Marketing your online business and learning how to attract customers to your ecommerce store or sales page is much harder than marketing a blog or any other type of website.
Why? It’s because no one really cares about your business. Nobody really wants to know what you have to sell and no one likes being led to a sales page.
Even if you think you’re offering the most magnificent products ever, by default people are going to ignore you unless they know who you are.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in learning how to start your own business, click here to take my FREE 6 day mini course on ecommerce.
People Hate Sales Pages On Social Media
Marketing your business on social media is all the rage right now but simply posting your online store URL on Twitter or Facebook is not going to get you customers.
For one thing, most people are extremely suspicious of any type of sales page they encounter. Anything that even resembles a product page is just going to get passed on.
For example, whenever I click on my stumbleupon button or a twitter link and am taken to page full of products, I get pissed off and immediately leave.
99.9% of the time, I’m using social media to do research, to read about what others are up to or to just relax. My marketing and BS sensors are on full alert and I hate being led to a random store or ecommerce site.
Similarly, I hate it when I’m on the forums and I notice that someone has randomly dropped a link to their ecommerce website. Simply blasting your website URL to uninterested parties is not going to work because no one is paying attention!
You Need To Create A Connection
The other thing you need to realize is that customers don’t necessarily shop at your store because of your products per se. They are shopping at your store because you have created a connection somehow. They want to buy from you because of the personality your store projects.
The best way to illustrate this point is to tell a story about an experience I had at a company I used to work for. At the time, I was a hardware engineer designing circuit boards and I had to select a device to use in my design from 2 competing manufacturers.
Company #1 was the leader in their field. They produced devices that were technologically superior to every one else. Feature wise, their product was the device of choice among developers.
Company #2 was not as well known but had a decent product. However from a technical standpoint, their product was not as powerful as Company #1 but adequate for most applications.
In any case, it should have been a no brainer to go with Company #1, but ultimately I went with Company #2 and a lesser known product.
Why? It’s because Company #2 projected this aura of really caring for their customers and providing superior customer support.
Because Company #1 was already the leader, they didn’t dedicate as many resources in trying to help me integrate their device into my design.
Finding literature and documentation was more difficult as well because I had to manually request access to each document, a process which often took several days.
Meanwhile, Company #2 had a very open philosophy with their documentation and it really showed on their website. All of their content was freely available and as a result I got to know their products better and felt more comfortable using their devices.
Whenever I had any questions, they immediately sent an engineer over to help even for the most minor of problems. Over time, I even became friends with the sales guy and FAE.
I continued to use Company #2’s devices throughout my entire stint at my job and never even considered switching, ever. I was a loyal customer for life.
The key takeaway here is that the superior product isn’t always the one that sells and the decision to buy is not always about the product itself.
If you can establish some sort of connection to your customers through your website or customer service, then you will have the upper hand.
In fact, that is one of the main ways that a small niche store or boutique can take on a larger business. The key is to make people want to buy from you and no one else. And to do that you need to make your store standout.
Company #2 snagged me as a customer because their emphasis on good customer service was plastered all over their website.
The Secret To Marketing A Niche Online Store
So what is the secret to marketing your store? **Drum roll** The secret to marketing your online store is to keep your customer engaged with your website by showing them your personality.
The secret is to keep your customer so interested in what you have to say that they don’t even realize that you are selling to them. And to accomplish this feat, you need to have engaging content.
In fact, I would argue that you shouldn’t think of your online store as a store at all. You should think of your ecommerce site as a content site that happens to sell products.
Similar to a blog, if you have good content, the word will eventually spread, people will link to your website and you’ll get tons of organic traffic without having to spend much on advertising.
For our store, my wife and I engage customers by providing useful craft tutorials and other projects that can be created with our products for free.
70% of our web traffic comes directly through our content pages and a good portion of this traffic eventually goes on to purchase from us. I would say that initially, many of our customers don’t even visit our website to shop.
Instead, they read about some of our cool DIY wedding projects and want to make it themselves. In the future, we also plan on adding video tutorials to our store as well.
Customer engagement doesn’t have to end after your customer purchases your product. You can leverage personalized content online, as well as in your product packaging, to give your customers an excellent post-purchase experience.
You can engage customers with loyalty programs, generate QR codes linking to product tutorials, survey pages, or exclusive discount coupons in your packaging, or link to your social media pages, improving customer experience.
Bottom line, the more you can engage with customers, the more you’ll be able to sell. Instead of a direct sales pitch, show them that you are a real person and that you are passionate and care about your products.
In order to be successful, simply listing your products online is just not going to cut it especially when you are just a small niche store with no reputation.
Strive to make your business stand out! Let customers know what you are good at and pound that idea home.
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Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at ProfitableOnlineStore.com.
His blog, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times, Entrepreneur and MSNBC.
He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.
In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts.
To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store, BumblebeeLinens.com, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.
Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.