5 ways to promote a new online store

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A new online store is often empty. Buyers don’t know about your store yet. They haven’t had time to learn about your products or your customer service. So if you want immediate in-store traffic and sales, you probably need to advertise.

There are certainly other ways to drive website traffic, conversions, sales, and profits. You can, for example, use content marketing. If you have time to let your business grow slowly and can be patient, content marketing will work. But if you want to start your business, you’ll have to do some sort of promotion, and you’ll almost certainly have to pay for it. Bottom line: You need publicity.

1. Pay-Per-Click Search Engine Ads

Search engine marketing can take many forms. But it’s most often pay-per-click advertising where search engines show your ad on a search engine results page and you pay when someone clicks on your ad and lands on your website.

Search engines will try to match your ad with interested buyers so that you (the advertiser) and the buyer have a good experience. To do this, search engines use some sort of ranking model to decide which ads to display for a given search query. Google, for example, uses a system called Ad Rank.

Google AdWords is one of the main PPC vehicles. Ads appear on search engine results pages and you only pay when a buyer clicks on your page.

PPC generally requires experimentation. You’ll try a few ads, spend some money, and through trial and error find the most effective ads for your store. Ultimately, PPC is one of the most powerful advertising vehicles available to you.

To get started, try:

2. Advertising on social networks

Most major social media services offer some form of paid advertising. These services can drive a significant amount of highly qualified traffic to your online store.

There are a few things to know about services.

  • They often have very good demographic information since they know their users well.
  • They can be less competitive and less expensive than search engine PPC ads.
  • They may have ad units designed specifically to drive traffic to the site.

Similar to PPC ads, social media advertising is also a learning process. You’ll probably have to try a few ads to find out what works. Consider promoting individual products on social media rather than large categories.

Pinterest Promoted Pins are an example of social media ads you can use to drive traffic to your new online store.

Pinterest Promoted Pins are an example of social media ads you can use to drive traffic to your new online store.

Here are some social media sites to try.

3. Digital Advertising

Sport Fishing magazine offers digital advertisements on its site.  These advertisements could help a linked retailer drive web traffic to their online store.

Sport Fishing magazine offers digital advertisements on its site. These advertisements could help a linked retailer drive web traffic to their online store.

Here, I use the term “digital advertising” in a broad sense. It can describe a banner ad on a website or just about any other ad unit you can imagine. All of these can drive traffic to your new online store.

One approach to using digital advertising is to find major websites or online publishers in your industry niche and place ads there. For example, if you sell fishing gear, you can run an ad on Sport fishing the magazine’s website or on the Outdoor living site.

Often the charge for these ads is a cost per thousand impressions or a flat rate for a given period, such as a day, a week or a month.

Pandora is one of the most powerful digital advertising mediums.  But this may require a relatively large advertising investment.

Pandora is one of the most powerful digital advertising mediums. But this may require a relatively large advertising investment.

Also in this category are advertisements on influential blogs and podcasts. For online stores with relatively larger funding, Pandora can be a powerful digital advertising platform.

4. Video Advertising

Internet video advertising is one of the fastest growing advertising formats.

There are several reasons for the popularity of online video advertising.

First of all, making a video ad is relatively easy. It can be done with a good smartphone and free video editing software

Second, Internet video ads offer good value for money. Although growing rapidly, video advertising may be less competitive than other online options and therefore may be relatively cheaper.

Third, many people see video ads. Tubular Insights reported that YouTube on mobile devices reaches more Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 than any broadcast or cable television network.

Consider using video platforms such as YouTube or Hulu to boost your online business.

5. Traditional Advertising

So-called traditional advertising can describe some of the most common promotional forms, including magazines, radio, television and direct mail.

These ads can drive the most site traffic when you focus on a specific geographic area, such as shoppers near your shipping warehouse.

In the past, traditional advertising had a reputation for being relatively expensive and ineffective. It was true to some extent. But there are still plenty of opportunities to drive traffic to your new online store with traditional advertising.

For example, shared direct mail can be a productive and profitable way to attract customers.

However, there is a caveat. In my experience, traditional advertising drives the most traffic when you offer a discount in the ad. So if discounting isn’t part of your plan, it won’t work as well.

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