The great thing about an ecommerce business is that you can have customers all over the world. The downside is that it’s easy to fall into the “If you build it, they will come” mentality. That is to say, just because you’ve launched your store and may have a great product doesn’t mean that people will find you online.
Online marketing can be a dizzying prospect. There are countless ideas and options, and plenty of experts willing to charge you to weigh in with their opinions. And, just to keep things spicy, the options are changing at warp speed.
There is, however, a common denominator among all businesses – online and off: They require a full-blown marketing strategy. Please don’t misunderstand us – ‘full-blown’ does not mean the same thing as ‘big budget.’ (Mass marketing is not for small business. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.) Full-blown means you look down the road at the next 12 months and think about all of the marketing vehicles available to you, and what marketing activities you can accomplish. Each marketing activity should have the same goal in mind: How to drive traffic to your website. Here are 5 ways to make that happen:
- Google “Google Best Practices” to make sure your website is optimized. There may be some simple tricks to put in place to ensure that your site is more searchable.
- Put a short video about your company on YouTube. You want your customers to be able to find you many ways as possible, and YouTube provides another (free) platform. Plus, video makes your site more Google-friendly. (See above.)
- Take a course for entrepreneurs. MaRS offers a series called Entrepreneurship 101. It’s free and you can browse the lectures on demand. Or take a class from Camp Tech on SEO or Blogging for Business or Email Marketing. These courses are reasonably priced and designed with small business owners in mind.
- Consider spending some of your marketing dollars offline. If, for example, you have a product to give away, identify the influencers in your community and get it into their hands. Getting people to write about and endorse your product will drive traffic back to you.
- If relevant, participate in trade shows. Shows give you the opportunity to directly interact with your target customers. This gives you a chance to tell your story, and reach people who may not have stumbled across your site online.
The point is to have a realistic sense about what you want to do about marketing this year. Start by choosing your activities, putting them on the calendar, and setting aside budget. Then all you have to do is follow your plan.