Running an online store is just as challenging as running an offline store, even a little bit more challenging because generally people like to see what they are buying before making any financial commitment. As the popular saying goes “won’t you taste Garri before buying it?” There are lots of online stores today in Nigeria, and you have the well-known online stores like Jumia and Konga which people trust enough to patronize. So how do you stand out in a poll of so many online stores? These few tips would guide you:
We all know someone famous or someone near famous. Celebrity or otherwise, ensure they are famous for the right reasons. Not to mention names but you don’t want someone that came to the limelight for the wrong reasons to be your influencer, things could go south before you even start. Send them a free package of your product or services, and in return they say something nice about you. Or give an honest review of the product.
This usually has a ripple effect. Their celebrity friends might contact you and their followers will take the cue and either contact you for the same or luckily it do better and refer you to their friends but that is totally dependent on if your goods/services meet the hype.
Interview industry thought-leaders
This is almost the same with influencer marketing only that this is a more refined audience. Influencers usually talk to a wide audience, either in your target audience or not. But industry thought leaders talk to our main target audience; the people your TA (target audience) will most likely refer to when they need related products or services. Also, this acts as a seal of approval i.e industry thought leaders get to endorse your products/services. Bear in mind that this sometimes or most times comes with a price.
Create a buzz or trend
There is a belief that there is no such thing as bad PR. Well for me that depends. If you sell a product that goes viral based on rumors that it causes cancer, well that’s bad PR, very bad PR! Even if it comes back not to be true, people would still stay away since prevention is better than cure, in this case there is no cure. Creating buzz or running a PR stunt should be carefully thought out. So get in the news for the right reasons, and when you do, milk it to the last drop. Sometimes you get lucky and trend for reasons beyond your control, be ready for such situations and use it to your advantage. An example was when Buhari declared his asset and he said he had just one bank which is Union bank and he had XYZ amount of money in it. The next day’s headline read “Even the President Bank’s with us, so what’s your excuse?”
Participate in events
Depending on your marketing budget, if you can single handedly sponsor a news worthy event, then by all means do, if not be a major part of one. Be a part of the sponsoring team, you don’t really have to make monetary commitment but you can be part by offering free products and services to participants in return for brand exposure or website exposure in this case.
Affiliate or referral marketing
You can’t do it alone. The earlier you realize this the better. Encourage customers and/or users of your shop to invite friends to buy through you and either get paid or get a discount on their next purchase. Everybody loves freebies so this is sure to work. Besides it is tested and trusted.
Optimize your website
You run an online store so this is your best bet. Your site has to be properly optimized for search engines to crawl, also make sure when online users search for your products or services you offer, your website is listed organically on the first page of the SERP (Search Engine Result Page). This usually takes a while it’s advisable to start with a mix of SEO and PPC – Search engine marketing (SEM).
Analyse your website data
Data is everything, in this case, data is king. You need to be able to properly read, analyse and take necessary action from results gotten from your data using various monitoring and tracking tools. No data in traffic is a waste. So get reports from social media platforms, social listening tools, web tracking and so on, making sure that after analyzing your report, necessary actions is taken. E.g. if your most followers on Facebook are men and you run a clothing store, more of your Facebook posting should focus on male outfit as opposed to female clothing.
Be a thought leader (create content)
There is a notion that Nigerians don’t like to read, well maybe, but we like good informatio. Make your brand a relevant source of information in your industry. If you are in the clothing business, your content should include mix and match, fashion for church and so on. Create and latch into trending and industry related hashtags like #FashionFriday. Create yours hopefully you might be known for it.
Complement your brand
Build the right relationship for your business. E.g. if you run a clothing store then you should have shoe store to complement. This is tricky because sometimes complements become competition; the trick is to build relationships with others that are closely aligned to your business but not direct competitors. While it lasts partner up with similar business that complement your products or services.
Conduct Contest and promotional activities
This is a no brainier, I did not want to mention this because I think everybody should know but not mentioning it means undermining its importance and how much it will boost sales. We all like freebies and occasional discount at intervals won’t hurt anyone.
Be active on social media
If I have to explain why you should be big on social media platforms…Well let me. Everybody is there your target audience, potential target audience and more. Social media platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + Snapchat, Pinterest and linkedin. You have to understand what goes on which platform, the frequency of post, tone of each platform and so on.
Have a brand identity
Starting online does not mean you should stay online. Some physical interaction or a face to your brand would help build trust. Payporte did this sometime in November 2015 it was tagged #PayPorteDoubleBlack which was a huge success; in one sentence they sold out.
Finally, make sure your prices aren’t too high compared to that of your competitors or the quality of your service. Unreliable prices only leads to low conversions. Stay slightly below competition but still within a safe profit margin.
I hope you were able to gain some few things. If you did, share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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