Running a successful online shop is certainly no easy feat. Thanks to new ecommerce platforms and tools, though, you can automate many of the more mundane tasks, which allows you to focus on the important things such as marketing. As your business grows, it is crucial that you squeeze all you can out of every dollar you spend on advertising. The following marketing tips will help you do just that.

Tell People why You Do what You Do

It’s an incredibly competitive time for just about any business in every industry. As a result, consumers want to know more about why you sell what you sell – not just more about what you sell. Be sure that your branding efforts answer the question “Why?” and you might be surprised at how receptive people become. This is one of the most important branding tips for 2018 and beyond.

Connect with Your Online Audience

Nothing will help drive success like interacting with your audience regularly. Answering social media comments and responding to emails is a great start, but in today’s world, it isn’t enough. Consider hosting a regular livestream where you answer your customers’ questions or demonstrate one of your products or services. These marketing tips truly drive engagement and give people an opportunity to learn more about you. Better still, you can learn more about your audience, too.

Optimize Your Voicemail

Instead of, “You’ve reached us outside of normal business hours, so call back between 9am and 5pm,” try something a little more flexible. Options include asking your callers to visit your website, setting up an automated system that answers some of the most frequently asked questions, or both.

Pair Up with Other Small Companies

If you want to double your exposure without doubling your marketing budget, consider pairing up with another business that offers a complementary service. For example, if you sell baked goods and you want to offer a promotion, think about pairing up with a company that sells coffee beans. When consumers order from both companies, they get a discount, a gift certificate, or a free gift of some kind.

Build a Network

People can skip television commercials and listen to ad-free radio thanks to today’s new technologies, but they can’t really escape word-of-mouth advertising. It is incredibly powerful, and that’s why building a network is one of the best marketing tips for 2018 and beyond. When you have a network of established, reputable business owners at your side, the word-of-mouth advertising is even more powerful. You can thank those in your network by offering to write guest blog posts, by linking to their stores from yours, and more.

Put Calls to Action Everywhere

If you think the only place you need to put a call to action (CTA) is on your checkout page, you’re missing out on a fantastic opportunity to improve your marketing. In fact, putting calls to action anywhere and everywhere is one of the best marketing tips you could ever receive – but only if you do it correctly. CTAs can range from strong to soft, meaning they can be as bold as “Buy Right Now!” or subtly hidden within a product description. The more you hint, and the more you nudge, the more sales you’re likely to make.

Keep Your Brand Consistent

One of the most important (and most timeless) marketing tips involves keeping your brand’s image consistent across all marketing channels. Your logo and slogan can certainly help with this, but there are other things that come into play, too. For example, if your identity is one of humor, make sure most of your posts are witty, clever, or funny. This helps you build the image you want for your brand, and if you aren’t consistent across all your channels, you’ll just confuse your audience.

Keep Your Website Fresh

Of all the marketing tips you will ever receive when it comes to running an ecommerce-based business, this is the one that should resonate the most. Your website is quite literally a portal through which sales are made, and if people cannot find or navigate your site, they can’t buy anything. Update your website regularly with fresh products, descriptions, blog posts, and images, and be sure you’re as SEO-optimized as possible, too.

Write a Blog

In this case, you have two options. If you have good writing skills and enough time, you can write your own blog. One or two new optimized posts a week is usually sufficient to help keep your website fresh and traffic flowing along. If you’re not sure what to blog about, write about whatever it is that you’ve changed recently. Are you selling a new product? Do you like it? Did you add new features to your SaaS (software as a service) offering? How can they help your customers? These are all wonderful and relevant blog topics.

Spend Time Answering Questions on Forums

Of all the different marketing tips that seem to have very little to do with actually advertising your business, this one may seem the strangest at first. However, by spending your time answering questions about topics related to the things you sell, you’re doing three important things. First, you’re getting your name out there, assuming you’re answering using your company’s name. Second, you’re gaining the trust of the people who need help, which means they are more likely to buy from you. Finally, you’re giving your company a more professional image, which helps make your brand more memorable.

Offer Free Trials or Mini Sizes

This does not work for every single seller in every single industry, but it can be beneficial to many. If you’re selling a consumable product, consider offering a “mini” version that people can try without spending too much. You might also consider sending free “mini” samples with each order as a surprise for your customers. They will be happy, and you’ll be advertising in one of the most efficient ways possible. If you sell a digital product or service, consider offering a free trial for seven, 14, or even 30 days.

Remember: Email Marketing Is Still Relevant

Marketing tips have changed over the years, but one thing remains the same from list to list – email marketing is still very much relevant. If you’re using a platform like WooCommerce, there are numerous plugins that work with your favorite mail clients such as MailChimp. You can send timed emails, welcome emails, reminders, birthday and holiday emails, and more.

There is no doubt that any of these marketing tips can do a great deal for your business, but the more of them you choose to implement, the more growth you are likely to see. Start with just one or two, then gradually incorporate more. You will be surprised at just how much more traffic and sales you can generate.