There is no one good answer to this question,
but you might want to ask it when it applies to a specific industry or business.
I would dare say the most profitable forms of promotion are those that bring the highest conversion rate at the lowest cost. In order to expand the boundaries to gain the best results, you need to continually test different types of promotion.
What are the hard facts?
Data from the not-so-distant 2016 show that the best form of promotion worldwide (that is, the one playing the largest part in winning an order) was receiving orders via search engines, or more precisely, organic search results. Orders placed via organic search results constitute up to 21,8% of all orders. Second place, with only a slightly lower percent, went to paid search (19,9%), while e-mail marketing (19,8%) took the third place. What is interesting, according to Custora E-Commerce Pulse Report 2016 social media advertising and campaigns (2,1%) achieved the lowest score.
Research versus reality
The research indicates a certain trend, is worldwide and does not apply to a specific online business. So it is unwise to assume that if social media are so low in this ranking, there is no need to promote anything there. Many online stores achieve high results on social media. The clothing industry and gadget shops can promote themselves easily there, by managing fan pages as well as carrying accurately targetted paid advertisements. This is why you should test many areas, regardless of assortment. It might turn out the form of promotion we believed had less sense will be the most successful. After conducting tests, we will be able to solve our marketing jigsaw that will help us achieve the best results.
How to organize any of this?
It is not a simple task, but absolutely worth it. The main argument for implementing, testing and optimilising advertising campaigns is that it will bring us financial gain. Organising marketing activities is without doubt a permament part of work when it comes to e-commerce. Long-lasting plans should include campaigns such as:
SEO – setting up and implementing SEO activities requires consistency and regularity. While fighting for first places on the search engine, we need to know, which keyphrases will be effective for us. It is worth analysing what phrase would be better for our store and sales: red dress or red dress + brand. If time and opportunity allows, it would be a good idea to pay more attention to content marketing, so that we would be more visible on social media or business websites, building our image as an expert.
Paid search – the most popular and efficient forms of paid search are AdWords and Google Shopping. It will require funds and because of that we need to plan it as precise as possible. Preparing a campaign is time-consuming. We need to optimilise our products and determine phrases that will lead to our offer in the search engine. For more efficient results, we can use product feeds that make controlling and optimilising Google or Facebook advertisements easier. A xml file can store all the vital information about the products in one place, so we can also export photos of our products.
E-mail marketing – conducted via our own subscribers base or bought from external companies with large, fairly accurately targeted bases. Building our own base would be more efficient, but it takes time, hence we should start with a wide-range e-mail campaign.
Social Media – creating posts on our fanpage will not be enough to promote our brand. Taking care of the fanpage is important, regardless of whether we are new to facebook or twitter, and it will become even more important when we build a community around it. Paid facebook campaigns might also be worth a try. The facebook advertising tool is nicely expanded, providing better methods of specifying target groups as a result. No other place online knows so much about the users.
Those are the most often used forms of promotion to gain e-customers. They are not the only ones in the world of e-commerce of course. RTB campaigns, remarketing, affiliate networks or marketing automation are other options worth testing later on. But the overal conclusion to be drawn is that, while managing an online store, we should try our best in all fields of online promotion. Only then will we be able to create the best model that we will be constantly optimilised to manage the traffic to our store and monetize from it.