Ultimate Guide to Marketing a Store - Chapter 6 Inbound Marketing

Why do customers buy from a certain website and not from others?

The answer may be because of inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing has been a popular for small businesses. As the number of employees go down, the higher the likelihood that a company will employ inbound marketing in their business.

If you operate a small eCommerce business with less than 200 employees, then inbound marketing may be useful for you.

Today, you’ll learn about what it is and how you can apply it to your eCommerce website.

The Power of Inbound Marketing

The main goal of Inbound marketing is to convert cold leads into buyers. It does this through a process of ‘warming up’ leads so that they will be more confident to take out their wallets and buy. The main concept is simple: Learn Now, Buy Later. It is where the marketer primes the prospect with content until that moment that the prospect is ready to buy.

This is the reason why most forms of online marketing can be considered as inbound marketing. Content marketing, email marketing, SEO, Social media marketing, video marketing, landing page optimization are all ways of supplying enough information for the prospect to buy.

Here is the flow of the inbound marketing process.

The prospect starts as a stranger. This person is attracted to the blog because of SEO, its content and the social media updates.

The person then becomes a regular visitor. Then, you can convert them into leads by having an opt-in form or by asking them to buy a low-priced product.

When you ask them to buy again, they turn into customers.

If they love the experience, they will turn into promoters.

But this may not be the case for eCommerce.

Inbound Marketing for eCommerce

In eCommerce, you only have a moment to convince your prospect to buy. You cannot give them tons of content and prime them. The moment that you have is a very short period. It may only be just a few minutes. If you bombard them with information, they may just click back and look elsewhere.

This comes from the nature of the products being sold at these websites. eCommerce websites like Amazon, BestBuy and Zappos usually have products that doesn’t have a high buying cycle. These are usually common items like clothes, groceries, home goods, video games and toys. Seriously, the prospects will not like to read a long article about the benefits of laundry detergents. They need the product and they need it now.

How to Do Inbound Marketing

Does that mean that you cannot do inbound marketing for your eCommerce website?

You can still do it. You just need to do it in a different way.

Here are some strategies that worked for me.

Convince People to Buy In the First Moment They Visit the Online Store

What is the first thing that your customer sees when they visit your store?

Is it a grid of products? For product pages, what other details are in the page aside from the product image and description?

These pages are your chance points to convince your customer to buy.

What can you put in these pages? Well, that depends on your goal.

First, let’s look at what other eCommerce websites are doing.

Look at what 6pm is doing. You can see that it has the discount plastered on the front page.

The same is true in Althea. In the front page, you’ll see the 20% off discount. It even has a Sale category on top.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Their product pages also have these listing that has extra discounts for buyers.

These are all designed to convince the buyer to buy.

Unlike traditional inbound marketing that includes blogging, social media marketing and Youtube marketing, eCommerce inbound marketing is more product-oriented than content-oriented. It takes on a bottom-up approach than top-down. It works around the concept that eCommerce visitors are almost always ready to buy. So you just need to give them that extra push so that they proceed with making the purchase.

The enemy of eCommerce website owners is cart abandonment. This is where the prospect is already ready to buy but decided to just leave the cart without checking out. This is the moment where the store should convince the buyer to buy.

More than discounts, you can also give other types of rewards. Here are some rewards that eCommerce website owners have used for their products and services.

1. Percentage Discounts

Percentage discounts are the most common. You will see this everywhere. Almost every eCommerce website will have a discount in their front page. It is the most common way to convince the prospect to buy.

2. Freebies

You should not be limited to discounts. You can also give freebies instead. This works if you have products that just takes way too long to sell. If the price is not too high, you can give them as freebies for every purchase.

Althea used to give away free lipsticks and lip glosses for every purchase worth $50 or higher. It has a note that the offer only lasts while stocks last. This means that you can stop the giveaway once you run out of freebies.

3. Limited-Time Deals

You can also play with time instead of prices. Some buyers are procrastinators. They will not buy a product unless you tell them that the discount will disappear in a day or two. This allows you to tap into their fear of missing out. They will usually buy an item even if they don’t need it in fear that they will miss the discount if they procrastinate.

Still, the type of reward should depend on what your customers care about. Don’t be afraid to conduct a preliminary survey to know more about what they want.

Focus on Remarketing

How will you know if an eCommerce website is successful? It is based on its reputation.

Once a website gains tons of traffic and it became the go-to place for certain products, it can be considered successful.

The secret is called remarketing.

This is where past customers are encouraged to make future purchases.

Unlike traditional inbound marketing that pours all of its efforts in priming customers for that one-time purchase. eCommerce inbound marketing is about creating events or deals that gets people to come back and buy.

Remarketing can be done in three ways.

Weekly Deals

This is where you compile a list of products that have massive discounts and send them as a an email to past buyers. This is usually entitled with a headline that encourages instant action such as “Don’t Miss This!” or “Limited Time Only”. Some eCommerce website owners even send deals as if they are sending a newsletter.

Limited-Time Discounts

If you don’t want to send weekly deals, you can also give limited-time discounts. These are huge discounts (usually 50% or higher) but it can only be used for a limited time (2 days to 5 days). Apps like Uber like to give this type of discounts to encourage their customers to ride on certain days.

Limited-Time Freebies

Aside from discounts, you can also give away freebies. As I have told you earlier. This is what Althea did when it tried to give away lipsticks and lipglosses. They give away an item for every purchase worth $50 or higher but only until supplies last.

Remarketing is another way for eCommerce website owners to do inbound marketing without the need for content.

How to Improve Customer Service

Do eCommerce website focus on customer experience? Yes. But not in the same way as traditional inbound marketing.

In traditional inbound marketing, it is all about reaching out to the customer through social media or other channels, priming the customer with the right content, getting them to buy and letting them enjoy their product and the experience.

For eCommerce, it is all about the process. It is about getting customers to the website. Letting them go through the selling process and letting the customer experience top-notch customer service.

Customer service should be rendered not only after the sale. It should be rendered before, during and after the sale. More than merely assisting the customer, customer service is done as a remarketing strategy - convincing customers to come back and buy because of amazing customer service.

The difference is in the customer’s intention. For content-filled websites, it is about getting the prospect to trust them so that they can lead the prospect into the funnel and buy.

But for eCommerce, the customer is already decided on buying. They just want to know why they should choose your website over the other online stores that are providing the same product.

How to Increase Conversions Using Exit Intent

Inbound marketing works around the concept of getting prospects to trust you before they buy. It usually involves content marketing that can come in the form of a blog, video or other formats. All of these are done with a single goal - get the prospect into the funnel and buy.

In Ecommerce inbound marketing, the goal is to convince the prospect to stop stalling and buy. It involves giving discount coupons and freebies in the first point of contact with the website. This is then coupled with amazing customer service and that is usually enough to get the prospect to buy. This is then followed by remarketing.

But what if the prospect ended up leaving his cart instead? What will you do?

This is where exit marketing comes in. This is where you design a pop-up in your website offering a unique deal to prospects who almost left your site.

This can be a discount or a freebie. It is just a way to get your prospect’s attention back to the website and prevents him from leaving.

This is an effective inbound marketing strategy without the need for extremely long content.

The Hybrid Inbound Strategy

This strategy is called hybrid inbound strategy because it combines traditional inbound marketing (content marketing) with eCommerce inbound marketing (encouraging more purchases with discounts and better customer service).

It comes from the concept that all products in eCommerce websites are not equal. While some products doesn’t require consideration before a purchase (like in your laundry detergent or toys for your kids), there are some eCommerce products that require a bit of research and consideration. For these products, a hybrid inbound strategy may help.

A good example of a product that requires a bit of consideration is a mobile phone. There are eCommerce websites that are selling these. But a mobile phone has so many features in it that you have to consider them before you buy. This is where reviews are helpful. You can put some reviews in your website along with the presentation of your product.

Another type of product that requires consideration are cosmetics. While they may seem similar to grocery products, it seems that women put a lot of time and consideration in thinking about what products they should use for their faces and bodies. Again, reviews are important in this type of eCommerce website.

For these websites, a little bit of traditional inbound marketing may be helpful. In-depth blog reviews with pictures along with real customer reviews may aid you in selling more products. For some niches, videos may also encourage customers to buy. It all depends on your niche.


The best way to approach eCommerce inbound marketing is by putting yourself in the shoes of your customer. Think about what will push you to buy? Think about what will make you hesitate and leave your cart? Will you need more information before you buy? Will discounts be attractive to you? Do you need to look at other customer reviews?

Map the customer journey. Take note of any need that may come up. Taking these into consideration will help you craft an inbound marketing strategy tailored to fit the needs of your customers.

What inbound marketing strategies are you currently using on your website? Are you using any of the strategies above? Tell me all about it below.


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