When you are starting an online boutique, I’m sure you imagined it becoming someone’s preferred place to shop. The big question upon launching your site quickly becomes “how do I get people to come to my website and give me their money?”
Below, I’ll introduce you to the strategies you should be using in order to get sales.
Before we continue let’s both agree that you HAVE to set aside a marketing budget!
Marketing and sales go hand and hand so without a dedicated monthly budget, you can’t grow your business.
It’s that simple.
Your goal is to get in front of new potential customers every single day.
With that said, your marketing budget can be spent in a ton of different ways. If you use influencer marketing, for example, giving someone ‘free product’ in exchange for a social post, blog or video review isn’t actually FREE. You have to take into account the cost of that product to you and the cost of shipping it to them.
But the first thing we’ll tackle is paid advertisement: the platforms to choose from, the options you have, and what you could expect to pay.
So what is paid advertising?
It’s where a marketer (in this case, you) pays a designated amount for placement on the advertising space of a platform, pretty much exchanging currency for visibility. This is a really important point because you only want to advertise where YOUR CUSTOMER WILL SEE IT! Just because a platform is popular doesn’t mean it’s the best place to put your money.
So let’s talk about some key places online to consider. With the growth of social media, platforms have also turned into major revenue generators for businesses both big and small. The biggest, of course, you know is Facebook.
Pinterest Ads for Online Boutiques
But when it comes to advertising, Pinterest just might be your secret weapon. Pinterest is just as much a search engine as it is a social platform. And it’s also the place where users go to create their ‘want’ boards—a great indicator that they’re ready to buy when provided with the right offer.
Since Pinterest’s ad platform is still developing, it’s also a gold mine for smaller business who are willing to put in some elbow grease—and a great way to save money. Interested in running promoted pins aka Pinterest ads for your boutique? I HIGHLY recommend this one! I learned a ton from it and I know you will too.
Facebook Ads for Online Boutiques
Facebook, and by extension Instagram, boasts the largest user base (a combined 3 billion) which means that a good chunk of those 1 million Nicole’s I’m looking for with my boutique are probably all right there. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder why brands flock to Facebook with piles of cash. But that doesn’t mean it’s off limits to small businesses. You just have to test ads and interest targeting until you find what works for your business. The best part is that you can start for as little as $5 a day.
Instagram Ads for Online Boutiques
Since you’re building a visual brand, being on a visual platform is a perfect fit. You’ve probably seen a few ads even as you scrolled today. Because Instagram is owned by Facebook, you can use the same business manager platform to create your ads.
Influencer Marketing for Online Boutiques
The biggest misconception is that you need to get your products into the hands of someone with a million followers for it to work. But that’s not true at all! There’s an entire segment of micro-influencers who are helping brands make real sales—and not just pretty posts. These are people who spent the time cultivating their audiences and making real connections so that their recommendations actually matter.
They can be anywhere and on any platform.
Your job is to find the ones that speak to YOUR customer. Read my blog post on how to plan a successful influencer marketing campaign for your online boutique.
But in order to have a profitable relationship with an influencer, there a few things that you need to check off:
- Be very specific with the deliverables. And yes, it’s okay to use a contract to make sure that all the terms are clear.
- Some influencers will promote your brand for product which is usually better for your costs. Some influencers require payment but that shouldn’t stop you from engaging with them. If you don’t have a budget to pay them directly, you can give them a commission on items that are sold via their promotion. Standard rates are usually anywhere between 6-12% but can go higher in some cases based on the value the influencer brings to your business. You have to be willing to be flexible if you spot a good opportunity. And a higher commission is also a great motivator. It’s like hiring a sales person without the salary and benefits.
- Make sure you are pricing for profit! That’s the only way you’ll be able to extend a commission offer without feeling the pinch and losing more than you make.
Email Marketing for Online Boutiques
The last piece of the marketing puzzle is email marketing. Email is so powerful because once you pay to acquire that customer, you can market to them essentially for free after that.
Email is the best way to get repeat customers…and repeat customers are the lifeblood of any successful business. If customers never come back, you’re stuck in the endless chase of trying to find the next sale.
And that’s the easiest way to burn through your marketing budget.
Emails not only allow you to sell products directly but also have the added benefit of building the customer relationship. You can share milestones, sneak peeks, behind-the-scenes, customer stories, blog posts, press mentions…you name it! Email is such a versatile channel and the best part is that it’s super cheap!
You can sign up for a Mailchimp account it’s an easy to use drag and drop platform.
The beauty of starting with mailchimp is that you wont pay a dime until you get more than 2,000 subscribers—which means you have 2,000 chances to turn browsers into buyers.
That’s why big brands like Henri Bendel, Baublebar, and Nordstrom email every-single-day, or sometimes even twice a day. My suggestion is that you at least send 1-2 emails per week. You want to stay in touch consistently by sharing interesting and value-filled emails so that you’re top of mind when it’s shopping time.
As you market your brand, you want to make sure that you are advertising where your customer is,that you have and are sticking to your monthly marketing budget, and that you’re tracking your ROI (return on investment) — That will let you know whether to keep do what you’re doing or to try something new. But what you never want to do is to stop marketing.
As a business owner, you should be marketing every day and getting in front of potential customers. Remember: no marketing, no sales.