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Small businesses have more opportunities to reach their customers now than ever before. If you’re unsure how to market your e-commerce business, here are some tips to get started. — Getty Images/ fotostorm

E-commerce businesses are great options for small business owners in today's digital business world. There are so many new possibilities for businesses to cleverly market their offerings online in order to reach their target audience. Here's how to market your e-commerce business.

[Read: How to Grow Your E-Commerce Business and Stand Out]

What is e-commerce marketing?

As defined by Shopify, e-commerce marketing is the method of driving traffic to your virtual store and then converting that traffic into paying customers, whom you retain post-purchase. Traffic can be driven to your online store through the use of various marketing strategies such as exclusive offerings, discounts, rewards programs, expanded inventory, and other promotional tactics. With the use of consistent, planned e-commerce marketing efforts, usually along with an offline marketing strategy, companies can reach a wider market and develop their brand, which will, in turn, increase their sales.

E-commerce marketing tactics

Connect with consumers on social media

Through social media, businesses can advertise directly to their audience. Customers like consistency online, meaning businesses should post quality content frequently that demonstrates their brand and establishes themselves as a resource to their target audience. Businesses should focus their attention on select social media platforms, depending on what their customer base uses, and post content at a time that works with their customers’ schedules.

Sellbrite recommends using the 80/20 ratio when marketing on social media — 80% of posts should be about topical industry news, and the remaining 20% should be used to plug your site and products.

Utilize PPC advertising

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is just that — a marketing strategy through which companies pay each time a consumer clicks on their ad. PPC advertising models can be used on search engines such as Google as well as social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Social media uses both cost-per-click and cost-per-impression formulas to charge for advertisements that are shown throughout timelines and newsfeeds.

By using PPC advertising, you are able to change your campaign and test out new ideas as you go. Business owners should measure the progress of each ad and make sure that the return in sales is worth the amount being spent.

[Read: 'Clicks Are Currency:' How E-Commerce Businesses Can Thrive in the Digital-First World]

In order to promote product reviews, companies can incentivize customers through email, offering incentives like contest entries or discounts after leaving a review. Incentives benefit both the customer and your business and can ultimately help with customer retention and loyalty.

Work on your SEO strategy

Having an SEO strategy is an effective way to increase your store’s visibility online, specifically on search engines. Optimizing your SEO by writing valuable content and using keywords that your customers often search for can drive traffic to your website, which can boost sales.

There are tools available online that can pinpoint the best keywords for your business. Incorporate these key phrases into different parts of your website, including product titles and descriptions. In doing so, you’ll stand out among the competition and potential online customers will be able to find your products.

Create a blog

Blogs can be a great e-commerce marketing strategy because you can draw traffic to your site, build brand loyalty as a resource that your customers trust. The kind of content you post is up to your business and audience, but it should draw customers in and invite them to repeatedly return to your website. Content can range from instructional tutorials to posts that address questions or concerns your audience may have.

Use email marketing

Creating an email marketing list can benefit your business both online and offline. Big commerce suggests collecting email addresses from anybody you can — your current customers, prospective customers and people who may be interested in your services but aren’t yet a customer.

Use the email list to your advantage, and regularly communicate with those on the list so they can be the first to know of new products, promotions and other company updates that will draw traffic to your website.

[Read: 6 Ways to Create More Successful E-Commerce Email Marketing Campaigns]

Promote product reviews

Reviews are a great way for customers to get a feel for your products without seeing them in person. Because customers can’t physically observe e-commerce products prior to purchase, they rely on the opinion of previous customers. Reviews can persuade customers, so it’s important that you maintain a positive rating and have plenty of high-quality reviews.

In order to promote product reviews, companies can incentivize customers through email, offering incentives like contest entries or discounts after leaving a review. Incentives benefit both the customer and your business and can ultimately help with customer retention and loyalty.

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