The Complete Guide to Building an Effective Ecommerce Marketing Plan in 3 Steps

Managing a successful e-commerce site is an incredible experience. 

Nothing beats the satisfaction of having products that sell out at top speed, while you wake up each morning excited about optimizing different aspects of your online sales business.

But there are also challenges in running your own eCommerce store – there will be times when you realize things don’t work out as expected.

You could spend hours working hard, not getting the results you want, and not knowing what to do next.

Even though these challenges might put you off, don’t give up.

We have put together a very effective e-commerce marketing plan to help you overcome any obstacles that might stand in your way and prevent you from building a long-term profitable business.

Start-up enthusiasm

When you start your online sales business, it’s easy to find the time and motivation to do it all. 

Finding a brand name, identifying great products to sell, taking great product photos, and designing your site can be difficult tasks – but it’s only the beginning of the process.

The real test comes later, on launch day when you’re in front of your computer screen, eager to reap the rewards for your efforts over the past two months.

But generally, if no marketing strategy has been implemented, it is very likely that you will only receive a handful of visitors on launch day, in most cases friends and family wanting you. show their support.

By day two, there should usually be no one around to buy – or even see – your products or appreciate the great design of your website. This is when doubt sets in and you start to lose motivation.

You start to question your ability to run an e-commerce site.

So how do you know if it’s time to throw in the towel, or if it’s just an apology?

Why Some Entrepreneurs Quite Early-on

When the first doubts arise, some people will just give up, but in a very subtle way. These people are certainly not going to wake up one day and say to themselves, “It’s decided, today I’m giving up. “. Instead, you’ll hear excuses like, “I’m just really busy right now.”

If you are one of those people, I’ll be honest with you: it won’t be easy.

To be successful, it takes passion and persistence to overcome challenges – and if you get discouraged easily, that’s not a good sign.

Nevertheless, reading this article demonstrates your desire to succeed.

Welcome to the complex world of marketing

online marketing channels

People who persevere without taking a strategic approach can quickly get lost in the complex world of marketing.

This happens when you test all the methods available to you: Facebook ads, promoting on Twitter, writing blog posts daily for SEO purposes, and constantly applying changes to your e-commerce site. improve your conversion rate.

If you are lucky, you will receive traffic and make sales on a regular basis through any of these methods. But very often trying everything at once will waste your time with no results.

And without results, there is no momentum.

And even then, you keep asking yourself, “Are there some methods that I haven’t tried yet that could help me make things better?” “

However, when you analyze how other e-commerce companies generate sales, you realize that you’ve already tried what they are doing but it hasn’t worked for you. The reality is that most e-commerce sites generate sales through the same channels.

So what can you do?

The solution lies in the steps you overlooked. If you test everything at once, you are probably not going to be able to master anything.

It takes time to set up Google Adwords, establishes a winning content marketing strategy, optimizes Facebook ads, or build an affiliate network. There are even some people who choose to focus for several years on one of these particular tactics (and are constantly optimizing it).

But, how can you sell more without being a marketing expert?

It’s not hard to be successful in marketing, but the learning process can turn some people off.

What you really need to get your merchant website off the ground is an e-commerce marketing system plan.

Creating a marketing action plan as a system for success

The goal is to create a system that answers two questions for each new marketing channel you test:

  1. Am I making progress?
  2. What could I do to improve myself?

These questions will allow you to have a plan of action in mind and identify the channels that are not working.

So if you use the approach below but none of the channels seem to be working, it could mean that there are some important changes to be made to your store. No matter how good your ad campaign is, if no one wants the products you’re selling, you’re not going anywhere.

lean startup schema iterative process

To create our web marketing plan, we will make the process of iterative Lean Startup and change it according to our needs. It’s an iterative three-step process that all of your marketing efforts will go through.

The goal remains the same: to make sales – but in a different way. First, you will focus on a specific marketing channel. Then you will measure the results. Then, depending on those results, you’re going to make changes to your initial attempt to optimize it a bit more.

The process continues until you are satisfied with the results or realize that a particular marketing channel is not suitable for your e-commerce.

Which marketing channel to start with is up to you and your business. You might get ideas from reading an interesting blog post or from a conversation with another entrepreneur.

To implement this and illustrate the approach, we will create a marketing plan to generate sales through advertising on Facebook.

Step 1: Build

At this point, you know you need to make sales, and you’re going to use Facebook Ads to do it. The goal here is to create and run an ad, nothing more.

If you are familiar with Facebook, it will be very easy. If you have never used Facebook’s advertising platform, it may take longer to launch your first advertising campaign.

To create your first Facebook advertising campaign, you will need to define the following points:

Goal

image objectives Facebook advertising campaign

Your end goal is to sell, but there are several targeting options on Facebook. For now, just select Send people to your website or Increase conversions as an objective. 

Landing page

What page will you send your visitors to?

Public

Facebook advertising campaign targeting image

What combination of criteria will you use to select your target audience?

  • Demographic criteria: location, sex, age, language, level of education, etc.
  • Interests: which pages are “liked” by your target customers or which subjects interest them?
  • Behavior: This targeting option is based on data collected by Facebook about the behavior of its users.

Budget

How much should you spend to get started, before you know the results you’re going to get? To get started, choose a budget that is within your reach, like ten dollars a day.

Ad formats

Where do you want your ads to appear: in the news feed on desktops, or in the right column on mobile devices?

Content

What title and description will you choose for your ad? Are you going to promote your entire e-commerce store or a specific product? Are you just going to promote your content to grow your email list?

facebook campaign ad images

Are you going to use simple product photos, photos showing people using your products, or totally different images to grab your audience’s attention?

It will be necessary to make decisions for all the points mentioned above in order to create a good ad. Use resources like Google, blog posts, and guides to find out exactly how to go about it and not get discouraged.

Your first attempt will obviously not be perfect. Just try to get started without thinking too much about the outcome.

Once you’ve seen your first ad, it’s time to take the next step.

For other marketing channels:

To apply this to other marketing channels, you will need to learn the fundamentals of those channels. Keep in mind that you don’t need to know everything – stick to the bare minimum to get started first.

Step 2: Measure

At this point, we’ll answer the first question: How do you know if you’re making progress?

For an online store, orders are the ultimate goal. If you fail to convert visitors into customers, your e-commerce site will have to shut down – so orders are the main indicator to follow.

But what if there are no commands?

In this case, you need to know where you are and not get discouraged – it is in these difficult times when this marketing action plan will be of great help to you.

It all comes down to having the right expectations, and knowing how to evaluate the results you get.

So how can you assess your efforts?

The answer lies in the data collected in your e-commerce platform, Google Analytics, and Facebook. We’re going to walk through all three platforms and indicate which KPIs are worth tracking.

Your e-commerce platform

This is probably the part you are most familiar with. In the interface of your online store, you can find all the details about your orders:

  • Number of orders
  • Average order value
  • Sales conversion rate
  • Add to shopping cart rate
  • Arrival rate on the payment page

 In Shopify, these settings are displayed directly on your dashboard.

shopify dashboard image

If you’re using a different e-commerce platform, you might need to make some changes to your website to track all of these performance metrics.

Google analytics

Extracting the right data from Google Analytics can be a very complicated task for many people. But it is not necessary to analyze all the reports. Here are the performance indicators that deserve to be taken into account:

  • Users (in the Audience report)
  • Sources of traffic (Acquisition report)
  • Bounce rate, time on site, and pages per session (in Audience report)
  • Transactions and Income (in the Conversions report)

To ensure that you are able to keep up with the above data, especially for your Facebook campaigns, you will need to make a few more adjustments:

Through these steps, when you make sales, you will be able to identify where they are coming from on Google Analytics. For more details, see the guide to using Google Analytics for e-commerce.

Facebook

Facebook will show you three levels of data:

  • Information about your campaign as a whole
  • Information about your ad groups
  • Information about your individual ads.

Performance indicators to monitor:

  • Clicks
  • Click-through rate or CTR
  • Cost per click or CPC
  • Cost per conversion
  • Frequency
  • Relevance score

Now that you have all of that data, let’s take a look at how you can use it to optimize your ads and start selling, of course.

For other marketing channels:

Measuring is essential for making progress. You will need data from your e-commerce platform, Google Analytics, and the specific channel you are testing. For performance metrics to track, this could be, for example, keyword positions if you’re testing SEO, or reach if you’re testing Twitter posts.

Step 3: Learn

You might feel overwhelmed by the amount of data from the previous step, but don’t worry; it is not necessary to analyze all at once.

At this point, we’ll clarify what you need to focus on. It will also help you answer the second question: what could I do to improve my results?

This is the most difficult step in the process. Mastering a specific marketing channel can really help you at this point. If you know the right performance indicator to follow based on where you are at, you can save a lot of time and money.

In the following, I’ll use my experience with optimizing Facebook ad campaigns to outline the exact approach you need to take in order to optimize your campaigns.Facebook advertising campaign optimization pyramid

Adjust your audience and your offer

With Facebook advertising, you usually won’t have a hard time spending your budget. Once your ad runs, you will receive a lot of clicks and visitors to your website.

It might be exciting at first, but if there aren’t any sales after a few days, you’ll start to wonder why you’re spending all that money. At this point, you need to know if you are receiving qualified visitors to your e-commerce site.

If you target the right audience with the wrong offer, your click-through rate will below. If you target the wrong audience with the right offer, you might get clicks, but you’ll see your bounce rate skyrocket.

If the performance of your campaign leaves something to be desired, try to improve it by creating a new ad group and re-evaluate your click-through rate or the performance indicators mentioned below.

 Harry's facebook ad

Performance indicators to analyze:

  • Orders: Are You Making Money?
  • Arrival on the payment page: do your visitors click until they reach the payment page?
  • Adding to shopping cart: Are your visitors adding items to their shopping cart?
  • Click-through rate (CTR): are people clicking more on a particular ad?
  • Pages per visit and session length: Are your visitors consuming your content or are they quickly leaving your store?

Some ideas to improve your campaign at this point:

  • Create ads that target your ideal customer (better post, better images, etc.)
  • Target a different audience: select a new combination of interests, demographics, etc.
  • Change your offer: Promote your store, a new product, a lifestyle, or highly relevant content.

Try different types of campaigns

If you’ve come to this stage, it means you’ve mastered the Facebook platform and all of the KPIs mentioned earlier – but, you might not have made any sales yet. It is time to fix this.

Besides the great reach that the Facebook platform allows you to benefit from, it also has a few other interesting features.

1. Custom audiences

Custom audiences are what you create. For example, you can target:

  • People who have visited your website.
  • People who haven’t visited your website in the past 30 days.
  • People who have added a product to their shopping cart without finalizing their order.
  • People who have placed an order.

2. Similar hearings

Facebook similar audiences announcement

Lookalike audiences are based on the Custom Audience criteria described above. Facebook will use its algorithmic magic to identify people with the same characteristics and behaviors as custom audiences. These are great tactics for promoting your store and products to new audiences.

You can create these audiences by adding a little JavaScript code to your store called an ad pixel .

When it comes to advertising on Facebook, personalized audiences are generally the ones that generate the most conversions. Your first ads will reach customers who have never heard of you, but your second ad group will allow you to target people who have visited your website before, and who need a little push to get them started. decide to make a purchase.

Some ideas to optimize your campaigns during this step:

  • Create different audiences and measure the results for each one.
  • Adapt your ads to be more effective. If people have visited your website before, how can you keep them coming back? Present your best deal, give them a discount, etc.

Optimization for a better ROI (Return on investment or ROI in English)

If you’ve come to this optimization stage, it means you’ve made sales. You know what you are spending, and what you are earning.

Now is the time to tune the machine to maximize your sales and increase your budget. Focus on profitable campaigns and end those that don’t. You could also run a Facebook product ad campaign.

Some ideas to optimize your campaigns during this step:

  • Pay particular attention to your Ads’ relency score. A high relevance score will decrease the cost per click and the cost per conversion.
  • Continue to test your ads and audiences.
  • Could you create other campaigns to try to convert “cold” traffic?

For other marketing channels :

The exact steps to take to optimize your marketing efforts will vary for each channel. Keep in mind that each channel will require its own learning process. So when it comes time to start, don’t focus too much on sales. Try to identify other performance indicators to assess the quality of your campaign and optimize them.

Apply this system to your online store

The main goal of this article was to help you move forward and have a marketing action plan in mind that will keep you from getting discouraged.

In summary, here’s how to apply the e-commerce marketing plan template described above to your own online store:

Select a marketing channel and focus on it. Measure your performance indicators and use this information to try to improve them. Persevere until you start making sales or until you are convinced that a certain marketing channel is not suitable for your e-commerce.

Now that you’ve learned how to create and optimize your Facebook ads, and how to do the same for other marketing channels, you can start optimizing your tactics to ensure your online store’s success.

Have questions about the next step for your e-commerce site? Let us know in the comments below!

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