Maybe even the majority of e-commerce stores start their journey with quite limited amount of funds. And this is often especially true when it comes to doing marketing in the beginning. Luckily though there are some ways to do marketing online that take no money and instead only require some time. In this article we will explore some of those free options available.
Everybody probably knows what Twitter is by now, but did you know that you can also, actually(!), use it to drive traffic to your store’s website and possibly also generate sales thanks to it? The key things in getting traffic from Twitter are creating interesting “tweets” and using words and hashtags that make it easy to find you.
When it comes to the actual words and especially the hashtags to use we recommend avoiding both the too obscure and the too obvious (though, both of these can work well as part of the mix, just don’t use only them) ones. The reason to avoid using only the obvious hashtags is that everybody is using them and your tweets can get easily lost among the tweets by the more well known accounts using them. Also: Remember that you trying to reach other humans, so don’t go overboard with the amount of hashtags, 1-3 is usually a good amount.
On very important and comforting thing to keep in mind regarding Twitter is that you are not only reaching those people who follow your account: Lot of people read tweets to stay up-to-date on interesting things without ever creating an account. As well as there are also people on Twitter who are browsing your tweets while having an an account, but for whatever reason are not hitting the “follow”-button.
At the moment Twitter has couple hundred million monthly users and in theory all of those could see your tweets.
Facebook used to be par-none the best way for new online businesses to reach customers, but after some changes made by Facebook it is now slightly harder for businesses to get engagement from people on it. However, it is still a good idea to have a Facebook as part of your online marketing portfolio.
The most successful and liked Facebook pages (that are run by companies) have couple things in common: they publish often and they publish interesting content. So don’t just add a post once every two months advertising a new product that has arrived to your store. Instead, tell stories and interesting facts about the products you are selling (without being too pushy!), and try to use good spirited humor at least from time to time.
Youtube is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your site: just think about how much time you are spending on it!
The key to using Youtube effectively as a marketing method is to create content that is both interesting and such that people want to share it with each other (in the dream scenario the content goes “viral”). If you are using multiple of the social media marketing channels mentioned in this article, it is usually a good idea to post at least on Facebook and Twitter about your new Youtube videos, this is to try and get that potentially extremely valuable traction going straight from start – it would really suck if someone posts a video to similar to yours at some later date and it goes viral simply because the poster of that video gave it that little push to get the ball rolling.
If you sell products that people are excited or passionate about it is a great idea to be on Instagram. Simply post pictures of your products or of other cool things relating to your business and engage in the discussion. If you are doing it in a smart and classy way, you can also comment on the photos that other people post – you might get some visitors to your page and maybe even to store that way.
Having a blog
When you are running an e-commerce business it is a very good idea to have a blog. And you should preferably have it on your shop’s website. There are two major benefits in having a blog: 1) you might get new customers of people who somehow stumbled upon your blog, 2) if the content is interesting it can keep people coming back to your site. When it comes to, especially to, blogging it is important to remember that quality almost always trumps quantity. So you should focus on publishing interesting content instead of publishing content often.
If there are popular blogs or news sites related to your industry it might be a good idea to ask the owner of such site, if you can write a guest post for their site. The way you can get free marketing out of that is by having the name your business mentioned briefly somewhere in the post or maybe as part of your bio.
Most people are not overly open to the idea of guest posts on their site (especially if you have no existing relationship with the owner of the site) and some might ask for money, but it rarely hurts to ask. When you are asking about the possibility of guest posting, it is a good idea to have an idea in mind regarding the type of post you would like to make, it should preferably be something on which you have special knowledge about and something that people are likely to be interested in.
Participating on forums
There are discussion forums related to almost every single industry. And it is usually a good idea to become a member on those forums. When you are participating on the forums, remember not to spam as it will only make your store look bad. Instead see if at some point a discussion comes up where it both natural and helpful to mention your store.
Commenting on blogs
If you are following blogs related to your industry it is a good idea to comment on them from time to time. Just follow couple simple rules: 1) only comment when you actually have something to say, 2) don’t push your products aggressively.