Choosing the best marketing channels to support your eCommerce strategy

7 mins

Every eCommerce brand has unique strengths, as well as an ideal audience ready to hear your message and convert. Connecting with that audience means picking the right marketing channels and providing content which gets noticed, resonates, and sells.

What’s the definition of a marketing channel?

Any medium your business uses to communicate with its target audience counts as a marketing channel. The best, most effective channels are those where your audience:

  1. Spends a lot of time
  2. Gathers in large numbers
  3. Are most receptive to your message

This can happen online, like with email marketing and social media, or offline, via channels like events and direct mail. There’s also the question of how you go about communicating on a channel, many are pay-to-play.

Paid vs organic marketing channels: What’s the difference?

Organic channels are ones like regular social media posting and email marketing. They’re ‘free’ in the sense that it doesn’t cost you anything to post or share content itself. These channels can typically bring in larger numbers of less-qualified leads, when properly leveraged.

It’s worth noting that organic audiences can take time to grow. SEO, community management, thought leadership, and incentivising engagement are proven tactics but they don’t pay off overnight.

Paid channels, like Google ads and promoted social media content, charge you to use them. Typically, you’ll pay per interaction. Because most paid channels come with targeting capabilities, you can focus on key audiences with more precision.

What KPIs are best for measuring eCommerce marketing channels?

Measurement is a cornerstone of eCommerce marketing strategy. Picking the right key performance indicators (KPIs) from day one keeps your efforts focused on the right outputs and results. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve, you might measure things like:

  • Bounce rate: How many people leave your site after viewing a single page. Bounce rate can also describe the percentage of undelivered marketing emails
  • Social media following: The number of people who opt into following your brand and its content
  • Impressions: How many times your content showed up on people’s feeds
  • Clicks and click-through rate (CTR): How many people clicked (or more likely nowadays, tapped) on your content
  • Conversions: How many leads convert into a sale
  • Customer acquisition cost (CAC): How much it costs on average to get one new customer
  • Engagement: Likes, comments, and shares on social media
  • Leads generated: How many people engaged with your calls-to-action and came into your sales funnel
  • Return on investment (ROI) or return on ad spend (ROAS): How much you make from marketing in conversions, vs how much you spend

The best marketing channels for eCommerce brands

Because the definition of a marketing channel is so broad, there’s no definitive list of them all. Some, however, are tested and proven favourites of the eCommerce community. These include:

Content and Community Engagement:

  • Social media marketing: Social still thrives, riding the 2024 mobile retail media wave into the future.
  • Video and podcast marketing: Platforms like YouTube and TikTok are constantly refining their offering to marketers.
  • Webinars: Sharing your knowledge and expertise can win you incredible goodwill that translates into sales.
  • Community marketing: Nurturing relationships with established groups of potential customers in places like Reddit and Facebook groups.

Digital Advertising:

  • Paid search (SEM): Jumping the queue and showing up on that all-important first Google page.
  • Pay-per-click (PPC) ads: A time-honoured way to cut through the online noise and get your message heard.

Digital Engagement:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO): Making your content delight the algorithm as much as resonate with your audience is, by now, a non-negotiable marketing element's.
  • Email marketing: Focusing on repeated interactions from long-term subscribers who appreciate the content you send them.
  • Text message (SMS): Properly incentivising new or existing customers can win you access to this highly personal channel.

Event & PR Marketing:

  • Events marketing: Connecting with the buzz of an industry gathering and gathering real-time feedback.
  • Public relations (PR): Tapping into professionally established media networks to amplify a compelling story.

Offline Advertising:

  • Direct-mail marketing: Sending physical reminders of your brand’s presence that your audience can interact with offline.
  • Print and billboard marketing: For the right products with the right local angle, print can still be highly effective.
  • TV and radio marketing: Widely viewed as ‘traditional’ media, TV and radio can help you access huge, ready-made audiences.

Partnership/ Influencer Marketing:

  • Partnership marketing: Collaborating with adjacent or complementary businesses to pool your reach.
  • Affiliate marketing: Leveraging the reach and trust of influencers to connect with an established audience.

Takeaway: The right mix of marketing channels can grow your eCommerce business

Building a presence on the optimal blend of channels is an ongoing process involving some trial and error. But if you take time to understand your audience, it’ll become easier to connect with them in the most authentic setting. That’s a strong asset within your eCommerce growth strategy.

ChannelSight can help you strategize and win. Trust our eCommerce experience to help develop a successful channel combo for your brand.

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