E-commerce has capitalized the retail market, giving rise to many newly emerging companies.
But most online stores are on a shoestring budget, creating a catch 22 situation where there’s little money available for marketing.
How can you promote your business when you’re not earning enough to reinvest?
It’s tricky to direct traffic to your website, especially when you consider the dominance of established powerhouses.
Your main intention will be to obtain new customers while encouraging existing customers to revisit.
Repeat customers are the engine that drives businesses to new heights, where there is evidence to suggest 65% of custom comes from existing customers.
Once you’ve established a loyal client base, business growth will accelerate rapidly.
But how should you go about attracting new clientele?
Well, fortunately, there are many free online marketing methods to be taken advantage of.
If you’re new to the business world, you might question the potency of a method that doesn’t cost anything, but never underestimate the power of free marketing.
Various organizations take advantage of these initiatives, having capably built a business from the ground up without the large advertising that’s perceived as a prerequisite.
But perceptions are easily broken when you experience success first hand.
Patience is a virtue throughout proceedings because although occasionally tedious and tiring, establishing yourself as an expert in your field is a real possibility.
Here are some fantastic methods for driving targeted traffic to your e-commerce store:
Share Valuable Information
Sharing online content is a great way to establish a presence in different circles, those relevant to your field of expertise.
When people search within a specific category, it helps if you’re established an online presence in that area.
There are many different online communities where you can share content related to your business, including social media communities, chat rooms, online forums and blogs.
When people search for content related to your business, they’ll be more likely to encounter your business.
Sharing content online increases engagement, while usefully boosting your SERPs for specific search terms.
How well do you know your target audience?
By understanding your target demographic you can determine which communities and forums are most suitable to interact with.
For example, if your shop sells clothing you can engage with fashion forums, offering actionable insight which users can extract value from.
Always prioritize delivering high-quality advice which directly addresses the needs and requirements of your clientele.
When repeated often, these interactions will position you as a guru in your field.
Prospective customers will become interested in who you are, and consider delving a bit deeper to find out.
This will boost your online reputation, naturally redirecting traffic to your online store.
For example, if you sell dog food and regularly share expertise, offer advice and tackle consumer queries, there’s a better chance people will purchase from your store.
Content marketing has become extremely prominent, in an online world where masses of content is shared across thousands of platforms.
This comes in the form of videos, photos, infographics, blog articles, and essentially anything else that appeals to your target audience.
The main goal with content marketing is to attract visitors to your website.
But how does it work?
Let’s give a practical example to clarify.
Christmas is fast approaching and you’re a company that sells jackets.
You write an article titled ‘Tantalizing Christmas Outfits To Set Things Off In Style’.
In the article, you list various garments as inspiration, before importantly referencing one of your own jackets.
You can use a hyperlink within that section to direct prospective customers to your website.
When someone searches for ideas about things to wear at Christmas, there’s a chance they’ll click through and discover your article.
This creates exposure for your business.
The more you post blogs online, with relevant, high-quality content that offers value for your consumer, the higher up your website will appear in Google for certain search terms.
This is a fantastic and free marketing approach, though the cost of writing the article must be factored into the equation.
Devise a content strategy carefully considering the type of posts you’ll share.
These should cater to your target demographic.
Email marketing has stood the test of time, remaining as one of the most powerful promotional tools.
Fail to utilize email marketing and prepare to fail at your own peril!
A great starting point is building your mailing list.
This involves capturing as many email addresses as possible, particularly from those who visit your website but don’t buy anything.
You can collect email addresses by providing a box with a sign-up form while incentivizing consumers by offering something in exchange.
If you’ve used a tool like Advanced Coupon plugins to formulate a discount section when customers checkout, you can feasibly offer them a coupon for providing their email address.
You can even incorporate sign-up fields at the end of blog posts, under the premise readers are more likely to give their email address if they’ve enjoyed reading the article.
You can then offer to send future content their way.
Your mailing list should serve as an extension of your content strategy, meaning it requires regular attention.
Regularly update your list, and look to send no more than one email per week to avoid customers disregarding your emails as spam.
The content of your emails should include the following:
- Discounts and sales promotions
- Relevant articles from your blog
- New product promotions
- A combination of product and non-product content
The final point will avoid your email seeming too salesy.
Be inspired by other brand’s mailing lists, piggybacking off their approach to make content relevant and interesting.
There are various providers that can send considerable emails on your behalf, requiring just a small monthly fee.
Online discounts are a powerful weapon when leveraged correctly.
Coupons are a great way of luring potential customers, those who will be intrigued by the prospect of real-time savings.
Everyone loves a bargain, so why not appeal to people’s nature by offering some money off?
This can be the difference between securing a sale and not.
One of the biggest incentives to offer coupon deals is the prospect of converting customers and driving customer loyalty.
What’s great about this method is it’s easy to implement, alongside the results of your campaign being relatively easy to track.
Building your online brand with coupons is relatively straightforward, but how exactly should you go about adding a coupon section to your online store?
If you’ve used WordPress to design your website, you’ll be well aware of WooCommerce, a fantastic plugin for effortlessly creating your own store.
They’ll be many options to personalize the checkout section of your website.
Once programmed, consumers will have an option to enter a coupon code which discounts their purchase at the checkout stage.
Your next focus is developing a coupon strategy to attract customers, before disseminating them accordingly online.
When done right social media marketing can significantly influence your bottom line.
Here your intention is to get customers to become brand advocates.
If you can encourage consumers to share content relating to your business, this creates awareness around your product or service.
But where do you begin?
Think about which platforms you’re going to use.
Over time you’ll work out which are most suitable, for example if you’re keen on visual expression Instagram will be right down your street.
If you’re limited by time and resources, focusing on one platform is a preferred approach.
Your social media strategy will be closely tied to your content strategy.
The main question is what to post?
It should typically be 20% promotional content and the rest appealing information that interests and intrigues your target demographic.
Followers will fail to take your business seriously if you’re constantly force feeding them offers.
Entertain and inform your audience rather than directly selling to them.
To increase engagement further you can join the conversation too.
Get involved by commenting on trending topics, whether it’s on your page or elsewhere, especially on posts your target audience is bound to be interested in.
This is great for exposure, as is rewarding consumers for sharing or liking content.
Whether it’s a coupon code or opportunity to win a prize, users should be incentivized to boost awareness.
User Generated Content (UGC) is a fantastic component of great social media strategy.
Here users can naturally introduce your business to their stream of followers.
Taking the jacket company we used earlier as an example, you could incentivize users to share a picture wearing of themselves wearing your jacket, while tagging your company in their post.
Their network of followers will observe this, and you’ll generate a viral effect which spreads the message further.
This boosts the potential of your brand.