10 simple ways to promote your e-commerce store

When you blend a physical retail store with a presence online, a whole new world of opportunity opens up. Take Keith Scarrott, a small independent shoe store in Cheltenham, who despite being closed for the lockdown was able to listen to the mood of their customers using Maybe* and subsequently tailor their messaging and offering to boost their online sales. 

Building an online presence for your business will bolster its resilience and open up the potential of reaching new audiences beyond local footfall.

Here we recommend 10 easy, yet effective ways to promote your online presence. Some or all of these will make the difference and as with all digital marketing, it comes with testing and refining, but be prepared to give them a go. If you need any convincing read this case study to see the results that some of these tactics deliver.

Let’s get started.

Leverage Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

As search engines evolve, SEO ranking is increasingly based on good usability. To optimise your search ranking and drive organic traffic, design your website, and create content for your ideal customers and keep the navigation simple.

Your web developer will ask for some keywords and phrases and descriptions to build into your website page by page. This requires a good understanding of your buyer’s persona to see what their interests or questions are in relation to your products. Use the Google Key Word planner by signing up to Google Ads, it’s a free tool once you have signed up and you don’t have to run a campaign to use it. 

Each webpage should have a single H1 headline and include a meta description of no more than 155 characters.

Make sure to sign in with your Google search console to submit a site map for your website and keep this refreshed as your website evolves over time. 

Check your website load speeds using a free tool like Uptrends, large image files and pop up widgets can all add crucial seconds which can be very distracting to online shoppers.

Optimise your Google presence

If you have a physical location as well as being online, you can benefit from Google my business where you can register your business to help you be found in a local area.  This along with Google Map registration and gathering some great Google reviews will give the chances of your website being found a real boost.

Keep your Google presence updated by driving regular reviews and keep it updated as your shop opening times and delivery options evolve through this time.

Use blogging to attract your customers

Companies that blog have 97% more inbound links. Google likes fresh content because it’s an indicator that your website is active and relevant.

Publishing blog posts frequently helps you stay on search engines’ radars. It gives your customers more ways to find you and more reasons to return to your site. Sell beds? How about ‘Sleep in the time of COVID-19’.

When your articles are useful to your visitors, they’ll spend more time on your site. This signals to search engines that your content is relevant. Blogging is also a great strategy for capturing search traffic by using long-tail keywords, which account to 70% of all online searches.

Use social media to drive people to your e-commerce site

A staggering 3.5billion people worldwide are on social media and right now usage levels are up 40%.  With social media you can keep telling and sharing your story and meet your potential audience where their interests lie. Engagement across all your channels is key to get your business noticed so allocate a good 50% of your efforts to this not just posting content. Using Maybe* brings all your channel engagement into one place, so you don’t miss a thing, keeping it quick and effective.

Don’t just push your products, tell stories about your business and the people behind it, run competitions, shout about your offers, share your customer’s feedback and purchases from you, use a mix of imagery, video, and graphics and most importantly show up and be consistent. Maybe* has a library of support articles to keep you moving with social media.


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Use online advertising to reach new audiences

Moving to online advertising can be daunting and certainly involves greater expertise, but a strong message positioned to the right people at the right time can be a game-changer for online sales.  Your main choices are Google advertising and the more affordable Facebook advertising. Both platforms offer excellent support sites to help you learn and do this for yourself or search for an expert to help you.  

Google is where people search for what to do, where to go, and what to buy. Your ad can appear on Google at the very moment someone is looking for products or services like yours.

Social advertising

Facebook and Instagram advertising provides a highly targeted way to reach out to both your existing fans and find new ones. Also, due to COVID-19, Facebook advertising has never been so affordable and cost effective.

Maybe* helps you see the uplift in engagement and sales created by your Facebook advertising spend vs organic activity. The ‘at a glance’ reporting of key metrics against your ads mean quicker decisions and less spend on ads that aren’t working.

Use email marketing to drive a repeat purchase

The Marketing rule of 7 states that a prospect needs to ‘hear’ the advertising message at least 7 times before they take action to buy.  Email provides another route to remind your audience of your offer and there are free mail tools to help you craft nicely designed and compelling offers to their inbox.

Barnbury Homes, a luxury interiors store in Winchcombe, recently enticed its customers with this beautifully designed newsletter using Mailchimp.

Newsletter subscriptions

Capture your list with an online pop up or page banner that promotes the benefits of signing up to the list - discounts, special offers, advanced stock announcements, and special events. Or, why not try a lead magnet? This would be a compelling download like a tip list or guide.

Shout about your online through offline channels

A successful sale provides an opportunity to seal that brand love and encourage a repeat purchase. Use the packaging to deliver further to your e-commerce goals with postcards or stickers to ask your shoppers to review your products, follow you on social media, and promote a time-limited offer to encourage a repeat purchase. 

Ensure your packaging experience is ‘Instagrammable’ and invite purchasers to share their delivery with friends and perhaps tag you to enter a monthly competition.


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Working with Influencers

Influencers don’t have to be Instagrammers, bloggers, or Youtubers. Put simply, an influencer could be anyone within your local or online community with a lot to say to their own engaged following.

Influencers may be working as such in a professional capacity, but they could just as easily be loyal and vocal advocates from within your existing customer base. Maybe* helps you identify the influencers within your own audience or within conversations and topics that are relevant to your business.

While you should be respectful and fair when approaching potential influencers to work with you, honouring their expectations as you would want them to your own, product and money does not always need to change hands. Perhaps you could partner to co-host an event, share space, collaborate on a photoshoot, and exchange support with other e-commerce stores in your area or sector. Start a conversation and see how each other likes to work.


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Join your local or sector conversation

Even if your business is solely online or if you have a physical store as well, building an affinity with your locality or within your sector helps you to build relationships and position your brand with empathy and honesty. 

You can use Maybe* to listen to anything that is being said about the town or place in which you are operating. Understanding the sentiment of how people are feeling, what they need, where they need it and when they need it, will help you serve customers in today's difficult times.

Even if it's not your own business that you are recommending, helping connect someone to what they need increases your visibility and builds trust with existing and future customers. Now more than ever this really matters.

Understand more about being socially connected by reading;
Social distancing: How to remain connected to your customers

Make headlines using Digital PR

Digital PR strategies predominantly focus on publishing articles and securing backlinks from relevant websites and blogs. It also involves nurturing relationships with journalists to get mentioned in the press.

The more positive mentions of your online store within third party content online, the more your business will be noticed and the more backlinks to your site to bolster your SEO.  

Examples of digital PR would include publishing articles and press releases, working with bloggers and influencers on product features and reviews, affiliate marketing, nurturing journalist and content writing contacts to secure press hits, using social media to gain exposure and building brand trust through online reviews.

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