The world of e-commerce is an arms race, as companies try to outdo each other in marketing and sales. These companies face a unique struggle, the start of which is locating the perfect marketing firm. Not all marketing firms focus on the same details, and a business needs to be aware of which elements are crucial to their success.
In such a case, what are the core elements of a marketing firm that make them ideal for representing an e-commerce business? We asked 12 experts from Forbes Communications Council about what they considered to be the most vital factors e-commerce companies should focus on. Here’s what they told us.
1. Examples Of Previous E-Commerce Work
Marketing is quantitative and qualitative. When partnering with a marketing firm ask for past examples of work within the e-commerce industry and what the ROI was on those projects. By what percentage did they help increase sales during the time period they ran ads or implemented campaigns? Knowing the impact of marketing efforts will give you a better understanding of the outcomes you can expect. – Melissa Kandel, little word studio
2. E-Commerce Experience In Your Market
An ideal marketing firm for an e-commerce business should have proven experience working with other e-commerce brands within your market and segment because if they have proven ROI with other e-commerce brands, as well as provide proof of traction sharing performance marketing campaigns, then it’s highly probable they can drive results for your e-commerce as well. – Alessandro Ricchiardi, VOLTN
3. Experience Building A Full Funnel
The one thing that is important is if they have built a full funnel for an e-commerce business, and what the results were and how much time it took to perfect it. A funnel in an e-commerce business helps understand your potential customers and their buying behavior best. The path they take to find your business and the pages they visit tell you more about the pain points than any other thing. – Dipalli Bhatt, Incognito Software Systems Inc.
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4. Focus On The Entire CX Process
The right strategic partner is a marketer who is focused on the entire customer experience (CX) process — those who are able to identify their clients’ gaps, friction points and strengths. The marketers who truly understand the big picture of the business can then masterfully help tailor the best-in-class interactions consumers want. – Colson Hillier, Alorica
5. Conversion Optimization, UX, Testing Expertise
There are tons of digital marketing and website designers offering an array of services. I recommend choosing a partner who has expertise in conversion optimization, user experience (UX) and A/B testing or multivariate testing (MVT). Those are proven techniques to turn site visitors into online paying customers. – Stacy Sherman, Customer Experience Expert
6. Ability To Deliver A 360-Degree Strategy
Look for an agency that can deliver a 360-degree strategy. Integrated marketing agencies work great, they have an arsenal of specialized professionals and tools working for you. Dividing efforts will dilute results. Collaborate with them to position your business, don’t expect them to know what you know, give them the tools to take your business offering with their know-how and watch it take off. – Daniela Martucci, DMH & Associates Communications
7. Depth Of Expertise
Find depth. While experience in e-commerce and the specific product category/niche are important, depth of expertise is critical. Being able to develop smart strategies and implement them for outbound and inbound marketing will make the difference. Technical SEO, Google product listing ads, email automation, and remarketing are easy to talk about on the surface. Get a partner who knows them well. – Corey Morris, Voltage
8. Ability To Think Strategically
The ability to think strategically across every stage of the customer journey — from awareness to purchase to fulfillment and loyalty-building — is the main characteristic we look for in a marketing partner. A successful e-commerce strategy can sometimes become loaded with the management of details, so we value a partner that will see the larger picture and ensure our customers come first. – G’Nai Blakemore, Mattress Firm
9. A Competent Account Manager
Take your time to learn about the agency team members, especially your account manager. Before making any commitments, make sure you have a competent and experienced account manager who understands your niche! – Mo Ghoneim, OUTFRONT Media Canada
10. Technical Expertise
Having led marketing for an e-commerce company for two years, I think the most important characteristic for an e-commerce agency is technical expertise. They must understand the technical build, CRO, and marketing automation to cover the basics — and from there you can build with SEO, SEM, social, content and more. It’s an inherently technical distribution channel, and the agency skill set must match. – Ellen Sluder
11. Case Studies Showcasing Their Success
Ask for actual case studies that quantify that they have accomplished what you are trying to do. Make sure they have the resources to create the content, execute the strategy, measure the performance, and report on the results. If they don’t have the tools, people, and bandwidth to deliver the above, the desired results won’t materialize. – Duane Sprague, Trust Brands
12. Track Record Of Creative Campaigns
With so many new e-commerce stores entering the market, it’s becoming harder to stand out. Therefore, you cannot put a price on creativity. Make sure that you are picking a marketing firm that has a consistent track record of launching innovative and creative campaigns. Ask to see their portfolio and request examples of how they can improve your marketing efforts from a creative standpoint. – Liam Quinn, Reach Interactive