20 Tips to Promote Your Online Shop

If you don’t have an existing audience for your shop, it’s easy to set up a shop, hit the “Publish” button and.. nothing happens.

You need to go out and build your audience. This is one of the key things that we tell our clients, and to ensure our work does not end in an unused website, making it useless, we take great steps into making sure the shop will have success.

In this post you will find 20 tips to promote your business and attract people to your shop. Most of these ways require some time investment before you start to see the results, and even if sometimes it’s hard to keep going, keep going! 🙂

Your site must be attractive

Choose a nice theme, with a good and clean design. Have less stuff on the page. Let the products shine.

Make sure the site has good SEO

Don’t go too crazy, but require no content duplication and nice, indexable URLs. Your pages should show in the search results in a nice way.

Add accurate descriptions to your products

This is key for many reasons, of course your clients will want to see a proper description before purchasing, and without content, Google may not rank the pages as you expect. The more the description is long, the more keywords Google will rank the page for.

Host it on Shopify

I have a 15 years experience on hosting and developing for self-hosted CMS solutions, on all kind of software, including WooCommerce.

While I acknowledge the freedom that Open Source software gives, related to customizations, having your e-commerce site on a trusted platform, knowing the people working on it will ensure uptime, take care of security setup and updates, will make sure the site is fast and available across the world is a pain saver, and of course a cost saver.

No other hosted platform (say Wix, Squarespace or Weebly) has the same powerful features of Shopify, and they do not have the same amount of apps.

Have a blog

Write interesting, meaningful content. Write posts that your customers will love, they will search on Google, content worth reading and sharing.

“Be there” on the social media

Have a Pinterest account, an Instagram account, a Facebook page. Medium. Do not obsess over them, but repost the content of your blog, to start with.

Engage with your audience

Reply to every comment you get on your blog posts and on social media. Make friends with everyone that interacts with you.

Build an email list

Social media is important to gather new audiences, and connect with your existing client base, but more important than anything else is constantly staying in touch with your existing clients and supporters. People that signed up to your email list, on your site or during checkout. Those are the people more likely to shop again in the future, remember that it’s easier to sell to a existing clients rather than finding new ones.

Use video

Video is a very effective way to get in front of your people. YouTube is a very powerful social network and it’s effectively a search engine that can drive traffic to your shop. Facebook, Instagram and others on the other hand have made video content on the top priorities, making it easier than ever to create and share video content.

Get testimonials

Social proof is one of the most powerful tools you can leverage to persuade visitors to convert into buyers. Get some strong testimonials and showcase them on your site.

Hold giveaways

Giveaways can be a serious boost to your social following. Define your goal for the giveaway (get more followers, likes, get people on your list..), decide what’s the prize, and write clear instructions about the rules and how to enter the giveaway. It can be quite effective to be seen outside your strict circle of followers, as they will share it around. Don’t forget to announce the winner!

Create infographics and post them on Pinterest

Pinterest in some niches is huge. Create great visual content, infographics are awesome for this.

Create joint ventures and partnerships with competitors in your same niche

Chances are, your niche is big enough for many players to thrive into it. It’s not a zero sum game. Share your customers. Have other people’s customers be sent to you.

Share your competitor’s stuff

Make friends with everyone in your niche, share their content and news, and chances are they will return the favour sooner or later.

Create free stuff

Freebies are a great way to introduce yourself to prospect clients, and to make buzz around you. Offer a free, compelling present that you give away for free when signing up to your email list.

Make guest posts on other people sites

As you get to know the other people that operate in your space, bigger websites, smaller websites, all are in need for weekly, compelling content. Offer yourself to write a great blog post, and once you get the gig, write the best content you can ever come up with. Parts of their audience will surely check out who you are, and find your shop. Do not add too many links to yourself, just one or two, as more will be spammy.

Experiment with advertising

Read the tons of material about online advertising. Facebook allows to carefully select who to show your ads to, based on their interests. If your niche is not easily found via Facebook, my recommendation is to find super targeted niches with AdWords (to keep per-click costs low), drive them to your site, have a Facebook Pixel setup and retarget your audience with Facebook Ads.

Help people

Genuinely help people, and your effort will show up in everything you do

Be bold and optionally controversial

Make great work and promote it boldly, and people will show up.

If you have strong opinions, you’re going to get attention. Don’t be the guy/gal that states the obvious, as you’ll simply be unnoticed.

Overdeliver. Surprise your clients.

A famous startup called CD Baby, a music service for independent musicians, was famously sending to their customers this email:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.
We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.
I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year.” We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

As Derek Sivers writes, this had a huge impact on the word of mouth promotion, as everyone receiving this email was telling it to their friends. Although very simple, I don’t see too many people doing this same simple trick today, do you?

It’s very easy to think that overdelivering means much more work, but it’s not. Many times it’s the simple things that matter.

I hope you had a good read, and you found out a couple things you can do that you’re not doing yet to promote your online shop.

Please comment below if you have something to add, and remember: Fire Up Your Shop!