Jun 17, 2024

The eCommerce marathon: Marketing strategies - An interview with AJ Saunders

aj saunders click to buy blog
aj saunders click to buy blog
Rebecca Anderson

Rebecca Anderson

The eCommerce marathon: Marketing strategies - An interview with AJ Saunders

When it comes to creating a winning eCommerce strategy, brands have to think of it as a marathon - not just a sprint. 

We covered this and more in our latest episode of Click To Buy, where we had an enlightening discussion with AJ Saunders, the founder of Audacious Commerce. 

With his extensive background in digital marketing and entrepreneurship, AJ shared with us invaluable strategies for navigating the e-commerce landscape. 

We discussed everything from marketing strategy to tactical execution and the importance of customer feedback. He recommends focusing on a few key marketing channels, being methodical in execution, and setting meaningful goals. AJ’s insights are crucial for any e-commerce brand looking to thrive in a competitive market.

This article will explore the key takeaways from our conversation and offer practical advice for e-commerce businesses at every stage! 

To listen to the full conversation, tune into the complete Click To Buy episode with AJ:

Who is AJ Saunders

AJ Saunders is a seasoned entrepreneur and digital marketer. He has launched an e-book publishing company, a global e-commerce shop, and advised numerous companies on their digital marketing strategies. AJ’s diverse experience makes him uniquely qualified to offer practical and strategic advice to e-commerce businesses.

How to survive the eCommerce marathon 

To succeed in eCommerce, AJ believes that businesses need to have the right mindset. It's not about quick, short-term gains but about enduring the long haul with strategic planning and consistent effort.

"The analogy I like to use is that we're in a marathon, not a sprint. In a marathon, you have to pace yourself and be methodical. You don’t win a marathon by sprinting; you win by taking each mile strategically, knowing your strengths, and managing your energy.” says AJ, “Similarly, in e-commerce, success comes from sustained, consistent effort over time. You have to plan your moves carefully and be prepared to adapt as you go."

Here are 5 steps that eCommerce brands can take to refine their marketing strategy: 

1. Focus on specific marketing channels

For newer brands just getting started with their marketing efforts, AJ emphasizes the importance of concentrating efforts on two or three marketing channels. This focused approach allows for deeper experimentation and optimization, leading to better results.

"It's best to pick two or three marketing channels and just go wholeheartedly into them. Whether it’s PPC, SEO, or email marketing, dedicating your resources to a few channels enables you to innovate and try different things around the edges. It’s about finding what works and doubling down on it."

For additional advice, here’s a guide AJ wrote for the Instant blog, to help brands learn how to build an SEO plan for your Shopify store

2. Tactical execution is critical

In the early stages of an e-commerce business, tactical execution is essential. AJ explains that businesses must adapt quickly and try different strategies to find what works:

“It’s about figuring out where you can generate demand quickly, even if it’s not a long-term strategy,” explains AJ. “Once you have traction and a profitable business, then you can start thinking more strategically."

3. Listen to your customers

Understanding customer needs is paramount, no matter what stage of scaling your brand is at. AJ shares a story about a client with unsold inventory because she wasn’t listening to customer feedback: 

"I had a client who had $30,000 worth of inventory just sitting there. She wasn’t selling anything because she wasn’t listening to what her customers wanted. She was focused on what she liked making rather than what there was a demand for,” says AJ, “The right time to pivot is when your customers are demanding something that you do not offer, but you could offer. It’s crucial to be responsive to your customers’ needs and feedback."

Pivoting based on what customers want can significantly impact your Shopify success.

4. Build genuine relationships

AJ encourages brands to focus on building authentic relationships with their customers. 

He reassures that unsubscribes should be seen as an opportunity to focus on genuinely interested customers:

"Build genuine relationships with your long-term clients. Don’t be afraid of unsubscribes. If someone opts out, they’re making your job easier by helping you focus on those who are truly interested in your product. It's about quality over quantity. Strong relationships lead to better engagement and higher conversion rates."

5. Set meaningful goals and KPIs

Setting clear goals and KPIs is crucial for measuring success. AJ helps clients define their objectives, optimize their current efforts, and find external solutions to their problems.

"Set meaningful goals that make a difference in your trajectory. Your KPIs could be anything from the number of hits you get a day, the amount of revenue, or how many customers you speak to,” says AJ, “It’s important to have metrics that describe what the best behavior looks like and will enable you to push forward towards where you want to be."

AJ’s click-worthy tip

While AJ acknowledges the value of trends, he stresses the importance of sticking to proven marketing tactics. Building strong customer relationships, optimizing landing pages, and effective email marketing are strategies that consistently drive results.

"Trends are great to explore, but nothing beats actually doing the hard work. Whether it’s talking to clients, building out effective landing pages, or sending personalized emails, these strategies are timeless. Trends can offer opportunities, but they often come and go. A solid foundation of proven tactics will always serve you well."

Final thoughts

Running a successful e-commerce business requires disciplined marketing, tactical execution, and a strong focus on customer needs. AJ Saunders' invaluable insights, drawn from his extensive experience in digital marketing and entrepreneurship, shed light on the crucial elements needed for sustained success. By focusing on specific marketing channels, executing tactics effectively, listening to customer feedback, building genuine relationships, and setting meaningful goals, e-commerce brands can navigate the competitive market and achieve long-term growth.

AJ's emphasis on proven marketing tactics over fleeting trends underscores the importance of building a solid foundation. His advice on customer-centric strategies and disciplined execution offers a comprehensive roadmap for any e-commerce entrepreneur. As we continue to explore the dynamic world of e-commerce, AJ’s practical tips and strategic guidance remain essential for businesses at every stage. For a deeper exploration of these strategies, tune into our full podcast episode.

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