4 Ways To Market Your Online Shop
If you’ve ventured into the world of ecommerce, you’ve probably discovered that marketing and promoting your online store is easier said than done. Marketing your web shop isn’t like promoting your brick and mortar store—it requires a completely different approach.
Before we launch into ecommerce marketing strategies, you need to make sure that your online shop is up and running smoothly. Marketing won’t do your bottom line any good if customers get to your online store and realize that it’s difficult to navigate or has error pages. If you’re just starting out as a store owner, consider using a service like Etsy, which allows you to host your own store on their platform. If you’re an experienced store owner and need something more robust, consider using an ecommerce platform like WordPress, which provides all the back end support you might need.
Once your online store is in tip-top technical shape, you can use these 4 tips to start marketing.
1. Target a Niche
When you’re running an ecommerce store it can be tempting to appeal to a very general audience, but you’ll actually be more successful if you market your products to a niche. Say, for example, your business sells tech accessories. Appealing to a tech-focused crowd is too general of a scope, so you need to readjust your focus and target a niche in the tech market, like customers loyal to Apple products.
When you try to market yourself to a general audience, you run the risk of losing focus and misunderstanding your customers. But when you appeal to a niche market, you will be able to specifically identify who your customers are, what they want, and where they’re active online—which allows you to market yourself very specifically. Once you have versed yourself in your niche’s language, habits, needs, and problems, you can position your brand as one of authority in your market.
Ultimately, your marketing strategy needs to be ultra-focused in order to be successful, because appealing to anyone and everyone is a pretty tough task to take on.
2. Utilize Social Media
Like your strategy for targeting a niche market, your social media strategy needs to be focused and defined. If you have no idea where to start your social media campaign, consult a social media guide to get started.
There needs to be at least two sides to your social media strategy:
1. Exclusive offers
You need to give your customers a reason to follow your social media platforms. If you make it clear that specific discounts and promotions are only available through your Twitter or Facebook , it gives your audience incentive to follow you. You can also promote giveaways or contests exclusively through social media.
2. Non Promotional Content
This may initially seem counter intuitive, but if your social media content is overly promotional, your customers will stop following you. Your social media should cast a wider net and share content from external sources that your readers would appreciate.
3. Create a Business Blog
Business blogs are a dime a dozen these days, but unfortunately, most business blogs fall short of their customers’ expectations because they’re either overly promotional or lack high quality content. If you actively maintain a blog that your readers consider a resource, you will create customer trust, loyalty, and brand credibility—which will benefit your bottom line.
Your blog should target your specific niche and produce content that will interest your readers. If you don’t know what interests your readers, ask them. Send out formal surveys, ask for blog comments on what they want to see, or network with your audience at events they are likely to attend.
4. Advertise Through PPC
PPC, or pay per click, is a mode of internet advertising used to get people to your website. PPC ads focus on keywords that are relevant to your site. For example, if your PPC ads focus on the keywords “Apple” and “accessories,” and someone Googles “buy Apple accessories,” your ad will appear along with the search results.
The ultimate goal of PPC ads is to get your site in front of people who want what you offer. In order for this to be effective you need to do some very thorough keyword research and landing page planning. PPC ads can be very effective, but you should consult a PPC professional instead of going it on your own.
Don’t make the mistake of trying to advertise your ecommerce site like you would a physical store. Take the time to implement a marketing strategy that is specific to your shoppers.
Luke Clum is a Seattle based designer, developer and outdoors man. If he’s not pounding away at his computer you’ll most likely find him climbing something in the mountains. Follow him on Twitter @lukeclum
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