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Big brand promotion: how to boost your eCommerce business without spending millions

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Only 6 years ago in 2011, 27 million pieces of digital content were shared every day. Today, 3.2 billion images are shared each day. Each and every piece is potential promotion.

For those that have done well without spending millions, the idea of indulging in further campaigns and media can be a daunting thought. However, you don’t need a massive budget (even if you have one) to engage and create interest.

Here are our top methods of promotion that won’t break the bank, but will get you results:

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Online reviews

Online reviews enable people who have purchased or used your product/service to leave their feedback. This is rather obvious - however what’s not, is that a 92% of customers pay attention to these reviews and use them to form their opinion on whether or not they should purchase.

By monitoring online reviews you can not only gauge customer opinion, but you can use their criticisms and appraisals to continually develop your overall product. If people leave negative reviews there is room to engage with the customer, apologise for their bad experience and improve.

People appreciate being able to voice their opinions and by leaving a comment or an online review, they are in fact promoting your business for you. 86% of consumers would hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews and those comments can take a long time to disappear. However they are also positive as they can help improve your business and learn about customer needs.

Positive reviews encourage others to buy from your business and in turn leave their opinions for the next people. Here are some useful stats:

  • 94% of consumers would purchase from a business with a four star rating

  • 57% from a three star

  • 14% from one or two star reviewed business

Some buyers will even take to social media to talk about their experience which leaves even more room to engage.

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Social Media

Everyone knows how big social media is. 2.3 billion active users access various platforms every single day. Most businesses have a social media presence and many companies in their early days use it as their main source of promotion. However once a business is established it could be very easy to forget that social media contains billions of potential customers and that it’s important to continue to be present on social platforms; engaging with your customers, building relationships and promoting yourself, through your followers.

Social media has many fundamental uses:

  • Connecting with your customers by offering engaging content

  • Directly answering their questions

  • Dealing with their problems

  • Promoting products

  • Gathering momentum for launches

  • Encouraging others to share your news

It’s a fantastic way to reach people you wouldn’t normally have much interaction with. The more people who share your content, the more people will see it and get the message. If it’s a message people find interesting, they will interact and engage with you as a business, your site and your product.

Promotion comes through you sharing your product, through people talking about it, and the ability to socially sell. 80% of eCommerce businesses believe their sales force would be more productive with a greater social media presence and 64% of sales teams that use social media as to communicate with buyers and sell their product hit their quotes.

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Influencers

Influencer marketing is the employment of people considered influential in certain fields, often using the platforms of social media (32% of US influencers who currently work with brands cite Facebook as the best platform, followed by Instagram at 24%). Influencers are people with a massive following and a certain expertise who are willing to promote your product (often for a fee, but on average, businesses generate £6.50 for every £1 invested in influencer marketing).

By engaging with influencers and building up a relationship (often through social media itself), they can build a passion about your product which makes them what to promote it. They rarely will promote anything they’re not passionate about, so it's important to carefully select your influencers. By sending them your product or writing to them about your service, they will often share it with their large fan bases.

51% of marketers believe they get better customers from influencer marketing. That’s because the relationship began with trust in the influencer. Influencers are a keen way to access that massive market of social media users you may not have been able to interact with before. Influencers followers trust their opinion and what they’re being told, so are likely to trust your business coming into working with you

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Events/Competitions

Once again this is an excellent one for social media and pretty much what it says on the tin. Established businesses will know that one of the quickest ways to get a customer base excited - particularly for new product launches, is to announce a competition or campaign (new campaigns acquire a 34% audience increase on average). Often these involve free give aways, luxury prizes/experiences, product bundles or chances to attend certain events or get involved with the company.

Long running competitions (statistically, the best length of time for a campaign is between 25-60 days) such as the staff review surveys run by many brick and mortar retail stores which can result in cash prizes/vouchers are an excellent way of promoting your store and encouraging people to give feedback. Not only are these easily utilised through social media, but email campaigns and blog posts are excellent ways of promoting these competitions.

They get customers involved and excited about your business. Fat Face for example used to run a yearly competition to win a VW Campervan and I certainly entered - but it gets you to engage with the brand (especially when the prizes are relevant to said brand) your reach expands, you pull in more potential customers (1/3 of contest entrants sign up to receive email updates from brands) and it becomes an exciting and appealing thing to engage with your business.

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Paid Ads

Paid adverts are clickable (sometimes watchable) images or links which represent your company and insight people to go to your website/product (consumers exposed to display ads are 155% more likely to search for a brand). But of course that’s obvious. Paid adverts are an excellent way for businesses to promote themselves whether or not that’s through Adwords (google) or social media.

By using paid adverts, you can reach audiences who have been actively searching for the same product/service (or similar) that you offer. Paying to be top of Google’s search pages radically increases your chances of being clicked on (Google’s top ads reach 80% of global internet users), pay per click ads are great for people getting started in paid adverts and massive TV campaigns (TV ads drive an 80% rise in branded search) can get your company in front of millions.

Exposure is the biggest winner here. If you shell out and pay for youtube video ads are even air time, thousands, even millions of people are going to see your business. Smaller adverts that appear on websites/social media/google all increase your chances of being seen.

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Blogging

There are 2 types of people you’ll need if you want to use blogging to promote your business:

  • Content Writers – you can have in-house or freelance writers and they will help you by providing frequent blog posts that are not only SEO (search engine optimised) friendly, but can attract people on social media.

  • Graphic Designers – creating beautiful social media and blog images can really help increase awareness as people are more likely to look at an image than read text.

Blogging itself is an excellent way of exposing your readers to even more exceptional, branded content. On blogging website WordPress, 56 million blog posts are published every month - that’s a lot of potential promotion. Posting up articles, lists, images, videos and even more for your readers to access enables them to get hands on with your product and business, building trust.

Some businesses use their blogs to inform their users of events that have happened in the company and to keep them aware of up and coming events. Others use them to inform their readers and educate them. All of which enable businesses to connect more with their readers/buyers, 90% of whom find business custom content useful to them.

The benefits of blogging are numerous: you can gain exposure, your buyers have more landing pages they can access, you can educate your clients even more about your business and help them decide whether or not they want your product, as well as build relationships with people in the same business. 70% of consumers learn about a company through content rather than ads, so it's a worthwhile tool to invest in.

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Email List

An email list is a list of contacts who have provided you with their details, or have decided to subscribe to your blog/website news - but you already knew that. A fantastic marketing tool, an email list is a brilliant way for you to connect with your customers. By having a built up, automated contact list (95% of taking advantage of automated email marketing), you can share content and news with frequent and interested buyers.

This is especially useful when launching a new product or campaign. Loyal customers will be interested to hear news first, so they should be rewarded with personalised emails to see what’s coming. 72% people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to  only 17% who prefer receive it over social media, so you’re far more likely to have interactions and click throughs from an automated email list.

By doing this you have the ability to contact your customers as frequently as you want, and offer them personalised deals and continue their excellent customer experience. Not only promoting your business, but if they enjoy their experience with you, they will perhaps forward on emails or talk about you.

Closing Thoughts

Even the biggest, most successful businesses need to promote themselves, launch frequent campaigns, competitions and spend millions a year on adverts, influencers and new, creative ways to promote their company. Customers are by nature curious and with enough incentive they will purchase. Promoting your business doesn’t have to be difficult, especially with so many different options are available, though it may take some experimenting to find what works best for your eCommerce business.

July 18th, 2017 by Hannah Newman

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