Each Marketing Channel has a Specific Job

Creating an e-commerce store from scratch that is branded, operational, and functioning is hard enough. There’s the inventory management, pricing, distribution, fulfillment…not to mention the whole business concept creation. 

Of course, the branding and marketing is vital to growth, exposure, recognition, and creating awareness and demand.

So where to start?

The proliferation of marketing channels is something all owners and marketing professionals deal with. Each marketer – regardless of their environment  – needs to continually test and learn to best integrate and weave channels together.

From customer journey maps to optimizing for different parts of the marketing and sales funnels, there are dozens of ways to organize and implement marketing. 

Here’s a tip on one way to plan: Figure out the job of each channel.

Each piece of marketing — from emails to billboards — has a specific role, a specific job that it’s really good at. For example, a cold email blast to an unknown list is a pretty poor use of email; but a outreach to recent customers, or an abandoned cart email is a great use of email.

I like to think about grouping the channels and jobs based on their nature: physical, digital or event. The different tactics underneath are then threaded into the right part of the customer


We all know that events are in a dearth right now.  While virtual events are popping up as substitutes, the live events are on hiatus for months to come. So let’s skip this for now.

Digital Marketing 

This is the foundational marketing for any e-commerce business. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email, websites, etc., all have a different role in bringing customers to your e-commerce site. A few statistics to be aware of can help you place – and pace – your effort on the different digital touchpoints you need to keep your business going.

  • In 2014, the average customer makes 9.5 visits to a brand before buying…versus in 2011 shoppers visited just 2.5 times before converting. (Ratuken Marketing)
  • It takes about 50 milliseconds (that’s 0.05 seconds) for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, whether they’ll stay or leave. (Sweor study)
  • 85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile device should be as good or better than its desktop website. (Sweor study)
  • The average amount of time between a Google product search and a purchase is 20 days. (https://www.buildthis.io/online-shopping-ecommerce-internet-stats/)

So why are these statistics important? Because as an e-commerce store your website is – literally – the lifeblood of your business. And understanding how to design, get faster load time, message, and create trust and credibility is the key to moving people through your buying process. 

The impulse online purchase is more rare than the user going through the classic buying stages:

  1. Problem aware
  2. Solution aware
  3. Interest
  4. Education
  5. Consideration
  6. Purchase 
  7. Advocacy

And in each of those stages, your digital job is different. For someone to just be aware, it might be an ephemeral touch via Facebook or Paid Ad, and then when the user goes to your website, that channel’s job is done. Good work! 

For advocacy, it could be reviews solicitations, emails, Instagram and Twitter pushes to get your customers to share their experience. 

By chunking out the entire buying process for your customers, you can figure out which digital channel – and message – is right for you.

Physical Media

In-your-hands or out-of-doors marketing like billboards, posters and direct mail all have different jobs in the customer journey of awareness, interest, consideration, engagement (purchase) and advocacy.

For example, billboards are great for awareness, but terrible for the purchase—don’t buy and drive!

While some might think that print magazines are old-school, the people who still subscribe are active and engaged with a printed book – and the associated ads.

One of the most powerful physical marketing tools for e-commerce is Direct Mail. This channel does two jobs extremely well: 

  1. Drive Awareness and Interest of your site from a targeted audience.
    If you’re just getting off the ground as an e-commerce, or aren’t a market leader, you may not be able to afford to compete in AdWords. And, you definitely won’t have the SEO credentials to lift up your search results versus competitors. Even when people search for your product, they most likely won’t find you on Google. 

A big strength of direct mail is that a list can be hyper-targeted to folks with specific interests, behaviors, locations, income, etc. That’s where a targeted mailing can drive prospects who are unaware of your business directly to your site. 

Purchasing a list of like-minded buyers is fairly simple: 

  • specialty lists (often magazine subscriptions) link behavior and interest attributes so you can target dog owners, avid readers, aviation enthusiasts, you name it; 
  • consumer lists work if you’re blanketing an entire location or demographic; 
  • business lists are also available (but you’ll want to wait until everyone is back in the office).

  1. Retarget unconverted website visitors.
    With so many website visitors who come to your site without buying, converting the traffic you get is key. Retargeting your unconverted website visitors with postcards is a unique and highly-responsive way to bring them back to your site and buy. 

Because you’re mailing only to prospects who have expressed an interest in your site, this is one of the best mailing programs you can do. And when added to your current retargeting program, helps drive users back to your site to convert…without making any changes to the site itself. 

These programs usually yield higher response rates and stronger Return on Ad Spend than other marketing channels. 

For both prospecting Direct mail programs and Postcard Retargeting, a good resource is www.modernpostcard.com, which can help get you started.

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