As the world becomes increasingly digitized and globalized, virtual businesses are emerging as the top form of commerce. Whether you’re creating a side hustle, expanding your brick-and-mortar store, or developing a new online venture, your primary goal is growing your business. But how can you do this in such a saturated market? What is the best way to find your customers and stand out among your competitors?

Just as with real-world businesses, a good plan and a strong strategy are crucial to your success! Read on for 5 simple tactics that will help.

Optimize Your Digital Presence for Search

SEO is now much more than making sure your website shows up on Google. By optimizing your content across channels, you can reach your target audience on social networks, video platforms, and local search (e.g. Google Maps.)

Take some time to research your ideal customers’ interests, create enticing content, and set up profiles on their preferred networks. (Tip: Google My Business helps your brand appear in both local and industry-specific results.)

Leverage the Power of Email

Email may be the oldest form of digital marketing, but it’s anything but dead. With an impressive $42 ROI and new technologies to make email campaigns more engaging, it’s usually lucrative to build an email list. This way, you can provide your audience with valuable content and send targeted offers directly to their inbox.

Just follow these two rules:

  1. Never purchase a list of email addresses.
  2. Always segment your audience according to their interests and where you captured them.

Garner Social Proof

In a world with so many competitors, many consumers make purchasing decisions based on social proof. Collect testimonials from previous clients/customers and incorporate them into your marketing. Invite your audience to post reviews and ratings, as well as to share pictures of your product. Even a small fandom is more impressive than unproven claims of excellence.

Also: don’t let negative reviews ruin your brand reputation. Monitor feedback on Facebook, Yelp, and Google. Respond to complaints to demonstrate you care about your customers. It’s better to show up and accept criticism than to pretend it doesn’t exist! Plus, positive reviews can become testimonials about your business.

Set Up Retargeting

Historically, it would take about 6-7 “touches” to convert a lead into a paying customer. Now, with so many oversaturated markets and fractured attention spans, that number is more like 12-14. Thankfully, new retargeting technology allows you to reconnect with web and social visitors.

Use Facebook Pixel to deliver relevant ads to people who spent time on your website but didn’t buy anything. Retargeting also includes abandoned cart reminders, which can help recover lost leads. These tools are cost-efficient ways to generate more revenue, lowering your cost-per-acquisition and improving your conversion rate.

Take a Customer-Centric Approach

Especially in e-commerce, consumers are wary of handing over their hard-earned money. Many have been burned by scammers; others are simply tired of being sold to. To build your brand reputation and convert more leads, place your audience at the forefront of your marketing and sales efforts.

Implement an inbound marketing strategy that cultivates a community around your business. Place more resources in customer service than in sales, and make sure you’re honoring your target audience’s buying journey.

For example, working moms and business executives have little time but need reliable solutions, so don’t push them with lots of pushy messages or expensive fluff. By contrast, young college students with cash to burn are more likely to respond to your “flash sale” advertisements. The key is to prioritize your customer’s interests rather than your business’s characteristics. Benefits, not features!

Wrapping Up

Most e-commerce businesses rely on generic promotions, shameless cash grabs, and misleading ads. You can stand out by using cost-effective tactics that showcase your brand’s value. Focus on the people who make your business a success; that will not only improve your conversion and retention rates but also generate social proof. Eventually, you’ll gain a lucrative customer base that knows, likes, and trusts you — and that’s the secret to growing your online business!