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In the wonderful world of dropshipping and eCommerce, there’s no shortage of competition.
Get this: In 2019, online sales accounted for 14.1 percent of all retail sales worldwide. Furthermore, this number is expected to reach 22 percent by 2023. That’s 6.5 Trillion US dollars!
In other words, competition is fierce and you shouldn’t expect this to change. And that’s why you need a digital marketing strategy tailored to your specific business.
Now that you understand the importance of a digital marketing strategy, let’s dive into the finer details of making this a reality.
What is a Digital Marketing Strategy?
A digital marketing strategy is a guide that helps your company reach its goals through targeted online marketing channels, such as search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising (PPC), content marketing, email marketing, and social media (more on this below).
Remember this: No two digital marketing strategies are the same. What’s working for a competitor may not work for you, and vice versa.
What are Some of the Best Digital Marketing Techniques?
If you remember nothing else from this article, let it be this: there is more than one way to create and implement a digital marketing strategy.
As you move through the planning stage, focus your efforts on two things:
- The digital marketing techniques you’ve used in the past
- Other options that make sense for your business
In regards to effectiveness, some level of trial and error must occur. Even if you’re 100 percent committed to a particular technique, there’s more than one way to approach it.
Take for example social media marketing. Although 89% of marketers use Facebook in their brand marketing efforts, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll generate sales for your business. You may find it easier to connect with your audience on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or another social platform.
The word best is subjective, but here are some of the most commonly used digital marketing techniques:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): the process of building and marketing your website with the goal of ranking at the top of the search engines.
- Pay per click advertising (PPC): an online advertising model with which you bid on keywords and only pay when your ad is clicked.
- Content marketing: this is best defined as any form of marketing that revolves around creating, publishing, and distributing content, such as blog posts, infographics, and white papers.
- Email marketing: a form of direct marketing in which you connect with your audience via email messages.
- Social media: a form of marketing conducted on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
- Video marketing: a marketing process in which you create, publish, and distribute videos, such as on your website, blog, and sharing platforms.
Some of these digital marketing strategies will work for your dropshipping business, while others may not pertain to you. Just remember, it’s impossible to know what will and won’t work until you experiment with each technique.
Why is Digital Marketing Strategy Important for Dropshipping?
It’s 2020 out there, so digital marketing planning and strategy is important to every company in every industry. And this definitely holds true for dropshipping and eCommerce businesses. After all, you don’t have to worry about inventory or suppliers.
1. Competition is at an all-time high
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were shifting their attention online. But, when you add in pandemic restrictions, it’s easy to see why a growing number of entrepreneurs and already established brands turned their focus to the internet.
This has resulted in increased competition in every niche imaginable, which forces every dropshipping business to seek a competitive advantage.
You’re fighting for traffic, engagement, and of course, sales.
A digital marketing strategy will allow you to position yourself strongly against established competitors while protecting against newcomers to your industry.
2. Out of Sight, Out of Mind
You’ve probably heard this saying before. In regards to selling online, if a consumer doesn’t see your product or know about your brand, they won’t buy from you. It’s that simple.
You don’t want your brand to be “out of sight, out of mind.” You want it to be visible to your audience, no matter where they look. It takes over 4 impressions for your dropshipping business to get someone’s attention, so don’t be discouraged when you don’t make a sale right away.
If they search one of your primary keywords online, you want your website to show up at the top of the organic (and possibly even paid) search results.
When they’re scouring social media for fresh content, you want your updates to be among the first ones they see.
When they check their email inbox, you want to greet them with a special offer.
You get the point. You want to be front and center as often as possible.
3. Brand Building
In today’s day and age, building a successful eCommerce business is based largely on your ability to build a successful brand.
Your target audience should know what your company does. You should be selling a lifestyle, a mission, something people connect to on a deeper level. You should be able to distinguish yourself from your competitors by building an inimitable brand.
Here’s a telling statistic that backs up the importance of building a brand: 59% of shoppers prefer to buy new products from the brands they trust. People that like your products will come back again and again. Loyalty is based on a brand, and their experience with it.
If you don’t build that trust, you’re likely to lose sales to your competitors.
What are Some Examples of a Digital Marketing Strategy?
If you have an email account, you’ve probably come across examples of digital marketing. The same holds true if you’ve ever conducted a Google search or spent any time on social media.
Digital marketing is everywhere, even if you don’t see it as such.
Take for instance this email with a subject line of “Get 20% off denim – For a limited time only”
The subject line is concise and to the point. It’s meant to increase the open rate, as everyone wants to save some money on the perfect pair of jeans.
Then, when you arrive at the email itself, you’re provided a coupon code and direct link to the website.
That’s what email marketing looks like.
Now, let’s take a look at another example. This time for PPC (pay per click) advertising. Search on Google for the phrase “picture frames” and here’s what you see:
There are four companies bidding high enough on this keyword phrase that their ad showed up in the sponsored section of the Google search results.
Finally, let’s finish up with an example of content marketing as its finest.
Sales Hacker published a blog post titled “647 Top Female Sales Practitioners For Your Next Panel, Presentation, or Podcast.”
The premise is simple, but there’s a lot of work that went into this piece of content. It promises the one and only list that you’ll ever need to look at. A one stop shop for what the searcher is looking for.
By including nearly 700 sales professionals in their article, Sales Hacker was able to generate interest from that built-in audience, which resulted in increased traffic, social media shares, and backlinks.
You can create a content marketing strategy by starting a blog that revolves around the lifestyle you’ve built with your brand.
Take inspiration from Google Keyword Planner ,and discover what people in your niche are looking for. If you’re in health and beauty, why not create blog posts about the best skin morning routines? Or the best DIY face masks? Get creative with it!
Steps to Build a Digital Marketing Plan
By now, you realize there’s no right or wrong way to build a digital marketing plan. But that doesn’t mean you should take a scattergun approach and hope for the best. There are five simple steps you can take to form the basic building blocks of a digital marketing strategy.
1. Start Small
You’re tempted to dive in headfirst, but that has the potential to cause more harm than good.
Start small by choosing two or three tactics that best suit your skillset and the goals you’re trying to achieve. For example, content marketing and SEO is a good jumping-off point.
If you bite off more than you can chew early on, it may scare you away from devoting the necessary resources to digital marketing in the future.
2. Perform a Competitor Analysis
This doesn’t have to be anything overly complex. Stick to the basics, such as:
- Target keywords
- Current search rankings
- If they’re running PPC ads
- Social media engagement, reach, and size of their audience
Doing this is beneficial for two reasons:
- It allows you to understand the approach your competitors are taking
- It helps you find opportunities for outdoing them
For instance, maybe you find that your top three competitors don’t have much of a social media presence. You can use this against them by putting more effort into this part of your digital marketing strategy.
3. Build Your Team
Answer this question: are you managing and carrying out your digital marketing strategy on your own, or will you do so alongside other team members?
Either way is fine, but you should decide on this upfront. If you’re working with others, even if it’s only one person, this is the time to define responsibilities. This allows you to work in the most efficient manner possible.
4. Attack Your Strategy with Trial and Error
It’s your hope that you get everything right the first time around, but that’s not likely to happen. Even the most skilled digital marketers rely on trial and error to pinpoint what’ll drive the desired results.
Trial and error is a good thing, but only if you record the results and closely review the data.
For example, you could find yourself comparing the return on investment of SEO and PPC. But if you don’t know how much money you’ve spent on both techniques, you won’t know what to do next.
Try something, learn from it, and then try again. This is the best way to build your knowledge of digital marketing while moving toward your end goal.
5. Introduce New Ideas
You’ve identified two or three techniques. You’ve dissected your competitors’ marketing strategies. You’ve conducted some trial and error experiments.
As you grow, it’s time to introduce new ideas while cutting back on those that haven’t yielded positive results.
Taking this approach allows you to eventually build a digital marketing plan that you can lean on, day in and day out.
Final Thoughts on Creating a Digital Marketing Strategy
Creating a digital marketing strategy, whether it be for a dropshipping business or some other type, is critical to your success.
Once you have a strategy you trust, based on proven results, you can rely on it to reach your audience, drive sales, and establish your brand as a major player in your industry. Keep your eye on the landscape and always adjust to the oncoming changes. Nothing in this life is certain except for change, so it’s a swim or drown world for eCommerce and digital marketing.