Q4 is the busy period for most sellers, and there are lots of people looking to spend money. How do you increase the likelihood that they will spend it with you?
Letting people know about your products and making them easier to find. This can be done in a number of ways. As we approach Christmas, you won’t want to make BIG upheavals, like a new website, but alone or with help from a specialist company like eBusiness Guru, you can use Facebook and PPC ads, as well as more conventional Social Media, email and SMS marketing, to attract new business, or to draw previous customers back. And it doesn’t have to stop after the New Year, either – these are valuable tools all year round!
PPC (Pay Per Click) Ads
PPC ads feature links to, and information about your store and your products when people search for specific words or phrases you have targeted. You allocate a monthly budget, and a maximum ‘bid’. When someone searches on the platform/site (Facebook and Google are popular) for the word/phrase, the system checks who has it targeted, and asks each to ‘bid for it, until a winner emerges. Whether running out of budget or hitting your upper limit before the next person, a winner pays the appropriate amount from their budget, and their ad is shown on the screen.
The true art of PPC advertising is, firstly, deciding the budget you can afford to spend. You must then decide how to spend it, and on what – There are tools to show you what words and phrases are currently ‘worth’, and their popularity/frequency. You don’t want to bid on a popular word if you know that 10 views will spend the whole month’s budget, especially if it gets searched for 300 times a day. What will you do for the rest of the month?
Social Media Marketing and Promotion
This is getting harder, or at least more expensive, as the different platforms move to monetise things more and more, to get people to see posts promoting services and products. A well targeted post, once seen however, can then spread amongst closed groups of friends rapidly, attracting lots of views from people self-selected by their friends who would be interested (apart from the first viewers, who self-selected by following your brand or company). This vastly improves the odds of a sale. Therefore, the value you place on these posts can often be higher than standard PPC, and you can use a smaller frequency for greater effect.
Posts can be specific, advertising a particular product, especially one that’s on special offer, or a new release.
Don’t forget that different Social Networks reward different approaches and accept different posts. For Twitter, messages are text-based and have a shorter maximum length, though there are now facilities for images and longer posts through link services. Facebook rewards graphical content (including videos) to attract attention, including galleries which can show products and include links to them in the comments or in the text for the image to avoid people getting distracted before they buy!
Instagram and Pinterest are all about the looks and appearance – Bright, interesting images of your products in use will serve you well here, attracting not just one person’s attention, but that of their friends when they share or like them. Pinterest is particularly good for home furnishings, kitchenware, decorative items, clothing and crafting kit. For all items, and on Instagram, it’s best to try and show things in use, too – Dynamism often makes the items more interesting to the ‘passing’ eye.
Linkedin should be used sparingly and only for ‘Professional’ products and services. No-one wants to know that you’re selling My Little Pony dirt cheap on LinkedIn, but they will be interested in Office equipment, furniture or possibly even Professional Grade IT Equipment like Printers or All in One device. Know your target market, and which channels are best targeted with what products.
Alternatively, you can write a post regarding a particular subject and products associated with it – A more editorial approach. In either case, the purpose is to get people to share the post with friends that may be interested, and to get them to click through to the listing and buy.
As with any sort of editorial content, it’s often hard to do if you’re not normally a writer. Keep it simple and give them a reason to look, explain why it’s a good buy – They already clicked because they were interested! The hardest thing about Social Media Marketing is often consistency and timing. You want people to be able to trust you and wait for your posts. And you want to post when the people you’re targeting are likely to see it at the top of their feeds, so over their breakfast, during the commute home, lunchtime, etc. Consider using a product such as Mento to schedule and distribute the posts for you, so you can both post frequently, regularly, and not have to be a full time social media person!
Email marketing is underrated, but effective – If properly written, it can engage with people very well, but there’s a line between true email marketing, and spam. Email marketing should be targeted properly on people interested, or likely to be interested, more than a 50/50 chance, anyway! Spam is just a general broadcast in the hopes 1 or 2 people will respond!
Mailchimp is one of the leading eMail marketing packages on the market, allowing for powerful, customised email templates and campaigns. We have recently released a MailChimp Integration for Linnworks, which makes it easy to get customer’s email addresses into a mailing List. More features will be coming to enhance it, so please, have a look and let us know what you think!
And don’t forget to provide an Unsubscribe option – In the EU at least, it’s the law, and it’s important to respect your customer’s preferences.
In the 21st century, we naturally assume that everyone has a Smartphone in their pocket, to check their emails, social media, take pictures, pinterest, etc. this isn’t entirely true though. But think about the humble SMS, the Text message. Most people DO, however have a mobile phone of some sort, and so they can receive SMSes. This means that, for short posts, you can send a message and a shortened link they can use on the web browser in their smartphone, or they can type into a PC.
We provide an app for Linnworks to enable this, as well as SMS delivery notifications.
There are a lot of ways to promote your products, website and/or store further in the run up to Black Friday and Christmas, let alone the New Year! And once you start, you can continue to do so through the year. If you’re selling in more than one country, you may be able to promote products to different markets at different times, based on their seasons and public holidays, for example.
As with anything, start simple and work upwards. The right tools, or the right help, can be vital in reducing trial and error, and saving time. Feel free to contact us to discuss your options, and see if we can help you or point you to some tools that will at least help you to reduce wasted time and confusion. We’re always happy to discuss the possibilities and options – You’d be surprised at what you can achieve, even just reaching out to people who have bought from you before, let alone brand new prospects!