You’ve decided to start an ecommerce business and done heaps of work to have your online store up and running. The inventory is ready, the website looks great, you’ve done your background testing and everything is ready to go. It feels like you’ve climbed the mountain and now it’s time to relax and wait for the customers to crowd your store.
Been there, done that. And this is the lesson I’ve learnt: the most difficult and the most interesting part is yet to begin. This is when you realise that starting an online store is only half way. The other half is to find customers who are willing to buy your product.
But how do you choose from so many options of online channels to promote your online business? How do you know which of them will bring you the right customers? The ones who share your passion and want exactly the product you sell? What if your budget as a beginner entrepreneur is limited? How do you know which online marketing will give you the most return on investment?
Those are all valid questions and I share the frustration of beginner online business founders. After being a marketer for over 17 years and running a successful online business myself, I’m happy to share the tips for self-starters, to help you attract customers to your online store.
There are a number of ways to promote your ecommerce business depending on your goals, experience and budget. Here are some of them:
Market the product/service to your circle of family/friends/colleagues first
These are your first customers and they can give you valuable feedback which you can take on board and refine your offer, if needed. Be it the price, the package, the experience, etc. The best thing – you already have those connections and don’t need to pay to reach those first customers, provided they fit the criteria of your target customer.
Write a high quality blog optimised for your keywords
This may not be necessarily related to the product you sell, but to problems your product helps to solve or even issues common for your target audience. This comes hand in hand with your website SEO and crosses with your social media strategy.
Don’t worry if you’ve never done copywriting before. You can outsource it, but give it a go and just be yourself and create a natural conversation with your customers through a friendly, simple tone as if you are chatting with them over a coffee table in a café.
As for SEO, while it may be overwhelming for beginner entrepreneurs to absorb a lot of information about website organic traffic and what drives it, it is a number one thing you need to learn if you are going to dedicate time and effort to growing your online business. And believe me, you’ll become an expert in no time through self-education and experience.
Consider influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is another online channel to promote an ecommerce store which basically involves a person, most often a blogger with a sizable following, who can promote your business through their blog posts, competitions, a website, etc. Usually, this involves a fee which is directly related to the number of followers.
Make sure you select influencers based on good research of their target audience. Ask about the typical persona profile to make sure their followers are the right customers you want to target.
Write guest posts on relevant websites
Write quality posts on the blogs/websites that target your ideal customer. That way you have free access to your audience and can create follow links to your online store which are quite liked by search engines and boost your website rankings in the organic search.
While it’s the most expensive way to reach your target customers, they are actually the ones looking to buy. Learn how google ads work and be ultra specific to target high converting keywords to avoid wasting your budget.
When you attract right customers to your online store, they become your leads. The next step is to engage with them through quality content, such as product descriptions, that helps to address their point of pain, answer their questions, or meet their needs through offering solutions. It may be worth expanding the conversation beyond the product and actually talk about a bigger problem where your product fits as a solution.
Remember to sell emotional benefits, not features, of your goods or services. Expect customers to scan your store in a few seconds. Your job in to engage and press the right “buttons” to resonate with your customers. Emotional benefits are far more likely to be heard and reacted to, than dry list of facts about your product.
It is also very important to speak the same language as your customers, so keep it simple and minimise the number of clicks or amount of scrolling your customers need to do in order to arrive to the Buy Now button.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an easy recipe with a 1-2-3 steps guide? But the truth is you need to be patient and dedicate diligent and consistent effort into promoting your online store. Be prepared to make mistakes and, even better, allow yourself to make them. It is thanks to trial and error you’ll arrive to your own winning formula which will help you to attract tons of customers to your online store.
View this article as a starting point that has been tested and proven to gain good traction of your future success.
And the best of luck on your online entrepreneurship journey!