How To Build An Online Boutique Customer Base (From Zero!)

“If you build it, they will come” - wouldn’t it be great if that was true?! 

But if you’ve ever built a boutique (or any business!) from scratch, you know that just isn’t the case. People will not magically show up to your online store if they don’t even know you exist! 

It’s up to you to spread the word and tell people who you are and what you do. You need to market your store, find your customers, and build your customer base. (And I know it’s always tempting to start with friends and family, but unless they are your ideal customers, that won’t give you much traction!)

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Show up on the social media platforms your customers use

Find out where your customers are, then go there and go ALL IN!

Make real connections

it’s all about connecting with your community! Who are your people? What do they want to know? What makes them laugh? What will inspire them? What are their problems (and what’s your solution)? 

Partner up!

Suppose you’re a new business with zero customers. In that case, one surefire way to get started is to tap into another business’s existing customer base (provided you have something they want, of course!)

Let’s say for example that you sell activewear and there’s a gym close to your boutique - you could look into doing some co-marketing or even an event together. 

Look for opportunities everywhere!

Use paid ads 

The benefits of paid marketing are that you have direct access to relevant audiences. And generally speaking, quicker results. Paid marketing gives you quick access to data too. The data that you get from Google Analytics or Facebook Pixel can help you make your ads stronger, and just help you make better marketing decisions going forward.

It might feel daunting, but it can super effective to drive traffic and sales. It’s also a travesty if somebody is not allowing themselves to grow if they’re wanting to grow because paid search ads are in the top three most influential generators of website conversions.

So, should you do paid advertising? No, if you don’t have the budget and money to burn. Don’t do it when you’re struggling as a business and you need more revenue. 

Do it when things are already going well. You’ve already proven that your business works, and you just want to improve everything, and you have the profit - the money to invest.

Nuture your leads with emails 

You should have a welcome email going out to your customers on subscribing. And while you can get fancy, here are the basics I’d recommend:

Changing your Welcome email to a 5-part series instead (here’s a sample outline for you):

  • Welcome (short with discount code)
  • Introduction to you! (No hard sells or asks. Why should they follow you or care?
  • Then what they can expect from the FB group and why to join.
  • Why shop with your boutique? Fun, informative, reasons they should choose you.
  • Push the sale/tell them to check out your latest new arrivals

Give people a reason to make their first purchase

A sweet discount, or maybe a free gift (I do free stickers for my t-shirt boutique!). 

Make sure your website is accessible to everyone

According to Campaign Asia, an estimated $6.9 billion a year is lost by brands with inaccessible websites to their accessible competition.

Don’t be that website!

Everyone should be able to enjoy your website, regardless of ability!

We recommend Accessibe - The #1 Automated Web Accessibility Solution for ADA & WCAG Compliance. 

And lastly...

Send them to an amazing website!

Seriously, if you're working so hard to build your customer base you don't want to send them to a blah website do you??

(We can help with this part - Shopify websites for boutiques are our jam!)

I'm ready to chat!

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