2020 has been the most unpredictable and volatile year ever for eCommerce marketing. A pandemic-induced depression coupled with mandatory stay-at-home orders changed audience sizes, drove costs down and then up, and permanently shifted users’ priorities.
As we come to the end of Q4 with the year’s largest sales events, it’s crucial to think ahead to 2021. For many eCom brands, maintaining or building on the sales activity at the end of the year could be a matter of survival. The past 10 months have shown us how important it is to be able to pivot and adapt to circumstances outside of our control and there’s no reason to think that 2021 is going to be any easier! So here, I am going to lay out three important steps you can take to carry your sales momentum into the new year and beyond.
First: Amp Up Your Empathy.
The brands that have survived and thrived this year have understood the value of placing the customer at the centre of their adaptations to the crisis of 2020. The marketing adage ‘Focus on benefits, not features’ should be tattooed on the inside of your head. How do we benefit the customer? If you have to develop new products or change the way you present your offer, it has to be an organic response to the needs of the customer – not a quick-fix adaptation to make your offer appear more relevant to present circumstances. The question you ask is ‘How can we help?’
Second: Social Media is a Sales Channel.
Another lesson from 2020 has been the importance of brand storytelling. People need to feel a connection with your brand and to understand that ‘we’re all in this together’ isn’t just a glib slogan but the essence of your offer. Social media is the best place for you to disseminate brand stories to generate buzz about what you’re doing and keep existing customers interested. You can show off how your processes have had to adapt to the new normal, what #wfh life has been like for your company and elevate customer stories to celebrate their achievements and personal milestones. Combining this relatability with product promotions in regular updates will help keep your sales volume up into 2021. Along with your Facebook Ads and paid search, your social feeds should always form one of the most vital parts of your eCommerce marketing strategy.
Finally: Test and Measure. Then Test Again.
Keep optimising your approach. Momentum is movement – a function of mass and velocity. You have to be improving constantly or you’re not actually going anywhere. In terms of a sales funnel we can break this down into volume, conversion and velocity.
Volume: Make sure you’re not slowing down on prospecting. Maintain an ‘always-on’ approach to optimising campaigns: testing new offers, creatives, audiences and bidding strategies to grow the number of quality leads entering the top of the funnel.
Conversion: Understand the indicators of best performance as leads move through the funnel. Pay attention to the changes made at the top of the funnel (volume) and move quickly to understand how to nurture these prospects through your retargeting not just with Facebook Ads but with CRM, social media and other channels.
Velocity: How long should your customer journey from introduction to purchase take? Are they moving fast enough? The longer they take, the higher the cost of sale.
Momentum is a constant cycle of measuring, testing and optimising, moving incrementally closer to the optimal formulation for volume, conversion and velocity. In times of crisis and universal change, it’s more important than ever to observe and refine the micro and macro of your strategy.
Taken together, these three factors should help you kick your eCommerce marketing engine into high gear for 2021. Stay focused on the needs of the end user, build community and loyalty with brand storytelling and constantly measure and adjust your approaches to maximise efficiency.
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