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Build Your Own Online Store, Part 6

Tips to market your new store and make sales

Congratulations! You’ve taken the first steps to gaining more independence from eBay by creating your own online store, and now you’re ready to tell the world where shoppers can find you.

This is perhaps the hardest part of the journey because you may be accustomed to the best thing about eBay: the easy access to lots of buyers. When you’re on your own, it’s up to you to attract the customers.

Buyers appreciate the sense of personal connection to a live human on the other end of the Web

The short solution to this challenge is to put yourself out there. In other words, engage yourself and your business in the community on a regular basis.

In the last part of this series about how to build your own online store, we’ll look at different ways you can market your store to gain more traffic.

Be social

Marketing through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest works well for some online sellers.

Buyers appreciate the sense of personal connection to a live human on the other end of the Web. Plus, keeping your social media active serves as a reminder to your fans about all the great stuff you sell, and those fans have the power to pass your posts around to their friends, more potential buyers.

Tara Jacobsen, a marketing consultant, says social media marketing may not always generate sales, but it does increase your brand’s exposure. On her Marketing Artfully website, Jacobsen shares how to use some of the more popular social sites to your advantage.

“You have to do things every day—or at least a couple times a week—with a plan and a goal in mind,” she notes.

And don’t forget to add those social media buttons to your website. Visit Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest for more information on how to do this.

By providing potential customers with free information related to your niche, you gain a reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source, which can lead to more traffic

Niche-worthy content

Perhaps your niche market is an area that can benefit from content marketing. By providing your potential customers with free information related to your niche, you gain a reputation as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source, which can lead to more traffic on your site.

If you’re not the kind of entrepreneur who has time to manage your own blog, you might consider a couple of different angles to content marketing.

For example, you can become a sort of “niche expert” by regularly visiting blogs and forums to contribute comments on subjects in your niche. Or offer up some homemade video tutorials on YouTube or Brandlive, an interactive video broadcast tool.

Product reviews

Consistent bloggers of a particular niche often have a fan base, one which you want to reach. As an ingenious seller, seek out those bloggers who match your niche market and contact them to see if they’d be interested in receiving a sample of your product in exchange for a personal review on their blog.

It worked for bread maker Marissa Gadsden, owner of Eden’s Touch Bread Company. She asked several bloggers if they’d like to sample and review her homemade, specialty loaves and the response was positive.

Sometimes, what you need are a few influential people to try your product and tell the world how great it is.

A little give and take

The more you get involved in your community and network with those around you, the more your followers will multiply

Another great way to put your business out there is to show your community how much you care. Donate something from your store to fundraisers and set up booths at special events.

When Kari Dunn owned her online boutique, EllaNora.com, she used the opportunity to support her favorite causes.

She understood consumers’ inclinations to purchase from shops that give back, but for Dunn it was more than just a marketing ploy.

“The more I give, the better it makes me feel, and I know I’m making a difference in someone’s life, which motivates me to keep giving,” she says.

The more you get involved in your community and network with those around you, the more your followers will multiply, and maybe you’ll get some feel good out of it, too.

Other tricks

Fliers, business cards and newsletters are still viable marketing tools that have the power to drive more traffic to your new website

Finally, try to use SEO tips to improve your search rankings, especially if you will employ content marketing into your business plan. But don’t let this popular marketing trick cause you to overlook the traditional routes.

Fliers, business cards and newsletters are still viable marketing tools that have the power to drive more traffic to your new website, and make your brand a memorable one.

If you used an email marketing program through eBay or an auction management program—like Auctiva—then you’re already a step ahead of some online sellers. Use your experience with newsletter marketing to increase sales and promote all the special features you have to offer on your new website!

Keep us posted on how your new off-eBay shop is doing, what tips and tricks you’ve learned, and what marketing techniques seem to work best for you!

About the author

Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is a freelance writer who writes about e-commerce and small businesses. She recently graduated from Chico State with a journalism degree and is also a budding online entrepreneur, having launched two Web businesses and her own line of handmade products. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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