When you are just starting an e-commerce business, chances are that you don’t have a lot of marketing budget with which to work. But that’s okay. All it takes is a well-designed, speedy website (not sure how fast your site loads? Try out this free speed checker tool) and a bit of marketing ingenuity. Why not give these seven tips for digital marketing a try to gain more traffic and more sales without breaking the bank?
Call to Action on Your Website
For some of the most effective and least costly ways to market your company online, look no further than your website. This is where it all starts, so be sure you have a strong SEO base, then focus on the little things that mean a lot, such as a clear, easy-response call to action.
Your call to action is most often used to compel visitors to sign up for your email list and/or make a purchase. Tell them exactly what you expect them to do with concise wording. Use big buttons and bold colors to draw attention to the call to action. Create a sense of urgency by incorporating an expiration date; this works especially well for special pricing or a free giveaway.
Give Away a Product or Service
Speaking of a free giveaway… A great way to find new customers is to give them your best – for free. This is not something you want to do frequently or in large quantities, but if you can get a consumer to give your product or service a try, they often become loyal customers.
One of the reasons why is the theory of reciprocity. People tend to feel obligated to anyone who goes out of their way to do something nice for them, especially when it’s a free product with a specific value. Who doesn’t love getting a complimentary gift?
Of course, your products or services are awesome so just the act of trying them out is sure to bring new clients to your site.
There are several ways you can do this. You can start an ad campaign showcasing a free trial offer (this works great for subscription services), with or without the stipulation of the customer paying a small shipping and handling fee.
Or you could use a popup box on your website which appears after a certain time period of browsing but before the user actually clicks off your site. Something along the line of, “Wait! Before you leave, here’s your free gadget to introduce you to our great line of specialty gadgets.”
If you want word to spread, virtually, about your business in a short period of time, ask visitors to promote your company for you. Add an offer to your website which asks visitors to share a particular product or message to their social media followers in exchange for a coupon.
The coupon can be good for a discount (percentage or dollar amount) on a future purchase or an extra freebie included with an offer (such as personalization or a complimentary shipping).
Use Local Media Outlets
We all know that print publications, such as newspapers and magazines, as well as radio and TV stations, are always on the lookout for quality material. But did you know that the same is true for the online version of these media outlets?
Start by connecting with your local media via social media, then use those venues to pitch an idea, such as a tweet to an editor you are already following, “Hey @localTVreporter, looking for article on latest #fitnessapps?” Writing an article or even shooting a short video establishes you as an authority on a subject relevant to your blog and, much like guest posting, furthers your reach with a fresh audience.
Help a Reporter Out and Other National Media Outlets
Become a source for online journalists by signing up at Help a Reporter Out, aka HARO, to receive daily email messages aggregating requests for content. Sometimes it’s just an expert quote that is being sought, while other times it’s a paragraph or full article. Whether it’s an e-mag, a podcast show or a news aggregator, there are bound to be lots of places where you and your industry expertise can shine.
Once again, this establishes you as an authority on a given subject and the piece which includes your byline (which could include website link, photo and bio) will be exposed to the media outlet’s social media audience. You are sure to see a spike in traffic to your site when you contribute to an article from a well-known outlet.
Podcasters are always looking for people to interview. Reach out to the owner of your favorite show and offer him or her an interview via Skype. You’ll get a chance to pitch your product or service and your name will be exposed to a whole new market.
Networking and Prospecting on LinkedIn
Social media is a great place to hang out and reach people and, of course, Facebook is huge. But if you are a B2B marketer, you’ll get a much better return on your investment of time (and money, if you use paid ads) when you focus on LinkedIn. There’s less noise there (no silly memes, videos of cats or pictures of dessert) so your company has a better chance of standing out.
Start by joining several groups. There are tons of them on LinkedIn, for every type of job, industry or niche you can possibly think of. Find a few where your target market is active, then take time to participate in discussions and engage with the members. After a few weeks or so, users will recognize you and trust you. Then, and only then, you can use these relationships to foster sales.
If you have a marketing budget in place, you may want to spend some of it on LinkedIn Sales Navigator. You get to choose from lots of different criteria and obtain qualified leads for influencers and decision makers and find connections in your extended network – no cold calling or online prospecting required.
Who has the most clout with your audience? Chances are it’s someone with an active YouTube channel; video is so often king of content with today’s young consumers who would rather learn by watching than reading. If you’ve done your marketing research and actively consume content yourself, you probably already have an idea of who is successful in your industry niche.
The trick is to find influencers with whom you can connect and then asking them to become an affiliate marketing partner for your brand. These videographers already have a well-established YouTube audience along with a big following on other social media venues and elsewhere online. Provide a special offer code or coupon your YouTube partner can offer to help entice new customers and, of course, split some of the profits with them.
These seven low- to no-cost ideas to market your online business are just a starting point. Get guerrilla and think outside the box in order to draw the attention of your target market. Find ways to connect with prospects online and then follow up for best results. Can you share any other low-cost marketing strategies you’ve found to be successful?