We just launched our online store at shopjunket.com. Most of the outreach and marketing for our vintage/resale shop happens via social media and word-of-mouth, and these have been great for our local business. With our brand-spanking-new website, however, we're seeking a national/international audience.
Could you offer some innovative ideas for garnering attention beyond Minneapolis (we're currently leveraging our eBay store to cross-promote the new site)?
Junket: Tossed & Found
In stepping online from any traditional retail business, you have in a sense "gone global." The issue becomes whether potential customers beyond your direct physical market can find you.
You are on the right track in cross-promotion from eBay, since anyone who trips over you while looking for a specific vintage item likely has some affinity for other offerings. What you need are more platforms that help inform others with similar affinities.
You also need to get creative in where you are active and visible. It will take some effort, but reverse searching the same channels in which you have established a presence can provide leads on communities interested in your products.
From here, you may choose to engage actively in groups that love vintage furniture hardware, clothing, books, toys, or whatever you might have just found. In a business that has such a varied, one-of-a-kind inventory, picking these themes can put you in the ballpark.
In addition to being involved in the conversations, you might try listening for opportunities to become a leader in the group, taking on administration or sponsoring needs. This shouldn't be overtly promotional, but genuine commitment to the group. From this vantage, you will have improved visibility for your offerings, and be privy to information regarding your market early.
This kind of effort is time consuming, but for a valuable community it might be worth doing a cost-benefit analysis.
About the author
Mike Porter, director, Master of Business Communication program,
University of St. Thomas
Opus College of Business