You’ve done your product research, chosen one of the best e-commerce platforms, and set up an online store using a great e-commerce system. Now, you’re ready to start marketing. But where do you even begin with promoting your online store?
In most ways, marketing your e-commerce business isn’t too different from marketing in general.
You need to know your audience and have a brand story and brand voice that resonates with the people you’re trying to reach. Then, combine a variety of marketing techniques to create an integrated marketing strategy that brings in both customers and profit.
1. Content marketing
Content marketing involves creating and sharing material like blogs, podcasts, quizzes, infographics, and videos. It doesn’t explicitly promote your brand, but it does stimulate interest in you and your products. Content marketing is a long-term strategy, but it’s worthwhile. Here’s why:
- It’s an excellent relationship builder that helps you both acquire and retain customers.
- It allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader and a trusted source in your niche.
- Content marketing than traditional marketing while generating about three times as many leads.
- Annual growth in site traffic is for content marketing leaders.
Creating helpful content that speaks to your audience builds trust and interest in your brand. Plus, there’s always the potential that your content could go viral.
Your content doesn’t need to focus exclusively on your products. For example, if you sell books, write book reviews. Offer quizzes like “What book should you read next?” or “Which Harry Potter character are you?”
If you sell running shoes, blog about fitness, running, tips for training for marathons, what to look for in a good running shoe, and so on. Of course, always look for opportunities to plug your brand or link to your products seamlessly.
As you create content, think about your audience. Busy businesspeople might like to listen to a podcast during their commute. A younger audience could prefer videos or interactive quizzes. Mom blogs are extremely popular, so you might want to focus on blogging if your products cater to moms.
2. Email marketing
One of the best benefits of email marketing is that you market to an email list. Usually, the people on your email list have opted in or subscribed, meaning you’re directly reaching out to people already interested in your brand.
You can ask people to subscribe to your email list on your social media channels, through links in your content, or via a form on your website.
Once you’ve built your email list, you’re able to remarket to your audience at any time. You may send newsletters, exciting updates, exclusive offers, and more. Emails also allow for segmentation and automation, saving you time while providing your customers with a personal touch.
3. Social media marketing
When it comes to marketing a product online, social media marketing is one of the most popular and effective strategies.
Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. The best platform or platforms for you depends on your audience. Where do they spend most of their time online? You need to be there too.
The brand voice you use on social media should align with the voice you use on your websites, emails, and anywhere else you communicate with your customers.
Post content that your target audience will view, enjoy, and ideally share. Engage with your followers in comments and messages to personalize their experience and build relationships.
You can even share user-generated content, like people wearing your clothing or raving about your products. Create a hashtag for your brand and encourage your followers to use it when they post about you, making this type of content easier for you and others to find.
Of course, don’t forget to link to your online store and promote your new, popular, and upcoming products.
Working with influencers is a social commerce strategy that, while sometimes expensive, often pays off significantly. Influencers have a large online following, which typically comes with the ability to “influence” others’ purchasing behavior.
If you decide to work with an influencer, choose someone with a following that aligns with your target audience. You’ll also want to do your due diligence to ensure that the influencer’s values are a good fit for your brand.
Influencers can post photos of themselves using your products, write guest blogs for you, talk about your product at an event or in a video, and write reviews. As always, link to your selling platforms so influenced consumers know where to buy your products.
5. Customer appreciation
Customers who feel appreciated are more likely to shop in your online store and recommend it to others. Show appreciation using one or more of the following strategies:
- Host contests and giveaways.
- Create a referral program.
- Send thank-you emails or even include handwritten thank-you notes in your packaging.
- Provide excellent customer service and quickly address and resolve customer questions and complaints.
- Include helpful tutorials, step-by-step how-to guides, and FAQs on your website.
These strategies increase customer loyalty and can even help you create brand ambassadors. Brand ambassadors love your brand and enthusiastically recommend your store to others. Some of these strategies, like contests and giveaways, generate a buzz and increase your followers or subscribers.
6. Product videos
Keep in mind that different types of media appeal to different people. Some customers may prefer to read, others are drawn in with images, and some find videos especially captivating. Utilize video marketing with product review videos, tutorial videos, and even videos of your company behind the scenes.
Depending on your product and audience, you can also post webinars, interviews, or short clips on platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Even short, engaging videos help build a strong brand presence and increase engagement with your following.
Always include a call-to-action, either via a link or a mention in the video, to encourage viewers to buy the featured product.
If you have a sizable Instagram following, use Instagram Stories to create quick product videos that link directly to your product.
7. Business partnerships
Do you know of other businesses that serve a similar audience, but provide different products? Join forces to market to your customers. Create content together, host a joint contest, or even launch a collaboration.
Sometimes, even receiving a shout-out from a similar brand on social media can earn you more followers. Occasionally mention other businesses, and they might start to mention you as well.
Or mention another company or product in a piece of content, then share it with them. They might share your content on their channels, helping you tap into their customers and followers.
8. Search engine optimization
No list of online marketing strategies would be complete without mention of search engine optimization (SEO). It isn’t the most glamorous or fun marketing technique, but SEO increases traffic to your website through organic search results.
And if you’re in the business of selling online, you want as much quality site traffic as possible.
SEO is complex, but the key is to understand the language your customers might use when searching for information online. What search terms might they use when searching for related products?
What questions do they have that your products can answer? Come up with a list of keywords, then integrate these keywords into your website pages and content.
It’s also important to use meta descriptions and title tags on each page of your website. This information helps search engines and customers determine what the page is about. If you don’t know much about SEO, you can consult with an expert to devise a strategy and optimize your online store.
9. Event sponsorships
Sponsoring a local event is a great way to get some promotion for your online store. Normally, the event page will link to your website, and your store may get featured in other marketing materials and social media posts.
Provide flyers or brochures with your URL and ask the event promoters to include your materials in any handouts or goody bags. At some events, you might have the opportunity to set up a booth.
Promote your website, give out print material or small freebies with your URL, and take the opportunity to network and build relationships in the community.
10. Paid advertisements
Finally, paid advertisements are a classic and effective strategy to sell products online. You may want to run a digital advertising campaign on Facebook or another social media platform that’s popular with your audience.
Invest in retargeting ads, which target consumers who previously visited your store but didn’t make a purchase. These ads are often successful because the individual is already familiar with your products and has considered buying them previously.
The average customer doesn’t make a purchase on their first visit to your site; retargeting ads give them a nudge to return.
You’ll add a code called a pixel to your website, which tracks who visits your website and what they viewed. Retargeting ads on sites like Facebook or Google then present your ad to the visitor again, often leading them to visit your store once more — and complete a purchase this time.
Start marketing your online store like a pro
Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying too many of these marketing strategies at once. Choose the strategies that fit best with your audience, their interests, and their online behaviors.
Once you’re comfortable with one or two techniques, integrate a few more. Remember to test the effectiveness of your campaigns and adjust as needed.
By using a combination of these strategies, you’ll engage more followers and boost your online sales.