Have you been doing all you can to get more sales at your online store? If your end-goal is steady, year-round profit, (and whose isn’t?), then you’re going to have to do more than just send out a tweet here and there. It’s going to take constant work and promotion if you want regular customers, and part of that is going to be a willingness to try new tactics, some that might even be out of your comfort zone.
As an online merchant, making your first sale is as symbolic as it is necessary. Completing the first sale sounds straightforward enough, yet the optimism and reassurance it brings can make it the biggest turning point in the life of your business. However, don’t let the simple concept of a first sale mislead you. Obtaining that first customer can sometimes be a long, arduous battle.
There’s no doubt the online shoppers are out there. Worldwide, online sales totaled a whopping $1.2 trillion in 2013. You just need to capture a slice of that online success — the online shoppers who fit your target demographic. Pet owners in Portland? Art collector in Quebec? Lovers in the world over?
SOCIAL MEDIA IS YOUR BUDDY
Social media is almost everyone’s way of connecting now and it should be yours too. You’re going to check your Facebook feed at least once today anyway, right? So is everybody else. The popularity of social media doesn’t show any signs of waning, so it’s a smart move to promote your online store using the social sites that your potential customers hang out on.
1. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
Create a Facebook page for your online store. Invite your circle of Facebook friends to share and like your page. Start posting relevant and interesting (i.e. sharable) content that encourages viewers to check out your web store. Start tweeting about your store. Reach out to the tweeps who already follow you and attract new followers.
When it comes to representing personality and creativity via social media, the three big visual platforms do it best. Pinterest, Instagram, and most recently Vine, all allow you to take a slightly different approach to engaging with consumers. These platforms are the perfect place to present the creativity and passion that goes into your business behind the scenes. Snap pictures of your products, take videos of the manufacturing process, tell a story with images. Always aim for beauty if possible. People love beauty.
2. Start a Blog
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.(Don’t forget to link any images back to your web store or a specific product too!) If the content isn’t strong, it’s not going to do you any good. Quality blog posts will help you grow your online business, however, so if you have the time, it’s a great project to invest in.
3. Online Forums
Online discussion forums are great places to give out industry tips and advice, answer questions, and acquire a customer or two. Use Google to search out some active forums that may directly relate to your niche. When you post, ensure you aren’t breaking any forum rules when you promote your brand or products. Get to know the limits and restrictions of the forum, and stick to them. Using your forum avatar, signature, and profile page to promote your brand are usually well within the rules.
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.
MIXING IN WITH THE CROWD
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Building the right relationships, both online and offline, can act as your portal to success. No matter what type of product you sell or which industry you work within, there always are like-minded businesses out there, and you need to befriend them.
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.
Word of mouth is a very powerful marketing tool. Reviews are very popular with consumers as quality gauges, and you should aim for your business to have as many reviews on them as possible. And don’t forget about your happy customers. Their positive reviews exert a strong influence on other shoppers. Ask them to give you testimonials and to take a few minutes to rate your products.
ONLINE SITE OPTIMISATION
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.
Once you have a clear picture of the best key words for driving traffic to your store, and how to include them in your web copy and site design it’s time to put this into practice. Give your designer store a thorough audit revising main sections to make sure they are optimised for key words in frequency, weight, position, prominence and placement.
It seems like there are thousands of articles telling you how to promote your online store. With all the social media channels, blogging tips, and content marketing strategies it can quickly get overwhelming. Remember to not lose sight of two important points: 1) You don’t have to do everything at once & 2) It’s actually not hard, you just have to do it. Have fun promoting your online store and we wish you all the best!