The biggest mistake businesses make when choosing thier ecommerce marketing channelsI’ve seen this time and time again. Someone starts a online store, decides to start marketing, goes blindly into a marketing channel, burns through their budget in a matter of days or weeks, and then is left between a rock-and-a-hard-place. If you don’t nail your marketing in the early stages of your business it could set you back weeks (even month’s) and possibly even put you out of business.
Without traffic to your website or online exposure you’ll be dead in the water (or should I say “internet”). But, traffic costs money. When you’re starting out with ecommerce, marketing budget is something that you might not have a lot of, or you have marketing budget but have no idea where to spend it in order to get the best return and keep the wheels turning. If that’s you, then you’ll enjoy this guide on how you can choose the right marketing channels and maximise your online sales on a budget.
“Getting traffic to your website is the life-blood of your ecommerce business. The whole point of having an ecommerce business is to attract people to your site, convince them to buy from you and, once you’ve gotten that right the next step is to get them to buy more.”
What you need to avoid as a new ecommerce businessWhen starting out, choosing the right marketing channels can be frustrating and often overwhelming. Everyday you are being pushed a new advertising channel by ads on the internet, good and bad agencies and freelancers approaching you with all sorts of “expert services” with a huge price difference, or someone you know that’s seeing success with Facebook Ads and tells you it’s the only way to go. The truth is, there is too much info out there and since you might be new to the game, it’s very easy to be persuaded into something that seems great but ultimately doesn’t deliver results. You need to be able to avoid the unnecessary distractions and be equipped with the right knowledge to make an informed decision on your own.
In order to help you avoid the most common mistakes I’ve seen with clients over the past years, I’m going guide you on how to choose the best marketing channel for your business when starting out.
“Be patient, take your time, vet your sources, and educate yourself on the available marketing channels. It will take some time but if you don’t, it will cost you significantly down the line.”
Which ecommerce marketing channels are best for your business and how much you should be spending to see results.Just a note, if you’re not able to spend (excluding service fee’s) at the bare minimum of R100 per day (R3,000 per month), and for at least 3 months in total on ads without burning your ecommerce business to the ground, then maybe paid marketing is not the answer for you right now. You should check out my article on how to utilise free channels instead.
Google Shopping AdsIn my opinion this is most probably the best place for any ecommerce business to start with paid advertising. You’ll be able to work with smaller budgets in the beginning and have much more control over what you’re spending. Google Shopping ads is a great way to see if people are actually looking for your product online and if what you’re selling is demand. Pro tip: Do competitor research to make sure you are competitive in your niche. Also make sure that you have high quality products listings and a good ecommerce website to ensure success How much should I be spending on Google Ads to see results? I recommend starting with around R100 – R500 per day with Google Shopping to start seeing some results. It also takes around 3-6 months for your account to start optimising and hitting your goals so you’ll need to have some patience. Agency or Freelancer fee’s for Google Ads: You can expect to be spending anywhere from R3,000 – R15,000+ per month for an agency or freelancer to run your Google Shopping ads for you and this will be determined on factors like your budget and complexity required to make your campaigns successful.
Email Marketing & AutomationEmail Marketing & Automation stacks extremely well with Google Shopping ads and you’ll most probably be able to run this for free in the beginning. Email marketing still has the highest returns compared to any other platform in 2023 (yes, email is not dead) and if done correctly you can get a great bang for you buck. I actually make this a compulsory (more like highly recommended) service when customers take up Google Shopping ads with us just because they compliment each other so well. Focus on your Abandoned cart recovery & Pop-ups with a welcome email. Once you start getting around 100 – 500 subscribers you can start sending out a weekly email to your audience. How much should I be spending on Email Marketing and Automation to see results? Most email marketing companies offer a free package up until a certain amount of active subscribers. Klaviyo offers their full suite of email marketing and automation tools for a set fee, while Mailchimp’s model allows you to upgrade in order to get access to all features. Agency or Freelancer fee’s for Email Marketing & Automation Email automation is generally a once-off setup fee that costs anywhere between R2,000 – R5,000 and sending out a weekly email can be anywhere from R2,000 – R4,000+ per month. You can read more about email marketing and email automation here.
Got more budget or want to level up your advertising?The next channels I’m going to talk about might require more budget, but if done correctly, can add some extra top line revenue to your growing ecommerce business.
Meta (Facebook/Instagram) AdsThis is one of the most popular advertising channels available in the world. Some people have lost faith in Meta/Facebook ads in the past couple of years but the reality is that this platform can still be a great tool to grow your business in 2023 and beyond, provided it’s done correctly. With Meta/Facebook ads you can do the following:
- You can target specific audiences, demographics, areas and more
- Advertise your product catalog
- Advertise video content
- Generate leads for your database
- Retarget potential customers who have visited your website or engaged with your social media pages
Expect to spend anywhere from R500 – RR5,000+ per day if you want to see any real results. You could also spend 1 – 4 weeks testing which ad/audience combinations actually work meaning you could be losing money or at best case breaking even until you get your winners (which could make up for all your loses and become profitable). Agency or Freelancer fee’s for Meta (Facebook/Instagram) Ads Once again, this is going to vary wildly based on the agency or freelancers experience. I would recommend paying based on what previous results either of them have achieved in the past. Ask for case studies and recent client results to see if they align with your business. These fee’s can range anywhere from R5,000 p/m – R30,000+ p/m.
In other words if you’re average cost of a sale on the platform is R100, you’ll need to be dropping around R5,000 per week (R20,000 per month) to see any sort of consistent results.