The biggest challenge to selling online is getting traffic to your website. Here are 10 ways you can drive more traffic to your online store. If you don't have an online store and you're looking to start one sign up for free at webstarts.com.
Everyone wants to be on top of Google. When people search for products and/or services like yours and you appear at the top of Google for that search you don't have to be the best in your category, you don't have the lowest price, you don't have to convert the best, you're simply going to get business because you're getting found more than competitors.
Unfortunately showing up on the first page of Google when someone does a keyword search is extremely difficult. If you have a product or service that has even a remote number of monthly searches you're going to find a lot of competition for those top spots. That doesn't mean they're impossible to get, it just means you're going to have to give it everything you got.
Here are the things every website needs to do to even have a shot of showing up on Google.
Include keywords and phrases people use to find your products in your page title. Some ways to separate yourself for the competition there is to include the name of your business and the geographic region where you're competing. Those should thin the competition down a little bit.
Include keywords and phrases people use to find you in your page content. Keep in mind the content should be text and not images. Google's really only focused on reading and organizing text, they have the tech to interpet some images and videos but it's not economical to use when organizing search results just yet.
Get links from other websites that Google thinks are important. This is the most important of the three suggestions here. Google knows the most popular websites in the world and if you can get a links from those back to your website that's going to go a long way. You should also be including links back to your website from all the places where you can create online profiles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and so on.
2. Social Networks
Like I just mentioned above social networks like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube are not a great place to get links to your website but they're also a great place to promote your website. If you're selling something highly visual platforms like Instagram are great because they're all about the photos. Places like Facebook and Twitter are great places to start a dialog with your audicence and share products too. Finally consider making Youtube videos. Youtube is the second most popular place people search online next to Google.
3. Email Campaigns
Building email lists is crticial to getting traffic to your website. When someone discovers your website you need to remind them you exist, the best way to do this is capture an email address when they visit your site and then send them follow ups and broadcasts. This keeps you top of mind and results in more referrals and over course direct purchases. Consider giving people coupon codes for discounts, free samples, and other perks in exchange for joining your mailing list.
4. Email Signatures
When you send someone an email include a link to your online stroe in the signature at the bottom. You never know when that person you're communicating with will get curious and explore your store.
5. Business Cards
This is old school but still works. Include the web address to your online store on your business cards. That way when you're out and about and someone asks you what you do, or sell you can hand them a business card that will guide them to your online store. This is a must if you do trade-shows and the likes as well.
6. Brochures and Offline Print
Just like you include your online store web address on your business cards it should be on all your offline print. If you have product brochures, mail newseletters, flyers, and anything else the web address to your online store should be on them.
7. Word of Mouth
This is obvious but there are ways you can promote word of mouth. For example making your web address easy to spell and sound out. So when someone asks one of your cusotmers where they bought an item they can tell them without having to write it down or spell it out.
Of course the other way to leverage word of mouth is to deliver a product in a timely manner, of high quality, that exceeds the customers expectations. So consider adding pleasant surprises to things like your packaging when you send an order. Maybe include a few free samples, gifts, or a prersonalized note with each order.
8. Affiliate Program
Winning customers can one at a time is a daunting task. Consider offering people a commission to refer new customers to your online store with an affiliate program.
9. Collaborations and Partnerships
Another hot way to promote products that can drive traffic is a colaboration or partnership. Let's say there are other stores that sell products that are complimentary to yours but not direct competitors. Consider contacting them and offering their customers a discount coupon on free sample. It will help add value for the store selling complimentary products and it will expose their customers to yours.
Marketplaces are a good way to find new customers. They often charge a good percentage of your sale when someone orders through one but if you're saavy you can figure out how to get those people to become regular cusotmers of your online store directly and circumvent having to pay the high transaction costs of selling on a marketplace site like Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay.