6 eCommerce Marketing Skills You Need
to Build a Successful Business

See also: Strategic Marketing

The pandemic caused many businesses to make adjustments to their operations for survival. The result is that many businesses that once relied only on physical stores to sell are now selling online. Don’t believe me? Just look at the stats.

Retail ecommerce sales worldwide have doubled in the last four years, and the trend is likely to continue. Therefore, if you're running or thinking about opening an ecommerce store, you have to find ways to stand out.

These ecommerce marketing skills can help you do just that:

1. SEO

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is all about making your web pages accessible for web crawlers to access and index and about your pages ranking well in Search Engine Results Pages. You want Google, Bing, and other search engines to easily find and catalog what’s on your page.

You also want your site to rank up there, so it’s one of the first, if not the first, page that people see. The idea is simple: The higher your ecommerce website ranks, the higher the chances someone visits your site and makes a purchase.

Ranking high on search engine results pages requires keyword research. For example, if you own a vegan beauty product ecommerce, you need to think about what people are searching for so you’ll know what keywords to rank for.

Google can even help you there. Just type in some of your niche-related phrases into a search engine and take note of the suggestions:

Example google search results for 'Vegan beauty'

So, in our case, with the phrase “vegan beauty”, Google also suggests “vegan beauty box” and “vegan beauty subscription box”. These are keywords you will want to include in your content.

Of course, that’s just one way of searching for keywords. You can use keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and SEMRush, too. The point is, you can’t just go about creating content without doing your research. Your goal is to inform, yes, but just as important is ranking in SERPs. Around 53% of website traffic comes from organic search. Therefore, SEO is one of the critical ecommerce marketing skills to learn.

2. Data analytics

Data analysis is critical in today's ecommerce marketing. If you don’t gather data and analyze it to make adjustments to your campaigns, you will fall behind.

If you don’t know how many people are visiting your website, you won’t know if you need to make adjustments to your site or to your content. The same goes for your other campaigns. For example, if you don’t know how many conversions you’ve had when running an email campaign, you won’t know whether it’s wise to retain your campaign or make drastic changes.

Analyzing data requires possessing relevant data. You have to learn how to gather the information to analyze it.

So, how do you find that relevant data?

Fortunately, simple tools such as Google Analytics tracks visitors to your website and therefore help you determine ecommerce site performance. Google Analytics lets you see the origin of your traffic–whether from search engines, social media, or email campaigns.

Google analytics example screenshot.

As far as social media performance goes, most platforms offer performance statistics if you have a business account as far as social media performance goes. There are other tools you can use, too:

  • Friends+Me (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest)
  • Followerwonk (Twitter)
  • Tailwind (Instagram and Pinterest)
  • Social media insights (gender and location data)

Collecting data is an essential marketing skill. Analyzing the data can help with making the right business decisions.

3. Email marketing

Email marketing is undoubtedly one of the best methods to reach ecommerce buyers. You can share exciting news, discounts, and tips with an audience who already knows your brand or products.

Here’s a sample email from Hismile, a brand that sells teeth-whitening solutions.

Hismile example email marketing.

Email marketing requires a plan. You cannot achieve a successful campaign without the right strategy in place. Before launching an email campaign, think about what action you want your readers to take.

So, if you run a beauty ecommerce business and launch a new product, you can use emails to introduce the new product to your subscribers. If you run a blog, you can send an email whenever a new article is released. Highlight what your readers can get from reading your article in your email and encourage them to read more on your blog.

Once you have an idea of your content, you need a catchy subject line. Think of subject lines that will make your readers open the email.

Learning how to use the power of email marketing effectively is one of the best marketing skills for an ecommerce business. As a general rule, ecommerce businesses should send a newsletter at least once a month with updates about the products, offers, or/and the brand.

4. Marketing automation

Marketing automation entails using tools to manage marketing processes and multifunctional campaigns. For an ecommerce owner, marketing automation skills include managing processes in an automation platform such as Marketo, Infusionsoft, or MailChimp.

You can automate the sending of welcome email messages for new subscribers or cart abandonment emails. To fast-track your processes, customize proven email templates.

Marketing automation software can reduce time spent on campaigns and increase conversion rates. Automation frees up time for human input and allows the team to concentrate on other business areas.

5. Social media marketing

Most shoppers are active on social media these days. The data from Statista shows the most popular social networks worldwide according to the number of active users in millions.

Top social media platforms 2022.

Social media marketing is the use of social media networks to interact with potential buyers and increase traffic and sales.

It’s necessary to gain some skills and set a strategy to maximize the potential of social media for your ecommerce.

First of all, you need to establish goals. From a social media marketing point of view, you have to use parameters to measure if your efforts are yielding results.

Measure the following so you’ll get an idea of how your social media campaigns are doing:

  • The traffic your social media campaigns generate
  • Number of social media followers
  • Engagement rates per post
  • Conversions

Build a connection with users, too. Creativity is essential here. The best way to engage with your audience is to create user-focused rather than product-focused content.

Dollar Shave Club does its social media marketing just right. The company that sells razors and other personal grooming products has 232k followers on Instagram and 76.5 on Twitter.

Dollar shave club example social media adverts.

Instead of hard-selling, Dollar Shave Club writes witty posts that catch readers' attention and then just indirectly mentions its products. Read up on how to write great social media posts before you create your own.

6. Content marketing

Content marketing is linked to a successful SEO strategy. Creating SEO-friendly content will ensure your site gets the organic traffic it needs. With increased organic traffic come those higher chances for conversions.

So, you need to write good product descriptions, newsletters, blog posts, how-to articles, among others.

Here’s an excellent example of a small ecommerce business that gets its content just right. Baraka sells holistic wellness products and handmade goods through its website.

Baraka screenshot

To drive people to its website, it creates not just good product descriptions but also blog posts, FAQs, among others.

Deliver valuable content, and the chances of you ranking higher in SERPs are higher. You then get that organic traffic you’re looking for.

The emergence of generative AI as a mature technology has created a new genre of marketing tools designed to do as much of the work of writing for you as possible. Tailwind, a leader in the AI-enhanced marketing space, recently released their Ghostwriter AI which creates over 50 types of marketing content.

The AI output is personalized, so that it matches a brand’s voice and tone, and behind the scenes sophisticated prompts are used that automatically incorporate best practices for whatever is being created.

In Closing

If you want to build a successful ecommerce business, you can’t just upload all your product information online and wait for people to come to you and make a purchase.

You need to learn specific ecommerce marketing skills that will allow you to market your products and make sales successfully.

You should know email marketing and social media marketing to promote your products effectively. To fast-track your processes, you should know how to use marketing automation tools. Knowing content marketing and SEO basics can also help you drive people to your site. Finally, with data analytics, you can analyze your marketing campaigns to see which ones work and which don’t.

Learn these ecommerce marketing skills and apply them to your business. You’ll soon see those results you’re looking for.

Further Reading from Skills You Need

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and
Running Your Own Business

If you are thinking about running your own business, or already do so, but feel that you need some guidance, then this eBook is for you. It takes you through self-employment in easy steps, helping you to ensure that your business has more chance of success.

The Skills You Need Guide to Self-Employment and Running Your Own Business is the guide no new or aspiring entrepreneur can afford to be without!

Based on our popular self-employment and entrepreneurship content.

About the Author

Jimmy Rodriguez is the VP of eCommerce of Shift4Shop, a completely free, enterprise-grade ecommerce solution. He's dedicated to helping internet retailers succeed online by developing digital marketing strategies and optimized shopping experiences that drive conversions and improve business performance.