How To Promote Your New E-Commerce Site For Free (7 Fresh Ideas For 2019)

Promote Your New E-Commerce Store For Free

So you’ve created a new store. Congratulations!

Now that you’ve invested all that money and time into creating your store, you might be starting to wonder where all the customers are?

Is this where you are at right now?

Creating the store is just the beginning of the journey. Now the real work begins.

It’s marketing time! Put your marketing hat on and let’s get started…

When it comes to marketing a brand new e-commerce website here’s what most people do:

  1. You try some Facebook ads and wonder why you only get a click-through rate of 0.5% and no one buying anything
  2. Do the same with Google Ads and experienced similar success (or lack thereof)
  3. Send a few emails to “contacts”
  4. Call an SEO agency and get bill shock when you receive the quote at which point you decide this SEO stuff is just a crock of shit
  5. Cry into your pillow at night

Does this sound like you?

It’s not as uncommon as you think. Marketing is one of those words that is so overused that it means nothing or everything, depending on who you talk to.

But don’t get disheartened!

A lot of the marketing that you do in the beginning is going to fall flat and you do need to try a lot of things to see what works. Every audience and every store is different and the more you get yourself out there and try and execute on ideas the sooner you will find out what is actually going to work for your store.

I’m not a big fan of general advice like “Do SEO”. It’s unhelpful and not what you need at this stage. So let’s get into some specifics with 7 fresh ideas you may not have heard just yet.

Let’s give you some fodder for your marketing experiments!

New Store Promotion Idea #1: Welcome coupon with a competition twist

Customers respond well to competitions and we know that welcome coupons work really well. So why not combine the two in a new twist?

Tell them you’ll give them a welcome coupon, but only after they’ve entered a competition.

I recommend using a tool like KingSumo which will let you run a competition and grant extra entries for sharing, this incentivizes them to like your social pages and share your competition (creating a viral loop).

Once they enter the competition, as a thank you, send them a welcome coupon for a % off whatever it is you are selling.

New Store Promotion Idea #2: Exclusive deals for other people’s audiences

Right now you’ve probably bee wondering how you get “traffic”. It sounds like the cure-all. Traffic solves everything, right?

I’ll let you in on a little secret.

All the big stores you know and love started with 0 traffic too.

The way they many of them started getting more traffic is by borrowing other people’s traffic.

Have a think about your audience and what sites they are likely to visit. What blogs, in particular, do they frequent? Are there any that would let you post on their site? Could you arrange a special deal with the site owner? Any chance you could email their list with this deal?

Borrowing a small bit of their credibility will get you exposure into an audience that you don’t own.

They took a long time to build that audience and if you want to grow your audience too, you need to start building your own list. The fastest way to do this is by getting in front of other people’s audiences.

Why would someone let you do this? Well… you need to give them some sort of incentive and that is where this next idea comes in…

New Store Promotion Idea #3: Start an affiliate program

Affiliate marketing, if you are unfamiliar with the term, is the process where a store gives a % of the revenue of a sale to someone else for their help in promoting that product or store.

As a store owner, you’re basically paying them for their promotion and marketing of your products.

The best thing is you only have to pay them for performance. Meaning they only get money when they actually help you sell something!

Neat right?

Running an affiliate program in WooCommerce is really easy. I recommend the AffiliateWP plugin which gives you all the options and configuration you need to set up a program. You can literally have your affiliate program set up in 1 afternoon.

Deciding on the % of revenue to give away can be tricky as it will be based on gross profit, not net profit. So keep your margins in mind.

The best way to get a gauge of this would be to look at what others in your niche are giving away to affiliates for their stores.

As a rough guide, traditional e-commerce stores selling physical products will give away less, somewhere in the region of 5-15% of the sale. Whereas stores selling digital products will be willing to give sometimes up to 30%.

New Store Promotion Idea #4: Start a Facebook group for your target customers

The interaction rate with normal Facebook business pages has dropped significantly. So much so that it’s barely worth trying to promote content on business pages anymore.

What is working really well is Facebook Groups.

Groups, especially closed ones, get their content circulated into people’s feed far more often than public pages.

This is because it is assumed that the content will be more interesting to the user based on the fact that they actually manually joined the closed group and therefore must have been somewhat interested in what is inside.

Can you create a Facebook Group that would be of great interest to your audience?

If you sell dog training products for labradors and you’re based in the UK, could you create a Labrador Dog Training UK group where you share loads of helpful tips and information for Labrador owners?

Think about how this might apply to your store and what kind of group you could create. Remember the reward is high interaction rate and because you own the group, there’s nothing stopping you from promoting your own products there. You can even offer an incentive for group members to buy from you with a discount coupon.

New Store Promotion Idea #5: Create Joint Product Bundles With Likeminded Stores

Here’s an interesting spin on the joint-venture/borrowing other people’s audiences idea.

Can you connect with other store owners that would like to join forces and create a product bundle of complementary products?

Everyone loves a deal and if you could create a joint product bundle with your products and some of their products it can make it very appealing to both audiences. A win-win scenario.

Doing a joint promotion means twice the pulling power when it comes to getting people in the door to purchase. Leverage each other’s marketing strengths and gain exposure to a new audience at the same time.

New Store Promotion Idea #6: Insert Yourself Into Conversations On Social Media

When you start a new store, it often pays to be scrappy.

Being scrappy is all about doing things that don’t scale just to get your first few customers.

Inserting yourself into conversations that are happening on social media already is a good way to make people aware of you, as long as you don’t come across too pitchy.

Hijacking a conversation between two people isn’t a great idea and can often lead to disaster.

Likewise, always just spruiking your own products on social media isn’t a good idea either. It’s a conversational media so you need to do and say things that people are interested in.

I suggest in the beginning monitoring a couple of hashtags or search phrases and watch out for people that are asking a specific question.

If you can add value and answer that person’s question that’s great. This is the kind of selfless conversation starter you need to be doing here.

If it makes sense, you can mention something on your site like an article you’ve written or, again, if it makes sense for the situation, a product you sell.

The golden rule is that people don’t like being pitched to, but they do like receiving help when they ask for it.

New Store Promotion idea #7: Brand All The Things

Finally, a simple, yet often overlooked promotional idea is to make sure that all your profiles are up to date with the latest information and a link back to your site.

At a minimum, every social media profile, forum profile, author byline, etc should have a professional looking profile photo, good cover art (if that is an option on the platform) and a link to your store.

Ideally what you should also include is a well written, easy to read bio that says what you do, what you stand for and why they should follow you.

Summary

In summary, what you really need to do when you come up to the problem of marketing your new e-commerce store is to try a lot of things and see what works.

Do some non-scalable things.

Be a bit scrappy.

Don’t be disheartened when most of the stuff you do doesn’t get the results you expect.

In fact, you should expect that the majority of the things you attempt will not have massive cut through.

If you can go into it with this mindset you’ll be more aware when something does work. And what you are looking for right now are the things that do work like crazy because those are the things you’ll need to double down.

So throw as much spaghetti at the wall as you can and see what sticks.

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