ecommerce marketing

Happy New Year!

The start of a new year is always a good time to reevaluate how your online business did last year and what changes you need to make.

One of the most common issues I find with a lot of small business owners is the hesitation to invest in the marketing and promotion of your business. The honest truth is, you do have to spend money to make money, and there is only so much you can do for free before sales peak and then flatline.

There is also hesitation to try something new. Even if things are not working, people will still continue to employ the same marketing tactics. Remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Don’t fall into that trap.

Therefore, if there are 3 things I can recommend to you that will make a difference in the success of your online business in 2016, they are as follows:

1. Advertise

Advertising is still the most effective way to drive buyers to your shop, but not all mediums are effective for everyone. I would definitely recommended starting with Google Adwords/ Sponsored Ads. They are affordable as you set the budget, and you can cancel at anytime. I have personally seen that small independent shops who ran Google ads did appear on the first page of results and did have excellent sales as a result.

But if Google is still not for your budget, there are also Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest ads, running ads on popular blogs, as well as print ads in your local media.

2. Sell Other Places

Again, one sales site should never account for 100% of your business, because if it goes down, your business goes down. On my Facebook page today I just posted a news release from Amazon stating that they sold over 23 million items on Cyber Monday, showing how they continue to dominate the e-commerce space. Now, Amazon does take a higher percentage, but you have to weigh that against a potentially higher sales volume. My point is, they aren’t going anywhere so maybe it is time to give them a try.

I also recommended Gumroad a little while back if you wish to sell right from your blog or website. Very affordable and easy to use, so why not?

While retail does appear to be suffering, the big chains like Wal-mart and Target are still doing great retail sales, and both have programs for indie shops to sell their wares in local stores (not nationwide). Plus, after seeing Amazon’s domination online, don’t be surprised if they both beef up their e-commerce sites and start offering “handmade” or “indie” marketplaces.

3. Innovate

I have always said that if you really want to get publicity for your business, it helps to come up with one product that is strictly for PR purposes, much like Victoria’s Secret Million Dollar Fantasy Bra (only one available each year, and it never seems to sell). Lately, I have been telling a lot of my clients that they need to think of how they can capitalize on the summer Olympics coming up in Brazil this August. Whether it is a product that celebrates patriotic pride or one that highlights Brazil’s culture or a popular summer sport, editors of magazines, blogs and newspaper will be hungry for all types of Olympic-related content starting as early as May.