Pop quiz: What is the number one thing an ecommerce site needs to be successful? That’s right, customers!

A robust customer base is essential to the livelihood of any ecommerce vendor, which is why merchants spend so much time trying to reach new audiences and grow their businesses. One of the best ways to do this is through paid advertising.

Paid advertising isn’t for everyone, though. Many fledgling SMBs would probably do well to explore free social media marketing tactics before engaging in paid digital marketing. But for those enterprise ecommerce sites with healthy budgets, paid advertising is a wonderful investment opportunity.

Below is a quick guide to paid advertising for ecommerce sites.

“Buy” Buttons

Consumers love searching for merchandise on social media and will often follow their favorite brands to keep up with the latest sales and product launches. This inspired a lot of smart people to imagine, “what if we could turn this interest into conversions for vendors and immediate gratification for shoppers?” And so, the ‘buy’ button was born.

The Facebook ‘buy’ button, for instance, allows businesses to deliver automated content and customer support (via AI) over Messenger. Customers are empowered to make purchases and submit native payments without leaving the app. Pretty nifty!

If you want to see a perfect example of how an ecommerce site site be laid out, simply take a look at this site on short prom dresses. Not only is the site visually appealing all around, they also have some great call to actions and easy to navigate buttons on the site.

Instagram and Pinterest also offer ‘buy’ buttons, although Twitter has eliminated this functionality.

Ads on Social

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat all host opportunities for paid advertising. Of course, it’s important to understand your customers or potential shoppers to avoid ‘spray and pray’ marketing.

For example, businesses hoping to reach fashion-conscious Millennials should post their ads on Instagram since the platform is photo heavy and appeals to 20-somethings. Conversely, Pinterest is perfect for reaching moms and dads in their 30s and Twitter is ideal for reaching businesspeople. This is also proving to be just as important through mobile marketing on social media as well.

If you were to start working with a facebook ads agency, they are going to ask you many different questions when first starting out. One of these first questions is going to be on your current social media marketing strategy. In short, where will you meet your shoppers online and how will you get them to convert on your ads?

Google AdWords

Google AdWords is one of the most versatile paid marketing methods around. All you have to do is tell Google what ads you want to be placed (based on a set of keyword searches), and AdWords will insert your advertisements in its search results, on its partner websites or in YouTube videos.

And since AdWords is a pay-per-click (PPC) model, you only pay for the number of times your advertisement results in a click. Costs vary based on how much other advertisers are willing to pay for the same keywords.

Email Marketing

Newsletter subscriptions might seem like a relic of the past, but in truth, email marketing is hotter than ever. Research shows that for every $1 invested in email marketing, vendors see $45 in profit. Now that’s a ROI you can’t afford to ignore!

The best part about email marketing is that consumers voluntarily opt-in to subscriptions, meaning they’re actually interested in what your brand has to say. Don’t disappoint them. Share one or two emails a week updating them on clearance sales, product launches, contests or coupon codes without appearing too spammy.

In addition to email marketing, there are also many must-have pages for e-commerce sites as well. These include about me pages, product description pages, contact information and much more.

Brand Ambassadors

Social influencers and brand ambassadors have revolutionized the way ecommerce sites reach potential buyers; and this is especially true for young consumers. Believe it or not, 84 percent of Millennials say user-generated content influences what they buy. In other words, your store would be smart to leverage popular social media personalities to showcase and advertise your products on their channels.

It goes without saying, that you will need to front a little cash to leverage the audience built by your influential partner, so be sure to discuss terms before taking the plunge.

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which technique, or a combination of techniques, will best serve your ecommerce site.