Last time we left off, I discussed some of the various marketing materials that we had ordered for my wife’s animal beanie hat ecommerce business. Today, I want to discuss some free methods that we’ve used to promote her new ecommerce business.
Setting Up Shop
Just because your storefront is online, doesn’t mean that you are limited from selling your products offline. One of the things that my wife timed the launch of her ecommerce store around was my son’s annual arts and crafts fair. This time of year, the teachers, parents and staff set up a marketplace at my son’s school to sell various items that might be of interest to the other parents and their children.
My wife got permission to set up her small shop and was able to make about 14 sales and pass out a numberr of her business cards and flyers. The key to this is that every sale is potential for more marketing. If you’ll recall from my previous article in this series, my wife had a custom clothing label made with her logo and website url sewn in. Since that day, she’s been told by the teachers that there are a number of kids on the playground sporting her animal beanie hats.
If you have a local marketplace that allows you to set up your own table, take advantage of that opportunity. Getting your product out on the street increases your exposure and potential to gain sales through word of mouth. Even something as simple as displaying your products at your garage sale can be a marketing opportunity.
Social Media Marketing is a great way to announce the launch of your new ecommerce business. I would say that it’s probably the best way to get traffic to a new website. If your website is brand new, then you haven’t had the opportunity to get indexed in the search engines yet. However, you have a built in publicity machine in your social network.
So many people are connected through facebook these days. Friends and family often communicate more often on facebook than most other means.
My wife announce the launch of her business on facebook. This was followed by a post that my sister put on her facebook wall (we didn’t even ask her to do that). Within a few days, my wife was sporting almost 40 likes on her website and it’s growing rapidly by word of mouth. We didn’t even run a hardcore social media campaign. Simply an announcement to friends and family. It just goes to show the power of organic social networking.
Anyways, within the first week, facebook marketing by itself generated 8 sales from the website. (which gave us the opportunity to learn about shipping and other logistics. I’ll discuss this more in future posts.)
Almost everyone has a facebook account. When you are starting a new business adventure, it’s a great free way to spread the word about your ecommerce business and market your website.
To a lesser extent, you can use twitter the same way as facebook. The difference with twitter is that you may have reach to a greater audience on a single account, but the interaction is much lower. Of course, that depends on the nature of your twitter account as well.
The key to twitter is the greater reach. I have over 30,000 followers on my twitter account, so I put out an announcement for her website as well. Having that many followers gives you the opportunity to spread the word out to a larger audience.
However, the interaction is not as great as you may find on facebook. Also, it’s harder to tell how many visitors went to her site from twitter. I would say that in our experience, it’s not as great as facebook for marketing. The thing to keep in mind is that results will vary depending on your personality and how you interact on twitter, so don’t discount it as a marketing method.
Online classifieds fits in perfectly for advertising an ecommerce business. If you look on craigslist, you’ll see sections for selling products and services. You can post pictures of the product that you are selling and a link to the website.
This is probably one of the most direct methods for marketing you can find. Millions of people use online classifieds all over the world and you are marketing directly to people who are looking for something to buy. It’s the perfect way to market right to your audience.
My wife is currently preparing her copy for her online classifieds marketing campaign. (She’s a perfectionist) She want the copy to be a perfect balance of subtelty and sales. I suggest creating a quick elevator (one or two sentence) pitch for your product, with the accompanying pictures and the link to your website.
This is a great way to spread the word about your ecommerce business around the web.
Start a Blog
Nothing on the internet can replace the written word. Now I’ve been blogging for a while now, so it’s much more comfortable for me. My wife has yet to start a blog for her ecommerce site, but I highly recommend doing it.
The search engines as we all know can drive a ton of traffic. However in order to get the search engines to notice your ecommerce site, it needs to have content. Part of this can be done if you have a large inventory and take the time to write a complete description for your products. Those descriptions can be indexed and show up in search engine results.
However, your inventory generally stays static, while search engines are on the lookout for fresh content. I suggest writing a blog post about the benefits of your product. As your business grows, you can add testionials to your blog and invite reader reviews.
Of course, as you add content, you can promote your blog using traditional blog promotion methods sch as blog commenting and forum posting. All of these activities will help you market your ecommerce business.
The key to any business is promotion. You have to find different ways to market your ecommerce business and get the word out. There are a number of ways that you can promote your new business. I’ve just listed a few free ways that I think would be effective ways to start marketing. However, if you are imaginative, you can find new and different ways to market your ecommerce business and find success.