For ecommerce brands, marketing isn’t important. It is a necessity.

A brick and mortar store can get by with foot traffic but an ecommerce store isn’t going to get random visitors, unless the site URL is very close to something that people are interested in – Sax.com?

The good thing about ecommerce is that it’s no longer new. Almost everyone is online and most won’t give a second thought to shopping on their phone or from their couch.

The downside is simply the amount of competition. The battle for people’s attention is at its fiercest, so a strong ecommerce marketing strategy is crucial to not just surviving but thriving in the online marketplace.

We’re going to show you the 5 areas you need to focus on to develop ecommerce marketing strategies that kick ass.

1 & 2. Advertise on Facebook and Google AdWords

If you have funds on hand, the most obvious starting point is to use advertising to drive traffic to your ecommerce store. In the long term you should be testing a variety of marketing approaches and trying to target different buyer personas. This will have some successes and failures, but ultimately the experimentation will help you settle on the strategies that deliver the best ROI.

In the short term, assuming your budget is tight, I would recommend not casting your net too wide. Focus on a few reliable customer demographics and prequalify your leads as much as possible. You will get less clicks (for example including the price of a product will filter out people who can’t afford it) but the leads you do get will be more likely to convert into customers.

AdWords isn’t the easiest to pick up right away but once you’ve found the right formula you can easily scale up. Basically, the hard work will be worth it eventually. Facebook is more user-friendly and visual, so give thought to design and even consider using video, which is as popular as ever.

3. Leverage Social Media

Social media may have been created for sharing cat videos but somewhere along the line companies worked out how to crash the party. Today, an effective social media strategy should be at the heart of your marketing efforts.

Visuals and ecommerce go hand-in-hand so investing in quality images and video for marketing will be money well spent. Pinterest and Instagram are tailor-made for visuals so make sure you have a presence on them as well as the customary Facebook and Twitter accounts. It’s rubbish but you could also get on Google+ for the SEO benefits.

To increase engagement and brand loyalty, you should limit your promotional marketing. If 75% of your posts are focused on adding value to your followers then they’ll be far more willing to engage with the 25% that are promotional.

Nobody likes being sold to 24/7.

Except Eskimos. They just love buying snow.

4. Get into Content Marketing

Since we’re talking about value, we have to cover content marketing. Content marketing is essentially any kind of content (article, video, infographic, etc.) that your target audience would be interested in. The “marketing” part comes in when you (often subtly) include a link to your own site or product.

It entertains, it informs, and it encourages sales – what’s not to love?

Of course to create successful content marketing you need to first understand what your target audience is interested in. If you sell beard products then a tutorial video on how to wear a wrap skirt is going to have minimal success. Although, come to think of it, that sounds like a fashion statement hipsters could be into one day.

But you get the point.

Content marketing is a low cost (potentially no cost) strategy that can do wonders if you put in the time to create content that people want to engage with. After posting sure to track the traffic (with the likes of Google Analytics) to determine what types of posts are having the biggest impact on your business.

5. Build Up Your Mailing List

The marketing channel that offers arguably the greatest ROI is email marketing. If you can’t secure a sale from a visitor try get them to sign-up for your mailing list. You could offer them something free like an ebook, the promise of awesome emails that provide great content, or the opportunity to hear about specials first.

Make your call to action compelling enough and your mailing list should grow rapidly. Once you have their emails you need to work on your marketing strategy. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to sell hard straight away. It will work for some but most will want to run in the opposite direction.

Instead try and send out one email a week with each email addressing a different need or value. Deliver them with a fun and friendly tone of voice and people will actually enjoy getting emails from you. Once they are looking forward to your emails (instead of looking forward to deleting them) you can start to introduce more focused promotions.

My final tip is to try and include video wherever possible. Not only does a video embed boost open rates and engagement, it also increases click-through rates by 2-3x.

Watch Your Online Store Soar

There are many ecommerce success stories but none of them were founded on sitting back and waiting for the customers to show up. If you want customers you’re going to have to get out there and find them.

Luckily, the steps we covered in this article will go a long way towards building a winning online marketing strategy. Execute them well and your online store might just be the next success story and a further nail in the brick and mortar coffin.