It’s easy to look at the state of the world right now and see everything falling apart. Lives are being lost in every corner of the globe. Businesses are running aground, unable to pay their bills. People are being confined to their homes.

Families are being either trapped together or kept separate. And to add to that hellish list, we don’t even know when the march of COVID-19 will slow enough that life can start to return to normal.

That said, not all the ills of the world can be attributed to this pandemic because not all businesses or industries have been majorly hampered by it. 

Ecommerce is a great example. If anything, the industry is booming in a time when brick-and-mortar stores are really suffering. Plenty of merchants are doing excellent business at the moment — but what can you do if you’re not one of them?

If you’re offering good products at solid prices but you’re failing to make enough sales, there’s every chance that your marketing strategy is letting you down. So where could you be going wrong? Here are some possible reasons why your eCommerce marketing strategy is failing:

You’re being insufficiently proactive

In principle, the perfect marketing strategy would be completely passive: you’d put it into place, sit back, relax, and wait for the conversions to arrive.

But even the most successful sellers in the world don’t settle for being passive, because they know that they’d eventually be overtaken by their competitors if they reduced their marketing activity. And smaller sellers really can’t afford to be passive because they don’t have much brand recognition to push them along.

So what does being proactive mean? It means acting like a salesperson and going after-sales directly, reaching out to people to talk about what they’re looking for and tempt them to buy from you.

Entrepreneur Tim Kock mentions a great tactic in this piece on dropshipping mistakes: when he’s trying to get a new store off the ground, he finds prospects on Instagram, messages them directly, and offers them discounts to buy from him and give him feedback.

You can’t market all the time through offering individual buyers discounts, but just think about how much more quickly the direct approach can produce results. A new store owner could run paid ads for weeks or even months before getting a sale — and until you get a sale, you can’t get any meaningful feedback on your store.

You’re trying to compete with huge brands

Let’s say you sell various hats, and you want to be found by shoppers interested in top hats (obviously), so you make a huge effort to optimize your content for the search term “top hats”: just that, “top hats” by itself. After a massive amount of effort, you open up your analytics console to see how many visits you’ve received. Almost none. What’s the issue?

Very simply, you’ve picked a fight you can’t possibly hope to win. Any simple search term with a lot of volumes has already been targeted by the big business of some kind over the course of years, with pages picking up high-quality backlinks from strong domains, plenty of customer reviews, and extra ranking juice from brand popularity.

If you were in charge of Google, which site would you consider more worth suggesting for “top hats”: Site #1 that has hundreds of blog posts about top hats and a long history of selling top hats, or site #2 that’s relatively new and concentrates on hats in general? You’d pick the first one, and for good reason.

Instead of targeting short search terms, you should focus on long-tail keywords like “big velvet top hats with diagonal stitching” (or something more realistic). Keywords that are still fairly actionable and relevant but not so popular that big brands bother targeting them. Cater to niches, and your SEO efforts will prove much more fruitful.

You’re targeting the wrong channels

Every store’s ideal audience uses a unique assortment of channels to find recommendations and product news, so there’s a decent chance that the channels you’re targeting aren’t the most useful for you.

Consider something like Google Ads: it’s reliable, certainly, and low-risk when it comes to getting clicks, but it isn’t the best idea when you’re trying to promote something that relies heavily on visuals. A clothing line, for instance. Fashion shoppers will want to see items.

Something like Facebook Ads would be far better because it would allow the inclusion of images and even videos. Take a close look at your strategy and think carefully about whether you’re really using the right channels: if you’re putting money into a channel that doesn’t fit, reallocate it to something more appropriate.


There are so many more reasons why a marketing strategy can be failing, but these three are fairly common reasons why new businesses don’t make the kind of progress they want.

Due to the difficult circumstances we all face at the moment, you need to make the most of the opportunities available to you, so address these issues and start getting the levels of traffic you need.