To make your online shop profitable, your business needs a successful online marketing strategy. With good internet marketing customers know where to find you and do not hesitate to make that purchase. Promoting your store with online marketing will make visitors come to your website to browse and – eventually – place an order.
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What is online marketing?
The differences between digital marketing and offline marketing are huge, but the idea is the same: getting people to know your brand, and warming them up until they eventually buy something.
Compared to traditional marketing methods, with online marketing you can track pretty much all results and you can start with every budget. It’s as simple as it sounds and the possibilities are already out there, but where to begin?
Different online marketing strategies
The best way to start your online marketing strategy depends heavily on your goals and message. People dont buy a new car after seeing a nice image on Instagram. Nor do they read several blogs to decide if they should buy a new bikini.
The best way to start your online marketing strategy depends heavily on your goals and message.
The marketing strategies differ per brand or product. Therefore, online marketing consists of countless ways to get people to your online shop. It spans the identity of your brand, the design of your store and even your customer service. Here are some foolproof ways to upgrade your promotion efforts.
One of the oldest and still most succesful ways of internet marketing is email marketing. You can make a lot of effort to gain new customers, but consider leveraging your existing customers first. Big brands generate most of their revenue through their current customers. So remind your clients your business is still here and make them an offer they can’t refuse.
Big brands generate most of their revenue through their current customers.
Email marketing campaigns are a good way to employ your existing customer base. For example, try introducing your new collection at the beginning of the season. Or send an email with a special discount for returning customers. You can also consider partnering with an existing newsletter to get the attention of your core audience. In this way, call-to-action emails can direct waves of visitors to your online store.
Social media marketing
Social media platforms like Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are another good way to connect to your target audience.
It is the perfect place to make people aware of your product through targeted ads, as well as keeping in touch with your existing customers. You can even sell on these platforms by using Facebook and Instagram shopping.
A targeted ad on social media channels can work wonders for your brand awareness, as it is much more efficient than an advertisement on TV or in a magazine. And once a visitor has turned into a customer, you can stay connected by posting content about your shop regularly.
Try offering your social media followers a special discount and remember to engage with them. In this way, social media can also be an extension of your customer service by answering questions via Facebook chat, for example.
In contrast to a commercial advertisement, content marketing can display your brand in a more organic way.
Instead of commercial advertising, people see content marketing more as a way of showing expertise, to stay noticed. However, if done right, this can be a very effective online marketing method as well.
Content marketing usually consists of informative content that motivates readers to buy your product, such as a guest article on a blog or an Instagram post. This kind of marketing is inexpensive but nonetheless effective. It can help boost your visitor count as well as your position in search engines.
Aside from more text-based content, do not forget about visual content such as videos. YouTube is the most popular search engine after Google, and internet users spend multiple hours a week watching online videos. They are also a fantastic way to leverage social media, as video content performs well on Instagram, Facebook and of course, YouTube.
Aside from more text-based content, do not forget about visual content such as videos.
For example, make product videos which you can also use on your product page, client testimonials, tutorials, an introduction video to your company or a demonstration of your services. Do you have an online shop filled with tech gadgets? Make videos about the best technology for gamers. Or if you have a clothing store, make videos about styling and tips to maintain the quality of the garments.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
One of the most effective ways to garner new customers to your website is to be visible in search engines. With over ten million online shops worldwide and one dominant search engine (Google), this can prove to be difficult. You want to aim for a top-5 position with maybe hundreds or even thousands of competitors.
One way to end up at the top is through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Google takes a lot of different factors into account when choosing your position in their search results. Such as how long the texts on your website are, the links to your store from other relevant websites and your domain name. Figuring this out can be tricky and might take some trial and error.
If you have a good niche or some experience with search engine marketing, this can be a very successful marketing tool. But since the competition is fierce, it is worth it to make use of other promotion strategies as well.
Search Engine Advertising (SEA)
Another way to end up at the top of the search results, is to pay for advertisements. With Search Engine Advertising (SEA), you can claim the highest position for certain search terms. This online marketing channel gets results fast and easy. After all, the first five search results get the most clicks, and this includes paid advertisements.
A lot of online shop owners use both paid and organic search engine results, so the two can reinforce each other. For example, if you are already at a top position organically, it can still be useful to advertise. This means your competitors can not beat you to it. And to really make use of your advertising budget, you can incorporate the search terms you pay for a lot more on your website. This way your shop really can not be overlooked.
If you have an online store and you are not on Google Shopping, you are missing out on a huge opportunity. Google Shopping can be seen as an extension of Search Engine Advertising. When users look up a product, for example ‘t-shirt blue’, the Google Shopping results appear at the very top along with the product image, price and online shop in question. Alternatively, users can click the ‘Shopping’ tab to browse.
The product search engine has been growing in popularity with both consumers and marketeers. Moreover, users tend to have a stronger intent to buy when browsing this platform. And since visitors already know the most important information about your product when clicking it, they are more likely to place an order.
Platforms such as Amazon and eBay are useful for generating sales, but can also be an integral part of your online marketing strategy. With millions of visitors each day, online marketplaces are a great way to gain new customers. In addition, you can lean on the professional marketing campaigns and customer service of these billion dollar companies.
Online marketplaces are popular with customers, as they are a one-stop-shop for anything, and at low prices. And so it is no wonder that marketplaces are on the rise. Roughly forty percent of Amazon’s sales now come from third party sellers, for one. And Amazon and eBay remain two of the most visited marketplaces in the world. Not to mention local marketplaces such as Bol.com, which is the biggest e-commerce business in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Therefore, online selling platforms are an excellent sales channel to add to your arsenal. You can access millions of potential customers. Marketplaces can also be an easy way to start selling your product overseas. Or you can launch a new product on a marketplace first to see if the market is interested, before you buy it in bulk.
Word of mouth is a valuable marketing tactic, even more so when the person or platform promoting your product is famous. With affiliate marketing, an ambassador or influencer can mention your brand in order to gain new customers. Usually you pay a commision per transaction that takes place through an affiliate link to your store. This can be a fixed amount or a percentage of the revenue, or even a commision based on the amount of clicks.
Affiliate marketing can be a one-off collaboration, but you can also join affiliate networks. These affiliate marketing networks offer access to a lot of influencers, webmasters and website owners with a big reach. They also offer software to gain insight into statistics and find out where orders are coming from.
Keep in mind that affiliate networks are more expensive than finding ambassadors on your own. It can also be worth it to find influencers that fit your brand exactly, even if they have less followers.
Another way to get your store noticed, is to buy clickable advertisements on other websites. Display advertising may sound old fashioned, but they are a tried and tested way to create brand awareness.
Of course this type of marketing is most effective when the website is relevant to your target audience. Do you sell children’s clothes or toys? Try placing advertisements on websites about parenting. And even though online advertising is quite an oldschool way of marketing, that does not mean you can’t be creative when spending your marketing budget on advertisements. Instead of a banner, consider buying a mention in a popular newsletter of providing your product as a prize for a contest.
Finding the right marketing mix
As said before, online marketing consists of many different strategies to create your brand identity and attract potential customers to your online shop. Remember that these marketing tools are not stand alone, but can be combined to magnify their effects.
For instance, you can use content marketing with affiliate links that is then used in a newsletter email. Of course there are also ways to involve your offline branding, like your product packaging or physical store. When choosing marketing tools, do not mind which one is the most popular. Instead, create a coherent marketing strategy that fits you and your online store.