You know how much prep work goes into building an ecommerce shop. Your online store is now ready and live - congratulations! All the products are listed with high-quality photographs and meaningful descriptions. You’ve got all the payment gateways set up and your shipping and logistics are also in order. But you know the hard work doesn't end here. Now you're focusing your attention on promoting your store to get traction, customers, and (most importantly) sales.
With all the digital tools available today, your online store can reach more customers than ever before. As a business owner, you can positively influence their shopping experience to make it as seamless as possible. But this isn’t an “if you build it, they will come” situation. Not only will you have to build it, you will also have to let everyone know about it so that they can find you. It's important that a customer can put in as little effort as possible to find your story or your products and that they can find you through channels they are already using online, such as social media and search engines and blog posts. It's time to start promoting your brand!
Getting started with promotions can seem daunting considering the how many options there are for growing sales and reaching new customers. As a local shop there are certain marketing tactics you can use to spread the word and increase sales over time. Listed below are six tips to promote your ecommerce store to maximize sales and growth.
Set up a free Google My Business listing
Word-of-mouth may be your preferred choice of marketing strategy and it has worked well for businesses as 92% of people are more likely to trust product recommendations from someone they know. As a local shop, you may consider going on the local radio show, print flyers, and distribute them in your neighborhood, or maybe experiment with direct mailing.
All these are great tactics. However, last year 97% of customers searched the Internet to find a local business. And that’s not all - according to numbers, 73% of customers pay attention to reviews about the business before they purchase. The more recent these reviews, the better it is for the customer and business which is why it's important to set up your Google listing for your store.
The phrase “Google it” is popular for a reason - the search engine has around 70% of the market share. Setting up your Google listing is easy and free. It’s a convenient way for customers to find you, especially when they’re looking for something related to your business.
When creating your listing, ensure you add all the important information, when applicable, such as:
- Your business name
- Your phone number
- Link to your website
- Hours of operation
- Relevant photographs of the shop
- New promotions and content
Your customers will also be able to add photos of your establishment once they visit. Customer reviews can have a huge impact on your business’s success so it's great to have a place on Google that hosts the reviews and customer photos.
Add detailed radius location targeting in Google Ads
Google Ads location targeting allows you to select specific areas where your ads can appear. Location targeting can be a great optimization tool that can improve the return on investment for local businesses. Understanding the regions that are performing the best will help you allocate your resources and double down on your advertising there to be sure your ad spend is most effective.
Here’s how you can go about setting up your Google Ads:
Let’s assume you have a beautiful online store from where you sell your well-designed apparel. What you also have is a small boutique in East York and your customers are not going to drive more than seven miles to get to your store. To set up your Google Ads Location Targeting, follow these simple steps:
- Go to settings at the campaign level > all settings > edit locations > advanced search > radius targeting
- Type in your address in East York and select search
- Add all the locations that are close by and within a seven-mile radius
Setting up the ads is only a part of the equation. Once the ads are up and running, you’ll be able to collect some data that can help you make future decisions. Study the number of clicks you’re getting and corroborate that with the conversion data. The more you study and analyze, the better you’ll be able to target. Copy marketing is also key to a successful ad strategy - but that's a whole other topic!
Request honest reviews and feedback
One of the ways to maximize sales of your local store is to build a brand. It’s important that you get the foundation of your brand right which includes your business name, your logo, and your website. Building a connection with your audience starts with brand.
If someone were to search you on the Internet, they should see a well-designed website. This ensures a strong first impression and, in the long run, helps you in building credibility. If your website is selling products directly to customers then a great way to build credibility is by collecting reviews and testimonials for products on your website (and don't forget to use this content on social media, too!).
Nearly nine out of ten customers read reviews before making a purchase. One of the ways customers will find out about you is by going through your website. But they’ll also want to see what other customers, who’ve purchased from you, think about your product or shop.
Make the most of your local marketing by providing an excellent customer experience, whether in person or online. You can then set up ways to encourage or ask for honest feedback from your customers.
- Ask a customer if they could leave a review of their products once they've used them
- Include a small card in their bag or shipping box that thanks them for the purchase and requests a review
- Ask through your website via pop ups or by having a section on each product that asks if they have bought it
- Send a text or email marketing message, based on whether the customer has signed up for these notifications, for a review
- Ask through social media posts
- Add a review request on receipts/invoices
Be active on joining Facebook Groups
Facebook Groups are a community in themselves and a great platform for you to engage in and promote your local store. Search Facebook for local industry groups, business networking groups, parent groups, yard sale groups, and more.
Being a part of Facebook groups that have members belonging to your target audience and being active there will help you build social clout and establish your credibility. It’ll also make it easier for the group members to learn about your business and engage with you.
A good etiquette here is to not just post content but to actively engage. Can you help someone else in the group? Do you have an answer to someone else’s question? Engage in a two-way conversation as much as possible.
Collaborate with a local influencer
Social media is powerful but things can get really exciting when you consider working with influencers. Influencer marketing is a famous marketing strategy. However, most local store owners think of it as something only a business with heavy pockets could do.
There are local people in your community who are popular and have a large following. Maybe they have a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel, or an Instagram. They don't need to have hundreds of thousands of followers, but they need to have followers that are interested in what your business offers or in your business's location (or shipping location).
Find the influencers who speak to your target audience and explore the opportunity. Some influencers do affiliate marketing programs, others do sponsorship deals, and others do paid promotion through free products.
Once you figure out a plan for signing on a local influencer, you can scale this strategy to get the most out of it. You can even set up affiliate marketing programs that influencers can sign up for through your website and start using your links right away. Influencers typically have an audience who trust their recommendations and placing your brand in front of them can be beneficial for you.
Now, time to grow your commerce sales!
These ideas on maximizing your ecommerce sales through partnerships or social media are just the tip of the iceberg. As a local store owner, you have various avenues to get creative and promote your business. These marketing ideas, if executed well, will help you cut through the noise and stand out from your competitors. Set out sales targets for these ideas and plan out the strategy you want to pursue. The best way to get started is to pick one to three ideas that you think you can put into action, truly invest time into, and reach your sales targets. The more you test out different sales and marketing strategies, the more you’ll learn, and the sooner you’ll be able to build a successful ecommerce business.