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eCommerce Marketing

Are you stifling the Growth of your eCommerce Store by not Creating a Marketing Plan?

Are you stifling the Growth of your eCommerce Store by not Creating a Marketing Plan?

by John Larkin

John runs the blog here at eCommerceLift and is a verified Shopify Expert. Interested in an initial growth consultation? Click here

3 years ago


Are you stifling the Growth of your eCommerce Store by not Creating a Marketing Plan?

From a newly founded start-up to a fully-fledged ecommerce giant, marketing plans are a fundamental part of every business. Marketing plans can help identify target audiences, maximise advertising reach and identify goals within an ecommerce store. However, with an overloaded business schedule, lack of knowledge about planning and fear of the marketing unknown.  Many ecommerce businesses simply do not put enough time or effort into thinking about the company’s marketing techniques.  Here is a step-by-step guide to what an ecommerce store must know to devise a successful marketing plan. 


Know your product and your market

In business it can be easy to forget that the most important thing is your product, the customer and the market in which you are trading. Many businesses simply ignore trying to understand these three essential elements, leading them to misjudge their position in the market and ultimately ineffectually target their desired customer. Here are some simple questions every ecommerce store owner should ask themselves.  

What am I selling?

This is apparently obvious but incredibly vital information to know. Knowing exactly what product or service you are selling gives you unique insight into your product and its position in the market. This comprises knowing your products sales history, key benefits and weaknesses. This can help to enlighten any business owner to see its potential and highlight how you and your customers are seeing the product.

Who am I selling to?

Not knowing the target market is a common and critically damaging mistake that too many businesses make. It is essential information as a business can only efficiently market when it knows who it is marketing to. Therefore when making a marketing plan, ask yourself questions like: 
  • Who buys the product or service? (demographic, geographic, psychographic, etc)
  • What is their lifestyle? (high earners, stay-at-home mothers, urban dwellers, etc)
  • What is their shopping behaviour? (impulse buyers, evening or morning shoppers, etc)
  • What advertising techniques are they likely to respond to? (Banner ads, Facebook advertising, promotions, etc.)

This helps build a customer profile and is a powerful way to understand your customer. By knowing a business’s customer, marketing is more effective, as the correct marketing channels can be used - leading to greater brand awareness and higher impact. 


Who else is selling to them?

Knowing your competitors and the market you are in is one of the most effective ways a business can achieve sales and become a market leader. Getting holistic knowledge about your competitor’s products, customers and marketing can be the perfect way to establish what your company is offering, what it isn’t offering and what customers expect from your business. 

A straight-forward and helpful way of analysing competitors within a marketing plan is a Positioning map. By taking your competitors and comparing your price and quality, a business can see how they compare against their competitors: valuable information in a highly competitive market place.


SWOT

SWOT analysis may be business 101 but many businesses don’t use it even though it is tremendously helpful for strategic development. A marketing plan therefore is the perfect opportunity to conduct a SWOT analysis for your business. 

A SWOT analysis can be divided into two sections. First, the Strengths and Weakness which represent the internal environment of the company and secondly, the Opportunities and Threats, representing the external, environmental factors of the company.

SWOT analysis for Apple


By conducting a SWOT analysis, valuable information is being discovered as an ecommerce store can see what they are doing compared to their competitors, identifying risks & recognising future prospective opportunities. SWOT, although simple can help grow a business, inspire innovation and lead to a larger market share. 


Marketing Goals

The next step in a classic marketing plan is to outline a business’s marketing goals. These are the goals that are to be accomplished by the overall marketing program and are an estimate of what a business could wish to achieve if the marketing plan is effective.

Various aspects of a business should be assessed when creating marketing goals. They involve:
  • Sales Volume 
  • Market Share 
  • Sales Revenue 
  • Profit 
  • Return on Investment 

These estimates give a business owner an indicator of where you want the business to go and what they are trying to achieve. It is important to have goals in a company to create drive and have a clear indicator of where your business is going. 


Communications Objectives

Communication objectives sounds daunting. Many brands can have many different communication aspirations when marketing. It is important to look at what you actually want your marketing to do and what your purpose is when adverting to a consumer. Many brands ignore this, assuming that there is only one goal of marketing: sales. Communication with customers is not that simple; however, if done correctly, knowing your communication goals can help grow your company. 

Communication Objectives could include:

  • Awareness Objectives: trying to build greater awareness within your target audience 
  • Liking Objectives: a target audience is aware but a company attempts to make their image a positive one
  • Consumer Preference Objectives: used when the target audience is aware of the product, knows about it, but there is strong competition. 

Deciding on your communication objectives can help your ecommerce store substantially. Each goal could need very different marketing strategies, and if not done correctly it could impact the success of the marketing.  

No business is too big or too small to create a marketing plan. Within the ecommerce world there are numerous marketing obstacles to overcome to effectually reach your audience. It is essential that business doesn’t overlook planning: it could save you time, money and raise the value of your ecommerce business in a few easy steps. Have you any other ideas for what should be in a marketing plan? Please comment below. 

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