8 Simple Ways to Promote Your E-Commerce Business
The potential for running a successful e-commerce business has never been higher than it is today. Hundreds of thousands of individuals are realizing this and taking action to start their own business.
ReferralCandy, a company that automates referrals for online businesses, reported that in 2013 there were more than 102,000 US based e-commerce businesses generating $12,000 or more in profit every year.
With this in mind, it is clear that there is plenty of competition in the online space. This competition is one of the reasons many business experts recommend focusing on a specific niche that is still ripe for the picking.
But even if you do choose a niche with little competition, the challenge of promoting your business still remains.
Let’s take a look at eight simple ways that you can promote and grow your e-commerce business:
When a lot of people think of SEO, or search engine optimization, they think of it as a technical thing that is difficult to understand.
Fortunately, this is not really the case at all. While there are SEO experts that can help you get into the nuts and bolts of optimizing your business for search, there are a lot of simple things you can to improve your rankings as well.
One of the easiest and best things you can do is to write concise titles, URLs, and descriptions.
You want to make sure that you are very concise about what your company does and is.
As Alex Chris of Reliable Soft says, you need to have a unique and meaningful title, catchy description, and well formatted URL.
Consumers do not like confusion, so make sure you hone in on developing to-the-point titles and descriptions that allow your consumers to quickly see what you are all about.
Use Social Media to Identify and Solve Problems
Social media has opened up the unique opportunity for businesses to interact with consumers at all times of the day.
While there are many debates over the best ways to use social media to promote a business, there is no doubt that serving as a trusted resource to your target market is one of the best.
You can do this by researching individuals within your target market and identifying the problems that they have. Once you have identified them, solve those problems for them.
The great thing about this method of solving problems for your target market is that you do not necessarily have to be providing them with your content. This process can just as easily work if you were to send them a link to a guide or eBook that an expert has written.
Doing this allows you to play into the law of reciprocation that persuasion expert Robert Cialdini talks about extensively in his book Influence.
Once you have helped them solve their problem, the individual you assisted will be compelled to follow or like your business and will be much more likely to share and promote your content in the future.
This is one of the most cost effective ways to promote your business to a significant amount of target customers.
It basically involves the process of identifying who the authorities are in your industry and reaching out to them about the potential of partnering together.
For this to be effective your outreach methods have to personalized. Sending out 40 emails that have been copy and pasted will absolutely not work.
You will also want to be careful about doing too much of this as excessively preaching about other people’s products or services can decrease loyalty from your own customers.
Porch.com CEO Matt Ehrlichman wrote a solid article that can serve as a great resource for developing these strategic partnerships.
While a lot of companies have taken measures to significantly increase their content marketing methods, this strategy can take a long time to become effective.
Many businesses have instead looked to guest blogging as a strategy to promote their business in the same way that content marketing would yet in a much quicker fashion.
While you will generally have to take a few days to write up a piece of high quality content, this can be an extremely effective marketing tactic.
KissMetrics provides a detailed guide about how to get started with guest blogging.
Register With and Communicate on Review Sites
Review sites are becoming more and more popular in the modern day economy. Consumers are checking out sites like Yelp for help deciding everything from a restaurant to eat at to a contractor to remodel their kitchen.
Never before has social proof been such a large part of the world’s economy.
For some consumers, reviews have even become the equivalent of word-of-mouth referrals.
BrightLocal performed a study in 2013 that said that 79% of the consumers that surveyed said they trust online reviews just as much as they do personal recommendations.
That is some pretty astonishing stuff!
While the exact review sites that you should be a part of will vary depending on your industry, HubSpot wrote up a fairly comprehensive post about 19 of the most impactful review sites on the web.
A lot of companies have taken it a step further than simply registering on review sites and have begun to focus on responding to comments from users; which is a great way to engage with actual customers.
While email marketing is not exactly an ‘easy’ way to promote your e-commerce business, it is certainly one of the best ways and deserves a mention on this list.
If you do not currently have an email list, you should definitely make that one of your top priorities.
Marketing Profs pointed out recently that an email subscriber ranks behind only organic search visitors in terms of their value to your business.
Once again, this is not an easy process and there have been dozens of books written on the best ways to build an email list and sell to your subscribers.
Help a Reporter Out (HARO)
HARO provides an amazing opportunity for e-commerce businesses to tell their unique stories through the media.
It basically works by connecting journalists that need stories to write about with individuals and businesses that would like to share their story.
It is an awesome concept that truly works as a win-win for both parties.
Just realize that your story is more than likely not going to be just a promotional piece since that is not going to be the most attractive thing for them to hand over to their editor.
If you have the budget, paid advertising is never a bad idea.
Paid opportunities like advertising on Google, Bing, Yahoo, StumbleUpon, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social media platforms all provide ways for you to effectively promote your business.
One thing that you will want to be sure of with paid advertising, however, is that you are constantly testing to be sure that it is working.
There are very few things worse than dropping hundreds of dollars on advertising methods that are not producing any type of traffic or income for your business.
KissMetrics shows some methods for both choosing the right paid advertising methods and figuring out how to optimize those methods for the best success rates.
The Final Word
There is no doubt that the potential for creating and growing an online business is as high as it has ever been. As shop.org points out, online sales are growing as much as 20-25% every year.
Implementing the tips in this short guide and working to continually improve how you promote your business will give you the opportunity to compete for a piece of that pie.
The opportunities available on the web today are endless. Combining the offering a quality product or service with proper promotion will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities and grow your business to unthinkable heights.