SLQ Business Studio are very happy to welcome digital agency Media Shark as a guest blogger.
With the world at the fingertips of the ‘net generation’, fundamentally, anyone can start an online store.
Combine an entrepreneurial spirit with a stable internet connection, and there’s little more you’ll need to get an online store off the ground in just a few reasonably straightforward steps.
Of course, we simplify.
Because, while anyone with WIFI that woos can launch an online store, making it a success is an entirely different cyber-ball game.
The good news: all the tools are already there for you.
The bad news, however, is that with competition fierce, you’ll need to know how to work said tools and devise a watertight marketing strategy if you’re to stand out above the crowd and make your online store a success.
If you want to grow an online store and sustain it into the future, follow these foolproof digital marketing tips:
1.) Regularly update content
While SEO is an ever-evolving strategy, the point remains that Google and other leading search engines will reward all websites for having fresh, accurate content.
If your income relies solely on internet traffic, update blog posts once a week incorporating keywords and phrases your ideal consumer is likely to be searching.
Don’t forget the old adage to write for ‘people first’ so while keywords are essential, prioritise providing value to your potential customers rather than churning out content that’s hard to read and irrelevant.
2.) Focus on customer reviews
Customer reviews are essential if you’re going to stand out against the online competition. Your customers won’t just take your word that your product is as good as you say and there’s no voice that shouts louder than that of a satisfied customer.
Offer incentives (such as 10% off next purchase) for customers to leave reviews on your Google My Business page, website and social media.
3.) Regularly email customers new information
Add a lead magnet to your website and start to gather email addresses so you can communicate with your database.
While you’re constantly updating your website and social media with new product information, offers and blog content, your ideal customer won’t always know it’s there unless you tell them. A consistent communication strategy is online store 101; wrap up all your content and share weekly.
4.) Offers, discounts and SALES!
Online shoppers live for sales with some vowing only to shop as long as they have a discount code.
OK, we made that up, but there’s no doubt sales are attractive with plugins such as Honey even doing the hard work for shoppers and finding codes for them.
There are many excuses to run a sale these days, and it’s important to reward customers and always have a discount code handy for those who choose you but price is a consideration.
5.) Show up constantly on social media
Social media is everywhere, and your online store must be seen and heard too.
Add the Facebook pixel to your site to create targeted Facebook ads that capture anyone who shows an interest in your product.
You can also use the free features of social media such as Instagram stories and Facebook Live to build up credibility, entertain your audience, and provide consumers with a wide range of reasons they should choose you.
Instagram is a free platform that allows online stores to showcase their products. Go one step further and engage with influencers who can vouch for you and encourage sales from their followers.
The power of a significant social media presence is unlimited for your brand with followers only ever a couple of clicks away from your ‘Buy now’ button.
6.) Make it easy for your customer
Consumers have a lot of choice and short attention spans. If your marketing efforts drive traffic to your website, it’s essential the users’ experience is seamless.
Make it easy for internet visitors to find what they’re looking for or don’t be surprised when they move onto your competitor’s page faster than you can say ‘broken link’.
Make sure all links work seamlessly, social media pages are integrated with your website, call to action buttons are strategically placed (and work!), and the ‘Buy Now’ button is there waiting to be clicked.
7.) Create a loyalty program
If yours is a product that your customer will always need, create a loyalty program to encourage future sales.
Supplements, protein powders and superfoods are a great example of products that are on trend and in demand, but of which there are lots to choose from. Hemp protein powder is a relatively new product to hit the shelves so consumers haven’t yet had chance to establish loyalty with any particular brand.
Reward points, membership discounts and exclusive sales are all reasons someone should choose you regardless of how established your product. When you reward your customer, you don’t have to be the cheapest to be the best.
With price motivating many customers, it’s vital you incentivise to keep customer’s coming back for more.
8.) Be consistent
When running an online store, it’s easy to get disheartened if your marketing efforts don’t seem to be taking off as fast as you’d like.
Remember, it takes time to establish your presence in a crowded online space, so it’s important to be consistent.
Regularly post on your website, update social media and continue to contact your customers and your product WILL stand the test of time. Many online store owners get impatient and move onto the next idea before they’ve had adequate time to establish their brand. If your product works and is priced to meet the market, patience and consistency will be your biggest virtues.
Online stores are an affordable and accessible option for entrepreneurs, and this is only set to grow. Follow this simple yet consistent marketing plan to help you stand out above the crowd long into the future.
If you’re looking for some professional advice on setting up your own online store contact an established Digital Marketing Agency