9 Tips for E-Commerce Marketing Using Onsite Banner Ads

Use these practical tips to mount a successful campaign — and scale your program.

There are many different approaches to product and brand promotion on e-commerce sites. A good e-commerce marketing campaign that can yield substantial visibility for both products and brands that is easy to implement is an onsite banner campaign.

An e-commerce marketing campaign of this sort entails placing a digital banner on your website to bring attention to a specific product or brand that you offer. The banner can either be something that you create in house, or it can be provided by the company being represented.

Because this sort of e-commerce marketing campaign is a front-facing promotional endeavor, there are several things you can do to maximize its potential. Here are nine practical tips for how to run a successful onsite banner campaign.

1. Determine your approach.

The first step is to identify the objective of your banner campaign and establish how you want to run it. Much of this depends on your business model and what you are selling. Ask yourself:

  • Do you want to promote brands, services, or specific products?
  • Do you want to have banners change at regular intervals, or just as new ones come in?
  • Where do you want the banners placed on your website?
  • Are you going to be hands-on with creating banners yourself or will you rely on outside sources to make them?
  • What is your goal with this campaign (e.g., increased sales of a product, new product announcements, ad space revenue)?

These are all questions you can ask yourself when conceptualizing an ongoing e-commerce marketing campaign using onsite banners.

2. Create a spec sheet.

Once you’ve identified the approach you want to take with your banner campaign, it’s a good idea to create a specifications sheet for banners. If outside sources are creating the banners, you can simply send them the spec sheet. On the other hand, if you are creating the banners internally, a spec sheet can serve as a checklist to ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Here are a few items you should make a point of including in your spec sheet:

  • Banner dimension requirements (in pixels)
  • Suggested layout
  • Text needed
  • Brand/product logo placement location
  • What file format to use
  • Where to submit the final version
  • Cost options (if applicable)

3. Link it.

This should go without saying, but make sure your banners are always linked directly to whatever it is they are promoting.

As soon as you catch a user’s attention, they should be able to click the banner and go directly to a page to purchase the product in question or learn more on a landing page (e.g., “Click here for more details . . . ”) that contains more information and a call to action.

4. Make it pop!

It’s vital that banners involved in an onsite e-commerce marketing campaign are eye-catching. You can have all the information there, but if a banner doesn’t catch a visitor’s attention, the campaign will fall flat.

Experiment with different color schemes and combinations to see what stands out. Rather than using a plain colored background, try different textured backdrops to give your banner a visual personality.

If you are struggling with creating texture, there are plenty of free stock image sites that have various photo theme textures. Or, try putting different color blocks behind the sections of the banner and blending them together with a gradient or other effect so that the eye glides over the banner in a natural manner.

Make sure all images included in your banner campaign are high resolution so they don’t pixelate. It might be tempting to include an image that you really like but that is not quite big enough for the banner size, but nothing screams “amateur” like a banner that is distorted in some fashion.

5. Be mobile friendly.

These days, surfing the web is no longer restricted to desktops or laptops. Many people, especially those on the go, access webpages on their mobile devices.

A large banner that looks great on your work computer might not display well on a smartphone or tablet. This can also affect your organic rankings with search engines as their algorithms now place greater emphasis on sites’ mobile friendliness.

Because of this, it is important to make sure that your banner is optimized for mobile viewing. Alternatively, if you have the backend capabilities to serve high-resolution or low-resolution banners depending on the device used to access your site, you could have two versions of the same banner: standard and mobile. Just make sure that your spec sheet includes the dimension requirements for both the standard and mobile versions.

6. Sweeten the deal.

Sometimes simply having a great banner isn’t enough to get people interested in your e-commerce marketing campaign. In which case, it may be a good idea to include a limited-time offer and a call to action to encourage people to act.

An example of this would be a sale offer with a coupon code on the banner that has an expiration date, or a link to a landing page that clearly explains the offer and outlines the next step for interested customers.

7. Optimize it.

To improve your page load times and help with your SEO, it is important to make sure that your banner is optimized for the web.

You want your image to be the smallest size possible without noticeably sacrificing any image quality. Many graphic design programs such as Photoshop have a ‘Save for Web’ function that allows you to easily adjust the export size so that it is more conducive to posting onto the Internet.

If graphic design is not your strong point or if you already have an existing banner that you need to optimize, no worries. There are plenty of free image optimization tools out there such as Optimizilla and Free Image Optimizer. The algorithms on these websites will automatically optimize your images to the best settings for web viewability while also allowing for customization options.

8. Let people know.

Don’t limit your promotion to the banner. Use push and pull marketing strategies in tandem with your banner campaign and use your banner as a tool to fuel those strategies.

For example, to inform your existing customer base about the banner promotion, send out an email blast to your customer list. In the blast, make the copy concise, personal, and to the point in describing the current promotion. But rather than giving the full details about the promotion, give them just enough to get their attention. Then tell them to look for the banner on your homepage to get more information, providing them with a link to your website. This will increase your site visits and encourage contacts to go directly to your website, increasing the chances of purchase.

Don’t underestimate the power and ease of social media either, even in B2B settings. As soon as that banner goes live, update the status on your social media platforms to notify followers about the promotion and point them to the website, much like with the email blast.

9. Track your results.

Measuring the success of an e-commerce marketing campaign involving banners can be tricky, but it can be done.

For example, if your campaign uses a coupon code, you can simply note the number of times the coupon was used in your sales reports.

Or, in the case of banners that link to a landing page that has no other pathway, you can count the number of visits that page receives to gauge the number of people that clicked on your campaign. This traffic can be further specified by setting up UTM parameters, which are added to your campaign URL and communicate with your chosen metric tool (such as Google Analytics) for tracking.

Monitoring the metrics of these banners can tell you which banners are the most successful and what products are the most appealing to customers. You can then use this information to determine what banner promotions to run in the future.

Why Banners Matter for E-Commerce Marketing

If you don’t see immediate success with a banner campaign, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it was a poor investment. Even if customers don’t take advantage of a promotion, letting them know about new products and brands may contribute to their decision to make that purchase at a later date. It also keeps your site fresh and alive with new content and imagery.

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About the Author

Nathan Wakefield


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