It is undeniable that e-commerce is experiencing global growth as it is quickly becoming the great equalizer. “In 2016, total retail sales across the globe will reach $22.049 trillion, up 6.0% from the previous year. eMarketer estimates sales will top $27 trillion in 2020, even as annual growth rates slow over the next few years …”
However, the key to success in a burgeoning online marketplace is to test and measure different tactics to set benchmarks and discover the best way to market your business online.
But first, you’ll have to disengage from common online marketing myths. Here’s a look at six that need to be permanently debunked.
1. Myth: Our product or service is so good that we don’t need marketing
While your product or service may be great, revolutionary even, word of mouth may not be enough to garner the worldwide recognition it deserves.
Marketing is necessary if you want to build awareness. Marketing is the precursor to sales as it “primes the pump” to attract your ideal customers to your offer. Even if you get lucky with some recognition it often has a shelf life and you need to keep your audience aware and engaged; otherwise you’re yesterday’s news.
2. Myth: Social media marketing is all about ‘likes’
If you play it right, social media marketing can be a great tool to get to know your audience and engage with them on a more personal level.
Don’t cut corners and purchase likes or followers becomes when the time comes to spend money marketing to them, you’ll waste money and time. Instead, focus on creating engaging content and regularly connecting. This will make it easier for you to earn trust; which in turn will increase conversions.
3. Myth: Affiliate marketing is too complex for startups
Affiliate marketing is a profitable and effective strategy to attract the right customers to your business. However, it is perceived to be suitable for established businesses with a ton of money and manpower. This was true 10 years ago when affiliate marketing was newer in the market, however there are plenty of SaaS tools available to small businesses to make affiliate marketing accessible.
For example, at iPrice Group (an online shopping aggregator based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), “we have successfully integrated companies like Zanado.com in Vietnam within a day,” says Sandeep Raj, Vice President of Business Development.
According to eMarketer, 46% of marketers consider affiliate marketing to be “very cost effective” and highly recommended to boost the growth of your business.
4. Myth: Google AdWords is the only way to grow online sales
Google AdWords is dominating the online advertising space because it functions as a bidding auction platform where the more the advertiser pays, the higher the ad will be placed at the top for a given search. However, there’s a common misconception that AdWords is the only source for online sales growth.
5. Myth: There’s only one right online marketing mix
Some say the right online marketing mix is 50% Google Ads, 25% affiliate marketing, and 25% SEO/Social. However, there is no “one size fits all” answer given each business has unique needs and differing audiences.
“For some niche market players, Google Adwords could be a great and valuable source of traffic. While for others, typically in the more competitive spaces, reliance on alternative sources of traffic is a must,” according to David Chmelař, CEO of iPrice Group.
The good news is that unlike traditional marketing methods, online strategies can be measured easily. So the best practice is to test and measure online marketing performance and then adjust accordingly.
6. Myth: Content marketing requires a huge budget
While budgets can play a huge part in the success of an online marketing campaign, it isn’t impossible to gain awareness on a limited (or non-existent) marketing budget.
For example, Kabbage suggests that you “publish or perish”. You should publish relatable content that is of interest to your target audience and preferably something that highlights your expertise. Next, connect with people through online communities and publish your content on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
It doesn’t end here though. Make an effort to communicate with your readers. It’s the relationships you build that can help make your content successful.
This article has been edited.
Samutra Gunasakaran is a content writer with iPrice Group. As part of one of the best in class search engine optimization team in the region, Samutra provide insights on e-commerce, digital marketing, and consumer behavior. Connect with @GrSamutra on Twitter.