By now, most adult businesses have learned to pivot in the era of a global pandemic in one way or another. For the business owners who have created new or enhanced ecommerce platforms, it is understandable to experience digital marketing overwhelm. Learning and implementing successful strategies requires its own share of pivoting, as the online space is constantly evolving.
Simply listing products on your site and expecting the traffic to come funneling in isn’t a reasonable expectation, based on the competitive landscape. To make the most impact as an online retailer, every component of digital marketing must be addressed in your efforts at all times. While social media is one piece of the puzzle, there are a multitude of ways to secure online visibility and customer loyalty with existing and potential consumers.
1. Engage with social media followers daily
Consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they trust, compared to a business putting in the bare minimum.
One way to generate more followers and establish trust with new and potential customers is by maintaining a consistent dialogue with your demographic. This includes your posts as well as other accounts. Always reply to comments on your posts, whether it is with a thank you, or an emoji. Not only does this keep that post active, but it shows that you aren’t “posting and ghosting,” also known as posting for the sake of posting.
2. Generate a stockpile of blog content
Keep your blog content updated regularly as much as your time and resources allow.
A minimum of one blog per week will make an impact in the long-term. Diverse blog content will increase keywords on your website, which can help your website rank in search engines, and help potential customers to find your online store. Focusing on keyword-rich content is a long game, not an overnight avenue for success.
3. Set a blog schedule
Content, content, content! Maintaining an updated blog is crucial for your online store.
Having an organized calendar is one less thing to worry about when it comes to your online marketing efforts. Get your thoughts onto paper so you don’t have to scramble week by week. Start by listing the upcoming months, and match up any national, bank or marketing holidays that could tie into your blog efforts. For example, National Orgasm Month, Masturbation Month. From there, list relevant topics based on what would bring value to your demographic.
4. Enlist sex toy bloggers for content
There are a plethora of online sex toy bloggers and thought leaders who would be happy to generate product reviews and insightful sexual wellness content.
Run a Google search and visit their websites. Reliable bloggers will have regularly updated content and social media posts. Reach out with an email and ask for their rates, and any products or topics they may be interested in writing about. This is also helpful for getting exposure to your online store when they reshare this content with their followers.
5. Teach yourself Photoshop or Canva to make your own graphics
Canva is free and requires zero experience. You can learn it overnight!
You can create Instagram graphics, stories, Facebook banners, email newsletters and more with their pre-made templates.
6. Batch out one month of social media posts in one day
Spend one day a month batching out your social media content for the next four weeks (or longer).
First, determine the amount of posts you want per week for each channel.
Next, decide if you will share the same content across all social media channels. Instagram is photo-based, whereas Facebook and Twitter are ideal for educational resources, product links to your website, etc.
Follow the same month-by-month process as your blog schedule to confirm what topics and themes you will post on what days.
Lastly, you can use a scheduling app like Planoly or Hootsuite to line up all of your content, but don’t let it auto-post. (Instagram specifically can minimize your visibility if you don’t post manually to your account.)
7. Engage your audience on Facebook and Instagram through stories every day
Polls and questions will generate more engagement.
IE: “Has your sex drive increased or decreased since quarantine started?”, “Do you prefer internal or external stimulation”, “Ask us anything you want to know about the G-spot”, etc. Also share the responses in your stories. This engagement helps to keep your account visible with your followers.
8. Create cohesive Instagram story highlight reels for your business account
You can create cohesive covers for your reels on Canva.
Go through your “Archive” Instagram stories and populate each reel with past content. Highlight reel examples include “New Products”, “Product of the Week”, “Customer Testimonials”, “Staff Picks”, etc.
9. Host a live, virtual show-and-tell on your Facebook page, Instagram, or via Zoom
Creative and specific themes will capture more interest from potential viewers, instead of casting a wide net with no direction.
For example, “External erogenous zone stimulation” or “Nipple Play 101”. Choose 3-4 items to discuss in advance, and provide background on the product, why you like it, how it can solve a specific consumer issue, and different ways to use it.
10. Create an email newsletter strategy
Don’t let your customer email addresses go to waste!
Some companies send daily newsletters; some weekly, some monthly, some for holidays only. Just stay in touch! Include flash sales, new products, self-care tips, new blog posts, relevant sex-positive links, etc. Give your audience helpful content that they find value in, incentivizing them to visit your website for more than just products. Consumers need to see consistent effort from a brand to make a purchase, so if you don’t capture a sale the first time around, don’t get discouraged!
11. Host a pleasure kit giveaway on social media
Offer up a uniquely-themed kit for a giveaway to drive visibility to your account and website.
Kits and bundles frequently speak to consumers more effectively than a single product give-away. Require contestants (18 and over) to tag friends, share the contest to their feed or stories, and follow your account to be eligible. A unique giveaway will always boost your online visibility for new and potential consumers. Spending $20 in wholesale cost for a bundle of items will reap big rewards!
12. Hire a virtual assistant
Online marketing is an ongoing commitment, and not easy if you also own a brick and mortar store, or have a full-time job elsewhere.
A virtual assistant can upload new products to your website, schedule social media posts, create social media posts, search for sexual wellness links that will keep your social accounts active and visible.
13. Create a free ‘How To’ workbook
Build up your email marketing list by offering a free workbook download.
Determine the topic based on your demographic’s experience level. Offer a solution to a problem they may be experiencing, such as “How to talk to your partner about using sex toys together.” If you or a staff member can’t write it, enlist a guest blogger. Require a customer’s email address in order to receive the workbook. Most e-commerce platforms have apps that will generate an opt-in page and automate the workbook email for each new subscriber. You can also repurpose the content in a workbook for a handful of different social media posts. Maximize your content as much as possible!
14. Perform a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity, Threat) analysis on competitors
Analyzing your competitors with a SWOT will help you identify ways to enhance your product offerings and unique services while keeping marketing initiatives fresh.
“Strengths” example: unique product, and superior customer service. “Weakness” example: poorly trained staff, shipping issues, and/or lack of social media presence. “Opportunity” example: entering an underserved market with a unique product/service. “Threat’” example: new business or competitor. How are these businesses making an impact, and more importantly, how can you outshine them?
15. Implement an affiliate program
Incentivize online influencers and/or your customers to receive a commission percentage on sales they send your way.
Sites like Shopify and WooCommerce have third-party apps that integrate seamlessly into your storefront, so the sign-up application is always available. Affiliate commissions motivate others to share a product they like in their online communities, or with friends. Those affiliate links, whether in a private Facebook group or Reddit thread, live on the internet forever, meaning that you could generate a sale today or in two years depending on who finds it.
While digital marketing may feel intimidating, rest easy knowing that you have a variety of opportunities to get your brand in front of new consumers every day! Many ecommerce pleasure products businesses have seen a major uptick in sales since the start of the pandemic, and that likely won’t change given the upcoming holidays. With that said, know that there is room for every ecommerce business to be successful regardless of the reason or season.
15 Digital Marketing Ideas for Ecommerce Startups by Casey Murphy originally appeared in XBIZ