Amazon was founded in Jeff Bezo’s garage in 1995. Many people forget that when the service first launched it was merely an online bookstore. Over the years it would expand into a multinational business selling… well, everything.
Today there is not much you cannot find on Amazon. Books, movies, groceries, power tools, makeup, electronics. Heck, they even sell adult novelty items today… ummm… or so I have heard.
How did Amazon go from its beginnings as an online bookstore to the behemoth it is today? Hard work, a core vision, and innovation all played a role in that growth, as did marketing.
Whether you are operating a new ecommerce startup or have been running an online store for years, it is vital to stay on top of the latest marketing trends. In such a fast-moving environment, it is also difficult to stay on top of those trends.
That’s why we put together this list of 4 marketing strategies for you to try in 2021.
Create an Affiliate Program
One of the biggest drivers behind the growth of Amazon, and many other successful ecommerce businesses, has been their highly successful affiliate program.
Many times business owners want to try traditional marketing strategies such as search engine optimization, driving traffic through social media, or creating a pay-per-click marketing campaign, but what if instead, you could have other people drive traffic to your site with very little upfront financial cost to you?
That’s where an affiliate program can help.
In simple terms, the way an affiliate program works is that you pay a commission to people (your affiliates) who send visitors to your website that place an order. You only have to pay out a commission if the visitor buys something.
The commission rate is up to you. It could be as little as 5% or some businesses will pay as high 50% or more. Some subscription box services will even pay 100% on the first order knowing that they are likely getting a long-term customer in exchange.
Visitors are tracked through affiliate links and browser cookies. There are affiliate management services out there that will help you set up the entire thing making it extremely easy to get up and running.
Larger companies like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart manage their own affiliate programs.
The great thing about having an affiliate program is that it can help you to build brand awareness as affiliates are marketing your brand and products for you, it can help you improve your search engine visibility (affiliates are going to be linking to your site which is a major signal in search engines), and you are paying on a per-performance basis.
If an affiliate does not perform or drives traffic to your site that does not buy anything, there is no cost to you. You only have to pay out a commission if there is a sale.
Imagine if you only had to pay your financial advisor if your investment portfolio went up?
Start A Subscription Box Service
This idea will not work for every ecommerce business, but there is a growing market of subscription box services.
It’s no longer just the book-of-the-month and wine-of-the-month clubs. Now you can find subscription boxes for razor blades, dog toys, meats, and even underwear.
Do people use and order your products regularly? Is it something like bath soap, shaving products, or dog food that people order regularly and would benefit from the convenience of a regular shipment? Or do you have a line of products that people might like to receive different options from each month like different flavors of coffee, different varieties of candy, or maybe a children’s toy line?
Whatever your products are if you think you can offer a subscription box that customers would be interested in, it is worth exploring. There are some logistics to work out like finding a subscription box order fulfillment service, but the benefits can be great.
Subscription box customers generally have a higher per customer lifetime value than non-subscription customers. As long as people are happy with the product and service, they will be more than happy to keep receiving their package month after month on autopay.
Run Google Shopping Ads
Google is one of the most utilized websites on the planet. Chances are that no matter what you are selling people are looking for it on Google. Why not take advantage of that?
Although Google has moved into a lot of different lines of service including operating systems, smartphones, online voice services, productivity apps, and more, their empire was built on the back of Google Ads. Even today, it accounts for the vast majority of their revenue.
It’s still their baby and their number one priority.
Knowing that it is their #1 moneymaker, Google is always looking for ways to make its ads more enticing to web searchers. Google Shopping Ads was another way to do that and to compete with the likes of Amazon.
There are ecommerce stores right now that are seeing upwards of 100% of their sales coming from successful Google Shopping campaigns.
If you have never run a Google Shopping campaign before, start small. When you are just learning, it can be easy to blow through your budget with little to show for it. Start with just one product or one line of products. Test different images, price points, and landing pages.
Market Through Videos
According to FortuneLords, almost 5 billion different videos are watched on YouTube every single day. In an average month, 8 out of 10 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube. There are currently over 1 trillion YouTube video views per day on mobile devices.
We could go on and on listing mindblowing stats about YouTube here, but here is one that sticks out: Despite its obvious popularity and widespread adoption among desirable advertising demographics, only 9% of small businesses in the United States are using YouTube.
That means there is still an opportunity to be an early adopter and stick out from your competition.
Many shoppers today love to see what they are thinking about buying first before handing over their credit card.
You do not need to spend thousands of dollars on camera and sound equipment to create videos. Even lower quality video has a better chance to tell a compelling and engaging story that connects with your potential customers than the highest quality still images ever could.
When prospects can relate to you or the problem your product solves and feel they can trust you, they are more likely to become customers.
Forward Into 2021
Give one or all of these strategies a try in 2021 and watch your sales continue to skyrocket.