Seven ways to promote your webshop as a small business owner

You created that webstore on the Sayl Retail e-commerce platform, you entered your products, added some awesome looking product images, provided all the legally required information, and your webshop is ready to welcome visitors... great!

However, if there is one thing for sure in ecommerce: visitors will not flood in just because you open the (virtual) door of your webshop. The effort you have to do to open a webshop is a first step, the ongoing effort to seduce people to visit your webshop is a second one. This second step is for a lot of small business owners a pretty daunting one, as it all comes down to marketing and telling the world how great your webshop is.

To help you promote your webshop, let's give you some tips how to kickstart your publicity.
#1. Social media
The first publicity channel we like to mention is a no-brainer: be present and active on social media. Let the world know that the products that you are selling are worth buying! We're kicking in an open door when we say that an app like Instagram is very useful if you sell products that are very visual. Think about clothes, apparel, cosmetics, ...

Are you selling products that require more explanation and story-telling? Instagram is then less a choice but Facebook could be your primary social media channel. You should also take into account that when your target audience is younger, Facebook will do less the trick. If your buyers are primarily under 30 years old, betting solely on Facebook will generally not work well.

Apart from Facebook and Instagram, don't forget Pinterest (certainly when you are in lifestyle products), or even TikTok could be a potential medium for your business. TikTok was in its starting days primarily used by teenagers and kids, but this has changed the past year.

An extra tip for those posting on Facebook: try to make the content of your Facebook posts valuable, in that sense that you should avoid to always repetitive post a "buy now X", or "buy now Y". One time you post some content, next time you post a commercial post, this way you get a balanced Facebook feed and you don't scare away your followers.

#2. Facebook shops
While we discussed Facebook already in the previous section, it deserves attention that Facebook as a company puts lot of effort to become an ecommerce champion, albeit in a total different manner than Amazon.

Via the Facebook Commerce manager and Catalog Manager you can upload your Sayl Retail product feed into Facebook. Thereafter, you can put your products available in a separate Facebook shop that you can link to your Facebook page. Note that the checkout still happens on your Sayl Retail webshop.

Since Facebook has big plans with Facebook shops, it's definitely a plus if you create a shop that is implemented right into your Facebook page, so your customers can directly browse through your products. The Facebook shop builder also makes it pretty easy to build a category structure that makes sense to your customers.
#3. A blog
Recently we introduced the possibility to create your own webpages in Sayl Retail, which is ideal if you want to add some webpages to your webshop.

Granted, writing articles that inspire and that help your customers take much more effort than simply posting a picture on instagram. Writing blog posts is rather a long-term strategy where you create articles that score well in search engines (the so-called SEO strategy) and that are written in such a way that they respond to the questions of your target audience.

Again, it is crucial to understand your target audience. For example, if you sell products that are offered in like any grocery or drug store in the world, say wash powder, it will be difficult to become in the top 10 of Google - even when you write 100 articles about how great your wash powder is.

For those who want to start with blogging to improve their Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score, these are some golden rules to keep in mind:

- clear H1 title
- correct Header structure (with H2, H3, ...)
- put internal links and external links that give value
- add some images or videos
- make sure to add the words or sentences that you want to score
#4. Facebook / Instagram ads
When you have a Facebook page for your business, you can go to Facebook Business and open an account when you wouldn't yet have one. In Facebook Business it is possible to configure ads that are very targeted - the right age, the right location, the right channel (Facebook news feed, Instagram stories, ...) etc.

Facebook (or Instagram) ads are especially useful when you don't want to apply a long term strategy like SEO. Via targeted ads you can do tests how well certain products score for a certain audience.

For example, when you are a local shop, it could be useful to target your local community and mix local elements that the people in your village or city can recognize. This gives the ads a much more authentic feeling.

Noteworthy is that Sayl Retail supports Facebook pixel. When you put the Facebook pixel on your Sayl Retail shop, you can retarget the visitors of your webshop on a later moment. For example, maybe they were initially not in a buying mood when they visited your shop. By retargeting and showing your ad again, it could be they recognize your shop, and that now you come in a more appropriate time.
#5. Google Ads
Another paid publicity channel are Google ads. Like the Facebook ads, the big advantage of Google ads is that you can quickly reach potential customers. Be sure to follow your Google ads campaign, as the costs can quickly rise. Luckily you can upfront define the budget you want to spend, so you are not surprised after a couple of days.

The difference between Google Ads and Facebook ads is primarily the way how people find your webshop: in Google, people search on keywords and Google will match these keywords with the ads and the related keywords you have selected and defined. In Facebook, as most of you will know, people don't search for keywords, they simply scroll through their feed and it's Facebooks algorithm that will apply the right ad on the right time.

#6. Newsletters
Newsletter or email campaigns are the cheapest solution in terms of budget, and throughout all the years, we have noticed that this way to promote your website or webshop gives a consistent very high Return on Investment. When you start with paid advertising you will quickly realize that your email marketing budget is much lower.
There is one problem though: you need to have email addresses.

There are a tremendous number of articles written on the web that explain you how to collect email addresses - in a legal and privacy compliant way. So in this article we will not go into the details. You should know that in your Sayl Retail webshop it is also possible to ask the customer throughout the check-out phase, to subscribe to your newsletter.

#7. local digital initiatives
Check whether your region or city if there exist apps that are very popular and that can be used as a saleschannel. It could be a loyalty app, a community app, ... not all apps in the world are owned by Facebook, so make sure you know your target audience and which apps or websites or forums they visit. It's possible you can promote your webshop in these apps or forums.

Apply what you learned
Ready to start your own webshop ?