The online store is a step forward towards the realization of your plans for the implementation and development of electronic commerce. But you can’t move forward with only this single step. You have to make an effort, to invest and to experiment for your online store to become well known, visited by many, and profitable.
So, how can you attract customers to your online store? We list five methods for you and you have to carefully consider (by using the help of appropriate experts) which of them is the best one for you and your business niche.
1.SEO. Search engine optimization (SEO) is an obligatory process. Yes, it is difficult. Yes, it is slow in producing the desired results. And yes, it is not cheap. But you simply can’t do without it. When done properly, SEO helps a given site, including online stores), be higher ranked in the search results shown by the search engines (Google) when a keyword search is made. Do not neglect SEO!
2. Social media. Is there a person today who isn’t using any of the social media services - Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest…? Maybe there are still such people left, but they aren’t your target group. It is now clear to everyone that social media are used for brand building. But should you use all of them? No! First, you should determine who your customers are– age, gender, location, interests. Research where they are. If they are on Facebook, there is no point in advertising on Twitter. If they are on Pinterest, which is a very good option for online stores, give Facebook a pass. Don’t waste energy and money where there is no point in that.
3. Content marketing. It is also a must (same as SEO). Content marketing is the constant publishing of up-to-date, relevant, and interesting content on your site or your online store, the goal of which is to attract potential consumers to it. The goal of content marketing is to popularize the company or the brand by free publishing of useful information (articles, surveys, tables, books, news, video content, etc), using different channels (including the company blog or outside blogs as guest authors). Content marketing is a part of SEO.
4. Reference bonuses. The customers want price cuts, discounts and to collect points which could be used to buy at lower prices. Give them what they want! Have special offers, specify free shipping for orders above a certain minimal amount of money, show them with what other product they can combine the one they have chosen (if it is a lamp - show a wallpaper, if it is pants – show a shirt). Create an electronic newsletter and give discounts to all customers who register to receive it in their emails. This way you would have an email database too. And why don’t you consider a program of the “Recommend to a friend” type? When a customer of yours “brings” another, new, customer, who makes a purchase, the first customer may receive a discount. This way everyone would have a reason to recommend your store to more and more new customers. Another idea is to increase the size of the discount after each purchase – for example, 5% after the first one, 7% after the second one, 10% after the third one, and any subsequent one.
5. Message boards. General message boards aren’t as popular as they were in the recent past. Nowadays people mostly use specialized message boards, created to fill a specific niche – electronic cigarettes message board, poetry message board, women’s topics message board, etc. Participating in such message boards as a professional who offers useful and comprehensive information on the message board’s topic will create an interest in you, your company, and your online store. Thus you will earn visits to your site and also sales in a natural way.
The words of Walter Steward come to mind: “Doing business without advertising is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.” You do realize how much truth there is in those words, don't you?
That is why, after you acquire an online store, do what is necessary to make it well known, recognizable, and attractive to the customers. But don’t rely on chaos, it is important to have an advertising strategy.