A lot of time and work goes into preparing your online store for launch day. From mobile-optimizing your website to taking photos and writing product descriptions, you’ve toiled and sweat. But launch day isn’t the end of the road.
Now’s the time to introduce your business to new leads, generate buzz about your store, and turn website visitors into valuable, long-term customers.
Your store is ready and waiting for orders, and it’s your job to go out and find them. There are tons of marketing tactics you can use to drive sales and win new customers—and they can get pretty overwhelming if you’re new to ecommerce. That’s why we’re narrowing it down to just 3 simple and actionable steps you can take today to jumpstart your store’s marketing and earn your first orders.
From getting people to your store and convincing them to buy to setting the stage for more involved tactics down the road, consider this your getting-started guide to ecommerce marketing.
1. Get the word out about your store
Before you can turn website traffic into new orders, you have to actually get people visiting your store. That means spreading the word far and wide about what your store is and the products you offer. Your best friends in gaining traction for your store are:
- Social media
- Search engine marketing (SEM)
Let’s talk about how you can jump into each of these channels and lay a foundation to grow your efforts from there.
Get started on social media
When it comes to marketing your store on social media, there’s a lot to unpack—the different social networks, what and when to post and how to build a following, just to name a few. To simplify, we recommend dipping your toes into organic social media (i.e. not paid social ads) to start.
Instagram and Pinterest have some of the most effective tools for turning your following and posts into ecommerce sales.
For many ecommerce stores, Instagram and Pinterest are some of the best places to begin experimenting with. Both networks are geared almost entirely toward the visual side, meaning photographs and other images abound. That’s part of what makes them ideal for marketing products online. Because of this, they also have some of the most effective tools for turning your following and posts into ecommerce sales.
Create an account for your store on each site and start posting photos of your products, following your ideal customers and curating the kind of content they care about.
Gain traction with Google
Google has the ear of millions of internet users, and a lot of ecommerce transactions start out as Google searches. That’s why tapping into Google’s extensive user base should be one of your top priorities.
For newbie online stores, there are two important steps we recommend taking to boost traffic from search engines to your store:
- Target your product pages for key search terms
- Dip your toes into Google Shopping campaigns
How do you tailor product pages to rank for the right Google searches that lead to sales? To start, use Google’s Keyword Planner tool to research the words and phrases your customers use when they search for products like yours.
Once you have a good understanding of the right keywords to target, sprinkle them throughout your product descriptions and the metadata for each page.
Now that your product pages are well-optimized for search, try your hand at Google Shopping campaigns. These enable you to display paid ads to Google searchers looking to buy products like yours. They’re targeted specifically for ecommerce stores, don’t require as much keyword research as traditional text-based search ads and they’re incredibly effective as far as conversions go, so they’re a great place to get started with paid advertising.
2. Build social proof
One of biggest hurdles new ecommerce stores have to clear is legitimacy. It’s easy, online, to take advantage of consumers—and we’ve grown rightfully wary of names and products we don’t know. The way around that problem is to build social proof.
Around 85% of consumers say they trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as recommendations from friends.
Around 85% of consumers say they trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as recommendations from friends. So social proof is your best ally in convincing consumers that your store is legitimate, your products are high-quality, and your intentions are benevolent. That’s why review sites (like Yelp) and influencer marketing have taken flight.
Your store can tap into both of these things from the start. To get customers reviewing your products, use email or social media to explicitly ask for reviews and offer a small incentive (like $5 off their next order) to those who do.
Protip: Once you have a few positive reviews on your products, add the star rating extension to your Google Shopping campaign from above.
A full-on influencer marketing campaign takes a lot of planning and research. For now, consider sending out sample products to 5-10 social media personalities your target customers follow and ask them to review the products.
3. Focus on nurturing relationships
When your store is brand new, your focus is (rightly) on scoring new customers. It’s easy to lose sight, at the beginning, of one simple fact: your store’s continued growth and long-term success rely on how effectively you find and keep customers. That’s why it’s so important to focus on nurturing relationships and laying a solid foundation for all of the marketing efforts you’ll launch down the road.
It’s so important to focus on nurturing relationships and laying a solid foundation for all of the marketing efforts you’ll launch down the road.
If that seems overwhelming right now, you’re far from alone. Here are just two easy peasy steps you can take now to set yourself up for future marketing success.
Start collecting emails on your website
You should already be collecting emails from anyone who places on order with your store (so you can send important order updates). Keep those emails in a big list and make an effort to collect additional email addresses from people who aren’t customers yet.
Truly valuable email lists take some time to build, so it’s important to start now—even if email marketing campaigns are way off on the horizon.
Design a referral program
For all the same reasons we talked about in our social proof section above, referrals can be one of the most valuable ways you win new business, period. That’s why you should prioritize generating referral business right away.
Start Marketing Your New Ecommerce Store
When you’re just getting started, marketing can seem like a great, big, scary world—but it doesn’t have to be that way. By jumping in early and taking small, simple steps to spread the word about your new store, you can lay the groundwork for a bustling and sustainable business down the road. Start today and your future self will love you for it.