One can hardly claim that eCommerce has been easy lately. Between its inherent challenges, from website design to final sales, and COVID-19’s impact on the economy, it’s a proverbial arena. Still, no battle is unbeatable, and this one is no exception.
Perhaps expectedly, marketers play a pivotal role in overcoming both the inherent and circumstantial, lingering eCommerce challenges.
In this article, then, I’ll discuss six ways to find or build the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store. I will divide them into two groups; one for building a team yourself and one for consulting an agency. Both will, of course, come with actionable, real-world insights.
To find or to build the perfect marketing team, that is the question
So, should you build a marketing team yourself or consult an agency? First things first, let’s break the question down. Rather, let’s split it in the middle.
Building an eCommerce team from scratch is no easy task by any means. Wedevs helpfully outlines all the roles that need to be fulfilled:
- Developer team
- HR team
- Content marketing
- Operations team
- Customer support
That’s a lengthy list. However, this article assumes you’ve covered your other bases and are specifically looking for a marketing team alone. In that case, you’ll need to build a marketing team that handles some mighty demanding tasks, such as:
- Email marketing and retargeting
- Social marketing
- Competitor analysis
Does that mean it’s impossible, or even unreasonably challenging? Absolutely not. However, it does mean that you’ll need to establish clear goals and priorities from the start.
With these in mind, you’ll need to set high hiring standards and take up training expenses.
As a payoff, you’ll have an in-house team that’s available, responsive, and shares your vision.
Finding a team
On the flipside, you may simply “find”, or hire, a marketing agency. Beeketing highlights it, in contrast to in-house teams, in simple terms.
In this case, then, you’ll have an agency “taking care of everything”. Do you need more than just the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store?
They’re easily found and quite often have a wide array of services to cover your needs. However, agencies are external partners; they’re professionals with upfront costs, yes, but they’re not always “your” long-term teams.
So, building a team yourself is a long-term investment, while hiring one is a short-term one. That’s a division of simple terms and may not always fully apply, but it’s a solid enough foundation.
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Building the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store
Having made that necessary distinction, let’s now explore the first option; building your team yourself. There are as many tips to share as there are success stories, but there’s only so much text to process. So, let’s use some real-world examples to extrapolate some key tips for this approach.
1 Look for masters of email marketing
There’s a good enough chance you’ve consumed BuzzFeed’s content over the years. There’s an even better chance you’ve at least heard of them. Even the latter alone is a great testament to its longevity; it was founded back in 2006.
One can identify their splendid email marketing as a big part of their success over the years. Consider this email, for example
It’s clear, direct, and to-the-point. Readers immediately know what to expect, should they continue reading. What’s more, the mention of Emma Thompson is immediately followed by a gif of the event:
Alt. tag: A gif of Emma Thompson in a golden/brown dress throwing her shoes behind her back.
This is a perfect example of modern email marketing; it follows trends, and it’s clear and personal. It breaks away from traditional marketing material, but it still knows how to approach its target audience.
Now, does the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store need to adhere to these guidelines? Probably not; it’s a different industry and a different audience. But this example does showcase what your marketers need to grasp:
- What is your target audience?
- How effectively are you communicating your message?
- How modern or traditional does your image have to be?
These are crucial questions your marketers need to be able to answer effectively.
2 Value digital marketers who embrace bold, creative ideas
Speaking of digital marketing ideas, there’s certainly value in tradition. Tried-and-tested approaches are valuable and, quite often, safe. But are they enough to build the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store?
Rather, can safe methods let you edge ahead of the competition?
Sadly for the cautious, probably not.
An excellent example of a bold, scathingly honest, and daring piece of digital marketing content let Dollar Shave Club thrive. For reference, this is their 2012 ad that established them:
This ad cost $4,500 and was shot in one day. What’s more, it didn’t take a whole team and meticulous planning to put together. It worked because it incorporated humor, visual storytelling, and borderline brutal honesty. The company was so successful that Unilever eventually acquired it for $1 billion.
Again, this may not be precisely what your eCommerce store’s digital marketing needs, but the template is sound, innovative, and promising. Thus, while experience is invaluable, this bold, creative mindset may be worthwhile to look for or cultivate.
3 Embrace social media marketing
Finally, your digital marketers, whether hired or trained, need to embrace social media marketing. Is it appropriate or potentially lucrative for eCommerce? Absolutely.
For a notable example, consider Traveller Collective.
Of course, that their engraved rings are designed to represent different countries helped. Their product is devised to be shared. However, they’ve also identified Instagram as their ideal platform, and they focused their efforts there. Finally, they encourage user-generated content (UGC) as the ultimate “social proof” that incites brand trust.
So, social media marketing is undeniably lucrative for eCommerce. Your marketers should know to engage, respond, monitor and handle bad comments, and capitalize on your social proof.
Finding the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store
On the other hand, you may wish to employ the services of an agency. Here, things are much simpler; you’re looking for professionals who tick specific boxes. At the same time, you should approach them prepared.
1 Establish your goals
As with all business efforts, your goals can make or break your endeavors. As such, you’ll need to approach agencies with S.M.A.R.T. goals in hand. Think Marketing Magazine helpfully explains:
The acronym’s meaning does vary among sources, but the concept remains the same. With clear goals in hand, your agency will know precisely where to focus. At the same time, you’ll also understand the objectives against which to gauge your success.
2 Look for credibility and expertise
As highlighted above, experience is invaluable, but credibility is critical. How do customers rate their services?
Here, reviews, testimonials, and case studies are enlightening. As an example, see how Hyphen promotes reviews:
Companies will naturally present their best image. Customers, however, will be honest and genuine in their reviews. It’s this social proof that’s often the better indication you need.
3 Juxtapose their pricing and your budget
Finally, carefully examine each agency’s pricing. As you do, consider your budget and what you actually need. “Less is more”, and your S.M.A.R.T. goals should inform how much or how little is ideal.
Reliablesoft helpfully examines digital marketing salaries from 2015 to 2020 here:
Far from just a point of reference, this should highlight both service value and supply and demand. Thus, you should carefully consider exactly what your perfect marketing team needs to do, what your agency offers, and what you’ll need to invest.
To summarize, finding and building the perfect marketing team for your eCommerce store can be rough. If you build your own team, you’ll need strong infrastructure, team cohesion, a social media strategy, and innovative creativity.
If you consult an agency, you’ll need to approach them with clear goals, examine their credentials, and evaluate their pricing. However, in both cases, success is only a few careful, informed decisions away.
About the Author
Andrew Clarkson is a freelance digital marketer, content writer, and web designer. He frequently contributes articles to many US-based websites, discussing matters of SEO, SEM, PPC, and other marketing subjects.