Small Business Marketing

4 Proven Online Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

Building it is not enough - if you want business to arrive, you'll need some proven online marketing strategies to drive it. Here are four to start Read more

4 Simple Ways to Increase Leads On Your WordPress Website

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Shared Hosting and IP-Based Spam Lists

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A Friday Story, and Blocking Spam

Have you heard the Friday Story? It's about what happens when you consistently give something for free - and every business owner needs to think about it. We talk about blocking spam Read more

Article Keyword Research - Going Where The Traffic Is

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WordPress - Disable Comments

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4 Proven Online Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 1 Comment

If you just launched your first eCommerce site, complete with products that you’re almost 100% sure people will want to buy, you may find yourself wondering why you’re getting very little activity — next to no sales. That’s where some proven online marketing strategies can come in handy, so keep reading.

In today’s internet-crazed world, people are finding that building a website, especially an online store, is super simple to do. After all, there are plenty of free resources available filled with tutorials on how to set up a website. And most hosting companies will get you started with a powerful content management system like WordPress when you sign up for their hosting services, all without having to lift a finger.

But the problem is, once your site is up and running, you have to take a proactive approach to driving traffic to your site if you want to convert people into customers. If you’re completely lost when it comes to online marketing strategies (in other words, getting people to notice that you exist), it’s a great idea to invest in some specialized online marketing coaching.

In the meantime, check out these 3 great marketing strategies that you can implement no matter how experienced you are in online marketing and promoting your eCommerce store.

1. Focus on Killer Content

It’s not enough to upload a ton of products to your online shop and hope that people will visit and buy. In fact, 92% of people that come to your eCommerce site the first time aren’t there to buy anything. The trick is to get them engaged enough so that if by chance they do leave, they come back in the future and finalize a purchase.

One of the best ways to drive traffic to your website, keep people engaged, and convince potential customers that you have something of value for them (besides the products you’re selling) is to publish consistent blog content. Luckily, eCommerce platforms like Shopify have built-in blogging platforms so you can write informative, entertaining, helpful and original content for your site visitors to read when they visit. There’s a real bonus with choosing content as one of your online marketing strategies: if you write the right content, it’s evergreen, bringing new business to your website every month.

And if you’ve started a Shopify dropshipping business, rather than a traditional online shop, you’ll have plenty of time to create killer content for customers. After all, with drop shipping, all you need to worry about is branding your business, setting competitive prices, and making money. Your suppliers handle everything else from inventory to storage to shipping products to customers.

Do you need help coming up with content ideas?

Check out the awesome Answer the Public tool. Just input a keyword that relates to your eCommerce shop and see what real people on Google are asking.

Answer the Public Keyword Ideas

In the example above, we entered the keyword “coffee maker.” From there we found content ideas such as:

  • Which coffee maker is the best?
  • How to clean a coffee maker?
  • Why coffee maker is not working?
  • Which coffee maker to buy for camping?

If you sell coffee makers (and related products), these are the types of questions your customers are actually asking in Google searches and are perfect blog content ideas.

2. Build a Social Media Presence

Posting on a social media platform like Twitter once a day isn’t going to be enough to get word out that you’re a budding business seeking new customers in the overly competitive online world. In fact, each social media platform there is, from Facebook to LinkedIn, to Instagram and Pinterest, all work differently depending on the industry you’re in.

That said, building a strong social media presence on the platforms your target audience is most likely to frequent is essential to driving traffic and sales.

To start, create a plan that involves deciding what your overall social media goals are. Do you want to increase brand awareness, secure higher quality sales, improve your ROI, or just establish yourself in your niche?

Next, research your social media audience to make sure you’re focusing on the right platforms from the start. For example, LinkedIn is mostly used for B2B businesses.

Social Media on LinkedIn

If you sell high-fashion shoes, chances are your target audience won’t be found scrolling through LinkedIn every day. So, don’t waste your time posting there a lot, if at all. Instead, focus on making the web work for you when it comes to social media by posting relevant content on platforms you know your target audience will see.

Next, follow these best practices to spread awareness about your online business on various social media channels:

  • Share user-generated content on your social media accounts as social proof that there are satisfied customers already buying from you (this generates more interest in your brand)
  • Create a social calendar using a tool like Buffer or CoSchedule to make sure you’re posting on a regular basis, at ideal engagement times, and with enough variety to attract different kinds of people
  • Run social media contests with product or service giveaways to get new people interested in what you’re selling (or encourage existing customers to help spread the word about your brand in exchange for credit to your shop)


Lastly, you can use a free tool like Phlanx to research potential influencers or celebrities that you might want to work with to help you expose your brand to a broader audience.

Celebrity Brand Exposure

This tool shows you not only how many followers someone has, but how engaged their audience is. The more user engagement, the more traffic you can expect to come your way when they endorse your brand.

3. Segment Email Campaigns

Email campaigns are one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get people at all stages of the buying process to engage with your brand and convert.

Once you’ve created a sizeable email list, consider segmenting your subscribers so you can send the right emails to the right people at the right time. It’s estimated that 77% of your email marketing ROI will come from targeted, segmented, and triggered email campaigns.

Think about it. If all you do is send email blasts to your entire list, most of the content in your campaigns won’t be relevant. Would you send a cross-sell campaign to someone that has never made a purchase?

The answer is no. You’d send a welcome email for subscribing and a campaign that includes links to your blog, a discount coupon for first-time buyers, and a CTA button that goes straight to your shop.

If you use MailChimp as your email service provider, you can easily segment your email list according to:

  • Where people are in the sales funnel
  • How often people make purchases from your online store
  • Based on people’s activity (such as email opens, clickthroughs, and site engagement)
  • Whether someone subscribed in exchange for a lead magnet such as a coupon, eBook, or another incentive
  • Demographics such as age, location, gender, and buyer persona
  • Purchase interests, which may have been collected when filling out the signup form
  • And much more


Email Campaigns

Notice how there are various pre-designed campaigns to choose from already in MailChimp? This makes separating your email list and sending campaigns a lot easier. And, when you do it this way, you’ll see an increase in user engagement, social sharing, sales, and site visits, which is the overall goal of online marketing.

4. Initiate Solid Market Research

There was once a time when only big companies could afford market studies. But given the rapid advances of the eCommerce landscape, small businesses can now use market research to steer business growth as well.

Even entrepreneurs who are “just” selling products online from home can easily launch a research initiative for a successful marketing campaign.

You have to use this to your advantage. The information you have right at your fingertips can impact your business more than you think. Keyword research and website analytics are some of the most popular techniques of gathering information about your business.

However, you have to remember that at the heart of all research is understanding your audience. Your customers have a great impact on how you should move forward with marketing, product development, and possible business expansion. Focus on collecting customer-centric information that will help you know and serve them better.

Final Thoughts

Having an online shop is an exciting time, especially when you think about the revenue you can generate. But not having an online marketing plan to let people know your business is up and running and has what they want is a big mistake.

If you want to make sure your business is receiving the recognition, traffic, and conversions it deserves, take the time to implement online marketing strategies like the ones above.

You’ll find that with a little hard work and a few online marketing strategies, people will become interested in what you have to offer, come to your site, and buy your stuff.

A Friday Story, and Blocking Spam

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing Leave a comment

Blocking SpamOne of my clients contacted me because the website I built her has recently been overwhelmed with spam comments. While this isn’t entirely a bad problem to have, as it indicates that your site is getting found, it’s certainly annoying and time-consuming until you find an effective way of blocking spam. Read more

Read a Banned Book This Week

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 3 Comments

It’s Banned Books Week

Gone with the Wind coverSeptember 24 to October 1 is Banned Books Week, which celebrates the right to read and opposes censorship of books.

Many of My Clients Are Authors

Why do I care? Well, I love reading, I live with thousands of books, I care about your right to read what you choose, and learn what you choose. I’m entertained and educated by books, including books that others have attempted to ban.

I read banned books.

To keep it relevant here, however, a significant number of my marketing and website clients are authors. Read more

Email Lists: What Have You Done For Me Lately?

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 2 Comments

I’m sure if you’ve been around the internet marketing community at all, you’ve heard the phrase “it’s all in the list”. While this site isn’t aimed at that market precisely, we’ll take lessons that work, from wherever they appear.

Stay In Touch With Clients

Those of us who run “real” businesses and have face-to-face interactions with our clients also need a list. Partly because the lines are blurring. “Real” businesses can often benefit from adding web-based products to their offerings, for example.

It’s Not Enough To Tell Them To Sign Up

As always, it’s not enough to tell them to give you their email. You need to tell them why – WIIFM – What’s In It For Them. You need a bonus, sometimes called a “freemium” or “ethical bribe”, to entice your reader to part with their email. You need to sell the benefits of giving you their email address, so they act right now. Read more

Selling To People Who Want To Buy

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 2 Comments

So You Sell Stuff…

You sell products.  Or services. And you’d like to sell more, to people who want to buy them. Seems like you’d want to let them know what you sell, particularly in the place that most buyers look first.

Start With Search. Most Buyers Do.


Image via Wikipedia

Imagine the perspective of a potential customer, who wants to buy a product or service. If you wanted to buy a product or service, and you didn’t know where to get it, you’d probably start with a web search. Go do one. Notice what you type in as you search. Is it a brand you’re looking for? Is it a phrase describing benefits? Do a local search if that’s appropriate. See if you can find three companies that offer it on the first page of Google (or your favorite search engine).

“Huh?”, you say. “Of course I can!” But for many items purchased regularly, even those that cost hundreds of dollars, you’ll still struggle to find a seller who wants your money.

For example, let’s say I want to buy a lawn mower, and I don’t know what brand. I could search for lawn mower vancouver. Read more

Marketing Lessons from Dusty Boxes

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 3 Comments

Change Is Good

This week, I’m tangibly aware of change.

You see, I’m preparing to move, and that means finally sorting through dozens of boxes of business materials and software to extract the 5-10% worth keeping. Some of these boxes have been in storage for years, but I don’t feel I can just toss them, since there are a few bits I want to preserve. Read more

Facebook Deals for Retail Business

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 1 Comment

Facebook Deals – New Marketing for Local Business

If you have a local, “bricks and mortar” retail business, you may occasionally curse the competition the web has brought – but Facebook Deals can actually help you bring in more traffic, more new clients to your shop, restaurant, or entertainment venue. And it’s free, for now.

How Facebook Deals Works

As Facebook Director of Local Products Emily White explains in the video, the concept is simple. You can check your iPhone or Android mobile phone, and see a list of nearby retailers, restaurants, or entertainment venues. If a retailer is offering a Deal, you’ll see a yellow square, and can check out that deal instantly. You might find out that your favorite coffee shop is offering a free muffin with the purchase of a coffee, or that an item you’ve been thinking of purchasing is discounted. Read more

No New Years Resolutions!

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 1 Comment

Outcomes, not Resolutions

Your business deserves some marketing attention in the coming year, and this is a great time to think about how you could do things a little differently from last year. If you’re not getting the outcomes you want to see, something needs to change. Doesn’t it?

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

– Albert Einstein

Part of the answer lies in planning your desired outcomes first.

This Isn’t About Goal Setting

Although it feels like it, we’re not talking about goal setting here. We’re certainly not talking about resolutions. In fact, this begins a little closer to a visualization exercise – but what it’s really about is taking back your power to choose. Read more

Testimonials are Powerful Tools

Posted on by Karilee in Small Business Marketing 11 Comments

Testimonials Are Necessary

Testimonials are not only powerful marketing tools, they’re necessary ones. Testimonials are reassuring social proof that your business and your services deliver on their promises.

Gather Ye Rosebuds

Every satisfied client is an opportunity for a new testimonial. Ideally, you want to get those on letterhead at least – letterhead is much more powerful than plain text. Video testimonials are also very powerful, and even short audio clips can help drive your business. A Flip camera (or even your smartphone!) is a great tool for grabbing fast video testimonials. Read more