May 05, 2016 | Shares:

Essential Tips for Building an eCommerce Marketing Plan

ecommerce marketing plan

There’s a million platforms out there that will tell you that opening an eCommerce business is as easy as 1, 2, 3. Register with them and you’ll be bound for riches!

While it’s true that opening up an eCommerce business is easier today than ever, there’s a big gap between simply opening an online shop and enjoying success and even financial independence from it.

That gap is called a marketing plan.

Amazing marketing is the one thing standing between you and a wildly successful eCommerce business. A marketing plan can help you get from a great idea to a great shop with lots of customers, repeat business, and excellent conversion rates.

The Importance of eCommerce Marketing Plans

There’s no doubt eCommerce is booming: in fact, according to Forbes, US eCommerce sales are expected to grow to $414 Billion by 2018. The customers are out there…now you just have to reach them.

Before we get into the specifics of how to build your marketing plan to attract, convert, and retain your customers, there are three guiding principles that you should always keep in mind:

  1. Be specific.
  2. Be thorough.
  3. Be critical.

A marketing plan is how you get from an idea to a concrete business with measurable profits. This requires specific goals and specific plans to achieve those goals. Those plans must consider all aspects of marketing, from the basics to how you’ll handle any challenges that may come your way.

Lastly, your marketing plan should be a living document. It’s a guideline that you can and should revisit often and adjust as needed.

Ok, now that we’ve got that settled, let’s get down to the nitty gritty of writing your marketing plan!

Define Your eCommerce Business

You know what you’re going to sell, but what makes you and your business different from all the rest? Take some time to write your elevator pitch – that is, a 2 minute or less explanation of what makes your business special.

Not only will this help guide the rest of your plan, but it will keep you focused on your central business mission now and through the future.

Create Your eCommerce Marketing Strategy

It sounds simple, a bit of social media, a bit of local SEO tips and you’re good to go right? Not so fast! According to Zephora, between May 2013 and February 2015 16 million local business pages have been created on Facebook and not all of them will succeed.

Moz found that in Google searches, the top 5 results account for 67.60% of all clicks and results 6-10 account for only 3.73%. These numbers are staggering, and the one thing they show is that, for a newcomer, the tricks that the big boys are using are simply not reliable strategies on their own; at least not without a solid plan of attack.

Write Your eCommerce Marketing Plan

When creating the actual eCommerce plan, be sure to address the following questions:

  • Who are you targeting? What age demographic? Which geographic areas? Know your market and name it.
  • Build your funnel. This is the meat of the marketing plan and should make up the bulk of your strategy. The funnel goes from wide to narrow, from everybody who is exposed to your website to the people who will convert into sales. Start with how many sales you need to make per month and work backwards to figure out how many people you need to reach in the first place. Remember, you’ll lose people at every step of the funnel so figure out how to keep your funnel as short and effective as possible.
  • Research and choose one or two marketing methods to begin with before spreading yourself too thin by marketing in a million places. Will you use PPC? SEO? Content marketing? Facebook ads? It’s better to do one strategy excellently than to do 10 poorly.
  • Choose your tools wisely. Once you’ve written out what you plan to do, it’s time to really zero in on the how. Will you use a third party tool to market on Facebook and twitter? Will you pitch guest posts to blogs that might have an audience interested in your product? Will you use software to make your own landing pages or outsource them? Will you pay for Google AdWords or rely on organic search results to get seen?
  • Test, measure and repeat. They say that if you can’t measure something then it may as well not exist. This couldn’t be truer for marketing! However you decide to market your business, you should constantly be measuring the results and adjusting your plan if needed. When you make your marketing plan, be sure to outline the metrics you will use and the targets you’ll consider successful.

Remember, The Plan Makes the Man

Or the woman of course. At the end of the day it’s really in your best interests to get all those ideas out of your head and onto paper. Starting an eCommerce business is an exciting venture, but it’s also a huge undertaking.

Creating a comprehensive marketing plan that addresses the issues above will go far in helping you achieve your goals. Remember to be true to yourself and your vision and always be ready to learn and grow as you go along.


With a marketing plan that is specific, thorough, and crafted with a critical eye you’re sure to go far!

Shayla Price
Shayla Price,
Shayla Price lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Connect with her on Twitter: @shaylaprice.
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