If you've ever watched Shark Tank, you know how much backlash an entrepreneur can get for spending too much money on promotions and marketing on a young product or company. Simply put, consistently throwing money at an idea is no way to replace clever, quality marketing tactics, many of which are cheap or completely free. So how do you inexpensively market your ecommerce products?
The options are all around you, with things like social media, SEO and content marketing. We'll discuss those a bit, but we also want to expand on how to make your company stand out in the more commonly known free marketing arenas. In addition, we'll offer some suggestions for more unique marketing methods that keep costs low.
Whether you're marketing an individual product or trying to get the word out about an entire collection of items, you have an incredible selection of tools and tactics for marketing without breaking the bank.
How to Market Ecommerce Products for Free
Ideally you'd like to completely cut out expenses for your marketing. It's obviously going to take time (which translates into money) to follow through with some of these marketing tactics, but most smaller online stores have more time than they have actual cash. So these are more unique takes on the free marketing strategies you often see online.
Pair an Incredible Deal with an Even Better Call to Action on Your Site
Newer online stores often forget the value of a great call to action as a header or in the website slider. When introducing a new product you have the chance to make a beautiful design that's optimized for clicks. Before that, think of a wonderful deal that's going to get people talking about the product. It may seem nice to offer 15% off, but customers see stuff like that everywhere.
A better example comes from the Kutoa company, where they feed a child in need whenever someone buys one of their bars. Being successful with this ties into having a great banner and call to action, but the point is to think outside of the “percentage off” box. Sure, people like promotions, but you have far more options, such as:
- Entering people into a large raffle if they buy.
- Featuring them on your website.
- Including them in your next video.
- Giving away free shipping for that product only.
- Doing a BOGO instead of simply discounting a product.
Put Customer Stories in Print
People love seeing their names and faces in print and on TV. It's why when someone gets on the local news they immediately tell everyone they know (even if it's for a random interview on the street).
Whether you hold a contest or simply reach out to your customers to find cool stories, your other customers are far more likely to read and share about regular people using the product.
If you read magazines, you'll notice that many of them have letters from readers or pictures from around the world. And you know those customers get super excited to see their face in a magazine!
Take Dollar Shave Club for example. They have a nice blog with tons of content, but the company also sends out a physical newsletter featuring stories from their customers. Not only does it highlight some cool things these people do, but it gives advertising for their small businesses and sends their picture out to thousands of subscribers.
Generate Amazing Gift Guides for Your Customers
Gift guides strengthen SEO and are prime content that you know your customers are going to love and share. From holiday to birthday gift guides, you can affordably generate these pages and send them out to influencers to talk about.
Go on Facebook Live and Answer Questions
There's one really cool thing about Facebook Live: It automatically notifies every single person currently following your page.
And you can record anything you want, from live events to Q&As that are bound to be less hostile than a Reddit AMA.
Pat Flynn sells everything from eBooks to affiliate products on his site, and he's known for going on Facebook Live to outline a topic then take questions from users. Not only is this a more direct way of communicating with people, but it's free!
How to Market Ecommerce Products for Cheap
Some of the best marketing techniques are very close to being free.
Give Out Free Gifts for Great Customers (Then Ask Them to Talk About It)
You can't demand a nice review on your company after giving out a free gift. However. you can surprise people with gifts and hope that they write a Yelp or Google review. On the other hand, you could offer a free gift and simply make the suggestion of writing something nice. Who knows, you might even be able to find a customer who blogs about your product.
Create a Giveaway That Asks for Shares or Some Sort of Creation
One of the most popular consumer content marketing schemes of all time was called Crash the Super Bowl from Doritos. It asked customers to make funny Doritos commercials for a chance to win $1 million and get the commercial aired.
Obviously $1 million isn't feasible for smaller online stores, but the idea is to think of ways your customers can win a little something after making content for your company. For instance, you might ask for pictures of customers using your product, or maybe people would rather create quick Facebook videos showing the products in action.
Make an Affiliate Program With No Difficult Signups
Affiliate networks like Rakuten and Clickbank are intimidating for new affiliates to sign up. They're not terrible, but you have much better options like Shopify apps and WordPress plugins. Our suggestion is to make the affiliate process as simple as possible, then offer an extremely competitive commission when someone recommends your product.
Are You Ready to Inexpensively Market Your Ecommerce Products?
Don't forget about the old faithfuls of email marketing, social media interaction and the other less expensive aspects of marketing. In fact, most businesses get their free marketing started off with a solid email marketing campaign.
Take these tips to keep your marketing costs low, and let us know in the comments if you have any other suggestions.