28 Great Marketing Ideas for Small Businesses Selling Online

28 of my best ideas to get your online shop more exposure, without spending a lot of money.

  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 monetary 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 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 gift 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 to your shop categories depending on the time of year. For example,Valentine’s Gift Ideas, Holiday 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 download 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“. Make sure your shop URL is on the bottom.
  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 customers WHAT it is, WHO wants/needs it, WHY they’ll want/need it and HOW they’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, Svppy.
  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 social media avatars pop either with a bright color or outline. It is like a mini ad for you, but it has to grab attention and indicate what you sell, even at a small size.


Gail (GB) Oliver is a small business marketing consultant offering affordable marketing services, particularly for businesses selling online. Her blog,
http://Attention-Getting.com”>http://Attention-Getting.com was chosen by American Express Open Forum as one of their Top 10 Small Business Blogs to Follow in 2014, and her posts have made the New York Times Today in Small Business.

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