So your shop is now live! Now what? We’ve put together this handy guide for ecommerce stores to help you on your way to a successful and profitable online business.
The most successful online shops are those that combine both online and offline marketing to draw people to their site. Bricks and mortar stores can rely on a bit of foot traffic, but the internet doesn’t offer that luxury. Over time you may generate traffic from search engines such as Google (read on for how to help this along) but to get started you will be relying on more direct methods, such as past customers, word of mouth, social networking and traditional advertising. Here are a bunch of ideas to kick-start your marketing and develop a long-term plan that works.
Storbie provides a robust and professional shopping experience for your customers. The important part for you is the content. Do you have information pages that describe your business, origins, guarantees and return policies? Will the customer feel confident they could track you down if you didn’t deliver? These are the types of checks a customer will do before purchasing from an online shop for the first time. See our 12 website must-haves to win over new customers, with examples, here.
Your banner is another clear message of quality. Is it clear and attractive or fuzzy and squashed? We recommend asking some honest friends for feedback to see if there are ways your banner can be improved. Have you seen Storbie’s new full-width banner in action?
Now try these marketing ideas to get your site noticed and the sales flowing!
Register your shop with major search engines and directories
This will help bring new customers to your shop, especially as your shop’s online reputation grows. Here are a few key ones to get you started –
- Google – http://www.google.com/addurl and https://www.google.com/webmasters
- Yahoo – http://search.yahoo.com/info/submit.html
- Bing – http://www.bing.com/docs/submit.aspx?FORM=WHWL
- Open Directory Project – http://www.dmoz.org/add.html
Embrace Social Media
Our analysis of our most successful shops highlights one common theme, almost all of them have embraced the power of social networking to build a community of interest around their products. Facebook is a great place to start. Once you have that up and running you may wish to investigate others. Twitter and Instagram are also popular, or you may wish to explore LinkedIn or Pinterest – it depends on what works for your business and what networks your potential customers are on. If you’re interested in Instagram, check out these 6 inspiring examples of Kiwi brands on Instagram.
Some people make a personal choice not to engage with social networks such as Facebook. That is fine for individuals, but for people wanting to run a business online it is a must have. Social networking can be intimidating at first, but if you are passionate about your products then it will quickly add value and enjoyment to your online venture. It provides an engaged audience to whom you can actively promote and discuss your products, specials, tips and tricks.
Here is a link which will help you integrate Facebook with your Storbie online store:
Adding a Facebook Like button
At Storbie we have our own Facebook Page. Take a look, both for inspiration and to stay up to date with new and upcoming features on Storbie.
Focus on your single-minded point of difference
It is important to think about why a customer would come to your shop instead of the local shopping mall or another site. Do you have unique products, great prices, something that can’t be found in stores? If your products are unique then marketing is especially important as customers won’t know to look for them! Sell your unique benefits in a single clear message.
Monitor your visitor numbers and sources
Tracking how your visitors arrive at your site can help you focus your marketing energy. Not to mention it is a lot of fun! Storbie supports the integration of Google Analytics. Google Analytics is a free service that produces very detailed reports about visitors to your site including how they found your site and what they do once they get there. See the Google Analytics section on the Connections page in the Manage Shop area of your shop. Be sure to check out the other features available on the Connections page, such as Facebook and AddThis integration.
Storbie also supports Facebook Pixel audience and conversion tracking. Using the Facebook Pixel you can track visits to and actions taken on your site then use this information to create targeted Facebook advertising campaigns. Please note the Facebook Pixel feature is currently in beta, contact email@example.com if you would like to enable this integration for your online store.
Search engines rank popular websites higher than others
So the more relevant, high quality websites that link to your shop, the higher your site will appear in the search results. One way to do that is to offer to put a link on your shop to another site if they will do the same for you.
Encourage people to sign up to your newsletter and make it worthwhile
A newsletter subscription is a powerful way to connect with your customers. Create a sign up link on your website to a system such as MailChimp or Campaign Monitor and make sure to tell people what benefit they get from signing up ($10 off their first order? Exclusive discounts and product previews?) and also how often you generally send emails. Another way to collect email addresses for your newsletter list is by running competitions on social media that require a newsletter sign up to enter (make sure entrants know this and that they can unsubscribe at any time). Storbie also allows you to collect newsletter sign ups at the checkout stage so you can then send relevant emails to customers to encourage repeat purchases!
Do you know anybody who writes a blog relevant to your business, products or customers?
If so, ask them to include a message about your site. This is a great way to get people to your site and helps your site rank higher in search engines (e.g. Google). You may also want to start writing your own blog for your Storbie shop. This is another way to produce regular content that Google (and your customers!) will find.
Include keywords in the text on your pages
Particularly near the top of your page – in titles, subheadings and key text. For example, if you sell original artwork of local beaches and landscapes then make sure you use these keywords and place names a few times in the text on your page. This will help your site rank highly when people use these terms or place names in their Google searches. Start by brainstorming all the keywords relevant to your business and products. Think from a customer point of view and ask yourself, “what would I search for if I was looking for my business or products?”. This means your keywords will reflect user intent and be more human-like, rather than a long list of words that fit unnaturally into your website copy. Read more about Search Engine Optimisation here.
Paid web advertising
Google Adwords is particularly popular. You can expect to pay a small fee for each person it brings to your shop so we recommend you trial it for a short period to see whether you get a return on your investment. You can tightly control the amount that you spend on advertising by specifying a maximum budget per day ($5.00 for example) and stop/pause it at any time. See http://www.google.co.nz/adwords for more information. Facebook also offers comprehensive advertising tools for Facebook and Instagram.
Contact your local community newspapers about your site
Perhaps they will print an article about your new venture.
Promote your site through your other channels
Whenever you make a sale via another channel (auctions, markets, in store), ensure that you inform the buyers about your site. Ideally include a business card.
Email all your friends and tell them about your site
Ask them to share with their friends too. This is also a great way to get feedback.
Run website-exclusive specials and promotions
Consider offering your products online at a slightly lower price than through other sources. This helps build customer loyalty. A good example is any items you sell by auction. By letting the customer know they can get the items at a lower price directly from your site then they may come straight to you next time, instead of back to the auction site where they could be side-tracked by other offers. Read more about promotions here.
Consider free shipping
If it is appropriate for your products then consider free shipping, even if it means raising your product prices to compensate. A lot of shopping carts are abandoned when the customer sees the shipping price added during the checkout process. Free shipping is a powerful message to include on your promotional material too. Here is a great blog post regarding shipping.
Remember that all good things take time!
These ideas are just the beginning. You’ll need a long-term marketing plan in place to achieve consistent results. By starting with the above marketing ideas you will help to grow traffic to your site and find out what works best for you and your customers. Don’t lose heart if there are no sales immediately. Keep at your marketing and you’ll start seeing great results. Let us know how you’re going or share your own marketing ideas by commenting below!