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How to Start an Online Boutique to Be Successful- Part 2

How to Promote Your Store and Choose Technology & Tools

 

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by viktoria kanevsky in Your Webstore
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How to start an online boutique to bring in an additional profit?

In part I, we covered how to find your ideal customers and how to choose your product line/mix. In Part 2 you will learn how to market your online store and how to pick your tools & technology.

How to Start an Online Boutique Right, Part 2.

Step 3 – How to Promote Your Store?

First of all, while you are deciding on how to start an online boutique, start thinking about which marketing channels will be right for you? By now you should know who are your potential customers are, so start figuring out how to reach them.

You can have a fantastic site and products, but unless you make sales, you are not in business. There are too many boutiques with amazing products who barely break even because they try to save on marketing.

THE BEST-CASE SCENARIO.

You already have an email list or group of highly engaged people who trust your taste, products, and expertise and all you need is to reach out to them. You will launch your store to the existing audience by making an announcement, for example sending emails or videos.

BUILDING YOUR CUSTOMER BASE.

    • Email list – start building it before you have your store. Make it  your new online business mantra. Besides that I wish someone would tell me this many years ago.

“How to build an email list?” -It is the #1 question boutique owners ask me. The best way is to collect email addresses in exchange for something valuable for your potential customers.  There are examples of the most common technique. Let’s say your store will be specializing in Plus Size apparel.  Before even having your store, put together a free guide for Curvy Women, something like “15 Most Flattering Fashion Tricks that Will Make You Look up to Three Sizes Smaller”. Or, if you sell anti-aging skin care, give them a checklist of “Ten Daily Anti-Aging Steps to Look 10 Years Younger”.

Figure out which information will provide your customers with value. Then give it to them for FREE, in exchange for their email addresses. Email them weekly tips while you are building your store, so your potential customers be ready to buy from you when you launch your online boutique.

    •  Facebook group – while all Fashion, Accessories companies are obsessed with Instagram, they don’t understand one simple thing. Instagram and Youtube create your following, while Facebook Group makes your potential highly engaged customers (if you do it the right way, of course).

MARKETING AND PROMOTIONAL METHODS.

You have to have a marketing budget because otherwise, you will be asking why nobody visits your site. While planning how to start your online boutique, put detailed breakdown of your marketing methods

Below the

List of methods that worked for me.

ACQUISITION Marketing – the list of methods to acquire a first time customer.

  • Search Engine Optimization is perfect for your consistent long-term results because it takes from three to six months ramp up time.
  • Paid Advertisement will bring your immediate results.
  • Affiliate is good for medium-term results because it needs one to three months ramp up time.
  •  Influencers are amazing for both instant and long-term results. Once launched with right influencers, you will see results immediately, and they will last for a long time. Also, links from influencers’ websites and channels to your site will serve as a Search Engine Optimization technique.
  • Social Media  such as  Facebook Ads will help to collect email addresses or to bring in customers.
  • Facebook Group will help to create your trusted and engaged community.
  • Instagram is the vehicle to build the following. Your the most dedicated followers migh or might not translate into customers.
  • Youtube is the same as above. Links from Youtube to your site are incredibly valuable for SEO. Also, Youtube is a search engine and can help people to find your products.
  • Pinterest  is a FANTASTIC search engine.

RETENTION MARKETING.

After someone bought from you the first time, you need to make her come back again and again (Ito retain her). Repeat clients bring a significant chunk of business. In online retail industry, your goal should be to make your customers’ come back to you at least four times per year.

Suggested retention channels:

    • Email marketing for sending promotional and informational emails
    • Re-Targeting for reminding people who visited your site how great it is by showing them ads all over. For example,  when you visit a store, and then you will see ads about this store all over your computer.
    • Content Marketing is by posting compelling, relevant content on your blog and Social Media

Step 4 – How To Choose Proper Technology & Tools.

First, decide which e-Commerce platform you will use. Do the research, read my Tools & Resource section and talk to your E-Commerce expert. To make a decision process easier, put together your list of your online business needs. This list should include three parts with necessary, highly desirable, and optional features.

Three ways to pick your E-Commerce solution.

    1. Select the out of the box solution from the established provider and either do it yourself (if you are super tech savvy) or web developer. There might be some usability limitations, but you’ll get the most efficient and fast way to be up and running.
      Also, smaller stores’ visitors tend to be more loyal, and if they like your store, they will be patient with the navigation. Out of the box E-Commerce solutions are easy to use. Plus, they have reliable and fast support. My favorite solutions are Big Commerce and Shopify.
    2. Hire UX designer to draw your store wire frame, Web Designer to create a color theme and look & feel, and a Web developer to put it all together. In this case, your developer should use free open source well-known provider. My favorite is Magento because it has all necessary functions for an online boutique.
      Also, unless you are the E-Commerce professional, you need an expert to oversee the process. Think about it as you build a house. UX designer is an architect; Web designer is an interior decorator; Programmer/Coding is a construction worker. In this case, an E-commerce professional will be your construction manager/foreman.
    3. You should avoid at any cost choosing the completely custom website development and coding.
      Many developers suggest it to very knowledgeable clients to get more money. First of all, do not invent the bicycle. All vehicles for a successful online retail ride already exist. Top professionals have created, re-created and optimized them for years. Second of all, with a minimum coding knowledge, you have no idea what amount of labor will be involved, so you’ll end up with tons of frustration and a huge bill.
      Many years ago, I invested my money in custom coded website and affiliate program by my very trusted programmer/friend. One day he silently disappeared, and when I started to look for another one, I figured out that “my friend” used an incredibly pricey old programming language which hard to work. So, I had to start the whole project all over again.

Second, pick your website hosting. Web hosting is the space where your website will live (it’s like buying the lot to build your future store). After you decide on your E-Commerce Provider, pick premium hosting compatible with this provider.

After you choose an e-Commerce solution and hosting

    •  Find a web developer/programmer. Either you want or not, unless you are super technical, you will still need one. And this is not the area of saving money and finding different people of the various little tasks. There passwords, a labor of other people and inventory involved.  Think about your primary web developer like about your family doctor – you have to build long-term relationships and trust. I will write the separate article on how to choose your programmer, and what matters for successful online business in those relationships.
    • Choose your photographer and graphic designer. Online customers are not able to touch, feel and try on your products. All they can do is look at them – so your pictures and graphics must be exceptional and customers targeted. It must sell well!
    • Analyze your needs for promotional methods and decide which tools you will need.
    • Make a decision which email service provider is the best for your business (based on the length of your email list, your budgets and kind of emails you will be sending). You have to pick two – one from transactional emails and one for promotional/editorial.
    • Social media management/scheduler tools – just read reviews from quality sources such as PCMag or TopTenReviews. Make sure you won’t fall for suggestions from affiliate sites which promote whoever pay them larger commissions.

(In my RESOURCE SECTION) I will be recommending only resources that I used and liked for my business and clients)

If you have more questions about how to start an online boutique, please email at info@onlineboutiquesmba.com, and I’ll create an article on this topic.

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GET MY FREE CHEAT SHEET

There are exact steps & key points I used for multiple clients & my own store to go from $0 to over $1,000,000 in online sales in less than 24 months (while having limited budgets & resources)

IT'S FREE
100% privacy guaranteed!
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