Most first-time online shop owners spend a lot of time improving their websites, but the reality is that a beautiful online storefront is just the beginning. SupaDupa shop themes and customisable tools make it easy to make your shop look good, but that alone is not going to make the money come rolling in!
You’ll need to drive traffic to your store, build your brand, and all of those other things that marketing professionals are always going on about. It seems tricky, especially for those of us who would rather be creating our products than telling people about them, but marketing makes all the difference! Let’s look at 7 easy ways to market your business both effectively and without spending too much of your start-up capital.
Marketing is all about introducing more people to your brand, what is your brand? Is it playful or aspirational, luxury or DIY? Are you able to build a community of brand followers around it? How is your product unique and what problems does it solve in your ideal customer’s life? Are you telling a compelling story that makes customers pick you over your competition? These are just few questions you should always ask yourself, especially before starting a targeted marketing campaign. The key is to know your product, your customer, and keep your messaging consistent to ensure that everything you do builds your unique brand
We can’t stress this enough: face-to-face interactions with potential customers and other people in your industry can really help build a community supporters that every fledgling online boutique needs.
Secure A Space At An Industry Event
This can be anything from a booth at a flea market, to a space at a craft show. Find out where the creatives in your industry are going to show off and network, and be there! People are at these events to keep their finger on the pulse of your industry, so don’t be shy about talking up your brand and making sure that your products are seen. Ask people if they’d like to enter a competition to win one of your products as a way to collect email addresses without annoying people. Also, make sure that you have physical printed materials (flyers, business cards, etc) with your logo prominently displayed so you won’t be empty-handed when people express interest!
Embrace Your Local Community
That means telling your family and friends, and even hosting local events. Consider a tea party or pub night (remember to consider which fits into your brand!), or even an open house to celebrate the launch of your online store or a new product.
Example of SupaDupa store, GFN Clothing, an online clothing store, get a huge response on Instagram - Loving the comments!
This includes yourself! Don’t be hesitant about loaning your products out to people, especially if they’re attending events at which they’ll be seen by the press. If it’s financially feasible, contact influencers in your industry -- usually journalists, bloggers, and YouTube stars -- and see if they’d be willing to do a review of your product, write a testimonial for your website, post it on their Instagram, or even just wear it to an event. And, don’t forget to wear your products yourself, as every person you meet is a potential customer. If you make jewellery you should be wearing a piece, preferably a statement piece that will get noticed, every day. The same goes for your fashion or design line. If someone compliments about what you are wearing, it will be easier to talk about your business, and you can happily give them a business card. Marketing can be as easy as leaving the house for fashion creatives!
We’ve already talked about how to use coupons to attract business, and that’s because they work! In retail psychology, even a small 10% discount can convert a shopper into a buyer because we’re always looking for a deal. Whether your coupons are for returning customers or meant to entice new customers, a special promo makes customers happy while also making a huge difference to your bottom line. Additionally, consider sending a special coupon code with every email newsletter. Those customers have already shown you that they’re interested in your product since they’ve given you their contact information, so the chances that they will be enticed by a coupon code are even higher.
Example by ASOS, an online fashions store offering special discounts on a regular basis - great way to lure in those shoppers!
Get featured in local newspapers and blogs in order to expand your brand’s influence. Find local -- or even national -- media who could be interested not only in your products, but in you, and pitch them often. That means finding media outlets that cater to your industry, contacting journalists, and coming up with a short-and-sweet pitch for a story that they can’t turn down. Don’t worry if you’ve never done this before, we have 5 (or however many) tips to get your business featured in the press.
The most important thing to remember about getting journalists and bloggers to feature your online shop or products is simply to tell a story. In business, we are often advised to be professional and leave out the personal. However, one of the strongest choices you can make as a small business owner is to give your customers a genuine glimpse into who you are. The emotional aspect of telling your unique story allows customers to make a stronger connection to your work. By making that connection, they’ll be more likely to remember your work and come to your online boutique, instead of your competition’s, when it’s time for them to make a purchase.
Thought you wouldn’t have to deal with cranky customers in an online shop? It’s actually the opposite: social media and review websites make it easier than ever for customers to sound off about your brand, so you want their experiences to be as smooth as possible! Answer emails and queries on social media as soon as possible -- a 24 hour turnaround is a good benchmark to shoot for. Of course, you should also be friendly and helpful in all of your customer interactions.
Another part of good, memorable customer service is adding a personal touch. Most people who buy from small online boutiques are looking for alternatives to big-box corporations and the impersonal nature of buying from a faceless High Street shop, so use this to your advantage by making your interactions personal. You can include a thank you note in every parcel, a coupon code for money off their next purchase, or even a sweet. These won’t cost you much, but will set you apart in your customers’ eyes. Wouldn’t you remember a personalised, handwritten thank you note and be more likely to return?
You’ve probably heard all about email marketing by now, and that’s because it’s a tried-and-true method in ecommerce marketing. You want to keep your customers updated on what you are up to as frequently as possible. Of course, you do this on social media, but email is still a winner in terms of conversion rates (shoppers who are converted into buyers).
Don’t limit your emails to just your monthly newsletter
-- it can be just an image of you working on something new, a preview of your new product line (don’t forget the coupon code!), or an announcement that you’ll be taking part in an industry event. The important thing is to keep your online store on people’s minds -- that way, when they start to look for that special present or are ready to treat themselves, your brand is is the one they think of. After that, they’re just one click away from becoming a satisfied customer.
Owning your own online store is hard work, especially if you are doing it with a small budget and staff. However, with these cheap and easy marketing steps, you can start making the sales that will allow your business to expand. So roll up your sleeves, get out there, and start building your online empire!