Part of the guide

How to Promote your Online Store

See other chapters
guide cover image

Promotions are essential to every business, whether it is an online store or a physical building. Tackling the challenges of an online business can be difficult to start, but with the help of this guide you’ll be a promotion pro in no time!

To begin, what is a promotion? Promotion is a term that most people hear thrown around a lot, and it usually incites ideas of commercials, billboards or coupons in the circulars for physical stores. Some more tech savvy people might think of the annoying ads that pop up on websites, or maybe a celebrity plug on social media.

Be a flamingo in a flock of pigeons” Savannah Larsen

All of these ideas and more are correct: Promotions are defined very simply as an “activity that supports or provides a campaign for a particular product, organization or venture” in most dictionaries. Basically, a promotion is anything and everything you do to tell the world what your online store is selling and why they should buy it.

Let's Dive In

Now that you know what promotions are, you are probably thinking, “Okay, I have social media for that, I don’t need to read the rest of this guide, I’m set!” Which is awesome- you already started promoting your store with a heavy online presence platform. It’s a great start- but only a start.

Are you using your social media to its best advantage? Are you using the right platform or are you hindering yourself because you don’t know the tips and tricks of the platform you are using? What about other forms of promotion-such as emails? Do you have a subscription service for your store? Have you ever placed an ad? There are tons of ways to promote your online store.

Limiting yourself to only social media sets you up to get behind on your competition. This guide will describe each method in detail and assist you in getting started on promoting your online store and on keeping the promotions running effectively.

The key to a good promotion, no matter the style it is presented in, is to have a unique hook. Why should people shop at your online store over someone else’s? What do you offer that is found nowhere else? This is the hardest part of promoting yourself for a lot of people.

You have to take your online store and sell it to people that you can’t see in person. Think about what attracts your attention when you see ads around, whether they are billboards on the highway or ads on side of your computer screen. Compile a list of things you look at more than once: bright colors, catchy slogans, and an amusing gif for example; and then apply those to your unique store hook.

Ads1

After taking the talk you have to show the product to it’s best advantage. The product customers are considering purchasing is a picture; they can’t physically pick it up and discern its value right away.

Having a well–lit picture of your product from various angles in a pretty, enticing environment is the first step to catching a customer’s attention. Pictures attract the customer’s eye to your promotion, and then it’s up to your hook to get them to click on your online store.

Promotions can come in all shapes and sizes. Social media offers a multitude of platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest are the standouts, but SnapChat, LinkedIn, YouTube and numerous other platforms also have great attributes to use.

Sending out email newsletters can be another way to entice new customers, if you do it without becoming a spam machine. Sending out a monthly subscription with updates to your store or just general fun information builds your connection to your customers, and creates a loyal following.

Hands Coffee Cup Apple

Ads are of course the universal promotion tool, and this guide will help you figure out where to best place an ad for your online store, and how to phrase it to attract customers instead of turn them away. Good old-fashioned paper ads in magazines and newspapers can attract customers even in this digital age as well.

Once you know what promotions are available and how to use them, determining the viability of each promotion is also great knowledge. There will be ups and downs, but in business downs can be costly. Learning to spot a promotion that isn’t pulling its weight is a skill that can save you money in the long run.

An Online Store Owner’s Biggest Mistakes

This Founder’s Guide is meant to teach online store owners how to create and use promotions, but before we begin there are two things to keep in mind.

The biggest mistakes in promotions are doubt and fear of change.

Self-doubt is a major inhibition to having a successful online store. It’s hard to get out there and promote yourself if you compare your store to others, or feel like you are unqualified to do all the tiny detailed jobs running an online business requires.

When you feel this way, take a step back and remind yourself why you began this online store:

  • What is your goal?
  • Whether your online store is your main source of income or a side hustle, what does your online store do besides bring in money?
  • What makes you passionate about running this online store-and why are you the best for it?

Use the answer to these questions to quash that self-doubt. When you are comparing yourself to other stores, keep in mind what you are envious of and use that to help in your own promotions.

Don’t steal or plagiarize- but do find the root of the envy, such as their use of bright colors, or the way they promote to an audience effectively, and allow it to spark your own promotional ideas.

Fear of change is another mistake that can be costly. After reading this guide, you might find one promotion method that works for you. Use it and master it, but don’t use it exclusively. Experiment with all forms of promotion to change up your look or gain new customers from different backgrounds.

Some risks might fail, but others could open up new possibilities that you hadn’t previously considered. It’s fine to have a fallback method that you know works, but don’t stick to it at the expense of something new. Pay attention to your customer base- if they change you need to adapt and change with them to keep their continued patronage.

Now that we’ve covered the mistakes, let’s get started. Chapter 2 is all about that social media, the online store promoter’s biggest asset in this digital world.


Tons of resources

We're here to help you build your business