Remember the days when opening a retail business meant renting a store and having a grand opening to draw in your first customers? Well, times have changed quite a bit since then.
These days more and more retail shops are moving from Main Street to the virtual marketplace. And, many of them are successful micro-businesses run by only one or two people. Third-party sites like eBay, Etsy, and Amazon provide a platform by which small retailers can draw in a huge number of potential customers. But it’s a lot of work to get your shop noticed in the virtual world.
In fact, marketing and public relations are a big challenge for a lot of small online business owners. And that’s where you, the savvy entrepreneur, can help.
If you have a background in marketing, advertising, or public relations then you might want to consider setting up shop as public relations strategist for online micro-retailers.
Etsy alone boasts more than 850,000 shops, many of which could use a lot of help in the marketing and PR departments. And while many of these retailers probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on building their business, they would most likely be willing to invest a few hundred dollars to bring their shops out of obscurity.
Your new business can focus on helping shop owners in third party marketplaces market their products to the proper audiences via social media, a company website, and publicity from bloggers and media sources.
There are several shop owners on Etsy who already deliver such services to other sellers who use the site. One such business, Publicly Popular, sells services like website creation and social media marketing. Another, the Handmadepreneur, sells everything from custom-designed logo graphics to copywriting services.
The key to these entrepreneurial ventures seems to be keeping the cost of services low and allowing sellers to pick and choose which services they need. Once you help sellers increase business by writing a great press release, for example, they’re likely to come back to you the next time they need help expanding their clientele.
To get started in this endeavor, you’ll need to do some research on what services small online retailers need the most. Learn all you can about how online marketplaces function and what marketing or PR strategies work best for different products.
You’ll also need an impressive web presence to get your business off the ground. Shop owners will want to see that you can build a well-designed website and successfully use social media to build your own business before they entrust you with theirs.