Just getting started with creating my first store. I had some questions around the actual marketing and promotion of the site.
What would be realistic for a new (small) store for startup and ongoing marketing costs?
What are the more effective techniques for promoting a new store?What expectations are there around traffic generation?
How long before I should start seeing traffic and sales?
How much time should I expect to be investing in promotions to maintain site traffic?
Good to hear you're getting started. The answer to all of your questions is it depends :)
It depends on your industry, your experience, your store, your products and above all, your ambitions.
Chances are that you don't some of these thing and that's ok!
When you start out, you're still in what I call Discovery Mode. You need to take the time to figure out your unique marketing approach for your business.
Sure, look at competitors or other sites that are similar to yours and figure out where they get their traffic from. Use tools like Similarweb, Semrush, etc.
Then start doing. See what works (even a little bit), adjust and try again.
Since you asked, I wanted to give you my ballpark estimates:
**Sorry. I started writing this reply, then accidentally wrote an essay. The TLDR is I spent ~£200/month on a prelauch campaign, for a few months, built an email list of ~1500 people, a FB following of ~3000, and had great sales for the first month of my launch. I'm now spending ~£300/month on FB ads, still experimenting mostly, but it's looking promising. Excessive details below...
If you haven't launched your site yet, and you can afford a few months with no sales then I'd really suggest you run a prelaunch campaign first.
I'm not an ecommerce pro, I just launched my first site a few month ago, but I ran a pre-launch to validate the idea first, and it was great.
I just threw up a one page website, with about a paragraph of information saying what the site was going to be, that it would be launching in Autumn, and encuraging people to sign up for a 20% discount on their first order.
I then ran a FB ad campaign @£5/day which was just targetting a saved audience that I generated based on the people I thought would be interested.
Within hours, the first FB Ad Set I'd ever tried on my First store got me an email address!. I ran a few pararrel ad sets each a @£5/day, to see what was working best, and then tunred off the things that weren't so good.
So that's about £150/month on my main ad set, and £50-£100/month on exploration and experimenting.
Within less than a week, I was averaging over 10 email addresses / day. And simultaneously building a FB audience.
My FB page started completely empty, and before I ran my Ad, I threw up a few memes related to the niche, links to some interesting related articles, and a couple of posts about who we are and what the company will be. I was completely honest that I was just a guy trying to build a new brand, and I think people related to it.
FB decided in all it's wisom, that only 2-3 of my ads were primarily being shown to people, and I let them run, as they were getting cheap clicks, but also loads of likes and comments. Every evening, I'd go through the people that liked my Ad, and invite them to like the page. This meant that my ~£200/month was building me a great email list and FB following. I then spent a day finding loads of interesting pictures, articles, videos, etc. relating to my niche, and scheduled about 2 weeks worth of posts @ 3 posts/day, so I wouldn't have to worry about it, and kept going through inviting anyone who liked a post or an ad to like the page.
My FB adience was growing at about twice the speed of my mailing list.
This strategy helped in a couple of ways. About 1 week in, I decided the idea looked promising, so then started ordering sample products, testing suppliers, creating designs, etc. And in the welcome email that I sent subscibers, as well as giving them their voucher code, I encouraged them to let me know what products they would like to see, and I had really good response of people telling me what they wanted to buy. This helped with product selection, as well as keeping people engaged.
When I launched the website, I had ~1500 email subscribers, and ~3000 FB followers. About 2 weeks before the launch, I emailed my list, and posted on FB to tell everyone when we were opening, and again, when I lauched I did the same. Both times I boosted the FB post.
I started getting orders coming in within half an hour of the store going live, and I had a flurry of orders on the first evening. A great morale boost!
After 2 weeks of being open, I sent out an email to everyone that hadn't purchased, and let them know that their 20% off voucher would expire at the end of the month. This brought in another flurry of sales for a few days, then the day before the voucher expired I sent a Last Chance email out to everyone who still hadn't bought, and great results again.
I now run the inital ad set I was using to my homepage, with a signup for 10% off first order. This only pops up if you get to the homepage from the FB ad. My mailing list is still growing, but much slower than during the pre-lauch.
After less than 3 months, I've had a few hundred customers, a few dozen repeat customers, and lots of people browsing and adding to cart. And an engaged audience that talk to me, and tell em what they want.
I'm experiemnting with how best to retarget to the non-buyers to get them back, and that's the stage I'm at. Curently spending about £300/month, trying to get a good ROAS, then I will gradually scale up and see where it takes me.
If you got here, thanks for taking the time to read my response, and I really hope it's helpful. I wish you the best of luck with your store!
I look forward to hearing stories of your success.
Hey Darren! Congrats on the new store.
I feel your struggle in trying to estimate spend, ROI, etc. Tough in the beginning.
The answer is, "It all depends."
Consider the spectrum of ecommerce brands. There are small, upstart, unproven, disruptive companies. Their product might be amazing, but they’ve only been in business for a year. Which means they’re so early in their life cycle, there isn’t enough historical data to make any hard predictions.
On the other end of the spectrum, there are more established, successful brands. These companies have years and years of consumer data. And their revenue has been consistently surpassing six figures a month on a particular channel.
Which is awesome. That means we can now benchmark their return on ad spend more accurately, creating specific marketing strategies to elevate their business to the next level.
See how elusive ROAS is?
Anyway, we have a great ROI calculator you might use to better predict your new store growth.
Hope that helps!