Owning a Cinnabon at the mall means you’re only competing against the cookie store that’s also in that same mall. People who like cinnamon will stop by your store, and people who like oatmeal will probably visit the cookie store. You need not do much marketing because you’re only competing against one or two stores.
It’s very different online — you’re competing against the world. There isn’t just one store that sells a competing product. There are dozens, maybe hundreds, and some have big wallets, such as Amazon and Walmart.
So if you launch your online store and neglect to do any marketing, you lose your customers to established competitors.
Read on for why you need to pick a marketing channel.
A marketing plan to advertise and build trust
It’s important to have a marketing plan. That doesn’t necessarily mean buying billboards on the side of the road or spending six figures on Google AdWords. And marketing isn’t a dirty word. It’s strategy to communicate with your customers and potential customers.
How to build trust and visibility:
- Writing content on your blog
- Creating a how-to video on YouTube that shows the product in use
- Seeding high quality images of your products on Pinterest to fuel the visual search engine.
I interviewed Paul Jarvis for Lift Off Summit, and one of the many compelling things he said was:
People don’t buy things for two main reasons. One is trust, and the other is not knowing it exists.
Half of your online marketing should be spent building trustworthiness between you and a potential customer. If they don’t trust you, they’ll go somewhere else in the Internet universe.
The other half should be invested in getting your product in front of users.
There are many marketing channels to choose from:
- Content marketing – Blogging, Video marketing, SEO
- PPC ads – Google, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.
- Social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram
- Local events
- Plus affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.
And each channel is unique.
- SEO generates a ton of traffic but it’s a long-term plan
- Social networks are free
- Twitter is viral, and Instagram is more visual
Your job as a store owner is to evaluate all marketing channels and pick the best ones for your company and your audience.
Focus on key marketing channels
It seems there’s a new marketing channel every day. In the beginning there was only Facebook, then Twitter, then Pinterest, and then Periscope – what is Periscope anyway!? You need not be on every social network or pursue every marketing channel.
If you use every channel, you’ll be spread too thin to excel on any of them.
The trick is to pick one to three channels and focus on those. Results vary by channel but you can usually see rewards in a few months. If you don’t see growth, you can shelve that strategy and try another. There are a million angles to take, and every day there’s a new strategy to experiment with.
I recommend starting with:
- One long-term strategy
- A short-term strategy
- A pay-per-click strategy
One of the best things about WooCommerce is that you’re already sitting on the most powerful blogging system out there, so use content marketing for your long-term strategy. Understand that it will take a few months to attract serious traffic, and at the same time your content will continually answer user’s questions and bring in organic traffic.
In the short term, look at one of many social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. All are useful in their own way. I call them short term because that sort of content doesn’t stick around forever, and you need to post new articles and posts.
Once you have a bit of money, definitely look at a pay-per-click strategy. It costs, but it’s also the quickest way to grow.
Success is unusual
Success doesn’t mean getting every single sale. At first it might mean making one sale via a new marketing channel.
Later it might mean dominating a particular channel and generating the most sales through it.
Once you find a channel that works, invest everything you have while continuing to experiment. If you have success, start looking at frequency. One post a week? Five posts a week? Or try different types of content – guest posts, upgrades, multiple blogs. There are a lot of possibilities.
Once you figure out how a particular channel works, document the process and hand it off to a brilliant person in your budding empire, and then explore the next channel.
eCommerce is amazing because it scales easily, unlike physical Cinnabon stores. Spend your time in the world of marketing, and see it scale before your eyes.
Marketing a WooCommerce store
One of the best things about running your store on WordPress is you have access to thousands of free plugins. Try content marketing with Yoast SEO and Monster Insights. Both are free and powerful. Yoast will increase your SEO effectiveness, and Monster Insights can help you track everything in Google Analytics.
I also love Jetpack’s Publicize feature, which automatically shares new posts on your social networks.
MailChimp is a free service that you can use to stay in touch with customers, and I recently started using Bonjoro, which syncs with my MailChimp list and prompts you to create personal welcome messages for each user. It’s a pretty unique experience that I’m now experimenting with.
You need not use the ones mentioned above, as they’re just a starting point. There are thousands! Figure out what works for you and your brand. Happy selling!
Lift Off Summit, June 19-23
Have you ever gotten together with other store owners? Or other people on the web? The tendency is to only talk about tools. “Where can I get this plugin but cheaper?”
It’s fine to talk about tools, but we sometimes talk about tools too much. We should be talking non-stop about eCommerce. How do we get more customers? How do we retain customers? How do we get them to order more?
I’m holding a free online event on June 19-23 called Lift Off Summit and interviewing 20 experts about how you can get traffic to your online store.