The Internet has made trading more accessible than ever to existing and new businesses. Even if e-commerce is not your main trading channel, you probably can’t afford to ignore it. There are many ways you can get noticed online and hopefully boost your sales.
The first step is to let search engines such as Google, Bing or Yahoo know you exists.This will enable them to index your site and hopefully rank it highly, providing they find fresh, interesting and unique content. You shouldn’t stop at submitting to major search engines though. Many online directories are also available and should be used, especially small directories targeting your market.
This is a quick, cheap and effective way to spread the word. The abundance of online news distribution services makes announcing a new product, service or any major company news easier than ever.
Don’t underestimate the power of e-newsletters. They may be seen as “old fashioned” by some, but their power is undeniable. The conversion rate from e-newsletters is higher than any other form of social medium IF the content is valuable to the readers. Remember to include a response mechanism to make it easy for the readers to follow up with you in the way you want – e.g. a link to download a white paper; a hotline number to call.
As a business owner, it is likely that you already have a wealth of knowledge in your field. Sharing it can help you become a source of authority in this particular domain. There are several ways to achieve that. For example, you could write and post content, share your thoughts in discussion groups, host webinars or workshops.
Videos can also be used for demos, feature customer case studies, or to promote individual products and services. Most of us find it easier to watch something rather than read an article, which makes videos more palatable and memorable. Done very well, some have even gone viral – a marketer’s dream!
Something for nothing is always popular! You could provide online give-aways, special offers, free downloads, competitions with prizes, or offer donations to charity for responses. These not only promote your products, but also provide you with many contact details you could market to in the future. Always ensure you collect respondents’ email addresses and additional useful information during the process, with permissions for you to contact them again, so that you could send them newsletters in the future. Give-aways can also help you acquire more “likes” if your target the promotion towards social networking. You will need an external application to run a sweepstake on social media sites such as Facebook. Sites such as www.rafflecopter.com make the process very easy.
Creating an affiliate marketing programme can really increase your sales with minimal marketing efforts. Once setup, you will pay your affiliate with a small commission on each of the sales they make for you. They invest their marketing efforts in your products and you pay them only if they sell on your behalf: a win-win situation!
Many search engines and directories have created tools to enhance local listings. Make the most of them! You can pinpoint your business on a map, add your opening hours (+ add more features on some websites). This should help you stand out on local searches, even on search engines such as Google, who are now focusing more of their efforts on returning local search results. With the increase in the use of mobile devices and wearable technologies such as i-Watches, which can pinpoint where a person is at any moment, the importance of making relevant products and services location relevant can only increase.
This is a must-have if you’re selling individual products. A product data feed is a file that generally contains a product image, title, product identifier, marketing copy and product attributes. This file will be submitted to websites, price comparison websites and should be picked up by search engines.
For more tips and advice on getting the most out of your business, download our 30-page start-up guide.