5 Low Budget Marketing Hacks for Ecommerce Entrepreneurs

Video transcript: You’re so excited to start your ecommerce business. But you’re worried about the horror stories you’ve heard about marketing costs. You’ve seen comments on YouTube that quote numbers as high as $5,000 to get started. I’m going to set the record straight: You do not need $5,000 to get started. In today’s video, in fact, I’ll show you five no budget to low budget marketing strategies to help you drive traffic to your ecommerce store without eating your profit margins. And the best part is that you can start implementing all of these low budget marketing strategies today. 

These online marketing strategies can be applied to almost all ecommerce stores and they’re sure to increase your conversions. So, whether you’re someone who’s selling their own print-on-demand t-shirts, a dropshipper, or someone selling a product that you’ve created, watch on. And stick around to the end to hear a bonus low budget marketing strategy from a six-figure entrepreneur that will help you drive more traffic to your store.

1. Advertise Less Expensive Products

Alright, the first low budget marketing strategy you wanna look into is to advertise less expensive products. Why? Well, the more a product costs, the more expensive it is to advertise. So, if you’ve got a product in your store that costs $100, it could cost as much as $300 to advertise it before you start getting sales. That said, if you have a product in your store that costs much less, it will cost much less to advertise it. 

The reason this is true is that customers need more convincing to buy more expensive products. 

On the other hand, customers are more likely to buy less expensive products on impulse, they don’t need a lot of convincing before they click “buy”.

We talked to a multi-millionaire ecommerce entrepreneur, who takes the price of a product and multiplies it by three to determine how much he’s willing to spend on a product’s marketing costs before he determines whether it’s a winner. So, for example, if something in your store costs $15, give yourself about $45 to test that product with Facebook advertising to see if you can get interaction by advertising that product. 

Low budget marketing hack: Spend 3x the price of your product on ads

Another bonus of this low budget marketing strategy is that if you use your less expensive products to drive traffic to your store, you can always upsell them and get them to shop for your more expensive products once they’re at your online store. 

If you’re dropshipping and you’re picking products from another supplier to sell in your Shopify store, then you can apply this strategy by choosing less expensive products to sell in the first place.

2. Use Email to Drive Free, Qualified Traffic to Your Store

The next low budget marketing strategy to consider? Use email to drive qualified traffic to your store. I know, when you’re just starting out, you’re not that psyched to get someone to sign up for your email list. After all, what you’re after are sales. 

However, the thing to remember about email marketing is when someone gives you their email address, first, they’ve communicated to you that they’re really interested in your store and second, you can get in touch with them whenever you want with more reasons to come back to your store and buy. You could email these people about sales, special offers, discounts and so on. 

And, best of all, emailing these interested customers is absolutely free.

So, as you’re building your store, make sure you’re paying attention to ways to capture people’s email addresses. There are a couple of apps that you can use to do this. Some of these apps do cost money, however, a lot of them have free trial periods, so you can see if they work for your customers and if they’re capturing emails, consider installing them on a permanent basis.

Wait, there’s actually another way that you can use email lists that’s a bit more advanced. But you should know about it as you’re getting started. Once you have a list of customer emails, you can actually use that list on Facebook to build a custom audience

This is great because what you’re essentially telling Facebook to do is to find people who are similar to the people who are interested in your store because they gave their email addresses. Facebook will find those similar audiences and it will be more effective for you to advertise to those audiences. 

Use email marketing to drive qualified traffic

If you had a hard time following all of that, don’t worry. Facebook ads is not that simple, but you can get up to speed on Facebook ads if you take Oberlo 101. It’s the ultimate course for building an online store, finding products to sell, if you don’t have them already, as well as creating and succeeding with Facebook ads.

3. Build a Community With Content

The next low budget marketing strategy is definitely free, but it does take some work. This strategy involves building a community with content. So often, when people think about advertising their products, they think about creating Facebook ads. However, we’ve talked to entrepreneurs who’ve done a great job of building communities on social media sites like Instagram, not by advertising to those communities, but by creating great content. 

For example, entrepreneurs Kory and Rodney tested out a few different dropshipping niches that they could sell in on Instagram.

Rodney: We kind of started a bunch of organic Instagram accounts and we wanted to test a bunch of different niches. And we went with one that was getting very high levels of engagement and kind of went with that, and we started to develop that account a lot more, and once we started to get feedback from our kind of community that we had built, we started to realize, “Okay, this would be the niche that we could sell to.”

Kory: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Rodney: So, we started to develop that and kinda go from there.

Jessica: They started to grow communities on Instagram by finding content that those community members would love. Think memes or helpful infographics, and inspiring tips, and things like that. When they figured out which Instagram community was growing the fastest, they went all-in on that community and they watched it grow. 

Once they learned more about that niche, they were able to launch a store that spoke exactly to the needs of that niche and they drove free traffic to that store with the content in the community that they created on Instagram.

Low budget marketing hack #3: Build a community with great content

The bottom line here is, if you’re willing to put in the work and spend hours a day creating an Instagram community with great content, interacting with the people who are leaving comments and finding other Instagram accounts to interact with, you too can drive a lot of free traffic to your store on an ongoing basis without spending a penny. In fact, Kory and Rodney made $3,000 on Black Friday alone without any single ads.

By the way, if you think you’ve tried this low budget marketing strategy and it didn’t work, let me just give you an idea of the amount of work that’s required. We talked to an ecommerce entrepreneur named Emma Reid who suggests that you leave a hundred comments a day within your niche if you’re really serious about growing a community on a channel like Instagram.

Emma: I suggest a hundred comments a day in the relevant hashtags on the relevant people’s posts.

Jessica: Do you, can we just use a bot for that? 

Emma: No.

Jessica: No? 

Emma: It has to be real human interaction.

Jessica: Okay.

Emma: Otherwise people aren’t gonna buy from you because there are so many bots on Instagram just spamming people’s posts.

Jessica: Yeah. This is something that we talk about a lot. If you want to get started on a super low budget marketing strategy with dropshipping, it’s possible you built a half-million-dollar store like that, but you invested a ton of time and energy instead of ad dollars to get to that point.

Emma: Yes, for sure, yes. A lot of the beginning was me just grinding away, writing Instagram comments, building ambassador programs from the ground up to try and really get other people to like promote the product organically and all of that before I moved on to PayDots.

Jessica: Okay, makes a lot of sense. 

You can also grow these on, say, Facebook groups. Just keep in mind that you have to wait a while to grow the community before you start advertising to them. If you advertise too early, the group will leave. 

There are plenty of bots on Instagram

4. Explore New and Untapped Social Channels

The next low budget marketing strategy that will drive traffic to your store is exploring new marketing channels. You’d have to be living under a rock not to have heard of TikTok by now. It’s the newest social channel on the block and involves creating quick videos with music or sound effects that showcase something, whether it’s a joke or a dance or a product. 

There are 400 million daily active users on TikTok, meaning there’s a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs to get in front of this audience early. The only thing is that TikTok is not optimized for people who are advertising on it yet. There’s no way to link directly to your site. 

But the hustling entrepreneurs won’t let this stop them. They’ll be one of the first movers so they can figure out how the platform works. Then as TikTok evolves and makes it easier for people to go from a TikTok account to a store, those first movers will have an advantage. They’ll already have an audience on this new channel. 

Now, TikTok is the most popular new kid on the block, but it’s not alone. There are other platforms that are coming out all the time.

For example, just last week, we heard about a new channel called Byte. We don’t know if it’ll grow yet, but we know that the first people to be on the channel will have the most chances of succeeding in it if it does grow. 

5. Advertise to International Markets

This next no to low budget marketing strategy is really best for dropshippers. That’s because dropshippers can ship their products to anywhere in the world thanks to ePacket shipping. This low budget marketing strategy involves advertising to international markets. 

Most people when they set up an online store immediately start thinking about advertising to the US and that’s because the US has a huge ecommerce market

Advertise to international markets where costs are lower

However, where there are a lot of advertisers, there’s a lot of competition and where there’s a lot of competition on the marketing platform, the marketing costs are high.

If you’re dropshipping, consider going after international markets, it’s cheaper to advertise to these countries and you can still ship to them. 

The only thing you have to be aware of is whether or not you’ll need to translate your ads on your website in order to convert this traffic. Luckily, there are free apps that help you translate your website. 

For more information on this strategy because it is a good one, check out this video where we go over how you can start selling to France, Italy and Spain by shipping products within warehouses in France, Italy and Spain.

Bonus Low Budget Marketing Hack: Advertise With a Soft Sell

Okay, it’s time for our bonus low budget marketing strategy. This strategy is something that got a lot of attention when we posted about it on Instagram. By the way, if you’re not following us on Instagram, get over there and follow us because it’s where we test some of our first tips with our audience. 

This low budget marketing hack comes from a six-figure dropshipper named Emma Reid. What she recommends is that you soft sell to customers first and by soft sell, she means don’t tell them to come to your store and buy, but rather create a Facebook ad that tells people to, for example, pick out a color of the product that you’re advertising.

Bonus low budget marketing hack: Soft sell to get customers through the door

The soft sell is a bit more enticing. If someone sees an ad that just says, “Pick a color.” They don’t feel like they have to decide whether or not they want to buy before they click it. They may just want to browse the colors. 

Now, you might be thinking, “I don’t want a customer to just browse the colors and leave.” But here’s the thing, the Facebook Pixel will pay attention to who’s clicking on your ad and who’s interested in browsing colors in the first place. 

Once customers are familiar with your product, because they visited your site in the first place, you can use retargeting ads to go after those customers again.

Re-targeted traffic is often much more effective at converting than cold traffic. 

So this is a great tip for people who want to do low budget marketing for Facebook and they want to do it smartly.

Starting an online store does not have to cost a lot of money and marketing can be done for cheap or for free. I hope you find these low budget marketing strategies helpful and I’d love your thoughts on them in the comments below. Do you think some would work better than others or some outdated for 2020? Let’s start a discussion. Until next time, learn often, market better, and sell more.

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