Best IDEAS for Online Business
Have you been doing all you can to get more sales at your online store? If your end-goal is steady, year-round profit, (and whose isn’t?), then you’re going to have to do more than just send out a tweet here and there.
It’s going to take constant work and promotion if you want regular customers, and part of that is going to be a willingness to try new tactics, some that might even be out of your comfort zone.
Below you’ll find 34 easy, yet effective, ways to promote your online shop through various avenues. You won’t know what works for you till you try it, and just like a physical location, customers won’t show up if they don’t know you’re there.
Let’s get started!
1. Offer Deals on a Regular Basis
Most online marketplaces will give you the option to hold sales and/or use promo codes to help entice shoppers. Be sure to do this on a regular basis. From taking advantage of holiday shopping (get 15% off for Father’s Day, 31% off for Halloween, 50% off of select items on Black Friday, etc.) to simply offering great deals for no reason at all, this will help ensure you have regular web traffic.
2. Use Email Marketing to Remind Customers to Shop
When you first open your web store, you’ll want to send out an email announcing it to your database. Make sure it links directly from the email to your store. Once you’ve done this, start sending out weekly (if possible) newsletters that highlight your products with great images and persuasive, yet succinct, content that links directly to each product for easy purchasing.
- When you have sales, be sure to announce and promote them via email so customers can take advantage of your exclusive pricing right away. MailChimp is a free, easy-to-use option for small business owners.
Some online marketplaces, including Scott’s Marketplace, promote their sellers’ products to their massive database of shoppers through email marketing as well.
3. Start a Blog
A blog is more than a great way to establish yourself as a leader in your industry, it’s also an indirect way to help promote your online shop.
- Include one relevant link back to your store in each blog post (either link the home page of your store or link directly to a product) and make sure each blog is informative and helpful.(Don’t forget to link any images back to your web store or a specific product too!)
If the content isn’t strong, it’s not going to do you any good. Quality blog posts will help you grow your online business, however, so if you have the time, it’s a great project to invest in.
4. Contact Bloggers About Your Products
Conduct an online search for whatever industry your products are in. (For example, if you create candles, you might look for lifestyle bloggers and/or bloggers who write about homemade goods) and then reach out to the ones with the largest following.
- Be sure to look for how many comments they receive and how large their following is on their social media accounts to gauge their popularity.
Provide a sample of your product for free, and if you can afford it, offer to provide another sample for a giveaway. You’ll get a review, a reader will get a free product, and you’ll get priceless promotion direct to your target audience.
5. Start Guest Blogging
Guest blogging can be a great way to reach a larger audience you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Research who the top bloggers are in your industry (see above), read through their posts to see what topics they normally write about, and then contact them about guest blogging opportunities.
Most bloggers will let you at least have a link to your store in your bio, but you possibly may also be able to get one in your content as well.
6. Offer Video Tutorials/Behind-the-Scenes Shots
People love a good video — they’re easy to share and they can add depth and clarity to your products, as well as help them gain popularity amongst your target market.
- For example, if you sell headbands for babies, show parents the different ways their babies can wear them. If there’s only one way, just show adorable babies wearing your headbands in videos.
- If you sell dog treats, why not show a little behind-the-scenes action of you baking them?
- If you make clothing, show model fittings, fashion shows, you sewing, etc.
When you’re done, share these videos on YouTube (create your own account for your business) and also share on all other social media sites you’re on.
Now that Facebook Live is popular, you might also consider live videoing product demos or showing off some fun behind-the-scenes stuff.
7. Branch Out With Social Media
Social media is essential if you want to promote your online shop effectively. But, as with anything, it takes effort and time to build followers. Depending on what you have time for (or if you can delegate tasks to anyone else to help you), you will want to check out the following sites to help market your store: (And continually try new sites to figure out what bests works for your business.)
- We Heart It
8. Highlight Products on Social Media
For social media marketing to work, you need to post regularly. For most businesses, this will be at least once a day, if not 2-3 times, depending on how many followers you have. Post enticing pictures of the products you offer, along with any deals you have going on. Always include a direct link to the specific product for fast purchasing at your online store.
Ask your followers to post pictures of themselves wearing your products or using them in their home, depending on what you sell, to encourage interaction and help further your online reach. Using a scheduling tool, like Hootsuite, can help make social media more manageable for you.
9. Hold Contests on Social Media
Contests are a great way to spread the word about what you have to offer, drive traffic to your store, and increase your social media followers. Some sites have specific rules for holding contests, like Facebook, so be sure you know what they are before beginning your contest. Offer one of your products as a prize (or put a few together for a prize pack) and then announce the contest on all of the social sites you use.
Post about the giveaway often to encourage signups (use the email addresses you get to build your email database) and then be sure to ask the winner to post a picture of themselves on your page with their prize once you’ve shipped it. Say something like “More great products just like this can be found at (insert URL)” to encourage those who are viewing the post to check out what else you have to offer.
10. Try Paid Advertising on Social Media
Sites like Facebook and Twitter (and now Pinterest too!) offer the ability to use paid advertising to target the right consumers for you. If you try this on Facebook, we suggest selecting a metric such as ‘website clicks’ or ‘website conversions, ’ because you want people to click through to your online store’s URL, not your fan page.
On Twitter, you could try using ‘Promoted Tweets’ to market your store. Be sure to include concise, yet enticing content along with the URL to help drive traffic. For example, if you create clothing, your promoted tweet might look something like this, “What are the hottest #fashion trends for summer? Find out here: (insert shortened URL).”
11. Include Your Store’s URL in Your Email Signature
This is a fast and easy one. No matter what email provider you use, you should have a custom email signature that includes the URL to your store. WiseStamp makes this simple and is free to use at a basic level.