Once you’ve nailed down a bulletproof business plan and launched your online store (complete with a solid ecommerce platform) you’ll need to lay a tantalising trail of breadcrumbs to ensure your potential customers can find you. After all,
“Hope is not a strategy” – Wise Person
Not every method will work the same for everyone, but if you’re keen to flood your new online store with cashed up visitors, consider the following marketing avenues:
1) Google for Retail
Have you noticed that ‘shopping’ tab sitting next to the ‘video’ tab on your most recent Google search? Yes? You need to be there.
Start by making sure your business details are fully deployed in ‘Google My Business’. Then hop over to ‘Google for Retail’ and check out the powerful options available to you. The ‘Merchant Centre’, for example, will:
“Make your shop and product info available to shoppers across Google.”
That’s some powerful stuff right there. Get on it.
2) Blogging and guest blogging
To increase SEO, web traffic, customer relevance and to develop industry trust, you need to be blogging.
“There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content.” – David Sinick
Blogging is also the primary way to establish yourself as an industry leader in your market (with your brand coming along for the ride).
Pick relevant topics which relate to your products and make sure to provide real insight and value, linking to relevant pages on your e-store as you go. Ensure you post your blogs on social media in eye-catching ways to boost your engagement, web traffic and brand recognition.
Reach out to other industry bloggers and websites to offer guest blogs (people love fresh content) and ensure you link back to your online store again.
3) Wrap your car
If you own a vehicle and would like to promote your online store, think about wrapping it with brand decals and contact information.
This is a (somewhat) overlooked marketing method in these screen led days of digital marketing, but the power of a cheap, high impact 24/7 moving billboard is extremely valuable for brand recognition and web traffic. Think about how many people will see your brand and website details over a single year of driving…
Just make sure you don’t slap your brand on a hail damaged and smoke belching 1978 Datsun with a loose muffler. Bad optics.
4) Paid online advertising
You have two primary options here: Google and social media. Surprise!
Choose your most valuable social media channel and enlist a graphic designer to produce some eye melting ads. Pit this in a Google AdWords campaign with a set cap on costs and let it run.
The best way to go about this is to create a budget and a set of measurable stats you’ll keep an eye on – you’ll soon have a report detailing metrics such as cost per click (CPC) or cost per acquisition (CPA). You can now choose your best method and tighten your budget up again. Remember:
“The business that considers itself immune to the necessity for advertising sooner or later finds itself immune to business.” – Derby Brown
5) Setup a Facebook store
If you can’t lead a horse to water, try bringing water to the horse. To put it another way, if your potential customers are all on Facebook (2.45 billion active monthly users currently are) then bring the store to them.
You can trade within Facebook directly and still link through to your own ecommerce site (preferable in most cases).
By utilising your own ecommerce site as the primary destination, you can link all of your products in an online Facebook store, which sits on your business page. This is a free and fantastic way to create a whole new sales channel with a titanic potential audience.
6) Discounts and promotions
Don’t get miserly on the promos guys and girls, they’re of high importance in a competitive online environment.
Discounts and promotions are an integral part of a fledgling online business plan. Online consumers are particularly price sensitive as they can easily compare prices between your online store and the competition. You need ‘cut through’.
You can not only push attractive deals on hot items through your social and advertising activities, but also through coupon and ‘deal’ sites like Groupon or Catch to expand your reach.
The real benefit of discounting and promotional activity is the potential for lucrative returning customers – people are creatures of habit after all.