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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:

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

If you are interested in learning more, please contact exportecommerce-commerceelectroniqueexport@international.gc.ca for a particular chapter or the full guide.

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