Marketing Your Site
Episode #8 of the course How to start an online store by Patrick Rauland
Today is going to be hard!
Almost every new store owner has the same problem:
“I launched my store and I didn’t get any sales.”
And nine times out of ten, that’s because they spent no time marketing their site. This isn’t Field of Dreams. Users don’t magically come to your store once it’s launched.
• How do people hear about your store?
• Why do people want your product over competitors’ products?
• Why should search engines show your site instead of a more established one?
People rarely think about these questions, but they’re really important. The expression should go: If you build it, you have to market it.
My favorite rule of thumb is that you should spend four times marketing your site as you spent building it. So, if you spent 100 hours getting your site ready (hosting, product photos, copy writing, etc.), you should spend 400 hours marketing it.
A typical conversion rate is 1%. If you’re driving the right visitors to your site, for every 100, you should see one purchase.
In the beginning, it’s a numbers game. You’re trading 20 hours promoting your site for five customers. This might seem like a waste of time, but gradually, your marketing efforts will last longer: Word of mouth will grow, blog posts will pile up, and you’ll hone your marketing message.
Told you today was going to be hard!
Content and SEO
One of my favorite ways to promote a site is content marketing. That’s basically writing helpful content so when someone types, “How do I ____?” into Google, they’re pointed to your site, where you can give them a solution—and maybe even promote your product. For example, I’ve used content marketing to promote my own blog, and I generate 20,000 visits monthly from all the articles I’ve written. That’s a lot of free traffic.
Just don’t tell me that your product is too boring and you can’t write articles about it. I’d like to introduce you to Clingless. It’s basically a weight that attaches to your shower curtain. Pretty boring product, right? Well, they’ve written a few articles that address their users’ needs perfectly:
• “How to Stop Your Shower Curtain From Blowing In”
• “Avoiding Shower Liner Slime”
• “Remove Water Stains With Lemon”
Some of these articles talk about the problem their product solves (how to stop the curtain from blowing in), and others discuss related problems. They generate thousands of free visits from these posts, and they’ve barely scratched the surface for content marketing.
Content marketing and SEO go hand in hand. So, the more content you have on your site, the more Google will like you.
There is a whole level of technical SEO that you can get into, but there are diminishing returns. For a new store owner, just start writing, and once you have 50 or 100 articles on your site, start working on all related details, i.e. proper structure of an SEO-optimized post.
Social media is useful. It’s a megaphone to amplify a message—just make sure that you have a message to amplify. Use the same content from your product descriptions to talk about potential problems your product solves.
And don’t be spammy. Provide useful content in three out of four posts—that last one can be a promotion. This goes hand in hand with content marketing. Just use your social media to promote and share useful articles related to your product.
For a brand-new store, cross-listing your products on marketplaces like Amazon is a quick revenue generator. Some store owners I know make three-fourths of their revenue from Amazon, so you’ll definitely want to test some marketplaces once you get going. The trick is to eventually convert those Amazon customers into your customers, since once they’re yours, you can email them, learn from them, and promote to them. When they’re Amazon’s customers, you can only wait for orders, and if you ever get de-listed (it happens), you can lose all that revenue.
By the way, some platforms (WooCommerce and Shopify) have an integration that lists all your products on Amazon automatically.
Key takeaway: Marketing is a lot of work. It should be four times the work you put into building your store. It takes months to start generating traffic, so get started early.
The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly by David Meerman Scott
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