exit-intent pop-ups to trigger signups. 
  • Encourage subscribers to share your emails by providing a share or CTA button. 
  • Offer lead magnets, like discounts or free shipping codes and eBooks.  
  • Add social proof by displaying the number of subscribers and their testimonials. 
  • Make the signup forms more straightforward. 

5. Social Media Marketing 

Woman holding mobile phone while browsing social media

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Over 3.6 billion people use social media, which can be an excellent opportunity to acquire new customers. Moreover, 54% of the users say that they start researching products on social media platforms.

However, each social media has a specific audience. For example, the largest age group on TikTok is 18 to 24 years old, while people between 25 to 34 years old mostly use Instagram. 

Therefore, research where your audience spends most of their time before deciding which social platform to use. 

Like Instagram and Facebook, some social media also offer marketplaces. Although they don’t give much control over the design and technicality, such marketplaces effectively reach customers because of their active users base. 

To tackle the drawback, some brands promote their products on the marketplaces and direct customers to their websites. 

6. Referral Marketing 

Referral marketing is similar to the word-of-mouth strategy, but a brand encourages existing users to invite their network to become new customers for certain benefits. 

This marketing channel is profitable as it influences up to 50% of all purchasing decisions. It’s also cost-effective as you only need to prepare some assets upfront, and the customers do the job by spreading word of mouth. 

Girlfriend Collective is one brand that successfully creates a referral program. 

Girlfriend Collective refer a friend page

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The fashion brand gives a free pair of leggings if a customer’s friend makes at least a $95 purchase. The first attempt resulted in 10,000 orders and got coverage from famous websites like Observer and Refinery29. 

A key takeaway from this brand is making referrals as simple as possible and giving customers rewards. 

7. Influencer Marketing

Usually, influencers are bloggers, social media personalities, and industry experts with a large following. 

Influencer marketing strategy is one of the most effective online marketing channels as it can deliver 11 times higher return on investment (ROI) and attract niche audiences.  

To maximize the results, carefully select influencers you’ll work with by considering these factors:

  • Target audience. Confirm that the demographics of the influencer's following align with your target audience. 
  • Partnership formats. Decide the types of influencer campaigns you want to run, such as sponsored content, influencer takeover, or brand ambassadors. 
  • Influencer image. Ensure that the influencer’s style and voice match your brand’s style. Also, consider checking if there’s any past controversy that can impact your brand. 
  • Budget. Partner with an influencer that’s within your price range. The fees usually depend on the following and partnership format you propose, but it generally costs between $10 to $10,000
  • Engagement rate. Calculate the engagement metrics, such as likes and comments, then divide them by the total number of followers. Ask their analytics directly or use a tool like Influencity. 

Influencity KPIs and metrics

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Conclusion

Having an eCommerce website is a great initial step for an eCommerce business. Yet, you should consider expanding the efforts by using various digital marketing channels to communicate with the target audience. 

Here are the seven channels we’ve discussed:

  • Content marketing – best for educating customers. 
  • SEO – best for gaining organic traffic on search engines. 
  • PPC – best for boosting visibility quickly. 
  • Email marketing – best for customer retention and personalized content. 
  • Social media – best for increasing market reach. 
  • Referral marketing – best for spreading word of mouth. 
  • Influencer marketing – best for attracting qualified audiences. 

With the specific purpose of each marketing channel, it’s possible to mix and match the strategies to find out which gives the highest ROI.

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