Many business owners think having an e-commerce site will automatically lead to sales. That’s unfortunately not how it works. Having an e-commerce site is important, but the development of the internet has made it so everyone can have an online store with ease. Online businesses must focus on reaching customers and driving them to their site.
There are a handful of tactics and strategies all online businesses should use to drive traffic to their sites. These should be the core marketing tactics of almost any online e-commerce business.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO has become part of the vocabulary of virtually anyone who has an interest in promoting an online business. SEO is the tactics used so your website is found in the organic (i.e. unpaid or “free”) results on search engines like Google and Bing.
No matter how good your website is – if people can’t find it then they can’t buy from you. A solid SEO strategy uses strong and relevant keywords within the content of the site or page, builds quality links to this content within the website itself, and develops links externally from other related websites.
Pay Per Click Advertising (PPC)
Generally, when people refer to Search Engine Marketing (SEM), they are describing Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. PPC advertising is the process of bidding on keywords relevant to your store’s content. These advertisements will show up alongside the organic (SEO) results.
Managing a PPC campaign sounds simple; however, a mismanaged PPC campaign can cost your business thousands of dollars in irrelevant clicks that don’t convert. Without proper management, even a PPC campaign that is optimized at onset may yield a low ROI or low traffic shortly after launch. It is important to target and use keywords that will not simply just send traffic to your website, but drive consumers to your website who are actively searching to buy.
Email marketing is a great way to re-target current customers or to help bring in potential customers. It can be used to send out promotional announcements or to send out personalized messages based on known consumer preferences. Email marketing works best when customers are segmented into groups that have purchased similar products or who have similar interests. Email marketing typically has the greatest ROI of any online marketing channel and is a great place to start for businesses with an established group of customers have given permission to be emailed to.
Affiliate Marketing is an effective way of driving traffic to your website and only pay for performance in the form of a commission after a sale is made. Publishers or “affiliates” may apply to your program and once accepted they will have access to banner ads, text links, your product feed and other marketing assets you provide, which they can then promote using their existing website traffic, search engine marketing or other channels. The benefit to the publisher is that he or she may monetize traffic that would otherwise yield no revenue. The benefit to the advertiser is that affiliate marketing is a great way to gain exposure on thousands of websites with minimal risk.
In terms of online marketing, most businesses should focus on developing the core tactics described above before moving on to other forms of online marketing like social media. These marketing tactics are some of the oldest and most reliable forms of driving traffic and sales to your site. Develop them and you can expect positive results.
About the Author:
Ben Winchell and the Wristband Express marketing team has been in the online marketing industry working with niche online stores for over 7 years.