Sunday, 29 December 2013

Promoting your Online Stores - 6 Tips

Those of us who sell our artwork through online stores know all too well that the secret of success is to make sure our work gets seen by the buying public. 

And, given the sheer vastness of the internet and all that it contains, that can seem like an impossible task. I’m no marketing expert but I have picked up a few tips from people who are and, by trial and error, I’ve worked out a few guidelines that I hope will be helpful –

1. Identify your potential customer. This is probably the most important tip of all – and possibly also the most difficult. If you aren't in a position to be in contact with your customers, look at what you are offering and decide what kind of person it would appeal to and find out as much as you can about them. Apart from their age, gender and income bracket, think about what design style they would probably prefer (this will hopefully be YOUR style!). Once you’ve identified your typical customer, use the information you’ve noted down to search the internet for articles and blog posts that will tell you where such people hang out online, which social media they use and when etc.

2. Get organised – write a marketing plan. Once you’ve gathered that information, write yourself a ‘starter’ marketing plan. It may be a good idea to begin with using all the main social media to some extent – facebook, G+, Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Squidoo and of course, a blog - even if you have discovered a clear link between your potential customers and where they are most likely to find you. However, this should only a temporary phase in your marketing plan as so much social networking could start to get overwhelming and seriously crowd out the time you spend on actually creating designs and products!

3. Stay organised. It’s important to update regularly. So set out your plan in writing so that you can keep tabs on what you’ve done and what you still need to do. And set aside specific times of day/week to dedicate to your marketing endeavours.

4. Monitor your progress using stats. Wherever possible make good use of any statistics you can access, such as facebook’s ‘Insights’ and blogger’s ‘Stats’, to monitor the times of day and types of updates that are most successful in terms of ‘engagement’. You may not be able to see a direct link between your updates and your sales - it’s very satisfying when you do! - so use Google Analytics, or a similar service, to gather information about which of the social media are bring more customers to your door – and revise your marketing plan accordingly! 

5. Make use of scheduling services. If this all seems like an awful lot of work, don’t worry, promoting won’t necessarily continue to take up so much of your time and effort forever. For one thing, there are free sites, such as Hootsuite and Buffer, that you can use to schedule some of your updates. While my experience has been that scheduled updates don’t get as much of that magic ‘engagement’ as ‘live’ ones, I’ve found that a good balance is to post ‘live’ once a day and schedule another one or two updates in advance. 

6. Grow your following organically. Finally, another tip that should save you from feeling as if you’re drowning in social media! Whichever marketing channel you decide to invest most of your time and effort in, don’t be tempted to spend so much time increasing your following that you don’t have time or energy left to actually engage with your ‘fans’ or ‘followers’! There are plenty of opportunities to grow your following rapidly through ‘like-ladders’ and so on but my experience has been that it’s far more effective to grow one’s following ‘organically’. For instance, you might like to check whether any of your new twitter followers has a facebook page. If so, visit it and see if you think they are likely to be someone you can happily interact with before deciding whether to ‘like’ their page and leave a message in the hope that they will return the favour.

Of course, no amount of savvy promoting will translate into sales if your products are totally lacking in appeal! But one encouraging thing that I’ve learned since I started selling online is that you never know what someone is going to find so attractive that they 'put their money where their mouth is'!

Please feel free to download and print this high resolution image.
If you pin it to Pinterest, I'd appreciate it if you could add a link to my blog.

So, I hope I’ve helped you in some small way on your journey towards a successful online business – and if you have any tips of your own that you’d like to pass on, please brave the captcha (sorry!) and leave them in the comments.


Jayne said...

Good information. Thanks for sharing.

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Jayne :)

Inkflo Chez Inkflo said...

Thank you Judy, we all could do with some extra marketing advice, and this is very helpful.
Happy (and successful) New Year!

Judy Adamson said...

Thank you, Inkflo and I hope you, too, have a happy and successful 2014!