So, you’ve just set up a website for your online store, purchased a domain name, built it using WordPress and added a shopping cart platform like Selz to turn it into a sales platform. You’ve run vulnerability scans. It’s coming together.
But, how are you going to get people to visit the site? By putting together, a savvy marketing strategy. It’s all well and good having a slick, easy-to-use website, and cost-effective products; but without a plan to promote your business, no one’s going to visit.
The person who shouts loudest gets the attention—even if that person doesn’t deserve the attention. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the ways to get the edge over the competition and ensure that you shout the loudest of them all. And, more importantly, get sales!
1. Offer Deals Regularly
The idea of getting something at a discount drives people crazy. If you’ve ever seen a video of Black Friday, you’ll know what I’m talking about. Stimulated by a sense of competition, as well as a fear of missing out, buyers are much more likely to buy a product on sale.
Psychologist Daniel Kahneman has proven the existence of a so-called “framing effect,” a cognitive bias meaning that we respond differently to the same information dependent on its framing. This bias means that sales are a great tool for the shopkeeper, and any online store ought to hold one every now and then. Make sure not to overdo it, though. Buyers might catch on to the fact that products have been on sale all year, which may lead them to mistrust you.
Promo codes and coupons
Photo via Kate Spade
Promo codes and coupons are another way to attract traffic. They’re perfect for bringing in first-time buyers, and most agree that they’re profitable in the long run. Just be sure to strike the right balance between attracting customers and giving away too much. And, don’t overdo it. Customers might start to feel entitled to promos, and this might stop them from paying regular prices.
Check the figures monthly and calculate whether promos are proving profitable. It will very much depend on your particular business and your targeted demographic. If you’re selling bespoke products, promos might depreciate your product in the eyes of customers. A certain kind of clientele might start to wonder why you’re willing to sell at a discount. So, it’s essential to know your customers and adjust your strategy according to your own situation.
Besides promo codes and coupons, there are some other sales promotion strategies. These include competitions, loyalty systems, and prizes. If you’re giving away prizes, though, just be sure not to end up like The Hoover Company. Their infamous effort to shift surplus stock by offering free airline tickets for buyers spending over one hundred pounds proved misjudged, to say the least, costing the company tens of millions in legal spending. So let this story be a warning.
Don’t go offering anything too enticing. A misjudged promotional campaign might even bring an online store to the brink of bankruptcy, so make sure to think carefully before taking any steps.
Photo via North Gregory Hotel
Often, shop owners face two main problems: the first is how to get as many people as possible buying; the second is how to get repeat business from those customers. While prizes and promo codes are a good way to attract first-time buyers, they don’t necessarily solve the problem of how to increase repeat purchases. This is where loyalty promotion comes in. A points system is the most obvious way to ensure customers come back. You can also give a discount to newsletter subscribers or a freebie to get them to sign up to your newsletter, but I’ll cover that next.
2. Use Email Marketing and Build a List
Add a newsletter pop-up to your online store
A newsletter is an excellent way to keep your clientele informed. The newsletter should be sent regularly—once a week, if possible—and should be advertised using pop-ups on your website. Though many find pop-ups annoying, because they are annoying, but there’s no denying their effectiveness when it comes to collecting emails. There are many different kinds of pop-ups out there. Here are the best ones:
- Scroll pop-up: Which appear once you’ve scrolled down a particular amount of the page
- Timed pop-up: You can set it to appear after a certain number of seconds.
- Exit-intent pop-up: It tracks the movements of the cursor through the page and appear when you seem to be moving towards the exit button (you probably had some experience with these).
Photo via Sumo.com
If you’re using a pop-up to advertise a newsletter and collect emails, you should probably set your pop-up to appear after at least a minute of time spent on the page, as those who have expressed continued interest in the page are likeliest to sign up, and pop-ups appearing too soon might send people away.
Though you might get more email addresses by advertising immediately and repeatedly, these pop-ups might actually interfere with online sales, and many people who sign up immediately, without having looked at the website, might later unsubscribe from the list because, on reflection, the site does not meet their requirements. List churn is a major problem. Avoid this by making your email subscription a double opt-in.
Send shopping cart abandonment emails
According to the Baymard Institute, approximately 69.23 percent of shopping carts are abandoned by online shoppers. Imagine if that many shopping carts were left in an actual supermarket. You wouldn’t be able to get through the aisles! Though most people abandon shopping carts after determining, in the final analysis, that purchase is ill-considered, many shoppers are simply interrupted—by a phone call, for example, or by a person—and never remember to pick up where they left off.
For these interrupted shoppers, a gentle reminder is necessary. Use a shopping cart like Selz for abandoned cart recovery to increase your sales by automatically sending emails to customers who have abandoned carts. SaleCycle claims that “over 1/3 of clicked cart recovery emails convert to a sale.” Can’t beat those odds, right?
List-building can be tricky business. A lot of people aren’t exactly forthcoming when it comes to giving out their email address. For this reason, you might feel the need to offer some incentives. Freebies and free trials are a great way to get people to subscribe to your newsletter.
3. Start Blogging for your Online Store
Blogging can be extremely beneficial to your online store since it can help with increasing traffic, building a loyal audience, and making sales. However, the content must be well written, entertaining, or informative, and with a purpose.
By purpose I mean, that you should focus on writing blog posts that answer your customer’s concerns or content that teaches them something like how to posts and guides. Occasionally, where it fits in the content link back to your store, product pages or a specific product in a non-salesy way.
Besides establishing yourself as an industry influencer, blogs are useful for aligning your brand with existing industry influencers. Interviews with influencers improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and help you to get the trust of your targeted demographic. Industry influencers will be a treasure trove of good advice, so give them questions commonly asked by your users.
Guest blogging work like this: either you invite someone to write on your blog, or a blogger invites you to write on their blog. Also, could be that a someone asks to write on your blog, or you ask to write on someone else’s blog. Simple. Why do people do this?
Well, there are different reasons. The most common is that writing a guest post is a great way to spread brand awareness and send traffic to your online store.
4. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an essential tool in the shopkeeper’s toolkit. Say you’re selling running shoes. Imagine if you could get Mo Farah to endorse your product! Wouldn’t that be great? What with the influence he exerts on his fan base, via such platforms as Twitter and Facebook, a single reference to your product, a single Tweet or Insta story, would definitely do wonders for the brand.
But don’t necessarily go for the big names. Someone with a small, but loyal audience (called a micro-influencer) is definitely preferable to a big name with a wide-ranging, but not targeted following. Here’s how to setup an influencer campaign, quickly.
- Plan: Before pitching influencers, do your homework, write down guidelines, deadlines and have a plan for compensation. When you’re clear on what you want to achieve with an influencer campaign, write a pitch template and make a spreadsheet to track everything.
- Search: The next step is to put a list together to reach out. The fastest way to find influencers is by searching your industry hashtags on Instagram, then find posts with the highest engagement (the most likes and comments). Add the ones you want to work with to your spreadsheet.
- Pitch: Open your spreadsheet and start reaching out one by one with the pitch template you created. This step takes like 10-minutes if you have a pitch made ahead of time.
- Track: Write down on your spreadsheet when you emailed them, a follow-up date, and the next steps like what they need from you or what you’re sending.
- Follow-up: If you haven’t heard back in two weeks, email them again. Email again a week later and if you don’t get a response, move on.
5. Online Advertising
Should you, do it? The answer’s yes. Annual PPC spending is over $500 billion so it’s still a very popular option. A lot of shops do this because it works! So, you should too. By paying for prime space on Google, you’ll definitely attract more business.
Advertising on social media
Social media is a great tool to promote and advertise your online store. The best places to advertise are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.
You can setup an ad campaign promoting a product or collection products on Facebook, and you can have the same ad appear on Instagram which gives you, even more, eyes on your products. Just make sure to set a metric so that people click on your website, not your fan page unless you are looking to increase your fan page engagement.
Also, you can boost a Facebook post, promote your Facebook page or a call-to-action on your page. So, lots of options if you advertise on Facebook.
For Twitter, use their “Promoted Tweets” to market your shop. What do you post? Short, engaging content with at least two hashtags and one emoji, and of course the URL to help drive traffic.
For example, if you sell clothes, your Promoted Tweet might look something like this, “Maxi skirts are not just for warmer months! 🌸 Get yours here: (insert shortened URL). #style #OOTD”
Use other sale channels to promote your products and expand your reach. A few favorites are Product Hunt, Wanelo, Amazon, Pinterest, Google Shopping and Fancy. Some of this sale channels charge fees for allowing you to sell there, for example, Wanelo charges a 15% commission so research before signing up.
For the best results, make sure to set clear goals, check your site traffic daily, consider using a social media plan template, and track with a tool like Google Analytics to see what’s working and what’s not. An advertising campaign doesn’t see results overnight, so make sure to give it some time before any radical rethinks. Just get in a good routine, get organized, and make sure to water the different plants in the advertising garden.
Well, there you go. Those are just a couple of the ways you can try out to promote your online store.
Just remember: you don’t need to do all of this to be successful. Just pick one or two ideas to explore each month, set goals, track results, and keep it at it. With a clear strategy in mind, I’m sure you’ll grow your online store in no time.