What are the best marketing tactics for online retailers? As we head into the holiday shopping season, smart marketers want to know the answer. A study by Forrester Research for Shop.org, The State of Retailing Online 2014, has some useful insights.
E-retailers in the survey were asked to choose the three best marketing strategies to attract new customers. SEO (specifically, paid search) ranks first, cited by 85 percent. What’s more, 76 percent of respondents say paid search was better at increasing sales last year than the year before.
Far behind paid search, the second and third most effective marketing tools are organic traffic (41%) and affiliate programs (40%). About three in 10 respondents cite remarketing and retargeting of advertising, 15 percent direct mail campaigns and 10 percent sweepstakes.
What tactics are less effective? Fewer than 10 percent of respondents say online marketplaces, offline advertising, social media and text advertising are among their top three most effective marketing tactics.
A whopping 99 percent of the e-retailers in the survey report spending money on PPC search advertising. In fact, 19 percent of respondents spent more than half of their marketing budgets on paid search.
Ecommerce retailers in the study also say they’re spending more of their marketing budgets on mobile marketing via smartphones and tablets. However, they’re not getting very adventurous—most of the mobile marketing is focused on sending mobile-friendly marketing emails. The focus on mobile email makes sense, because e-retailers say that 42 percent of their e-mails are opened on smartphones, compared to 41 percent that are opened on desktop computers and 17 percent on tablets.
Although the companies in the survey were primarily large ones, you can learn a lot from what they consider the best marketing strategies because on average, they’d been in the ecommerce space for 10 years. With that much experience, what can their marketing tactics teach you?
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Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.