How to Advertise an Online Store

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Young woman shopping online.
Young woman shopping online. (Image: Comstock Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A beautiful, easy-to-navigate online store with a tempting array of products is just the start when you’re ready to make sales via the Internet. You also need to create a consistent flow of traffic to your site. The only way people will even know your site exists is if you promote it. Include both digital and online advertising to reach the widest number of shoppers possible.

PPC Campaigns

Set up a pay-per-click campaign via sites such as Google Adwords or Facebook. For Google Adwords, determine which search terms shoppers might use to find the products you sell. Your ads will appear when someone types one of your keywords into a search engine. If you have a variety of keywords that aren’t related to each other, create separate ads for each keyword to get the attention of the searcher. Facebook ads are based on target market characteristics you select, such as location, age and interests. Your ad will then pop up on people’s Facebook news feeds or in the margins.

E-mail Marketing

Create and send emails to your customers and prospects who sign up for your email newsletter. Use the email to advertise new products, highlight specials and recommend items based on holidays and other pertinent events. Besides using your own marketing emails to advertise your online wares, look for e-newsletters that appeal to the same demographic. For instance, if you sell candy-making supplies, look for businesses focused on sending cooking or recipe e-newsletters that accept ads. Finding newsletters that allow advertising takes a bit of work, so visit websites you like and sign up for their ezine to see what they allow. Visit The Ezine Directory to find lists of popular enewsletters that may accept advertising.

Forums and Blogs

Get involved with forums related to the products you sell in your store. Then, when people request help finding a product you carry, the fact that you’re already participating on the site and can offer help makes people feel more confident shopping at your store. Find blogs related to what you sell, sign up as a follower and then occasionally send a news release or email about specific products you think the blog’s followers would enjoy hearing about. Encourage the bloggers to share the information on their blogs – they look good because they’re keeping up with new products, and you get business from their followers.

Appeal to Repeat Customers

Repeat sales are key to building traffic to your site. Enclose a special, limited offer and your store’s website address on invoices or billing statements you send with each order. Include an expiration date to encourage your customer to order right away. Another way to appeal to current customers is to send a “thank you” email, and include a special offer good on their next purchase. Surprise your customers by sending a small, lightweight freebie with each order. Advertise your website address on the freebie to remind customers to visit your site when they’re ready to order again.

Use Postings and Links

Use your business Facebook page as well as Instagram and Twitter to build a following of loyal customers and to meet new shoppers. Set up a blog where you can really go into detail about the products you sell on your site. Use your social media postings to showcase new merchandise and explain how various products work. Encourage happy customers to post testimonials, and ask them to upload pictures showing them using your products. Ask websites with related, but not competitive, content to provide a link to your store. Offer to provide a link to their website to encourage them to take you up on your request.

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