So you have finished building your online shop!
Now you need to start getting people to visit your new online shop and to do this you need to develop a marketing strategy. Below I will give a short outline of three of the main types of digital marketing that you can use.
When it comes to digital marketing, you may find that there are some elements you can do yourself, whereas it may be more cost effective to employ the services of a digital agency or freelance specialist rather than trying to learn it all yourself.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
The aim of SEO is to get your website ranking well in search engines such as Google or Bing. When you rank well in search engines, you get what is called organic traffic and for online stores, organic traffic is the best kind of traffic as it generally has the best conversion rates.
The main problem with SEO is that it takes a fair bit of work to get your site ranking will and generally takes a long time to see results. However it is a good long term marketing strategy and is definitely something you want to do to your site. But what does SEO consist of? Well there are two main components, onsite and offsite and I will give a quick overview of them both below.
Onsite SEO is something you have far more control over as it is all things that you can do on your website. There are three main elements to onsite SEO:
1. Keyword Research
You will hear this a lot when you doing any kind of research into SEO and it is a really important thing to do. The aim of keyword research is to find the right keywords that you want your site to rank for.
When you are just starting out, you want to be aiming for what are known as long tail keywords, which are phrases or questions people type into search engines that are more specific and targeted. Let me give you an example:
- Diamond Ring is a very broad search term and there could be lots of reasons why they are looking for this, they could be looking at ones for sale, different styles that are available, how much they cost etc. Not only is it a hard search term to rank for but it is also not guaranteed to generate sales
- 18ct White Gold 1ct Round Diamond Halo Engagement Ring is a far more specific search term and the person is looking for a set of results that perfectly match what they are looking for. There is a good chance that this person is actively looking to buy, so ranking for long tail keywords such as this has a far higher chance of converting into a sale.
That is just an example to show you the difference between a broad search term and a long tail specific search. It will take time doing keyword research and the holy grail is search terms with good monthly volume, usually between 500 and 5000 searches and low competition. Two good tools for this are Google Keyword Planner and Ubersuggest.
2. Keyword Optimisation
Once you have your keywords that you want to use, you want to optimise your content for those keywords. Now you don’t want to stuff all your content with keywords as not only does make it hard to your visitors to read but you can also be penalised by search engines for doing this.
Instead you want your keywords to appear organically in your content. To do this you need to take time to craft your Product Titles, Descriptions and Alt Image Tags. You want to walk a fine line between being optimised for search engines but also offering you visitors a good user experience.
Outside of your product pages, you can make use of blogs as they are content heavy areas of your site that you can use to get visitors. Lots of online shops make the mistake of using their blog posts as sales pitches, you don’t want to do this, instead use them to answer questions and inform your visitors. Well written and laid out blog posts can be great ways of not only getting more visitors to your site but also turning those visitors into customers by showing your knowledge of your chosen industry.
3. Internal Linking
The next step is to create internal links around your site, this is where you can really take advantage of your blog posts!
As long as you have created blog posts that are relevant to the products you are selling, then you can start linking keywords and images back to products or categories. This has a two benefits for your site, the first is that you are enticing your visitors to click through to your products and the second is that it is easier for websites to crawl and index your site and they can easily follow your links.
Now you don’t want to over do your linking! The main reason is that every page on your site has so much authority, which it passes on to the page it is linked to and the more links you have on a page, the more this authority is diluted between the links. With a new website, try and keep the number of links low so that your website gets the most benefit from them.
Offsite SEO – Backlinks
There are some other elements to offsite SEO but the most important is backlinks and these are links to your site from other sites.
This is something you have far less control over and the way to increase the number of backlinks organically is to produce really good content that others want to link to and share. Now this can be your product listings or your blog posts, so you want to put effort into them to make them as good as possible to encourage this backlinking.
You can reach out to people in your industry and see if you can come to some type of arrangement so that you either create a guest post or they review your products etc. Always approach this so that both parties get something from the deal, not just you and your website.
What about buying backlinks? This was once a very popular SEO tactic but search engines have become more advanced and they now rank the quality of your backlinks rather than the quantity. Buying backlinks generally gets you a lot of poor quality links for sites with low domain authority and these can have a negative impact on your rankings.
Social Media Marketing
A great way to get your business out there is to use social media, now there are a whole host of options when it comes to platforms you can use such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Lots of marketers say you should be active on every single platform but this can be a waste of time and energy on your part, especially if you are not getting any results.
How do you choose which platform/s to use? Well it takes a little bit of time and research but I have came up with a strategy that you can use to find out which platforms are going to in a relatively short period of time.
This strategy only takes a month but does require consistent work. You want to post the same content to all your chosen social media platforms on a daily basis. Do this for 30 days and then use your websites analytics software to see which platforms generate the most traffic to your website, you will likely see that one or two will perform better than others.
You can then start focusing all your social media marketing attention towards these top two platforms as they are giving you the best ROI (return on investment) in terms of time. It is pointless spending time posting to platforms that aren’t generating you any traffic, it would be better to spend that time growing your audience on the platforms that are working for your business.
I found it good to re-visit this strategy every 6 – 12 months as you can find that your audience has changed or moved to another platform and you want your social media marketing to be adapting with these changes.
The quickest way to get visitors to your website is paid advertising, now there are multiple forms of paid advertising such as Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Sponsored Instagram Posts and Promoted Twitter Posts.
But you do need to know what you are doing as you can quickly burn through your marketing budget if you are running bad ad campaigns. To make your campaigns work for your business, you need to know who your target audience is and how to reach them.
As with all marketing, this takes time and research. If you are planning doing paid advertising, using the social media marketing strategy above can be useful in helping you identify where you want to run ads. But you want to learn how to do them properly before spending all your money with no return!
There are plenty of online courses you can take, that will cover the basics of certain types of advertising but sometimes it can be a better options to use a digital marketing agency as that is what they do on a daily basis. Before signing up with an agency though, always do some research into the company to make sure they are legitimate and also have done good work for others.