It’s always a difficult time in the launch of a new online business when the owner of that business realizes that people aren’t going to flock to his or her website simply because it exists. Running a successful online business like V2 Cigs, unfortunately, isn’t that easy. Building your website is only a small part of the battle. Once you’ve done that, it’s time for the much more difficult task of generating sales – and if you’re new to e-commerce, you probably have no idea where to begin.
This article will provide a starting point by explaining the two ways of selling products online in very simple terms. When you’re done reading, you should have a general idea of how to proceed with marketing your website and earning your first sales.
These are the two ways of generating sales online.
- The first way is by ranking on Google for search terms that relate to your business so that, when people search for those terms, they land on your website and discover your products. That’s the search engine optimization or SEO method.
- The second way to generate sales is by raising awareness of your brand. People find out about your company through sources such as social media posts or product reviews. Instead of searching for a keyword related to your company, they search specifically for you or visit your site through a link on a referring page. That’s the awareness method.
So, how do you pursue these two methods of generating e-commerce sales? Let’s explore both of them in further detail.
The SEO Method of Generating Sales Online
Search engine optimization is the practice of doing everything possible to increase your website’s ranking on Google for the search terms that are most relevant to your business and most likely to generate sales.
Keyword Research for SEO
Let’s suppose, for example, that your business sells organic clothing. The search terms “organic clothing” and “organic clothes,” then, are core to your business. From there, though, there are hundreds – potentially thousands – of longer and more specific search phrases that are probably just as relevant to what you sell. Here are just a few examples of “long-tail” keyword phrases that might apply to our hypothetical organic clothing business.
- Organic men’s clothing
- Organic women’s clothing
- Organic children’s clothing
- Eco-friendly clothing
- Environmentally friendly clothing
- Pesticide-free clothing
- Organic shirts
- Organic dresses
- Organic pants
The basic idea of keyword research is to think of every search term that might bring relevant traffic to your site and to ensure that you have content on your site addressing all of those terms.
Optimizing Product Pages for SEO
To optimize your website for all of its relevant keywords, you should start with your site’s product pages. For each product that you sell, think of the search terms that a person might use if they wanted to find something just like that product. Write an informative description for that product, making sure that all of the relevant keywords appear somewhere within the text.
Writing Blog Posts for SEO
If you visit your competitors’ websites, you’ll find that almost all of them have blogs. When you have a customer base, publishing blog posts regularly is a good way to keep customers engaged. Until you reach that point, though, the primary purpose of your blog will be traffic generation.
It’s likely that many of the people who are shopping for products like yours have questions, and one of the best ways to generate traffic with your blog is by writing posts answering those questions. Returning to our hypothetical clothing seller, here are a few questions that people shopping for organic clothing might have.
- Why is organic clothing better than other clothing?
- How do you care for organic clothing?
- How does natural clothing compare to synthetic clothing?
- Who are the authorities that certify organic clothing?
To construct a blog post, think of a question that’s relevant to your business or industry. Search for that question online and look at the sites that currently rank for that term. Write a blog post answering that question in around 800-1,200 words – and do your best to make your answer even more useful than the others you found. Now, your blog post has a chance to rank for that term.
The Awareness Method of Generating Sales Online
The point of the SEO method of generating sales is that you’re trying to get your website to rank for terms relevant to your business so that, when people search for those terms, they’ll discover your site. The awareness method is different in that, when it works, people know who you are before they visit your site.
Awareness Begins With Relationships
To generate brand awareness, you need to start by forming relationships with people who can influence others. Broadly speaking, that means finding people with audiences. Those people might be:
- Prominent users on discussion groups like Reddit
- Product reviewers
- Writers on industry websites
- YouTube content creators
- Social media personalities
Before you reach out to these people, you need to do your best to make sure that they have audiences of real people who engage with their content. A blogger should generate many comments with each new post. A social media personality’s content should be frequently shared. You only want to build relationships with people who have real reach.
How to Collaborate With Online Influencers
Once you’ve found the influencers you want to target, reach out to them and ask if they’re interested in discussing a collaborative project. A collaboration can take many different forms depending on the type of influencer you’re working with. A social media personality, for example, might usually work with brands by sharing photos of themselves using or posing with those brands’ products. A product reviewer, on the other hand, usually posts more detailed content about companies’ products.
Regardless of the type of partnership you pursue, the collaboration will almost definitely require you to send product samples to that person. An influencer can’t review or take pictures of a product that he or she doesn’t own. You’ll need to account for that expense when deciding on a budget for your outreach program. In addition, you should keep in mind that content creators are often very busy and receive collaboration requests from brands almost every day. They’ll want to receive compensation for their time, and the more popular an influencer is, the more money they’ll want in order to work with you.