Marketing your online business – Part 1
Now that you’ve started your online store it’s time to market it. Time to make people aware of it and get them to start buying. There are more ways to do this and more than I could possibly even begin to mention. Amazon.com probably has enough books to fill a library on the subject. What I would like to do instead is mention that key marketing/awareness techniques that I’ve used for my niche stores and have been successful with.
Search Engines and Search Engine Optimization
Compared to all other techniques, search engines will drive the most traffic and purchases to your store. People that are searching for products are in a mode to buy. When they find your site, they have the highest chance of making a purchase. Search engine visitors are the key people you want to target for your store.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a technique or set of techniques you use when creating your store that works to get your store and it’s associated pages and articles ranking high on search engine result pages. Fortunately out of the box both Build A Niche Store (BANs) and WordPress are SEO optimized out of the box. SEO is a fairly complex topic and more than I want to address here, but you need to at least learn the basics as ranking high on search engines is your key to success.
Here are just a few great resources on SEO:
- How to Optimize a WordPress Theme for Search Engines
- Get More Search Traffic With Keywords Optimization
- How Recent Keywords Can Help Your SEO
I am sure you are familiar with Google Adsense. If not, you can see an example just below the title of this post. Google Adwords is the program that allows you to create Adsense ads. Adwords is a paid advertising program that can be very complex but very effective. In general, the conversion rates (people who click then buy) are very high for Adwords. Google has also done an excellent job with their help and online tutorials making the process easier, but effective use of Adwords really is a bit of a black art. The good news however is that if you get it right, it can very quickly pay for itself.
Here on Gather Little by Little, next to search engines, StumbleUpon has generated me the most traffic overall. StumbleUpon is a very large social bookmarking website that allows you to share pages you like and “stumble” through pages other people have liked, all based on your personal interests. StumbleUpon isn’t just a great way to find websites on the net, but it’s also an awesome tool for driving traffic to your site.
How do you do that? Build up your StumbleUpon network and be active in the community. Let me add, from personal experience, do not…I repeat…do not stumble your own posts. StumbleUpon will blacklist your site. This happened to me back 6-months or so ago and I am just now getting my site back on StumbleUpon.
One of the best ways to increase your StumbleUpon traffic is to join or start a StumbleUpon group, where you work with others to stumble each others posts. Be careful though, if you stumble any one site too much, or stumble the same set of sites over and over again, those sites could be blacklisted or even worse, your profile could be blacklisted. When participating in a StumbleUpon group, make sure your group stumbles are a low percentage of your overall stumbles.
Another highly effective way of generating visibility and traffic to your store is by participating in forums within the niche of your store. For example, sell baby products? Join some parenting or Mom’s forums. Place a link to your store in your forum signature (if allowed) and begin participating. People will click on your link and hopefully begin making some purchases. If they are happy, they will start telling others about you and before you know it the money is rolling in! At least we hope so right ?!?
I’m not convinced Entrecard is a good use of time for larger sites, but for new sites some time spent on Entrecard can be well worth the time. Entrecard is a type of social bookmarking site where you can drop your “card” on other Entrecard user’s sites and they can do the same. Each time you drop a card, you get a credit. You can also advertise your card on other Entrecard sites using the credits you’ve earned.
Entrecard takes a pretty serious time commitment, but the more time spent the more visitors you will get. This can be extremely valuable for a new site trying to get some initial visibility and traffic. The great thing about Entrecard is that it’s free.
These are just a few of the many marketing tools you can use to start generating some traffic and exposure to your new online store. I’ll talk about some options in part 2 of this article coming soon.