Online marketing for small business
Small Business Guides
7 min read
How many online shoppers have heard of your shop or ecommerce site? Now, how many do you think have heard of Facebook, Google or Amazon? Ecommerce experts, BigCommerce, explain how you can use those online marketplaces to extend your reach and revenue.
Introducing omnichannel marketing
Consumers can interact with a brand in more ways than ever before. They might browse your online shop, visit a physical store, see a print brochure, hear an ad on the radio, or reach you through an app.
When you promote products through several of these avenues, you're omnichannel marketing. BigCommerce takes that definition a little further. They encourage small businesses to sell their goods through multiple online channels, including big online marketplaces like Facebook, Pinterest, Google Shopping, Amazon and eBay.
It’s a great business move. Imagine how much extra brand exposure and revenue it could bring. And best of all, it won’t cost you much effort or money. If you have the right ecommerce platform, you can run all your storefronts from one dashboard.
Why it works for small business
Omnichannel marketing helps you cast a wider net. When people go to their favourite shopping sites – the places they visit most – you’ll be there. It’s accessible, affordable online marketing for small business that will get a lot more eyeballs on your products. On top of that, you’ll take advantage of the reputations those sites have for reliable shipping and trusted payment gateways.
While your personal ecommerce site will always be the main hub of your business’s online activity, it makes sense to try and reach more customers by using popular online marketplaces. Here’s how to do it without creating a heap of extra work for yourself.
Many businesses already have a Facebook page running alongside their own website. As you add content to your Facebook page and build an audience, you should think about how to convert those followers into paying customers. Don’t complicate things by sending them to your website to buy products. Let them make the purchase right there on Facebook.
It’s a really simple way to boost online marketing for small businesses who already have a Facebook page. To set up your shop, go to your company Facebook page, click the Shop section and add photos and details of your products. Customers who already ‘like’ your page will see when you upload new products. You can also use Facebook’s cost-effective advertising options to reach new customers.
Putting your products on Facebook can increase sales, boost brand recognition and win you more ‘likes’. It’s quite easy to make your Facebook shop consistent with your brand through the use of cover, product and profile images.
Tech accessories company, Native Union, saw an immediate impact when they opened a Facebook shop. “It represents an additional channel to help new customers discover our brand," says owner, Tanya Keller. "Facebook drives awareness for our products, and increases traffic to our store.”
Native Union's Facebook shop has increased ecommerce traffic.
If you think of Pinterest as just a home to inspiration boards, think again. With 100 million active monthly users, it’s fantastic online marketing for your small business. You can post products there for members to pin or buy. And buy they do:
93% use Pinterest to plan purchases
87% have made a purchase because of Pinterest
Pinterest also allows users to save shipping and payment info, so browsers are only ever two clicks away from making a purchase.
A versatile ecommerce platform will integrate easily with Pinterest. That will allow you to run your Pinterest store and the shop on your business's website from one place.
Selling on Google extends your reach to customers around the world. It also highlights that you’re a local shop when someone in the area is searching for products.
Baby-goods maker, Organic Munchkin, tripled their revenue stream when they signed up to the service. Founder and CEO, Peter Baseio, says it brought in customers they never knew they could reach.
“Google Shopping allows our products to be listed in a more natural format, increasing brand awareness for our niche market.”
When using the service, you get access to a number of promotional tools, such as AdWords, shopping campaigns, remarketing tools, and product ratings.
To get started, set up a Google account then log into the Google Merchant Center to upload your product details. If you’re using BigCommerce for your website’s store, you can just transfer that same inventory to your Google store. Any changes you make to your website shop will automatically update to Google as well.
Setting up a Google Shop is easy with the right small business ecommerce platform.
Amazon and eBay
Amazon is the world’s most popular marketplace, with 45% of shoppers starting their product search there. eBay boasts 162 million shoppers and makes it incredibly easy to sell and track inventory.
One of the difficult things about online marketing for small businesses is finding an audience. You’re competing against big online retailers with huge ad spends and high Google rankings. Using online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, with their built-in audience of eager buyers, can level the playing field.
The Dairy Fairy uses Amazon for search purposes, but still pushes their own ecommerce store. Owner, Emily Ironi, says it’s doubled their sales.
“What that tells me is that there’s a whole slew of people who didn’t know I existed until they saw me on Amazon. It’s working way better than a Google search for me.”
She says it’s really important for small businesses to maintain their own retail presence as well.
“I find that it’s still critical to have your own shop too. You have a lot more control over everything – and also your interaction with customers. It’s about finding that perfect balance.”
It's not as easy to brand your Amazon or eBay storefront as it is with other online marketplaces. However, you can run these storefronts with the same ecommerce platform that you use for your own website – making it easy to track orders and manage inventory.
Make it easy on yourself
Omnichannel marketing sounds great, but how do you keep up with it all? Running one online shop is tough enough.
Fortunately you can manage multiple storefronts from one place. The Channel Manager from BigCommerce, for example, gives you a single dashboard to control all your storefronts – including your own website and multiple online marketplaces.
Using a single piece of software for everything makes it simpler to:
keep a single database of all your customers – no matter where they bought your product
No matter where you make a sale, you can process it, fulfill it and track it from one central location. You’ll extend your reach and revenue potential without adding to your workload. It’s the ultimate in online marketing for small businesses that are short on time and budget.
Bring it all together
Integration is the key when thinking about omnichannel marketing. Your ecommerce platform should be able to manage multiple shopfronts – and it should plug into your accounting software too. That way your revenue and tax data will be processed as you go.
Once you have a system like this set up, a big chunk of your business will be automated. You can stay on top of everything by checking a few dashboards and confirming stock orders.
Online marketing for small business is getting easier
Today’s consumers value convenience and flexibility. No one gives them that more than big online marketplaces which offer:
trusted payment gateways
masses of products
Why not post your products there and cash in on the opportunity?
Just be aware that omnichannel marketing is about more than setting up multiple storefronts. Think of it as creating a brand experience that reaches customers wherever they are. It’s important to use consistent messaging across channels, giving customers a similar brand experience regardless of how they purchase your products.