The best way for you to get to grips with a new skill set is to dive right in.
And after a roller coaster year of ecommerce marketing, I can look back and say that diving in was 100% the right move.
Even so, you can go a lot further with a little know-how to back you up.
Here are a few of the most valuable lessons I picked up in that first year, and how you can avoid learning them the hard way.
Lesson #1: Plan your strategy ahead
I simply cannot stress this enough. No matter how much you think you have an idea worked out in your mind, you cannot account for everything unless you take the time to plan it out.
- What is your budget, and what’s your final upper limit? Can you reallocate funds as campaigns develop?
- Who will be working with you, and what are their roles? Do you need to outsource or hire in?
- What is the end goal? Can you set some intermediary milestones? What core metrics will you be tracking (and how)?
Careful strategic planning allows you to account for potential obstacles, allocate your time, and set realistic targets for each stage of the project.
This also makes you budget more effectively, so you avoid falling foul of unexpected costs. In marketing, badly planned campaigns can quickly snowball and become financially untenable.
Having a plan makes it far easier to track your progress, and ensure you are making enough headway from one week to the next – trust me, there is nothing worse than reaching the end of an exhausting marketing sprint to realize you don’t really know where you are.
- Set realistic, but ambitious, KPIs and targets.
- Get to know your core metrics, and track them religiously.
- Frequently schedule in meetings to check in with progress — a tool like Trello will help you manage designers, developers, and copywriters.
Lesson #2: Nail your niche to find balance
I’m sure you’ve already heard about the value of finding your niche. But don’t just find your niche, own it.
When you’re researching your options, you need to figure out exactly who you will be catering to, and which themes and key phrases will form the foundation of your content strategy.
My first forays into dropshipping fell short of my aspirations, due to what I now recognize as a rookie mistake (dropshipping is where you own an ecommerce store, but your products are shipped direct to your customers from a third-party supplier).
The niche was viable, there wasn’t too much competition, and it looked like there was a market….but I cast my net too WIDE. While I saw plenty of traffic, I simply couldn’t get the sales figures I had hoped for.
The thing about the perfect niche is that the narrower it becomes, the fewer searches target those exact niche phrases. Yet simultaneously, the more committed that traffic will be to making a purchase.
Finding the balance between relevance and market data is a matter of trial and error, coupled with careful investigation of analytics data. But as you get a feel for where that balance lies, you will be able to select your targeting far more effectively, and get to work on building a killer marketing campaign around themes and topics your audience really care about.
Lesson #3: Communicate to strengthen accountability
Whether you are collaborating with a small team, or working alongside a major franchise, effective communication is essential – for any marketing campaign to be successful, everyone needs to be on the same page.
Working with a small family firm, we nearly ran into disaster when it emerged nobody had prepared content for the welcome email to be sent to our early adopters on launch day – there had been confusion over where it fell in the marketing hierarchy, and each member of the small team had assumed it was being covered by someone else. Fortunately, an emergency meeting and some talented, creative minds managed to put something together at the eleventh hour.
Project management tools such as Todoist are great for keeping everyone up to speed, tracking progress, and collaborating with team members at multiple locations.
Lesson #4: Take risks to achieve results
Perhaps the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from my experiences is that you should always aim high. This doesn’t mean your goals should be unrealistic, but it does mean that you should always be reaching just beyond your comfort zone. Think global, dream big, and always keep pushing the content envelope. This may mean taking a chance on something that might not work, or standing by an idea that you believe in when nobody else does.
Sometimes it won’t work out, but that doesn’t mean you’ve achieved nothing. In fact, you may land close to your goals. Having confidence in your abilities will allow you to go above and beyond in everything you do. And this self-assurance will also inspire others to have faith in you, your brand, and your ideas. So, whether you are promoting a product launch, or pitching an idea to a potential partner, be prepared to give it everything you’ve got.
The fast-paced world of ecommerce marketing is not for the faint of heart, but there’s no reason not to give it a try. If you follow the tips above, you will have a firm foothold on the steep ascent to marketing success.
Learn from my mistakes, and of course, make plenty of your own. Just remember, there are no failures — only lessons.
Over time you will find your marketing style, and you will wonder why it seemed so daunting in the first place.
If you liked that guide and love blogging too, have a look at the 7 lessons Ryan Biddulph learned during his first year of blogging – there’s plenty of information to help you to take your blogging to the next level.
About the Author: Victoria Greene
Victoria Greene is a freelance writer and branding consultant. On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on ecommerce and online marketing. She is a passionate about using her knowledge to help ecommerce businesses improve their marketing strategies.