How to Choose a Good eCommerce Marketing Company in 2019
eCommerce is a fiercely competitive market and whatever you are selling online, the chances are that you’ll need a great marketing plan to avoid losing out to your competition. For this reason, many businesses opt to outsource their eCommerce marketing to a company who can utilise digital marketing to increase traffic, improve conversion rates and target new and existing customers.
Finding the right company for eCommerce marketing is not an easy process and requires a good understanding of the industry and options available to make the right decision.
Fortunately, we can condense our advice into a few simple steps for choosing a good company. Find an eCommerce agency who ticks all these boxes and you can be guaranteed a good fit for your business that will not only deliver powerful and tangible results but will be an investment for the future.
Can They Prove Their Performance?
One of the best indicators of the skill of an eCommerce marketing company is in their:
- Track record with other clients.
- Own online marketing capabilities.
Look for an agency who has experience with eCommerce marketing in a similar sector to your own and ask to see examples of what they have done. A company who is confident in their abilities will be able to provide you with case studies, reviews and testimonies and may even be able to offer you references that you can take up with previous clients.
This can be very useful when it comes to answering specific questions about they way an agency works and could give you valuable insights into the process.
It is worth getting a cross-section of examples of their work which should include small and medium sized businesses as well as a variety of approaches used. Former and current clients should also be referenced as well as typical case studies rather than just those few that are exceptional.
Lastly, make sure the case studies and reviews are up-to-date. The world of eCommerce marketing is a rapidly developing one and success in the field from three years ago bears little commonality with what it takes to deliver a competent digital marketing strategy in 2019.
The Agency’s Marketing
If an agency is unable to make their own services visible online then there is little chance that they will be able to do the same for you, even if they are not using eCommerce.
The core principles of online visibility are broadly the same so look closely at whether they are able to demonstrate effective SEO.
Is their website showcasing their business in a creative and innovative way? Is the site fast and easy to use? Is it functional and optimised for mobile ?
What kind of content are they producing for themselves? Is it relevant and up to date? How is this being marketed? Is there are good mix of content formats including downloadable offers?
If their own marketing is not engaging and sophisticated then there is little chance they will be able to perform for you.
Do They Have the Technical Skills?
eCommerce marketing requires plenty of technical knowledge and the agency you appoint should have an understanding of the platform you are using, how this integrates into your CMS and any other interfaces that you may be using with your eCommerce site.
Failure to understand how your physical system has been developed could have a negative impact on how your site performs. Importantly, this can also restrict how well your eCommerce marketing company can navigate your platform and they may miss out on additional marketing opportunities as a result.
You should choose an agency that can support the ongoing development needs of your eCommerce site. Not only should they be technically proficient in the functionality of your site but they should also be creative in terms of design.
What Marketing Strategies Will They Use?
A successful eCommerce marketing campaign will be one that employs a broad range of techniques to achieve a mix of organic growth and traditional sales capture via paid advertising. This is important to instantly boost, and to achieve long-term, visibility.
There are lots of methods that can be employed to do this but a good eCommerce marketing company should be factoring in the four cornerstones of a successful strategy.
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
- Content Marketing
- Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
- Social Media Campaigns
Their proposals to you should give you confidence that your strategy is broad enough to achieve maximum exposure but is not too wide as to limit your impact in each area. Budget constraints may determine the extent of your initial reach but a good eCommerce marketing specialist should make recommendations for the future.
Do They Understand Your Business and Your Goals?
This is an essential component of any good marketing company.
As an agency who will be providing the front-line promotion of your products and services, they must be able to demonstrate that they fully understand your business and your ambitions.
An effective eCommerce marketing company should be able to communicate well and this includes listening and understanding a client.
Without communication there can be no understanding and it is essential that you know that an agency is really able to listen to your needs.
Judging whether a company is effective at communicating is not always easy particularly as, during the sales pitch stage, senior members of management are involved and staff are keen to make a good impression.
However, it can be said that if communication is not right at this early stage then it does not bode well for a future partnership.
There are some other ways you can assess the communication culture within an eCommerce marketing company:
- Find out from previous clients what they thought of communication with the agency.
- Talk to less senior employees and find out how much they have taken in on a particular project.
- Listen during meetings to see if your ideas are simply being repeated back to you or have been creatively interpreted.
- Ask how clients are kept informed during delivery of a marketing campaign. Look closely at sample analysis reports and really judge whether these are clear, concise and comprehensive enough to tell you what you need to know.
Understanding Your Business
It is not a prerequisite that your marketing agency knows the intricate ins and outs of your industry, after all you are not employing them for their skills in this area. However, some experience of how your sector works is beneficial. At very least, they must show a willingness to research your brand, company and products as well as those of your competitors.
Without this information, any marketing strategy is unlikely to deliver success.
Understanding Your Goals
Whilst it would be simple to say that the aim of every marketing strategy is to increase sales, this is not the only end-result of an effective digital marketing campaign. Increased brand awareness, improved quality of visitors, boosting unique hits to a website and even enhancing a brand’s reputation may all be alternative goals that an eCommerce marketing company should be able to help you achieve.
Even if your goals are simple, there may also be many routes to achieving them.
An effective ecommerce marketing agency should be able to develop a strategy that will work well to achieve these goals whilst maintaining consistency with other advertising methods in place. This should include both short term and long-term goals. It should also be backed up by an actionable plan that features costings, deadlines and key measurables.
The ability to evaluate and assess any strategy should be coupled with a flexible approach which allows room for responsive remedial action should this be needed.
Do They Provide a Good Fit?
Any good eCommerce marketing company should be able to deliver everything we have detailed on our ‘Wish List’ so far so how can you make that final decision on who to choose?
Projecting the face of your company’s online store and promoting your brand, products and services it is essential that you share some common core values. This makes sense in terms of your own relationships with the agency but can also be complementary to your company’s own reputation. Consumers are incredibly savvy and if you represent yourself as an ethical trader with strong environmental values then your chosen business partners should share these.
A slightly ‘fuzzy’ quality, but an essential one to get right, is one of chemistry. Any digital marketing strategy is a long term project and the chances are that you will be working with your eCommerce marketing company for some time after you initially appoint them.
Don’t be tempted to think that this is an unimportant quality in your agency. If you will be working with the same team for years to come then compatibility is quite key.
How to Choose a Good eCommerce Marketing Company
In summary, the core skills of an eCommerce Marketing Company should be the first thing to assess and you should satisfy yourself that these work in action by getting up to date reviews and testimonials.
You should also ensure that they employ a broad range of marketing strategies and these cover your core target demographics.
Lastly, make sure you select an agency who fully understands your business and one that offers a good fit for your business.
Get this selection process right and you could be investing in a relationship that takes your business far beyond your original goals.
Image Credits: mohamed_hassan/pxhere, mohamed_hassan/Pixabay, TheDigitalArtist/Pixabay, Free-Photos/Pixabay and mohamed_hassan/Pixabay