Are you working nonstop and seeing very little lift in your eCommerce marketing results?
Chances are, you’re not making the most of your time. You may be spinning your wheels if you spend your days focused on graphic design, email marketing, or content for your eCommerce store. Spending too much time on marketing execution can hurt your business, especially if you're too busy to focus on strategy or growth.
If you identify with any of the statements above, it may be time to consider eCommerce marketing services. Hiring a specialized service can provide online merchants with affordable, flexible access to experts who excel at creating graphics, writing product descriptions, or creating email marketing results. The right partnership can help you manage your time more effectively, and get you out of feeling like you’re constantly paddling upstream.
The best marketing service for your eCommerce business is going to vary depending on exactly where you’re getting stuck. However, your wisest bet is probably to invest in a service that specializes in doing exactly one thing really well, like retargeting or pay-per-click (PPC advertising). To help you break free, we’ve put together a list of the best eCommerce marketing services that can deliver a great return on your investment.
The 6 Best eCommerce Marketing Services in 2020
“The challenge of every Entrepreneur is to maintain the right balance of views to get things done, win in the marketplace, and keep everyone happy,” writes Forbes’ Martin Zwillig. If you’re swamped with marketing tasks, you’ve probably lost this balance. Your customer happiness, competitive advantage, and productivity may be suffering.
While the value of a service is pretty clear, it bears mention that not every service is valuable. Hiring the wrong service can waste precious marketing funds and put you even further behind. Fortunately, you can streamline results by focusing on the best solutions, which are usually eCommerce experts with a provable track record of client results.
The right eCommerce marketing service can provide the relief and ROI you need, and deliver on these promises really quickly. Bill Levy of Finest Cuban Cigars says, the “SmartMail email campaigns were up and running within weeks and every element was done for us. Absolute no brainer." In addition to fast execution, Levy’s Finest Cuban Cigars store unlocked a 2700% ROI on email campaign services from SmartMail.
While Levy’s results are great, SmartMail isn’t the best fit for everyone. We’ve put together a list of the best options for specialized eCommerce marketing services to help kickstart your search.
This Pennsylvania-based eCommerce marketing agency is owned and operated by Scott Sanfilippo and Joe Palko, who have been entrepreneurs in the eCommerce industry since 1994. The SolidCactus founders cut their teeth as merchants in the days of Yahoo! Stores 25 years ago, before eBay was launched. Today, Sanfillippo and Palko’s company offers specialized, expert services to eCommerce brands who need help with eCommerce web design and call center services.
SolidCactus design services are targeted towards online merchants that need a customized digital presence on major eCommerce platforms like Shopify, Yahoo!, nsCommerceSpace, or 1ShoppingCart. Design and programming services are tailored to create a fully custom digital shop that’s designed for a responsive user experience on mobile devices. SolidCactus offers a 100% US-based contact center for online merchants who need fully outsourced customer service on both phone and chat channels. The service can also accommodate short-term needs or occasional answering service support.
In addition to customer service, SolidCactus offers a limited menu of eCommerce digital marketing support, including SEO, social media, and PPC. These services include strategy and execution for merchants who want to better understand their online audience and get started with paid advertising.
So, you need graphics, but you don’t have the budget or demand to hire a full-time graphic designer. Perhaps you’re about to push a major marketing campaign or release a new category of products, and your staff graphic designer is swamped. Sometimes the solution is ad hoc graphic design services. If this is the case, it’s time to consider a specialized graphics service like Design Pickle.
Described as the world’s #1 flat-rate design agency, this Arizona-based organization has over 250 full-time staff members. Design Pickle offers highly flexible options for graphic design on demand. You can test it out by signing up for the platform and submitting a graphic design idea to get matched with a staff designer. The service will deliver a design with unlimited revisions within 1-2 business days.
If you need regular design help, you can sign up for “Design Pickle Pro,” a subscription service that could save you money and let you consistently collaborate with the same designer to create digital layouts, infographics, web pages, and animated gifs. This service isn’t the only company that offers flat-rate design for eCommerce, but it’s one of very few who offer premiums like unlimited revisions and 48-hour guaranteed turn-around.
“Founders shouldn’t blog,” says Audience Ops CEO Brian Casel. In many cases, Casel is correct. Many founders shouldn’t be on the hook to create product descriptions, pen social media posts, or draft web pages. It just isn’t sustainable for most online merchants to write their own content without sacrificing growth. After all, creating quality content is really time-consuming.
You may find yourself stuck writing your own content because you’re committed to quality. That’s not a bad thing, and you definitely want to avoid outsourcing to a content mill service. Many options are a risky bet that can lead to inaccurate, fluffy, or awkwardly phrased eCommerce content that reflects poorly on your brand.
Audience Ops is a content service for eCommerce companies who need an affordable, reliable source for high-quality content. This service works exclusively with US-based writers to help businesses create a content strategy and execute on many different types of web content. You can save money via bundling, or purchasing a subscription to one of Audience Op’s many different tiers for content creation.
This service specializes in the written word, but that’s not all they do. Audience Ops can also help eCommerce merchants create multi-media content. The agency has expanded to offer a Podcasting service and YouTube content creation.
Hiring a random marketing agency can be a risky bet. The best practices for successful eCommerce marketing aren’t the same as effective B2B marketing tactics. Luckily, there are digital marketing services that do nothing but eCommerce.
One of these highly specialized groups is Smarketa, a London-based team of specialists who offer a limited menu of eCommerce services. Smarketa can help with:
- eCommerce SEO
- eCommerce PPC
- eCommerce CRO
Smarketa’s goal is to help online merchants launch “highly targeted” eCommerce marketing via organic search optimization, PPC ads, and conversion rate optimization. This British service provider could be a solid option if you need expert assistance with a pretty specific use case, like improving the ROI of your Google PPC ads or getting started with paid YouTube ads.
Retargeting campaigns can potentially be one of the most powerful tools in your eCommerce marketing arsenal. Today’s customers are picky, but they’re receptive to the right types of communications. Studies show that 91% of customers are more likely to buy from brands that provide relevant offers and recommendations.
The key word to succeed here is “relevancy.” Personalized messages are no longer a competitive differentiator. Relevancy is critical. 72% of contemporary consumers only engage with marketing messages customized to their interests.
If you want to create retargeting campaigns that have a real impact on your customers, you may need help. ShoeLace is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution for helping brands nail the key points of retargeting. It’s designed to help you serve up messages, which include quality creative, segmented messaging, and behaviorally triggered messages. Better yet, Shoelace’s software includes expert execution. The service’s in-house experts do all of the heavy lifting for your eCommerce shop.
The process of working with Shoelace is pretty simple if you’re using Shopify or Shopify Plus. You provide Shoelace with access to your online store, and the team gets to work building a strategy to hit your goals. They take a look at your data and goals, which may include targets like “increasing customer lifetime value (LTV” or achieving steady long-term growth. Shoelace’s team reviews your customer journey and segments, and does all the work to create high-return retargeting campaigns. You can sit back and hit “approve” before Shoelace’s retargeting ads go live. They review your journeys and build segments and provide you with retargeting campaigns to approve before they go-live.
If email marketing isn’t the most valuable eCommerce marketing channel for your online store, you haven’t hit your peak potential. More than 59% of marketers report email is the highest-returns form of marketing they use. You need more than just software to win at eComm email, however. You need a strategy for segmentation, messaging, and behavioral triggers to make the most of your marketing automation platform and convert customers.
SmartMail is the best eCommerce marketing service for “DFY email campaigns.” That stands for do-it-for-you.
Our team of eCommerce email experts handles the full strategy and execution of eComm marketing campaigns, including design, coding, deliverability, and more. SmartMail uses a proprietary software to create campaigns for the entire customer journey, including automated workflows to welcome new customers, cement relationships after a purchase, and retain your buyers.
Saying we’re the “best” may sound conceited. In our case, it isn’t. Our client results can back up this claim. SmartMail has helped 89 eCommerce clients send 530 billion emails, which generated $187 million in revenue. When you look at “DIY” email campaign results next to a SmartMail campaign, it’s a pretty clear difference.
Our services increase open rates by over 300% and yield more than a 200% increase in revenue. eCommerce entrepreneurs who partner with SmartMail, on average, are driving 10-15% of total sales through automated campaigns. We raise that percentage to 30-40% of total sales through email. That’s a 200-400% increase in revenue.
SmartMail isn’t the only service for eCommerce email. However, our advantages are pretty unique. We’re substantially cheaper than other services. SmartMail offers month-to-month service agreements, instead of making our clients sign expensive, long-term contracts. We also typically get campaigns to go live within just 2-3 weeks. Learn more about the SmartMail difference.
Do You Need Specialists or a "Jack-Of-All-Trades" Service?
Some services do everything. Some professional service firms even try to do everything for everyone, at least according to their business website. Hiring a Jack-of-All-Trades Service can lead to a provider who is good at many different things. In many cases, these jacks are really great at nothing.
Narrowing your search to highly-specialized service providers can ensure you’re collaborating with someone who’s an expert. Specialists can help you streamline your access to solutions for a specific problem, like low-conversion email marketing campaigns or a content creation backlog.
SmartMail is absolutely great at triggered eCommerce emails, which are segmented and personalized based on customer data. We’ve got the case studies and software to back up this claim. We’re not claiming we’re the best at anything else, and we’ll advise you to look elsewhere for help building eCommerce retargeting campaigns or outsourced customer service.
There are exceptions to every rule. You may be able to dig up a rare service provider who does all types of eCommerce marketing services well. However, a specialist is generally the best way to turn your budget into value and unlock a fast turn-around.
What Level of Service Do You Need?
What type of service do you need? We’re not just talking about categories of service, like content creation, email campaigns, or graphic design. Think about the ideal way for you to collaborate with a service provider. You have several options when choosing a level of service:
- DIY: Do-it-yourself. This means creating a strategy and executing in-house instead of outsourcing any part of the task.
- DWY: Done-with-you. This is a close collaboration with a service provider. You may want to go the “DWY” route if you want to learn how to DIY in the future. Examples could include a strategist, a consultant service, a reseller who can train you on best practices.
- DFY: Done-for-you. A DFY service is a service provider that handles strategy and execution. Your level of involvement can vary. However, you should be involved in educating the provider about your online business, approving the strategy, approving creative materials, and receiving reports about results after the marketing is executed.
DIY can be a dangerous trap for online merchants. Trying to DIY everything yourself can distract you from growing your business. DWY can be the right solution in many situations. Consider this route if you need to get a new hire up-to-speed by hiring a consultant, or you need to work with a software reseller to learn how to use a MarTech platform. DFY isn’t always the right solution, but it’s often a wise choice. Don’t overlook a service which can DFY if you need to outsource something completely and achieve expert-driven results.