How to Create an Ecommerce Marketing Plan For Your Business

With projected ecommerce industry growth reaching exponential heights, it's time to dream big, and we're here to help you create a savvy marketing strategy to back up those goals. 

Creating an ecommerce marketing plan will help focus your efforts to most effectively reach your customers, increase your sales, and build a thriving business. 

What is an Ecommerce Marketing Plan?

Businesses need to get new customers, keep existing customers happy and buying, decrease costs, and increase overall revenue. A marketing plan is a road map that drives a business toward realizing its' goals by clarifying the channels, strategies, campaigns, metrics, and budgets that all help you get there.

Like any map, clarity is critical. So here's our first tip: make your marketing plan simple, clear, concise, and achievable. 

Why do you need a marketing plan? 

It's simple, really: a marketing plan clarifies tasks and priorities and focuses your efforts. 

  • Focus

    • As a marketer, you have a lot of options. A plan clarifies priorities, so you focus your efforts on the marketing that moves the needle for your business. 

  • Timing 

    • You can't do everything at once, but you can plan to do everything in time. Your marketing plan clarifies when each initiative needs to happen, based on your budget, bandwidth, seasonality, and business needs.

  • Measurability 

    • Knowing your success metrics to monitor will help you identify trends, spot red flags, and know what is working (and isn't). 

  • Clarity 

    • Having a plan will help you clarify your brand, customer, strategies and channels, and goals. 

  • Differentiation 

    • When you are clear on your brand value and your ideal customer, your marketing will be stand out in a saturated space. 

  • Preparedness 

    • With a plan in place, it's easier to adjust or pivot when challenges arise.

  • Loyalty

    • When your marketing is thoughtful, strategic, personalized, and on-brand, it speaks directly to your customers and builds loyalty.

Are you feeling convinced? Great! Let's get started. 

Write An Ecommerce Marketing Plan

First, get clear on your brand and ideal customer - these are the foundation of your marketing. 

Know your brand and customer.

  • Brand Story: A brand story is a narrative that shares where your company began, what it's all about, why it hopes to stick around, and the inspiration behind your mission, vision, and values. Follow the link for help writing yours. Need some inspiration? This article covers four ecommerce brands that use their story throughout their marketing.  

  • Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): knowing your customer is key to effective, revenue-driving ecommerce marketing. Creating an Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) is the place to start. Your ICP helps you get inside the lives of your customers so you can understand their challenges, needs, and wants. 

  • Customer Interviews: when you want to dig deeper into the psyche of your customers to refine your marketing and improve your products, customer interviews are the way to go. They help you validate or disprove your ideas, hunches, and beliefs so you can build your brand, boost sales, and win new customers. 

  • Brand World & Lifestyle: Every brand has the opportunity to create a world and, with it, a lifestyle. When done well, you foster thriving communities of loyal, happy customers that want in on any and everything your ecommerce brand creates. 

Next, think about revenue.  All businesses want to increase their total revenue and need to do so in order to build and maintain a healthy business. 

Set your overall revenue goal.

This is your revenue goal for the year or the period of time you are building your marketing plan around. You can choose a specific growth percentage, base your goal on the amount of money you are budgeting for marketing, or set a customer acquisitions goal and reverse engineer your revenue goal based on CLTV. Alternatively, think through the practicalities of your business and what you need to go from struggling to thriving. Consider all your expenses (production, marketing, wages, operations, goods, etc.) and then set profit and savings margins to land at your total revenue. Be specific with your top goal, so you have a single number to reference your progress quickly. 

Now, look at your data; this is the baseline that you'll work from going forward. Your data and metrics will give you an overall view into the health of your business, and what is working or needs to improve.

Review your data and set your baseline.

  • Dashboard Review - Read this article to learn more about the top 8 metrics your need to know, grow, and track all year long. Have these numbers on hand as you begin writing your marketing plan. The list includes:

  1. Conversion Rate

  2. Site Traffic

  3. Average Order Value (AOV)

  4. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

  5. Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV)

  6. Channel Revenue Attribution

  7. Abandoned Checkout Rate

  8. Opt-In Form Submit Rate

Now, it's goal-setting time!

Choose your key strategies. 

You now need to pick strategies and establish goals to increase your total revenue. These smaller, actionable tactics will be the focus of your marketing plan. Here are a few ideas to consider: 

  • Get SMS Savvy ASAP: With average open rates of 98%, this channel has quickly become a favorite for marketers (and customers, too!). Not only is it a key revenue driver, but it will also help you build long-lasting relationships with your customers. Email marketers know it's an essential component of their marketing, and our guide will help you get set up pronto.

  • Increase AOV: When average order value increases, you make more money per sale and new customer. That means you offset acquisition costs and increase customer lifetime value. More money, lower costs, all wins. 

  • Grow your subscriber lists with forms and pop-ups: Your combined revenue from email & SMS should be between 20% (good) to 35% (strong) during regular seasons and up to 50% during holiday shopping or other seasonal boosts. Growing your subscriber base should be an ongoing effort that will directly increase your revenue. 

    • Dive into subscriber list growth best practices here

    • Are you just getting started with SMS? Focus on these strategies. 

    • Want to think outside the box? Get inspired by ecomm brands taking an innovative approach.  

  • Gather and use social proof: people are more willing to trust (and try) a brand when others share their experience. That's why social proof is such a powerful tool in your marketing arsenal - it helps you break through the noise and turn a curious shopper into a buyer. 

  • Increase automated email revenue attribution: there are five automated emails every ecommerce brand should have set up and running. They're the building blocks to your entire email marketing strategy, and optimizing them for success will make a direct impact on your overall revenue. 

  • A/B test to Increase email campaign engagement: Send more emails your audience is interested in and drive them to open, click, and convert. How? Make A/B testing a part of your email marketing practices to optimize your sends. 

  • Keep your marketing current: Keep your marketing sharp by trying a new channel, optimizing existing ones, or diversifying your creative assets. TikTok curious? The channel reaches across demographics, has promise for ecommerce brands, and is here to stay.

  • Improve your email design: Once you get an open, good email design will help your business meaningfully connect with customers and drive conversions. Follow best practices to help your shine.

  • Be more efficient with content creation: Here's the secret every content marketing expert knows: never make content for one-time use or one channel. Your content can be an engine that drives all of your marketing channels forward in tandem, and this approach makes content marketing much more efficient and effective.

Map out your action plan.

Now it is time to turn your concepts into a plan. Simply put, you choose your strategies, success metrics, and set a timeline for taking action. Let's look at each more closely. 

Choose strategies.

First, determine what strategies will be most important to the success of your business. Choose from the above ideas or something essential for your business right now. All ecommerce businesses should have strong email & SMS functions as the foundations of their marketing, starting with automated workflows. So if you aren't sure where to start, that is the best place. 

Define success metrics. 

Next, pick your success metrics. Maybe it's increasing your subscribers by 15% each quarter or earning 25% of your revenue from email & SMS marketing. Know what metrics you are referencing for each strategy above, then note your starting place. You'll have that as your baseline to reference throughout your marketing plan. 

Set timeframe and timelines.

Finally, determine what timeframe you want to plan within. Some businesses can plan their entire year, or five years out, while others are growing and changing so fast that a 6-month plan is all that makes sense. 

So you know how far you want to plan, now plot what you will do within smaller intervals. For example, if you have a goal to increase your subscriber list by 15% each quarter, then you'll want to define the actions you will be taking and when to achieve that goal. Here is an example of how you would break your top goal (increase subscriber list by 15% each quarter) into actionable, time-bound tasks :

Q1:

Implement forms and pop-ups on the store website.

Q2:

Create high-value gated content for your website that will require an email and phone number for download. Promote on blog, pop-ups, through a live event, on social, etc. 

Q3:

Test four promo tactics to test which drives the most subscriber sign-ups through website pop-ups and forms—for example, increasing discount from 10% up to 20%, offering a gift instead of a discount, offering a content offer such as a guide or white paper, free shipping, no minimum purchase.

Q4:

Implementing a "quiz" to help solve a customer problem that guides their purchasing decisions. 

You'll measure the efficacy of each initiative against your "control," or the rate that your subscriber list was growing without any changes. In addition, you are monitoring the total growth of your subscriber list. 

As you can see, this tells you exactly what steps you are going to take, for how long, and when you will carry out the plan.  

Make your future business proud.

Creating an effective marketing plan for your ecommerce business is an essential step toward owning and running a successful online shop. While it might seem overwhelming or tedious at first, this planning process is critical toward reaching your goals. You'll soon refer to your marketing plan as a tool and system that keeps you organized and away from feelings of overwhelm. When things get chaotic, you'll have clarity on what you hope to accomplish and a plan to follow, update, and reference.

Your future business is proud of you for taking such an important step, and you'll reap the benefits before you know it. 

Ready to get started with those revenue-boosting emails and SMS? Try Drip for free, and you'll be well on your way to a sophisticated email and SMS marketing program.