You've probably invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the creation of your store's website, but if no one knows about your site, how can they possibly buy from you?
Here are the seven website tips for attracting shoppers to your website.
1. Excel in SEO
If customers can't find your website on a search engine like Google, then you're never going to get much business. Customers looking to buy a specific items usually start with Google first. Since so few customers go farther than the first page of search results, it is therefore essential that your website be in the top search results.
But how do you get there? Your website should have excellent search engine optimisation (SEO), meaning that it's easily searchable. Here are a few features of a great SEO website:
- Website meets Google Panda 4.0 and other updates
- Great keywords and phrases to capture searchers
- Design is website responsive, meaning one site for all platforms (browser, smartphone, tablet, ect.)
- Healthy link profile
All of these factors will help your website reach the top in search results. Keep in mind that building SEO takes time, usually months. It won't happen overnight, but if you keep working at it, you'll see very real results.
2. Create dynamite content
Weekly blog content on Mr Porter
You might be thinking, "I'm a store. Why do I need to have content on my website? People are coming here to buy things." Many sellers have trouble understanding why they need content on their websites. When a buyer walks into a store, for example, they're looking for a product, not to read about the industry. So why would you need content on an online store's website?
The truth is that content helps build your brand and establish yourself as an expert in your field. By having a blog or producing podcasts or videos, you're interacting with your audience and showing them what your brand is all about. Your content will keep them up-to-date on the latest advancements or styles in your industry.
Customers will enjoy shopping at your website because it is both entertaining and informative.
3. Utilise social media
Photo: CC-BY Garrett Heath 2013
Hopefully you already have at least a Facebook fan page, but if you don't, you're missing out on a great opportunity. Almost all of your customers are using social media in one form or another, and you have the power to connect with them on those platforms.
All websites should be connected to a Google+ page, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account, no matter what the site is selling. As these are usually considered the three most popular forms of social media, you should have a presence on these sites. Interact with your followers and encourage them to share their thoughts and opinions. They will help you better see how people discovered your website and thus provide insights on how you should direct your marketing efforts.
You should also look into other social media platforms such as Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and StumbleUpon. These sites will allow you to post pictures and create videos that will back to your website and encourage your followers to view and share them with their friends.
Be sure you provide a link to your website with all the content you post so viewers can easily get to your website.
4. Master online advertising
When you're looking to generate interest for a store in a strip mall, how do you get the word out? Usually it's with advertisements. You might rent a billboard on a nearby highway or take out an ad in the local paper. On the Internet, ads work similar to billboards. They display a message to people going in the direction of your store, hoping to direct them to you.
Ad on Vogue.com
Paid online ads, like Google Adwords, are triggered by keyword search. You can pay to have Google target certain keywords that relate to your business and display an ad for your business on certain sites. For example, an online shoe store might target words like "high heels" or "boots." Customers searching these keywords will see ads for the online store displayed on the Google Display Network sites, sites that have agreed to show these ads, they visit. You'll get your name in the hands of people who are looking to buy your products.
There are all types of paid advertising available online so if you're not sure who to go with or how effective they are, try small campaigns first and use the data to fine tune your campaign.
5. Consider engaging with affiliate networks
Affiliate networks are websites that will send traffic to your site in return for a commission fee, usually calculated on a Cost Per Acquisition analysis. If you're site's SEO isn't as high as you'd like, you can commission other higher-ranking sites to help give you a boost and get your name to people who would be interested in your products.
Though this option is usually fairly cost-effective, it still means that the more people who buy from you, the more of your sales you'll have to give to your affiliate. Still, for a site just starting to gain an audience, this can be extremely beneficial in building your brand.
6. Offer free shipping promotions and other incentives
Sometimes you need appeal to your shopper's wallet and give him or her a concrete reason for shopping with you.
Free delivery by Book Depository
First, you could offer free shipping or set a value, say $25 or $50, at which shoppers will receive free shipping. While free shipping on every order might seem like a major loss to you, it will definitely attract customers. Rather than buying from a local store, they might feel buying from you is worth saving the trip to the store. Setting a limit will also encourage shoppers to spend a little more to get the free shipping.
You could also offer promotions and discounts to entice buyers to look around your site. Again, play to your customer's wallet and give them a chance at a discounted item. They'll be more likely to want to come back if they know there's the possibility of getting a product marked down.
7. Hire a digital advertising marketer or company
Digital advertisers are committed to building your brand online and obtaining a following on social media. They know how to optimise your website so it will rank higher on Google and other search engines, and they'll help you cultivate a campaign that combines content and social media marketing.
There are companies that specialise in digital advertising, but you can also hire a marketer to do this for you. Just be sure that whomever you hire, a company or an individual, they understand you, your message and your goals.
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