Attracting people to your e-commerce store isn’t as easy as you might think. Chances are, by the time you’re reading this, you’ve splashed out on the platform that’s best for your product and you’ve invested in some good networking opportunities. Now, all you’ve got to do is wait for people to hunt you out, right?
Wrong. Just because your store’s on the virtual High Street, it doesn’t mean that anyone’s going to pop in. So now is the point where you need to pull out all the stops and invest in some online strategies.
Selling without selling
The obvious way to let people know about your e-commerce store is to plonk an advert on a social networking site or fire out a few links to your site on Twitter. The problem with this is that it doesn’t work. People see social networks as places where they can go to escape the media bombardments that the rest of the world keeps throwing at them. In fact, most people resent those adverts, seeing them as encroaching on their social space and time, and there’s even software available that allows people to block adverts entirely. What you really need is to build up a relationship with your customers, so that you can sell to them, without actually selling to them.
The best way to bring customers to your e-commerce store is to blog. Blogging doesn’t have to be a glorified advert. But what it does have to be is engaging and well thought out. Good copy will lead people to read your blog and, in turn, lead them to your website. While your blog entries ought to have some relevance to your product or service, they can almost be about anything – as long as you create value for the visitor.
And, be authentic. Through letting people know how you feel about certain subjects, you’re letting people in on the way you think, establishing a connection without any contact. In essence, through blogging, you are creating and maintaining your brand identity – but without the hard-sell. People tend to respond negatively to hard-nosed sales techniques but, if they are drawn into a thoughtful and interesting article, you can get your brand message across under the radar.
Your e-commerce store is more than a shop
The trick is to stop thinking of your e-commerce store as a shop in any sense of the word. Instead, you should view it as a content site. You can put up video tutorials, articles, blogs and galleries – as long as it’s interesting. Some of your content could even be a little contentious, as long as it’s not crossing any moral lines and as long as you are able to substantiate your argument. Anything that gets people talking is a good thing. You can link these blogs to your Facebook and Twitter or LinkedIn pages, so that those who do follow you will see the content and, if it’s thought-provoking enough, share it. In essence, your potential clients will also be acting as your publicity offers, sharing your posts and commenting on your copy. Once you’ve established that valuable connection, you can start to ask people if they want to be on your newsletter. Again, the content is vital; press releases, news and commentary might feel like fluff, but good copy brings good results.
Author: Carlo Pandian is a keen observer of the start-up world, and I have previously collaborated with blogs such as Dynamic Business, Business2Community and Under30CEO. Business, technology and accounting software such as Intuit Simple Start are his main areas of expertise having worked before for a tech start-up (job ads aggregator Adzuna.co.uk), a web marketing agency and graduating in Management at the University of London.