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Digital Marketing For E-Commerce – A Comprehensive Guide

Do you own an e-commerce business? Learn how to perform digital marketing for e-commerce and increase your sales. Digital marketing is evolving very rapidly and with it are evolving ways we do business. Digital marketing for e-commerce businesses has become the primary way of marketing.

Digital marketing ecommerce

There is a lot of experimentation in the industry and new techniques are coming up every now and then. But the biggest change has been driven by the internet.

People 20 years ago found new businesses by asking for their friends or family members or luckily if they found something in the papers or hoardings. But most local businesses could not take advantage of those marketing channels.

This is because customers did not have much choice and there was no way to find new businesses. Even if they found new ones, there was no way to know if they were any good. Because there were no customer reviews.

So people had to randomly choose businesses and hope for the best.

But when Google came along, these habits changed. Today, when someone needs to find a new product or any new information, the first thing they do is ‘Google’ it. 

Search engines provide a lot of information about businesses. We can learn everything about everything with just a few clicks.

Naturally, most people look for new e-commerce businesses online, and businesses also have to make sure that they appear on the search results. Otherwise, they won’t be able to tap into this online market.

But in the last 20 years, search engines have changed a lot. The search algorithms have become more advanced. It is not possible to trick them to rank your page higher. Websites need to provide relevant and helpful content that users like.

Not just search engines, there is social media today. And it forms a big part of the strategy for digital marketing for e-commerce companies. Social media apps now offer the functionality where users don’t even have to leave the app to buy a product.

Business processes are transforming very rapidly thanks to different digital tools. E-commerce is one of the businesses that has seen high growth in recent years, especially due to the easy availability of raw materials and technical know-how and many channels to list products like Amazon and others.

Read about Google Digital Marketing Courses 

New trends are coming every few weeks in the e-commerce industry. Digital marketing is also seeing new techniques and systems. Digital platforms for selling and promotion are releasing new features and marketers are quick to adopt and take advantage of them.

But since there are new trends to be seen all the time in the e-commerce industry, it is important to know the latest trends and not risk becoming irrelevant. This is especially true for companies focusing on products for teenagers and young adults, for example, food, fashion, and automobiles.

E-commerce businesses will constantly need to update their digital marketing tactics to make the most out of their marketing budget.

There are many benefits to digital marketing for e-commerce businesses.

  • It is especially beneficial to small e-commerce players because digital marketing can be done even in the smallest of marketing budgets.
  • It has much higher penetration.
  • The possible reach of digital marketing efforts is the highest of all marketing channels today with the spread of high-speed internet and the immense popularity of social media.
  • The marketing campaign can be analyzed in real-time using advanced analytical tools and manipulated in order to be optimized.
  • Any demographic based on age, gender, location, language, interests, likes, etc.
  • The advertisements are highly focused in the sense that only those users that are potential customers are shown your ads. The audience that is not interested in a certain kind of product is not shown the ads, thus saving a bulk of advertising money.

Let us learn how e-commerce businesses can take advantage of digital marketing.

E-commerce businesses have a great advantage in creating a powerful online presence. Businesses can show a huge variety of products. Interest in a product often leads to a sale on online websites.

This is because customers can access these shopping websites right from their homes. They do not need to even go outside. This removes the biggest barrier of distance. With the internet, markets have reached the home of the customer, always ready to show the products they like the best.

Websites and services like Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra for fashion, food delivery apps like Swiggy and Zomato, and many more have made purchasing behavior incredibly simple. The only thing a user needs to do is open the app on their smartphone and browse.

With the help of these apps, users can now just select their item, add it to the cart, and pay online and get home delivery without even moving an inch. This is the age of instant gratification.

The growth of the ecosystem has been driven by technology and every e-commerce business must take advantage of this trend. 

If you have an e-commerce business, here is how you can develop a digital marketing campaign or plan.

As you focus on the growth of your e-commerce business with the help of digital marketing, it is important to understand a few basics that will help you get the most out of your marketing budget. This way you can develop a better strategy for digital marketing for e-commerce businesses.

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Here are the characteristics of a good marketing plan to ensure the growth of a business:

Marketing goal/ objective

Start out by first deciding the big picture goal for your business. Do you want to increase the number of customers, or increase profit, and so on?

This big picture goal is based on conversations with mentors and advisors. This is a prerequisite to developing a detailed and specific marketing objective.

Once you have the big picture view of where do you want your company to be in a year or two years. It is time to sketch out a detailed marketing plan.

When preparing a detailed marketing plan for your e-commerce business, remember the SMART framework for goal setting. Any marketing objective must follow all criteria according to the SMART framework which stands for

S- Specific




T-Time bound

It is important to have a very clear and specific aim out of your marketing plan. You need to decide between whether you want growth, or do you want increased revenue, increased profit, is your goal only brand awareness or do you want to promote a new product line.

The next criterion is to have goals that are measurable empirically. Increasing brand awareness is not a measurable goal but increasing profits by 15% is. If the goals are not measurable, you’d never know if you are achieving them or just wasting your money.

The next quality of a good goal is that it should be achievable. Goals must not be too lofty that they can’t even be visualized properly by your team members. 

A goal must be easy to visualize and divided into smaller goals if it is too big. It must be realistic too. Your business should possess the means to achieve a target. If you expect a very big goal from a small marketing budget, this just makes it difficult for everyone, and the plan is doomed to fail.

One of the most important qualities of a goal is that there must be a time limit to when the goal should be achieved. There is not unlimited time. A goal without a time frame to achieve it makes no sense.

A good example of a goal that follows the SMART framework looks like this: “ increase online revenue by 10% in a quarter.”

Mission statement

A marketing plan must also contain the mission statement and the purpose of the company. What is it that your company does and how does it solve the problems of the audience.

Know your audience

Every e-commerce marketing plan must be clear about which target audience is the one to which a product is aimed. The target audience or the buyer persona must be clearly specified.

With digital marketing for e-commerce businesses, you can target very specific demographics. This helps save the marketing budget and increase the ROI of the campaign.

A vague targeting will waste money and not be able to achieve the KPIs specified in the marketing plan. 

Not just demographic but it is also important to target the individuals who are more likely to convert within a demographic. Some people may have all the qualities of the target audience but may be unlikely to buy products online, and only like to browse, It is a waste to target these individuals.

Some characteristics of a buyer persona include age, gender, location, purchasing power, interests, and preferences.

4 Ps of marketing

The 4 Ps of marketing is Price, placement, promotion, and packaging. While talking about a digital marketing campaign, we often forget the right pricing tactics.

Sometimes results from a plan for digital marketing for e-commerce businesses do not bear fruit without there being anything wrong in the marketing campaign.

The product must be priced according to the target audience and assessment of the competition.

The product placement and positioning must also be as per the competition. The product must have a separate quality that separates it from the rival products. If it has everything the same as the rival product, that has been around longer, your product will not be successful.

These were the prerequisites of a good marketing plan for an e-commerce business.

It is important for a marketing campaign to stand out from others. People are becoming immune to advertisements everywhere. Their span of attention is decreasing and an ad often has only a few seconds to gather their attention.

Now let us learn about the various channels or ways of marketing that should form a part of digital marketing for e-commerce business.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search Engine Optimization or SEO is the practice of optimizing your website to gain organic traffic from search engines by ranking high up in the search engine results page. This is a great opportunity for e-commerce websites.

This can help businesses get customers on to their website organically, without actual advertising. This is certainly the cheapest way to attract customers.

Another advantage of SEO is that it builds credibility and trust in the audience. High ranking on search results gives the perception to the user that the business is more suitable than the rest. 

75% of users, on average, only visit the first 3 results on a Google search results page. And hardly anyone visits page 2.

The only resource needed to perform SEO is an SEO professional. The need for a professional is further increased when there is considerable competition in the market among similar brands and products.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

SEM refers to paid advertising on search engines. These ads are shown in the context of relevant searches. This is why they are also called contextual ads.

This is the best way to improve visibility on search engines as results of SEO take time to show.

SEM results are instant and can be monitored and analyzed with the help of web analytical tools.

The most popular search engine today is Google. This makes Google Ads the most significant SEM channel. The ads are shown according to the keywords fed in the ad settings while creating a new campaign.

The ads can also be selectively shown to specific audiences. The different demographics can be targeted on the basis of age, location, browsing history, and more.

You can also set the daily budget which is the maximum amount to spend on ads per day. 

This is also called PPC or pay-per-click advertising. This is because the advertiser pays only when a user clicks on their ad.

This makes the ad bidding strategy very important, especially with competitive keywords. The advertiser whose bid is higher gets more ad space

SEM is a good way to gain visibility in the short term but it can be costly if done for long durations. But it has assured the advantage of giving high-quality leads who are much more likely to convert than any other form of marketing.

Email Marketing

Do not underestimate e-mail marketing. This is still one of the marketing techniques that give the highest ROI. This is because e-mail lists are not lists of random people but prepared by careful analysis of buyer profiles of users.

This buyer profile is prepared on the basis of their internet behavior, buying history, likes, and interests on social media, and so on.

You can not ignore e-mail marketing from a campaign for digital marketing for the e-commerce industry.

E-mails can be used to send out promotional emails about new products or services. They can also be used to send details of a purchase and it’s shipping status.

E-mails can also be personalized to every user. This helps increase brand value and brand perception.

E-mails can also be used to promote new offers in festival seasons to bring more customers to the website

Another great advantage of e-mails is that you can remind a customer of an item in their shopping cart that they forgot to check out. They can be notified that the product stock is running out or the price has been reduced which may increase the chances of a sale.

Social Media Marketing (SMM)

Everybody is on social media. Social media is changing the way we communicate and this is of specific interest to marketers.

Facebook has 2.5 billion users which is more than the population of any country on Earth. This means lots of conversations.

The digital marketing strategy for e-commerce has a special place for social media. Because of social media, all the target audiences can be found easily in one place.

Social media is a place where brands can interact with customers seamlessly. With the help of specific acts and measures, brands can create great rapport among the audience.

One way of doing this is to create engaging and interesting social media posts on your social media handle. When these posts are liked and shared, they gain visibility. This helps in the promotion of your brand.

However, generating posts that go viral instantly is not easy. 

That is why social media platforms offer various forms of paid ads to suit your needs. These ads can be heavily customized.

For example, with Facebook dynamic ads, you can upload your complete range of products, and Facebook will show them selectively throughout the campaign.

There are many other forms of Facebook ads for which you can refer to this article.

The best advantage of Facebook ads is that you can also create campaigns for Instagram, and messenger.

Instagram is particularly useful for e-commerce companies. This is a visual platform and this becomes an advantage for showing display ads containing images.

There are various types of ads that can be shown on Instagram. With the help of Instagram stories, you can show a whole range of products or show multiple functions of the same product.

With video ads, you can increase engagement manifold. Video ads offer much more ROI but they also cost more.

Social media platforms have been optimized specifically for marketers in the last few years. There are various analytical tools inbuilt in your ad builder where you can analyze and manage various parameters related to your ads.

You can target different people based on their age, gender, location, interests, likes, and buying behavior.

Pinterest is another platform that is used to promote products from many e-commerce companies.

Many social networks now offer shopping features where users can directly shop the products from an ad without leaving the app. This streamlines the buying process and users do not have to leave the app.

The choice of the social media platform to show your ad must be carefully done on the basis of the type of business and the target audience for your product. 

For example, if the e-commerce business sells clothes to teenagers, Instagram may be the best option. But if your e-commerce company is a B2B company, LinkedIn may be the best choice.

Paid advertising on social media produces results faster and much more reliably than relying on organic content. It takes a lot of time, even months, for a new account on Instagram or Twitter to gain enough followers to have posting viral content profitable. 

It is also not easy to create content that goes viral. It requires creativity and can only be expected from a professional. A professional may also charge for posting content.

The best form of organic engagement from the side of the brand can be handling the communication about the brand on the platform.

Brands can employ social media managers to comment when any user posts about the brand. They can appreciate if the post is positive about the brand, but if the post is negative and complaining in nature, they can resolve it and try to get the content removed since this could be damaging to the company’s reputation.

Organic content is still preferred by users since it provides value to the user in the form of knowledge or entertainment. This is also a way to develop a tone of voice of the brand communication with the audience.

Organic content helps develop brand recognition. Many brands have been using social media to communicate with the audience in their own creative style.

You can also use social media accounts to attract customers to your website.

Influencer marketing

Influencers are people on social media who have a huge follower base. They built this follower base over years of posting engaging and interesting content to create value for their followers.

Due to their popularity, influencers are approached by many brands to post promotional content on their behalf in exchange for money or free merchandise. 

Every influencer has its own price and way of promotion. But influencer marketing is very simple. All you need to do is contact an influencer in your niche and offer them your product for promotion.

It is of advantage to both. You get to promote your product while the influencer gets to create an engaging post.

If your e-commerce brand is small, you can also contact micro-influencers. They have a smaller following than big influencers and charge less than big influencers. But this may fit better with your digital marketing campaign.

Influencers can have social media accounts or blogs or Youtube channels. Choose one that gives the best results.

If you are an owner of a small e-commerce business, you can learn various principles of digital marketing by investing in an online digital marketing course.

These were the different techniques for digital marketing for e-commerce businesses.

For more such articles, visit our digital marketing blog.

Frequently Asked Questions- FAQs

Q1. Is there a good scope of digital marketing in e-commerce industry?

E-commerce is an online business where buying and selling activities of goods and services are done through the digital platform. It’s an updated and modern technique which uses affiliate marketing tactics. E- commerce uses digital channels like owned websites or set up websites like amazon, flipcart, Myntra etc. to sell their products and services. The E-commerce industry is growing by leaps and bounds because of it has benefits like time-saving, quick services, refund and return policies etc. Hence undoubtedly, the scope of digital marketing will only rise leading to a rise in demand and its scope as a career.

Q2. What are the job opportunities for digital marketing in e-commerce industry?

Below is the list of top opportunities in digital marketing:

  • Brand Manager
  • Social Media Manager
  • Online content developer
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Web designer etc.

Q3. Is it easy to pursue job in digital marketing?

It is comparatively easy to seek a job in digital marketing. The reason being is that you can seek a digital marketing course irrespective of any background.


Gaurav is a Content Writer at IIM Skills. He has a B.Tech. degree but then he switched to the creative side by doing his master's in advertising and public relations. Gaurav is also a part-time blogger and graphic designer currently living in Mumbai

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