Starting a business is always the fun part: Coming up with an idea, building an online store, and imagining all the things the business will become once it takes off. But without marketing knowledge, driving traffic and making sales can become an entrepreneur’s biggest hurdle on the road to success. [Updated post: June 19, 2017]
Opening an online business is only half the battle in achieving true success.
Even if you have an incredibly well-designed e-commerce site with a fantastic product line, people have to come to your store before they can buy.
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With millions of sites out there, it’s even more important to stand out from the crowd. This is where marketing comes in. While there are tons of ways to inform others about your business and bring them to your site, some of the most important and unique marketing tactics are done digitally.
Your brand, your way
About, Pay Per Click Advertising
Pay per click advertising (PPC) is growing in importance to online businesses around the world. In fact, PPC has reached a $29.8 billion industry in 2010, an increase of 17% growth from 2009. And out of all aspects of internet marketing, PPC takes a whopping 50% share.
Pay per click, also known as paid search, is a model of search engine marketing where you pay a certain amount of money each time someone clicks one of your ads. These ads are displayed based on keywords entered into search engines by people looking for specific information. PPC ads appear as “sponsored links” on search engine results pages, and can usually be found at the very top of the page or on the sides.
Unlike SEO, you don’t have to rank in the search engines to be on the first page for PPC. Also, PPC usually brings more qualified leads to your site that will be more likely to convert. Finally, PPC allows you to have control over where your message appears. You can base a campaign on geographic location or other more targeted demographics.
Setting up a PPC account can be pretty easy (although many companies rely on a professional to manage the accounts). Many people use Google AdWords, Yahoo Sponsored Search, and Microsoft Ad Center. Each of these programs are relatively similar in functionality and allow you to manage your campaigns and keywords.
The basic concept is that you set up an ad with keyword rich text and then decide how much you want to pay for that keyword by bidding on it.
When bidding on keywords, make sure to use a tool that will show you the average costs and help you manage your budget.
Many times, merchants create landing pages for PPC campaigns. Think of a landing page as the place you’re sending a user from your PPC ad. This page is vital to your success as it shows people whether or not they’re in the right place and have found the information they’re looking for. If you don’t have the time, budget, or energy to create custom landing pages for various ad groups, consider sending potential customers to specific product or category pages within your online store.
The eCommerce industry is aflutter with social media buzz. This is understandable – social media usage has grown faster than the adoption of television. With this in mind, many small online businesses are flocking to social media – in fact, one report states that utilization of social media by small businesses has doubled since 2009. Here’s a few reasons why:
• Social media is a cost-effective way to establish relationships with customers.
• Social media serves as a great source of open feedback and competitor intelligence.
• Fans/Followers of branded social media pages are more likely to buy from that company and recommend it to friends and family.
You’ll want to set some objectives as you start your social media campaign. Then, think about the outlets you want to utilize. The most popular are blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Next you’ll want to establish a timeline and set benchmarks on a monthly or weekly basis. This will help you stay on track! As part of this, set some metrics that are realistic. The easiest way to do so is creating key performance indicators, or KPIs, for each of your tactics. Some KPIs include: number of Twitter followers, number of YouTube views, number of blog subscribers and growth patterns for each metric.
Finally you can deploy, measure and adjust your strategy based on how things are going. Remember, it’s okay to shift course if things aren’t working as planned – the beauty of a true strategy is that you can make changes along the way to better achieve social media success.
Selling online is a fun, exciting process that allows anyone to fulfill their dream of becoming a business owner or satisfy a desire to extend their hobby to the masses, especially in this period of booming e-commerce growth. Make your marketing strategy part of this excitement and use it to grow even more.