Online stores have become very popular these days to the point that traditional business owners have started to join the trend. Considering how relatively cheap it can be to put up an online store instead of installing a physical store, the right online marketing and advertising strategy should be carefully thought of.
Making use of online techniques enables business owners to reach far more places. Businesses now are no longer limited to sell within a locality but can now as well do business even as far as the other end of the globe.
Whether it’s a Shopify store or any other kind of e-commerce site, it’s not enough to create a website and leave it as is without making the necessary steps to boost traffic into your online store. No matter how spectacularly creative your website design is, you might find your online business losing a lot of money, if you don’t use the right online strategies.
Is social media the answer?
It’s pretty much common knowledge to consider social media as a great opportunity to promote practically anything. Whether it’s about the latest events, an upcoming sale promotion, or a store opening, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have greatly influenced the way our customers choose the products and services that they intend to buy.
To answer the question, social media may be an effective technique to bring traffic to your e-commerce site, but that’s just one of the many available strategies that you can use.
More traffic-boosting strategies for online stores
How can you boost traffic to your website when there are so many online stores that possibly offer the same products as you do? There is such stiff competition in the world of online selling that has prompted business owners to do whatever it takes to direct their target customers into their websites.
Here are a few things that business owners need to be aware of so that they can potentially increase traffic to their website and eventually turn visitors into paying customers:
Look for online forums
Imagine that your online business is about children’s costumes. Your target market would definitely be mothers of school-age children. Luckily, there are forums and chat groups for mothers who want to talk about their families, marriages and children. They would ask fellow parents about opinions on dressing up their kids for special events. Having your store URL placed on any of those forums can already be an effective ad strategy.
Make sure that the forums where you plan to post your site links are aligned to your store’s niche. Otherwise, you might put off potential clients who might think that they’re looking at a spam link.
Invest on online ads
Placing ads about your products on online channels will increase your chances of getting noticed. However, you must focus on a single product that you want to sell, rather than advertising the landing page of your website. How do you do this?
Suppose you have an online tutorial for school children as your online business, as well as sell review books in Math and English for different grade levels. You may want to get in touch with a group of mommy bloggers who have a huge following. You may ask these bloggers if it’s possible to place your ad on their website so that their blog followers – who are most likely interested in your services – will get the chance to click your ad and eventually get redirected to your website.
Be aware that placing ads would mean additional cost on your end. Fortunately, there are several options to make your ad more cost-effective – say, adjusting the ad size or regulating the visibility period of the ad on the page. Although you may need to shell out for this, think of its long-term effects especially in terms of bringing your service to your target market.
Make use of hashtags
Hashtags – terms or keywords that start with a hash (#) or number sign – became popular because of Twitter. These days, more and more people are using hashtags to describe their posts on different social media sites.
Aside from the obvious purposes of the hashtag, some business owners have been using these lucrative terms to get visitors into their websites. Hashtags that are correctly created for a certain business will allow people to find exactly what they are looking for, without the need to look for their desired contene elsewhere. Hashtags should contain exactly what the product or service that you want to advertise, so that the target audience identifies the hashtags with your company.
Here’s a good example: an online shop that sells black leather shoes may use the hashtags #BlackShine and #LeatherIsBetter on its social media posts.
Improve keyword use for better SEO
Search engine optimization continues to be a standard for people who want their websites to appear at the top of search results. In the case of e-commerce websites, choosing the keywords that perfectly describe your products will increase your chances of appearing on search engine pages.
Make sure that you use engaging and original product descriptions. Well-chosen keywords are easier to be found in product information pages, especially when you change their font styles (say, making them bold or underlined). When you create unique descriptions, you enable search engines to index these keywords pertaining to your site.
Connect with similar stores and niche accounts on social media
Search for accounts in Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that focus on the same niche as your online store. Once you have spotted them, send the account owner a message either through the email address provided on their page or through direct messaging. Tell them that you would appreciate it if they can endorse your product on social media.
You should choose the right words when sending messages to them. You wouldn’t want to sound like you are demanding your products to be featured on their future social media posts, would you? Here are some tips to make the request a little less insistent:
- Inform them that you came across their profiles and saw that you have the same interests.
- Provide details of the product that you are selling, including its benefits and standout features.
- Ask if it would be possible to have your product mentioned in their social media posts.
- Ask how you can send free samples so that they may be able to try your products themselves.
Another way to influence people to help in your social media promotions is by letting them know that they can earn commission of some form. In short, make the social media promotional strategy a win-win situation for both parties.
Tap your family and friends
In starting up a new online business, you may want to save as much as possible. For some, placing ads on other sites may not be an option yet. The most cost-effective way of promoting your store is through the help of family and friends.
For starters, inform close friends and family members that you are about to launch your online store. By sending them free samples, they will be encouraged to help you out in spreading the word through their friends and acquaintances. Have your relatives share your online shop as well as your products and services on their social medial accounts so that their own friends will know about it.
In other words, treat your friends and family as your “virtual angels” to put the word out for your business. You don’t need to spend too much to advertise online because you have already earned their trust even before starting your business.
Create a user-friendly platform
You may want to impress your visitors by creating a website that is extremely complex and can showcase your amazing skills in web design. However, if your visitors find it difficult to navigate through your store to view products and services, this would probably lose your potential customers.
You cannot expect all of your online store visitors to know exactly how to navigate your website. Some may be used to seeing websites with static pages. Using flash images may be attractive, but ensure that clickable links are always visible for them.
In addition, make the checkout process easy for your online buyers. Otherwise, the complexity of the process may turn them off and eventually beg off from their intended purchase.
Make your pages load fast
When your website’s page loading takes several seconds, prospect buyers may abandon your site and look for another online shop that offers the same products and services that you have. Your customers may not want to go through a long process of ordering, shipping and checking out. You wouldn’t want to lose the interest of your visitors, would you?
Find way on how you can shorten the process without eliminating vital information that the customer needs to know when buying a product, such as paying additional cost for shipping or offering free shipping for those who buy in bulk.
Make your website mobile-friendly
The tremendous decline in the use of desktop computers occurred with the creation of tablets and smartphones. Web access through mobiles and tablets have increased significantly, which means that your website should be able to adapt to these smaller screen sizes so as not to alienate your mobile clients.
They don’t have to wait to go home and sit in front of their desktops just to order an item from your store. They should be able to access your e-commerce website wherever they are and whatever time of the day using their handheld devices.
Create a blog
Posting interesting information and being visible online regularly will naturally increase your followers. The fastest way to do this is by creating and maintaining a blog.
Most online businesses don’t just showcase their products or services, but also share valuable information related to what they are offering. Instead of just repeating the description that goes with each product that you sell, write about something related to your niche. If you limit your blog articles only to promote your products, there’s a big chance that you will lose your online audience.
If you’re selling organic health bars, for instance, you may discuss health issues such as the adverse effect of not having sufficient amount of Vitamin C or the latest drug discovered to stop a certain skin disorder.
Feature popular social media accounts on your blog
When you want to seek help from others, as earlier mentioned, people engaged in similar products or services that you may have are the best guys that you need to be around with. By searching specific keywords related to your products, you can get to those people that might help you.
You may start by searching niche-specific people through social media sites, and write about them. Let your blog readers know what is special about these online influencers or what they are passionate about. Then, inform your chosen social media influencers that you have featured them on your latest blog and emphasize why you think they deserve to be given such importance.
Next, ask them how you can send some samples of your products, and politely ask them to share the information about your product on their social media accounts.
Properly engaging with followers and promoting quality products and services through the help of online strategies will definitely help your business to success.