Running an online store can be a wonderful way to make money and share products or services that you love and believe in. It can also be emotionally challenging as your shop sinks to the bottom of the digital abyss without a single purchase as you run around pulling your own hair out trying to figure out how to get your products in front of the people who want and need them.
If you’re running an online store, you probably already know that online marketing is like the wild west all over again. You know you need to be handling it but can’t figure out where to begin. To make matters even more confusing, people who claim to teach online marketing skills often end their list of suggestions with: and start an online course on how you built an online business (and only then do they mention that the majority of their income comes from the course, not their actual business).
The following will outline some crucial marketing tips for people who run online stores. Emphasis will be placed on moving products into customers’ hands, not finding alternative methods for an income. It will also assume that your product or service is already as good as it can be. If it’s not, stop reading online marketing tips and work on improving them. Only when you have something that you are truly proud of should you begin marketing.
The digital world seems to evolve far faster than the physical one, and this means that the standards for visuals in your online store are also always evolving. Think about the images you choose to show off your products or services and reexamine your photo studio management workflow because you want high-quality photographs, and you want to be sure you’re getting photos for all of your items. Far too often, online stores use a stock image for all of their items (for example, a t-shirt in multiple colours is imposed on the same figure in the same photo across the board). People are good at telling when photos are real photographs or CG composites. Take lots of high-quality photographs, but be wary of colour correction and other editing options. If the item shows up and is not the colour or tone that people thought they were getting, you might have some disgruntled buyers.
The internet is a smorgasbord of capitalist competition. Your competitors are giving away free content, and so, to keep up, you need to be too. This can take the form of a useful, informative podcast; it could take the form of excellent blog posts with all the research links ready, so your future customers can learn about why your products are actually non-toxic. Maybe you want to include behind-the-scenes footage of how your products get made. Think about the types of free content you could release and look for whatever suits your business and personal inclinations. At the end of the free content, mention quickly and respectfully that you have a shop and include the link. If you’ve given someone something valuable, for free, you’ve built trust with them. They’re much more likely to click on over to your store if they’ve developed a sense of your trustworthiness.
You might even want to take this tip to the next level and give away some of your product for free. This might be a free trial of your product; it might be the first few chapters of your book for free. Think about it. When you’re shopping in a traditional store, you can pick things up and examine them; you can try things on, you can flip through the pages of a book. Try to recreate a little bit of this element in your digital store and give away something for free. Humans are programmed to survive, and one of the things this means is that they are driven to gaining things they need with minimal effort.
Remember that free content mentioned above? You’re going to want to optimize this content for social media, and this is a multi-faceted process. Foremost, you’re going to need to figure out your keywords. These are going to change every few months, so the process should be ongoing. You’re looking for words or phrases that have a high amount of searchers but not that much content in your niche related to it. There are countless tools available online (and there are free versions, don’t let anyone tell you there aren’t) to help you select keywords.
You’re also going to want to pay attention to your domain authority. This is the ranking that search engines give your site between one and one hundred. The higher the number, the more search engines view your page as trustworthy and useful to searchers. Again, there are free tools online that allow you to check your domain authority to understand where you’re starting. You improve domain authority by having other sites with high domain authority link to your page. This might involve writing guest blog posts or doing guest podcasts, or selling articles to high-traffic online magazines.
Finally, search engine optimization involves ensuring that your site and all your content meet speed and security requirements. Once again, there are free sites that allow you to enter your URL and find out how quickly your page loads. People are used to getting things instantaneously in the digital world and will choose another shop if yours loads too quickly.
The above steps, while simple, are powerful when it comes to marketing. This being said, none of the above will help you for very long without consistent effort. These aren’t things you do once and are done with; they are things you apply again and again as time goes on. Those who run online stores will always be tweaking and improving, observing the results, analyzing them, and then tweaking some more. It is also crucial to note that all of these steps can be done for little to no money. Yes, a good camera might be a cost you, but when it comes to the information you need to properly market yourself, don’t let someone tell you you need to pay for something that is readily available online. There are a lot of scammers out there, so be sure to do your research fully before agreeing to pay for any sort of marketing help.