You've commissioned a new eCommerce website, it's gone live, and now you sit back and wait for the mass of traffic to arrive at your door and the inevitable avalanche of orders that will come with it. Well, unfortunately, It doesn't happen that way.
Getting your site launched is just the start of a long process of website promotion techniques that you need to put together to enjoy any success in internet marketing.
Now The Hard Work Begins
Building a massive amount of traffic to an eCommerce website is far from easy, but what if I were to tell you that it was very "doable" for any SME. If you are prepared to commit the resources and have the patience to see the job through.
The idea is "content marketing."
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action..Source: Contentmarketinginstitute
Content marketing means producing valuable content about your product or brand that your readers will find interesting. The idea is not to sell but to Inform and Educate.
Building trust is the ultimate goal because trusting readers are more likely to buy into your product or brand.
Get ready to launch your eCommerce site into orbit by following my guide to content marketing.
Content Marketing Is Not A "Free" Exercise
The downside of content marketing, contrary to what most people will have, you believe, is that it is a costly exercise.
It's certainly not free because it can cost a sizeable chunk of your marketing budget to develop real, meaningful content that helps your audience.
But for those prepared to give it a chance, it is much more rewarding than pay per click or other short-term marketing channels.
By producing more and more quality content for your site, you gain much more than just the sum of the content provided.
There are many other areas of the marketing mix, both technical and non-technical, touched by introducing the fresh material.
Search Engines Love Fresh Content
As an example of a technical gain, one commonly overlooked advantage is that search engines will crawl your site faster to keep up with the growing amount of data on your website.
When your website gets crawled, the search engine database is updated, and you see fresher results in the index.
The key here is to keep your site updated consistently.
Producing just two new articles every week can have a massive impact on both the usability of your site and your search engine rankings.
You need to have a lot of patience to make content marketing work for you and nothing is likely to happen for several months. But magically, after roughly three months of consistent effort, you will be rewarded with increased visibility in the search engines and your traffic will begin to grow.
It's not free, because as I say it costs money to produce excellent content.
But as a long-term marketing tool, this is the most cost-effective way of building your eCommerce Business.
Use Content Marketing To Build Trust
Building an eCommerce website is just one small part of your online marketing effort.
Presenting it in a format that is easily accessible across all technology platforms (Smartphones, Tablets, and Xbox, etc.) is another.
To get the maximum effect from your content marketing efforts, you need to support it with GRAVITAS - a list of testimonials and satisfied customers.
Testimonials convey a level of trust along with industry accreditation like kite marks (Gas Safe Register etc.), local council memberships and other "proof" that your business is real and respectable.
Testimonials will help you to stand out from the crowd and increase the likelihood of converting browsers to buyers.
By adding more content and therefore, more value, you increase your exposure and your rapport with the audience at the same time.
Here's the deal: Good content marketing does not come cheap after all, and excellent copywriting is expensive.
However, when you look at the life expectancy of an article that brings you search engine traffic day after day, month after month, its value compares exceptionally favourably to any pay per click campaign.
Use Content Marketing To Answer Questions
Your customers always have questions about the products you sell.
Start producing content that answers those questions and explains in more detail information about the product.
It's the easiest way of providing value-added content
Use Content Marketing Instead Of PPC
Pay Per Click is a beautiful way to get your product or service in front of the Googling masses but as well as being an expensive route to market there is no longevity in the format.
As the advertising rate rises, so it becomes prohibitive for new players to enter the market.
The cost of finding out that your PPC advert is not good enough or your landing page isn't converting as well as it should mean recouping your losses isn't feasible before a huge hole gets blown in the marketing budget.
If you think of your favourite websites, then you'll notice a recurring theme throughout your bookmarks.
Nearly all of your most visited sites are authored by someone whose passion and care for their subject shines like a full moon on a clear night sky.
You like to visit sites written by an author who not only knows their stuff, but it's clear that they are authentic—the real deal.
Writing in the authentic voice is a lot harder than writing in a third person or matter of fact style, but when you come across it, you know it to be what it is, the work of a passionate and dedicated artist.
This type of writing isn't reliant on conversion forms or tiny changes to text in a PPC advert to increase the click-through rate. Authentic prose draws an audience of its own accord.
Trying to stay ahead or even keep up with the competition by continually tweaking your PPC campaign will become an increasingly desperate race.
Use Content Marketing To Build A High Traffic Website.
You've heard content marketing, or blogging is the way forward but with so much new content published daily, how do you go about being found in an ever-increasing sea of information?
If you are going from a standing start, how will you ever catch up with the front runners?
How much content are you going to have to publish to make a dent in your industry?
Many people argue that the end of content marketing is nigh, on the basis that because there is so much content already out there, so what use is adding to the noise?
After all, there is only so much information the average person can consume. Eventually, the customer will suffer from information overload.
Use Content Marketing To Focus On Your Niche
The solution is not to aim to build a site which draws in the maximum amount of traffic.
While those sites are more often than not successful, much of the traffic is disengaged from the core content and not likely to convert to purchasers or followers.
Smaller sites laser-targeting their audience with accurate content and engaging their audience with quality are much more liable to succeed than those publishing the next batch of general content.
It's a natural evolution, of course. We've moved from building five-page static HTML sites to using a CMS like Joomla or Wordpress to easily add and organise the growing amount of information that we want to publish.
As the ease of self-publishing becomes apparent to more and more people, and they follow the early adopters, the general level of information available becomes of lower quality.
Think of it this way, when the printing press was first invented the first newspaper mass-produced on it in the UK was "The Times" in 1814. I've not seen any of the early versions, but I'll make an educated guess they were of a very high editorial standard.
Contrast with the vast majority of daily newspapers produced today designed to appeal to the masses.
Use Content Marketing To Provide Authority
The proliferation of content does not mean the death of it by any means. Exactly the opposite will happen.
That is when your customer begins to seek out the quality blog — the informed view.
Thishenhe publisher who has the foresight to stamp their work with quality and produce excellent material will reap the rewards for all their hard work.
It is the reason why so many specialist magazines now thrive in an era where print media is on a downward spiral. Customers are looking for authority and expertise.
The same principle is applying itself to online media. Those with an opinion, those who research their work and publish in-depth will have the advantage over general content publishers.
Quality work also has an added benefit – it gets shared socially. It is the opposite of producing as much content as possible and shoehorning keywords into the piece in a confusing mishmash of SEO and content marketing.
There will always be ambulance chasers, those unprepared to put in the hard work but want a piece of the action anyway. It has always been that way. Taking shortcuts, including keyword stuffing or producing endless amounts of low-quality content in the vain hope that quantity will outdo quality.
How Much Will It Cost?
You don't need to spend a lot of money to get started; the key is to get started and commit to at least one blog post per week.
The cost is going to depend on how you do the writing and come up with the idea.
A typical freelancer charges £10 per post at the low end of the scale and well thought out, well-researched articles can cost £100 or more. Writing is going to be your most significant expense if you don't do it yourself.
My advice is not to fall into the trap of trying to do everything as cheap as possible. Many people will work for meagre rates; however, if you have to edit the work to make it acceptable, then it is a false economy.
Good writers who can produce quality work regularly fall into the £40 - £60 per article bracket.
If you are going to post once per week regularly, then your budget is going to be around £200 per month mark.
Post three articles a week, and you are heading up towards £600 per month.
Once you've made your posts live you need to you, need to promote it, so having some form of publishing schedule on social media is required as well.
You probably want to update your Facebook and Twitter feeds three times a week or so, to begin with, and a rough figure for that would be £50 per week if you are not going to do it yourself.
In total, then we have a budget of around £500 per month to get started with the bare bones of content marketing. A spend of approximately £2,000 - £4,000 per month would be a reasonable figure to budget for once you grasp the nettle and commit to producing content regularly.
One way to get going is to redirect funds from traditional marketing efforts and move them into online.