E-commerce is a multi-billion-dollar industry that virtually anyone can join; opening your own store can be a fast way to launch a company and become an entrepreneur in a matter of days. Those who are committed to making their business thrive in such an oversaturated market need a killer internet marketing strategy.
Whether you’re going to sell handmade jewelry on Etsy, put art prints in your own shop or try your hand at dropshipping, keep these factors in mind as you plan your digital strategy. Your social media presence and content will make the difference between struggling to make a sale and becoming financially successful.
Go Where Your Audience Does
One mistake novice businessowners make when they dip their toes into the waters of online advertising is choosing the wrong platforms. They pick heavy hitters without first identifying where their target audiences spend the most time online. There’s also a matter of where they like to engage with specific types of content. Depending on your niche, the type of content you make may not be suitable for a particular social networking site.
Consider a survival gear store. Marketing on YouTube and Instagram could be advantageous if you have a young adult audience, but it likely won’t perform well if your average consumers are middle age and up. There are even narrower segments within each niche that you should pinpoint before you start making content. Then, you should research and first act as a consumer. What are the top-performing stores doing on their pages? How do people respond to them, and what type of content can you create that’s similar enough to succeed but not so identical it is either ignored or worse, called out?
Don’t Overspend on Ads
You can pay to promote posts on Instagram and Facebook, which is a great way to start boosting visibility and kickstarting customer conversations. However, this can quickly become a major expense with virtually no return on investment if you don’t define objectives and metrics. It’s easy to get distracted by big numbers. When a platform tells you that your post has the potential to reach hundreds of thousands of people by spending a couple hundred dollars, you may become overeager and not realize this doesn’t mean anything in and of itself.
An ad’s reach is the number of people who potentially see it appear on their feeds or wherever you’ve specified you’d like the ad to be shown. This does not mean they’ll click on it or engage with it, which is what you actually need for an ad to be successful. Start with a small spending budget and test different ads. If you take out any private student loans to further expand your education in order to build a successful online endeavor, part of your leftover funds can be allocated to growing your business. You can also use your loans to cover certain living expenses while you’re in school and learning the ropes of digital entrepreneurship.
Plan Your Content Before You Start Posting
Figure out how often you’re going to post, and avoid putting things on your page solely for the sake of it. As a professional business, you need to cultivate an air of credibility, which is reflected by high-quality content and a consistent posting schedule. You should also cultivate a voice that is consistent across all social media platforms and your website. Internet marketing has its standards, but there is tremendous flexibility available in how you decide to present your brand online. Some companies prefer to be informative and professional while others prefer a more conversational approach. To determine which voice is right for your business, go back to your target audience. You can use their preferences and behavior to shape a voice that truly resonates with them.
Check Your Competitors Followers
Go through similar stores’ web pages and check out who follows them. This can help you target your content better and even turn heads by interacting with their posts. Avid generic, copy-and-paste comments, which can get you reported for spam. And don’t use bots or apps to improve your follower count. This reflects poorly in social media algorithms and can prevent your further content from being shown to real people. Organic growth is best achieved with strong, original content, consistent engagement and some paid promotions. Paying to promote your business and be shown more often is not the same as paying for followers. Remember, improving a post’s reach only makes it more visible. It’s up to you to make content that actually encourages people to click on your account and learn more.
Consider Professional Advice
There are plenty of great internet marketing resources online you can access for free. Use guides, video series and websites to help you learn all the fundamentals. With just a few hours of research, you can master all the basics and be well on your way to managing successful social media campaigns. You can also hire an independent digital marketer. If you’re on a budget, consider recruiting a college student whose majoring in communications who can act as an intern. This can be a part-time, temporary exchange that helps you lay the cornerstones of a successful digital presence without costing a fortune.