Part of the benefit of an online business over a physical store is low overhead. It allows you to keep prices low and profits high, not to mention the focus on your business that often avoids having to deal with a physical store on a daily basis.
But a large part is lost if you spend too much on marketing and advertising, especially marketing and advertising that doesn’t work. Instead of the usual trial-and-error method that many of your competitors use, start by learning from the mistakes of others.
Focus your efforts on inexpensive and proven advertising techniques like these.
1. Produce High-Value Content
Content marketing is a complex field with many expensive experts ready to tell you how to do it better. But it all comes down to one concept: giving away knowledge for free and of such high quality that consumers build trust with you and your brand that converts them to spend money on your products.
Keep it simple so you can create a variety of content types and have time to share on social media. You want to become the benchmark for entry-level information (and even expert level for niche industries) and build trust with potential buyers early on. Learn How to Write Better Blog Posts That Rank Well.
2. Engage With Thought Leaders
Let’s say as an example you have a new line of combat gear and fitness equipment, at the beginning nobody cares about you as a brand. But a lot of people who might be interested in you are already very interested in people such as Joe Rogan, Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunez, and Tyson Fury.
If you can get the attention of any of them, or even their fan base, some of their fans will also be interacting with your brand.
Find thought leaders and celebrities who are attached to what you do or have to offer on social media. Don’t forget .gov and .edu informational authorities, wherever relevant.
Interact meaningfully with them on their feeds by responding to posts and asking interesting and engaging questions.
After a while, contact that person or authority directly to see if they would help by mentioning you by name or otherwise be involved with your brand to help promote it.
3. Optimise Product Pages
It’s a known fact that optimised product pages generate more sales than standard pages without the correct optimisation.
Optimization includes visible elements such as product photos, excellent descriptive text, layout, design and product reviews.
It also includes invisible elements that improve search performance on Google and in the sales landscape your page is in, such as Amazon.
The specific best practices depend on the site you’re selling on, but you can start by doing a Googe search such as “product page optimisation for __” this will help you get a better understanding of what you can do next to improve your product page.
4. Include a Cart Abandonment Message
You’ve seen it in action – when you shop online, you get to the point where you fill a shopping cart before completely leaving the transaction. Maybe you have changed your mind, the shipment was more than you thought or your children took you off the computer.
After a few days have passed you will receive an email from the seller asking if you want to complete your order. When they’re really on the ball, you can include a discount, a free item, or other worthwhile incentive for you to buy.
You can set up these notifications with most online sales platforms you own. Most of them (including WordPress sales widgets, if you sell on your own site) make it intuitive and easy to set up.
The real trick is to come up with a special offer that drives you to buy without reducing your profit on those orders too much. There are several tests that will help you find your balance in a few weeks.
5. Build Your Sales Funnel
Your marketing sales funnel targets new leads who don’t know much about your business to fully understand your products and services to the point where they know what is best for them and which they will purchase.
The exact path could include browsing your blog, downloading a freebie, watching some videos, and speaking with a member of the sales team, or it could be as simple as previewing and pre-ordering.
Sales funnels work best when redesigned from scratch, with a consistent sequence and easy, intuitive progression from one step to the next.
They work even better when you have multiple funnels – one for each of your different products or services, and one for each of your key customer personalities.
If you already have a sales funnel, all companies have one in some shape or form. The question is, can you make it more intentional, more effective, and more powerful?
6. Running Contests and Giveaways
Contests and giveaways are tried and true ways to help get your brand known. They both try to give participants something free in exchange for the initial contact or to collect their contact details.
The difference between the two is subtle:
- What happens with the giveaway is that each participant receives a free item. This is normally a digital product such as an e-book in exchange for being included on a mailing list and this is a very common example of a modern giveaway.
- A competition awards a handful of people or just one participant a higher value prize. Usually this is a raffle or prizes for the people who perform best in a certain task. For example, you can give the person who shares your social media post the most in a certain month a 20% discount for one year.
In either case, success depends on two factors:
First of all, you have to make the price attractive enough to get real attention and real participation.
Second, you need to have a solid infrastructure to take advantage of participating once the competition is over. There are many ways to do this, and none is necessarily the best or worst answer. You just need to have something in place and be ready to go.
7. Starting a Loyalty Club or Community
Your “Loyal Club” is a group of highly loyal fans of your brand who are willing to go the extra mile to promote you to the world.
Most businesses have one or two followers who share, like, and show up at events even if you don’t ask them to in person. Imagine the power to identify these followers, ask for their help, and reward them for their efforts. It builds loyalty and promotes your brand.
It doesn’t have to be very complicated or time consuming. All it takes for this method is a simple newsletter or private social group, linked to a weekly or monthly reward, ranging from a one-time discount to early product access to behind-the-scenes videos or Q&A.
Reward super fans with these little considerations on a regular basis, and when it’s time for them to take action, you’ll be amazed at the results.
8. Re-Target Your Almost-Buyers
Retargeting occurs when you send an email to people who have interacted with your content but have not purchased anything through a direct invitation. This is designed to be more effective with those customers.
This happens on the back-end of your website with the correct analytics software to help you see:
- Who is visiting your website – where they are from and the pages they land on
- Who is making purchases and their buying journey
- What pages do they visit when on your website
- What pages do people leave your website on
- Any viewing patterns good or bad
With this type of information available to you, you can optimise certain elements of an advert and deliver it to those quicker buyers.
But be as specific as possible!
If someone has almost made a purchase after spending hours searching for jeans for example, don’t send them an advert mailer for t-shirts. Instead, send them an advert mailer that directs them to the best jeans you have available for purchase.
This differs from a shopping cart exit pop-up in that it is not a request to buy what they have almost bought once, but rather a new advert that uses their behaviour to target them more specifically.
9. Master Your Email List
Although newsletters sometimes get a bad rap, building a solid mailing list is still one of the most powerful marketing tools out there, and it can be incredibly inexpensive to run.
The trick is to make the content you deliver through your list attractive so it won’t be deleted by recipients.
We can dedicate an entire blog post to the details of this topic. In fact, people have written entire books and taught courses that last weeks on end on the subject.
For now, just internalize the potential value of an email list and think about how to incorporate one into your existing marketing plan. From there, you can research the details to meet your specific needs.
10. Optimise for Mobile Usage
According to a recent survey, 57% of users will not recommend a company with a bad mobile experience.
This is because consumers think that if a company isn’t interested in keeping up with modern usage trends, it isn’t interested in other details that translate into a positive customer experience.
There is some good news as mobile optimisation is fairly easy to incorporate as most website themes come with a mobile version, and if you hire a good web designer they will incorporate this within the design.
First, review your website theme for mobile optimisation options and see how your website will look on your own phone and tablet.
In most cases, the combination of these two efforts should indicate specific changes that you can make to optimise for mobile devices to avoid losing this important market share.
We don’t recommend applying these 10 strategies at once. Instead, focus on one at a time and make sure it works.
Modify and expand it as many times as needed until it runs more or less automatically, then move on to the next item on the list.
You can set up and implement the entire group in less than a year. Better yet, you can use the extra revenue from your first actions to fund and improve each of the following actions.
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