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Hitchhiker’s Guide to E-commerce Marketing

Posted on November 24, 2019 by Evolvement

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    You’re a hitchhiker. You are. And so’s your e-commerce business. We’re all hitching a ride on this great, horrible, magnificent, ugly, chaotic digital highway called the World Wide Web.

    The Internet is full of possibilities. But this is not a story about the Internet. It’s a story about how to use the Internet for e-commerce marketing.

    So welcome to the complete edition of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to E-commerce Marketing.

    This is the most complete guide on the topic of e-commerce marketing you will ever come across. After you read it, you will have a pretty good idea where to start, what to do and how. And if you’re already running a retail store, what you’re doing wrong and why you’re not scaling.

    Let’s get started.

     

    What is e-commerce marketing?

    E-commerce marketing

    E-commerce marketing is, at its core, putting the right product in front of the right people, at the right time, and at the right price. Only instead of a brick and mortar store, you have a website.

    There’s no need to make it more complicated right now. That comes later. For now, this is what you need to make sales.

    Everything you do in your e-commerce marketing effort boils down to this simple outline. If you do these four things well, you’ll get a boatload of sales and a good return on your investment.

    Otherwise, you can blow your entire marketing budget on bullshit ads and still have cobwebs in your pockets. And nothing breaks my heart more than a failing e-commerce business and an empty bank account.

    Let’s illustrate this with an example. Say you’re selling sneakers. I know it’s a tired example, but as of the writing of this article, I need to buy a new pair, so I’m in the zone. Bear with me.

    I want to buy sneakers now (right person, right time). You’re selling sneakers (right product). Sounds like a match made in heaven. Ideally, you want your brand to reach me right now. We’ll talk about how you can do that in a second, but for now – you want to be in front of my eyes when I’m interested in buying.

    You also want your pricing to be within my budget (right price). If all those factors align, you’ll be a very strong candidate to buy from. Simple as that.

    The last piece of the puzzle would be convincing me to go with you and not your competitors.

     

    Why is e-commerce marketing important?

    E-commerce marketing importance

    This is where the magic of marketing truly shines. You need to show me, through your e-commerce marketing, that you’re the right company to buy from. The company that gets my needs and can deliver a quality product based around those needs.

    What you have to do is gain my trust. If I don’t trust you, I won’t give you my credit card number (we’ve only just met, after all).

    Your marketing message should then clearly communicate your values. How else would I know if you’re offering the right product? I could try looking into my crystal ball, but honestly – at this point your business hasn’t earned the effort.

    Messages are powerful. What most e-commerce businesses don’t seem to grasp is they’re marketing to people. Living, breathing human beings who like to look at memes, browse social media and procrastinate. We don’t care about corporate jargon. We don’t particularly care about boring product descriptions, either.

    Most marketing efforts today (including e-commerce marketing strategies) focus around metrics. Sterile ads based on numbers replace the once colorful and creative campaigns. The message gets left behind.

    Metrics seem to level the playing field. Yet most brands end up looking and feeling the same because of it. Everybody is doing “the sensible thing”. As a result, the only differences between brands come from ad spend and price. Quickly making e-commerce a race to the bottom. Not a race you want to win.

    Today, it pays to be creative. It pays to take risks with your messaging to set yourself apart. Being creative gives you an enormous advantage simply because no one else will do it. This is the true magic of e-commerce marketing.

     

    Why waste time on positioning?

    E-commerce marketing positioning

    Now that we know what e-commerce marketing is and why it matters, let’s talk positioning. Positioning is patently underestimated. In fact, most small business owners think it’s a waste of time. Why on Earth would you bother with reducing the number of clients you get? That doesn’t make sense.

    OK, let’s take a step back. First, what is positioning? In the simplest of terms, positioning is the head-space your brand occupies in the minds of consumers. For example, people know Apple for their elegant designs and premium features. At a premium price. They’re positioned at the high end of the market. In fact, their positioning is so strong, it hurt their sales when they tried to release a cheaper product.

    Why would the owner of an e-commerce site even bother with something like positioning? Shouldn’t you try and get all the sales you can get? Not necessarily. There is a good case to be made that positioning helps grow your business in the long run.

    When you position yourself well, you send out a clear signal to your customers what you’re all about. You’re no longer a mere “e-commerce store”, but a brand that remains in their minds. If you position yourself well, you will not only create loyal customers. You will create an audience of evangelists. A natural extension of your marketing efforts.

    This type of marketing would be more effective than anything your brand can offer. If my friends tell me something is good, I trust their judgement. Social proof works. With good positioning and a marketing message, you’re much more likely to win over the hearts of your customers.

    We’re creatures of habit. Familiarity breeds enjoyment. So once people decide you’re the right brand for them, they’re more likely to return in the future. Which is great, because companies scale a lot better with return customers.

    Let’s get back to the shoes example. You offer premium sportswear with a focus on comfort and aesthetics. Your marketing convinces me you understand this is what I’m looking for. Your price is a bit high, but within my budget. I decide to order a pair.

    My new pair of sneakers waltzes through my front door the next day. I open the box and I immediately fall in love – they look breathtaking! Even better than the photos. I try them on – perfect fit. It’s like walking on a cloud.

    What do you think is the first thing I’d do when my friends ask me about my new shoes? I’ll describe the whole process start to finish and recommend your product. The fact that I’m happy is all the social proof they need.

    Congratulations, you’ve made a few more sales. Because your positioning is clear (aesthetic, yet comfortable sportswear at a reasonable price), I can tell anyone that looks for something similar about your brand. And because I’m an active person, I know lots of active people so there’s a lot of word of mouth to go around.

    This is why positioning is important. In the long run, you don’t want to sell to everyone. You want mostly people who will give you good word of mouth and who will likely return in the future. It’s a lot more cost-effective to keep your current customers happy (and returning), than it is to find new ones.

    To make all of this possible, your positioning needs to work in tandem with your ideal customer persona.

     

    What is an ideal customer persona and why should you care?

     

    Ideal customer personaOne of the first questions I ask when establishing a connection with a new business is, “Who is your ideal customer?” Most of the time, I’m met with a blank expression, a stare questioning my sanity, or with the rather unambiguous answer, “Everyone.”

    Every time I hear “we want to sell to everyone,” I die a little on the inside. Only a few companies in the world can afford to make such claims. And that’s only because they have an enormous market share already.

    As a new and/or unknown brand, you can’t separate yourself from the crowd if you try to service everyone. This is not even mentioning your lack of a seemingly infinite marketing budget. You’re not Coca-Cola – you can’t advertise everywhere 24/7.

    If you want your e-commerce marketing to be effective, you need to have a concrete idea who it is you’re talking to. Sniper accuracy rather than shotgun approach.

    Who is your ideal customer? Who is the golden standard you measure everyone else against? Identify this person and center your e-commerce marketing message around them.

    Back to our example. You’re selling aesthetic, yet comfortable sports footwear at a reasonable price. The question now is, “who will buy it?”

    In this context, your ideal client would be male. Between 25 and 34 years old. Unmarried. No children. Describes himself as confident and sociable. Active, but also cares about his personal style. Works hard, plays hard. These are the people most likely looking for your products.

    Once you know your ideal client, you can deliver an effective e-commerce marketing message. You know how to talk to them and how to reach them. How to present your product and how to prompt them to act.

     

    How to identify your ideal customer

    To identify your ideal customer, you need to answer the following question:

    • How old is your ideal customer? – this question reveals what kind of voice is most likely to resonate with them. You market to 20-year-olds differently from 40-year-olds.
    • Are they male or female? – they’re likely to be interested in different things and the effective tone of voice would also be different.
    • What is their marital status? – married people behave differently from unmarried people.
    • Do they have children? – people who have children are likely to be interested in different features (childproof, safe, extra spacious, to name a few) than people who don’t have children.
    • Where do they live? – big city folks are different from people in rural communities.
    • What are their living conditions? – people who own their property would have different interests from those who rent.
    • What is their occupation? – people who sit in front of the computer all day have different needs from those who work physical labor.
    • What is their income? – no point in marketing to someone who can’t afford your products.
    • What is their education? – a bachelor in psychology would be interested in different things from a master in structural engineering.

    Once you answer these questions, throw in any other relevant information you can think of. Interests, hobbies, shopping habits, routines. The answers will allow you to craft your ideal customer persona and focus your e-commerce marketing message around it.

    For example, if you’re an e-commerce website for boutique men’s watches that cost $10,000 apiece, you need precise on-target marketing.

    You’re not selling watches. You’re selling style. You’re selling confidence. You’re selling a projection of status and success. You’re selling uniqueness.

    Who’s going to buy a $10,000 boutique watch? Most likely someone between 30 and 40 (someone right out of college would hardly be able to afford it). Male (men’s watches, after all). Living in the city (cities have a higher concentration of people who care about status signaling).

    Our ideal customer enjoys an active social life (not much point in rocking an expensive watch to stay home). Doesn’t have children (priorities change once children come into the picture). High income (obviously). Business owner or at a high position in a company (should be pretty obvious why).

    The assumptions would be different if you’re selling fitness supplements. Even a blind man can see these distinctions matter. However, they mean nothing on their own until we test them in the marketing campaigns. Sometimes, our assumptions will be off. Such is the nature of human behavior.

    It’s worth to point out marketing to your ideal customer doesn’t mean you don’t want to sell to anyone else. It merely focuses your message. This way, your marketing will hit the mark a lot more and allow you to get a better return of investment employing efficient e-commerce marketing.

    We deliver the message to the target consumer and see how the business unveils. If we did a good job, then we should see positive results. The right message resonates well with the right people. The question is, how to reach them?

     

    What kinds of e-commerce marketing channels can you use?

    E-commerce marketing channels

    Even the best marketing message is useless unless someone hears it. Words are like money – they only matter when they’re used.

    Lucky for the modern owner of a retail website, there are no more expensive gatekeepers. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to reach a respectable audience with the written word. Without the need to spend a fortune on advertising. Here are some of the ways to do it.

     

    Social media marketing

    The fastest growing form of marketing is social media marketing. It’s still dirt cheap as of the writing of this article. Yet the biggest ad spend for major brands still goes to traditional channels, such as TV.

    This is great news for small business owners. They can advertise without having to get a second mortgage on the house. The question is – which social media should you aim for? There are so many these days, it’s hard to keep track. And even more are popping like mushrooms.

    Let’s rewind a bit and remember what we talked about the ideal client persona. Different demographics will hang out in different places. There are statistics about this sort of thing so it’s not hard to figure out.

    Your ideal client profile and your positioning will come in handy when choosing platforms. Social media marketing is the perfect way for highly targeted advertising. Loaded with this information, it’s more likely to be a hit than a miss.

     

    Search engine optimization

    Every year for the past decade, people have been coming out with articles about the death of SEO. And every year, it turns out it’s more alive than ever. It’s changing, sure, but aren’t we all?

    SEO is a great way to deliver high quality traffic to your website. These days, you have to combine it with proper content marketing but it still works.

    Unlike SMM, it’s a bit slower to get started. But once it gets going, it gives you by far the best return on investment out of all marketing channels. If you can afford to make the investment, SEO is beast.

     

    YouTube

    YouTube is a killer platform for video content. There is no real contest. No other platform even comes close to the quantity and quality YouTube has to offer to the video aficionado.

    Having a good YouTube channel for your brand is a great way to not only gain customers, but establish credibility. Trust is a huge factor in the e-commerce world. The more you minimize risk, the more clients you will have.

    The videos you post should be entertaining and educational. Entertaining, inspirational, and educational are the only types of content that gain any traction on the Internet. YouTube is no exception.

    If it’s done well, YouTube can be a great channel to drive tons of valuable traffic to your website.

     

    Email marketing

    “Email marketing?!”, I hear you exclaim. “Does anyone still do that?” Look at your inbox and you tell me. I know, I know – most of what you get is rubbish and now you think there is no way email marketing can be useful. And you’d be right if you weren’t dead wrong.

    More than 90% of users that come to your website will leave and never come back. If you get their email, you get a second, third, and a fourth chance to provide value. And when you provide value, people tend to reciprocate. That being said, you really need to write well in order to capture anyone’s attention. Otherwise, don’t bother. You’ll just waste your time.

    If you do this right, you will significantly increase your revenue and have more money to reinvest in your business.

     

    Follow-ups

    A great way to keep marketing to people who have already bought something from you is through follow-ups. You can add the email notification option during the check-out process. Once that’s done, you can keep your happy customers up-to-date with new products and promotions.

    Getting someone to buy from you once is much harder than getting someone to buy five times. All you have to do is gain their trust, have a good process, and deliver quality goods. No big deal.

     

    Abandoned shopping cart

    Having someone abandon their cart at the finish line is painful. You were this close to making a sale. You could almost feel their hard earned cash enter your pocket. But in the last moment, the customer abandoned the cart.

    Do not despair. There’s a lot you can learn from this. First off, you can send them an email telling them about the mistake they’ve made (not checking out). In some cases, people will genuinely think they’ve made a purchase. They’ll be delighted to know they get to finish their order.

    If many people start to abandon their carts, you should investigate. No one likes to waste their time just to drop the task at the last second. Maybe there’s something wrong with your pricing, your delivery is too expensive, or something else. Or maybe the bloody check out button is broken (you’d be surprised at how often that happens).

    Investigate and fix it as soon as you can. A lot of revenue would be slipping between your fingers if you don’t.

     

    Affiliate marketing

    Yes, people still do affiliate marketing. And it can be a great way to get more customers. For a commission, of course.

    Make sure that everything about your retail site works properly first. Driving people to your site is pointless if you can’t sell an item to save your life.

     

    Pay-per-Click

    PPC and SEO often go hand in hand in the basket of digital marketing. PPC can be a great way to get traffic to your site, but it’s often expensive. If you don’t have good conversion rates, it’s challenging to get a good return on investment.

    However, if your site works well and your business model is solid, PPC can be a great investment. It all boils down to how well you maintain your website and your business.

     

    Personalization 

    Whatever channels you choose for your e-commerce marketing, always personalize your message. That was the whole point of positioning and ideal client persona.

    With all the user data you have at your disposal, you have no excuse not to personalize.

    Brands that deliver a personalized message see a 6-10% increase in their revenue.

    This makes perfect sense. We’re constantly bombarded with bullshit marketing all day long. Good marketing is so hard to come by, I get a tingling sensation every time something attracts my attention.

    Personalization helps you cut through the noise. So don’t be lazy. If you’re going to do something, do it right or don’t do it at all.

     

    Is blogging for e-commerce a waste of time?

    Blogging for e-commerce

    You may have noticed I didn’t mention anything about blogging in the previous section. It wasn’t a mistake. I intentionally omitted it. Blogging is so important, it gets its own subsection.

    “Wait, what’s the point of blogging for e-commerce?” I know you’re wondering. It’s only natural. The use of blogging isn’t as self-evident as I wish it were.

    Blogging is a great way to attract your ICP with targeted content they might enjoy. Blogs have an amazing traffic potential. As long as you know what you’re doing.

    They’re also an excellent way to help solve your customers’ problems.

    There are two core reasons anyone buys anything – to get closer to pleasure or further away from pain. When you really boil it down, this is all that remains.

    That $10,000 boutique watch? Pleasure. The pleasure of demonstrating your success and status. The pleasure that you can afford to make such purchases. The pleasure of demonstrating you not only have money, but also taste.

    Fitness supplements? Avoiding pain. The pain of not progressing. The pain of not reaching your true potential. The pain of falling behind.

    Of course, there are nuances. You might be buying something to get closer to pleasure and avoid pain.

    Regardless of the motivation, a well written blog has the ability make it clear your products can achieve the goal. Which doesn’t mean it’s not tricky to achieve.

     

    Why do most company blogs seem useless?

    Because they are. Most companies (especially small businesses) have no idea how to run a blog. They mostly count on the search aspect of blogging, without trying to create an audience.

    The truth is, most blogs aren’t there to be helpful. They’re there to selfishly hoard all the traffic companies can get their hands on. Which is why most of them read like an instructions manual.

    If your blog is not resonating with your readers, then you’re not doing it right. I’m sorry if it “seems like too much effort”. Business requires effort. It’s not just about taking. It’s about giving.

    A good company blog shouldn’t be only about the products you sell in your retail website or company news (no one cares about that unless you’re already big). It should be about helping people who buy those products.

    For example, a supplement store should include articles about training, nutrition, and workout plans. Teach your readers how to avoid injuries. Talk about the benefits of this and that supplement (be honest). Talk about the most effective workout regimens. This is how you get newbies and turn them into serious customers.

    To achieve this goal, your content needs to land. It’s not only about ranking on the web. It’s about creating content that actually resonates with people.

    In a shoe store, showcase the different types of shoes and their effects on comfort and walking. Why is a running shoe better than a sneaker? Is there anything I should know about the materials or manufacturing process? How do I choose the right shoe for me?

    The boutique watch store can have a horology blog. Or topics revolving around the unique aspects of the watches. With a bit of lifestyle content sprinkled here and there.

    There is so much you can do with a company blog if you’re not lazy. Truth is, most businesses are looking for the easy route and their customers can feel that. This is the reason small businesses have trouble scaling. Just because you have an e-commerce website doesn’t mean your work is done. It’s only just begun.

     

    How important is your brand for e-commerce marketing?

    Logo and brand designIt’s clear blogging (when done right) is immensely important for your e-commerce business success. But what about branding? Does that matter?

    Branding is not a new concept, though it blew up in popularity in recent years. Retail website owners learned they stand a better chance of growing their business if they stood out. So branding became important even to small businesses.

    Yet the critical role of branding isn’t immediately obvious. After all, it’s difficult to measure the effect good branding can have on your sales in the short term.

    It’s only when long-term thinking enters the stage the importance of a brand becomes obvious.

     

    What is a brand? 

    Simply put, your brand is the association other people have about you. It’s not your logo, website design, or brand name. Those are markers people use to identify you. The essence of your brand is the association people have with those elements.

    Your brand will also include your positioning and your customer profile. Like in the earlier example with Apple, deviations from that perception can be detrimental. Because iPhones are perceived to be premium quality products, no one wants to buy a plastic iPhone. That’s why the iPhone 5c failed commercially.

     

    Why is branding important?

    Why do people prefer to buy a brand item costing several times more than the non-brand one? In his book Alchemy: The Surprising Power of Ideas That Don’t Make Sense, Rory Sutherland explains this brilliantly. Brands stand a lot more to lose than non-brands. So if your e-commerce store looks crappy, it may be because you’re counting on single purchases, not return clients. And maybe you’re not counting on return clients because there is no reason for your clients to return.

    A professional website is an investment. Most people understand this. So if you didn’t invest in your business, maybe you don’t have much faith in it. And if you don’t believe in your business, why should anyone else?

    On the other hand, if you invested resources in your website, you stand more to lose. You also show more faith in your business. It sends the unconscious message you’ve set your business up for success. So it’s far less likely for your products to be terrible.

    I know what you’re thinking. “No one applies this line of reasoning.” And you’re correct. Very few people verbalize these concepts. Doesn’t mean the ideas don’t unconsciously cross their minds. That’s the beauty of it. And why so many people don’t get it.

    We can apply the same reasoning to branding. Branding is a signalling mechanism that demonstrates to prospective customers you’re the real deal.

    Name brands have a lot more to lose from bad products or services than non-name brands. That’s why people trust them more and are willing to pay a premium for that trust.

    Essentially, creating a brand is a long-term investment. Not creating a brand is one of the most common e-commerce marketing mistakes you can make.

     

    People buy from people (or brands) they like

    If you’re the only seller of a certain item, you can get away with having a crappy website due to your monopoly. However, you can be certain competition will soon pop up (it always does).

    When that happens, people will have a choice. And they will choose the one they trust more (and like more). Because you’ve been on the market for longer, you may have an advantage. But if your competition comes out with a great website, excellent branding, engaging and informative blog, and personalized marketing while you don’t, you’re toast.

    It doesn’t matter who was first in the marketplace. All that matters is who was first in the mind of the customers. And it’s difficult to occupy any relevant headspace in your customers’ minds if you don’t have a brand.

    You may be able to keep the few loyal customers who were with you since the beginning (because they like you). But forget about expanding your business. Even if you’re offering a hands-down better product, how are people going to know that? Crystal balls? If you think that’s the case, you haven’t been paying attention to the article so far.

    Branding is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. And it’s another way to attract your ideal customers. You know – the people who are most likely to like you. And buy from you. And talk about you to their friends.

    There are so many retail websites on the Internet, it’s business suicide not to invest in branding.

     

    How can you stand out from other hitchhikers?

    The Internet is oversaturated with content. Ever since marketers realized content marketing was an effective way to get clients, everybody and their mom has been doing it. Blogs, social media marketing, SEO, you name it – your competitors are doing it. So how do you stand out?

    Easy. You produce damn good content. Content that will capture your prospect’s attention for more than two seconds. Whether with photography, drawing, design, or indeed – writing.

    Think about it – you’ve just read a 5,000-word article because you wanted to learn about e-commerce marketing. There’s a boatload of websites covering this same topic, yet you decided to spend your time with our content. Why is that? Because it’s bloody well written and the illustrations are awesome. The fact that you’re still reading is a testament to that. Not to toot our own horn or anything. Simply stating the facts.

    So how do you make your e-commerce marketing stand out? Start looking at it as an investment. And invest in someone who actually knows what they’re doing.

    If you’re going to do your own e-commerce marketing, do it well. Do it like it’s your job (the kind of job you love, not the one that makes you want to hang yourself from the AC at the office).

    But if you’re going to hire someone, hire proven professionals who know what they’re doing. Be prepared to spend a little more. Not because you will get guaranteed results (no one can guarantee you results). Rather, because this is how you stand the best chance of getting the job done.

    People are always looking for a shortcut. A winning strategy that will give them an edge over the competition.

    So let me clue you in on the secret – be better. Be honest. Show people your business has a soul and they will be naturally drawn to you. Hardly anyone demonstrates soul and character, so this will make you stand out.

     

    A story of honesty

    Honesty holds immense power. While Avis was number 2 in the car rental market (after Hertz), they wanted to convince their prospective clients they were number 1. The result? No one took them seriously. Everyone knew they were number 2 so they came off as deceitful.

    Until they brought in  Doyle Dane Bernbach – the creative advertising agency that convinced them being number two isn’t all that bad. DDB pulled off a miracle by making Avis embrace who they are.

    The result? “We try harder!” This was the ad campaign that allowed their business to blow up. They admitted they were number two. And they gave people a reason to use their service, anyway. Brilliant!

    Honesty in advertising is so rare, it’s a real superpower to this day. Most modern brands are too scared to be authentic. Small retail websites – even more so. So if you do things better than your competition and you’re honest – you will kill it. Try it but be warned – this is the difficult path. That’s why so few walk it. But at the end of this path lies success.

     

    What is the ultimate answer to life, the universe, and e-commerce?

    E-commerce marketing budgetIt’s 42.

    What do you mean “that’s not helpful”? Uh, fine. Let’s take everything we’ve learned so far and apply it in practice. In fact, the other night I was talking to a friend at a bar. When the topic of marketing popped up (as it always does when I’m around), he extended a challenge.

    “Let’s imagine I were selling bio wine,” he said. “I come to you ask you where do I start. What piece of advice would you give me?”

    I took a sip of my forest fruit tea (oh, shut up) and the gears started turning. So, let’s say you’re selling natural, bio, eco-friendly wine from Canada. And let’s say you want to hit the American market. Where do we start?

     

    Step 1: Positioning

    This is easy. You already have your positioning. You sell natural, bio, eco-friendly wine online. You’re from Canada. You make your own wine and you want to sell it in the States.

    This makes you a niche seller and helps us with the positioning even further. There’s lots of competition for selling wine, not so much for selling Canadian wine in the States. But let’s not pop the bottles of champagne open just yet.

    People don’t like to order wine online. That doesn’t mean they don’t do it, but it’s not the preferred method. Nothing wrong with that. Because we’re aware of it, we can counteract it.

    Create a great site with awesome content. Make shopping at your retail website a pleasant experience. Easy ordering, easy checkout, free delivery. There are ways to go about it and teach your customers using your service is better than the alternative.

    Now that we’re clear on our positioning, let’s see whom do we sell to.

     

    Step 2: Identify your ideal client

    If your wine is natural, eco-friendly, bio, all that jazz – it’s probably expensive. This mostly excludes people in their twenties as your ideal customer.

    Are people over 40 going to concern themselves with all the labels? Some of them will. En masse? Doubt it. So that leaves us with people between 30 and 40. Which is perfect, since this is the biggest demographic of wine-drinkers in the States.

    Again, this doesn’t mean no one outside this age group will ever be your customer. It means people within that age group will be the most likely candidates.

    Next,  women are statistically more likely to buy wine than men. They are also more likely to rely on the seller’s expertise, care about brand and reputation, and look at awards.

    You should pay attention to all of this in your website creation. The pages should be detailed and informative. And you should also blog about wine and lifestyle. Your customers will want to demonstrate they’re wine connoisseurs to their friends.

    People who drink wine are more likely to be married, with children. Figures, considering “helps me relax” is the second most common reason people drink wine.

    This also gives us a clue about their likely occupation. Your ideal clients are probably working stressful, intellectual jobs. Jobs that help them afford to buy a good bottle of bio, eco-friendly wine.

    The study above shows wine drinkers are likely to be more highly educated. Investing in great copy and an excellent blog is a must.

     

    Step 3: Creating a brand

    Next, we begin to establish the brand. Overall design, colors, feel, all that jazz. We’re going to need all this for the site later. But more importantly, we need something that grab your customers’ attention.

    Price is the dominating factor when comes to wine preference. The next one is brand. Yet, by establishing a good brand, you can throw the entire price argument out the window.

    People are willing to apply flexibility when it comes to their favorite brands. Wine connoisseurs are no exception.

    What makes your brand different? Why should anyone bother with it? Why did you get into the business? Do you care about the environment? What mark do you want to leave on the world? You may think people don’t care about these things, but you’re wrong.

    Remember, your brand isn’t the colors and logo. It’s the mental headspace you occupy in your prospects’ minds. That being said, the name of the company, colors and logo are what people use to identify you. But the reason they would bother is your actual message. That and the brand voice.

    The brand voice should be based on the ideal client persona and your values. So, a bit more highbrow. A bit more sophisticated. Which doesn’t mean “open a thesaurus and go wild”. There is a finesse to it all. Writing copy is more of an art than a science. But, in my experience – people who like wine enjoy good writing, too.

     

    Step 4: Creating a website

    If you’re going to make it in this racket, you need a kickass website. You’re importing wine from Canada. So you need to establish trust.

    Next, your customers are educated, middle-class people. They pay attention to labels, copy, presented knowledge, and all manner of details.

    You can try and create your website on your own. There are plenty of platforms that will allow you to do that. How well you do it depends entirely on the platform, and you.

    But remember – it’s not about the website. It’s about what the website represents. If you can craft a professionally looking, professionally running website all by yourself, more power to you. However, if you’re not entirely certain what you’re doing, perhaps it’s best to call in the cavalry.

    Think about what you want to do – run a business or tinker with the technical aspects of the site. If you want to scale, wearing too many hats is not a great idea.

     

    Step 5: Creating a blog

    Your site will not be complete without a compelling blog. Wine gives you the opportunity to create boatloads of content to scale your business.

    In fact, Gary Vaynerchuk grew his father’s business from $3 million to $60 million dollars a year. How did he pull it off? By creating kickass content on YouTube while everyone else was too busy picking their nose.

    There are tons of topics you can blog about when it comes to wine. How it’s made, what makes it good, how to spot a fake, how sommeliers train their palate.

    If you’re running a wine business, I assume you’re interested in wine. You should have many topics inside your head. Create content that resonates with people.

     

    Step 6: Create more content

    Once you’re creating blog posts, you shouldn’t just let them rot on your blog. There’s plenty more content you can create based on those blogs.

    You can convert them into infographics. You can take the main parts and create posts for Pinterest or Instagram around them. You can use them to answer questions on Quora.

    Video content, of course. That’s one of the best ways to increase your conversion rate and boost your sales.

    Repurpose your existing content and make sure you cover all bases.  Just make sure what you have to say is actually valuable.

     

    Step 7: Spread the word

    Most of your audience will be on Facebook. Second most likely place – Instagram. Neither platform should be a problem with all the content you’ve created. Spread the message and consistently grow your audience.

     

    Step 8: Profit

    If you’ve done everything correctly (and consistently), you should be seeing the fruits of your labor within a year. By performing steps 1-7, you should have done enough to differentiate yourself from the competition.

     

    Final thoughts

    We’re at the finish line of our journey. At this point, you know a lot more about e-commerce marketing than when you started reading. This is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a great introduction to most concepts.

    That’s it. We’re done here. Now go, build your business and increase your profits. Best of luck!