How to promote products online
Business can be 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 deeper into one of the main areas of business - retail or retail sale of goods on the Internet. Speaking about promoting 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.
Business promotion on the Internet: general provisions.
To promote a business online, as well as offline, you need something to promote. It is impossible to just “do business on the Internet” if you don’t 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 meaning the promotion of offline business on the Internet - we make a mistake. “Business on the Internet” means a business that is fully operational on the Internet and the entire sales cycle takes place there. "Business on the Internet" can be called, for example, a payment system or 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 products on the Internet
Promotion of products on the Internet is fundamentally different from 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. For this, online stores are created.
This allows you to achieve several business goals at once:
- Optimization of the sales department. (as a last resort, replacing it with a call center for outsourcing or reducing to a minimum - several people to confirm orders, depending on their number).
- Additional sales channel. (for many offline business owners, the promotion of goods on the Internet is quickly becoming a sales channel that generates 30-50% of profits in the first two years).
- Diversification of income sources (against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, we can clearly see this. Those who had only “offline” suffered losses, and those who had their business online experience 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, customer return (offline, the process of re-promoting goods to a client is difficult, online - all you need to do is create a personal account, collect user data and use Internet marketing tools to return customers for new purchases, offering discounts and bonuses, notifying of 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 visit your site, leave applications and checkout baskets with the purpose of subsequent use for the purposes of 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, whom we help to promote products on the Internet (an online clothing store), has created his own marketplace and now 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 existing and functioning online business promotion.
Where to start promoting online products?
Let's let's skip all the stages in which I can tell you about “positioning”, “brand”, “target audience” and “consumer portrait” - 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 further buzz words, 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 / re-sale. Below - I will talk about the elements of this funnel and what they can be.
Now we will move on to specifics, to online promotion channels, which constitute a marketing funnel for promoting goods on the Internet.
Promotion of goods through your own online store
An online store is not really a “channel” for promotion on the Internet. This is an end point for collecting user data and accumulating traffic from the Internet in one place, on a site owned by you.
Why is your own online store more effective 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 are not competing with other people's goods and prices. The entire assortment presented in the online store is presented by you. In addition, you have the ability to group the catalog and sort it according to the principle that suits you. For example - to promote seasonal goods or goods "stale" in the warehouse in the top catalog, put down labels "TOP-sellers" or "Recommended" to stimulate demand for these goods.Without your own catalog of goods, it seems to me a pointless waste of money and advertising potential to advertise on Google or Facebook.
- 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, stocktaking and calculation of commissions.
- our own loyalty and discount program. Almost all modern online stores use internal loyalty programs to promote goods on the Internet, implemented through personal accounts and discounts. For example, one of our clients, who is engaged in the manufacture and sale of jewelry offline, has an excellent 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 someone else's site in Ukraine.
- flexible system of discounts and promotions. Having developed your own online store, you can independently manage discounts and promotions. For example, set a percentage discount or set a fixed one, make promotions on certain products or product groups, sort products in the catalog by discounts, discount size or volume. Also, “discount coupons” are now very popular in exchange for user contact information or registration.
- Gathering an advertising audience. We have come to the main (in my opinion) advantage of promoting goods in an online store. By connecting even minimal marketing tools for promoting a product on the Internet, for example, Google tag manager, Google analytics and Facebook pixel, you will have the opportunity to “collect” an audience that came to your online store. This does not mean that you can get the names and phone numbers of all users who have come to your site (for 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” the audience with the help of the above-mentioned tools for promoting goods on the Internet, you will be able to “catch up” with them with cheap advertising or, as it is correctly called, “remarketing”. Surely, you noticed how after visiting the site and viewing the product, for several days you are haunted by advertising of this product on social networks, on sites and in applications, 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 a sufficient incentive to return to the store. Especially if you offer an additional promotional code for a discount.
- - SEO promotion. SEO promotion to the top Google / Yandex is impossible on marketplaces or other sites. Your site will simply not be good enough.
- - brand promotion. It's very difficult to develop a brand on resources like ozon or rozetka. A small window on the site is allocated for your corporate identity. If you're even noticed, you're in luck.If you remember, you can open champagne.
But! It is important to note that promoting products on the Internet using your own online store requires tremendous effort and willingness on the part of the company:
- You need to understand how the tools work described above, in principle, and were able to calculate the margin minus the cost of attracting one customer. If loyalty program is a new word for you, it will likely take a long time to learn how to work with it. Likewise, with discounts - not everyone knows how to count them.
- It is important to get ready to spend on advertising. Not always everything works out the first time. Promotion of goods on the Internet is a process, the result rarely comes overnight. You invest in a prospect just like any other business, collecting user data, advertising audiences, and studying how your product is sold online.
- Good development is expensive. Development of an online store with the functionality described by me above will cost you (in total with content and all marketing settings) at least 6-10 thousand dollars! This is just a launch, then the promotion of goods on the Internet begins. Therefore, if you do not have such a budget, it may 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 products and assortments are important. Similarly with the catalog - do you need it with a small assortment? If you have three products, it is more logical to start with a simple landing page with an acquiring function and not waste a lot of time working out a catalog that you don't need :)
- - Well-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 customer.
Promotion of goods on the Internet on marketplaces
If you read my text above and come to the conclusion that the online store is not yet suitable for you, there is a great way to promote products. 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 - there is at least one marketplace that will accept your product.
The fact is that the more pages a marketplace has, the better it is promoted in SEO ( 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.
Advantages of promoting through the marketplace:
- - Lack of large investments to “enter” the marketplace.You just contact the marketplace or read the instructions, create an account, upload products - and let's go!
- - The ability to register on a large number of marketplaces to promote products on the Internet and receive orders due to lower prices. 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 in the depths are cheaper. Only instead of "entering" the market - top results by filter. However, there is the most popular button, which more than 80% of users click on - sort by price ascending. Accordingly, we will set the lowest price - you can get more orders.
- - No need for an advertising budget and self-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).
Cons of promotion through the marketplace:
- - Inability to promote the brand to the full.
- - You do not take user data and do not collect an audience.
- - You are tied to the owner's formats and tools marketplace.
- - Inconvenience in working with a large assortment.
- - You control the flow of customers and compete within the current audience of the resource. This is not always bad, but more often it interferes with development. Especially if you are located 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 without advertising to the pages on Facebook and Instagram. There are people on marketplaces. Brand building is difficult in marketplaces, and social media is a great way to do it. 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 products on the Internet on social networks:
- - Gathering an audience and direct contact with clients
- - Possibility to receive money directly from a client.
- - Only own assortment
- - The ability to promote your own brand
The main disadvantages of promoting goods on the Internet via facebook / instagram:
- - Lack of product cataloging (this is terrible, especially if the product line is changeable)
- - Lack of acquiring (online payment)
- - Lack of automation of the purchase process and product selection, size, etc.
- - It is difficult to collect an audience without ads.
Here are a few 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 the next purchase. Encourage subscribing + loyal the client for subsequent interaction.
- In order for users to see all the products in the catalog, in the profile link, leave a link to your card on the marketplace. Give the user the opportunity to see the entire range. (This works especially well with stores on prom.)
- 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. This all exists, but we are now looking at the big picture. It is necessary and possible to promote products on the Internet using social networks. However, this does not always bring an accurate result measurable in the form of profit. For example, we have clients who are doing excellent promotion of goods on the Internet using SEO and marketplaces, but, at the same time, promotion through social networks is not at all. And all because our client sells boilers. And mass following will not help here. Only advertising and SEO will help. Therefore, promotion on social networks for local brands is super. For large distributors and manufacturers, this is a way of communicating with the audience and another marketing channel for promoting products on the Internet.
Promotion of products on the Internet: a short summary.
If you have a profitable offline business and want to go online, it's better to start with something simple. For example, from a template. Test a niche, development contractors, advertising, SEO and then after 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 indicators, as well as understand how to promote products on the Internet in general.
If you still have a small assortment and not very big ambitions, it is better to start trying to promote products 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 “not clear” or “bad” or “not gives 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 car accessories manufacturer, had SEO contractors who “promoted” the site for two years. When we got started, it turned out that the entire directory was out of the Google index. This means that Google has not seen any products on the site. Only regular pages with blog-type content. For those who understand at least a little in SEO, it will immediately become clear what a colossal mistake this is. The resource collected traffic, mainly for brand queries, but there was no promotion of goods on the Internet, in the search engine!
Therefore, always check the work of the contractor and demand that the set kpi be achieved. In this case, you will have to delve into the processes - there is no getting away from this. At least at a basic level.