Any e-commerce blog or resource will tell you that the most important part of running an online business is your marketing. It’s what makes your business stand out against the competition, so it’s worth getting it right. To help you get your marketing game on-point, let’s run through the five marketing disciplines that are essential to growing your online business.

Email marketing

Even with the proliferation of social media and messaging apps on the market today, email is still a vital tool for communication. Virtually everyone has an email address, and studies show that there will be over 3.8 billion email users by the end of 2018.

But it’s not just its reach that makes email marketing such a great way to grow your online business. It’s got an average ROI of 3800%, making it the top choice for 73% of marketers for getting their money’s worth.

Email marketing is a diverse discipline and can be used to achieve a variety of different goals. As well as promoting new product launches or special offers, it can also be used to cut down on valuable missed sales too. UK shoppers abandon online purchases worth nearly £30 every month, stacking up to over £18 billion a year. A simple abandoned cart email sequence can help cut that down, significantly improving your sales cheaply and effectively.

And with cost-effective tools such as EmailOctopus, you can easily automate your email marketing. Not only will this save you time and money by creating and sending email campaigns, but you can also segment your marketing for different customer demographics. By sending targeted messages to specific audiences, you can maximise your sales and really get the most out of your email marketing.

Social media marketing

By 2019, the number of active social media users is set to rise to an astonishing 2.77 billion, with 30% of our time online dedicated to social. It’s a vast landscape that offers brands a dizzying array of marketing tactics to get their message seen, and one that will continue to grow.

Social media is a great way for brands to reach out and connect with their audiences in an environment where they are regularly active. As well as promoting special offers, sales, and new products, brands can also build strong relationships with their customers. Interactive campaigns that invite audiences to contribute and engage with brands aren’t just a great way to grow your social following. They also increase trust and loyalty in your brand, which in turn helps build a solid customer base that will return to you time and time again.

A successful business social media strategy should be active, rather than passive. Post online regularly (again, use automation to make this easier), and invite your followers to participate with you. And when they reply, reply back! No matter what industry you’re in, your social presence is just that: social. Be friendly and conversational, and you’ll build an audience that will hang onto your every word.

Influencer marketing

Going hand-in-hand with your social media strategy is influencer marketing. Essentially word-of-mouth on a grander scale, this form of marketing takes advantage of our socially-driven world to advertise your business in a natural, indirect way.

By partnering with influential social personalities, brands can build their authenticity and trust from audiences. It’s a natural and organic way to market yourself and reach old consumers (and find new ones too). Social personalities command significant influence, even those with relatively low follower counts, and with an ROI more than 11 times that of other forms of digital marketing, it’s a channel that will continue to be popular well into 2019.

Influencer marketing used to primarily be the domain of big brands like Coke or Starbucks. But with the rise of micro-influencers such as Zoella or Ksi, it’s no longer prohibitively expensive. There’s a social star for virtually every niche, so make sure your business doesn’t miss out. Find the right influencer for you by using an influencer marketing platform. Reach out and work with them to create an exciting campaign that will see genuine engagement and tangible results for your brand.

Search engine optimisation

As ecommerce becomes more accessible, the number of online stores is on the rise across industries. For example, electronics stores are increasingly valuable and profitable enterprises, especially due to easy dropshipping and increasingly affordable tech. As a result, the market has become saturated. To make yourself stand out against such competition in this industry (indeed, in any industry), your number one priority should be your SEO.

Everything starts with a search. There are 63,000 searches every second on Google alone, and 43% of all e-commerce visitors are from organic Google queries. Improving your SEO means your brand gets a slice of that traffic.

First and foremost, you should check that your website has a search engine-friendly design. Ensure your site is responsive for a range of devices, and be sure to link every web page to another. Orphaned pages don’t get found by search crawlers, so you’ll miss out on valuable SEO.

Next, you need to optimise your website so that the language you use hits the keywords your customers are using. Use a keyword research tool such as UberSuggest to explore your business niche and find out what phrases your target audience search for, and include them in your product descriptions and landing pages. Keyword optimisation is the backbone of SEO,and one that will deliver you real results when done right.

Content marketing

In 2018, every business knows that content marketing is key. Regularly creating and delivering original, high-quality content shows search engines that your site provides value to their users. This in turn improves your all-important SEO.

But it’s not only a great way to move your website up the SERP rankings. It’s also an opportunity for your brand to deliver knowledge and insight to your customers, positioning yourself as a place of authority online.

Audiences are increasingly shunning traditional forms of advertising in favour of content marketing, with 70% of consumers preferring to learn about brands and products through an article or video.

A successful content marketing strategy spans multiple formats. Long-form articles and blog posts have their place, and so too do images and infographics that deliver information in a digestible format. But for content that really drives engagement (and sales), aim for video. Audiences remember 95% of a video’s message, as compared with 10% for written content, making it a valuable asset for marketing your brand.

Marketing is the foundation of a successful online business. By creating a solid strategy that spans multiple disciplines, you will continue to generate engagement and drive sales for your brand.


Patrick Foster is an editor at Ecommerce Tips — a startup-focused ecommerce blog dedicated to sharing business and entrepreneurial insights from across the sector. Check out the latest news on Twitter @myecommercetips.