Merchant Capital

So you’ve started an online store, now what?

Your online store is officially up and running. Now you’re faced with the question: How do I get people to come and buy from my online store? Many people think that by simply having a website means customers will know that you’re out there and will line up to buy. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Imagine you opened your bricks and mortar store, but you didn’t have any roads to get there, you didn’t offer any parking spots outside and forgot about store signage. How would people know you were out there? Well the same concept applies to a virtual store. Having an e-commerce store isn’t enough and so you also have to create multiple passages and incentives to attract customers. Not only that but there is a lot of competition out there, so you need to think cleverly to make your e-commerce store attractive. The good news is that there are so many effective e-commerce marketing tools at your disposal, many of which are outlined below.

Before you get going, you need to ask yourself some important questions:

  1. What are your goals for your online marketing? Be as specific as possible, down to the number of leads and sales per month.
  2. Who is your target market? It is important to know your audience and then make use of the many filters and funnels available to speak directly to that audience.
  3. What is your budget? Understand what your financial capabilities are.

E-commerce marketing channels 

Once you have answered these questions you can decide how you are going to market to your audience.

  • Social Media Marketing

Every growing business has business pages on the most popular social networks. Here they connect with their audience and post useful, relevant content. E-commerce websites are highly visual and so social media is a good place to show off and sell your product. This expands your reach beyond its purchase page and directly into people’s hands.

  • Content Marketing

1. Blogs , vlogs and articles

Content marketing is all about blogging and video marketing. This type of content improves the ranking of your site in search engines. So if you’re selling products online, your need to serve up good pieces of content in the form of articles and videos in order to generate transactions.  The way this works is your community come to see that you are consistently offering solutions. This moves them from consideration into sales. This type of e-commerce marketing is called ‘nurture content’ as it entices your customer to cosy up and get to know you, before hopefully closing the deal.

2. FAQs

Another way to add keyword-driven content into your site is with a FAQ landing page. By providing this you are literally responding to your customer’s needs, you are creating an air of authority and building traffic.

3. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

This includes both search engine optimization (SEO) and paid advertising. While SEO relies on your knowledge of Google's ranking algorithm to optimize content, SEM can involve pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, display campaigns, or product-specific ad campaigns.  Here you can actually pay for top spots on search engine results pages. On Google AdWords, PPC campaigns guarantee that potential buyers will see a link to your page when they enter search terms that match the terms of your campaign. But because you're paying Google each time a person clicks on your result, the payoff to you should be high.

4. Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the original types of digital marketing. While the online world has continued to evolve, this remains a highly valuable form of e-commerce marketing.  Firstly this is the place where you hold your valuable database. While you may have thousands of followers on Instagram, if you’re suddenly hacked- there go all your leads forever! With email marketing you at least hold hard copies of email addresses and these are like gold for your business.

Another great aspect of email marketing is that you can automate your marketing collatoral. In other words you can set up what is known as a ‘drip campaign’. Here you segment subscribers according to their specific needs or stage of buying. Just make sure that the way you accumulate your newsletter leads is both careful and authentic. Consider asking customers to opt in for a free piece of exclusive content on your website. It is free, except for the fact that they need to give you their email address to access it. This kind of quid pro quo ensures that there is a mutual transaction that takes place and once done, you now have a customer who has willingly engaged and who is likely to it again.

The bottom line

If you can tick all these boxes consistently you will grow your audience, entice interest and satisfy your customers. While the e-commerce world of marketing seems overwhelming, just keep in mind that there are people behind the screens. By planning your marketing activity and serving each of these people useful, consistent content you will be well on your way to attracting the right kind of attention and make sale after sale.

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