How do you Promote your Online Business?

Discussion in 'Careers, Education & the Business of Fashion' started by simonmo, Mar 25, 2009.

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  1. simonmo

    simonmo New Member

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    Just wondering if there were any other people who own online boutiques/shops here. I'm not sure how to go about promoting my site. I've been distributing flyers, but thats it at the moment.

    How did you guys start out to begin with? I'm not completely sure about PPC as I tried that out, and it seemed to cost too much for not alot of clicks.

    Simon
     
  2. BetteT

    BetteT Mod Squad Team Leader

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    Welcome to the Fashion Spot, simonmo!

    This is a good topic for this forum and I hope that you get lots of good info here.

    But first, I need to remind any members who are reading this, that you may not post links to your online businesses or even post the name in any tFS threads ... we do not allow any self promotion activities here. Such posts will be deleted as spam and can endanger your membership here.

    There is a thread in the Announcements forum explaining exactly what you may and may not post in reference to your businesses: Self Promotion for Blogs / Web Sites / Stores at tFS? Please review this before posting in this thread.


    However, do feel free to discuss what you do to get the word out about your sites and to drive traffic there. This thread can be a really great resource, if everyone shares what works for them.
     
    #2 BetteT, Mar 26, 2009
    Last edited by moderator Natasa: Dec 21, 2010
  3. daniellat

    daniellat Fashion Designer

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    this is a great topic, its actually hard to promote an online shop if youre just starting it.

    Id say get a great image first, visuals are key to get peoples attention to whatever you are selling.

    I dont think flyers are too effective. They are expensive and most people just throw them away.

    Maybe you can create a facebook group, a myspace or a blog, all this things are free and can drag attention from different places, you can upload pictures of your stuff so your friends can see what you are doing with your shop and maybe get more clients.

    You can also host a couple of parties each season if what you sell is clothing or maybe a little fashion show or showroom where you can invite friends but call every single social magazine in town to cover your event. its a good way to get more known in your hometown and a little party never hurts. Nothing fancy just a gathering with a lot of press. That is also free, well sort of, just some drinks, snacks and music.
     
  4. simonmo

    simonmo New Member

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    Hello BetteT, yeah I read the post, which is why I didn't include a link or url to my site. Just feeling a bit lonely, because no one I know is starting up a business in this field. And I am not sure how to go about press and good press. I'm not sure who to go to for good marketing or advertising. There are lots of companies around, that just eat up your money for their advertisements, and they usually arent that effective.
     
  5. BetteT

    BetteT Mod Squad Team Leader

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    That was directed at everyone, not you ... I posted it so they know the rules of this thread.

    So ... anybody elase have anything to offer this "lonely" guy? ;) How can he drive traffic to his commercial site?
     
    #5 BetteT, Mar 27, 2009
    Last edited by moderator Natasa: Mar 27, 2009
  6. gius

    gius chat~

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    simon How long have you had your business?
     
  7. simonmo

    simonmo New Member

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    Oh BetteT i hope I didn't sound really angry, cos I really wasen't, I was more worried about being thrown off the forum for misconduct.

    Gius, I have had my business for a month, I get about 20-30 visitors a day, and sometimes more, but I haven't reached 100 yet, closest I got my 99. I am aware this is not alot of people.

    Kind Regards

    Simon
     
  8. gius

    gius chat~

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    I see :) So you're in it quite early, that's good to know
    The interesting thing is that most people will start with a product and then look for a market
    but if you were to find the market first (find out what people want to buy/are looking for), it will be more likely your product will sell.

    There are many tools online that you can use to promote your product, and many are free
    I can send you a PM :meow:
     
  9. Bespoke Style

    Bespoke Style New Member

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    simonmo pm me your site and i will link you onto my site... i have a very global audience for my blog :)
     
  10. CanonMan

    CanonMan New Member

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    I think daniellat's suggestion about the party is a good idea. set up a trunk/runway show in your boutique. I go to them from time to time here in Denver. They are fun to watch, and I've seen things I've liked and gone back later to purchase. That may help drive in more business as well as get your name out some more. Try to find local fashion groups in town. Don't know exactly how to describe them. They are almost like clubs. Some have myspace pages that people visit and can click through to the designers pages. Other just send out weekly emails letting it's subscribers know of local fashion related events and news going on that week. Go to as many as you know of too. Great place to network, as well as pick up some tricks that may benefit how you run your business.

    "visuals are key to get peoples attention to whatever you are selling" well naturally I will agree with that as I am a photographer ;) Perhaps hire a local photog to shoot some of your designs. Might be able to find one to do a TFP but chances are the work wont be as good as an established photog. Whatever fits your current budget though.
     
    #10 CanonMan, Mar 30, 2009
    Last edited by moderator daddy'sgirl: Mar 30, 2009
  11. simonmo

    simonmo New Member

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    Hello Gius, could you send me a pm with the tools on it please thanks. I really appreciate the help on this forum from the members, it's very helpful, At least I havent been flamed yet.

    also Thank you Bespoke Fashion, I have PM'ed you.

    And thanks for the info about doing runways in my boutique, but unfortunately it is an online business so I don't have a bricks and mortar store. Hopefully my site will become big in the future, I have capital and good business acumen, but being 21, I do lack some experience. But I love what I do, and don't want any other job, so I am going to dedicate my soul to this website.

    If you want to see my website, you can send me a PM, If it is allowed.
    But this is not self promotion, it's just I would like some feedback from you guys, what you think of my site etc, and any pointers on how I can improve it.

    Kind Regards

    Simon

    THANKS FOR ALL THE HELP!!!!
     
  12. Lee Lee

    Lee Lee New Member

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    How about a PR company, they will help you get your brand name out there, although you do need plenty of money to do this. Good luck
     
  13. indygo

    indygo New Member

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    Question About Advertising Online / Ecommerce

    Hi, guys. This question is for those of you familiar w/ online advertising or ecommerce. I own a women's handbags & accessories ecommerce website. The handbags are mid to high moderately priced (average $60 - $90) - no brand names.

    I'm ready to start spending money for online advertising. I already tried magazine advertising and it's just too costly at the moment. I was advised by a marketing professional that online advertising is the way to go for ecommerce businesses anyway, if they're just starting off at least. I've also already tried PPC/Google Adwords - I wouldn't touch that w/ a 10-foot pole ever again either - only because it requires a lot of monitoring, which I don't have the time and expertise for...

    Can anyone suggest other advertising online advertising channels? I have a somewhat small budget to work with. And if you're a business owner, I'd love to hear what has worked for you. Any and all thoughts are welcome. Thanks! :flower:
     
  14. snowinmoscow

    snowinmoscow New Member

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    Perhaps start a facebook page for your website (i'm pressuming its an online store) and add people that live in your area and are within the demographic you think are your target market. I've been invited to "like" a lot of local boutiques or online stores in my area on FB and it has ended up with me visiting and/or purchasing something from them. Update every few days with photos of "new arrivals" or "special promotions/offers" and see if this increases your traffic at all.

    Perhaps look at already established facebook pages at how they have created a "relationship" with their customers. I live in Australia so the only ones I can recommend at the top of my head is "Tony Bianco" shoes which has really turned its brand image around, particularly just by using social networking tools!

    It may be a good starting point - hope this helps!
     
    #14 snowinmoscow, Dec 23, 2010
    Last edited by moderator : Dec 23, 2010
  15. unmonstre

    unmonstre New Member

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    There are some great fashion marketing blogs out there to help guide you in the right direction. For example http://fashionablymarketing.me is great, especially with social media tips.

    Twitter is great for listening (what people are saying about your product, within the industry, etc), and it can help grow your customers, but it does take time. BUT really worth it in the end.
     
  16. indygo

    indygo New Member

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    Thank you both for your replies. Helpful.
     
  17. F0F0

    F0F0 New Member

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    Consider trying Understanding Digital Marketing (Ryan, Jones, Kogan 2008) . It's value resides that is meant for newbies and it's very easy to read and follow.
     
  18. kimberwyn

    kimberwyn New Member

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    SEO, SEO, SEO. Period. I don't advertise for my store, I get 100% of my sales through google and I don't pay a dime for it. It's really the only effective way for a new boutique to advertise.

    Do NOT waste your money on banner advertisements, unless you're Mod Cloth or Shop Nasty Gal and have tens of thousands of dollars to spend every month on an extensive campaigns for simply name recognition -- because that's all it really gives you. I don't care how popular the site or or blog is, how fashion centric it is. Trust me, I learned this the hard way :(

    Email blasts through sites like SheFinds (I think that's who I used) are a bit better, it was the only form of paid advertising that brought in any sales for me, but I still wouldn't recoup the costs and it usually only works at all if you're giving really good discounts on merchandise.

    Now web page links and sponsored posts on blogs and shopping/fashion type sites like StyleBakery are a little bit better, because they're archived and even if you don't get steady sales from them (which you probably won't) they still increase your back links from authority sites, which is an important SEO component.

    I've dabbled w/ PPC, facebook ads and paid shopping sites too -- they're much more targeted but I don't think I had much luck at all with them. It was hard for me to track though. I know IM's who make bank at PPC though. If you're a beginner, and especially if you don't understand the complexities of keyword analyzation and haven't done extensive keyword research, don't bother.

    But do bother to analyze and research your (niche) keywords.

    Contests are pretty worthless too. Especially those who CHARGE you to run a contest. I did one once and it sounded great on paper -- in order to enter, all the users had to come to my site and pick out an item they wanted. Didn't see a single sale from it though. A free giveaway on a bigger blog might be worth it for the backlinks.

    PR is good, and you don't need a PR agency to do it (although it helps x 1million). Email blogs and fashion sites and smaller fashion magazines to try and get interviews with them or to get them to post about your sales or special products. This helped me with some of my smaller lines when I first started, but after I stopped it I ended up having to drop some of those lines. Maybe try to work something out with a fashion blogger.

    And like I mentioned before, SEO is the way to go -- it's the online version of "location, location, location" imo. All of my sales come from search engines. You need internal and external SEO. You can hire someone to do it, but it's really expensive. Learn to do it yourself or hire someone to do the internal and do external on your own, since it needs to be updated regularly.

    Post your own content on free article websites like ezine articles (this is HUGE for sales + SEO). Write your articles about specific products and link back to them at the end of the articles -- use the keywords in your titles and as your link anchor text.

    Exchange links with fashion sites, put your site in directories, use social bookmarking.

    Don't forget about social networking, it really works. And your own blog is important too -- put it on it's own domain for extra backlinks. You should have a blog, twitter and facebook FAN page -- use plug ins to connect them all so they all update each other and you don't have to spend so much time updating them individually.

    /tl;dr, don't pay for anything.
     
  19. kimberwyn

    kimberwyn New Member

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    I forgot one thing....you need an email list too, maybe through constant contact or aweber. Put the form on the main page to capture email addresses -- maybe advertise a contest that will be chosen from a pool of your members to get more signups (this works well for twitter and facebook likes too). Send out your own email blasts once or twice a week.
     
  20. electricfeel

    electricfeel New Member

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    I'm not majoring in fashion in particular, but I am a finance major and what we learned about online business is it's best to start locally. Don't start a web based business hoping to be world wide immediately. Where you're basing out of should be seen as your target area and market
     

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