As an Artrepreneur you have a dream to make your passion your profit. Your business is setup and ready to go.
Now you have one thing on your mind:
Of course, starting out is never easy. You likely find yourself in the thick of a competitive market, wondering how you can stand out from the crowd and drive traffic to your store.
The truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and sales. Through trial and error, you will discover a unique strategy that speaks to your niche audience.
To help you discover that sweet spot, here is a list of starting points for you to explore in order to promote your online store.
1. Build a Unique and Compelling Brand
Personality goes a long way in business. Today more than ever, people are looking to lifestyle brands as trusted resources.
Lifestyle brands seek to inspire, guide, and motivate people, with the goal of their products contributing to the consumer’s way of life.
In order for you to establish your online store and grow your audience base, you must have a distinct personality throughout all your messaging that separates you from the rest of your competitors.
2. Broaden Your List of Products
The more products you offer, the greater the chances of making a sale. You may have a great design for a t-shirt that catches the eye of consumer, but perhaps they’re browsing through your store looking for mugs. If you don’t have mugs activated, you just lost a sale.
Sure, your brand may be directed toward a niche audience, but there are a variety of items in the Gooten Product Catalog that have universal appeal. It costs you nothing to add them to your store so there is no risk on your part to do so.
3. Stay Alert to Trends
The phenomenon known as Pokemon Go was also a gold mine for retailers. Radio Shack promoted specials on mobile chargers.
We witnessed firsthand a flux of designs for products aimed around the Pokemon craze, and those smart enough to do so received a generous bump in sales.
The lesson is you can’t just create ideas inside your own bubble. Look around you and see what people are talking about, what issues are trending, and are likely to have longevity. When fads pop up out of nowhere, you must have the ability to pivot on a dime in order to get products spun up in time for them to be relevant.
4. Maximize Buying Seasons
There are a few times of the year when people go into buying mode. Take advantage of these times, create some special deals or a thematic collection. Here’s a quick list of holidays to look out for:
- Valentine’s day
- Graduation parties
- Mother’s/Father’s day
- Back to school
- Summer blowouts
- Black Friday
5. Make Friends in the Blogger Community
You can’t just rely on people coming to you. Be proactive and do outreach to bloggers in your industry with influence. They likely have an active, engaged community around them, so comment on their posts and be involved in the conversation. Bloggers will be glad you are participating in their community and may reward this with a kind mention or feature on their site that links back to your company. This is a good way to drum up PR and get your name out there.
A great method is to search online for your product categories and then find bloggers who are posting about them. Offer them product samples for review or giveaways and you will usually see a big bump in traffic from their article.
6. Establish a Presence on Social Media
Using social media to promote your brand is a vital to your growth. Social media platforms are the water coolers of the internet, so it’s vital to go where the people go.
Facebook - A good rule of thumb is to update your profile about once a day with either a link to a product from your online store or website. Ads through Facebook are highly popular and a great way to reach your target audience. When it comes to selling on Facebook, it’s important to try and strike a balance between creating engaging content that builds an audience while also gently nudging people towards your products.
Instagram - What makes Instagram so popular is that it’s basically Facebook boiled down to its single most engaging function: sharing photos. Throw in some brilliant photo filters and you’ve got one of the fastest growing online communities to date. And of course, Instagram is also a great marketing tool for your business with a lot of potential for getting you that first sale.
LinkedIn - Think of LinkedIn as your professional Facebook profile. Depending on what you’re selling, you may find yourself spending as much time on LinkedIn developing your business as Facebook. Now the advantage of LinkedIn isn’t necessarily just making direct sales. It’s also about expanding your network and creating a wide array of opportunities.
Pinterest - Since it’s primarily a visual experience, it’s a great place for your product photos to shine. However, you must have a few creative bones in your body to get it to work. The effort is well worth it though, especially considering that visitors referred from Pinterest are 10 percent more likely to make a purchase from you.
Twitter - Without investing too much time or money, you can easily drive traffic to your ecommerce store. It’s also a great way to engage with your customers once your business is up and running.
Tumblr - Marketing with Tumblr is a lot like marketing with Instagram. The idea is to wow people with your images and attract a large and loyal following who’ll not only purchase your products but become an army for your brand. To be successful on Tumblr means you have to master the art of posting creative and inspiring content that makes an emotional connection with people.
YouTube - One of the main advantages of YouTube, is that your video will be included in Google and YouTube search results. Each video you create is a piece of inbound marketing content that will help you sell for years to come. You can also use YouTube videos on your own website to help communicate the benefits of your products.
7. Use Social Media for Competitions and Giveaways
You know what always gets people’s attention? Free stuff!
Each time one of your existing followers shares any of your information (depending on the platform it could be a share, retweet, regram, etc.), your products reach a whole new set of eyes.
One way to generate shares is by offering a prize to a lucky winner, and entry to this competition can be done by sharing a certain piece of information that pertains to your product, or liking your page.
8. Network Through Friends and Family
The people who love you most want you to succeed. Take advantage of this! As politely as you can of course. But seriously, take advantage of this! There should be nothing stopping you from posting from your personal social accounts and asking for your friends and followers to help spread the word about your enterprise.
You can go one step further and send out a mass email detailing exactly what you want, and how they can help you. Let them know how much you appreciate anything they can do, and as with every segment of your audience, make them feel like they are apart of your success.
9. Follow Your Competitors
You know who knows what they’re doing? People in your industry who have been doing what you’re doing longer than you have. Learn from your competitors. Find out what channels online they are using to market and advertise. Study the tone of their messaging. The idea is not to copy, but rather, to understand it and improve on what they do. Do it in a way that uniquely ties into your brand.
10. Guest Post Your Way to Thought-Leadership
Establishing trust with your audience is pivotal, right from the start, and people implicitly trust experts in their field. Your goal should be to become a thought leader in your industry, someone capable of providing insights and beneficial tips. When people feel you know what you’re talking about, the value of your business increases.
This guide from Kissmetrics is the industry standard on how to leverage your expertise throughout the online blogger world.
11. Generate a Little Controversy
"we hate books" — @penguinrandom— Melville House (@melvillehouse) October 16, 2015
It’s easy to be boring. For the most part, that’s what everyone else is doing. That’s why a bit of controversy from time to time can actually be a good thing. Being a part of a viral story can drive a ton of traffic your way.
Writing a controversial blog post is a great way to garner attention. Whether it’s picking a fight with a well-established competitor, or taking an unpopular opinion on a trending subject, it could turn out to be an effective way to books traffic and generate the SEO gold known as backlinks.
Of course, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it. It has to be done carefully and artfully. Shooting from the hip and making outlandish statements will most likely do more harm than good.
12. Build Up Your Email Marketing
Besides organic search, email marketing is the most effective customer acquisition channel. The key to building up your email subscriber list is to offer something of value in return. You can write a great, useful blog post and at the end of it have a field for them to submit their email, in order to keep up with your wonderful content in the future.
Keep your subscriber list engaged with newsletters, promotions, subscriber-only discounts and coupons.
13. Gift Guides
Most shoppers research heavily online when they are making a purchase, especially around the holidays. They usually end up browsing through resources such as gift guides which are roundups of ideas for what consumers should get for their loved ones.
By simply googling terms from the mindset of someone who would be looking for your products, you can find these guides yourself. If you want to highlight your mugs in a guide you would search:
- mugs gift guide
- mugs gift guide 2015
- mugs buying guide
- mugs buying guide 2015
- mugs gift ideas
- mugs christmas gift ideas
- mugs fathers day gift guide
You get the idea.
Next, find the contact information for each site you want to be apart of and send them a friendly email. Be sure to personalize it, no one wants to be spammed to.
14. Join the Reddit Revolution
Reddit is a popular online community divided into “subreddits,” which are groups centered around different interests.
Reddit allows you to buy ads that show on specific subreddits, so that you’re only paying to show ads to people who are interested in your niche. Campaigns start at $5, so it’s easy and cheap to test it out and send traffic to a signup landing page.
It’s very important beforehand that you become familiar with “reddiquette,” explore the site, and do some research on how to advertise to Reddit users before jumping in.
15. Read and Research
Even if you don’t have a background in business or marketing, there is a tremendous amount of great information online that bring you up to speed on current trends and tactics.
GrowthHackers is a community of experts in tech, online business, and online marketing that provides a plethora of well-researched articles meant to share insider tips, and hacks that you can put into action.
The Shopify Blog is a great resource of finely written articles, often times sharing first hand experiences of successful tactics other store owners made, in a concise step by step manner.
Neil Patel is a well known online marketing expert, and his blog articles often times contain must-read information. He links out to great resources, so one article from him may lead you down a rabbit hole of information, but you’ll be glad and more informed for doing so.
Explore these 15 ways and see how you can incorporate them into your marketing and outreach strategy. Chances are, some of them will work and some of them may not, but the all-important thing in order to effectively promote your online store, is to keep at it, keep trying new ideas, new tactics, and eventually you’ll find the ways that work best for you.