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How to Promote your Online Store

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Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make. William Bernbach

Ads! The promotional plug everyone knows, because ads are everywhere! On billboards, benches, buses and all over your computer screen. The world of ads is massive, and even smaller online stores can get in on the action. We’re going to focus this chapter on digital ads, as offline advertising can get expensive and may not be the best avenue for your online store.

Getting Started Making Digital Ads

Start with the basics. Have the name of your store, your logo, an image of your product, a catchy headline and a call-to-action to click on your digital ads. These things must be on every ad, and must be easy to see.

Facebook Ad Sample

Take a look at other ads that you like. Take the lists of good and bad items from your email research in the previous chapter and expand from there. It doesn’t matter what kind of ads you get ideas from. Billboards might have a fun saying you like, tv ads usually have a jingle and online ads use bright popping colors to get your attention. All of these methods can be applied to your digital ads.

Imitate (don’t copy) a few ads for practice, and ask friends to look at your mock-ups for feedback. You can even post some practice ads on your online store and ask for customer feedback. After all, they are the target audience.

Posting your Ads on Relevant Blogs

Once again, it all starts with research. Go to other online stores that sell similar items in your price range and Google them. What kind of ads are they promoting? Where are they promoting them?

Look up blogs that are in the genre of your online store. Examples include: for makeup products, look at makeup blogs, for home goods, look at interior decorating blogs, and for pet products, look at pet blogs. See how much traffic the blog gets, and that’s the potential for views your ad could have.

Check out the ads they have, or more importantly the lack of ads. Some bloggers have an ad page, where they have information on how they can write a review or post an ad about your online store for a fee on their blog. If that looks promising, go ahead and work with them.

Other blogs are new or don’t have ad posting information, but it's always worth asking the owner of the blog about posting your ads anyways. You could get a great new way of reaching your customer base, or they could say no. At least you tried!

Ad Example
Amazon Ad Example

Send them a friendly and polite email or private message about how they feel on posting your ad. Do not post a request in their comments section. Business deals are between you and the blog owner, not the rest of the viewers, and if you ask publicly other online stores might also ask and outbid you. Send a professional private email!

Before submitting an ad, check out the blog website’s aesthetic appeal first. If the colors are bright and popping, make your ad white to stick out from the background more. If the website is white, do the opposite and make it colorful. Your ad should catch readers’ attention because it sticks out!

When asking for an ad post on someone else’s website, be prepared to pay for it. Have a budget set aside specifically for ads, and have a way to pay online.  When you start paying someone for an ad, start small. Pay for a month at a time, then up to 3 months, then 6 and then to a year to make sure you and your online store are compatible with the blog.

The blogger might not post your ad in the best spot, or might be difficult to work with. Starting small and working up gives you both a safety net to work within until any issues are solved.

Social Media Ads

Scrolling through your social feeds you start to notice that there are tons of ads. It’s a great idea to get your online store in on the action.

Facebook and Instagram are the most popular places to post social media ads (but don’t be afraid to look at other options). Your potential audience is huge, and with the right design and copy, your ads could pull quite a bit of traffic to your site. Make sure to look up the requirements for each platform as you start creating and designing your ads.

Try The World Fb Ad 1
Asana Facebook Ad Example 1

A/B testing is also very important for all of your digital ads, but especially your social media placements. Create 2-3 versions of each ad with differing copy, headlines, and images. Track each ad closely to see what type of visuals and text your target audience responds best to.

Framebridge
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The trick to social media advertising is monitoring and testing. Keep a close eye on how all of your ads are doing. Don’t be afraid to have an ad flop, it’s just a learning lesson. Create and divide your budget throughout your placements so you can see which ads have the best ROI.

Does your Online Store Really Need Ads?

Depending on your methods, your products and your online presence, this is a question that is really based on your specific online store. Ads require a budget, so if you are just starting out you probably can’t afford to have ads just yet, and that’s okay!

Make a business plan, and set a time in a year or so when you think you’ll have enough extra money to tackle ads. In the meantime, use free social media discussed in Chapter 2 to promote your online store, and use your time now to research blogs you would like to have ads on.

If you’ve had your online store for a while and have a budget, ads are another option to bring in new customers. If you monitor your ads and stick with high traffic areas online, it can be a very profitable venture.

In situations where your budget is nonexistent, or very tight you might be able to work out a collaboration with a blog site. Maybe the blog could post your ad, and you could post about their blog on your online store as a trade.

This kind of deal is great since you both get publicity, but it can be tricky if one person feels they are getting short changed. Keep the communication channels open, and be fair. Don’t let them take advantage of you and be polite as possible. A good relationship with them is good for business, and you can’t afford to have them give a bad review of your online store if things go south.

Ads are a great promotional tool, and the more you have in your budget the more you can post in higher traffic areas. Start small, experiment with your ads and figure out a method that works before diving into the big money.

Another place to plan for a budget is with paper promotions, which are still very popular even in this digital age. Check out Chapter 5: Paper Promotions to see how you can make old school methods work for your online store.

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