7 Ways to Promote an Ecommerce Business on a Budget

7 Ways to Promote an Ecommerce Business on a Budget

“You can’t market your business on a budget.”

Has anybody said anything like this to you?

If you have, don’t listen to those people. They are bad influences. You totally can promote your new online store effectively even with a hundred bucks if you know some tricks.

What tricks am I talking about?

Keep reading to find out. In this post, I’m going to share these seven budget-friendly ways to market your business:

  1. Get featured in gift guides
  2. Launch a social media giveaway
  3. Send promos with push notifications
  4. Allow customers to pay in installments
  5. Give promos to visitors via live chat
  6. Share shoppable videos on your website
  7. Use promo popups for marketing and recent sales

Cost: Free

Are you selling products that people can use as gifts?

If yes, you can promote your store by having them featured in gift guides. Every day, thousands of people are looking for gift ideas and guides online, so getting coverage from a guide should help drive some traffic to your website. 

Since many content creators are on a constant hunt for new product ideas and product bundles for specific holidays, you can get coverage for free. But in many cases, you might get a request to send your products to content creators. It’s a legit request considering that they need to be familiar with the products to be able to describe them well.

To find opportunities to get featured in gift guides, try Googling phrases like “gift guides,” “gift ideas for her,” or holiday-specific requests like “Christmas gift ideas.” Also, you can try adding your products to queries, e.g. “Father’s day fishing gifts.”

Google will be a huge help in your search. Just start typing your request to get plenty of ideas right away. For example, here’s what we get for “Gifts for her.”

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Once you find the blogs you need, find some contact details. 

For example, this Town & Country compilation of gift ideas for women lists the authors right at the end of the post. You can use the names to find authors on LinkedIn and connect with them. Often, posts feature social media profiles of authors, so you can get in touch very quickly.

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Once you found an author, write them a message and ask them if they accept gift ideas. If they agree, be as helpful as possible to help them learn about your product to get it featured.

2. Launch a Social Media Giveaway

Cost: $50-$100

A social media giveaway is a great technique to generate a bunch of leads quickly. It can help achieve multiple goals at once: build a social media followership, generate leads, and drive traffic to your store. 

Doing a social media giveaway is a straightforward thing. You offer a valuable product for your customers and ask for their email in return. 

First step: choose a contest type. Here are the options:

  • Photo contest. Participants submit photos made according to your requirements and you (or people) choose the winner
  • Video contest. Pretty much the same as photos, but here participants have to make videos
  • Caption contest. The winner is the person who made the best caption of a photo in the comments
  • Voting contest. Your brand profile’s followers choose the winner based on your guidelines
  • Comment/like to win. A winner is a random person who commented and/or liked your post

Here’s an example of a photo contest:

Holo Taco, a nail polish seller, had this collection box giveaway to increase customer engagement on social media. The entry requirements were simple: make a photo of painted nails made with the brand’s products.

Author’s screenshot, twitter.com/nailogical

It was a good idea because about 57% of customers follow brands on social media to get product updates. By having customers show off the brand’s products, Holo Taco had a good chance to raise product awareness.

Tips for generating leads with social media giveaways:

  • Choose an exciting prize. An idea prize is relevant and valuable enough for customers to join but it doesn’t have to be expensive
  • Make it easy to participate. Your contest entry requirements should be simple to avoid driving potential participants away (no extra data requirements, etc.)
  • Promote your contest. Start promotion at least a week before launching the contest to maximize the number of participants.

3. Use Promotional Push Notification Campaigns

Cost: $0-$15 per month

Push notifications often get a bad rap, but when implemented properly, they can help sell in a huge way. They work just like emails: customers sign up for updates and stores send them promotional messages. All you have to do is add a push notification app to your store and set up campaigns.

When customers visit your store, they get a message like this, asking them to subscribe for push notifications.

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The more people click Allow, the larger your list of subscribers will be. This way, you can build one more list of leads and nurture them with regular marketing campaigns.

Here’s how Proozy, an online retailer, uses pushes to announce sales. When clicked on, this notification will take customers directly to the website or sale page.

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Besides marketing, you’ll also be able to use pushes to recover abandoned shopping carts. Once again, they work just like emails. You set up an automatic recovery campaign, and push notifications are sent to customers according to your preferences.

Here’s an example of a cart recovery push. Intelligent Blends uses a sense of urgency to motivate customers to return and finish the purchase.

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Using a push notification app is a budget-friendly strategy. An app like Firepush, for example, has a free plan, and paid accounts start only at $15 per month.

4. Allow Installment Payments

Cost: 30 cents per transaction, plus a 4-6% commission fee (Afterpay)

As a result of the global pandemic and other factors, many online customers are more likely to seek budget-friendly payment options. You can also provide your customers with such an option.

Installment payments give shoppers the flexibility to pay for an order in multiple parts over time without any interest. So, they don’t have to have the total amount to pay in full at checkout. Many stores have introduced such an option, and it’s a good way to try to get sales.

United by Blue, an apparel and home goods store, offers customers to pay for products with 4 interest-free installments. The price of this particular item, $350, gets reduced to $87.50. 

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If you’d like to try installment payments for your store, adding a special app and setting up your terms is enough. The most popular apps include PayPal, Afterpay, Klarna, and Zip. 

Using these apps is cheap, as they charge very low fees and commissions (only when you make a sale). Besides, some offer free trials, so you can see if this service works for no absolutely no cost.

5. Share Promos via Live Chat

Cost: Free

Live chat is mostly used as a customer support tool, but you can also use it to get sales. The thing is, many live chat apps come with features that allow you to see website visitors in real time. In other words, you can see that someone is looking at a particular product or browsing the homepage.

Communicating with website visitors is a great opportunity to get conversions. You can offer support, ask them if they’d like a discount code, remind them about a sale you’re having, etc. In any way, connecting with visitors in real time will give you a chance to build rapport and help them make a good choice.

Example:

Whisker Bag, an online store selling products, uses live chat on product pages to help customers with product-related questions.

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You can do the same and connect with more visitors from day one. All you need to do is install a live chat app—there’s no shortage of those out there. 

If you need recommendations, Tidio and Tawk.to are great app options to consider. Both are beginner-friendly and have free plans, so you won’t have to spend a dime.

6. Share Shoppable Product Videos on Site

Cost: Free

Many people visiting your website might not be familiar with the products you’re selling. That’s okay, because you can now make a really cool and personal way to introduce your products right from the homepage. 

Businesses do so with video product reviews. They record videos and place previews to be displayed on store pages. When someone visits, they will see the video preview immediately, so they can click on it and start discovering your products.

Notiq is an online store that implements this marketing method especially well. When you visit their website, you’ll see a small round window with a video preview in the bottom right corner. It’s very hard to miss but at the same time, the video doesn’t interfere with the browsing experience.

Author’s screenshot

When clicked on, the video expands so you can get a better view. The brand’s founder, Vivian, talks about the latest collection and makes a quick review of each item. The whole experience feels very personal and interesting, as Vivian shares interesting details about the new products.

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And the best thing is that the video contains a button you can click to shop the new collection. It’s a really cool way to engage customers, so you can use it to both promote your products and increase the time people spend on your website.

To add this functionality to your website, find a shoppable video app on your ecommerce platform’s store. If you’re using Shopify, for example, you can try Vimotia — it’s completely free. The only cost to implement this strategy would be the time you’ll put in to create videos.

7. Use Promo Popups

Cost: free

Like pushes, website popups also get a bad rap, but a proper implementation of this strategy can help you score more sales without annoying anyone. By “proper implementation,” we mean ensuring that each popup has value (discounts, content updates, etc.) and showing them only once to each new visitor.

There are two great ways to use promo popups to market your store.

First: share sales promotions. Popups can appear at the bottom of the screen like that (courtesy of Elegant Lioness Shop), so they won’t interrupt the website experience. If a customer wants to see the discounted item, all they have to do is click the popup.

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The second way to promote your store: showing recent sales. They are a great form of social proof, so they can encourage visitors to make purchases. Such popups can look like this — no interruption at all!

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As you can also see, the popup had a link to the item that was bought, so visitors can go check it out easily.

If you’d like to try the same method to promote your store, you should find plenty of popup software to help. If you’re using Shopify, then Sales Pop Master should be a good idea — the app has a free plan and decent functionality.

Promote an Ecommerce Store on Budget: The Bottom Line

Yes.

It’s totally possible to promote your business without making large investments. 

In fact, most of the approaches described here are free, so you’ll be able to use your budget for other projects. I hope this list of ideas is useful and inspired you to try new ways to market your store. Good luck!

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