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E-Commerce Strategy: How To Grow Your Online Store To $1,000,000/Year

I see a lot of marketing professionals who focus on marketing tactics and trends but then fail to consider the need for a comprehensive long-term marketing strategy. This, I feel, is a mistake.

So, why is long-term marketing strategy so important? Working five years in finance and strategy in the commercial insurance industry, I began to appreciate the importance of long-term strategy. I learned how to tie the work I was doing to real business results. Ultimately, I grew to understand exactly how my work impacted the bottom line.

Marketing Strategy and the Bottom Line

Your marketing strategy needs to be tied to your bottom-line goals. Think of marketing as a way to generate revenue. Unfortunately, most marketing departments don't think this way.

Let me share a short story to explain what I mean:

I was recently talking to a business owner who had a goal to generate a million dollars in sales with an e-commerce store.

One million dollars in sales is not an easy goal to reach. I've observed that the company did not have a long-term strategy. In fact, they did not have any kind of roadmap for how they might go about reaching their one million dollar goal.

You simply cannot achieve this type of goal by merely relying on a few marketing tactics. Doing it right takes a lot of planning and work. That’s just the nature of the business.

How to Reach 1 Million in Revenues

I found out that the company had two types of customers: Type A and Type B. The former is worth approximately $100/year in sales and the latter is worth approximately $1,000/year. Assuming that 50 percent of this company’s sales come from the Type A customers and the other 50 percent comes from Type B, we can determine the numbers required for each customer segment:

Type A

  • $500,000 revenue / $100 per customer = 5,000 customers
  • 5,000 customers / 1% conversion rate (low end) = 500,000 visitors
  • 5,000 customers / 4% conversion rate (high end)= 125,000 visitors

Type B

  • $500,000 revenue / $1,000 per customer = 500 customers
  • 500 customers / 1% conversion rate (low end) = 50,000 visitors
  • 500 customers / 4% conversion rate (high end) = 12,500 visitors

Depending on conversion rate, this company would need to attract anywhere from 137,500 to 550,000 visitors per year in order to generate their revenue goal. That’s between 11,458 and 45,833 visitors per month.

How to Generate a Sufficient Number of Visitors to Meet Your Goals

Begin by evaluating which marketing channels you should focus on. Start with the opportunity to generate qualified traffic.

If we pursue search traffic, both organic and paid, we need to evaluate how many people are searching the products the company sells. Then we have to evaluate how much that traffic is likely to cost. Only then can we see whether the channel is both effective and profitable.

If we decide to focus on a particular channel or channels, we next need to develop a roadmap with specific steps to focus on. Only once we reach this point can we begin to talk about worthwhile marketing tactics and trends for each specific channel.

Without a Good Strategy, You Are Dead in the Water

Once you have a long-term strategy in place, you will have much greater chance of achieving your goals. You will be able to see the big picture and you will have a way to gauge how your strategy is working. This is applicable for any business: big or small, regardless of industry.

It doesn’t matter what your goal is – you have to know exactly what you are aiming for and how you are going to achieve it. Don’t underestimate the importance of planning your long-term marketing strategy. If you just focus on the tactics and the latest trends, you are likely to fail very quickly.

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