How to promote products online
Business is different. As well as offline, you need to promote goods and services on the Internet in different ways. In this publication, we will try to delve into one of the main areas of business - retail or the sale of goods on the Internet at retail. Speaking about the promotion of goods, we are not talking about specific ways of promoting on the Internet, but about marketing and promoting goods using a whole range of these tools and consistent, regular actions.
Promotion of business on the Internet: general provisions.
To promote a business online, just like offline, you need something to promote. It is impossible to just go and “do business on the Internet” if you do not know how to manage processes, in principle. Therefore, further, I will start from the specific cases of our clients, so as not to be unfounded in the eyes of experienced entrepreneurs and to clarify the situation a little for those who are just going to do business on the Internet.
By the way, saying “Business on the Internet” and referring to the promotion of offline business on the Internet, we make a mistake. "Business on the Internet" - means a business that operates entirely on the Internet and the entire sales cycle is carried out there. “Business on the Internet” can be called, for example, a payment system or an online hotel booking service. The site of a company providing legal services is not allowed, this is a site. “Business on the Internet” can be called a law firm that provides advice and support online.
Now that we have dealt with the “materiel”, let's move on to more specific things and figure out how to promote products on the Internet.
Promotion of goods on the Internet
Promotion of goods on the Internet is fundamentally different from the promotion of services. The reasons for this are simple: online payment and delivery of goods. That is, modern technologies give us the opportunity to organize business processes in such a way that the user can purchase goods without leaving the browser, without any contact with the offline departments of the company. This is what online stores are for.
This allows you to achieve several business goals at once:
- Sales department optimization. (in extreme cases, replacing it with an outsourced call center or reducing it to a minimum - a few people to confirm orders, depending on their number).
- Additional sales channel. (for many owners of offline businesses, promoting goods on the Internet quickly becomes a sales channel that generates 30-50% of profit in the first two years).
- Diversification of income sources (against the background of the coronavirus pandemic, we can see this very clearly. those who had only “offline” suffered losses, and those who had a business presented online - survive the crisis much easier).
- Automation of business processes (using online payment settings, connecting delivery modules - you can automatically transfer all information to internal accounting tools, for example, CRM / 1C, which also quite simplifies the warehouse accounting process and the purchase process).
- Loyalty program, returning customers (offline, the process of re-promoting goods to a client is difficult, online - just create a personal account, collect user data and use Internet marketing tools to return customers for new purchases, offering discounts and bonuses, notifying about new promotions).
- Collection of personal data (to promote products on the Internet - means (if you read between the lines) to collect data from users who enter your site, leave orders and complete carts for the purpose of subsequent use for your business).
If this is not enough - then you have a very good offline business and you do not need internet marketing. But I have not seen such businesses. Development opportunities are limited only by the ambitions of the owner or director of the company. For example, one of our clients that we help to promote products online (an online clothing store) created his own marketplace and now he sells products of other small brands in order to profit from commissions from their products. Here is an additional way for you to profit from an already existing and functioning business promotion on the Internet.
How to start promoting goods on the Internet?
Let's skip all the steps in which I can talk about “positioning”, “brand”, “target audience” and “consumer profile” - there is a lot of this on the Internet, just ask Google. The only thing I would like to focus on is the marketing funnel. Without unnecessary buzzwords, this is the study of the user's path from the first touch with the brand / product / advertisement to the purchase, as well as his return to the site in order to return for sale / resale. Below - I will talk about the elements of this funnel and what they can be.
Now we will move on to the specifics, to the channels of promotion on the Internet, which make up the marketing funnel for promoting goods on the Internet.
Promotion of goods through your own online store
An online store is not really a “channel” of promotion on the Internet. This is an endpoint for collecting user data and accumulating traffic from the Internet in one place, on a site that belongs to you.
Why is your own online store more efficient than other people's marketplaces or stores on prom.ua or the like? There are a number of reasons for this:
- own product catalog. users who come to your online store do not “walk” through other people's catalogs and products, as on marketplaces. You do not compete with other people's products and prices. The entire range presented in the online store is presented by you. In addition, you have the opportunity to group the catalog and sort it according to the principle that is beneficial to you. For example, to promote seasonal goods or goods “stale” in the warehouse to the top of the catalog, put down the labels “TOP sales” or “Recommended” to stimulate demand for these goods. without my own product catalog, doing advertising on Google or Facebook seems to me like a waste of money and the potential of advertising.
- a direct way to receive payments and organize logistics. As well as integration with internal programs and accounting tools. There is no need to do a huge number of uploads, downloads, rediscounts and commission calculations.
- own loyalty program and discounts. Almost all modern online stores use internal loyalty programs implemented through personal accounts and discounts to promote goods on the Internet. For example, one of our clients, who manufactures and sells offline jewelry, has a great loyalty program with cashback. Part of the order amount is returned to your personal account in the form of bonuses, which can then be used to receive a discount. It is currently impossible to implement such functionality on a foreign site in Ukraine.
- flexible system of discounts and promotions. By developing your own online store, you can manage discounts and promotions yourself. For example, set a percentage discount or set a fixed one, make promotions for certain goods or groups of goods, sort goods in the catalog by discounts, discount size or volume. Also, “discount coupons” in exchange for user contact details or registration are now very popular.
- collection of advertising audience. We got to the main (in my opinion) advantage of promoting goods in an online store. By connecting even minimal marketing tools to promote a product on the Internet, such as Google tag manager, Google analytics and Facebook pixel, you will have the opportunity to “collect” the audience that came to your online store. This does not mean that you will be able to get the emails and phone numbers of all users who visit your site (to do this, they must leave a request, buy something by filling out the appropriate form, or share data in exchange for a coupon, as I wrote above). Having “gathered” an audience with the help of the above tools for promoting goods on the Internet, you can “catch up” with them with cheap advertising or, as it is rightly called, “remarketing”. Surely, you have noticed how, having entered the site and viewed the product, for several days on social networks, on websites and applications, you are haunted by advertising for this product, reminding you of yourself. Even if this does not stimulate you to buy, believe me, there are a huge number of people for whom such reminders are enough incentive to return to the store. Especially if you offer an additional promotional code for a discount.
- SEO promotion. SEO promotion in the top Google / Yandex is impossible on marketplaces or other sites. Your site simply won't be good enough.
- brand promotion. Developing a brand on resources like ozon or rozetka is very difficult. A small window on the site stands out for your corporate identity. If you get noticed at all, you're in luck. If they remember, you can open champagne.
But! It is important to note that promoting goods on the Internet using your own online store requires a lot of effort and willingness on the part of the company:
- It is necessary that you understand how the tools described above work, in principle, and be able to calculate the margin minus the cost of attracting one client. If the loyalty program is new to you, it will most likely take a long time to learn how to work with it. Similarly with discounts - not everyone knows how to count them.
- It is important to prepare for advertising spending. It doesn't always work out the first time. Promotion of goods on the Internet is a process, the result rarely comes immediately. You invest in the future just like with any other business, collecting user data, advertising audiences, and studying how your product sells online.
- Good development is expensive. The development of an online store with the functionality described by me above will cost you (in total with the content and all marketing settings) at least 6-10 thousand dollars! This is just a start, then the promotion of goods on the Internet begins directly. So if you don’t have that kind of budget, it might be worth trying to start with something simpler and gradually gain momentum.
- Availability of assortment. Even for mono-brand companies, assortment is important. Because, for example, for SEO promotion, a large number of goods and an assortment are important. Similarly with the catalog - do you need it with a small assortment? If you have three products, it's more logical to start with a simple landing page with an acquiring function and not waste a lot of time working on a catalog that turns out to be unnecessary :)
- Established internal processes. If you lose payments and do not count the net profit from each product, you will not be able to calculate the cost of attracting a client.
Promotion of goods on the Internet on marketplaces
If you read my text above and came to the conclusion that an online store is not suitable for you yet, there is a great way to promote goods. These are marketplaces.
Now every second large online store is in fact a marketplace, while their number is growing. In addition to such marketplaces as rozetka, prom, shafa, bigl, lamoda, kasta, allo and others have already been added. Whatever category of product you sell, I assure you that there is at least one marketplace that will accept your product.
The fact is that the more pages a marketplace has, the better it advances in SEO results (taking into account the semantic core, of course!). Therefore, the marketplaces of those who have a product, and those who have a product, are looking for marketplaces.
Pros of promotion through the marketplace:
No large investments to “enter” the marketplace.You just contact the marketplace or read the instructions, create an account, upload products - and go!
- The ability to register on a large number of marketplaces to promote goods on the Internet and receive orders by lowering the price. Marketplaces usually have a huge number of products. But they are all +/- in the same price range. Like the market. Those who are closer to the exit are more expensive, those who are deeper are cheaper. Only instead of “entry” to the market - top results by filter. Nevertheless, there is the most popular button, which is clicked by more than 80% of users - sorting by price ascending. Accordingly, we will set the lowest price - you can get more orders.
- No need for an advertising budget and independent promotion of goods on the Internet. Of course, you can advertise inside a large marketplace, but it will still be much cheaper than working with google or facebook.
- You can postpone the development of an online store and test the product line.
- If you have a small assortment (up to 500 products - marketplaces are perfect for you).
Disadvantages of promotion through the marketplace:
- No opportunity to fully promote the brand.
- You do not collect user data and do not collect an audience.
- You are tied to the formats and tools of the marketplace owner.
- Inconvenience in working with a large assortment.
- You control the flow of customers and compete within the resource's current audience. This is not always bad, but more often it interferes with development. Especially if placed on a small number of marketplaces.
Promotion of goods through Facebook / Instagram stores.
This is also a great way to promote products online. It works especially well in conjunction with the placement of goods on marketplaces. These two methods seem to complement each other. It is difficult to attract people to Facebook and Instagram pages without advertising. There are people on marketplaces. Marketplaces are difficult to develop a brand, and social networks are a great way to do this. This is not the whole list, these two ways of promoting products on the Internet really complement each other quite well.
The main advantages of promoting goods on the Internet in social networks:
- Gathering an audience and direct contact with customers
- The ability to receive money directly from the client.
- Only your own assortment
- The ability to promote your own brand
The main disadvantages of promoting goods on the Internet using facebook / instagram:
- Lack of product cataloging (this is terrible, especially if the product line is changeable)
- Lack of acquiring (payment on the Internet)
- Lack of automation of the processes of purchase and selection of goods, size and other things.
- It's hard to build an audience without ads.
Here are some links that can bring you profit in the future if you plan to promote products on the Internet through social networks + marketplaces.
- Get user contacts on the marketplace, give a link to instagram with a promo code for a small discount on your next purchase. Incentivize to subscribe + loyalize the client for subsequent interaction.
- In order for users to see all the products in the catalog, leave a link to your card on the marketplace in the profile link. Give the user the opportunity to view the entire range. (this works especially well with prom shops).
- Ask to leave a review about you on facebook - for additional contact with the audience and increase the audience. You can also give some kind of promotional code or other “bun”.
This is just a series of interactions. Because there is the possibility of mass following on Instagram and Facebook, which we did not talk about, promotion by geolocation, posting information in the media or cross-posting. It all exists, but we are now looking at the big picture. Promoting goods on the Internet social networks is necessary and possible. However, this does not always bring an accurate, measurable result in the form of profit. For example, we have clients who are doing well with the promotion of goods on the Internet using SEO and marketplaces, but at the same time, promotion through social networks is not going at all. And all because our client sells boilers. And mass following won't help here. Only advertising and SEO will help. Therefore, promotion in social networks for local brands is super. For large distributors and manufacturers, this is a way to communicate with the audience and another marketing channel for promoting products on the Internet.
Promotion of goods on the Internet: brief conclusions.
If you have a profitable business offline and want to go online, it's better to start with something simple. For example, from a template. Test the niche, contractors for development, advertising, SEO, and then in a year and a half, move on to developing a full-fledged online store. During this time, you will have the opportunity to achieve maximum SEO performance, as well as understand how to generally promote products on the Internet.
If you still have a small assortment and not very big ambitions, it's better to start trying to promote goods on the Internet using social networks and marketplaces. I am sure that in a year or two you will grow up and understand what step to take next.
If you already have an online store, but it works “incomprehensibly” or “poorly” or “does not give orders” - you need to either thoroughly review the results of the work of contractors or order a new online store. One of our clients, a large manufacturer of automotive accessories, had SEO contractors who “promoted” the site for two years. When we started working, it turned out that the entire directory was out of the Google index. This means that Google - did not see the products on the site.Only normal pages with blog type content. For those who understand at least a little about SEO, it will immediately become clear what a colossal mistake this is. The resource collected traffic, mainly for branded queries, but there was no promotion of goods on the Internet, in a search engine!
Therefore, always check the work of the contractor and demand the achievement of the set kpi. At the same time, you will have to delve into the processes - there is no escape from this. At least at a basic level.