When it comes to starting a small business, e-commerce and digital marketing go together like tea and biscuits. While the coronavirus pandemic was disastrous for many long-standing small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), it has also provided an opportunity for many people to launch a small business of their own.
In fact, since the beginning of lockdown, over 400,000 new UK businesses have popped up, many of which are exclusively online to fill the gap in the market that lockdown life uncovered. More than ever, people want services which require less face-to-face action and more convenience, home delivery and distancing, even now that things are “back to normal”.
With this in mind, we thought we’d share with you five reasons why you should be using digital marketing to promote your e-commerce venture:
If we’re looking at this from a purely analytical, numbers-based point of view, it’s very clear to see why ecommerce needs digital marketing. As of 2021, it’s estimated that just over 27% of the entire world population will be shopping online, which equates to 2.14 billion global shoppers.
With this many people online, looking for places to shop, it stands to reason that digital marketing is going to give you the best return on your investment. Add to this the fact that a massive 55% of 14-24 year olds (Gen Z) are influenced by social media before making a purchase, can you really afford not to use digital marketing?
In the not-so-distant past, bricks-and-mortar shops had very few options when it came to marketing. Aside from the traditional TV adverts, magazine inserts and posters in shop windows, engaging with customers was not that easy and aside from written complaints, interaction between businesses and customers was almost non-existent.
With the advent of social media marketing, never before has it been so simple to build, and engage with, a loyal customer base. Many of the most successful online businesses have a great rapport with their audience, thanks to active social media pages.
Take Nike, for instance. This major sporting brand rarely posts overtly promotional shots on its Insta, choosing instead to focus on real people and their stories. It’s gained them almost 200 million followers, so they must be doing something right.
This also gives you a direct channel through which to canvas your ideal client and work out exactly what they want from you; invaluable information for a fledgling business.
While there’s ongoing debate about whether social media directly contributes to SEO, what many companies don’t factor in is that, these days, people don’t only go to Google or Bing to search for something. In fact, increasingly so, consumers will head to a brand’s social media pages before going to a search engine, so while social media posts don’t get factored into Google’s metrics, this may not actually matter.
Indirectly, there are ways in which social media can affect your SEO. According to SEMRush, “When more people share your content throughout social media, it generates social signals that indicate your posts are useful to your target market...So when you share your posts, your audience amplifies your content by sharing it further. In this way, you increase visibility, improve traffic, and generate backlinks.”
Whether the effect is direct or indirect, it’s hard to dispute the fact that social media marketing increases the exposure of your brand.
Social media marketing offers value for money in more ways than one. Aside from the fact that, even if you employ a full-service agency to design your ads, create a posting schedule and even deal with your online interactions, it’s going to be cheaper than traditional forms of advertising, you’re almost guaranteed to get more bang for your buck.
This is because of the very targeted nature of social media marketing. If you know that your ideal client is a female between the ages of 29 and 49 who lives in the south of England , has children and shops at Waitrose, most social media platforms will be able to feed your advert directly to this type of consumer through data analysis.
This means that every penny you spend will be used more effectively, rather than the almost scatter-gun approach of putting an advert somewhere and hoping your ideal client sees it. Then factor in the ability for your followers to comment on things and start a conversation about your brand through social shares, the value goes up even further.
Levelling the Playing Field
The beauty of social media marketing is that it is a great leveller. Where visual media and words are concerned, customers value originality and creativity, and you don’t need the advertising budget of Harrods to be able to compete.
Small businesses are just as likely as huge ones to be able to have a decent impact through social media, which means that your SME can compete on a much larger stage and take on the big boys, even without their spending power
In fact, it’s not unusual for huge businesses to get social media completely wrong. Take, for instance, German appliance company Miele. It chose to use an image of women leaning on their washing machines in a post about International Women’s Day and immediately got DRAGGED by its followers for the tone-deaf nature of the post. They deleted the post just a few hours later but the damage was already done!
By contrast, Snag Tights has risen from being a tiny one-woman business to a hosiery giant with a turnover of £30 million per year. They did this almost entirely through social media interaction and using “real women” in their posts, and they boast a return customer rate of around 70%.
About The Author: Jayne Crammond
Jayne is a freelance copywriter and marketing assistant with over a decade of experience. A mum to two girls and a menagerie of animals, Jayne started writing her own blog after the birth of her eldest daughter and her career grew from there. She’s provided copywriting and marketing support to small businesses and marketing agencies, and is also in the middle of writing a children’s novel!