"What Is the Ideal Marketing Channel Mix for Your E-commerce Store?"

Raymond Smit, Head of Paid Search at Reprise Digital South Africa offers retailers and online businesses tips on maximizing their digital marketing efforts.

What Is the Ideal Marketing Channel Mix for Your E-commerce Store?

Advertisers are spoiled for choice when it comes to selecting digital marketing channels in order to send visitors to their website and, ultimately, drive sales. Often it is a daunting task to find the optimum digital channel mix because of the size and breadth of the channels and the numerous targeting options available within each. The channel allocation challenge is often exacerbated for smaller clients, because they can often only afford to run marketing tests in selected channels and only on a small portion of inventory available within those channels.

I would argue that the channel mix brands opt for depends on the size of the business, the goals the advertiser wants to achieve and the area of the marketing funnel they want to focus on. A smaller online retailer with a limited budget who wants to grow sales can consider a search-driven marketing approach and capitalize on search queries where users are actively looking for the products carried by the business.

Medium-sized retailers should expand their search marketing efforts to all available search queries where a positive return on investment can be made. Paid search channels can then be supplemented with organic search, so that brands maximize their total coverage on all products that are selling well online. It is a good idea to leave a small portion of marketing budget available to test different channels and events (such as Christmas, Black Friday or a product launch) because stores will most likely experience different sales peaks and valleys throughout the year.

Before embarking on any marketing campaign: Start with a win or learn mindset before implementing a test and adopt a low risk, high probability marketing approach to discover the channels & products that will drive sales. Agencies & advertisers then gain access to the data for better decisions to be made in the future. Ultimately, we learn through our data, but first that data must be earned!

Larger retailers should focus on a full omnichannel strategy to get the most out of their digital channels to drive maximum customer lifetime value. At this stage it’s vital for the advertiser to have a full tech stack integrated into the business, a complete understanding of the value of their own customers throughout their buying lifetime and a firm grasp on how different marketing channels affect their revenue. This is easier said than done as some channels function better as support to others, driving assisted sales rather than direct revenue.

Ultimately, different sized businesses will each have unique performance metrics they need to focus on. As the business matures, so should the metrics, goals & objectives. Allow your overarching strategy to dictate your channel approach and the performance within those marketing channels will crystallize and shape your budget allocations for you over time.