You’ve built a successful vaping business, gotten your vape store live online, and sales are coming through. But there’s still room to scale and increase revenue. So what’s next?
Scaling up any business on a budget can be difficult. In order to increase sales, you need to increase capacity, which means more spending … or does it? Once you’ve gotten your vape store off the ground, you don’t necessarily have to throw more money at it. There are ways to increase traffic and acquire more revenue through low-cost vape marketing strategies.
Focusing on SEO, expanding and narrowing down your display advertising, and taking advantage of influencers can be a great way to scale. In addition to these, there’s always the tried and true method of email marketing.
Before you start throwing money into big league strategies and advertising, it’s best to start with some low-risk, high-reward options. Be aware: these strategies will require some manual effort and potentially minimal spending, but generally lead to a larger payout in comparison.
Let’s take a look at some digital marketing options below. General disclaimer: With any of these strategies, don’t make health claims or say your products can help someone quit smoking. That could land you in hot water with regulators. Also, don’t use anything that could be misconstrued as targeting young people, we want adult smokers only! Bottom line: no shady marketing tactics!
Your vape products aren’t going to sell themselves. But you already know that. So how do you get more eyes to your site? One vape marketing strategy that has been, and continues to be, very successful is traditional display advertising. Well, if you’re familiar with big tobacco or tobacco companies there are similarities to the tobacco products market, but advertising vaping requires a special touch.
What is display advertising? Display advertising is the tried and true method of placing banners (images) on websites in hopes that you earn a click and conversion. Some websites or networks (like EcigMedia) even have a dashboard that will allow you to monitor all your statistics.
How does display advertising work? Display advertising falls into three distinct categories: CPM, CPC, and CPA.
CPM is cost per mille (1000.) So if you pay $4 CPM, that means for every 1,000 impressions (views) you receive, that you’ll be paying $4. CPM is usually paid up front to the publisher or network. For example, many companies advertise through Google Advertising, but vaping advertising is not permitted.
CPC is cost per click, which is really as simple as it sounds. Some publishers or networks only require that you pay for every click that your ad receives. CPC is typically paid on a monthly basis.
CPA or affiliate marketing as it’s commonly known requires that you only pay when you receive a purchase. Because of that, it’s typically required that your payout be somewhat more generous than other types of display, because the publisher isn’t receiving any revenue for the space the advertisement occupies unless a sale occurs.
All three options have benefits. Choosing which one is best for you depends on your product, target audience, and objectives.
CPM for instance, is great if the ad network is targeting the correct audience. If you’re working (or decide to choose) and ad network that uses CPM as their main method of tracking campaigns, it usually means they have a very targeted and highly engaged audience.
CPC on the other hand works well because you only pay for what you get. But most networks or websites charge high rates for CPC because they value a click higher than an impression. CPC also isn’t the best way to track performance – just because your ad gets a click, doesn’t mean it converted to a sale.
CPA is a popular option for advertisers, because they only pay for any sales they get. But it is much less popular amongst publishers. Be wary of any CPA models, as many sites will artificially pump their numbers or send low quality traffic to your site in order to try and increase affiliate revenue.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is essentially tuning your site to be more friendly to a search engine like Google. It’s all about trust in this category, as your site’s age, content quality, and overall user experience (page load times, share worthy content, etc) will determine how high Google shows your site in search results.
While that might sound simple, nailing down a solid SEO strategy for your site can be difficult. High authority domains spend years working on their content in order to get to the top positions in Google.
Many companies employ specialists or firms that optimize their sites to ensure the highest possible SEO value. The difference between the first page of Google results and the second can be the difference between success or failure!
To give an all encompassing guide for SEO strategies is beyond the scope of this post, but some quick and dirty tips to help you out are:
- Ensure that your site can be crawled (found and indexed) by Google. While there are a number of SEO softwares available to track this (SEMrush, AHrefs, etc), there are some easy and free ways to check where your site ranks. Do some quick Google searches for keywords you want to rank in. For example, if your vape store only sells e-juice, try searching for one of your top selling e-juice flavours and/or names. See if your site is ranking and what page of Google it’s ranking on. If you can’t find your site in the search, this is a good indication that you need to spend some time on SEO for your site.
- Create great content that focuses on solving your customers or users problems. Think about who your audience is and what they’re looking for when they come to your site. Then create some content that would make them want to come to your site. Content on your site doesn’t always need to be a review of a product. Instead you might create some content on how to properly use and pour e-juice, or which vape mod is best for a beginner vs. advanced user.
- Create a blog on your site. A blog section is probably one of the best ways to organically increase traffic and make your site more useful for your visitors. If you’re not sure what to write about, don’t overthink it! Just write about some topics you think visitors would be interested in that are related to vaping, e-juice, etc.
- Focus on keywords in your content that are related to search terms (several sites can help you find them). Try Googling a handful of keywords in the vaping niche and see what sites and articles come up on the first page. These posts will usually give you a good idea of what type of content you’ll need to create. Another option is trying out programs like SEMrush or Ahrefs (these both have freemium models, which limit your search queries, but can be very helpful as a starting point).
- Assess your website’s current content and overall design. User experience is paramount. Fast load times, great UI and design, etc. How easy is it for a user to move through your site? Is everything clearly labelled? Is the overall theme and design consistent throughout each page on your site? Do you have a blog section? Do you have a help desk or “Contact Us” tab?
EcigMedia offers an SEO service that focuses on accomplishing many of the above steps! We have a team of writers that create numerous unique articles about your content, focusing on keywords and urls related to your business. Following your review, we’ll post these articles across our network! Soon, you’ll start to see your results for those keywords rise in Google! This is a proven system, and we’d be happy to share the results with you to back up our claims!
Social Media Marketing
Another type of advertising that works wonders in other industries but not always in the vape industry is social media advertising. This includes taking advantage of social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, etc. These networks allow you to reach millions of people, can be quite effective for non restricted industries, and most importantly are free to use!
Facebook Company Pages
Many businesses forget that Facebook is still a relevant medium for attracting new customers and engaging with your audience. Creating a Facebook page for your vape business is an easy and free way to post, create short content, and develop an active following.
While it does require some minimal effort, it can be an effective channel for brand recognition. With softwares like Buffer, you can easily set up posts in advance and save yourself the time and effort of posting everyday. Remember to keep your content fresh and relevant, announce new product lines and updates to keep your audience up-to-date, engage with people through polls, questions, and giveaways.
Facebook Vaping Groups
While paid advertising through Facebook is out of the question for vape companies, you are able to create Facebook groups that discuss and share information around vaping/e-cigarette products.
Creating a Facebook group is an effective and free way to create a community of vapers and potential customers. Start a discussion, get people talking, post relevant content, and link back to your site. Think of it like a blog, but with an already established community of Facebook users.
Many Facebook groups are area-specific so geo-targeting your demographics is easy. Facebook users gather to talk about an interest – join in and become a vaper instead of seller.
Reddit Vaping Communities
If you haven’t used Reddit before, I highly suggest you check it out. There is a subreddit (a community specific to a certain topic or subject) for almost any subculture on Reddit. Due to the restrictions and controversy around vaping, Reddit has become a very popular medium for vapers to discuss on.
You can jump into other subreddits or create your own and build an audience. Building your own can be a bit more difficult, so joining an already established subreddit might be a better starting point. Here are some active subreddits that discuss flavours and vaping gear. Check some out to see how they operate and what you can learn from them:
- Vaping_Deals (private group)
Paid Social Media Advertising
Social media platforms like Facebook, Reddit, Instagram and Twitter offer some sort of sponsored post program, which makes your ad look almost exactly like a story that someone would see in their feed normally. You can target certain groups and populations based on numerous factors
However, since the recent restrictions around vaping placed on Facebook and Instagram ads, paid advertising is probably not the best option at the moment.
One of the fastest growing trends in the ad tech space has been influencers. Influencer marketing is a highly attractive channel to promote brands through and here’s why:
- Greater brand recognition and higher engagement. A paid ad or banner is generally ignored by the average user. However, when someone’s favorite influencer promotes a brand or product, users tend to pay more attention, leading to higher conversion rates for companies.
- Hyper targeted audience. Traditional display advertising offers various types of targeting options to help companies reach the exact audience they’re looking for. However, influencers are even more targeted than this, as their audience has already been pre-filtered. An influencers followers are already targeted to the influencers brand, so as long as you find the right influencer, you reach the right people.
- Low costs. While higher end influencers on Instagram are VERY pricey, influencers in the vaping space are pretty cheap. This is great for companies who are getting started and need to increase brand recognition for their products.
That being said, EcigMedia offers an Influencer Marketing service that (legally) allows instagram accounts to promote your brand as long as they include the required disclaimers! One of the biggest hassles with advertising of this sort is reaching the influencers themselves! They have tons of business, and sometimes folks get lost in the mix. EcigMedia has powerful relationships, and handles every step of the process to make sure your influencer campaign gets done quickly and with a satisfaction guarantee!
Work with an Ad Network
A precursory glance at advertising your vape brand may make it seem like it’s almost impossible to create a great marketing campaign. Most of the big platforms (Facebook, Google, Ebay, etc.) won’t allow you to advertise. And with more regulation looming, everything is even more confusing. While there are a number of vape marketing strategies to take advantage of, it does take a lot of additional effort to promote your brand yourself, and as a business owner, many don’t have the time to do this.
Luckily, there are vaping specific ad networks like EcigMedia (shameless plug) that are 100% compliant with all relevant laws and regulations. Our network is also composed entirely of vaping content sites, so all of our visitors convert at much higher rates than other non-focused networks.
With EcigMedia you can reach over 10 million vapers each and every month. We do the hard work of connecting with all of the top publishers in the industry so you don’t have to. As an EcigMedia customer you’ll receive awesome service, and high quality traffic.
EcigMedia offers display advertising through our focused network of vape-specific publishers, allowing brands to get high-quality traffic and recognition to their products and site. We work with a number of large and local companies to help drive conversions to their page. Just let us know your budget and we’ll find the right fit for you.
We also offer both off-site and on-site SEO services for your brand. We talk to brands, figure out what their needs and budget are, then have our team of writers create high-quality content marketing, focusing on specific keywords to help them rank better. SEO can be very tedious and expensive when working with larger networks. EcigMedia offers SEO services at some of the best prices out there.
If you’re interested in learning more about display advertising, contact Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or if you want to learn more about our SEO and Influencer services, contact Mike at email@example.com.