How Should Small Businesses Market their Online Stores?

These days, many companies large and small are getting on the bandwagon and creating online stores that allow them to reach a potentially global audience, and in turn can generate significant revenues with relatively little effort. However, that doesn’t mean no effort should be put into it, and owners will need to create strategies to successfully advertise and create awareness of these online marketplaces.

There are a number of different ways in which companies can even set up their own online stores these days, according to a report from Fox Business. For instance, they can be set up through existing and far larger sites, such as Amazon and eBay, which allow other companies to sell through their portals so that when someone searches for a product on those sites, the types offered by a wide variety of small businesses will pop up as well. Of course, while that kind of thing can be a boon for those making high-quality products at a relatively low price, it makes it difficult to stand out from the crowd. When consumers have literally dozens of options to choose from, there may not be much to differentiate you from one of your new competitors across the country.

For this reason, it may be wise to simultaneously start local, the report said. While people may be able to stumble upon an independent company’s shop on Amazon or eBay, increasing awareness in its surrounding areas might be helpful as well, and that can start with some focused advertising on social media sites like Facebook. For instance, if owners think of their target demographic, almost any nuance of that person’s interests and background can be catered to – for a price – through the massive amount of data that site compiles on each one of its users.

What should owners use social marketing for?
Obviously just giving people a heads up that the online store exists might not be enough to induce a rush of purchases, so owners might have to be a little more creative, the report said. For instance, using a Facebook or Twitter ad that offers users of those sites exclusive deals on their purchases when they enter a certain code at checkout might go a long way to getting their eyes to a company’s online offerings.

Moreover, though, it’s important to mix it up, the report said. Once companies have successfully attracted a consumer’s attentions, keeping it for more than just one purchase is often vital. For that reason, it’s wise for businesses to provide links to their Facebook and Twitter pages at checkout, and allow for “social sharing” of the things they bought, so that their friends and family can potentially get a look at the deals they received when making the purchase. And moreover, when they’ve actually “liked” or “followed” a company, consumers don’t like to be as though they’re being relentlessly marketed to. Instead, mixing in some videos, funny images and other types of content that will make people think a company is worth keeping track of on social media will go a long way to keeping up the retention rate.

Small businesses, however, operate on very thin margins and the kinds of discounts that are – these days – now more or less expected through online stores may eat into profits. As such, it might be wise for owners to look for other ways to save money even as they offer these promotions, including cutting their costs for small business insurance. More affordable workers’ compensation or general liability insurance can go a long way to saving companies’ bottom lines.