Creating an ecommerce website is the easy part of an online business; however attracting visitors can be harder. To woe customers you need to market yourself, and this blog gives you four simple steps to promote your online store.
Step 1 – Your website address
The first thing to spend time thinking about is your website address or URL. Ideally this should relate to your business, so could be anything from your company name, to keywords describing the products or services that you provide. Picking the perfect URL is likely to take some time and thought. Try the Nominet Who Is tool to check what’s still available and to see what your competitors use.
You may want to register the domain with multiple TLD suffixes to take into account where your target customers are. For example, use a ‘.co.uk’ URL for UK customers, or ‘.com’ for US and rest of the world, along with others such as ‘.nz’ or ‘.au’ if New Zealand and Australia are key markets.
Step 2 – Social media
More and more people are on social media, and promoting your site here is the quickest and one of the cheapest ways of getting yourself out into the big wide world.
Having your company on Facebook and/or Twitter is one of the strongest forms of marketing as it is open for billions of people to view. A company account enable you to write statuses about your business, products and offers, but do intersperse promotions with expert advice, links to complementary sites or useful articles as no one likes to be sold to all the time.
It’s worth investigating other social media platforms that are increasingly popular, including Google Plus, Pinterest and Linked In (if you are selling to businesses). Look out for networks specialising in your area too, e.g. Ravelry is a social media site for knitters and crocheters.
Step 3 – Forums and blogs
Forums and blogs are another brilliant way to get your business known to people who share your interests. People go onto these sites for help and advice, so find a relevant blog or forum for your market sector. Give out genuinely helpful advice and tips and don’t sell overtly. Once you are seen as a resident expert, you may find that people will come back to you and start asking about your products. This can be more powerful than other organic marketing techniques.
Also posting on forums and blogs gives you inbound links to your online store, which increases your SEO rankings and gets you higher up on the search results pages.
Step 4 – Google Analytics
Make use of Google Analytics to find out how visitors are using your site. What pages are popular, and which ones need tweaking? Google Analytics will help you see how much traffic your site is getting, where it is coming from (maybe social media or blog links), and where you can improve optimisation to boost search engine rankings.
I’ve just touched the surface in this introduction and a search for “online marketing tips” on this site or Google will yield plenty more detailed articles. Or if you prefer hardcopy, check out Chris Barling’s latest book, The Insider’s Guide to Ecommerce – it has over 400 insights into running an online business.
Jenny Bray of SellerDeck
Image courtesy of Dominik Gwarek