In the beginning and before anything else, you must ask yourself: What is the importance of marketing for my business?
From here, we can make a correct start towards developing a successful e-store marketing plan that effectively achieves the marketing objectives, in a way that ultimately supports the development and growth plans of your business in general.
Marketing has become indispensable in the processes of selling products, providing services, or even promoting ideas; E-commerce is indispensable for both types of marketing, especially e -marketing, with its advantages, wide spread, quick results, and a much lower cost than traditional marketing.
The marketing of the store is no less important than the design of the store itself,
As marketing comes in the second place as the most important step immediately after the completion of launching the online store and adjusting all the settings associated with it,
starting from choosing the domain name and choosing the appropriate template and ending with linking with payment gateways, shipping companies and other settings.
“Successful marketing = wider reach among the target audience = more sales = more profits.”
This equation shows the importance of marketing for any business, whether electronic or otherwise.
What are the elements of a marketing plan and how do you develop a marketing plan for a successful online store, step by step?
- Identification of the store or brand
- Description of the approved marketing strategy
- Market research
- marketing mix
- Marketing channels
“A marketing plan is a documentation of how a company’s strategic goals are achieved through specific strategies and tactics, with the customer as the starting point, and linked to the plans of other departments within the company,”
says Philip Kotler, one of the world’s most important pioneers of modern marketing.
The marketing plan varies from one online store to another and from one brand to another, depending on the nature of the work of each of them and the marketing goals that each store seeks in the end.
Except with this difference in marketing plans, there are basic and constant elements that no marketing plan template for an online store is devoid of,
and they are the ones we mentioned at the beginning of the paragraph. Below we will get to know these elements in detail:
#1 Store or Brand Identification
The step of defining the identity of the e-store or the brand in general is a preliminary step in the journey of developing a professional and successful e-application marketing plan that achieves the marketing goals in full and with great effectiveness.
It is an essential element that no ready-made e-marketing plan will ever set your eyes on.
At this stage of your business or store-marketing plan, you put a quick and brief explanation of the nature of your store’s work,
the store’s structure, a brief history of its establishment and launch in the market,
along with a statement of the mission and vision of your business and what goals you aim to reach.
This is not only what should be mentioned in this area of your marketing plan,
but also your workplace (the location of your store if it has a real presence except for the virtual presence),
as well as a brief explanation of the products you offer, whether they are physical goods or services.
Here are the most important things to be explained and mentioned in this area of your marketing plan:
- Brand name or online store
- Brand office
- The task of the store he is working on
- Marketing team members who implement the store’s marketing plan
- The role assigned to each member of the marketing team
- Quadruple SWOT Analysis
#2 Marketing objectives and adopted strategies
In the second stage, you will need to define your different marketing goals that you seek to achieve by developing a marketing plan, and then divide these goals into independent marketing strategies to achieve each goal separately.
Next, you will need to describe each separate marketing strategy, and the goal you seek to achieve through it, provided that your goal is specific, measurable and achievable through marketing efforts.
All that’s left is for you to set the KPIs for each separate strategy; With it, you can even track and monitor the progress of each.
It’s getting vague and you need to simplify things more?! Don’t worry, we will make it easy for you to do every step with your own hands. So, let’s explain it with a working example.
Practical example: We assume that one of your marketing strategies is to launch a store page on the social networking site Facebook in order to achieve certain marketing goals. So, writing the strategy in your marketing plan will be as follows:
- the description
During the next 3 months, we will launch a special page for the store on the social networking site Facebook; In order to introduce the brand and promote marketing offers among the audience of the store on social networking sites as well as to reach potential customers for the store.
Relying on the page to publish promotional content related to the store’s products, goods or services, attract more interaction around the brand, and reach potential customers and push them to buy from the store.
I know that the goals of being on social networking sites are many and endless, but here we are trying to give you a practical example of describing the marketing strategy within an online store marketing plan in general.
- Performance indicators
We confirmed that the performance indicators that you pre-set for each of your strategies help you a lot in tracking your progress, measuring performance and whether you are close to achieving your goals or are a long way off.
In this example, the performance indicators are the volume of interaction on the page and the volume of sales that came to the store via the Facebook page.
With this, we have already finished the second step and have effectively succeeded in describing the marketing strategies that you will rely on in your marketing plan.
Now, we move on to the third step in the plan, which is marketing research.
#3 Marketing Research
Marketing research is the most important step in developing an effective and successful online store marketing plan, and it is impossible not to find it in any ready-made marketing plan that you get from anywhere.
It may require more time and effort, but it is an essential and very dangerous step, and many factors and elements within your marketing plan depend on it.
In order to learn how a marketing plan works for your business, you must learn how to conduct marketing research. But, what is marketing research?
It is the research that gives an accurate and concise impression of the market in which your brand is located, and gives an accurate picture of the shape and size of competition and the nature of your competitors in the market.
In addition to market research, marketing research helps you visualize and discover the personality of your ideal customer.
The marketing research that we are talking about generally consists of four main components, namely, describing the market in which your business is located, describing the industry in which your brand operates, analyzing the competitors in the market, and finally analyzing the personality of the ideal customer.
Below is an explanation of each of the four main elements:
1. Target market
Gathering information and identifying the main characteristics of the target market in which you will be launching your business will help you find the most effective way to reach your target customers.
The market overview should provide an analysis of the market in which your business operates, including customers, competitors, and the market as a whole.
Expert tip: Revisit this process regularly to ensure that your strategy remains relevant and targeted.
In this area of your marketing plan you need to summarize the key statistics of your target market.
This may include the size and growth potential of the market, as well as key demographics such as age, gender, income level, etc.
Here are examples of some of the questions you need to ask and find answers for in this particular task:
- Is the area experiencing population growth or decline?
- Does the region you work in have a stable economy?
- Are there any seasonal variations that may affect sales?
- What is the market size?
- What are the recent trends that have appeared in the market?
- Is there potential for growth in the market? How will you be able to take advantage of any opportunities?
- How will your entry affect the market/customers?
- What are the external factors that will affect your customers?
2. Description of industries
The description of industries here is intended to identify the industries under which your brand or online store operates. Regarding our previous example, one of the industries your business falls under is retail and online selling.
3. Analysis of competitors in the market
As for the third element, which is very risky and requires extreme accuracy in its performance, it is the analysis of competitors for your store or brand from retailers who offer products similar or related to what you offer and sell on your online store.
What you need at this stage specifically is to research to discover the main competitors of your store in the market in which you work, and then analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and then stand on the aspects of competition with each of them.
Let us explain this with a practical example; So that you can analyze your competitors and conduct market research successfully:
Application: We assume that your online store is dedicated to selling children’s and maternity products in Saudi Arabia, and therefore it is expected that the competition will be concentrated with stores that sell the same products and target the same target audience in the same geographical area.
After researching the market, I found that the competition is limited to the stores (X) and (Y) who work in the same products and go to the same audience in your area. With this, you have already defined your competition.
After that, you research each competitor separately to find out their strengths and weaknesses, and to identify the products that you are competing for strongly. Let (S) store be distinguished by the diversity of the offered products; While the store (R) is distinguished in the available payment methods, shipping offers, and so on.
After recording the strengths and weaknesses of each store, it remains to stand on other areas of competition, such as the first search results on search engines in the keywords in which target customers search for products. Then, compare it to your strengths and weaknesses, and thus you have succeeded in analyzing your competitors.
4. Determine the ideal customer personality
A final and no less dangerous element than analyzing your competitors and conducting market research is to identify the ideal customer who is interested and wants to buy the products, goods or services offered by your online store. This will help you know how to address it, when, where and which marketing message is most appropriate when promoting products to it.
The personality analysis of the ideal customer should be based on information about age, gender, place of residence, personal preferences and interests as well.
Attention: In this regard, we must point out that you can target more than one category in your online store marketing plan, provided that they are arranged in order of importance and priority.
And let’s explain to you how to analyze the buyer’s personality to reach the ideal customer for the ideal marketing plan for your store with a practical example
Application: Since your store sells baby and maternity products, the primary target audience here is mothers with young children. Thus, they are expected to be between 22-45 years old, live in the places where the store can reach and have branches, they may be non-working housewives and they may actually be working, constantly browsing various social media sites in their spare time, and seeking to obtain On her children’s online products are of high quality and relatively low cost. And other analyzes of the personality of the buyer in order to finally reach the ideal customer.
#4 Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is the next step after marketing research directly in the steps of developing a successful e-store marketing plan or marketing plans, you will find it in any copy of the marketing plan pdf you get.
The marketing mix needs extreme accuracy and clarity in its implementation. It is the step in which we stand on how or how the store will rely on entering the market and competing fiercely. In addition to standing on the competitive value that the brand will offer to customers, making it superior to competitors.
The aim here of the marketing mix is to identify four basic elements: product, price, promotion, and distribution. Below is an explanation of these elements in detail.
Here we must answer important questions, based on which we will successfully finish this element to move on to others, including the following:
- What are the products, goods or services that your online store will enter the market with?
- What pain points do your products address in the personality of the ideal buyer or customer that we have previously identified?
- What distinguishes your products from what your competitors offer you in the market?
The second element is the price element, which is so dangerous and important that it can undermine all the marketing efforts made or raise them to the highest levels. Therefore, great care must be taken when determining the price. The specified price must answer these questions:
- How much does the product cost?
- Is this price competitive?
- Is the price suitable for the target customers?
- Are there promotions on products?
We come to the third element, which is no less important than its predecessors, which is promotion. At this stage, you are trying to identify successful marketing advertising methods that support your business goals. Here, you must answer the following questions:
- How do you promote the store’s products?
- What are the means or methods that you will rely on in promoting the products?
- What value can your product provide to customers?
The marketing mix always concludes with answering questions about the distribution of goods or products offered by the online store, as an important element in the journey of developing a successful professional online store marketing plan. Among the most important of these questions, to which accurate answers must be found, are the following:
- How will your customer receive the product from your store?
- What shipping methods or companies will you rely on for distribution?
- What will you do to ensure the success of the after-sales service?
#5 Marketing Channels
In the end, comes one of the most important steps in any successful marketing plan model, which is choosing the marketing channels that your marketing plan will rely on in promoting your online store’s products, goods, or services.
Through which you will be able to reach the target customers of your promotional campaigns as well as gain new customers and reach potential customers for your brand and then work on converting them into actual buyers of your store products.
Marketing channels are the places that you will resort to when publishing the marketing content of your store, through which you seek to achieve the marketing goals that we previously identified in the marketing plan.
Marketing channels and methods are many and varied with regard to Internet marketing (e-marketing). All of them carry different marketing advantages and include the nature of a different audience than the other. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right marketing method in which you will publish your marketing content.
Pay attention: The medium must be one of the channels that attract your target audience that we previously identified in the marketing research step, meaning that your ideal customer that you seek to reach frequently visits this means or marketing channel.
The most important channels and marketing methods in e-marketing are as follows :
Content marketing is one of the most important marketing methods that many merchants and brands rely on to promote goods, products, and services, by writing content that targets specific keywords that the shopper searches for to reach the products he needs.
In short, this is the concept of content marketing that has proven very effective in reaching target customers, gaining new customers, generating leads, and helping to raise the conversion rate on the store and then increase sales fabulously.
Email marketing is another of the most important types of electronic marketing that is relied upon in marketing electronic stores and promoting their products among the target audience. This type of marketing depends on creating mailing lists of customers who have shown interest in the goods, products or services offered by the online store, and then sending them promotional and marketing offers, discount offers, and so on in order to support the movement of buying and selling on the store.
- Marketing through social media platforms
The most powerful type of electronic marketing is marketing through various famous social media platforms, on top of which are Facebook, Instagram , Snapchat , Twitter , YouTube, and Pinterest, and we cannot forget the Tik Tok application, which has achieved great popularity in the recent period.
E-marketing through these social media platforms can be content, that is, through unpaid publications that bring interaction from the target audience, or through funded ads. Paid ads on social media apps are the most effective and converting than others.
Search engine optimization is one of the most important marketing methods to which large and sometimes huge budgets are devoted by brands and online stores in order to publish the first search results in the famous global search engines, such as Google , Yahoo , Bing , and others.
And search engine optimization or SEO represents unpaid marketing efforts in exchange for paid ads on search engines or otherwise known in SEM marketing. They include different types of ads, including pay per click, pay per thousand impressions, and others.
- Marketing via smart phone apps
One of the most important marketing channels that can not be overlooked in this regard is the mobile applications, which are attracting large numbers around the world, they have become indispensable to their phones and mobile applications.
This was a set of the most important and prominent marketing channels as well as successful marketing advertising methods that you can rely on to promote the store’s products to reach the target customers, create new customers and generate more potential customers.
After you know them and the nature and importance of each of them, it remains for you to choose among them carefully, if you cannot use them all in your marketing plan.
Next, you have to identify the primary purpose behind using this or other marketing channel; So that you can set accurate performance indicators by which to measure the success of using any of these marketing channels.
Let’s explain this with a quick working example from the same baby and maternity store that we’ve shown above.
Practical application: We will assume the following
Channel used: Social networking sites, let the following three platforms be “Facebook – YouTube – Instagram”.
The purpose of using this channel: to increase brand awareness and generate leads.
Indicators to measure success: 20% conversion rate
At the end marketing is one of the most important pillars of e-commerce and one of the most important steps to achieving success in this industry after the establishment of the professional store; So it was very important to take care of this element if you wanted to achieve business goals.
In order not to waste the marketing efforts on the ground without a return, it was necessary to develop a marketing plan according to which all the marketing efforts would go to reach the desired goals in the end.