Your website is live, your products are loaded, and you’re ready for shoppers!
So, where are they?
With a physical shop, you’ll receive some foot traffic just by having a presence and an open sign. The online equivalent of this is your SEO, but that’s naturally going to take some time to get going, and just as with a physical shop, it’s not enough on its own.
You’ll need a plan to firstly tell your target audience where to find you. Next, you have to convince them to buy. And finally, you need to keep them coming back.
The best marketing plans incorporate both online and offline strategies to draw shoppers in. Here are 22 starting points to promote your shop and retain your shoppers.
Point of Difference
Think about why customers should come to you over your competitors. What’s your unique selling point?
Do you have unusual products, items that won’t be found elsewhere, great prices, or something else to differentiate you from the competition? Once you’ve found your point of difference, this should be your main focal point for your marketing.
Keywords are important for many reasons. They help lead shoppers to your website via search engines, and they make it clear as to what you’re selling. Assume every visitor is viewing your website for the first time – the text included on your page and products should spell out simply what’s on offer.
“Ruby Red” as a product name doesn’t tell a shopper or search engine anything helpful. But “Ruby Red Sheer Scarf” does. It might seem obvious, but it’s a basic step that is often missed.
The words on your website matter, so use relevant keywords and focus on correct spelling and grammar.
Professional photos equate to a professional website. The better your website looks, the more time shoppers will want to spend browsing on it.
Tell Your Friends
The perfect starting place to get the word out about your website is your friend circle. Tell them about your site and encourage them to tell their friends too. It’s also a great way to get feedback, and maybe even your first sales.
You can register your domain with search engines like Google and Bing, who also have resources for analytics and advertising.
There is a lot of competition with Google, which is understandable considering it’s the most visited website in the world. And while their analytics are incredibly helpful, there is a danger of spending a lot of money with AdWords for little return.
Another option is the Yahoo! Bing Network. Previously two separate businesses, they joined forces to help drive traffic and really compete with Google.
- Yahoo! Bing Network
There are hundreds of social networks in the world, but you only need to be on a few of them to start connecting with your target audience. Facebook for Business should be your first starting point, but depending on your products and audience it may be worth joining Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or YouTube to name a few.
Most of them also have advertising opportunities and provide ways to engage directly with your target market.
Check out our blog on How to Choose the Right Social Media Platform for your Online Business, and discover how you can Add Quick Links to Your Social Media Accounts.
In store advertising
If you have a physical store, you already have a great starting point to attract online shoppers. Let your current customers know that they can also shop online. There are lots of ways of doing this, from putting your web address on your closed sign, adding it to your shop window, and providing details of your website (and even an offer) with purchases at the check out.
There’s a reason why billboard advertising has been around for so long. But you don’t need a twenty-metre high LED sign to let people know about your store. A simple logo with web address (especially if it’s short and sweet) can suffice in a well-placed location.
If your home is on a busy street, consider putting up a sign on your fence or front window, and talk to friends who may have opportunities they can offer you. Do a lot of driving? There are magnetic signs that can be applied to the side of your vehicle, or you may wish to look at sign writing.
If you choose to go down the professional track, do your research to ensure you’re getting maximum exposure for your dollar.
Connect with your customers by creating a regular newsletter. You can include new products, special offers, company updates, and deals. Add it as an option throughout your website including at check out. Storbie integrates your website with e-marketing systems to make this an easy option.
If you know someone who writes a blog that is relevant to your business, talk to them about including a positive message about your website. Or see if you can be a guest blogger to provide some insight into your industry.
You may also want to start your own blog to regularly communicate updates with your customers and help boost content for your site and SEO. Here’s how to add a blog to your Storbie website.
It can be easy to forget about some of the more simple ways to market your website, but an email signature is a good way to do this. Include a hyper-linked logo along with your web address in text form, and links to your social media.
Some tools to create a professional signature include htmlsig, newoldstamp, and WiseStamp. You can also get a free signature with social network About.Me. You’ll find lots of suggestions and creative ideas on Pinterest.
Videos are a great way to achieve global reach. YouTube is the second most-visited website with 30 million people tuning in every day to collectively watch 5 billions clips. Facebook are also putting an emphasis on videos, especially Live content.
Get behind the camera and show off your products to the world, offer a tutorial, or a behind the scenes look. You can gain subscribers with your videos, and make them available directly on your Storbie website.
Every year you’ll likely find your Facebook feed overwhelmed by friends entering competitions in the lead up to Christmas. It’s practically an annual tradition as more and more businesses discover the power of the contest.
It’s a great way to reach a wide range of people and find some new customers, and can easily be run through social networks.
A simple but effective way to run a contest is to ask people to tell you their favourite product on your website. This encourages clicks through and forces the entrants to get somewhat familiar with your website. You can also ask them to like or follow your social page and either share the post or tag in a friend.
Partner with other local businesses
You’re probably aware of the positive support you’ll receive in joining a business networking group. There are also opportunities online, whether it’s helping share each other’s sites, or commenting on their social posts.
The growth of Instagram and their introduced algorithms has seen “business hubs” appear in recent time. Groups of small businesses form a network to like and write comments on each other’s pictures as soon as they’re shared, in order to boost the chance of being viewed by their collective target audience.
Sponsorship is a terrific way of promoting your business in a positive manner. And having your business associated with an event or team doesn’t need to be expensive.
You may find there are products or services you can provide in return for your logo and web address being added to signage or clothing. It never hurts to ask, and many organisers are happy to promote your business in return for some help.
Talk to your staff about how they can help promote your business. They may have some skills or insight that can help with your marketing.
Especially where there’s different generations, you may be surprised with what your staff can help with, and they’ll want your business to succeed (almost) as much as you.
Ask for feedback from your existing customer base and encourage positive responses to be written as a review on a site like Trustpilot or even Facebook Ratings.
Research shows customers trust reviews, and while they may only read 2-3 for a business, the more reviews available online, the more legitimate the reviews appear to be.
Who doesn’t love a good discount or offer? Buy two, get one free, save up to 50% off on selected ranges, or receive 20% off with a code… All of these are great ways to entice shoppers and are easily activated with your Storbie website.
Your local newspaper is always on the look out for feel-good stories. Find a positive or interesting spin about your business being online. Who does your business help? How does it impact locally? Local papers claim to be read more thoroughly than national publications so they are worth talking to for advertising opportunities, too.
Direct Mail Marketing
It might seem old fashioned, but there’s a real novelty to receiving mail in the letterbox as more and more communications are sent electronically.
Combine creative packaging with a discount offer for purchases made online within a set time-frame and target neighbourhoods that are more likely to be interested.
List on the Marketplace
List your products in a Marketplace on Storbie’s platform to help reach even more consumers. Simply select the Market tab in Manage mode to request to join a Marketplace.
It may not be practical for everyone, but free shipping can help tip shoppers on the fence over the top. It’s worth looking at offering free shipping when a set amount of money is spent in one transaction. Here’s more help and information on setting up shipping with your Storbie website.
It won’t happen overnight
Finally it’s worth remembering that good things take time. There’s no such thing as an overnight success; it takes a lot of hard work to do well.
Create a plan looking at short-term, mid-term, and long-term goals and how you’ll achieve them.
Try lots of ideas to find what’s best for you and your business. It’s important to put both time and energy into all your marketing planning and not give up if you don’t see results right away. Keep at it and you’ll reach your goals.