If you’re here, then you must already be familiar with inbound marketing. However, common courtesy and etiquette tell us to start with introductions before discussing what is inbound marketing for eCommerce and the inbound marketing process for eCommerce, so:
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing whose primary purpose is attracting clients in a natural and organic way to properly engage, close, and eventually delight them. This is different from traditional forms of marketing where customers are sought out with flashy advertisements for short term gain.
Inbound marketing uses far more subtle methods to both lure in customers through market research and keyword manipulation, among others. While not as easy compared to traditional means, inbound marketing has a higher chance of success while also being more cost-efficient for today’s more skeptical customers.
Where outbound marketing is like shoving perfume in a customer’s face, inbound marketing is like the bakery’s smell of fresh bread naturally enamore hungry customers. It’s not simple, it’s not easy, but it is very effective in both building trust and retaining customers.
Succeeding in this takes a lot of hard work and determination, but “what lasts won’t come easy,” right? Thank you, Ntsiki KaCaleni.
This being said:
Why Does Your eCommerce Store Need Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is critical to the success of businesses in all industries, whether they are multinational corporations or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Without inbound marketing for eCommerce, it is difficult to achieve more sales, larger profit margins, and expansion in general because of the very high competition in the eCommerce industry.
The assortment of marketing methods and tactics known as inbound marketing for eCommerce is aimed at employing content that is pertinent to both present and potential consumers to attract them to a business’ products and/or services.
eCommerce is advancing in convenience, accessibility, and range of platforms and devices used. The bottom line for many eCommerce retailers is that inbound marketing is the only marketing strategy that has allowed their eCommerce stores to increase engagement rates of former, existing, and prospective customers.
Hence, some of the common objectives for our inbound marketing for eCommerce are:
- Increasing website traffic and eCommerce store visitors
- Boosting conversion rates
- Raising the average value of orders
- Enhancing customer lifetime value
One of our previous clients is an eCommerce company that markets and sells medical supplies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. With the help of our inbound marketing for eCommerce services, the company witnessed a 255% increase in page views and a 57% increase in organic search engagement rate!
How did we achieve these results? What is the inbound marketing process for eCommerce?
Inbound Marketing Process for eCommerce Stores
We have developed an inbound marketing process that can easily be adapted to virtually any industry, and it works particularly well for eCommerce. Our inbound marketing process for eCommerce stores is as follows:
The first phase of our inbound marketing process for eCommerce can be summed up as an honest and straightforward detailing of our client’s and their competitors’ current status. In other words, the eCommerce inbound marketing process has to begin by an assessment of the concerned parties’ digital presence.
To do this, we begin by launching a discovery workshop with our client, where we discuss who they are, what they do, where they are, and where they want to go. This gives us access to a plethora of priceless information, notably the strengths and weaknesses that can be leveraged and improved.
The next thing is conducting a thorough competitor analysis of similar local and international companies’ websites and social media platforms. This complements our inbound marketing process for eCommerce in terms of understanding what the best practices are for a specific type of eCommerce company.
We then develop buyer personas, conduct keyword research, and present our findings to the client in what we call an “End-of-Phase Presentation.” We also determine a set of SMART goals and KPIs at this stage.
The second phase of our inbound marketing process for eCommerce is all about building the foundations for the implementation of the inbound marketing strategy. This phase basically entails creating the skeletons for the steps of the 3rd phase which will be discussed below.
Phase 2 of the eCommerce inbound marketing process focuses on perfecting the client’s brand identity for starters. This can mean 2 things: we either completely reimagine the client’s brand guidelines and identity or work off their existing brand identity, depending on what the client wants and what works best in compliance with digital marketing standards.
That’s not all — the second phase of our inbound marketing process for eCommerce also entails work on the client’s website design and optimization, beginning with a customized sitemap and 2 wireframe versions, both of which will be used to construct the eCommerce website to maximize user-friendliness.
In addition to what has already been discussed, we also create the client’s email and social media templates for several purposes based on the different phases of the buyer’s journey and inbound marketing funnel.
The third and final phase of our inbound marketing process for eCommerce is, as the name suggests, deploying or launching the inbound marketing strategy for eCommerce clients. Here is where the inbound marketing process comes together.
Our work is divided into multiple important categories, all of which are vital components of a successful eCommerce inbound marketing strategy. These include content-rich and SEOed web pages describing the services and/or products that the eCommerce store offers, weekly blog posts, daily social media posts relevant to the content, and email marketing.
How do we decide on the content? Based on keyword research for the different stages of the buyer’s journey! If you’re interested in learning what content to create for each of the awareness, consideration, and decision phases of the buyer’s journey, check out this blog post!
Is Inbound Marketing for eCommerce? — Inbound Marketing and Sales Funnel
Through a multi-step process called inbound marketing, a prospect is transformed into a lead, who is subsequently transformed into a paying customer. For the inbound marketing process for eCommerce to be successful, there are 4 stages that must be taken into account and leveraged.
But first, it’s of utmost importance to understand that the funnel represents the stages that a company follows, whereas the buyer’s journey is what the target audience goes through. Though they flow in parallel and work in tandem, each has its own set of “rules.”
Attracting customers to your eCommerce brand is the first step. The main objective of inbound marketing for eCommerce is to raise awareness of your company and attract qualified leads who fit your desired client profile (your target audience).
The most crucial need for attracting exemplary customers to your website is having a good understanding of your target market and of what motivates them to engage with companies.
Additionally, inbound marketing for eCommerce evaluates the issues, needs, and conundrums that your prospective customers experience. The “attract stage” of the marketing funnel targets the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey.
At this step in the inbound marketing process for eCommerce, customers are in the process of researching and understanding the “why” behind the problem they’re facing. So, to masterfully attract them, inbound marketing for eCommerce focuses on generating informative content to be published on your eCommerce store’s website (blog) and social media channels.
Engaging customers with your eCommerce brand is the second step. Simply stated, the main goal of the second stage of the inbound marketing process for eCommerce is to offer prospects more pertinent content in return for their contact information.
At this point, your eCommerce company has succeeded in raising awareness of your offerings and is working to turn visitors into leads, get their contact information, and foster connections, which can be easily accomplished through inbound marketing for eCommerce.
Prospects are now assessing how your company’s products and services compare to those of your competitors — they are comparing the many approaches at their disposal. Therefore, you must give them something worthwhile and alluring so that they feel driven to provide the requested information. This includes demo videos, training videos, eBooks, case studies, free consultations and/or trials, and so on.
The third stage of the inbound marketing process for eCommerce is where the sale takes place. The goal here is to convert the qualified leads you were able to get into paying customers, which can be done through lead nurturing, client testimonials, free trials, shipping discounts, and the like.
However, the inbound marketing process for eCommerce does not end here.
One of the commandments of inbound marketing is that the relationship between a company and a client does not end upon closing a deal. Therefore, the objective of the delight stage is to increase brand loyalty by providing customers with more timely and pertinent content in the future. Examples of this include post-purchase follow-up emails, reposting user-generated content (UGC), special offers and discounts, and feedback surveys.
Perhaps the most underappreciated phase of the entire inbound marketing process for eCommerce is the delight stage. Referrals and sales from repeat clients are two intrinsic sources of business growth and increasing market share.
Businesses must spend six to seven times as much money to acquire new clients as they have to spend to retain their existing clients. Existing clients play a significant role in the development and success of your company. To maintain growth while using an inbound strategy, it is crucial to delight and engage with customers consistently.
Methods of Inbound Marketing for eCommerce Businesses
Every marketing strategy requires methods to enact a successful campaign, inbound marketing isn’t different in that aspect. The methods here are effective in both drawing in customers and retaining them, all of which increase the success of an ecommerce business.
Each of these methods doesn’t involve flashy gimmicks similar to what traditional marketing would require. These tools are more subtle and feel more natural, lowering a customer’s skepticism and implant a seedling of trust.
In these methods, everything would be naturally grown or gained without the need of interruptive advertising. If a user wishes to know more about the ecommerce businesses brand, they will find you. All that would be left is to retain them, and here’s inbound marketing agencies like LetsMarket.it works to make your ecommerce business a success.
Any business that wishes to reach out to customers would have several social media pages on multiple platforms. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube are invaluable assets to a marketing team, and are especially important in an inbound marketing strategy.
Having an online presence on social media can be used as an advertisement in and of itself, but it can also be used as a customer service tool. If a customer wishes to reach out to a brand, one of the go-to ways is through that brand’s social media. This can help in the delight phase of an inbound marketing strategy, but also in collecting data for any future project.
What’s more, with how companies can appear as more corporate than human, interacting with the customer base solves that problem. By communicating with the users of the ecommerce business website or the followers of the social media platform, talking with the customers goes a long way.
Similar to how popular restaurant Wendy’s talks with their customers on Twitter, the interactions can be part of the brand’s identity and go viral for it.
The best method to create an efficient inbound marketing campaign is to have regularly updated content on social media and the ecommerce website. Not only does it show the company being alive and active online, but also drive up brand awareness and help in retaining customers.
Whether through blogs, how-to guides, animated explainer videos, and online interactive events, among others, content is key to inbound marketing. It cannot be emphasized enough how important content is for inbound marketing. Content is a core component of SEO strategy and helps retain clients with consistent updates.
One of the modern methods for ecommerce inbound marketing is the utilization of emails as part of their strategy. Using this method, it can be used to track certain customer groups and follow up as part of the delight phase.
Newsletters, customer service, and updates, among others, can be sent through emails to retain customers as well as part of the retargeting method to catch any users who missed out on the content.
We’ve all seen a brand post a customer’s glowing review of their product on social media. Perhaps even a restaurant begins a social media campaign where customers post images of their food on their social media; this is user-generated content.
These brand-to-customer interactions help liven the relationship between the two, showing how the brand’s social media isn’t solely for itself. This strategy encourages other users to follow suit in the aim of receiving similar attention from the brand, growing in brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Targeting and Retargeting
Targeting is the concept of being able to pick and choose your audience for your marketing campaign. Knowing who your target audience is would all be learned within the discovery phase, and they can be made up of a mishmash of many traits. Gender, age, location, and beliefs, among others, are all part of the analysis of who the intended audience might be.
Once the customer base is established, the designing of the content for the ecommerce inbound marketing campaign can be designed around that. For maximum effectiveness, research would be conducted on how to best tailor the product’s or brand’s presentation.
Retargeting, on the other hand, is the second face of the same coin. When users visit the website and leave halfway through the content, the inbound marketing team would serve them content as they browse through the internet. This way they are encouraged to return and not only finish consuming the content but are also more likely to conduct a purchase.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing for eCommerce
Even after reading this information, you might still be debating if it is still worthwhile for your e-commerce company to use an inbound marketing strategy. We at LetsMarket.it would like to tell you exactly how inbound marketing would benefit your online business more than using traditional means.
The core of inbound marketing methods is using contemporary tools like SEO, social media marketing, content marketing, and email marketing, which work well with e-commerce sites. The most effective way to advertise an online business is through online marketing, which is a focus of inbound marketing.
Traditional marketing has been on the decline since the widespread adoption of social media and the internet as a whole. In order to keep ahead of the game as new technologies are adopted, marketing companies have been doing all they can to adapt new internet advertising formats.
As a result of people ignoring advertising or turning off their televisions when one starts, inbound marketing is the most effective technique to draw customers. Here are the reasons why:
Inbound Marketing Increases Brand Awareness
Part of the inbound marketing strategy is through the use of SEO. Manipulating the words and phrases used in each piece of content on the website in an effort to rank high in search results. Combined with being an online store, this makes the most logical sense as a method to increase your brand’s visibility to the audience.
With the use of SEO to gain better results on search engines, having an active social media presence helps greatly as an advertisement in itself. Being active in content on social media and websites increases the chances of being found naturally by potential customers. Should those very customers become brand ambassadors, this further increases brand awareness via word-of-mouth.
This is part of what makes inbound marketing so dynamic for an ecommerce business.
Inbound Marketing Generates Customers
With the increase of awareness via SEO combined with other forms of digital marketing, this results in an increase of qualified leads. With consistent updates of your content and blogs, the lively updates will automatically draw in individuals of your target audience who are inclined to purchase your product.
If the customer left with a purchase, more can be done and have them go down the marketing funnel. If the user did not leave with a purchase, that person will have your business on their radar for the future.
With the customers, however, work continues after the sale to have repeat, brand-loyal customers. Nurturing them with updates, discount offers, and promotions, further driving up brand value within the customer’s mind.
Inbound Marketing Drives Customers Down the Sales Funnel
After creating consistent updates to the ecommerce website content, returning customers will be driven down the sales funnel and transform from qualified lead to brand ambassador. To maximize the likelihood of brand ambassador conversion, the material itself will be diverse in order to reach a larger target audience.
Brand ambassadors are useful as they spread brand awareness via word-of-mouth. Inbound marketing strategies involve converting customers into brand ambassadors through consistent updates for the client’s benefit.
With these customers being ambassadors, the cycle can begin again with newcomers from word-of-mouth, convincing them with good service and content, then delighting them with updated content and follow ups.
Inbound Marketing is More Cost-Efficient Compared To Traditional Means
Inbound marketing strategies use resources the customer already has, as opposed to traditional marketing methods that include purchasing media such as TV commercials and several massive billboards. For ecommerce companies, inbound marketing entails regular updates to their social media and website pages.
Activities such as social media campaigns, online interactive contests, or a Q and A, among others, can all be done via a social media platform. These suit an ecommerce business better than a large expensive billboard at a crossroads for a week to advertise their online business. Not only would it be cheaper to produce, but it could be used to collect information from followers for future marketing plans.
Social media and the webpage would already be in the company’s possession, and the inbound market’s strategy involves utilizing them to their fullest potential. For both raising awareness and increasing the brand’s perception within the minds of customers, these methods are both effective and cost efficient; no expensive and flashy advertisements are needed.
Inbound Marketing Increasing Customer Retention
While purchases are the ultimate goal for any ecommerce business, inbound marketing strategies involve beyond the point of sale. Even after the purchase, the work isn’t done, as tactics will be put in place to retain customers after they left the store.
Through consistent updates on the ecommerce store’s web page content and social media, inbound marketing will allow customers to become brand loyal. During the delight phase, inbound marketing’s work doesn’t cease; it keeps going to keep the customer happy with their purchase and to follow up.
In this phase, increasing user-generated content, offering discounts, and conducting feedback surveys, among other methods, would show the customers how important they are to the ecommerce business company. When respect is given, respect is returned, and customers will think highly of the brand after.
Adaptation on the Go
One of the benefits of inbound marketing is that everything is available digitally, from customer information to technical errors, all of which can be tracked and dealt with. Part of the charm of inbound marketing is the ability to adapt as the campaign runs its course.
Should a customer receive a fault service or product, that information can be recorded and sent to the customer service department immediately. Should a technical feature of a site malfunction, that data will be kept and the IT department would swiftly respond. Should one group of customers not respond well, attention would be diverted to an audience that enjoys the content.
Every minute detail on an ecommerce inbound marketing campaign is logged and observed. Any error or discrepancy can be quickly solved during the campaign or adjusted for after for the future.
Calculating eCommerce Inbound Marketing Return on Investment
At the end or during an inbound marketing campaign, the data collected would be assessed compared to the investment provided. These statistics can be used to evaluate funding priorities during or after the campaign or to ensure that resources were given to the correct areas.
A return on investment can be calculated through different means depending on the goal that was set in place. It could be either the number of followers gained, how much of an increase in traffic to the website, or of course the number of purchases made during the campaign.
All of these results would be foregone conclusions during the discovery phase of an inbound marketing campaign. Setting realistic goals and learning how to carry them out with efficiency and effectiveness in mind, while also keeping track of the resources available. These are core tenets when it comes to calculating the campaign’s return on investment.
After explaining what is inbound marketing for eCommerce, it is fair to say that inbound marketing for eCommerce holds tremendous potential when implemented correctly. With the decline of traditional marketing’s effectiveness, people being more skeptical of advertisements, and the rise of social media, inbound marketing has become the new prime method of marketing.
We are an eCommerce inbound marketing agency that specializes in providing solutions for your eCommerce business, enabling you to build a solid and loyal customer base and drive sales within your store. Many companies have benefited from inbound marketing, so what are you waiting for to invest in inbound marketing for eCommerce?