by Tom Shackleton
The launch period is a busy and often stressful time for eCommerce merchants. You’ve got a huge list of tasks that need to be completed and little time in which to do them. So thinking about marketing your new eCommerce store can often be put to the back of the queue.
However, if you want to see those sales start rolling in, marketing should be right at the top of your to do list. You need to start driving traffic to your site, getting the word out about your store and building your brand.
If you’re to lay the foundations for a healthy, growing eCommerce business, you’ll have to think about short term interest as well as planning for the future. Here’s our marketing guide to launching your eCommerce store:
Connect with Social Media
Social media is a fantastic way to get started marketing your new store. You’ll want to set up your social profiles, with consideration for the platforms that best suit your business.
Your reach might seem small to begin with, but there’s no better way to start growing than by diving in and interacting with communities on social. Start by following relevant accounts such as industry sites and influencers.
Social proof is a vital tool for modern eCommerce businesses, especially new ones. Your initial customers want to see some proof that your products and services are up to standard, so encourage your first customers to post their experiences on social media and reassure those after them that your products are, in fact, brilliant.
Invest in Paid Ads
Your site traffic will probably be quite low to begin with, so investing in social paid ads is a great way to give your traffic that initial boost and start the sales flowing.
Google AdWords are great for targeting shoppers with purchasing intent. As long as you choose the right keywords, you can craft an AdWords campaign that drives relevant and valuable traffic to your store. You should always think of paid ads as a short term strategy. They are great for attracting initial traffic, and for specific campaigns in the future, but shouldn’t be relied upon for all of your traffic.
Social ads are also useful for attracting visitors to your new store, and for building your brand. Facebook for example, has some powerful audience targeting tools that let you target specific locations, demographics and behaviours. This makes social advertising really useful for getting your brand in front of target customers.
Get the Word out with Press
Although social media has become very influential for marketing your store, you shouldn’t discount traditional press and PR.
Sending press releases to local and national press organisations is a simple and relatively quick way of getting the word out about your store. Adding a local element to your press communications can be great for PR as well.
Beyond traditional press, you should also think about contacting bloggers and influencers. These modern content creators will need more of a personal approach, so create a unique communication strategy for each influencer and contact them all individually. You could even send them some of your products, or offer a discount code exclusive to their community.
Start Search Engine Marketing
As well as short term considerations like social and paid ads, you also need to think about building long term foundations for your eCommerce business. Search engine marketing and SEO are important parts of this.
You need to begin the process of optimising your site for search engines. This should be an ongoing process and something you consider every time content is added or changed on your site.
Search traffic will be an important source of traffic, if your site is to be successful. This means you should start working on your search ranking now by identifying keywords, optimising content and ensuring that your site is quick and accessible.
Your site traffic may be low to begin with, but it’s still worth beginning to write content for your eCommerce site.
Content is an important part of building strong search traffic for your site, and can also help to give customers a reason to come back again and again. Start by adding a blog section to your store and write your first post. It could be something on your brand ethos, your journey to this point or something lifestyle related.
While these initial content pieces may not attract much attention, a great way of doing just that is by guest blogging for another site. Producing some content on your brand for a popular blog or industry site can be great for driving some initial traffic and creating a buzz around your brand.
Try Traditional Ads
Just because you’re starting an eCommerce business, doesn’t mean there’s no room for traditional advertising media.
Whether you choose to is dependent largely on your target market, but a well thought through print ad or even a TV ad could go down well. Your target market may respond well to traditional advertising media, and a well placed ad can generate a large amount of interest for your brand.
Make sure that you consider the cost and placement of your ads to ensure that you actually reach target customers. You should also decide how you will track the performance of your traditional ads to determine their effectiveness. You could create a dedicated landing page or call tracking number for example.
Networking is still a vital element of starting any new business. You need to increase awareness of your brand by attending everything from industry trade fairs to meetup events.
Increasing the standing of your eCommerce store by networking can help to create a solid foundation for your business to build upon. You’ll gain valuable contacts that could help increase sales or even turn into brand partnerships in the future.
Another great way of networking is to open a pop-up shop. A bricks & mortar location gives customers a physical touch point and can be a great way of staging a launch event for your eCommerce store. You can gauge customer reaction to your products in real time and build some social interaction around the pop-up.
A strong launch period can set your eCommerce store up for future success, and great marketing is a vital part of your launch.
A wide and comprehensive approach that considers everything from content to paid ads can create a great first impression for your store and start the sales rolling in.
Invest time and careful thought in your marketing, and your new eCommerce business has every chance of success.
Want to find out more about marketing your new eCommerce business? Just get in touch with us, and we’d be happy to help.