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Beginner’s guide to marketing your eCommerce website

You’ve got a beautiful eCommerce website full of tantalising products. How do you reach a wider audience while search engines are going about indexing your perfectly optimised page content?

This week, we look at four ways that can help your products reach a wider audience, or help more people to find your eCommerce website. So without any more foreplay, let’s strip off your previous assumptions about marketing an online shop, and get down and dirty with some new techniques.

Content marketing

This is the buzz-phrase of the last few years in SEO circles. We’ve already looked at ideas for your text and image content a few weeks ago. Now, we’re examining how to market that content.

  • Create useful articles with backlinks - post useful articles in your blog or on a forum, with links back to your site. Make sure the links are relevant and provide value to anyone who encounters the article: that’s what Google really wants, but they will penalise spam posts, so keep it genuine and useful.
  • Produce useful resources - create something that your customers can use. If you sell a product that needs a little know-how, write a tutorial on how to use it best. If you sell clothing, share articles on maintenance tips or accessorising. These can be anything from video guides to FAQ pages.
  • Run a contest - you probably don’t need us to tell you that “people love free stuff”. So, start a competition that focuses on people submitting photos or fun answers in exchange for a prize that your audience would love.
  • Make special offers - clear old or out-of-season stock while generating brand awareness by running a competition. People also love discounted stuff, and they may share a special offer that has a limited purchasing window. So, signpost that your offer is “while stocks last” or “for this week only”!
  • Profile your team - people would frequently rather deal with other people rather than shapeless, faceless organisations. If you write a short history on the company About page and make some bios for a Meet the Team page, it helps customers to understand they are buying from real people with hopes and dreams, rather than a profit-making machine.
  • Add social sharing features - make it easy for someone to share an exciting find with friends and family! Put some social sharing features on your store - your Trendzer Ecwid shop has the facility to enable Facebook comments and allow sharing through Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and Google+.

The good thing about most of our content marketing ideas - except the last one - is that they naturally create content that you can share across social media platforms. And that leads us neatly into our next topic...

Social media marketing

Use social media and you can reach your customers before your site has been fully indexed by search engines. It’s very cost effective and can help you to reach potentially millions of people when used correctly.

Social media marketing

Your range of options can seem a little baffling at first, but don’t be afraid: just cherry pick the best ones for your needs. You can’t be everywhere at once, and you don’t need to be. Simply choose the most relevant platforms and then keep your posts timely and regular.

  • Facebook - most businesses will default to a Facebook page if nothing else - you can post directly from your Trendzer website dashboard, and you could also make sales by adding an Ecwid store to your Facebook page.
  • Twitter - tweeting with a relevant #hashtag is a great way to reach a new audience who aren’t following you already, and with Shopify recently integrated, there are new opportunities to sell online.
  • Instagram - any online store that has a strong visual element should probably be on Instagram - it’s a heavily visual social network and a great place to be found by new followers, and you can also add “Shop Now” buttons.
  • Pinterest - just like Instagram, if you have visually engaging products, this is well worth a consideration. If Buyable Pins become available in the UK, the case would become stronger: Shopify reports that Pinterest’s average $50 purchase price is the highest of all social platforms!
  • LinkedIn - often thought of as the poor man’s Facebook for business, LinkedIn is actually a great place to build brand awareness if your products are for professionals or B2B enterprises.
  • Tumblr - a Tumblr page can take you to a more youthful audience - hip, tech-aware and image-conscious. So, make sure your products are suitable for schoolies, and then post when classes are out and avoid a hard sell, and your products might get visibility. See the Kissmetrics guide to Tumblr marketing for a detailed explanation...

As you can see, there are a superb range of marketing options available you don’t want to part with extra cash but have some time to engage with your customers. If, on the other hand, you are low on time but have some money to spend, you have other options available...

Pay per click ads

On a quest for quick returns? If you’d like faster results than typical search engine results will provide, you could consider Pay Per Click advertising as a way to boost interest. Be aware, though: it can be an expensive process if you aren’t careful!

That’s why you should take some beginner’s tips before you get started. Ways to maximise results and minimise spend include:

  • Start with a low daily budget to test your outcomes, and make notes on what does and doesn’t work.
  • Begin with Google AdWords if your products are very specific and will attract volumes from standard search results.
  • Kick off with Facebook Ads if your products have a lot of search competition, but you have a specific market or demographic in mind.

Not everyone is in love with the idea of spending more money to get found. But if you are considering either of the above, remember two things. Firstly, you should have a specific and relevant landing page for each of your GoogleAds - read their guide for more information.

And secondly, you should have and a very specific target market for your Facebook Ads. Don’t go too broad, e.g. “males in the UK”; pick a city, a gender, and an age-group relevant to your product at first, and see how that campaign works.

Email marketing

Once you have successfully acquired some customers through any of the three avenues above, you should have their email addresses. Email marketing campaigns are an ideal way to encourage them to come back or to spread the word about your business. Naturally, you can do this via social media as well, but email is a tremendous way to retain customers and make them feel special.

Trendzer sites feature a useful newsletter app as standard, which works for up to 250 contacts. But there are a variety of advanced tools available with MailChimp, which is the third-party recommendation of our SEO team. Their free package caters for up to 2,000 subscribers, which should be enough for any fledgling eCommerce site.

To get started, make sure you have a good-sized list of email addresses. Import them to your subscriber list, and you’re ready to go! For best results:

  • Use branded headers with logos to get your business in the customers’ minds.
  • Offer special discounts - reward loyal customers and encourage them to return - you can also offer discounts for referrals to turn them into unofficial “brand ambassadors”.
  • Encourage customer feedback via online reviews and testimonials - people will be more likely to buy from you if they find “social proof” from past customers.
  • Make special offers time-specific - an open-ended invitation to “get 20% off your next sale” is a nice touch, but “get 20% off - limited time only” is more likely to encourage a sale.
  • Add social sharing (again) - emails with social sharing buttons like you can add on MailChimp have better click-through rates.

You’ll find a wide range of useful advice in our guide to a successful email marketing campaign, so take a look at that as well. Hopefully, it will help you to craft some campaigns that convert into cash!

Next week: using booking calendars

That’s all on this week’s topic of eCommerce marketing. Next time, we’ll take a look at how online booking calendars can help you to enjoy more efficiency for your business. Bookmark our page, and stop by next Friday!

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