10 Free Ways to Market your Ecommerce Business
Are you trying to make your first sale on a shoestring marketing budget? Have you been running your e-store will little success? Whatever the situation may be, just stop getting worried sick. Consider having no money as a blessing in disguise. Nope, we ain’t bluffing! There are numerous free ways to market your ecommerce business and yet get noticed at the same time. Read this blog to know how that is even possible.
#1 Bank upon Your Customer Reviews
Your customers are your best marketers. They can build your online credibility and dramatically improve your conversions. If it helps, 84% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Moreover, 89% of users will make a purchase within one week of reading reviews. That’s how powerful online reviews are in terms of establishing your online reputation.
Think of Amazon. Any purchase you make is followed by an email asking for your experience and review. Their email copy is designed in a way that you end up feeling that your opinion does matter.
Furthermore, think of review websites like Google+, and even Facebook. It will give a massive boost to your brand reputation and reach.
#2 Hangout on Instagram
Do not commit the sin of being absent on the social media platform of the hour - Instagram! Although it had started off as a photo-sharing site, it is now a marketing powerhouse! The #1 reason we say this is that brands on Instagram get 10 times higher engagement than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter. Besides, Instagram has a See.Tap.Shop feature which makes your profile a “visual storefront for a community of one billion”! It makes for a better shopping experience as compared to the one they had a few months ago - where buyers had to click on the link in the bio to shop!
While these features open doors for e-store owners and make Instagram a cool place to hang out with customers, your conversions depend on how well entertained and engaged your prospects are . So be innovative and don’t make everything about your products. Instead, humanize your brand and show behind-the-scenes, product launches etc. not just on stories but also Instagram TV! Sprinkle humor and repost your customer’s posts with curated hashtags!
Interestingly, here’s a brand that takes user-generated content legit seriously. Frank_Bod heavily posts real people’s photos/creatives. It so happens that they grew their sales to $20 million in a year mainly through Instagram! Encouraging piece of news, don’t you think?
#3 Recruit your Army of Influencers
Before you hit the panic button, let us tell you that we’re still talking about FREE ways to market your ecommerce business! All you have to do is shortlist influencers, preferably micro-influencers, who fit your niche and brand ethics. They are trusted and have a fan-following that holds their opinion in high regard. In fact, approach a micro-influencer who is already your follower. It will be a golden opportunity for them to be able to represent a brand they adore. Some of them might even agree to review your products for free! Next, figure out the scope of work and send them samples! It’s an excellent way of receiving shout-outs from those who know your industry and your future customers!
To shortlist micro-influencers, you can use tools like BuzzSumo, Klear, NeoReach, NinjaOutreach (it’s not a sponsored post!). Also, keep the following things to keep in mind.
- Take into account the demographics of their followers, especially if you are a local business and want to be relevant and establish an instant connect.
- Study how connected they are to their audience
- Last, choose the platform carefully. Whether it is bloggers, Instagrammer or YouTubers, know which social platform is best for your business
#4 Mingle with the Redditors
Reddit is a social news aggregator and discussion website that is available in nearly 70 languages! It is also the fifth most popular site in the United States and the 18th worldwide. Imagine, if you could drop a word about your e-store in a relevant subreddit. You could stand a chance not only to garner people’s interest in your brand but also get feedback like Beardbrand did. Eventually, it helped them earn $40K per month under a year! Craaaazy, right?!
However, remember that all of it doesn’t happen overnight.
You will have to participate in discussions and gradually speak about your store. Let’s say, you are a sustainable fashion brand. It will be a good idea for you to subscribe to subreddits like /r/Entrepreneur/ /r/BuyItForLife/ or r/environment. Participate in discussions and contribute to the community you actually belong to. Slowly plug in your products and brand to the ongoing conversations or where people are talking about sustainable brands and impact on the environment. Unless you follow this protocol, you will stand out like a sore thumb and will obviously be ignored by people who are there for real discussions and insights.
Resource: How to Use Reddit Comments for Marketing
#5 Crowdsource Video Content
Videos are a massive hit! One of the most telling signs is that “more video content is uploaded in 30 days than the major U.S. television networks have created in 30 years”! Moreover, 87% of online marketers use video content and it is expected that by 2020, online videos will account for more than 80% of all consumer internet traffic! Need we say more about why you should crowdsource video content?
#6 Build a Community through your Blog
As simple as that. Create a strong web presence through a blog that isn’t an extended sales pitch, rather one that adds value and makes your prospects feel that they really are a part of a community.
One of the examples we can think of is BioLite Energy’s blog. They are an ecommerce business that sells outdoor energy gear. Through their blog, they subtly promote their products and at the same time strike a conversation with the reader. What gives their blog a community-like feel is their kindred story-telling and them letting their readers in on behind-the-scenes. They also publish guest posts, which tend to further give the warm, fuzzy feeling of being a part of one big virtual family.
#7 Write Guest Posts for Free Publicity
Hustle, you guys! Write to companies that are related to your niche but are not a direct competitor. To make sure they accept your pitch, focus on a topic which is valuable for both your as well as their audience. Most importantly, write for high-ranking websites and make sure that you get the byline and include your website link. For example, if you are a DIY expert and sell wall photo frames you could approach interior design websites (similar to Apartment Therapy) and pitch for posts like “10 Ways Vintage Photo Frames Can Give Your Home a Facelift”. Ideally, your aim should be to make the blog as informative as possible and not an over-the-top sales pitch.
#8 Distribute Press Releases and Create a Press Kit
It is highly debatable whether press releases bring ecommerce stores under the limelight or are they a sheer waste of time and effort. Afterall, not everyone’s brand story and releases get picked seconds after they are published, right?
Even then, we say that there is really nothing to lose. Why fear not making it to the headlines? At least it will pop-up in Google search when someone’s looking for more information about your brand. That’s a big, small win too! Besides, there’s no cost involved as there are plenty of free directories available where you can distribute your press releases.
Another way to market your business is by doing half the job of press folks through a press kit! If your brand is interesting to them they would refer to the information provided (press releases, samples of past media coverage, mention of awards and recognitions etc.) and write about you!
Sample the press kit section of Annmarie Skin Care website. They have their story, product guide and photos, philosophy, brand essence and process ready for press consumption. We quite like their hashtag #HonestWildBeautiful for it resonates with their brand ethics.
#9 Embrace Online Classified Listings
It may seem old school but online classifieds connect buyers and sellers around the world and locally too. Take, for instance, Craigslist. It is a free marketplace where you can sell just about anything you want. Regardless of it being a simple advertisement pin-up board, it is quite popular. Even established businesses post there. Since it’s free, why don’t you give it a shot? Here’s a complete guide by Shopify on how to start posting on Craigslist.
#10 Reach Out to your Family and Friends
Because why not! Your immediate circle knows all the hard work you have put into setting up your ecommerce business. It is only logical to ask for their continued support. You could write an email or host a launch party requesting them to share your business page and website with their extended network. After all, all of us know how much personal recommendations matter! To your surprise, you might have a customer sitting two blocks away!
You see now? You don’t need to have a massive marketing budget to be successful in the ecommerce industry. You can peddle along by being smart and taking even smarter marketing decisions.
Ready to take the plunge? Do let us know if these helped you kick start or if there’s anything else you are doing differently that has worked for you.