The 8 Best Marketing Channels for Ecommerce Businesses

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Digital marketing is a must-have for scaling ecommerce businesses. The internet is busy and noisy, so without marketing it’s difficult to get your brand in front of customers. But there are many marketing channels for ecommerce. How can you make the best choice for your business?

In this article, we’ll discuss eight digital marketing channels for ecommerce. At Website Builder Expert we’ve got our favorites, and we’re sure you’ll find at least one too.

What Are Marketing Channels?

A marketing channel is a place or a platform where you reach potential customers.

You might want to show off your products or services. Or spread awareness of your brand or your mission. Maybe you’re ready to announce upcoming events or creative collaborations straight away. The beauty of marketing channels for ecommerce is that the audience comes to you, regardless of your goal or channel.

Your business has a lot of competition – ecommerce is currently worth around $5.5 trillion, and ecommerce will account for 22.3% of total retail sales by next year. Whenever it’s used the right way, marketing will give your ecommerce business an advantage.

8 Best Marketing Channels for Ecommerce

The following are some of the best marketing channels for ecommerce with success stories of ecommerce businesses who made these channels work for them. Each offers its own benefits. The key is that once you choose the channels that work for you, use the best practices to really maximize the channel’s impact.

#1 Email Marketing

Email offers a wide variety of value to a subscriber’s life including special promotions, affiliate products, articles, reviews, and announcements. Emails drive your readers back to your website, and encourage long-term relationships with your audience because they’re used throughout the entire buyer cycle, from the introduction to the last receipt you send to them.

Email marketing software isn’t just one boring message blasted to everyone. Email marketing best practices provide lots of ways to differentiate your content. For instance, software segments customers by interests or buying habits to help you give them what they want. The approach suits strong writers who are creative, open, and experimental.

The ecommerce company Drift decided to do something different with its first email – its team personally introduced themselves, reassured their audience, then asked them what they’re looking for. The email got an astonishing 75% open rate and a 25% response rate!

drift marketing email example
This email is a great example of engaging with your audience - Drift's successful email marketing feels personal and on-brand!

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Make sure your emails reflect your brand’s voice and values. This will help the audience understand who you are.

#2 Content Marketing

Ecommerce content marketing is planning, making, and distributing content that does not directly involve sales. Though it can be time-consuming, it increases awareness of your brand, builds trust, adds value to your customers’ lives, creates community, engages your audience, and inspires curiosity for your brand.

The best content is unexpected, heavy on stories, and informs or delights your audiences.

There’s plenty of choice including blogs, short films, infographics, animations, industry reviews, podcasts, and photo content. Work with what your ideal audience would specifically appreciate.

Intrepid Travel created The Journal, a content hub that showcases the stories that come from its customers on their travels. It then expanded this with photographs to its Journal Facebook page, gaining 600k followers.

Intrepid Travel

marketing channels intrepid travel facebook
Intrepid features its customers' stories on its Facebook page

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: If you’re nervous about a particular type of content, consider a creative collaboration with a friend or business that can ease you into it.

#3 Social Media Ads

Social media ads are a low-cost way to bring your brand to a new audience in a space they already love. You won’t have to coax this new audience to do anything to get an understanding of who you are.

Whether you use big platforms like Facebook, TikTok, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram, or a niche platform, the possibilities are endless.

But it’s important to use specific social media platforms wisely. Think about what audiences get from that specific platform and go from there. Small jewelry brand Slate & Tell launched visual ads with a call to action (CTA) on TikTok using the platform’s tools. Once it added funnels, it reached 4 million users, doubling its ad spend on return.

slate & tell website marketing channel example
Slate & Tell used ads on TikTok to engage customers and doubled its budget in returns.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Most social media ads have a particular theme, are temporary, and can be released across different platforms at the same time (with relevant platform adjustments).

#4 Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves strategically using searchable terms to help people find your ecommerce business.

SEO ups your website ranking, and increases perception, trust, and market share. Though it has no expiration, SEO needs monitoring and adjustment as time goes on. It works best when you match your search words with your content and have a very strong writer onboard. You can read more about the benefits of SEO here.

Apptega’s cybersecurity and compliance platform relied on its unoptimized WordPress site to generate leads, but wasn’t achieving its goals. Using SEO tools from HubSpot, Apptega found and improved underperforming pages. It also saw improvements in rankings. For example, one core page moved from position 100+ in the rankings to position three.

apptega marketing channel example
Apptega improved its on-site SEO in order to boost its search engine rankings and, in turn, generate more website traffic.

The main benefit of moving your online store up search engine rankings is that the higher up you are, the more traffic your store receives, and the more sales you get. This is because most people click on the top search results, so if you’re ranking above your competitors you have more customers looking at your products and converting.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Make the website copy relevant to how you want the shopper to experience your website and apps.

#5 Retargeting

Retargeting is one of the most overlooked but effective marketing channels for ecommerce. We’ve all ducked out of a sales funnel at some point – the rate for ecommerce shopping cart abandonment alone is 79.8%. Boredom, distraction, and competition mean a lot of lost business.

Retargeting uses browser cookies to offer products and discounts to a potential customer who ducked out at some point. Done right they encourage loyalty, allow you to niche-target your potential customers, and drive your sales conversion way up.

Retargeting features an unmistakable call to action, so you need clear conversion goals first.

Watchfinder used Google Analytics to make specific audience lists of intent. It segmented the customers by sales funnel stage and shopping behavior and created visual ads matching specific customer needs. In six months it had an ROI of 1,300%.

watchfinder rolex ad
Watchfinder used Google Analytics to segment customers by sales funnel and tailor its marketing accordingly.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Retargeting isn’t just for abandoned leads. You can retarget customers who’ve just made a purchase by immediately offering them a discount on something additional if they buy right away.

#6 Influencer Marketing

Last year the use of influencers for ecommerce marketing was worth over $13 billion. Its success is no wonder – one advertisement can land on the timelines of millions of followers willing to buy products recommended to them. It’s an instant trust-building strategy, reaching markets you might not organically reach.

Even influencers with smaller audiences can have a huge impact. Stories and stills on Instagram and Facebook work really well too. Australian fresh meal company Youfoodz had a new winter menu it wanted to spread awareness about. It enlisted 81 influencers who made 167 types of content like videos and 162 stories.

The results were incredible – 70,000 direct engagements, and 1.5 million people on Facebook and Instagram learned about its brand. 

youfoodz instagram post example
Youfoodz partnered with influencers to promote its new product range.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Double check your supply chain first to ensure you can fulfill a massive increase in orders.  

#7 Search Ads

Search ads are those paid results or boxes posted on websites or at the top of a search results page. The benefits are excellent. First, you’re at the top of a list that might organically take you months to achieve. Second, your audience is already primed and potentially ready to buy. And third, ads give useful analytics.

Some of the best ads link to an expanded message, tease a review, and feature three headlines.

ABLY is a Korean ecommerce app that delivers targeted unique fashion shopping experiences. But it wanted to increase its traffic and broaden offerables and performance. So ABLY used Apple Search Ads to attract attention and gauge what was working. It enjoyed both short-term and long-term advantage over other channels including 25% increased lifetime value compared to its competitors and 30% increase in revenue per user.

ably korean fashion app
Ably's app offers a unique user experience, and used Apple Search Ads to catch users' attention online.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Some search companies like Google only charge when you get a click on your ad, so check out pricing.

#8 Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is recruiting potential partners to promote your ecommerce business and products on their marketing channels for a commission. It’s a very easy, time-savvy channel.

It’s also low risk (you only pay out when there’s a completed sale) and builds relationships with partners. It provides a separate income stream and guarantees new audiences find out about you too.

There are many different types of affiliate partners, so choose partners with good reputations and SEO strategy. This channel is great for connectors who work well with people.

The virtual mall This Is Why I’m Broke experienced explosive growth once it created affiliated partnerships. Affiliates are now its main income-makers – Amazon alone brings in $20k a month.

this is why i'm broke website
This Is Why I'm Broke is a successful online shopping mall that uses affiliate marketing.

Advice from the Experts

TOP TIP: Negotiate your rates from the beginning, and if you choose international partners, be aware of how benefits and perks are valued in different places.


There is a huge variety of ecommerce digital marketing channels. They suit a spectrum of experience and skills, no matter what type of impact you want to create.

The great news is, they encourage experimentation and tweaking. Try on as many channels as you like, and see what works best both for you and your ecommerce products. Happy experimenting!

We also have more guides to content marketing, like this one on content marketing pyramids.


Email marketing has the best ROI at 3,600%, and SEO marketing has an average ROI of around 2,200% making these both very worthwhile investments! You can see a full breakdown of digital marketing ROI statistics in our full guide to help you invest in the right channels for you.

Content marketing arguably takes up the most time to create. However, if you have a knack for quick photo taking or writing, low-text platforms like Twitter and Instagram could be more time effective.

Check out these 10 Email Marketing Campaign Examples for some inspiration on how to create awesome emails yourself!

Written by:
Smiling headshot of Amanda Graham
I started writing for Website Builder Expert in 2022. I love copywriting for ecommerce, website, automation, and website brands and I’ve ghostwritten and content strategised for some of the largest multinational brands in the world. I have years of writing experience for the BBC, including documentaries, scripts, and Twitter campaigns. With such a wealth of experience to draw on, some of my best work on Website Builder Expert focuses on topics such as ecommerce strategies, marketing tips, and small business advice. I hope you enjoy my articles!


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