If you’re a creative kid with a business savvy mind, an online shop is the ULTIMATE way to bring in some extra $ $ .
I mean, ecommerce is huge with a capital H. There’s no denying it. With countless platforms and plugins helping even the biggest technophobe carve out a snazzy corner of the internet and the online community growing day by day, it’s easy to make a start in the world of digital stores.
But (and isn’t there ALWAYS a but??)… that also means competition is high.
So you have to stand out from the crowd. Because those customers? They’re going to need a little help to find you. You’re going to need to throw out your fishing rod and pull those leads in.
I’ve put together my top 6 strategies for generating leads for your online shop. Combine that with your KILLER products and you’re facing guaranteed success. Enjoy!
1. Make Sure Your Content Sells
You could have the most innovative, kick-ass product out there… but without beautiful pictures to boot, those sales aren’t going to happen.
Where your customers can’t check out your products in real life before making that purchase, you need to get them to trust how awesome they are through your visual representation. Your images need to show all the best qualities of your product so that it’s totally irresistible.
So you need to take your product photography seriously. Although you can do sweet things on a smartphone, if you really want to entice your customers you can refine your snaps with a professional camera.
Proper lighting, a plain or pretty backdrop (nothing too busy or dark!) and a clean surface are key. If you’re selling clothes, you also want to consider how you are displaying them: do you have a mannequin or will you use a model? Play around with images showing the product in action as well… context gives people a more real impression of your goods.
Photo editing tools such as Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom can help you amend any lighting or colour issues, plus they’ll let you crop out any messy details around the edges.
2. Create the Perfect Opt-in to Generate Subscribers
You’re going to want to run a newsletter alongside your site: I mean, it’s a no nonsense way to market your very best products, any awesome offers and wicked bits of content snuggly into a mailbox.
Picture it: every person on your email list is a potential customer. This is your chance to get up close and personal with those prospects.
The only thing is, you need to GET those email addresses.
Having an opt-in form permanently on your site is the first way to do this. There are some great plugins to sort this out for you in a snap. I recommend LeadPages, Hello Bar or SumoMe. Their designs are super professional and seriously gorgeous: plus, they’re all kinds of easy to use.
To make the most out of your opt-in, you should:
- Make it easy to sign up: don’t ask them for too much information. People like convenience and to get the job done QUICKLY.
- Put your opt-in form across your whole site: your homepage, after blog posts, on your about page, in the top bar, the footer… basically, get it in front of their eyeballs as MUCH AS POSSIBLE!
- Make it pop: by that I of course mean with a pretty popup.
- Offer an incentive: maybe you could give subscribers a special discount code or free shipping for signing up… put yourself in their shoes. What would YOU want to receive for joining a store’s mailing list? Remember: we ALL love a freebie!
- Make sure your title is A-MA-ZING! You can take a look at my 100 + templates for a top class opt-in header here.
3. Start a Blog
Yup, create a blog section in your online store. You know I am the biggest fan of blogging to raise your business game.
And okay, you might not think blogging has a role to play in your online store… but friend, you are wrong.
Because blogging helps ANYONE who’s trying to further their reach online. Just some of the ways it will bring you more leads include:
- Blogging adds fresh content to your site… and fresh content = better search engine optimization. That means your organic reach is going to be further, helping you find new audiences without having to pay a penny.
- You can use keywords throughout the blog post to boost your SEO ranking as well.
- Blogs are GREAT content for newsletters.
- Blogs make for ready-made information to feed out on social media keeping your content fresh and engaging.
- It’s shareable content for your readers = encourages inbound links = boosts your SEO ranking even more.
- You can subtly advertise your products… picture “Top 10 Summer Wardrobe Staples” type posts… you can sprinkle your own items throughout the list and directly link to your product pages. It’s a non-invasive way to market the hell out of your stock.
4. Be On Top Of The Social Media Game
Social media is king when it comes to promoting your online business: it’s the quickest way to get your message in front of broad and engaged audiences, drawing visitors to your website to grab those crucial conversions.
What I love about using social media to market your online store is its focus on IMAGE. And every platform can be used in a different way to promote that IMAGE as much as possible.
For example, Facebook is great for featuring product galleries. You can also run competitions to drive engagement, sponsor ads to gain a HUGE reach and even feature newsletter sign up buttons.
Unsurprisingly, Instagram and Pinterest are also major players in this game. In fact, tons of online stores run their business ENTIRELY through Instagram. It goes to show that these channels are a fantastic way to market your gorgeous products in a visually en pointe way. Check out Target’s Instagram on how they advertise their products:
Both also allow you to target customers you might not even know exist… what I’m saying is, never underestimate the power of a strong hashtag. Again, if you’re a fashion website you can target your content using #fblogger #fashionblogger (AND SO MANY MORE!) hashtags so that guys and gals interested in style are brought to YOUR products when whizzing through that hashtag.
Too easy, right?
YouTube, Snapchat and Twitter are all awesome channels to get involved in too. Here’s a nifty guide on how to make the most of social media for your store promotion.
5. Feature User Generated Content
“What the HECK is User Generated Content?!” I hear you ask.
Basically, User Generated Content gives the customers the power… and it uses their thoughts and feedback to build credibility and connections.
It’s anything from customer reviews to customer galleries. And you can be totally creative with it.
The reason it works is simple: you’re letting your customers do your marketing for you.
With every purchase, why not send out a little coupon inviting your customers to send feedback in return for a super discount on their next purchase? Or maybe they could upload their photos using a branded hashtag of the products in action to be entered into a bad-ass competition?
Think outside of the box. Have fun with this one. Let your customers take control.
6. Work with Bloggers
Bloggers are pretty much the new media: their influence isn’t to be ignored.
Spend a bit of time scoping out suitable bloggers for your niche: everything from the small time sites to the ones with tens of thousands of followers on Instagram. Create a gorgeous press pack and send it out to them asking if they would be interested in reviewing your products or creating a post about it (like a tutorial, video, etc.). Here’s an example:
See how this video gets 2 million views? That’s a whole lot of exposure for the brand she was reviewing about.
Keep in mind: many will expect payment. And, if their reach is big enough and appropriate (aka, always ask them for their audience demographic and stats!), then that payment will be seriously worth it.
Try out a few. Test the water. Try to get a mixture of video and written pieces. You’ll find your products suddenly in front of a whole new set of eyes, substantially more inbound links and more conversions to your own site. Winning.
Phew! Don’t forget to let me know how you get on with these tips… what would you add? Let me know in the comments below.Digital & Social Articles on Business 2 Community