3 Simple Ways Ecommerce Startups Can Gain More Customers
We all know that marketing takes time and dedication, especially for ecommerce sites. Site visits don’t appear overnight, and social-media followers don’t come out of nowhere. But with careful planning and routines, you can build a strong brand and steadily increase your customer base.
I’ve read tips, tricks and everything I could get my hands on about gaining online followers but ultimately learned the most from digging into each platform to get familiar with what works best.
Here are the hidden marketing hacks that have helped take my startup, Unfettered Socks, from zero to hero in the digital space:
1. Automatic emails
For ecommerce startups to be successful, founders need to make sure to keep their brand top of mind for current and potential customers. It’s important to find a way to both re-engage existing customers to make additional purchases, and to re-capture lost consumers to make an initial purchase.
For customer retention emails, we use an automated marketing platform called Springbot, which lets me set up triggered emails based on specific formulas. For example, I have an email set up to be sent to any new consumer after four months to encourage her to make another purchase. We also have an email sent to recent purchasers asking them to leave a testimonial, which helps increase content on our site and improve SEO. For customers who have abandoned their cart, I use Shopify’s native tool to send a cart recovery email. It’s important not to miss out on any opportunities to convert a consumer.
2. Consider boosting Facebook followership
There are mixed reviews about the effectiveness of Facebook advertising. If you truly commit time to using Power Editor, it’s a powerful platform, but if you don’t have the knowledge and skills to do so, it’s a less valuable investment.
For us, there’s a hidden reason why we spend money on Facebook ads. Whenever someone likes a boosted post or a Facebook Ad, you can actually click on the list that says “John Smith and X other people liked your post” and individually invite each of them to like your page. In my experience with our Unfettered Socks page it has about a 10 to 20 percent success rate, and it builds credibility for your brand’s page as well as increases the consumers in your direct social audience.
3. Optimize PR
I discovered BuzzSumo, an app that has already saved me hours of work. BuzzSumo is a highly robust search engine allowing you to find the publications and authors that most commonly discuss a certain topic. For instance, I would search "socks" or "performance dress socks" to see who might be interested in covering my business. It allows me to very quickly create a database of potential contacts and resources for my launch efforts.
Coincidentally, that same company has a tool called SumoMe, which we use to optimize conversions on our website. It has a variety of apps that let users A/B test and implement add-ons among other features. It’s another great hack that has helped boost our digital followership in the early stages.
Marketing efforts will always take time, especially early on as you figure out what tools and platforms work best for your brand, but these marketing hacks are a great way to accomplish a lot right from the start.
Related: 5 Simple Ways to Reach Customers
Sarah is a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she studied systems engineering and entrepreneurship. During her junior year she opened Green Bean, an eco-healthy salad restaurant. She is now in the midst of launching her second business, a line of performance-focused men's business socks: Unfettered Socks. She was a finalist in the Entrepreneurs' Organization's Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in 2012. Find more about her on her website.