Running a successful ecommerce website requires a lot of effort put into several different aspects of the business. Before you can start selling online, you have to find quality suppliers for products, work on your branding, install shopping cart software and handle online marketing tasks.
The last part is especially tricky, because as a new seller without an established network, you won’t have a lot of options to promote your store. Many people choose SEO or social media for this purpose, but you should know that there is an even more effective solution to this problem, suited specifically for ecommerce websites.
There are many creative online marketing methods that can leverage the pull of existing buyers by turning them into active promoters. If your products are already popular with a highly targeted niche, you can try to reach out to more of them through the relevant social media channels.
Alternatively, you can use affiliate marketing that will directly reward people who promote your links. It’s accomplished with monetary incentives that encourage them to start selling online products to their own network, effectively expanding your market.
Affiliates who promote a product sold on your website receive a fixed commission for every sale made as a result of their actions. While affiliate marketing isn’t exactly a new thing, nor is it exclusive to the Internet, there are far too many ecommerce websites and online businesses that don’t fully take advantage of it when they should.
Another advantage of this approach is its convenience. Instead of handling every single part of marketing yourself (SEO, banners, PPC ads, sales copy, etc.), you’re leaving that to other people, each of whom will probably choose one or a couple of those methods. Together with other affiliates, they will cover all relevant mediums and platforms that you would, and be able to make a much more focused and successful effort.
The affiliate program functionality can be handled by a third party or integrated in the shopping cart software set up on your ecommerce website. The former would probably induce more trust from potential affiliates, while the latter usually allows more customization and much lower fees.
In order to attract the best marketing talent, and not just aspiring marketers testing out their skills, your ecommerce site must offer hefty affiliate commissions. In addition, there can be other payouts and rewards handed out as part of some kind of a contest. For example, the top 5 people with the with the most sales split a cash prize pool or each receive a free product from your online store.
Naturally, this approach is not without its drawbacks. The more you learn about these disadvantages, the better results you will be able to achieve in the long run.
While ideally affiliate marketing is meant to engage potential buyers on a more personal level, some of the affiliates promoting your product may inevitably resort to spam tactics just to earn more money on commissions. This can give your brand a bad reputation.
In order to avoid a possible backlash from annoyed Internet users, you can limit your affiliate program to only a few people specifically chosen and invited to lead the online marketing effort for your ecommerce site. In that case, it’s possible to treat them as partners and maybe even work out a trade in which you promote each other’s products.
But in the end, the best thing you can do to make your ecommerce more profitable and popular is to encourage people to share it and talk about it. After all, word of mouth can be more popular than any online marketing tactics and flood your shopping cart software with daily orders.