A bad workman always blames his tools, the old saying goes. Don’t worry, as we have prepared 15 essential eCommerce marketing tools to save your day.
Although true to an extent, having the right tools can empower us as marketers and professionals to do a better job. It can make us more productive and give us accessibility to better results.
Not to mention overcoming key marketing challenges.
As marketers growing an eCommerce store, we already have to overcome several challenges. Building enough trust on our websites, implementing a content marketing strategy, omnichannel and mobile marketing to name a few.
So, why don’t we use some great software and tools to make our jobs easier?
In this article, I’m going to outline 15 eCommerce marketing tools and resources you should consider using. I’ll also include links to some further reading. Let’s get stuck in.
Email marketing is still one of the most effective channels for growth.
You’ve likely heard of MailChimp and, at the very least, use some alternative to it. When it comes to sending out newsletters and drip campaigns, it’s one of the best in the business.
But it can only do so much. Which is why I’ve coupled it on this list with its sister, Mandrill.
Created by MailChimp themselves, Mandrill is a transactional email marketing tool. It sends trigger emails based on user behavior. In other words, when someone takes an action on your website, those people receive an email based on that action.
It’s quite a development-heavy tool. If you feel you lack the coding skills to implement, head back over to MailChimp for their “eCommerce360” feature. It allows you to send automated emails based on products your customers purchase and to follow-up after purchase.
If you’re just getting started, this may prove to be a great option. For more complex, bespoke needs try Mandrill.
Further reading: The Ultimate Guide To eCommerce Email Marketing
While we’re on the topic of email marketing, we may as well talk about what actually to put in them.
Good Email Copy is a collection of email copy from great companies. Collected by Front, it received a lot of attention on launch day – enjoying 2589 upvotes on Product Hunt. Which is always a good sign of the level of value.
If you look, you’ll notice the collection comes solely from tech and SaaS products. So why am I listing this here?
One lesson we learned from Harry’s product launch awhile ago is how they got inspiration from other industries. They looked to the SaaS industry and saw ideas for their viral referral system.
You should do this with your own marketing, and Good Email Copy is a treasure trove.
Welcome emails, feedback surveys and new features (products in our case) are all great examples of emails you can apply to your own marketing.
Social media isn’t a soapbox. It’s a two-way conversation between you and your customers.
Sometimes these conversations can come in overwhelming quantities, so it’s important you have the right tools in place to make it manageable.
This is where Mention comes in. Mention is a social media tool that monitors what people are saying about your brand on publications, social media channels and much more.
It’s important to be as reactive as possible when it comes to your marketing, and Mention allows you to do this with absolute efficiency.
There are dozens of other benefits of course, including the discovery of new influencers, market research tools as well as competitive research. Whatever you need monitoring, Mention can probably do it.
Further reading: Social Media is a Terrible Ecommerce Tactic – or is it?
According to New York Times, 65% of new business comes from referrals.
Which is why it’s one of the most effective marketing channels we have as eCommerce marketers. But how do we encourage our customers to spread the word for us?
ReferralCandy solves this problem, allowing you to create referral campaigns on the fly. You can set offers, different rewards, and control exactly what your customers can and cannot see.
Each customer gets their own referral link, which they can then send to their friends. You control the rewards they receive for every friend they successfully refer.
Couple a tool like this with your influencer marketing efforts and you have a convincing way to tap into a larger audience. All while tracking which influencers bring you the best results.
Further reading: Referral Marketing Best Practices
Marketing automation is becoming digital marketing best practice. When you look into solutions like HubSpot, however, you see that it’s mostly reserved for the B2B world.
So, as a consumer-focused eCommerce marketer, what’s the best solution for you?
Betaout is one marketing automation platform built specifically for eCommerce businesses. It allows you to serve personalized content based on visitor behavior and segments customers into groups.
For instance, you can serve one message to an audience as broad as “new customers” and another to groups as specific as “those who have a high-value abandonment cart”.
This gives you a huge amount of control over the personalization of your website and individual product pages.
Further reading: Seven avoidable marketing automation mistakes
Implementing a successful content marketing strategy has been listed as one of the biggest marketing challenges facing eCommerce marketers in 2016. It’s on everybody’s radar and isn’t going anywhere.
BuzzSumo is a tool that makes it easier for us by taking out the guesswork. It allows you to search keywords and find popular pieces of content based on data – i.e. social shares and backlinks.
This allows you to focus on topics that have proven to be successful. Not only that, but you can discover the top sharers of similar content to yours.
Why is this useful? Because you can include them as part of a bigger outreach system. Simply identify content similar to your own and reach out to the Twitter accounts of the top sharers.
Beyond this content and social sharing data, it also allows you to organize outreach and influencer lists. If you’re looking for more sophistication in your influencer marketing, this could be it.
So, you’ve identified the sharers you want to reach out to. Now it’s a matter of contacting them.
You could email them individually… or you can use a tool like Contentmarketer to get the job done faster.
Built by Sujan Patel and Colin Mathews, Contentmarketer.io is a tool that speeds up the outreach process. You can upload a CSV of contacts or have it scan your content for the names you’ve mentioned.
From here, you can create email templates (including personalization) and send them out in bulk. You can also do the same for Twitter messages and mentions, allowing you to scale a two-pronged approach.
If you’re looking to go deep with certain individuals, this may not be the right solution. For broader outreach campaigns, however, this takes a huge amount of time and effort out of the process.
Further reading: How Influencer Outreach Can Revive Your Content Marketing Strategy
Data analytics sound scary because most tools are not friendly enough. But you need your data – you shouldn’t let it go unused.
Metrilo combines CRM, Analytics and Email Marketing – all specially built for eCommerce.
After an instant integration, you get complete customer profiles with details, history, and behavior on your site.
Few clicks show you the high spenders, the loyal ones, and the screen shoppers. All the eCommerce metrics and reports that matter for your business: retention rates, the share of new vs. returning customers, cart abandonment rates and more.
And lastly, it is really useful that you can act on the data right from the platform. You can send highly-targeted email campaigns based on customer profiles with details, behavior, and history.
As marketers, it’s hard enough to keep up with content marketing, SEO, mobile and establishing trust on our websites.
Throw great design into the mix and it’s hard to keep on top of everything.
Enter Canva. Built with non-design oriented folk in mind, Canva is a flexible yet incredibly helpful tool that allows you to create great design assets quickly.
From social media assets to blog pots imagery. It’s very easy to put great looking images together when you’re pressed for time and budget.
You can use the various design assets Canva provides (shapes, layouts, etc.) or upload your own. Then just export and use it wherever you need.
Further reading: Designing The Perfect Ecommerce Website
Creating great design assets together is one thing, but sourcing great photography is another.
If you don’t have the capacity (or necessity) for professionally-taken photography, then look to Pexels.
Pexels collates royalty-free stock photography from various sources. It’s all free to use based on creative commons licensing, so you don’t need to worry about attribution.
You can search for photography based on keywords. Finding relevant imagery for your content and other marketing assets is refreshingly quick.
If you lack inspiration, you can always head to the Discover section and browse by category. Just be careful not to catch an insatiable case of wanderlust.
Further reading: 23 Product Photography Hacks For Your eCommerce Store
Getting visitors to your website is one thing, but converting them once they get there is a different game altogether.
As an eCommerce marketer, your primary goal is always to convert visitors into customers. Sometimes, however, they’re not ready to do this. Which is why educating and nurturing through content is such an effective practice.
SumoMe takes some of the hard work out of this by providing you with email capturing and analytics tools. Welcome mats, scrolling sidebars and content analytics all come right out of the box.
It also includes tools that make sharing much easier, too. Highlighter, for example, allows visitors to share any text they have highlighted on the page.
If you’re looking to experiment with new ways of building your audience and email list, then give SumoMe a whirl.
Further reading: 11 Email Acquisition Tactics for E-Commerce Businesses
Speaking of experiments, it’s important always to be improving the effectiveness of your product and landing pages on a regular basis.
Optimizely is a simple tool that allows you to A/B test new page variations seamlessly. Add the short line of code they provide you with to get started. From there you can test out new elements using their WYSIWYG editor.
This takes a lot of hassle out of creating duplicate versions of pages that require other tools to drive an equal amount of traffic to each. Not to mention how quick it is to change a headline, body copy or call-to-action.
Run a test for as long as you like, or let Optimizely’s statistical significance calculator tell you if a test has worked or not.
Further reading: 5 CRO Experts On Their Favorite Quick Wins To Optimize The Checkout
With traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, customers can quickly get answers to any questions they have by talking to a human being in a store.
Digital business models have given us the promise of scalability. But sometimes we miss out on those important face-to-face interactions.
Sure, FAQ’s can work, but knowing someone is there to help gives more credibility and can provide a more delightful service. Not to mention the customer development perks.
Enter Olark, a live chat tool for your website. Unlike many chat solutions, it’s very quick and easy to implement with just a few lines of code.
Every visitor who initiates a conversation (and vice versa) is attributed with their customer journey so far. This allows you to get a better idea of them as an individual customer.
These conversations can also yield challenges you weren’t aware of, as well as the kind of language they’re using to describe them. Which is invaluable to us as marketers.
Further reading: It’s a Customer Development Problem, Not A Conversion Problem
Keeping track of all these tools and getting them to talk to integrate together is a challenge in itself.
Analytics platforms, display ads (e.g. Facebook) and email marketing tools tend not to communicate with each other directly out of the box.
You could hire a developer to connect the APIs of the tools you use. Or you could use an integration tool like Segment.
Using a short line of code, Segment allows you to integrate hundreds of tools (including many listed in this article) without the heavy development work.
Want Google Analytics to talk to MailChimp? No problem. Need data from your Facebook Ads in your CRM? You got it.
Check out their list of integrations and look for yourself.
Further reading: An Introduction to Analytics for Ecommerce Websites
SEO is a huge part of our job as eCommerce marketers. We’ve covered a lot on optimizing content, but what about optimizing our product pages?
SEMrush is an SEO tool that gives you oversight over your competitors. You can discover the keywords they’re most ranking for, where their backlinks come from and PPC insights.
If you’re looking for guidance on your own SEO efforts, this tool might show you where some missing opportunities might lie.
As well as top-level domain analysis, you can also get data on individual product pages. If you want to see how well your own SEO efforts are doing, or see what sites your competitors are targeting to get their individual pages ranked, then this is a great tool.
Further reading: 4 SEO Growth Hacks For Your eCommerce Store
The more complicated our challenges become, the more varied the eCommerce marketing tools we have access to.
It can be confusing to know which tool to use for which marketing challenge. This list should give you a good start.
It’s likely that many of these eCommerce marketing tools you’ve never heard of. You might not even really need them right now.
You might be looking for a particular solution or even a new marketing approach to testing out. If so then these tools are the best in the business for executing quickly.
What does your marketing stack look like? What tools are you looking for to fill in the gap?