Launching your online store with Shopify is a great first step but it is only a small part of running an online business. Not only do you have to constantly maintain your store's inventory and keep it up-to-date, you also have to find creative ways to send qualified traffic to your online store. This can be one of the biggest challenges for small business owners, especially due to the time element because they are already wearing so many hats in their business.
Don't get overwhelmed by the idea of marketing your business because you don't have to do everything at once and not every online advertising medium is going to be the right fit for your business.
In this post we wanted to compile a list of our top online advertising tips and ideas to help get you started. Again, you don't have to do everything that we mention. Just read over the list and form a strategy around the top tips that will work for you. Keep in mind, when reading through these online advertising tips, that you should focus on where your target audience is and how best to reach them, not on which strategies you like best.
Our top online advertising tips & ideas
- Start building an email list - This is crucial for every business because you need to be able to control your relationship with your audience. While social media channels are great, you don't own that interaction so when a platform like Facebook changes their algorithm you are left having to completely change your strategy.
- Create an irresistible freebie - This is a great way to get people to sign up for your email list. Some retailers have their freebie be a discount code or free shipping if you sign up for their email list. We have our SEO guide that you get when you sign up for our email list.
- Establish a social media following - It isn't about the quantity of fans but rather the quality of fans. It is better to have 100, highly engaged fans who are interacting with you on a regular basis than it is to have a 1,000 fans who never interact with your brand. Also, don't try to be on every big social media platform because you don't have time for that and you will just drive yourself crazy trying to keep up. Instead take a look at the top 3-5 social platforms that your target audience is on and be consistent on these platforms.
- Invest in social media advertising - The main priority in social media advertising is to have a clear goal in mind and form a strategy around that goal. You wouldn't want to just create a Facebook ad to get more page likes. Instead create a landing page with Leadpages.net to promote your freebie from Step #2. Then setup a social media campaign that is optimized for website conversions and send the traffic to your landing page. We will be releasing a video tutorial on this process soon, so stay tuned.
- Run a contest - This is a great way to not only add people to your email list but also get them more familiar with your brand and products. Host the contest on your blog and spread the news about it on social media. You can use an online tool like Rafflecopter to run the giveaway. You want to try and use contest to not only get email addresses and new social media followers, but also get engaged site visitors. One way to do this would be to ask participants take a look at your online store and then post a comment about which product they'd be excited to win. This makes them not only look at your online store but also think about products that they want most!
- Start a blog - This can be a time commitment so make sure you do it strategically. We recommend blogging with SEO in mind, which is a great startpoint when you thinking about blogging for your business.
- Do guest blogging - Reach out to other online bloggers who are reaching your target audience and ask them if you can guest post on their blog. A lot of websites are constantly having to create new content so they are happy to do guest blogging. Make sure to mention your online store as it relates to the post you are writing but don't be too salesy about it.
- Create Google Ads - Setting up Google Adwords can be very different from setting up social media ads. There are great resources online that detail this process and we are working on a video tutorial of this process as well, so stay tuned.
- Embrace new social media platforms quickly - The old saying is true "The early bird gets the worm". Stay tuned into your target audience and where they are at online. If a new social media platform is created, like Periscope, and your audience starts transitioning there make the switch as well and try to be an early brand adopter. A lot of the businesses that come to a platform first get more visibility than businesses who join a year later. There are a lot of new social media platforms being created though so don't try them all, just stay engaged with what your target audience is doing online.
- Create an Online Advertising Strategy - The key is consistency so make sure that you sit down and develop a strategy on how to market your business online. Don't just say I'm going to be on Instagram. Instead decide what type of content you will post, how often you will post and how you will style your messaging through your copy and images.
I hope you found our top ten online advertising tips helpful and that you can implement some into your online advertising strategy. Customers love to interact with small businesses online so don't feel like you have to do it all. Transparency with your target audience goes a long way and they understand that you are a small business. Focus on being consistent with your online marketing and stay true to your brand and unique voice.