Post Launch- Acquiring your First Customer
This is the final stage of creating your e-commerce store. In continuation of The E-commerce Blueprint series. After your store goes live, getting customers to shop from you becomes a priority.
The key here is to understand your product in-depth, be aware of what problems they solve, and sell people on their benefits. Make sure to follow up with anyone interested and take the time to thoroughly answer their questions.
The first people to be aware of your business will likely be family and friends, and you can seek their help in getting that first sale. If your product genuinely solves a pain point for anyone in your personal network, sell them on the benefits of buying from you.
This is the same thought process of marketing to potential customers. To get started, ask your immediate family and friends to try out your products, even if you need to provide free samples.
Here we are going to discuss 6 (six) strategies to break into the market:
- Via paid advertisement
- Social media influencers
- Pulling a PR stunt
- Start a referral program
- Contact bloggers
1. Via Paid advertisement:
One of the most common ways to acquire new customers is through online advertising. The reason many eCommerce brands turn to Facebook, Google, and other platforms to run ads is that they provide extensive measurement tools that allow you to optimize your ads and get the most out of your budget.
When it comes to online advertising, Facebook Ads and Google Ads are among the biggest providers for paid traffic. But almost every other social platform like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and marketplace or search engine you can think of offers the option to buy ads, so deciding which one to use is a matter of understanding who your customer is and where they spend their time online.
According to stats from Buffer, Facebook is the biggest social media site in the world, with over 2.2 billion active users. Over the years Facebook has proven to be the best social media site for advertisement and promotion with over 65 million businesses using Facebook Pages and more than six million advertisers actively promoting their business.
Tradift provides a marketing platform to store owners, which enables them to easily advertise their products and store on Facebook to reach a large audience.
Although each paid advertising platform has its uniqueness, they mainly all charge for user impressions (how many times your ad is seen), using a metric called CPMs (cost per one thousand impressions). They also usually allow advertisers to choose who they want to target based on demographics, interests, and other traits.
Tradift also provides store owners with analytics that helps them identify their target market and By using these targeting criteria provided by an online advertising platform, you can narrow in on prospective customers and acquire them through paid ads.
Each advertising platform is different, and you should choose these channels based on who you’re targeting and how the tools allow you to reach potential buyers. If you're targeting specific countries, you might even want to check out which social networks are popular in certain markets.
Before exploring paid social media marketing, populate your main profile's feed with several posts (curating content is an easy way to go). Then it won’t be completely barren of activity when visitors check it out.
2. Social media/Brand influencers:
This is another very good way to penetrating the market. Big brands aren’t the only ones that can harness celebrity endorsements to market their products.
You can work with influencers—creators with sizeable audiences in your niche—to tap into an existing fanbase for traffic and get some content created about your products while you're at it.
If you have a marketing budget, one of the quickest ways to get your product or brand in front of a relevant audience is by paying someone with an online following to promote it for you. Influencer marketing (through Instagrammers, YouTubers, bloggers, etc.) has become a popular form of online advertising, even rivaling referrals from real-life friends according to a survey done by Twitter.
The success of influencer marketing involves finding the right influencers to promote your product. The challenge is identifying those who have an active, engaged following that would be interested in your product, as well as the creative ability to produce content that reflects well on your brand.
Micro-influencers give you access to small, targeted audiences who already have a connection with the influencer and trust them. These influencers actively cultivate engaged and loyal followers and can get your product in front of that audience with their seal of approval.
3. Reach out to bloggers:
It’s no secret that bloggers are always on a hunt for new content and product’s to promote.
With a very captivating story or a fascinating product, you can potentially win a spot on a blog or publication that your ideal customers read. Look for publications that overlap with your niche and try pitching them about your brand.
Here are a few ideas for how you can accomplish this:
- Write and submit a guest post. Share your expertise about a topic, and use your author bio to describe and link to your business.
- Ask for product reviews. Give your product to a blogger for free in exchange for a review.
- Pitch a news story. Use your compelling origin story or unique product as the hook for an interview-style piece.
- Whatever you choose, your pitch needs to be interesting to both the writer and editor you reach out to and to their audience. Consider publications based on the right "fit" first, and look at the size of their readership second.
Recommended for: Entrepreneurs with interesting backstories, unique products that bloggers haven't seen before, entrepreneurs with expertise in their niche who can share it.
Organizing giveaways contest is another quick way to announce yourself in the market and win customers. While giveaways and contests are likely not going to be a daily activity in your marketing strategy, they should still be included. Even having four giveaways or contests a year can yield big returns for your brand.
You can also host giveaways and offer discounts to drum up interest or look into less obvious options such as marketing to B2B (Business to Business) clients and attending trade shows. This will increase your recognition in the market space.
5. Pull a PR stunt:
If you want that first sale fast, pulling a PR stunt could do the trick. The importance of publicity stunts is for generating news interest and awareness for the concept, product, or service being marketed.
Much like viral videos, which are based on the same concept, a PR stunt has the potential to propel your brand into fame. If executed well, you’ll be swapping conventional time-consuming brand marketing with instant publicity, gaining your loyal followers and customers in the process.
Essentially, a PR stunt consists of doing something unusual, outrageous, hilarious, or remarkable enough to be worthy of media attention.
If done correctly, your store could benefit from tons of links from authority news sources, which is great for both traffic in the short term and SEO in the long term.
An example of a good PR stunt is the Warner Leisure Hotels’ anti-age gin. Some PR stunts are deliberately designed to get picked up by journalists looking for a quick and easy ‘news’ story.
When it teamed up with Bompas & Parr to create the world’s first ‘anti-ageing gin’ in 2016, Warner Leisure Hotels knew it could guarantee a headline or two.
Dubbed ‘Anti-aGin’, the tipple’s ingredients include collagen and a variety of antioxidants and ‘skin-healing’ botanicals to help ‘reduce cellulite and sun damage’.
While there’s no real evidence that the gin actually has any real benefits, the stunt certainly garnered attention for Warner Leisure Hotels (and undoubtedly a few sales of the product in its UK hotel bars). A good example of a brand generating buzz from something outside the realms of its core product offering.
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6. Start a referral program:
I’d rather buy from a store that my family or friend recommended than buying from some random store online. People take recommendations personally. Research from Nielson has shown that word-of-mouth referrals are one of the most influential forms of marketing. People trust those they know, so when a friend tells them to check out a new product or brand, they listen.
A referral program will aid loyal customers to easily recruit their friends and a good customer acquisition strategy.
This can be achieved by setting up a referral program in which your existing customers are rewarded each time they get someone new to purchase from your business. Apps like Referral Candy, Loyalty Lion, and Smile.io all offer ways to encourage customers to refer friends through marketing emails, discounts, and incentives for both the customer and their newly recruited friend.
These approaches are very vital in landing your first customer and put you up to speed.