So you set up your online store, but you have no clue how to market it? Sit back and relax. We’re here to help. Though it’s easy to build an online store, sadly the same cannot be said about making sales from it. If you’re stuck on how to promote your online store, start right here with the seven tips listed below.
How to Promote your Online Store
1. Offer referral discounts
Referral discounts are the classic marketing tactics to promote your online store, especially to reach new customers. Remember Uber’s free rides? When a friend invited you to use Uber to book a ride, they got discounted rides as soon as you booked a ride on Uber.
You can offer similar discounts to your customers on their purchase as soon as their referrals make a purchase on your store. Emails are a great way to put this to work, just use any tool to send your customers an email asking them to refer their friends and the reward they would get in return.
2. Reach out to product reviewers aka affiliates
The first thing you might want to know is who are affiliates and how can they help you promote your online store? Here’s an answer:
Affiliates are promoters of your product who earn commission on every sale that you make from the customers referred by them. These can be influential bloggers with a huge readership or just a regular person with a large social media following (like most Instagram influencers). Some of the largest e-commerce companies derive as much as 40% of their revenue through affiliate marketing, and Amazon is the largest of them.
For online stores, affiliate marketing can prove just as much profitable as these retail giants and can bring as much as $1 mn in revenue. So go ahead and find a few affiliates that would promote your online store.
How to find affiliates for your online store?
You need to essentially find bloggers who write about the products related to your industry. For example, if you sell ‘ handbags’, you should approach a fashion blogger. Find out what do they mostly write about and how much of an impact does it have on their readers. Another thing that you can factor in while deciding whether a blogger is a right fit to promote your product is to check the level of engagement the blogger has on their blog. To measure this, check the comment section in their blogs, it would give you a fair idea of the level of engagement a blog has.
A general perception is higher the number of comments on a blog, greater is the engagement, and higher are the odds of a person buying from your online store.
Follow the steps below to find affiliates for your online store
- Start with a manual search on Google by looking for ‘your product + review’. I urge you to go beyond the first page as the chances are you might already know most of the websites.
Also try looking up ‘your product’ affiliates, ‘your product’ affiliate marketing, and other variations. Chances are you will come across your competitors that are running their affiliate program that you can learn from.
- Add the URLs of bloggers that you find as potential affiliates to a spreadsheet, and try reaching out to them on their emails. Even better if you can find their contact number.
List your program on affiliate marketplaces
The other, a rather popular way, to build an affiliate network for your online store is to list your offering on affiliate marketplaces. Some of the popular affiliate marketplaces are:
CJ (Commission Junction)
Use social media to promote your affiliate program
Lastly, utilise your social media network to promote your affiliate program. This might result in your customers becoming your affiliates too. Instagram is a popular platform where you can find users with a huge following that can help you market your online store. Since it’s a visuals driven platform, this makes it suitable for apparel, décor and other lifestyle products to be promoted.
3. Start a blog to promote your online store
I bet you would give anything to just have your online store on the first page of Google. Though there’s some technical side to it, blogs can immensely help to promote your online store. It requires more of your own consistent writing effort but it is one of the best ways to increase online sales.
Blog ideas for online store
- How to pair your crepe top with ripped denim ( for an online clothing store)
- How to choose a tote bag that compliments your style ( for an online boutique shop)
- 10 wall hangings for your child’s nursery ( for an online décor shop)
A rule of thumb to make the most of your blogs is to stay consistent and publish blogs regularly. However, simply writing and relying on Google to index your blog might not help it.
Know how to promote your blog
The possibility that a blog ranks on the first page of Google as soon as you publish it is very low. Sadly, it also means that you would get zero to negligible traffic on your store. Relying on this isn’t a practical thing to do. What you can do instead is promote your blog that sends direct traffic to your store.
How to promote a blog to increase traffic to your online store:
- Tag the people you have referred to in your blog while you share your blog on social media. The odds of people sharing an article in which they are tagged is extremely high.
- Share your blog in online communities specific to your industry. For instance, if you sell personal care and beauty products, you can share your blogs in beauty forums or Reddit’s relevant threads. This helps to grow your influence as well as drive sales for your store.
- Email your existing customers about it. The number of people who engage in your blog gives Google a signal that strengthens the blog rank in SERPs.
- Write guest posts on popular websites in your industry. There are two benefits to it. First, you get a link to your store that bolsters its rank on search engines, and second, you get to reach a larger audience.
4. Use emails to promote your online store
Email marketing forms the backbone of customer communications for most online stores and is one of the best online store promotion ideas . In addition to informing customers about their placed orders, they can be used creatively to market your online store. So how to use emails to market your online store?
Send Promotional emails
According to GFK’s global retail report, one of the many reasons that people shop online is because they get cheap pricing. Promotional emails are an easy way to engage, and keep customers coming back to your store.
Some common promotional messages that capture subscriber’s attention are: ‘ X% flat off’, free shipping, and more.
Attract with festive offers
Festivals are an important time when people like to shop, throwing in discounts and special festival offers for your customers encourages them to shop more. Christmas, St. Patrick’s day, Cyber Monday are some of the few occasions when you can send these emails.
Boost sales with cart abandonment emails
Not all the traffic that you get on your online store goes on to make a purchase, and there are numerous reasons like the decline of the credit card that can lead a visitor to abandon their cart. In such cases, proactively nudging customers by sending cart abandonment emails to complete their purchase can help you to drive sales of your store.
Use a professional email address
You should also ensure that you’re using a professional email address to send these promotional emails. One of the things you should avoid is using a nickname or other fancy names for your email address. You can learn more about creating a professional email address in this article: The 3 Rules to Choosing a Professional Email Address.
6. List your products on Google Shopping
Google has been generous to all those who want to get out and promote their online business. This generosity is further extended to online retailers in the form of Google Shopping.
With this, you can target customers searching for your products on Google, instead of having to entirely depend on traffic to arrive on your store from your well-ranked pages on Google.
7. Optimize image for Google and other search engines
Search engines can’t read images. However, search engines like Google try to understand what a graphic content is about by reading ‘alt text’. Alt text stands for alternate text. If you want your products to show up in Google image searches, the alternate text becomes even more mandatory. Additionally, take care that your images are not heavy to affect your website’s performance (loading time) in which case you should try to compress them while keeping the quality of images intact.
You can read more on how to optimize images for search engines here.
Now that you have an idea of how to promote your online store, put the above tips to work and see how it turns out for your store.