How to have a winning online marketing strategy

Jul 14 2020 | PayPal editorial staff

Developing a marketing strategy might sound like a time-consuming and complex project, but it needn’t be. Here are 5 powerful ideas to get you started.
You’ve launched your online business. It’s trustworthy, it offers a seamless shopping experience and customers are beginning to buy from you.

But how do you take your ecommerce business to the next level? How do you attract new customers or persuade existing customers to spend more with you?

That’s why you need a marketing strategy for your online business.

Developing a marketing strategy might sound like a time-consuming and complex project, but it needn’t be. Here are 5 powerful ideas to get you started.

There’s also a longer version with more ideas and information, available as a free, downloadable eBook. You’ll find the link at the end of this article.

1.  Understand your customers and their journey

You can use what you know about customers to create customised experiences that help people find the things they want to buy.

The first step is to learn about your customers, their interests and priorities. Create a profile or persona of your typical customer. For example, are they young, single men interested in fitness and healthy living, or are they older married women with professional jobs, plenty of money but not much free time?

The next step is to think about the “buyer journey”. When a shopper discovers your brand, explores what you’re selling and decides whether to make a purchase, they are on a buyer journey. If you understand what stage of the journey they’re at, you can provide the information they need to move them along to the next stage.

2.  Use SEM and SEO to raise your profile

Search engine marketing (SEM) can help your business stand out from the crowd. It uses targeted advertising to raise the visibility of your business on search engine results pages, making customers more likely to encounter your brand as they search for specific products or services.

SEM ads range in size and format, from text-based messages to visual display ads. Advertisers bid on keywords that shoppers use when they search. The price you pay for a keyword depends on factors like how often people search for it, how much competition there is for the keyword, and how specific it is.

On-page SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of helping your website appear nearer to the top of search engine results by changing the structure and content of your web pages. The words you use (including keywords), the structure of headings and the way you describe images can all affect how easily a search engine “understands” what’s on your site.

There are lots of online resources to help you improve SEO, but also remember that the way shoppers search is changing all the time. Try to stay current and consider important trends like mobile, voice and visual search.

3.  Use social media to have conversations and drive sales

Social media can be an effective channel on which to attract new customers, build relationships and understand what customers are seeking. You can also sell directly on social media.
The trick is to carefully choose the best channels for your particular customers, then to invest the time to build an audience. Once you begin, you can use the data from social media channels’ tools to improve your strategy.

Once you have a good understanding of your audience, you can use targeted, paid content to promote your business.

The next stage is to make easy for customers to shop with you, even if they are not on your site. Social commerce – buying directly from a social media platform – is already popular in some countries and growing fast everywhere.

See which of your chosen platforms would be best for selling direct and start experimenting with shoppable posts.

PayPal can help. With, you can create a personalised link to send to customers by email, WhatsApp or any other messenger service. You can even share it on the phone.

4.  Use personalised content for one-to-one marketing

Effective personalisation makes a better, more engaging, customer experience.

Help shoppers to personalise their visits to your site (and make their return visits even better). Give them the ability to create wish-lists, to mark favourite items and easily share them on social media. You can also personalise what they see based on their previous history on the site or even the local weather.

Look out for the many low-cost (and even free) solutions designed for the needs of smaller businesses. These can make it easy to automatically tailor your site content based on customers’ preferences and interactions.

You can also offer a more personalised payment experience by automatically offering locally relevant payment methods and currencies and by supporting the device-type your shoppers prefer. PayPal can help will all of this and more.

Whatever level of personalisation you decide upon, make sure you always comply with the privacy laws of the markets you target.

5.  Ramp up early for selling around major holidays

Major holidays present an opportunity for your business to earn new customers and deepen relationships with existing ones by offering special promotions. Think about how you can use deals and discounts to attract new customers and reward loyal ones. You need to plan ahead. Here are some tips:
  • Optimise for search – improve your SEO by using relevant keywords for the holiday you’re targeting:  (for example, “Singles’ Day gifts” or “Christmas deals”).
  • Create “quick navigation” paths to connect shoppers directly to seasonal bestsellers.
  • Make it easy for customers to opt in to your email marketing programme. Enticing them with a special offer when they arrive on your site, such as “10% off your first purchase,” can help.
  • Build holiday promotions into your social media efforts. Launch a holiday promotion through your Facebook page and Twitter account, offering special coupons to people who follow you online.


Download your free eBook today

A marketing plan can help you build your online business by attracting new customers and encouraging existing customers to spend more. It doesn’t need to be difficult, either. Just chose a few of these ideas and try them out.

You can find further ideas and more information on each of the above in our free eBook.


The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. The information in this article does not constitute legal, financial, IT, business or investment advice of any kind and is not a substitute for any professional advice. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, IT and legal advice before making any business decision.

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