From raising your personal profile on LinkedIn to creating a massive buzz around your products with bloggers, these five outreach strategies are your golden ticket to generating leads and securing sales online.

Launching an ecommerce business, channeling traffic to your website and securing sales is no easy task. Getting your products the attention they deserve can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy because it’s not. We all know that ecommerce is competitive — and even more so if you’re in a saturated marketplace.

It takes time, hard work and passion — but if you’re determined, driven and a little bit creative, you can make your ecommerce business an online success.

Don’t wait for potential customers to come to you. In the beginning, you need to go out there, find them and wave your awesome products in their face.

In my digital marketing agency, we’ve worked with hundreds of ecommerce businesses. We’ve run successful outreach strategies that generate leads and get sales for our clients, so we know what works.

Let’s look at some ways in which you can make an impact in the world of ecommerce, whatever your online store’s niche is.

1. Guest posting — establish yourself as an expert

The most important first step is establishing yourself as an expert in your field. People love businesses that are personable and have personality. They want to know who they’re buying from and be reassured that person knows what they’re talking about.

Publish on LinkedIn — The best way to establish an online profile and persona for yourself is through guest posting in your name. Start by publishing articles on LinkedIn about your industry knowledge (for your products and/or their uses), talk about trials and errors in starting your business and network with other professionals via LinkedIn groups.

Write guest posts — Move on to writing guest posts for small, business-related publications. There are loads out there who are keen to gain valuable insights from business owners in different industries. These could be guest posts about how they kick-started their businesses or overcame challenges to reach success. Share your stories and include an author bio about yourself and your business in each guest post.

An excerpt from a guest post written for Fresh Business Thinking by Pascal Culverhouse

Participate in interviews — Make yourself available for interviews. These can be written interviews via email, telephone interviews with editors and journalists, interviews with bloggers and magazines in your niche, or even podcasts. Interviews will often be about how you started and/or have grown your business.

A podcast interview on eCommerce MasterPlan with Pascal Culverhouse

Reply to journalist requests — Twitter is a great source for PR opportunities. Look out for journalists who are after quotes from ecommerce business owners about various topics on the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter. If you see any relevant requests, send a short comment or opinion piece across to them and let them know who you are and which business you run. You might just find yourself quoted in a national newspaper like the Guardian.

A guest posting success story – Pascal Culverhouse runs ecommerce websites electrictobacconist.co.uk and electrictobacconist.com, and is a well-known authority in the e-cigarette industry. How did he get there? Thanks to guest posting, interviews and podcasts he featured on. This, combined with some of the ecommerce outreach strategies below, saw his US website increase traffic by 1340% and revenue by 14,374% in just one year.

2. Product reviews with bloggers — gain brand trust

Any business owner knows that to make sales, they need to build trust in their brand. Nike and Adidas are at the top of their game when it comes to the ecommerce sportswear industry and that’s because people know their brand name and they trust it. But, they didn’t get there by luck. They built that trust.

Blogger outreach is an ecommerce strategy that allows you to build brand trust through sending out products to bloggers in your niche who would be interested in trying out and reviewing your products on their blogs and 81% of people trust the advice they get from bloggers. This makes them powerful advocates for your products and brand.

Even more valuable is the ready-made audience that you’re accessing. Bloggers have spent huge amounts of time and effort building a dedicated and loyal readership. Those readers are invested in and trust the blogger. If you find bloggers that match up well with your niche, those readers are likely to be exactly the kind of target customer you’re after.

Product reviews and features lend themselves well to many different kinds of products sold on eCommerce websites. If you have bloggers writing in the niche that you’re selling in, you can definitely run a blogger outreach strategy for your eCommerce website.

Case study — Bathing Bunnies bath towels

Dolly Dowsie, a family and parenting blog, featured fun, animal-shaped bath towels for kids from Bathing Bunnies in a blog post review. Bathing Bunnies gained great coverage on the blog, including personalised photos of their products, a positive review and even a link back to their website from a high authority blog. The blog post also gained 93 social media shares.

Product review blog post on Dolly Dowsie

Product reviews with bloggers can also be used to gain coverage on the blogger’s social media channels. The corresponding social media updates from Dolly Dowsie gained a huge amount of engagement for both the blogger and the business.

Corresponding Instagram post linked to the review post above.

3. Giveaways with influencers — Start the hype

Another outreach strategy that works excellently for ecommerce businesses who want to really get some hype going about their products on social media is running giveaways. The business provides the prize and the influencer will host the competition on their blog, YouTube channel, or other social media platform.

The brand will often provide the influencer with a product of their own to use in the blog post or social media posts, or pay the influencer for hosting the giveaway, depending on their authority and the style of content required.

The real benefit here is that these competitions — when done well — can create a massive storm on social media. Widgets such as Rafflecopter and Gleam can be used to run the giveaway, allowing people to enter by tweeting, following your business’ Instagram account, signing up to a newsletter and so on.

Case Study — Sense Organics children’s clothing

Sense Organics, an organic cotton children’s clothing ecommerce retailer, secured a product review and giveaway hosted on the Chic Geek Diary blog. The giveaway of a pair of PJs worth £18.50 ran for five weeks and generated over 17,000 entries.

The blog post was viewed over 9,000 times, gained 95 comments and was shared on social media 418 times. As a result, Sense Organics’ Twitter followers doubled during the five weeks and their visibility across social media increased substantially.

Competition widget hosted on the Chic Geek Diary blog showing the total number of competition entries.

4. Blogger events — create a bigger buzz

Blogger events are promotional events which are run offline but with the purpose of creating a buzz online. Invite bloggers to an event — a day out, an evening experience, a workshop or masterclass, a retreat — in exchange for coverage of the event and your brand on their blog and social media channels.

Blogger events work well for big brands who want major online coverage fast, and for local businesses based in areas where there is a high density of relevant bloggers (e.g. London, Bristol). Nike regularly runs events and retreats with high authority bloggers and online influencers to gain more coverage of their new product releases.

But you don’t need to be a big business to run a successful blogger event and gain backlinks for your website and exposure for your brand.

Case Study — Laura Ashley’s blogger event

Laura Ashley, a leading home and clothing brick-and-mortar and eCommerce brand, hosted a craft workshop event for bloggers in Spring 2015. For the event, Laura Ashley partnered up with Crafty Hen, a local craft workshop business in Bristol. They invited bloggers for an afternoon of crafting with their new range of floral fabrics and wallpapers.

In exchange for attending the event, the bloggers produced blog posts with beautiful photographs of how they’d used Laura Ashley’s new fabric ranges, as well as sharing photos on their social media channels.

As a result, Laura Ashley gained multiple links and tailored coverage of its brand on leading blogs, tapping into a whole new audience.

Laura Ashley’s own blog post about the blogger workshop:

5. Email newsletters — get customers coming back

Don’t make the mistake of underestimating the selling power of email newsletters. The big benefit of newsletters over other forms of outreach is that they target people who are already interested in your products and your previous customers. The aim of newsletters is to convert warm leads into paying customers and previous customers into repeat buyers.

Ecommerce businesses can run separate email newsletter campaigns to target specific segments of their audience. These could be a welcome series for new subscribers offering discounts for signing up to the newsletter and featuring popular products, or a win-back series for customers who abandoned their carts at checkout.

Case study — Hotel Chocolat

Luxury chocolate brand Hotel Chocolat increased its ecommerce revenue by 12% through email newsletter outreach. Their revenue directly from email increased by 20% and increased their average order value by 22%.

The takeaway — outreach strategies for ecommerce websites

You don’t need to be an online marketing wizard — though it helps — to run successful outreach campaigns for your ecommerce business. Let’s recap the five outreach strategies for eCommerce websites that we covered in this article:

Guest posting

Product reviews


Blogger events

Email newsletters

Consider where your target audience spend their time online and which strategies are most likely to engage them. Some ecommerce products will lend themselves well to reaching new audiences through blogger outreach activities, while others would find more success with targeting abandoned carts through their newsletters.

For the very best results, combine different outreach strategies and measure their effectiveness for your ecommerce website before deciding which ones to pursue long-term. This way, you can be sure that your online marketing efforts will pull in the results you’re after.

The post Top 5 ecommerce outreach strategies you need to be trying now appeared first on eCommerce Insights.

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