Marketing makes businesses happen. While most entrepreneurs might not really like the thought of persuading complete strangers for a “buy in” – whether it’s ideas, products, or services – it’s mandatory for commerce.
Marketing was, is, and will always be the engine of trade. As such, no level or type of entrepreneurship is possible without marketing. When it comes to online businesses, plenty of other channels add up to the basket of channels already necessary for running your business. If you are thinking of starting and running an online store, here are some mandatory steps to push your online business into profitability:
Get a Personality before you do Marketing
It’s important to get this out in the open right away: don’t market your ecommerce store without a personality. Be associated with a certain color scheme. Let your copy communicate a certain persona. Make sure that you stay consistent in your communications.
It’s easy enough to get an idea for how mission or vision statements might look like from Shopify University, for instance. That’s not what you’ll sweat on, though. You’d instead make sure that you let these predictive statements wedge into this personality that you create. What you say, what you mean, and how you look or sound is linear. How strong your brand grows depends on your personality and businesses also have personalities.
Every website should have a blog. If you have an ecommerce store, you should, obviously, blog. Express your thoughts about news, trends, and information relevant to your business and/or industry.
Pull out your passion through your words. Let the world meet the real people behind your products or services. Allow your customers to know you well. Slowly, all those posts on your blog will begin to strike a chord. It so happens that commerce has always been about people. With a blog, you’ll bring back the “people” element back into business by creating a community around your business.
Since blogging is mandatory, don’t start one because you should. Every post should have something for your customers to think about, to talk on, and to share with others. They should get something to take away from that post. It’s either that or nothing.
If your ecommerce store is where your customers will buy, social media is where they’ll talk about their purchases (or maybe even before they purchase). They’ll express happiness, disappointment, or worry. They’ll recommend (or complain). Social media is where your unsolicited feedback pours in. Customers’ comments, posts, and your responses to every message on social media will determine your social standing. You are being watched, not just followed.
Social media is where the principles of traditional marketing go belly up. What you claim with your landing pages and ads is no match for the general word out there. You could either fight the fire or learn to manage your presence well enough to avoid any sort of bad word about your brand.
Your blog looks healthy with some well-crafted content and your social media profiles are busy. Yet, your marketing strategy is far from complete.
You’d now have to work on channelized content. By that, we mean creating content for particular channels available online. Videos will move to YouTube and Vimeo. Podcasts will find a home on iTunes, NPR, Endgadget, or wherever it makes sense for you to have a presence on (depending on your business). If you have presentations or slide decks, you’ll need a place such as SlideShare.net. Work on different content pieces meant for different channels (and that’s not exactly the same content that you’ll create for your blog). You may even choose to publish guest posts on platforms, blogs, or online publications that you select.
Email isn’t out, no matter how much everyone screams over the top about it. Social media is hot but nothing beats the sheer power of email when it comes to nurturing leads, staying in touch with customers, and creating valuable relationships over time. Deploy drip email campaigns with nothing but more value packed and shipped with each email.
You may soft pitch once in a while but the idea is to stay in touch with customers by sharing valuable information and treating customers with respect. While we are at it, make sure you have an easy way for your customers to unsubscribe from your newsletters or email campaigns.
Paid Ads, Internet-wide
Today, ecommerce storeowners have plenty of options for paid advertising. You may choose to go as narrow or as broad as you’d like when it comes to unleashing the power of paid advertisements. Combined with new trends and marketing avenues such as retargeting, you’ve a lot to squeeze from every marketing dollar you care to spend.
Stick with the trusty Google AdWords or choose your own Ad network. Deploy retargeting with care and plug in necessary elements such as landing pages, complete with A/B testing, to make sure you know what marketing assets work best. Now that social media networks also have the option of displaying paid advertisements, you can be assertively present across social media networks as much as your budget can allow. For your paid advertisements to work, however, focus on super-refining headlines and ad copy, creating psychology-influenced images/videos, testing and monitoring.
Sponsor your Content
Don’t let your blog posts and other content developed for various channels sit idle. Why make do with what you thought you had when the whole world is still hungry for content?
If your ecommerce store is in the realm of B2B, tap into sponsored updates on LinkedIn. Facebook sponsored updates work best for B2C businesses such as ecommerce stores that deal with apparel, toys, antiques, accessories, fashion, footwear, etc. Twitter works for most businesses as long as you can share relevant information and keep the conversations going. Sponsored updates are the best thing after sliced bread.
Your content just got the ticket for leverage.
Running your ecommerce business is challenging already. The thought of marketing online shouldn’t be a cause for unnecessary overwhelm. There are only so many ways to get your marketing right.
How many of these ways of online marketing are you really pouring your soul into? How has the experience of marketing online been for you so far?