Cross-border e-commerce: resources for exporting to the United States of America
Chapter 5: Connecting with US consumers - digital marketing opportunities in the US
Although customer acquisition sits atop the traditional sales funnel, online retail executives usually prioritize cross-border operations (e.g., fraud protection, payment, international checkout and shipping) before investing in digital marketing and advertising investments. The first wave of cross-border shoppers typically come directly to brands asking them to sell and ship to them. This organic traffic originates from multiple sources, with social media, user-generated content and consumer rating and reviews driving a growing amount of awareness and interest.
Once global e-commerce teams build the cross-border operations necessary to serve (and ideally retain) international customers, they can prioritize acquiring and engaging new shoppers via online search, social, email and display ads. Many Canadian e-commerce brands are already familiar with the most-effective US digital marketing tactics since they are like the programs they use to acquire and retain Canadian customers.
Consumer data privacy push transforming digital advertising in the US
Change is on the horizon for digital marketers. The 2021 phase-out of Google Chrome third party cookies and Google's decision to drop individual behavioral tracking measures has changed the online advertising industry in a fundamental manner.
Digital marketing priorities for cross-border growth
Most digital marketing leaders have three primary objectives:
- increase online traffic
- convert traffic to specific calls-to-action
- cost-effectively generate brand awareness, consumer engagement and leads
Sales, customer loyalty and customer lifetime value (CLV) are typically three top metrics for measuring the success of digital marketing programs for both domestic and cross-border audiences.
Building your US digital marketing plan
Building a digital marketing plan to support cross-border e-commerce growth takes hard work and testing. To optimize a brand's return on advertising spend (ROAS), successful programs blend the art of advertising with the science of customer data and digital media optimization. The digital marketing mix should be open to new ideas and innovations. For instance, Canadian brands should test other marketing tactics like referral programs where digital and social media can help amplify reach to targeted prospects in the US.
Chapter 5 checklist
- Start your cross-border marketing push into the US with relevant digital marketing strategies that have worked for you in Canada.
- Prioritize social in the cross-border marketing mix. Gain traction and foster trust with influencers by investing in authentic and engaging content.
- Budget marketing dollars for e-commerce site advertising if you sell on marketplaces and/or multi-brand online "department stores."
- Invest wisely in paid search; developing content that provides contextual targeting opportunities will help with your SEO initiatives.
- The basics of email marketing - deliver the right message to the right person at the right time – continue to deliver solid returns.
- Think mobile first for your marketing campaigns and prioritize mobile search. Stay alert for new trends like over-the-top video (OTT).
- Focus on first-party data collection, segmentation and analysis as you work with your team and trusted partners to activate and engage US audiences. Data fuels the digital marketing ecosystem.
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