Starting an e-commerce business will definitely not be the easiest thing you do in your life. It’s all about choosing the right product you feel passionate aboutso that you can put all your heart into packaging the item into a consistent and catchy brand. Alternatively, you can go the much more simple way of doing business and start a Dropshipping store, only acting as an intermediary between a customer and an actual seller.
Then, it’s the easy part of actually building the technical part of your online store, which we described in detail a few weeks ago in our E-Commerce Beginner’s Tutorial. While you can outsource building an e-commerce platform to the IT developer or software house, it might be a better idea to do it on your own, without any IT experience, using one of the E-Commerce Platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce. Don’t forget to install the analytical software at your website, like Google Analytics or Hotjar to monitor the performance and user’s experience and make sure you provide an adequate and quick customer support, e.g. through a live chat software.
But once you have an e-commerce store set-up, what happens next? You will most probably face the problem of every starting entrepreneur and be very surprised that hardly anybody visits your website and you don’t sell as many products as you expected. So how to make sure, you drive the right clients to your online store? From the day 1, you should think about your marketing strategy and the apps you use to make it work.
“You can’t sell anything if you can’t tell anything.” Beth Comstock, Vice Chair at GE
Find the right marketing channels
Before you start your marketing campaign it is worth to do your homework and spend some time thinking and researching where is your audience. For example, if you’re running an online store selling stylish socks like happysocks.com, it might be probable that your customers — teenagers or those in early 20-ties spend a lot of time on Facebook or Instagram. Also, they might be interested in your product, even if they are actually not looking for new socks right now.
This makes Facebook Ads a perfect marketing channel for starting the campaign of your online store. How do Facebook Ads work? They enable you to select the group of your potential customers, based on their nationality, age, interests or even specific Facebook profiles they like and target them with an advertisement presented in a news feed. Setting up a Facebook campaign takes time but spending a few hours or days on learning its basics might bring you a really worthy reward in future sales. If you need a hefty guide to running Facebook campaigns, you can find it Here.
Another marketing channel you can use is AdWords, which are simply the advertisements presented in the google search results. You set up the keywords which will trigger the advertisement to appear only to the people looking for particular product. So for example, when somebody types “buy stylish wallet”, you can set up google to view the ad of your e-commerce store with branded wallets on the first page of google results.
This might be especially useful for dropshipping businesses where you mostly care about people who already are in need and search for particular products. And what is even cooler, you only pay for a click (CPC — Cost-per-click), meaning you don’t spend money for those only viewing your advertisement and not visiting your website. The cost, however, differs depending on the popularity of keywords you want to target so if you sell very popular and competitive products like smartphones, it might turn out that this marketing channel is not profitable for your business.
There are a bunch of other online marketing channels you can use, including LinkedIn, Twitter or Pinterest, so coming back to the basics, you need to think where is your audience to target it right where they spend most of their time.
Try out list building/traffic tools
It is good to know what is your best marketing channel but most probably, you don’t have an unlimited budget to spend on marketing campaigns. There are, however, a bunch of apps which might help you grow your visitors’ base using some tricks. One of the most popular traffic generating apps is Sumo.com, which enables you to easily design and activate pop-up windows at your website, attempting to collect the e-mail addresses of your visitors, which you can then use to target them with mailing campaigns. It also enables you to create coupons/promotions which can be provided, e.g. when a visitor attempts to exit your website or set social buttons which encourage your visitors to share your content on their social media.
Another interesting app to bring more potential customers to your website might be Pay With A Tweet, which enables you to give rewards, discounts, coupons for an exchange of sharing your contenton any social media, including Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. This might be a perfect way to reach more people in your target demographics with a small cost.
Use mailing automation apps
Once you have managed to build a subscribers’ list, either using your own channels or apps like Sumo.com, you can then start your emailing campaigns. However, you don’t want to spend your time on complicated design and scheduling of your emails. This is where mailing automation apps come in handy. Services like MailChimp or GetResponse enable you to very easily create well-crafted newslettersand manage large batches of email deliveries.
You can also easily plan your campaigns in advance, by scheduling particular emails to be sent on particular days of the week. This will make your work of marketer a lot easier and will make your e-commerce brand look neat and professional.
Using apps like Drip might also enable you to create customer journeys, meaning setting specific conditions which will trigger particular e-mail campaigns. So for example, if you want to send a separate campaign to the customers who opened your email or clicked the included link you simply design the workflow and the software will then manage such scenario automatically.
Above apps are only the very beginning of the journey of online marketing of your e-commerce store. There are a bunch of other growth hacks and marketing apps you can use to advertise your business. You can find some of them on our app discovery platform — picksaas.com.