Promoting Your Ecommerce Store

Jeffery KirkProduct Recommendations, Website Traffic

Have you put together a plan for promoting your ecommerce store?

Whether you run a big business, small business, or you hold down the fort at your home office, you’ve got to have some kind of media plan which includes an email newsletter.  And that newsletter must go out regularly.

Many ecommerce store owners fail to send out newsletters on a regular basis, in part because they do not know how to offer their products.

Where to begin?  How about quarterly?  Or at certain holidays?  Planning much more frequent regular mailings will be beneficial, but you’ve got to start somewhere.  So pick a schedule that works for now and build on it.

But who are you going to send your newsletters to?  You have to start with a mailing list.  If your ecommerce store software has an opt-in mailing list program built in, go ahead and use that.  If not, you’ll need a third party program or service.

(I often recommend Aweber as an autoresponder service.  If you click this link you can get started for just $1.)

OK, once you’ve got the program or service in place, you’ll need to add an opt-in box to your website.  Part of this process is the creation of a compelling offer.  Note that “sign up for our newsletter” or “sign up for our specials” might have some appeal, but most likely you’ll have to do better than that.

People protect their email addresses these days so you’ll have to offer your visitor a nice incentive to give you their email address.  One idea that often works is to offer a percentage discount coupon that is sent to the customer immediately.

Your goal is to make whatever you’re offering as easy and fast for the customer as possible.  Don’t make them have to think or wait for something – you’ll lose both ways.

Okay, you’ve got your offer alongside the opt-in box.  Sign ups are starting to pour in.  Now what?  Time to start sending out the newsletters that will drive your business.

Holidays are pretty easy – New Years Sale, Mothers Day Sale, Fourth of July Sale, you get the idea.  But what about all those other days of the year?  What do you say then?  How can easily justify sending out these emails?  It’s really easy.  Just give them something for reading!

Here are some ideas that can work for you regardless of what you’re selling in your store:

  • Offer another discount coupon
    This can be for specific products or a storewide discount.  If you’re concerned about losing money on lower profit items, then set a threshold price for storewide sales, e.g. 10% off orders over $50.
  • Buy One Get One Free or Buy One Get One ½ Off or Buy One Get ABC Free
    An example of the latter could be “buy any tapestry over $200 and get a free hanging rod.”  This idea comes from Audrey Kerwood who says, “The rods cost me about $11 apiece and I charge $22 in the store so this promotion is a great way to get my customers to buy the next tapestry size up so they save the $22. It works very well for anything that can be accessorized; it’s one of my favorite promotions.”
  • Featured Product of The Week (Month, Day, Hour)
    Offers with a time limit capture a lot of interest.  When doing a featured product mailing try to describe the item in great detail and provide more than one picture if possible.  If you’re featuring the product, really feature it!  Talk it up big.  List all the virtues of the product and try to get the customer to feel what it would be like to own. Keep in mind that if you do a single product offer you’ll have to be much more specific on the benefits.  But the nice thing about this type of offer is that it’s always unique.

Now that you’ve thought about the content of  your newsletter, let’s talk about subject lines.  You can have the best offer ever, but if your subscribers never open and read the email, it’s as good as useless. 

Subject lines are truly just as important as the content and design.  Heck, the subject line might even be more important.  Your ecommerce store door is closed until the email is opened.

More on this subject tomorrow…