[Mega Guide] How to design a marketing plan for your eCommerce that attracts more visitors, leads and sales (+ bonus)

The end of the year is just around the corner and that means it’s time to do an absolutely important task for your eCommerce. No, we don’t mean writing down your New Year’s resolutions or a letter to Santa. 😉

We mean designing your eCommerce’s marketing plan for next year.

Yeah, you know.. that one document in which you plan every marketing action you’ll carry out. However, maybe you haven’t started planning because of two reasons:

  • You don’t really know how to do it.
  • You’ve heard it’s important, but you don’t know whether it’s worth it.

Well, contemplate this:  your marketing plan is not only important; it’s a must-have that will help you reach any goals you’ve set.

In this post we’ll give you a hand with this. Also, at the end of the post we’ll walk you through it, step by step. An we also have a surprise for you that will come in handy for this task.

👉 What an eCommerce’s Marketing Plan is (and why you need to create yours)

Let’s begin with the basic concepts.

A Marketing Plan is a document that gathers all of your business’ marketing goals and the different strategies you’ll implement in order to achieve them.

For that reason, a Marketing Plan contains:

  • The goals we want to achieve, having the initial conditions as a reference point.
  • The strategies we’ll implement to reach such goals.
  • The channels we’ll use in each case. 
  • The metrics we’ll use to assess whether the strategy works.
  • The investment budget.

‘But is all that really necessary?’

Well, yes.

If you don’t have a well-defined solid strategy from the get-go, it will be much more difficult to:

  • Gain visibility and stand out from competitors.
  • Attract qualified traffic.
  • Increase conversion.
  • Improve customer loyalty.

As any good road map, your Marketing Plan will keep you from ‘drifting’, trying things at random and wasting your budget on unrelated strategies.

And you wouldn’t want your eCommerce to drift, would you? 😉

👉 The 6 steps you need for creating a Marketing Plan that makes you stand out from competitors

You’ve already seen why having a strong Marketing Plan is so important. Now it’s your turn to get the ball rolling.

Let’s see how to design one step by step.

✅ 1. Where do you start from? Analyze your eCommerce’s initial situation

Before heading anywhere, we must first know where we’re coming from.

Put differently, what’s your eCommerce’s current situation?

Running this analysis is essential because it will allow you to set the most relevant goals for your online store and the path to reach them.

So keep your eyes open.

➡️ See last year’s results

First of all, let’s distinguish two cases:

  1. You recently own an eCommerce: if your online store is brand new, you won’t have last year’s metrics, so you can skip this part and go straight to sections B and C.
  2. You’ve had your eCommerce for a while now: you’ll already have a good amount of data to get started and can make the most of them to set this year’s goals.

If you’re in the second group, here are some interesting data you should collect:

  • Average traffic: don’t limit yourself to merely “counting visitors”. Separate them according to whether they’re organic or paid traffic in order to know which channels are working best and which ones are not.
  • Brand visibility: this includes social network mentions, media appearances, searches on Google that include your store’s name, etc.
  • Conversion rate on different channels: just as with visitors, it’s vital to know which channels are attracting more customers. So, you must record sales obtained with marketing campaigns, SEO writing, subscriptions… and of course the ones you’ve got from marketplaces.
  • Average ticket price: this is how much your customers spend on each purchase, on average. If you don’t know what we mean, we suggest you take a look at this post.
  • Customer satisfaction: it’s not a metric per se since it’s something a little more abstract. But you can use indicators such as the number of complaints you’ve received, returns or negative feedback on product cards.
  • Return of Investment: the profit you’ve got from your marketing campaigns. We also have a specific post about this metric (one of the most important ones in any strategy).

With this information at hand, it’ll be easier for you to identify the areas you must keep working on.

Note: if you’d like to learn about web analytics in depth, we suggest you have a look at this post.

➡️ Determine your ideal customer or buyer persona

The better you understand your ideal customer, the easier it’ll be to know:

  • How to communicate with them so your message is best received.
  • What products they’re most interested in so you can provide them with the best suggestions or expand your catalogue with products that will actually sell.

You’ll definitely be able to better connect with your customers and, therefore, improve conversion.

So if you still haven’t defined your buyer persona, that’ll be your first task.

We’ll tell you how to do so. 😉

>> Bring out the detective in you and start collecting information

In order to know your customers, the first thing you have to do is collect as much data as you can about them.

You’ll need to know what they’re like, any concerns or problems they have and how your products can help fix them.

Some interesting sources are:

  • Debate forums.
  • Comments on Amazon’s product cards.
  • Blogs.
  • Competitors’ websites (have a look at product reviews, blog comments, etc.).
  • Surveys made to your own customers.

Once you have all this information, it’s time to shape it.

>> Build your ideal customer’s profile

What are the characteristics of your buyer persona?

Maybe it’s a 50-year-old woman looking for new hobbies related to art. Or a 30-year-old man working from home who’d like to start eating healthier.

When it comes to building up your buyer persona, you must be as specific as you can.

Specifically, such profile should include this information:

  • Demographics: age, occupation, etc.
  • Their main need: for example, they know they don’t have a healthy diet and would like to start eating healthier.
  • The obstacles are in their way: they have no time to cook and they’re not very skilled either.
  • The benefits your products provide: you sell healthy convenience foods that they can heat in the oven or microwave.

This is only a summary, but you can find here a full guide to create your buyer persona.

Extra TIP: we suggest you give your customer’s profile a name and add a picture taken from Google. That should help you remember you’re dealing with flesh and blood people.

➡️ Check out what your competitors are doing

You must also know who your competitors are and what they’re up to. Only by doing this, you’ll be able to define the best strategy to outsmart them.

So what’s the first thing you should do?

Obviously, spot any eCommerces you might consider competitors.

Watch out: in this group, you should only include stores who are on your same level. For example, if you own a brand-new tech eCommerce, you cannot consider competing against giants like BestBuy or Office Depot. They’re way above you in terms of sales and investment capacity.

In addition, you should distinguish between:

  • Direct competitors: online stores from your own sector.
  • Indirect competitors: for example, retail stores that sell some of your products next to other products (Amazon being the clearest example).

In order to find these competitors, you have a tool at hand you surely already know well: Google.

If, for example, you own an online drug store, start by looking up ‘online drug store’ on Google and see what other stores come up. Then, do the same thing with your strongest brands or products.

Once you have all your competitors on the radar, you must do research on them and extract as much information as you can.

>> What kind of audience do they target?

You should first verify whether they address the same ideal customer you are or whether they’re trying to reach new audiences.

If they’re targeting the same audience, then check:

  • The soft spots they go for: that is, customers’ main concerns they address.
  • The benefits they highlight on their product cards: or how their products help their customers solve any problems they might have.
  • The tone they use: how they address the user. For example, whether they use more or less informal language.
  • The objections they solve: doubts or ‘buts’ that might be responsible for a customer not buying (for example: ‘it’s too expensive’).
  • The different channels they use: the means they use to communicate with their users (social media, blogs, emails).

That information will be useful for optimizing your communicative strategy.

>> Study their product catalogue

You must now analyze best-sellers. Ask yourself this:

  • Which products do they have on their catalogue that you don’t?
  • Is there any niche of your sector they might not be covering? (Attention: this might be due to the fact there’s not a large potential audience within that niche and therefore it’s not worth it for you to get in there).
  • Which products/brands do they especially advertise?

And there’s more.

>> Analyze their commercial strategies

Once you’ve completely dived into their catalogue, we move onto any sales strategies they’re applying. 

For example, you can pay attention to:

  • Any offers or discounts being offered.
  • Whether they use bundles or product packs as a strategy.
  • Which specific products are featured the most on their ads.
  • Which sales channels they use.
  • How they handle cross-selling (which supplementary products they feature, in what moment of the purchase they do this, etc.).

Are you writing this down?

Let’s move on.

>> Don’t leave without analyzing their branding strategies

Branding refers to the set of actions an eCommerce carries out to strengthen their brand image.

Pay attention to what your competitors are doing to position themselves and to make their customers connect with their brand. For example:

  • What channels and specific actions do they use (CPM ads, contests on social media, viral contents…?
  • Are they on the news? On general or specialized media?
  • Do they work with influencers?

Make the best of this information to know what works in your sector and find a way to overcome your competitors with your strategy.

✅ 2. Set your goals

You already know where you’re starting from, who your customer and competitors are.

The next step is to set your Marketing Plan goals.

This is how you do it.

➡️ Set SMART goals

SMART… Does that ring any bell?

It’s an acronym to ensure goals are actually useful.

SMART goals must be:

  • Specific: set a concrete goal. For example: “Reach 1,000 followers on Instagram in 6 months”.
  • Measurable: your goal should be associated with a concrete number in order to determine whether you have reached it.
  • Attainable: seit realistic and achievable goals. If right now you have 30 followers on Instagram, reaching 1,000 in 6 months is attainable, but 2 million isn’t.
  • Relevant: goals must fall in line with the rest of the strategy. If, for example, your audience is older than 50 and not on Instagram, it’s useless for you to include this social network on your marketing strategy because it won’t be useful to attract more customers.
  • Timely: it’s important you set a deadline to reach your goals. Otherwise, you risk continuously putting them off.

Let’s take one more step.

➡️ 3 types of goals you can set

Depending on the goal you want to reach, we have:

  • Sales goals: they aim at increasing billing and/or your eCommerce’s benefits, either by increasing the conversion rate, the average ticket or even customer loyalty.
  • Leads and visibility goals: for a brand-new online store, it’s paramount to attract traffic. In order to sell, the first thing is for users to go on your web.
  • Branding goals: if your eCommerce has been up and running for a while, you’ll want to strengthen your brand image.

We’ll see below some specific strategies you can implement for each of these 3 types of goals.

But we’re missing something first.

✅ 3. What resources are available to you?

The resources that are available to you will determine the Marketing strategies you can apply. In general, we can differentiate amongst:

  • Economic resources.
  • Human resources.
  • Logistic resources.

We’ll break these down for you.

➡️ Economic resources

The budget you have to accomplish your marketing plan goals.

Here’s an example for you:

You’ve just started your eCommerce and your priority is to get traffic. That is your goal, but depending on how much money you have, you’ll be able to do so via:

  • Online Ads: immediate but also expensive.
  • Organic traffic strategies: SEO writing, content creation, social networks… This option takes more time but it’s more cost-effective.

Clearly, the more you invest, the easier it’ll be for you to grow. But don’t worry if you’re just getting started because we have more strategies in store for all kinds of budget.

➡️ Human Resources

Something else to consider is your staff.

If you don’t have anyone in charge of marketing, it’ll be difficult to:

  • Simultaneously feed 3 different social media profiles.
  • Launch marketing campaigns.
  • Write two weekly posts for the blog.

It’s best to focus on one or two channels and slowly take on more as your staff expands.

➡️ Logistic resources

Imagine you want to expand your catalogue… but you have no more room for stocking.

Or say you’ve heard about same-day delivery and would like to implement this strategy on your eCommerce, but your logistics operator doesn’t offer you this service.

All these limitations determine the strategies you’ll be able to set in motion, which is why we include them in the marketing plan.

By the way, here’s a special post in case you need advice on how to optimize your eCommerce’s logistics.

✅ 4. Set the goals you’ll follow in your marketing plan

You start to see the shape of it, right?

Now it’s time to establish the different strategies to be implemented. As we’ve seen, they need to fall in line with the goals we have set, and they should be adapted to our resources.

Here are some ideas.

➡️ Sales strategies

When it comes to increasing billing, there are many strategies you can set in motion:

By the way, have you considered that search experience can also be a sales strategy?

The thing is that an internal search engine does not only help customers navigate your store… It can also be a sales weapon. For you to have an idea: Doofinder customers have managed to increase their sales up to 10% to 20% .

Would you like to see for yourself?

Click here and try Doofinder for free in your store for 30 days.

➡️ Branding strategies

Do you know how to increase your eCommerce’s brand visibility? Here are some ideas.

Ultimately, any action that makes your brand more visible.

plan de marketing influencers

➡️ Visibility and Leads acquisition

In order to attract traffic and potential customers, some of the strategies we can apply are:

  • SEO writing and content marketing for organic traffic.
  • Online advertisement to get paid traffic.
  • Email marketing (in addition to selling more, it also redirects traffic to your web).
  • Social media.
  • Etc.

Note: Do you still have any doubts on which specific strategies to apply in your eCommerce? If you do, don’t worry because the little bonus we have for you at the end will come in handy.

✅ 5. Easier said than done… elaborate an action plan

Setting a strategy is just not enough. You must also know every action you’ll carry out to put it into practice.

Let’s see some examples.

➡️ Define specific actions to be carried out

Let’s say you’ve decided to develop a strategy to collaborate with influencers.

Great! Now what?

You must enlist the actions you’ll carry out so your strategy delivers good results.

You’ll have to:

  • Decide which influencers you’ll collaborate with.
  • Establish the conditions you’ll offer them.
  • Define what kind of content you want them to share (pictures, videos, stories…).

But there’s one more key issue to ensure this happens.

➡️ Use a calendar to plan your actions

A calendar is a tool that helps you plan each of the actions of your strategy (without having to work against the clock).

For example, you can plan to contact influencers in January, to have closed agreements by Febuary, and to have the influencers upload the collaborations you’ve made with them in March.

➡️ Extra: don’t forget important dates in your sector

Let’s go big while we’re at it.

When defining which and when we’ll execute such actions, it is important to keep in mind the special dates in your sector (world days, Black Friday, etc.). 

If, for example, you have an online fragrance store, the first two weeks of February could be a good moment to create such a collaboration with influencers (thus making the most of Valentine’s day).

✅ 6. The importance of control metrics

Each of the strategies and actions we have defined must have a set of measurements.

Thanks to these measurements, we can know whether we are getting close (or not) to meeting the goals we have set. This will help us optimize our strategy or change it if it’s not working.

Let’s see the most important ones in terms of the size of your online store.

➡️ If you own a small eCommerce

Yes, we know at first you care only about sales.

Keep in mind that, without traffic, there are no customers. That’s why when you first start out, getting visibility and web traffic is a priority. So, in order to control that, you should take into account:

  • The number of visitors.
  • New subscribers.

Once you’ve got this under control, you’ll be able to move onto the next step.

➡️ If you own a medium-size eCommerce

Once you’re getting a good volume of traffic we can add new metrics related to user experience, such as:

  • Session duration (the time a user spends on your store and the most read sites).
  • New users vs. regular customers (to know how many people are visiting your website more times)
  • Bounce rate (users that leave without browsing or clicking on any element of the website) 

In addition, you must also keep an eye on basic metrics such as conversion rate, average ticket price or abandoned carts.

➡️ If you own a large eCommerce

You already have a top-notch eCommerce: solid traffic and many sales.

Let’s now fine-tune this and see higher levels of strategy. For this, we have metrics such as:

Of course, this doesn’t mean we’ll forget about the other metrics.

We just added a few more for you to diversify strategies and make your eCommerce grown on every level.

👉 Do you need time to define your strategies? We have something for you that might help you

Yes, it’s the end of the post, but… Do you remember we promised we’d have something for you?

Since we know how hard it is to decide what kind of strategy to implement, we thought about giving you some extra help.

That’s why we have created a new practical guide for you to download for free right now. In this document, we’ll explain to you which marketing strategies you can use according to your goals and to the kind of online store you have.

Alright now! You finally have it all to get to work on your marketing plan.


Let’s go for it!