Thanks to the pandemic that has recently affected the entire world, having an online presence is more important than ever for businesses to survive.
eCommerce Marketing For the Small Business
Businesses advertising online have been around probably since the first internet connection was made available to the general public, and it has grown exponentially since. So, what can businesses do to keep their clientele and continue to grow without opening their physical doors to the public? eCommerce marketing.
What exactly is eCommerce marketing? In a nutshell, it is a way for businesses to promote themselves and their products and/or services online. Ways of advertising can include online ads, emails, social media blurbs, and a strong presence on search engines. And, in order for a business to survive these days, they must use all of these techniques. It really does help them increase their sales by increasing the awareness of their products.
That's really great for big businesses who are known to just about everyone. But what about smaller businesses? The little funky clothing shop, or the bakery that specializes in gluten-free, vegan muffins. People don't know them unless they already cater to them on a local level. The rest of society doesn't have a clue about them. So, they create and use a website for their business. Okay, but it's not enough. That's where eCommerce marketing helps them.
Small businesses that use eCommerce marketing tend to grow their business in ways they only dreamed about. One of those ways is the insertion of banners or flags on a non-related website. That can be the simplest way to advertise. Just post an eye-catching stand-alone picture or video ad. People do notice these things when they pop up next to their emails. Businesses can even have a small banner flash across the bottom of a YouTube video as it plays. This is generally known as marketing affiliation.
Just a reminder about emails. Businesses want to remind their previous customers about their services with targeted emails. This is one of many ways utilized to keep their customers interested with discounts, freebies, and any offers of something new. Basically, keeping them keen.
Sometimes, a small business feels the need to use a PPC. PPC means Pay Per Click. That's when a customer, or potential customer, clicks on one of those banners seen online. This isn't free for the business, though, but it can be a valuable tool to use.
And, of course, there's SEO. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It applies to any one of the many search engines available (Bing, Yahoo, Google, etc.). But, this only works if people actually look for the business. For example, if you look for a local bakery the search engine will pull up dozens, maybe hundreds, of names for small and large businesses. Now, type in "gluten-free vegan bakeries near me" and the search just got smaller. Not only will it show the names of the bakeries who provide that kind of fare, but the most searched ones will be closer to the top of the list.
There's one more way that small businesses can keep their customers while drawing in new ones. Social media. Just look on any Facebook and Twitter account and there will be ads thrown in every few posts. When looking up current fashions on a site like Pinterest, not only will there be pictures of clothing and accessories but that funky little clothing store previously mentioned can be mentioned under a photo of their product line. Even though Instagram only allows pictures to stay up for a few minutes it can still be a useful tool for small businesses. Only, instead of their product and business name being seen for a few minutes, it's seen for a few minutes repeatedly. The business is seen over and over again for as long as the business keeps the account active.
One of the latest social media sensations is Tik Tok. Most people know this site as a collection of videos showing funny animals and stupid people, and creative people showing off their skills. Yet, there are some ways that small businesses can use this site to promote themselves. Businesses have offered hashtags for customers to use in their after-shopping experience (i.e., posting a photo of that red ruffled dress just bought from them). Tik Tok also offers merchants to use biddable advertising. That's when the advertiser pays based on the number of times the ad is viewed (CPV), clicked on (CPC), and/or used in a users' feed (CPM).
Now, what tools can a small, independent business use to make their presence known on the internet? A few that are available are EWCart, which is a cloud-based eCommerce development platform. Jazva, 3dcart, and Shopaccino provide eCommerce development software. Shopify is a well-known site that helps online stores to grow. And, like the internet the list just keeps growing.
These are just some of the ways small businesses can expand online. As the internet changes, there will surely be many more options to advertise. In the meantime, while their brick-and-mortar stores remain shuttered they don't have to close up shop completely. The internet is there to help them.