July 15, 2021
This is Part 1 of our 2-part eCommerce growth series — a list of high-value, high-ROI tactics as chosen by Ladder’s strategists. Based on our strategists’ work with eCommerce clients, they’ve picked the tactics that they rely on most to drive ROI and grow sales revenue.
UPDATE: Part 2 is now out. Click here to read about more of our top eCommerce growth tactics.
Growing an eCommerce business can be tricky. It’s not the same as B2B or even retail and other forms of B2C marketing.
You have SO much more to work with on the eCommerce marketing side, from audience targeting to product marketing and beyond, that it can often be a nightmare to decide exactly which tactics to choose from.
At Ladder, we work with some awesome eCommerce companies, helping them grow their sales, optimize their websites and product pages for conversion, and recapturing traffic that has yet to convert.
With marketing tactics like abandoned cart retargeting, product ads tests, and more, we help our eCommerce clients reach their target customers and increase revenue.
Below you’ll find exactly which tactics we consider to be ROI-drivers. Our strategists have picked their 14 go-to tactics for growing eCommerce businesses, along with exactly why they chose those tactics.
With each tactic you’ll get:
Let’s get started:
Missy understands that to grow eCommerce businesses, you have to reach customers across multiple touchpoints. Whether it’s reaching back out to prior purchasers through retargeting ad campaigns, or running CRM marketing automation on email lists, she makes sure to engage high-intent visitors and customers with ads and content at the right time.
A good idea to increase revenue is to try retargeting paying customers who haven’t made a second purchase. Retarget them with ads that show products similar to the ones they bought, or even the same ones they bought (if they’re typically purchased in bulk or multiple times).
This helps to reactivate customers who liked what they purchased but haven’t thought to return yet.
To implement this campaign, you’ll first have to create a list of customers segmented by the different items they’ve purchased. Then you’ll need to head into the ads platform of your choice — typically, we run Facebook Ads with this tactic — and set up a custom audience.
Once you set up your custom audience, you can either run dynamic product ads that show the right product at the right time, or you can run ads for a specific product you want to sell to your prior customers.
To set your daily budget for this ad, take your ideal or average customer acquisition cost, multiply it by the ideal number of conversions you’re looking for, and then divide it by the duration of your test.
A robust CRM system will help you serve your customers, potential and current, with targeted information based on what they need from you. Whether it’s a discount, a “back-in-stock” notification, or seasonal items, setting up CRM marketing automation enables you to message customers at the perfect time.
To set this up, you first need to start collecting emails. You can use CRM platforms like Salesforce, Zoho, or ZenDesk to funnel email addresses into, segmenting lists by the action by which people signed up – for a discount, for an out-of-stock item, etc…
Then, you can set up automated emails to send to that audience based on different activity on your eCommerce platform, whether it’s a new sale, items back in stock, etc… You can target people who’ve given you their email and added items to their cart but haven’t made a purchase by sending abandoned cart emails. You can also use your CRM to message your customers about new seasonal items in stock, such as a Spring clothing line.
This tactic doesn’t require a media budget, but it can certainly guide some of your ad copy and audience approaches for retargeting, custom audiences, and the like.
Tim’s eCommerce tactics take advantage of two features unique to two different ads platforms: Google Shopping Ads and Facebook Video Ads. On the Google Shopping Ads front, it’s smart to put your entire catalog up for Google to push to a relevant audience. For Facebook Video Ads, you can do some really clever lookalike audience building. Here’s Tim’s reasoning:
Google Shopping allows you to show a price and image of the product in your ad. This often dramatically increases performance as people are more likely to click on an ad when they know the price up front. It helps you set expectations for an item’s price immediately rather than allowing the ad viewer to assume your product is too expensive.
Look out for our full step-by-step implementation guide for setting up Google Shopping Ads in the near future! We’ll update this post with a link once it’s live.
In the meantime, here are the most important things you need to know about setting them up:
Here’s the low-down on video ads as a tactic: Using an auto-play video in an ad can drive a deeper emotional connection and can be much more engaging. In our experience the CPM of video ads is much lower due to the high engagement rate and relevance score. This can be a very cost effective way to reach a much larger audience than normal in a less obtrusive, more engaging way.
But it gets even more interesting. Here’s what Tim does next:
You know how you see tons of videos on your Facebook feed? You might stop – stare – then scroll again. What you didn’t know is that Facebook actually captures all of that data. All of it. From how long you viewed the video to how quickly you scrolled by it, Facebook knows, and that info can be used for ads.
The cost per paid video views is extremely cheap, so if you have a great video of your product (a brand new PlayStation controller made for professional gamers, for example), then you can advertise it to a wide audience, get tons of video views from relevant viewers at a tremendously cheap rate. And then – MAGICALLY – you can build out custom audiences and lookalike audiences based on how much people have engaged with your video.
So for example: You can tell Facebook to create an audience segment that is the 1% of a specific geographic location that acts, thinks, and behaves MOST like the people who watch 90%+ of your video.
Jon’s in-house nickname might be “B2Beast” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have the eCommerce chops. His go-to tactics target customers near the end of their buying journey, getting them to stop and reconsider leaving your website or getting them to return and make a purchase.
One source of frustration when building an eCommerce business is when a customer leaves your site after adding an item to their cart. They got within inches of the goal post, but decided to turn away. That’s a lost sale for you, right?
Not so fast.
You can actually retarget those cart abandoners with ads on Facebook, AdWords, using AdRoll, etc… Just make sure you have a pixel set up to track cart abandonment on your cart page. Using a pixel, you can track whether a person took an action (making a purchase) or bounced, and you can retarget them based on the item in their cart.
For pixel setup guides, go here:
To improve performance and increase sales, try adding a % discount or amount of money off for your products to an exit intent popup. This catches visitors just as they’re about to leave your site, and can be narrowed to specific products if needed. The offer can make interested visitors more likely to browse further and make a purchase rather than miss out on a deal.
Test discount popup copy approaches to see what level of discount is needed to draw your potential customers from consideration to purchase. You can start with percentages or pure dollars off, or you can try free shipping or buy-one-get-one discounts.
A popup at the right time can convince someone who thought your product was a bit too pricey to instead stay and make a purchase.
Darrick’s go-to eCommerce approach takes the route of highly catered advertising based on the characteristics of a customer. Whether that’s retargeting based on the products they’ve visited, or attempting different value propositions to see what copy and messaging works in ads.
Retarget prior visitors based on the exact product page(s) that they were on during their visit. This lets you create highly dynamic ads that give custom content and custom messaging for the exact visitors you want to target.
Darrick uses this tactic because it lets him target customers that have visited a site, showed interest by browsing around, but never actually hit “Add to Cart.” Using product page retargeting, he can show the exact product a visitor landed on in ads on Facebook, Google Display Network, etc…
This lets him serve highly catered ads that catch people’s eyes quickly. The thought of “OH! I’ve seen that before!” tends to work extremely well for ad click rates and conversions.
When retargeting users who have visited your site in the past, you can use dynamic creative that’s based on the products they’ve browsed through. Doing so directly reminds them of the awesome products they saw and encourages them to return. Each ad impression will be relevant to the individual that sees it based on prior interest rather than generic for all viewers.
Note: For this tactic to work, you’ll need to set up retargeting pixels.
That’s it for part 1! Start implementing some of the above tactics to test whether they move the needle for your eCommerce store.
And come back Thursday for part 2, including Darrick’s 2nd go-to tactic (Value Proposition Ad) and tactics by strategists Luke, Ed, and Ladder’s Lead Designer, Natalie.
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