Digital marketing has changed dramatically over the past year.

So many eCommerce brands did not make it through the year… Why?
We’ve noticed a huge change in consumer behaviour and the way customers consume content. This year brought about a lot of brands closing their doors or being significantly less profitable.
Because the strategies that USED to work – and that so many brands were using – totally flopped throughout the year…
And most weren’t willing to make the changes and pivots necessary to stay profitable.

But while countless online stores struggled & went under this year…

Our clients had some of their best quarters EVER.
We’ve had to pivot and adjust our strategies in order to stay ahead of the curve, and in doing so we were able to create amazing results for ourselves and clients.

In this post, we pull back the curtain to reveal what’s working RIGHT NOW to guarantee your digital marketing results.

And don’t miss the free Playbook at the end… Save yourself wasted time and money and steal our secrets instead!

How to win at digital marketing for your eCommerce store

The changing digital marketing landscape

The last year has felt a bit like 4 years in one… The pace of change this year has sped up, led in large part by the rapid adoption of AI technology across all aspects of business and marketing.

But also, inflationary pressures have forced all of us to make very different decisions when it comes to marketing to drive growth. Increasing margin is far more important than top-line revenue growth (a vanity metric at the best of times!)

Most of my focus this year has been on just two things: designing new strategies to increase revenue AND simultaneously decrease costs.

If there are a few things to take away from this year, it’s that:

  1. Change is constant in business (and the rate of change has increased). Change is normal and should be embraced, or you’ll constantly feel like you’re in a battle.
  2. If you’ve struggled with generating consistent, profitable revenue growth, or just feeling exhausted from the role of  being a business owner in 2023, you are not alone and it’s not a reflection of your ability to run a successful business.
  3. If you’re still standing and pushing through the hard yards, you’re part of the 1% who can make it through anything. Grit remains one of the biggest keys to success in growing a business.

These strategies made a comeback

There’s a cycle in digital marketing and eCommerce and we’ve seen this before.

In a year of economic downturn, it comes as no surprise that we’re seeing this cycle once again. Prior to the last year, the eCommerce industry and digital marketing space were booming. Consumer demand was so strong and digital platform algorithms so insanely intuitive that virtually all you had to do was just open an online store, share some content on Instagram and throw up a few ads and you’d do well.

Using that approach may have worked in the past, but you’d be leaving a LOT of money on the table if that’s all you do now. It lacks the insight into consumer behaviour or understanding of how marketing works to succeed in the current environment.

Now, with buyer hesitancy skyrocketing and profits down, 90% of people are more hesitant and require more time being nurtured before they will buy from you. But once they have? You have the golden opportunity to win customers for life (“rusted on” as I like to say).

4 core digital marketing strategies to focus on

1. Content, particularly short video content – both branded and user-generated – is king, with more consumers discovering brands through video content shared on existing and new social platforms.

Building a brand and attracting an engaged audience needs that “digital magazine” kind of approach to content. If you think you can get away with a couple of ads to accomplish the same result, you’ll be sorely disappointed!

You need to think more like Santa – being ‘omnipresent’, sharing content across all platforms your customers are active on.

2. A focus on excellent user experience on your website, particularly on mobile. Consumers are less likely to reward a website with poor user experience with their purchase. Brands that do not incorporate a process of continuous conversion rate optimisation will lose.

3. Sustainability – a brand’s social and environmental consciousness and their willingness to be transparent and authentic is what establishes trust and strongly influences buyers. Consumers are demonstrating they are more intent upon buying from businesses and brands that align with their personal values

4. A multi-channel marketing approach with a core focus on “owned data” won the day. The days are well and truly gone where a brand could succeed with one channel – Instagram or TikTok for example – to communicate with its audience. So if your current marketing strategy still consists of what you post on Insta, proceed with extreme caution…

Running ads is not like it used to be!

In the last few months, all digital marketing platforms have introduced major changes to ad platform functionality and to data tracking.

Even though the updates have been designed to help us produce better results whilst navigating the newer, stricter restrictions to tracking, they were still a major change to the algorithms and that proved disruptive at first.

The paradigm shift that had to happen was this: we needed to create a new strategy that could consistently generate traffic and sales at a profit.

Now, for most of you, unless you’re able to spend $20,000 and get $40,000 in return, that’s not going to be enough profit to float your business. But what can?

Your “owned data”. Your database of email subscribers. You have to look at that database of existing and potential customers and think, how do I constantly squeeze as much value out of the leads I have?

The value of having an email list and an audience you own is enormous. Your database is an audience of people who trust you. As long as you have this, you’ll always be able to make money in your business.

Increase your profits with your existing audience

This is a strategy that is so simple, yet so many brands miss out on the potential here! If you want to increase your profits then use your existing audience – subscribers and customers.

The fact is that it’s hard to make a profit off one-time customers only. Yes, we all need to acquire new customers otherwise we won’t grow, but if you really want to grow profits as well as top-line revenue, you need to increase repeat customers.

The data shows that repeat customers spend more per transaction, they buy from you more frequently over time, and they typically refer you more often as well.

Increasing your repeat purchase rate by even 5% can increase your profitability by up to 95%! So in times of economic downturn, this is an important metric to track and optimise.

Use Klaviyo to implement digital marketing strategies to convert new and repeat customers on autopilot is one of the core components we help our clients with.

Continuous optimisation

By now it should be clear that running an eCommerce store and using digital marketing strategies is not (and cannot be) a ‘set and forget’ thing. This is not the sort of business where you do something once and then it’s done, never to be touched again.

Quite different from printing a book or a magazine, for example, where you have no chance to change anything once it’s published…

Yet this is how so many brands operate – they build their website, they set up automated email flows, they even set up paid advertising campaigns, and then they leave them.

Instead, set yourself up for profitable growth by measuring and recording your results across your website and all your marketing and advertising.

Use this data to inform tweaks and changes you can make to improve your results.

Tracking and reporting on performance metrics AND next-step ideas to improve those results is something we do for our coaching and agency clients. This is a major reason why these brands are growing so quickly – even in an economic downturn!

Build long-lasting customer relationships through consistent digital marketing

I hope we all know what goes into successful digital marketing: a rock solid strategy, content (messaging and visuals) that resonates, a deep understanding of your ideal customer, plus your actual products and how you’ll position your brand.

But there’s more.

The most successful eCommerce brands don’t always have the most followers on Instagram or the biggest email lists. They aren’t always the ones spending the most on ads either.

On the contrary, the most successful brands are the ones who connect with their subscribers, followers and customers the most consistently AND in a way that adds value and builds authentic relationships.

Connecting with your audience needs to happen consistently and through multiple channels, and should take advantage of personalisation capabilities in apps like Klaviyo to provide a high-touch experience for your customers.

Honestly, people don’t trust businesses anymore who are ‘too good’ to show up for their audience and connect openly and transparently.

Further to this, though, is the imperative for us to find ways to retain loyal customers. Without consistently increasing our returning customer rate (and increasing the velocity from first to second purchase), our profits will suffer.

Improve your results from advertising by becoming a master of metrics

The days when you could just throw up a quick ad, or boost a couple of posts, and expect to see good results are long gone.

Yet, so too are the days you could reliably bank on free traffic from social media.

Sure, you may have seen some impressive results from TikTok when it was brand new. But even though the platform has a long way to go before it really matures like Google (or even Meta), it’s still not a platform you can rely on consistently.

Digital advertising will always be the most scalable method of growing your website traffic and sales. But even that has become harder in the last year, as ad costs rise.

There are still ways to succeed profitably, though. But – it requires an intimate understanding of your performance metrics.

You need to know how much you can spend to acquire each new customer, which will differ for each brand depending on factors such as your gross profit margin and your repeat customer rate.

Steal My Top 5 Digital Marketing Strategies in the FREE ‘Ecommerce Playbook’

Here’s what you’ll find in this playbook:

7 of Our Most Successful Strategies in 2023

     that saved clients’ time while increasing profitable traffic and sales.

  • 4 Marketing Strategies to Use In 2024 that will increase your eCommerce traffic and sales, increase profits and maximise your most valuable asset.
  • 2024 Insider eCommerce Marketing Predictions that nobody else is talking about. We’ll give you our predictions and the actions you’ll need to take to be successful next year.
  • 5 Steps to Guarantee Successful eCommerce Marketing in 2024 so you can create the profits and results you’ve been craving.
  • Plus much, much more!

Click here to get instant access to the free Ecommerce Playbook


How to win at digital marketing for your eCommerce store