Budget Marketing for the Online Retailer

So you have this great website to showcase your products. You have crisp, detailed photographs with concise descriptions, maybe a few testimonials from previous customers. You offer a mailing list to keep in touch with visitors, sending the occasional discount or incentive to buy. Keywords are strategically placed, META data is set, and all the pictures are tagged.

You want to attract visitors, but don’t have much money toward serious online advertising, where you expect to find the bulk of your business. Does this mean your site is doomed to obscurity while the big players reap all the traffic? Not necessarily. If you sell a unique product that can’t be found at the major online retail sites, you can definitely use the selling point to your advantage with some unique marketing techniques.

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Here are some handy tips to get you started on the path to greater visibility online for your products. Many require only the investment of time, and won’t bust your budget.

Be an expert!

Whether you are selling jewelry, books, sports equipment, or anything at all, you can supplement the information on products with website content. Specifically, you can write articles relevant to what you sell.

More important than META tags and URL submission in SEO is site content. The more relevant content on your website, the more likely your site will show in search results. Add a library of articles on your website related to your products. If you sell sports equipment, why not write about the history of various sports, or the rules of the games? If you make and sell your own jewelry, write informative articles on how others can do the same, or perhaps write about what one should look for when buying jewelry.

Know your topics, be a trusted resource, and gain the trust of readers. In turn, you may gain a few customers.

Spread the word!

As you build your library of information, share your wisdom with the world by distributing your articles via an online article database. Thousands of website owners search for free content to use on their sites, and article databases allow writers to share their information in exchange for free publicity! When you apply to submit essays to a database, you stand to expose your name and URL to thousands of readers.

As website owners agree to use your work they are obliged to link to your site, thereby increasing your link popularity.

Make new friends (and keep the old)!

“Social networking” is the new buzzword in online promotion. This refers to websites like MySpace that allow users to create online profiles and network with like-minded people through weblogs and private messaging. You might notice that TV shows and music groups use MySpace to promote themselves, and MySpace can also be a haven for retailers, authors, and others looking to expand their reach.

By securing your own MySpace, you not only are solidifying your name as a brand, but you open another opportunity to reach readers. If you sell hobby items, reach out to the MySpace members who partake in those hobbies. If you sell sports equipment, find the athletes. Be subtle in your promotion, so it won’t appear as though you are spamming anybody, and maybe offer incentives and discounts to people through social networking sites.

Podcast your stuff!

Why offer only a text description of your products, when you can give visitors a podcast? Podcasts are used for promoting music groups and authors, why not retailers? A microphone and audio editing software like Audacity can have you podcasting in mere minutes. Engage visitors with a friendly message about your products, what inspired you to sell them, and offer other anecdotes related to your business. You would be surprised to know how well readers relate to a voice translation of your work. Let out your inner actor and sell your story with a unique style.

These are just some ways you can put the spark in your sales. By bulking up the content of your website and sharing your expertise on a grander scale, you open the door for customers who may not hear of you otherwise.

Nicole Hennig
Nicole Hennig is a freelance writer, content writer, blogger, and also a photographer. She graduated from the University of Caloocan in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015.

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