10 Startup Marketing Ideas to Bootstrap Your Ecommerce Store

In the world of eCommerce, many new stores struggle to get even a small piece of the market. When you are running an eCommerce store, marketing is the biggest part of your job, and it has the most direct impact on your bottom line. As any seasoned eCommerce veteran will tell you, your online store needs a sustainable, long-term marketing strategy in place, instead of short-term growth hacks. With this in mind, here are 10 solid startup marketing ideas to bootstrap your ecommerce store.

Marketing Ideas for Startups

1. Launch contextual marketing campaigns

Contextual marketing campaigns are aimed at nurturing prospect relationships, and making people more likely to buy. Any info that you gather about your customer’s profiles, behaviors, and context can help you deliver highly relevant, and personalized content to the right person at the right time.

You can gather this data by:

  • Setting up analytics on your online store and tracking user behavior
  • Asking your store visitors and customers to fill out a form/survey
  • Using a marketing automation system in the back end

2. Promote user-generated content

Online consumers tend to place more trust in reviews, ratings, photos and other forms of user-generated content than they do in the traditional modes of marketing and advertising like TV and radio. Shoppers want first-hand experiences of customers who’ve already purchased that product. This is primarily because they people believe user reviews are more authentic and credible than an ad-campaign.

3. Build more relationships and partnerships

Do you know any online store owner or offline business that sells a complementary product? Partnering with them to sell packages/bundles could help new customers gain awareness of your store, and drive new traffic to your site. It won’t cost you or your partner anything extra, and yet you will both benefit by bringing new customer awareness to each business’s online presence.

4. Create videos that show customers how to use your products

YouTube channels are certainly a fun way to connect with your potential customers. People love the interactiveness of how-to videos, tutorials, and glimpses behind the scenes. Peeking behind the curtain makes people feel like they are getting to know you, and therefore they’ll be more confident about buying from you.

5. Give away products, and create a buzz

You can offer your products for free or dirt cheap in exchange for a glowing testimonial or review. Think ‘review bloggers’! The more of a following these reviewers have, the better. For just the cost of your product, you’ll be able to reach a wide audience. You can also host giveaways on social media to generate buzz. Something as simple as asking people to share a photo of your product in exchange for an entry to win said product could create a pool of raving fans. Speaking of social media …

6. Drive engagement with your audience on social media

You don’t need to spend hours on end daily to promote your online store via social media channels. In fact, some of the best social media campaigns take less than an hour per day to execute. Keep it simple by beginning with the platform your target market is most likely to hang out on. The key is not to have a dormant site. Respond to inquiries, comments, and reviews.

7. Segment and target key audience personas

Identify who is visiting your online store, and then cater directly to them. You can then create ad campaigns that speak to this type of person, showing them relevant content that would make them more likely to buy.

8. Launch an affiliate program

Joint venture and affiliate marketing campaigns encourage other people to sell on your behalf. They take a commission and you get more customers. It’s a win-win. Some affiliate marketers have large email lists that you might not yet have. By giving them a portion of the proceeds, they are doing all the heavy lifting for you.

9. Build your own email list

Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels for driving targeted traffic to your store. For someone to give you their email address, they are likely already interested in your product, making it that much easier to convert them into customers. And, email gives you enough space to mention things that you just can’t fit into a post on social media.

10. Launch your store on multiple platforms

From Ebay to Amazon, Etsy to Shopify, there are many options for hosting an online store which can act as an extension to your main store. Large platforms such as these may make it easier to spread brand awareness, while allowing you the opportunity to drive traffic back to your personal website.

Final Thoughts

While running marketing campaigns isn’t the only way to guarantee your online store’s success, it’s a great way to put your brand name out in front of hordes of potential customers that are still out of your reach. If done correctly, you can leverage the store’s brand awareness by launching unique digital marketing campaigns. Always remember that ideas for marketing campaigns, especially for startups, should aim at inviting, encouraging, and rewarding customers for engaging with your business. Keep relationship building at the forefront and your marketing efforts will be rewarded in no time.

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How to Define the Right Marketing Mix for Your Retail Store

In the most basic terms, the marketing mix definition is placing the right product, at the right place, at the right time, and at the right price in front of your potential customers to see and buy it. The trouble lies in doing it well, in order to make the most sales possible. How can you define the right marketing mix for your retail store?

Let’s break this down a little further, shall we?

Have a Plan

Your first priority in defining your marketing mix is to create a plan. Now, this plan isn’t necessarily set in stone, it may evolve as you go along, but creating a road map will at least give executable steps to follow in place of spinning your wheels. In the plan you’ll want to include things like sales goals, anticipated timelines, metrics to measure success, and information about the product you want to sell. For each product you plan on selling you want to know who your target market is, the value of the product, the price of the product, how and where you are selling it, and how you will promote it.

Product and Price

Things you should consider regarding the product are:

  • The value and price of the product, and potential discounts that could be offered
  • When people will want it (for example, can it be a gift for the holidays?)
  • How often they will want it (i.e. a repeat purchase product)
  • Accessories or bundle purchases that work well with the product
  • Sizes and colors, etc…

Promotion and Placement

Odds are your product will be placed on your retail shop’s website, but if there is a specific product you are trying to push, will it be given special treatment? By that I mean, will it be prominently placed on your homepage? Will it have a separate landing page that you will drive traffic directly to? Will this product be featured as part of a set? Then, how will you promote the product?

Factors to consider for promoting your product include, but are not limited to:

Paid vs Organic Search

In truth, we could write an entire article on the pros and cons of paid vs. organic search, but the best marketing mixes include a blend of both. The idea is to get as many eyeballs as possible on the product’s page, and fill that page with as many relevant details as needed to get the customer to click the purchase button.

Social Media Promotions

Where are the people that would be most likely to buy this product hanging out? For example, if visual promotions would work best for your product Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram may be good choices. However, if your best promotions are going to be an article or blog post explaining the product, links via Twitter, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn may be better options.

PR Campaigns

Is it possible to get your product on the news or in a local publication? If so, can the outlet link back to your product? What makes your product newsworthy?

Email Campaigns

Do you have a mailing list of leads? Perhaps creating a strategic email campaign for promoting the product is in your best interest.

Partnerships for Promotions

Perhaps an affiliate program or some other joint venture campaign would be best to promote your product. Thinking outside the box could generate more sales.

Consider the Sales Process

One of the biggest mistakes retail shops make is not in promoting their products, but in the sales process after the customer visits your shop.

CBS News reported that “nothing can kill sales success faster than a lousy sales process.”

If you’re too pushy, they leave. If you’re not informative enough, they leave. If you don’t guide them along in the process, they leave. If it’s not incredibly simple to purchase, they leave. Are you seeing a pattern here? For people to part with their money, they want the entire process to be as seamless, and pain free as possible. They don’t want to guess or worry about any step of the sale.

Once they buy, the ending stages of the sales process should be seamless as well. Products should be delivered as promised, and in a timely manner. Any errors or issues should be addressed promptly, and courteously so the client will come back. According to Forbes Magazine, as many as 49% of people find alternate companies to purchase from due to poor customer service. Don’t let that happen to you.

Finally, once the sales process is complete, don’t forget to follow up. People want to know that you care about them. So, check in and make sure they are happy with the purchase. It also doesn’t hurt to offer them an invitation to return for more purchases and/or to ask them to refer customers to you.

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