28 Great Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses Selling Online

by Gail Oliver, Online Marketing Consultant

I’ve been writing my marketing blog for a while now, so I thought I would go back over some of my popular posts and pull out some of my marketing ideas, advice and tips for small businesses selling online that you may have missed!

28 Great Marketing Ideas for Your Online Shop

  1. Post your products on upcoming social media sites, like Indulgy or Gawkerverse.
  2. Highlight any publicity your business has received in an icon on your website. For example, “As featured in this month’s issue of…”
  3. Submit your products to be sold in Shoppe, the online store portion of mobile deal site, Scoutmob.
  4. Get free exposure in the New York Times Small Business section by submitting a photo of your business and a 200-word description to their The Small Picture feature.
  5. Post an inspiring quote on Facebook (the most popular type of content for getting likes and shares) that is relevant to your business (add your shop url).
  6. Have a fridge magnet made with your shop url. Then ask friends and family to put it on the refrigerator in the lunch room of their work place.
  7. Forget about small social media icons. Instead put a 1” x 1” graphic on your shop’s home page that says “Follow our Pinterest boards here”.
  8. Create a graphic that advertises a sale or special offer at your site and pin it to Pinterest and run a Facebook newsfeed ad for it.
  9. Create your own gift guide slideshow. Include non-competitive companies as well as your own products and ask all the other companies to circulate on social media. If you don’t have products that are typically gifts, then you can still create the slideshow and “sponsor it” with your company logo and url on the final slide.
  10. Comment on the most popular pins on Pinterest. Make sure your user name and avatar represent what you sell.
  11. Ask a local photography class to take a highly stylized, creative photo of one of your products as a class project. Post on social media to really attract attention.
  12. Don’t tweet your products. Instead, create and then tweet out a Pinterest board, with an attention grabbing title like Gifts for Men Who Have Everything (i.e.  and make sure a few of your products are amongst them). Use the camera icon in the bottom left corner of the Twitter box to include a photo of the board. Encourage people to RT.
  13. Create a gift card for your shop and promote it on the home page and at the end of every product listing.
  14. Add text fly-outs to your product photos that highlight special features or a target market. For example: “100% Organic Cotton” or “Perfect Mother’s Day Gift”.
  15. Get a free Square.com reader for your smart phone, so you can sell your products by credit card anywhere, anytime (out of the trunk of your car, if need be) and you also get your products in Square’s online shop for free.
  16. Apply to have your products included in monthly subscription boxes to get in front of potential new customers.
  17. Try targeting potential business users for your products instead of end users. For example, can restaurants, hotels, stylists, dog groomers, event planners or photographers use your products?
  18. Write a nice tweet about a company that has a lot of followers and they will likely retweet it (so you are now seen by their followers).
  19. Change or add your shop categories depending on the time of year. For example, Valentine’s Gift IdeasHoliday Entertaining Ideas, etc.
  20. Make sure your products are on the social shopping site, Wanelo.
  21. Have a case made for your smart phone that has your shop logo and url.
  22. Create a free checklist that promotes your business or is something your target market would be interested in. For example, if you sell jewelry, create a “15 Classic Shoes to Own” list or “20 Best Romance Novels to Read”.
  23. Attend a popular music or sports event and wear a t-shirt that has your company name and url in large on the front and back.
  24. In your product copy tell me what it is, who will use it, when I’ll use it, why I’ll use, where I’ll use it, and how I’ll use it.
  25. Offer and promote an ongoing discount to trades, professionals, students or seniors.
  26. Add your products to the social shopping site, ShopStyle.com.
  27. Join a Facebook fan page of something you are truly interested in, like a favorite TV show. Just join in the conversation; never mention your business.  Your avatar and Facebook user name should say it all.
  28. Make your avatar pop either with a bright color or outline. Your avatar is the icon that appears on all social media. It is like a mini ad for you, but it has to grab attention and indicate what you sell, even at a small size.
  29. Get hundreds of more marketing ideas and tactics in my Marketing E-books.
  30. Need ways to market your specific business? Try my 30-minute Phone Consultation for just $59 and I will tell you exactly how I would market and promote your business.


With 20+ years in marketing I have grown my blog to over 100,000 readers in just 4 years. My advice has appeared in publications from the New York Times to Success Magazine and I have personally consulted for over 4,000 e-commerce businesses since late 2012. My blog was chosen by AmericanExpress Open Forum (the people behind Small Business Saturday) as one of their “Top 10 Small Business Blogs“. I am also a contributor at Business2Community.com and a Small Business Expert atSheKnows.com, the #1 Women’s Lifestyle website. I have gotten my clients coverage in Real Simple Magazine, House Beautiful, Apartment Therapy, Vanity Fair, Houzz, Glamour Magazine, LONNY, DesignMilk, Emmaline Bride, More Magazine, Outblush, The Frisky, just to name a few.

© 2012-2016 Gail Oliver ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Author: Gail Oliver, Online Small Business Consultant

I'm Gail Oliver, an online marketing consultant. Welcome to my blog, chosen one of the Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014 by American Express Open Forum. If you need help with your e-commerce business, be sure to see MY SERVICES, above.

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