I’ve always had an interest in marketing.
But I didn’t really know how it all worked – I thought it was all just fancy TV jingles and newspaper ads. And that really was the case in the 90s.
But we’re almost in 2021 now and marketing is done online. And now that you’ve set up your storefront already, you’re ready to come along on this marketing journey with me.
In this week’s episode of the Complete Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce, I’ll be looking at how to start marketing an online business with a small or no budget at all.
Low or low budget marketing options
As excited as I was to showcase CrewCase to the big wide world, I had one tiny problem.
And that was money – or the lack of it. 🙈
But I refused to feel sorry for myself and to host a pity parade.
I was certain that there were plenty of ways to market your business online, without spending a penny.
Once more, I was not let down by the almighty internet.
It turned out that I could:
- Create business profiles on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram for free.
- Blog about my journey with CrewCase and my different box options (just as I’m doing in this series, really). This is great for SEO.
- Strategically use keywords in my blog articles to attract the attention of people searching for all things corporate gifting on search engines.
While it didn’t seem like much in terms of marketing, it would make for a great foundation for my business’ further growth.
Rising to social media stardom 🤳
On the top of my ‘don’t spend a dime’ marketing strategy was social media.
Because I found out that having a strong online presence on platforms like Instagram can really boost what proper marketing strategists call organic traffic.
So, I decided to take matters into my own hands and set up my own Facebook profile.
Who needs to pay for advertising anyway, when people go viral all the time, right?
And while viral content is really hard to produce and often is a result of sheer luck, I headed onto Facebook and started to create a new page.
I was happily surprised by Facebook’s improved interface – everything felt very intuitive and easy to use.
I filled in all of the details about CrewCase, and ended up with a pretty nice-looking page, if I may so say myself.
I decided to invite all my friends and family and their friends (and old school teachers) to like CrewCase.
That way, I was able to reach a bigger audience and start spreading the word in general.
Plus, I thought my Facebook page would serve as a great place to share all kinds of behind-the-scenes insights.
And, most importantly, my blog posts would be shared on there too.
Putting my knack for words to use ✍️
I’d been playing around with the idea of launching a CrewCase blog for a while already – especially after it turned out that blogging was a great way to build a trustworthy brand.
After blogging about my journey here, I certainly felt much more confident in my ability to get my thoughts across.
And it was very easy to add a blog to my Zyro store. I literally clicked on a blog button and, like magic, there it was.
All ready to see me through my world domination.
I decided to create a content calendar of sorts: that way, I’d have a schedule to follow and a clear plan for publishing, too.
I thought back to my market research – I wanted to create content that was interesting for my target audience.
And preferably something that was frequently searched for in Google.
Plus, it wouldn’t hurt if my content could also be shared on social media.
With all these requirements in mind, I came up with some basic topics. I would cover:
- All things remote working. That would include tips on staying focused and motivated, best ways to organize remote team building activities, and so on.
- How to run an online business. Every other person seemed to be doing it, and I thought that I for sure could speak from experience and share my insights as a fresh small business owner.
- Best local businesses to check out. Since I was focusing on locally produced products, why not share my thoughts with my local community?
What’s more, I was thinking about monetizing my blog later on, once it had started to make some waves.
I could become an affiliate partner for some of my suppliers, earning commission on every item sold through my recommendation.
Or, I could get my suppliers to place banner ads on my blog, and charge them accordingly.
Now I just had to get people to frequently visit my website.
Keyword research 101 📚
In order to get my blog noticed, I had to make sure my content was optimized for search engines.
I had to pay attention to the keywords I was using in my content.
So I took to Google, searching for ‘free keyword research tools.’
Lo and behold, I came up with some interesting search results.
There were plenty of tools that sat behind a paywall, but Keywordtool.io peaked my interest.
It was free to use and while it didn’t have the biggest of databases, with over 750+ Google keywords it seemed plenty to get me started.
I also stumbled upon a browser extension by a company called Surfeo: it analyzed the keywords I put in Google and gave me a nifty overview of the search query on the search page itself.
So I decided to start doing some keyword research for my first few blog posts on remote working.
The SEO guides I was reading told me to aim for what was called ‘long-tail keywords.’ So instead of using a keyword like ‘remote working,’ I should make it longer and more specific, to really address a potential search query.
I thought that a blog post about the best ways to run remote team-building activities would be an interesting topic to write about, but also something my potential clients would be searching for on Google.
According to my new extension, some keywords I could consider included ‘activities for team building,’ ‘team build activity,’ or ‘team building activities.’
I decided to also add ‘team building activities’ to Keywordtool.io for some additional ideas.
My research told me to not target too high-volume keywords, because they were much more competitive, i.e. hard to rank on search engine result pages for.
Turns out that most companies online wanted to dominate the search traffic, so for a small player like myself, it made more sense to look for keywords with lower volumes in the beginning.
And I felt like I hit the jackpot – the keyword ‘team building activities virtual’ had a monthly search volume of 1600 queries, with a staggering 21 900% increase in searches in the previous months.
And since the competition was ranked as medium, I decided to embrace the challenge.
Now, I just had to make sure to use my keyword in my page title and frequently in my blog post headings and overall body copy.
And since I was using Zyro’s blogging tools, I didn’t have to worry too much about the more technical side of SEO.
A total win-win situation for me and CrewCase.
Next week: Becoming the customer service hero 🦸
With my Facebook page and content marketing slowly picking up the pace, I started to have conversations with actual, paying customers.
And while those were a lot of fun, I quickly realized that there were a few things that were absolutely essential to offer the best customer experience around.
In the next installment of the Complete Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce, I’ll be telling you the story of how I went from customer service zero to hero.
See you then!