1. Offer Deals on a Regular Basis
Most online marketplaces will give you the option to hold sales and/or use promo codes to help entice shoppers. Be sure to do this on a regular basis. From taking advantage of holiday shopping (get 15% off for Father’s Day, 31% off for Halloween, 50% off of select items on Black Friday, etc.) to simply offering great deals for no reason at all, this will help ensure you have regular web traffic.
When you have sales, be sure to announce and promote them via email so customers can take advantage of your exclusive pricing right away.
2. Email is an easy way to reach mobile customers.
One reason email marketing has value for business owners is that it's an easy way to start reaching consumers on mobile without investing a lot in new technology or software. According to an April report from Pew Research Center, 52 percent of US cellphone owners access their emails from their phones. Email marketing also works with other mobile devices
A blog is more than a great way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, it’s also an indirect way to help promote your online shop. Include one relevant link back to your store in each blog post (either link the home page of your store or link directly to a product) and make sure each blog is informative and helpful. If the content isn’t strong, it’s not going to do you any good. Quality blogs will help you grow your online business, however, so if you have the time, it’s a great project to invest in.
4. Contact Bloggers About Your Products
Do a search on Google Blogs for whatever industry your products are in. (For example, if you create candles, you might look for lifestyle bloggers and/or bloggers who write about homemade goods) and then reach out to the ones with the largest following. Be sure to look for how many comments they receive and how large their following is on their social media accounts to gauge their popularity.
When you contact them, tell them why you love their blog (be specific), then briefly explain why you feel your product would be a good fit for a review on their blog. Provide a sample of your product for free, and if you can afford it, offer to provide another sample for a giveaway. You’ll get a review, a reader will get a free product, and you’ll get priceless promotion direct to your target audience.
Guest blogging can be a great way to reach a larger audience you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Research who the top bloggers are in your industry. Read through their posts to see what topics they normally write about, and then contact them about guest blogging opportunities. Most bloggers will let you at least have a link to your site in your bio, but you possibly may also be able to get one in your content as well.
6. Offer Video Tutorials/Behind-the-Scenes Shots
People love a good video — they’re easy to share and they can add depth and clarity to your products, as well as help them gain popularity amongst your target market. For example, if you sell headbands for babies, show parents the different ways their babies can wear them. If there’s only one way, just show adorable babies wearing your headbands in videos. If you sell dog treats, why not show a little behind-the-scenes action of you baking them? If you make clothing, show model fittings, fashion shows, you sewing, etc. For promoting your hats look at this video YouTube
When you’re done, share these videos on YouTube (create your own account for your business) and also share on all other social media sites you’re on.
7. Branch Out with Social Media
Social media is essential if you want to promote your online shop effectively. But, as with anything, it takes effort and time to build followers. Depending on what you have time for (or if you can delegate tasks to anyone else to help you), you will want to check out the following sites to help market your store: (And continually try new sites to figure out what bests works for your b usiness.)
- Facebook *****
- Instagram *****
- Pinterest *****
- YouTube *****
- Amazon Hats
- Open an Amazon Store
- We Heart It
8. Highlight Products on Social Media
For social media marketing to work, you need to post regularly. For most businesses, this will be at least once a day, if not 2-3 times, depending on how many followers you have. Post enticing pictures of the products you offer, along with any deals you have going on.Always include a direct link to the specific product for fast purchasing at your online store.
Ask your followers to post pictures of themselves wearing your products or using them in their home, depending on what you sell, to encourage interaction and help further your online reach. Using a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite, can help make social media more manageable for you.
Contests are a great way to spread the word about what you have to offer, drive traffic to your store, and increase your social media followers. Some sites have specific rules for holding contests, like Facebook, so be sure you know what they are before beginning your contest. Offer one of your products as a prize (or put a few together for a prize pack) and then announce the contest on all of the social sites you use.
Post about the giveaway often to encourage signups (use the email addresses you get to build your email database) and then be sure to ask the winner to post a picture of themselves on your page with their prize once you’ve shipped it. Say something like “More great products just like this can be found at (insert URL)” to encourage those who are viewing the post to check out what else you have to offer.
10. Try Paid Advertising on Social Media
Sites like Facebook and Twitter offer the ability to use paid advertising to target the right consumers for you. If you try this on Facebook, we suggest selecting a metric such as ‘website clicks’ or ‘website conversions,’ because you want people to click through to your online store’s URL, not your fan page.
On Twitter, you could try using ‘Promoted Tweets’ to market your store. Be sure to include concise, yet enticing content along with the URL to help drive traffic. For example, if you create clothing, your promoted tweet might look something like this, “What are the hottest #fashion trends for summer? Find out here: (insert shortened URL).”
This is a fast and easy one. No matter what email provider you use, you should have a custom email signature that includes the URL to your store.
12. Optimize Your Product Names and Descriptions
Use keywords in your product names and descriptions to help your store get found in search engines. To research the best keywords for each of your products, you can use the ‘keyword planner‘ available for free through Adwords. Use these keywords in each of your product descriptions naturally, though, or it’ll turn off potential customers. Only use one keyword per description/product name.
13. Optimize Your Photos
Give your photos good names so search engines can find you. (E.g., green-womens-shirt.jpg instead of 3929s.jpg) Doing this can help you reach more consumers who are searching for products like yours.
14. Add Your Products to Google Shopping
Google Shopping lets you add your product feed to their site, making it easy for shoppers to discover your store online. Some online marketplaces, like Scott’s Marketplace, already do this for you. You can contact your marketplace directly or review the list of sellers’ benefits listed on their website to find out if this service is included with your virtual store.
Paid search campaigns (i.e. pay-per-click ads) on search engines such as Google or Bing can be a great way to drive traffic and conversions for your store, but warning, they eat up your budget quite quickly. If you prefer not to have to do this task yourself, some online marketplaces (including Scott’s Marketplace) do this for you, saving you time and money.
16. Get Customers to Review You
Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. Review sites like Yelp, Google Local, and Yahoo Local are very popular with consumers, and you should aim for your business to have as many reviews on them as possible.
When a customer makes a purchase, send them a follow-up email asking them to review their experience with you on ‘x’ review site of your choosing. Don’t bribe them with free things for a positive review; focus on outstanding customer service and fast shipping instead and let your business’ great reputation build organically.
17. Start a Referral Program
What better way to boost your online traffic than by offering current customers a discount or free item for referring their friends? Whether it’s a $15 credit when their friend makes their first purchase of $50 or more, or simply a free item under $10 when their friend makes a $25 purchase, a referral program can do wonders for getting new consumers to purchase from your site.
18. Comment in Forums/Groups
Do a search for forums related to what you sell to establish yourself as an expert in your field. Choose forums that allow you to either have a custom signature at the bottom with your URL and/or a linkable username. Be sure to choose a username that makes you stand out. For example, “ICreateBeautifulThings” or “SassyJewelryMaker” is better than “Shannon543267.”
Answer questions in the forum without blatantly promoting what you have to sell — people will naturally begin to click through to your site over time. When you repeatedly add value to forums, you become part of the community there, which makes the other users trust and value what you have to say, and, most importantly, want to find out what you sell. You can also do this by finding applicable groups on LinkedIn and Google+.
19. Subscribe to Blogs
For a steady stream of ideas on how to promote your online shop, subscribe to small business and marketing blogs just like this one! When tips get delivered directly to your inbox every day, it makes it easy to learn fresh ways to help get your business more exposure and profit.