E-commerce
How to promote your online store like a pro
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It takes constant work and advertising to get regular customers, and a part of this is being ready to try new tactics, some that might be out of your comfort zone. To promote your store successfully you will need easy and effective ways to drive traffic and increase sales. This will be a trial and error process and just like a physical location, customers won’t show up if they don’t know you’re there.
Offer deals regularly
Most online marketplaces will give you the option to hold sales and/or use promo codes to help attract shoppers. Be sure to do this on a regular basis, this is very important because everyone likes a sale. You should take advantage of seasonal shopping, or simply offering great deals for no reason at all, will help ensure you have regular web traffic. For example 15% off for Father’s Day, 20% off for Halloween, 50% off of select items on Black Friday, etc. over 100s of items in stock now
Email Marketing
When your website goes live, you’ll want to send out an email announcing it to your database. Make sure it links directly from the email to your store. Once you’ve done this, you can start sending out weekly/monthly newsletters that highlight your products with images and content that links directly to each product for easy purchasing. When you have sales, be sure to announce and promote them so customers can take advantage of your exclusive pricing right away. MailChimp is a free, easy-to-use option for small business owners. Some online marketplaces, including Scott’s Marketplace, promote their sellers’ products to their massive database of shoppers through email marketing as well.
Start a Blog
A blog is a great way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, it’s also an indirect way to help promote your online shop. If you 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) this will make sure each blog is informative and helpful. It helps to link any images back to your web store or a specific product too. Quality blog posts will help you grow your online business, as long as you have the time, it’s a great project to invest in. You should conduct market research for the industry your products are in and find out what the blogs with the largest following are doing. Be sure to look at how many comments they receive and how large their following is on their social media accounts to see their popularity. Then contact them to see if they are able to promote your products/ website. In this email or phone call you should 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. Some companies even provide a sample of your product for free. Hopefully, you will then get a review, a reader will get a free product, and you’ll get priceless promotion direct to your target audience. Guest blogging is another way to reach a larger audience you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. If you 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 store in your bio, but you possibly may also be able to get to the link in your content as well.
Product Visuals  
People are loving video content because they’re easy to share and can add depth and simplicity to your products, as well as help them gain popularity amongst your target market. You can share these videos on YouTube and all the other social media sites you’re on. Now that Facebook Live is popular, you might also consider live videoing product demos or show off behind-the-scenes at your company. Using video is also a great way to show off your products, whether it’s what, how, why or where to use the product. For example: Behind the scenes at Paradise – Millers Fashion
Optimise Your Product Names, Descriptions and Photos
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 a keyword planner for free through Adwords. Use these keywords in each of your product descriptions naturally or it’ll turn off potential customers. Only use one keyword per description/product name. Give your photos good names so search engines can find you. Doing this can help you reach more consumers who are searching for products like yours. For example: blue-picture-frame.jpg instead of 556114416.jpg
Social Media
Social media is essential if you want to promote your online shop successfully. It does take time and effort to build followers. Depending on what you have time for or if there is anyone else to help you, you should have a look at the following sites to help market your store: Facebook       Twitter         Instagram          Pinterest          YouTube          Google+         LinkedIn           Tumblr          Periscope For social media marketing to work, you do 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 or Buffer can help make social media more manageable for you. Contests and prize draws 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.
Paid advertising online
Sites like Facebook and Twitter and now Pinterest offer the ability to use paid advertising to target the right consumers for you. On Facebook, selecting ‘website clicks’ or ‘website conversions,’ is popular 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. Make sure you include a brief, yet appealing content along with the URL to help drive traffic. 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.
Your URL should be everywhere
Email signature – This is a fast, easy and cost effective. No matter what email provider you use, you should have a custom email signature that includes the URL to your store. WiseStamp makes this simple and is free to use at a basic level. Marketing Material – From business cards to posters and everything in between, your URL needs to be included wherever you’re marketing your business. Never leave home without something you can hand out to potential customers that have your URL on it.
              Business Cards                                                                             Posters
Cards                      Untitled desig 11  Vehicles – If you want your vehicle to be a non-stop promotion machine, get it wrapped with your store’s URL and some kind of image or slogan that attracts people around to pull out their phones and look up your store. Shopping Bags – You could get some reusable shopping bags printed with your business’ name, logo, and store URL on them and hand them out to customers. As customers carry the bags around, your store will be getting some good promotion. Magnets – Include a free magnet with every purchase, whether in-person or online. This way, current customers won’t forget where they purchased from and can also refer you easily to their friends.
Partner up with other local business owners
Partnering up with other local business owners is a great way to get new customers for your online shop. If you don’t know the other local business owners in your area are yet, make it a point to go introduce yourself. Talk to them and see if they’d be willing to put any flyers or cards out for your business in their stores and, in turn, do the same for them. For example: https://twitter.com/EDGENEWBURY/status/837219601171759108 Local associations have big followings, and aside from many other benefits, joining a few in your area will mean your business gets listed in their directories online. This can help increase traffic to your site If you’re online only, see if any businesses that sell their products at local events, markets, and festivals would let you have flyers on their table. Sponsoring local events in your area means you get promotion for your business, normally by a link on the event page, and sometimes through social media posts and other marketing material. Be sure you ask for your URL to be included. You may also want to ask if you can include one of your flyers in any goody bags or handouts.
After sale  
After someone places an order with you, you need to be thinking how can you give the best customer service even right up until and after the customer opens their package (If it is a physical item). This is the perfect time to use the promotional material and give great customer service. Make sure to put a discount code in the package to encourage the consumer to shop again. Have your URL printed on the code to make it easy for the customer to visit your site again. You should also always include one or two of your business cards in each order. You can even design the discount code tailored to the customer, for example, if they bought a specific item like a dress, you can then give them discount on shoes and accessories to go with the dress.  This way the customer feels like there is more of a personalised service dedicated to them.
Online marketplaces
E-marketplaces can provide easy purchasing process since availability, prices and stock levels are all available openly. Time constraints and problems with different office hours for international trade are removed as it is possible to operate on a round-the-clock basis. Google for Retail 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.
Customer reviews   
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, you can send them a follow-up email asking them to review their experience with you on your chosen review site. You should focus on outstanding customer service and fast shipping instead and let your business’ great reputation build organically.
Referral Program
A way to boost your online traffic is by offering current customers a discount or free item for referring their family or friends. A referral program can do wonders for getting new consumers to purchase from your site. Social media comes in handy with this as you can offer your existing customers to share your page to their following. If done successfully you can gain thousands of new customers just by one very happy customer.
Get involved 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 and relates to your brand. Answer questions in the forum without promoting what you have to sell and 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+. As long as you don’t hound groups with desperately trying selling your product, writing on forums and groups will be a walk in the park.
PR Stunt
If you want a first sale fast, pulling a PR stunt could do the trick. Viral videos are also based on the same concept, a PR stunt has the potential to propel your brand into fame. If executed well, you can say goodbye to time-consuming brand marketing with instant publicity, gaining you loyal followers and customers in the process. However with the popularity of the brand comes the actually PR stunt. This consists of doing something unusual or remarkable enough to be worthy of media attention. If done correctly, your store could benefit from thousands of links from news sources, which is great for both traffic in the short term and SEO in the long term. A good PR stunt doesn’t require a lot of money or a big brand to pull it off. It just requires creativity.
Press Releases
A lot of new online stores push out press releases in order to attract media attention, but sometimes it does not go according to plan. News outlets can ignore you when you distribute a new press release, leaving you feeling demoralised and a huge waste of resources. To stop this from happing you need to make sure your news actually is news worthy. You shouldn’t expect a massive response unless you’re giving the public something very interesting to read about. A press release should be presented in a way that is crisp and professional, without being too repetitious.
Pop-up Store
Just because your store began online, it doesn’t mean it has to stay online. A pop-up store could be just what you need to compliment your online presence especially when you are just getting started. A pop-up store isn’t a financial burden, due to its temporary nature but it is all about location. You can open a pop-up store at markets, art fairs, shopping centres, galleries, and any other place people gather. Just make sure you’re set up in an area that is clearly visible and where your target market will be wandering. A pop-up store also can act as a great offline marketing outpost. You can use your store to hand out discount codes to be used for your online store, and you can collect email subscriptions and social media followers.

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