With projections of the e-commerce industry reaching earmarks worth trillions of dollars in the nearest future, the popularity of online shopping across the globe cannot be overemphasized. What this means is that there would be more online stores set up, more products would be introduced to markets across various niches and of course, more money to be made from wandering online shoppers.
A daunting task for new store owners would be how to convert enough visitors into sales, and it gets trickier when you try to accomplish this feat on a slim budget. However, the good news is that even new e-commerce stores can stand out in their niche and eventually convert more visitors into buyers with the right marketing strategy.
For new e-commerce stores, the objective should be driving traffic, and their marketing strategy must include tactics and initiatives aimed at achieving this goal. Below are 4 essential points for an effective, low-cost digital marketing strategy and how to optimise them.
#1 Coupons, Deals and Influencers
Influencers are people with massive followers on social media platforms, and in recent years, they’ve become relevant players when it comes to digital marketing. So how does this work? Businesses approach influencers to make a post about a product in hopes of either driving sales or creating brand awareness. As easy and straightforward as it sounds, it comes with a major setback for new e-commerce stores on a slim budget and that is payment options.
While some influencers require cash payments, others would not mind free samples of whatever product they’re advertising for your store. To get started, you might want to try tools like MuseFind to sort through Instagram influencers based on niche, preferred payment option, follower size and more importantly, engagement rate with their followers.
When starting out on a low-budget, consider optimising using influencers who accept free samples also combined with an ongoing promotion or deal. Offer coupon codes to influencers through which you can monitor which influencers convert more efficiently. You would also be increasing your chances of converting traffic to sales through a special deal because everybody loves a sweet deal. Websites like Snipcart are great for offering discounts through deals.
#2 Leverage Social Media
For e-commerce stores operating a B2C model, the extensive advantages of having an active social media presence should be enough reason to leverage this as a crucial part of gaining traction to your store. Since we’re discussing traffic and sales for a low-cost strategy, we wouldn’t want to delve into Ads, that’s a whole discussion in itself. However, social media can still be leveraged upon to achieve impressive results.
For Instagram pages, there is the need to include as many relevant hashtags as possible. By relevant here, it shouldn’t always be generic hashtags, think outside the box to include complementary hashtags also to boost backlinks to your page. So for a product like female shoes for millennials, instead of just including tags like #fashion and #shoes, you might want to also include trending subjects like #CardiB since her genre of music would probably resonate with your target audience also. You should also aim at stimulating user-generated content like Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat stories, and one of the cheapest ways to do so is through referrals. Using a tool such as Pay With A Tweet, customers are offered discount codes, and in order to claim it, they need to make a tweet about a product first.
On optimising Facebook to drive sales, especially through groups, a pro tip we’d recommend is ‘Snip it’. It primarily needs two items to work, Facebook groups and a free tool called Sniply. Join as many relevant and active groups which resonate around items sold on your store, since blatant promotions suck, you could use a tool like Sniply to share a link with a customised call-to-action (CTA) embedded in it. So let’s say you sell baby toys, you’d need to join groups where mothers often converge to discuss. Using Sniply, you could share a link to an article or video which discusses top items for expectant mothers to have, however, Sniply would let you add a CTA to said article or video which could basically be an ad for an item mentioned in the article or video and is sold on your store.
#3 Cross promotion
When starting out, the idea of capturing as many visitors as possible could be overwhelming, and lonely. Using partnerships with relevant brands for cross-promotions is an effective way of reaching new audiences you might not have come across originally. This works by simply promoting products of other brands which go hand-in-hand with your product. This can be done through various mediums like guest blogging, newsletter promotions, joint contests and advertising. When looking for a potential partner, be sure to pick a relevant but non-competing brand. This is by far one of the cheapest ways to tap into another brand’s audience and gain exposure.
#4 Email marketing
With your potential customers being bombarded with a million ads every day on every single page on the internet, selling through these platforms have become more difficult. This also implies that emails have gotten silent and that creates the perfect space to plug in your store’s brand, and in fact it happens to be one of the best low-cost tools available when it comes to e-commerce.
To get serious about capturing email addresses, a recommendation would be to optimise your e-commerce website’s landing page to make the subscription process as seamless as possible, so visitors do not need to scroll all the way to the bottom to find a subscription box. One way to do this is by using website exit pop-ups with special offers, coupons and exciting deals to convert some of the visitors with tendencies to exit your website into subscribers.
A pro tip in optimising this feature would be to automate email marketing with a tool like MailChimp to send out deals or discount code to celebrate customer’s birthday or holidays.
Also, to make sure your promotion newsletter ends up in the primary inbox and not spam or promotions box, avoid using custom emails like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, rather a personalised mail with a real name like firstname.lastname@example.org has more tendencies to end up in the primary inbox.
Regardless of whether you’re outsourcing marketing of your e-commerce website or doing it yourself, growing your brand doesn’t necessarily have to be done a large budget if it isn’t available. Ultimately, it all comes down to creating genuine relationships with your customers and relating with your audience in a language they’re comfortable in.