Marketing Plans: Why Ecommerce Requires a Competitive Strategy Audit

Is your Ecommerce website still in the gestation period? Do you sense that you’ll need a detailed digital marketing audit and marketing plan to launch successfully? That’s perfect. Here’s why…

Most Ecommerce sites suffer from a lack of thorough research and planning. About half of those eventually get the structure in place, but at what total opportunity cost? Will SEO ever be righted after launch? Sure, maybe…eventually. How about social media marketing and content strategy opportunities lost? And then there’s the funnel. And PPC? Retargeting?

Storefront illustration (local seo)

Want to avoid wasting time, money and opportunity?

Well then, grab that caffeinated or after-hours beverage and relax as we guide you through the very basics of a professional multichannel marketing planning audit below.

1: Marketing Plans Require Niche Positioning Upfront

Your Ecommerce website’s marketing plan requires a strong footing in market niche research.  This is because without a strong sense of where your top competitors leave off and your brand begins, you can’t position your brand effectively or to advantage within your niche. And if you can’t do that, you can’t gauge how to address your digital channel marketing for your niche adequately or cost-effectively. 

Simply put: you can take on everyone in your niche at the outset. It’s best to pick your battles with adequate online niche research. And that’s something the very best marketing plans all have in common.

2: The Funnel

Without a strong idea of your brand positioning, you won’t be able to imagine your funnel, the driving lead maturation aspect of your online business. You’ll also need an adequate map of your competitors as models to plan out how best to emulate and customize upon the best models in each digital channel. Once you have those in place however, you can not only see your customer profiles more clearly, but the actions you want to make happen in terms of both marketing goals (like capturing and qualifying leads) and business goals (meetings, phone calls, sales and upselling).

3. SEO Strategy

The SEO planning phase for an Ecommerce website includes many aspects. Those include

  • researching the best sources for KW list compiling,
  • the organization of those lists into information,
  • commercial (branded) and transactional intents (purposes), and
  • further organizing them into your on-page and off-page processes and tactics.

4: Social Media Marketing Plan

Do your identified Ecommerce products have potential traction on certain social media platforms? It’s a great idea to research this against model competitors who already embody the social media traits, practices and results that you want to.

Wait… Not convinced social media is a good thing to research upfront? Think again! Many niches use social media marketing, one one form or another, to dominate not just the social sphere, but SEO and paid visibility. Chances are, if you sell a product, and you kinow your blog is a potential asset, that you also need social media marketing in some or all forms to succeed with your online storefront.

5: Content Strategy

Do your Ecommerce products burst at the seams with potential topics you’re expert on? If so, a blog could save you tons of money in the long run on paid visibility via organic methods. That means you’ll need a proper Ecommerce content strategy.

Blogging, when done properly, from the right valence (toward the right audience), and multichannel-marketed to the right adjacent audience curators as well as the target end-user, will empower your website traffic with targeted pre-qualified leads waiting to be captured and processed. That means newsletter subscribers, contact form emails, cart adds and sales down the road as your leads mature in your funnel (remember that step?).

Do Your Channels Dovetail?

Not only CRM, but ALL of your digital channels need to work together to achieve best effect for the sake of your lead generation funnel. That’s why the channels need to be planned, if not together, at least in reference to the whole and all of its pre-existing parts. Short version: don’t plan one channel in isolation of all the others. Cross-reference. 

The best way to ensure multichannel coherence however, is arguably to have the same consultant plan all of your channels from the zero-point and in the right order, no? And when multiple digital marketing channels at your disposal all work together, that’s multichannel marketing — as distinguished from omnichannel (when all of the store’s digital marketing channels are fully integrated and in sync on all available digital channels for your niche — a conversation for another post.

Plan Your Budget Ahead of Execution

You’ll want to consider the costs of not only the research and analysis phase of coming up with an adequate marketing plan, but also the costs of execution and how you’re going to pay for building the site along with its many components, content, optimization, outreach, etc. That’s yet another reason to have all those included in some basic way in the research analysis phase of planning any Ecommerce website.

Consult all of your stakeholders ahead of execution with the full insights that your new strategic marketing plan affords you, as well as your original business plan (that document that tells you what you hope to sell and to whom).

Once you have your budget in place, as well as your business plan and your go-to-market marketing plan (as indicated in this post), you’ve got everything you need to assemble a fully-vetted team of qualified professionals and begin!

Need help? Don’t sweat. We consult startups on Ecommerce website digital marketing planning nearly every day of the week in one form or another, whether it’s from the top or just the parts that were missed the first time around with another team.

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Why Ecommerce Product Sites Need a Pro Mktg Audit & GTM Plan

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