In e-commerce, building your digital storefront is no longer the main challenge.
With today’s lineup of e-commerce platforms, plugins, and themes, anyone can set up an online shop without writing a single line of code.
However, just because you can create a fully functional online shopping experience, doesn’t mean you should expect to close your first sale on the same day.
After getting your online store up and running, the bulk of your time will be dedicated to bringing in potential customers. Quite frankly, this is a daunting challenge to those who are untrained in the landscape of online marketing.
If you never ran a successful online marketing campaign before, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we will discuss the top 4 marketing strategies that online store owners can run on a budget.
#1. Start with On-Page Content
Your e-commerce website should be more than just a portal where customers can complete purchases. To be recognized as a respectable brand, your website must contain high-quality, informative content.
Most e-commerce platforms today have built-in features that allow you to publish a blog section. If you run your core business on a social media platform, now might be a good time to invest in a standalone site where you can publish content and build your brand.
Some of the e-commerce and website building platforms you should consider are:
Of course, you need to have a few pieces that tell the story of your brand, particularly an “About Us” or “Meet the Team” page. But if you want to deliver an engaging experience to your visitors, most of your website’s posts should focus on actionable advice that will help them solve their problems.
To look for suitable topics you can discuss in your blog, you may start with a Q&A website like Quora where you can find questions that your target audience is asking. Simply enter a keyword that’s relevant in your niche and take your pick:
After creating content that can answer a specific question, feel free to write a reply and embed a link to your post. Doing so is an effective way to attract quality traffic to your e-commerce website.
#2. Establish Your Social Media Presence
Publishing content on your own website is a great starting point for any e-commerce brand. However, you still need to employ content distribution strategies that will allow your content to reach more people.
Building and leveraging a social media presence is one such strategy. Once you amass a decent following, you can consistently drive traffic to your content through social media shares.
On Facebook, you can easily create a business page that contains everything users need to know about your brand. It may include your contact details, a link to your website, attention-grabbing product photos, and CTA buttons that encourage users to take action.
If you have no idea where to begin, Facebook lists down the fundamental “Page Tips” that you can follow from top to bottom.
When sharing content on social media, it’s important to take into account the best posting times for each social media network:
- Facebook — Wednesdays at 2 PM, Thursdays at 1-2 PM, and every weekday from 10AM-3PM.
- Instagram — Wednesdays at 3 PM, Thursdays at 5 AM, 11 AM, and 3-4PM, and Fridays at 5 AM.
- Twitter — Fridays at 9-10AM and every day around 10 AM to noon.
To make sure you don’t miss your posting schedule, you can automate your social media shares with a tool like Buffer. All you have to do is to set up your posting schedule once and start adding content to your Buffer stream.
#3. Engage Social Media Followers
Now that you have your social media presence off to a good start, you need to learn the strategies that will help you earn more followers. This subject warrants another full-length post, but for the sake of this guide, here’s a brief rundown of the best tactics you can use for your online store:
Join Social Media Groups
You can get the attention of your target audience by joining relevant social media groups. For this to work, you need to participate in discussions and be an active member — your brand should begin to build itself.
To look for potential groups you can join, a straightforward approach is to use the integrated search feature and type in a keyword. This can be a product category, skill, or anything related to your brand’s products.
For example, if you sell ski supplies, you can go with the keyword “skiing” to search for potential social media groups.
Share Other Users’ Content
A surefire way to earn followers is to communicate with your existing customers and ask for permission to share user-generated content.
For example, on Instagram, a recent customer may post a photo of your product and tag your brand or use a specific hashtag. If you can get ahold of these users, you can ask for permission to share their content to make your brand appear more approachable and trustworthy in the eyes of their peers.
You can leverage a social listening tool to expedite the process of looking for UGC.
Mention, for example, will allow you to easily search for social media posts that mention the name of your brand or product. You can also use it to track the social media presence of competitors, which will allow you to adopt some of their most effective content strategies.
Run social media contests
How often do you find social media contests where brands require participants to follow their page and share their post?
Plenty of times, right? That’s because social media contests are incredibly effective when it comes to encouraging users to help brands reach a wider audience.
Although there are several paid platforms that will help you plan, run, and manage social media contests, any brand can facilitate giveaways on their own.
A simple hashtag giveaway contest, for example, can be run by requesting your social media followers to post a photo with your product and use a specific hashtag for an opportunity to win something valuable. You can then handpick the winners by performing a hashtag search in the social media network you chose to use as the contest’s platform.
To push your brand in front of a wider audience, you can look for competing pages and earn follow-backs the traditional way — following other users. Doing so will give you a ticket to your target audience’s notification panel.
The best part is, that’s all you need to do in order to accomplish this strategy. There’s no need to craft an outreach message, develop content, or perform extensive research.
#4. Launch Ad Campaigns
There are three types of ad campaigns your e-commerce business should launch: one for cold audiences, another for warm leads, and the third one for your current customers.
Ads For Cold Leads
First of all, the bulk of your ad budget should go directly to your cold leads. These are people who may have never heard of your brand before and could use content pieces that raise brand awareness.
The key to cold advertising is to have at least one of the following goals:
To pique your target audience’s interest, aim to entertain your target audience with humor. This is best done with video ads in social media networks and video-sharing platforms like YouTube.
You can also turn more heads by tackling a popular topic and provide actionable advice. Just remember, it shouldn’t be about your brand — it should be about the solution you’re offering.
Of course, you can drill down on the topic itself without putting forward any actionable recommendation. As long as the subject matter is relatable and valuable to your audience, you are guaranteed to get their attention.
Lastly, you can launch video ads that demonstrate how your product works in real-life situations. Emphasize the problem to make sure it keeps the audience engaged.
Ads For Warm Leads
For warm leads, you can have a more slightly aggressive approach in presenting your brand as a solution. Convince your target audience to convert into leads by spicing up your value proposition with tangible offers, such as discounts, freebies, free shipping, and so on.
Keep in mind that warm leads are users who have had at least one interaction with your brand that expresses their interest, such as:
- Followed your brand on social media
- Sends a direct inquiry
- Added products to their cart
- Subscribes to your mailing list
- Engages your content
Ads For Hot Leads
Hot leads pertain to your existing customers who have already made a purchase. At this point, you no longer need to introduce your brand nor prove your credibility. You just need to focus on core offers that can get them to buy more from you, such as cross-selling propositions, upselling opportunities, and reorders.
Starting with Social Media
Social media is an excellent platform to get started if you have never experienced running successful ad campaigns before. Networks like Facebook have ad targeting options that make it easy to reach the right people, you just need to choose a location, identify your ideal audience’s age bracket, and specify the things that they love or their social media behaviors.
Effective marketing campaigns require you to develop a solid content strategy and be in touch with your audience’s preferences in terms of content consumption. With the strategies above, you can definitely accomplish both goals without a huge overhead.
What content marketing strategy can you recommend other readers? Tell us about it in the comments below!
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