You have the products ready to sell and ship, but you lack the customers. Or maybe you already have a loyal customer base, but want to increase sales. Internet marketing is the solution, the key to growing your online store. For it to work, your online marketing strategy doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming.

At CWT, we’ve asked our users and followers what their biggest challenge is when it comes to promoting a small business. The results have been clear: Most people find it difficult to get more customers or grow sales.

Circled Infographic on SMB Marketing Challenges

Because we at CWT like to listen to our audiences, we’ve put together this list of five simple steps to help you create the online marketing strategy for your business. We’ll teach you how to discover what works best to attract more customers and drive sales.
Tip: If you want to read more information about how to create a successful online store, don’t miss this step-by-step guide on how to start selling online.

Step 1: Free Word of Mouth Marketing

To begin with, it is important to get people to access through the “virtual door”, so to speak. Contact your family, your friends, your business contacts and even your suppliers to start selling and, above all, to leave you the first comments. This way you can address the main aspects of your store that need to be improved.

Also, if the experience is positive, it will inspire first-time buyers to recommend you to their friends and colleagues at work. By giving them a reason to talk about your store (eg, a positive shopping experience), you are already taking the first step towards a solid online marketing strategy.

Step 2: Register your business with Google (and everywhere else)

Company profiles place your store on the virtual map. For example, registering your business with Google helps people find you through search engines and get basic information about your store, and it’s free! On the other hand, having up-to-date information on Google also helps your SEO (we’ll tell you more about this later in this article). From the perspective of an online marketing strategy, there is no question of its effectiveness.

Tip: To streamline the process, try CWT’s Company Profile feature. This service updates your information on multiple platforms and web directories automatically.

Step 3: Use Social Media Marketing to Reach New Customers

To expand your customer base you may need to start with paid advertising. Social networks are the perfect way to reach your target audience. If you can create the ideal customer model (buyer persona) for your store, you will know who to reach with your advertising. Consider the basic demographic information that defines your average customer, such as age, gender, location, and interests, and use it to guide your initial advertising investment.

Many of the social media tools, like the statistics tool Instagram Insights, include statistics on the performance of your posts and ads (known as analytics). This lets you know which methods work best for your store.

Tip: For more detailed information on how to grow your business with social media, we’ve created a guide on how to do social media marketing.

Step 4: Use your new customer base

It’s time to use your most valuable resource to build brand loyalty: the customers you already have. If you reward old shoppers with benefits like discounts or custom packaging, they’ll leave the store with a happy shopping experience that will make them feel valued and want to come back.

Another alternative can also be to mention customers on social networks and in newsletters or send them personalized thank you notes.

Tip: Comments can also be a useful tool for growing your customer base. When making a purchase, consumers tend to feel much more confident if someone they know, or even “influencers” on social networks, recommend it.

Step 5: SEO vs. BE; What is it and why do i need it?

SEO and SEA are two three-letter acronyms that can play a very important role in the long-term success of your online marketing strategy for your store.

  • The SEO, or search engine optimization, is a long-term investment. However, the good news is that it doesn’t cost money. The idea is to include common and relevant keywords that people search for the descriptions of your products, the pages and the images of your online store. Even if you spend a little time optimizing your store and achieve good search engine rankings, you will still reap benefits in the long run, as we explained in our article on SEO for beginners.
  • The BE, or search engine advertising, basically involves paying search engines like Google to show your ads every time a person searches for keywords related to your store or the products you offer. If you do it the right way, it allows you to reach more potential customers.

Once you discover the keywords for your store and the products you offer, and the type of customers you want to target, SEO and SEA become tools that you can use to increase web traffic to your online store.

With these five steps we only give you an overview of how to start planning your online marketing strategy for your store. For more specific web design tips and tricks, visit the CWT blog.