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You’ve got a great site…. but no traffic!

Great site but no trafficYour website is built and ready for the influx of customers you are expecting. You’ve done your research into a successful website and you’ve put in the hard yards and used a reputable designer to get it all done.

Your “Call to Action” couldn’t be clearer if it jumped out and bit your site visitors on the nose. The content of the site is fresh and full of juicy but useful information. Products in your e-commerce store scream out for someone to buy them – they are just that good.

Everything is perfect.

But no-one is coming.

What’s gone wrong? When everything else is in place – how do you get that all important traffic through the front door of your website?

Tip #1: Identify your ideal customer and then hook them

Sit down with your business partners or employees and grab a pen and paper. You need to do some brainstorming and map out who is most likely to purchase your products or services. You need to examine aspects such as age, gender, social status and location amongst many others that may “pop up” in your discussion. This process is vitally important as it clearly identifies who you should be targeting and can often determine how to grab their attention.

For example, If you are in retail selling women’s clothing of a certain kind, your ideal target audience may be women over the age of 40, on an average wage, who are looking for clothing that is affordable and makes them look younger/slimmer.

Once you have identified your ideal customer, brainstorm again to find ways to connect with them. What does your ideal customer read, watch, listen to or even do?

Some possible courses of action include using Facebook advertising that allows your business to target directly to the market you want with specifics such as gender, age and general interests. You could also look at traditional marketing through magazines, radio or newspapers. What other interests does your ideal customer have that you can hook into? Write them down and test them out.

Tip #2: Identify your current customers and leverage that relationship for your website

While the last tip identified your “ideal” customer, you can’t ignore the others than may fall outside that “ideal” bracket. If you have been in business for a while, you will have customers who have bought from you in the past and continue to do so. You can use this relationship to build traffic for your website.

  • Set up a referral program with a coupon giving discounts to referring customers.
  • Give out your web address with each physical purchase or even on your invoices in the form of a simple, plain business card (your logo on one side, web address on the other).
  • Run competitions through your social media contacts that can expand to an outside audience and draw them to your site.

Tip #3: Use your industry links

Look at the contacts you have already have through your industry and look for like-minded businesses that you can link through. You may even pursue the idea of package deals: for example, a wedding MC may team up with a venue, local band, florists and a photographer to promote a full package deal. Set yourself as the prime organiser of the package and get customers flowing your site for the full details.

Tip #4: Sponsor your local community

Sponsor an event in your local community and be sure to brand it with your website details. You might sponsor the local rugby league competition, a charity event or even part of a large festival in your community. Purchase some large banners (the rollout ones are perfect) and get them into the public eye. Place business cards, brochures even sample bags where they are highly visible during the event and make sure that you are hand to answer any questions and prompt people towards your site.

As you can see, there is a multitude of methods and tricks that you can implement to get your site pumping with visitors. Literally thousands of articles have been written about just using Social Media to drive site traffic in favour of your business. You only need to try something and see what works for your particular industry.

While you are doing this, keep a close eye on your site statistics and engage with your new customers to see where they are coming from. This will give you the data to determine what is working and what is not.

No-one, but the very naive, will pretend that running a successful website isn’t hard work. But all the heartache, effort and time spent will be quickly rewarded when you start to see new customers coming through your site’s front doors and more importantly, buying from you.

 

I’ve got a new website for my business – now what?

I’ve got a new website for my business – now what?Although the internet and it’s billions of websites have been around for quite a few years now, some small business operators still fail to grasp how vastly different an online store is to a conventional ‘bricks and mortar’ site. With the latter, a physical site is set up that all passer-bys can see it; both while it’s under construction and afterwards, when the doors are thrown open for customers for the first time.

With an online store, the construction is done under a “veil of secrecy” but when it’s finished and ready, most site owners automatically expect a flow of traffic through the virtual front door. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. People need to know that the site actually exists before they can visit it!

Google doesn’t help – it can often take two to three weeks for a site to get listed on search results and even then, you may not even make the first page.

So here is my advice, don’t wait for Google – promote that new site of yours right now with the following tips:

Tip #1 – Build your website marketing into your conventional promotions

This simple tip is often overlooked because some business owners believe that a website is marketed through online methods only.

Not true.

Start getting ready for your site’s launch by updating all your promotional materials – business cards, brochures, roadside signs, clothing, pens, company cars,  exterior signage, invoices, everything.  Anywhere that a current client sees your business name should have the new web address in bold lettering.

If you live a smaller town as I do, get your local newspaper on board for the launch. For a relatively small cost, you can grab some great exposure with an editorial feature. Often these include a half-page “story” on your new site with the other half-page including an advertisement with all your details.

Tip #2 – Utilise your Social Media presence

One of the great advantages that Social Media has over Google is the instant gratification that it gives to every one of our updates, pins, posts or tweets. We don’t have to wait for the search engines to index and archive our information – it is instantly out there.
This makes it ideal for promoting a brand new site.

Most of us already have a Social Media presence so why not use that to your site’s advantage. Announce to all and sundry that you have a new online store and ask your social media “friends” to pass on the news.

Don’t leave it at that though – make sure you create a plan and use your Social Media power to drive everything that your site does. Running a pizza shop with online ordering? Hold instant competitions (like my friends at Roscoes Innisfail) to boost slow nights. Got a brand new outfit in your e-commerce boutique? Get one your staff to model it and post it on Instagram and Pinterest. Offering free shipping for today from your e-store? Get the word out instantly with a tweet on Twitter.

Tip #3 – Create Fresh Content for your site.

I know – you’ve just opened the doors on your online store. So why do you need fresh content straight away? Simply because Google likes sites with fresh, distinctive content and without it, things can go stale very quickly. Pre-empt this by having a content plan for how you are going to update your website on a regular bases. Sit down and plan out articles for your store’s blog (try five for a start) and schedule one for release every week. If you don’t have a blog, you could be missing out on a massive opportunity to define your site as an industry leader.

When you are creating blog topics, be sure to think from a customer’s point of view – write a list of the top 10 questions that your customer’s have and blog an article about each. Include keywords that relate to your online business and this will ensure that the Google and Bing “bots” will keep coming back to your site every time you post new content.

Conclusion

Try out those three tips and will be giving your e-commerce store a red-hot start in its online “life”. Don’t procrastinate and wait for people to find you – get out there and “grab the bull by the horns.” A site owner is in absolute control of the future (and potential success) of their online business. It won’t happen by itself – hard yakka is required!

Now – go and give your new site (or old one) a real boost into the new year of 2015!

Week 15 of 52 – Be smart and don’t miss out on Golden Opportunities!

Golden OpportunitiesDespite the constant messages and obvious benefits of being online, it is unbelievable that some businesses still don’t get it. It doesn’t matter who you are or what line of business you are in, you need to have an online presence. To be competitive, your business must be easily found and the best way to do that is by getting it online. Stop fluffing about with the Yellow Pages directory and other costly alternatives. Get active with a Facebook page, a Youtube Channel or even a fully fledged website. Put the hard yards into developing an online footprint and it will reap you the benefits.

So why don’t some SMB’s get this message? Because some small business owners don’t fully understand the possibilities of what can be done with an online presence.

Let’s take a look at some theoretical case studies that I have observed in my own home town:

The Local Stationery Store

It’s not as hard as it sounds to take on the big boys here when it comes to online commerce. Of course, some consumers are always going to take the path of Officeworks or the other big retailers simply because of the price (which, by the way, isn’t that much cheaper than our local guy here). To make sales online, our local store should market purely on convenience and speed. They can:

  • Make all stationery goods available online allowing the consumer to log into an account and place an order quickly.
  • Ensure that staff fulfil and collate that order within the hour.
  • Then deliver the customer’s order to their door within a couple of hours – ensuring they have no disruption to their day.

Order by 10am – delivered by lunch. Beat that Officeworks!

The Pizza Shop

Our local pizza store already has a great online presence (www.roscoes.com.au). They also use their Facebook page to promote their business through spur of the moment competitions – “How many pizza boxes are currently stacked over the ovens at Roscoes Innisfail?” – Win a free pizza!

But borrowing from Andrew Griffiths (Australia’s leading small business author) – the store could also take advantage of slow nights in the same way. If the pizzas aren’t flying out the door on any given night, they could make an announcement via their Twitter feed or Facebook page by announcing discounted or two-for-one pizzas. There is a backpackers hostel mere metres from their restaurant and there’s nothing more a backpacker likes than a cheap feed! Just get them to follow….

The local Accountant

What about in a crowded marketplace? How can you stand out when every man and his dog has a website and social media presence too? You do it by being helpful. If you are an accountant, get that site loaded with helpful content.

Everyone hates tax-time. It is easily the most stressful time of the year for businesses (and everyone else too).  An accountant can help to ease the pain during tax time with useful online tools such as:

  • How-To videos showing the completion of a BAS statement .
  • On-site calculators for determining taxable income.
  • Downloadable templates for all manner of money management.

Do a great job with helpful content and the snowball effect will kick in. Soon everyone will be heading to the site checking out the tricks, tips and tools on offer. The more site visitors that come in and see how helpful you are, the more likely that some will convert into customers.

As you can see, the potential of online marketing is clearly apparent for some businesses. For others, it may take a little creative thinking to draw out the possibilities of getting online and generating a profit.  But in this day and age, any business would be foolhardy not take advantage of the online world and the opportunities that are available to them.

If you aren’t sure of the online advantages for your business or organisation, give Rusty Mango Design a call and have a chat about your online presence and what it can do for the marketing of your business.

 

 

Week 7 of 52 – Why Online Stores are the Best Thing since Sliced Bread

Why Online Stores are the Best Thing since Sliced BreadIn small towns across North Queensland (and elsewhere I’m sure), there is evidence of an economic downturn on every main street. Many small shop fronts are sitting empty with no real outlook to opening again anytime soon. The factors behind this situation are many and varied but one of the most common blames is put directly onto the rise of online shopping.

If your business sells products of any shape or form, whether they are toasters, cars or even houses, there is absolutely no reason why you should miss out on a cut of the market by not having your very own ecommerce store. It doesn’t matter if you are a huge conglomerate with hundreds of stores nationwide or the local dress shop marketing your own fashions, everyone can have a slice of the pie if they are clever and utilise the power of the web.

There is a huge recompense to having an online store that most business owners don’t recognise and these advantages can’t be achieved through a regular bricks and mortar store.

An online store has no landlord!

Not a single cent is paid in rent for your online store. The only costs you will incur, other than the original design of your site, is the monthly/yearly charge for your web server, the domain name and charges from outside agencies such as PayPal and/or your bank.

When you compare this to the cost of leasing a shop, you can guess who comes out in front. Talking to local business owners in my home town has shown me that the cost of a lease is one of the biggest factors forcing businesses to close. There’s not enough custom through the front door to warrant the outlay. No such problem with an online shop.

Playing level with the Big Guys

When you operate an online store, you can pretend to be as big or small as you want. Many small online operators like to push the “smaller” operation approach as this can help to give you that personal touch missing from one of the larger stores. However, stores like Harvey Norman are trying to cash in on this notion by utilising a chat system that pops up at the bottom of the shop screen. Once again, the small business owner can compete with this through the use of a very simple plug in like ClickDesk or LiveChat.

Open for Business 24/7

An online store means that you can make a sale – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Even when you are asleep, your site can be making for you. Imagine logging on at work each morning (during the business week, of course) and seeing a whole backlog of purchases that were made and paid for even while the physical offices of your business were shut! The advantages of this should be whole apparent – you can’t do this with a bricks and mortar store. Once again, you can compete with the big guys – on their level.

Customer Interaction

An Ecommerce store can also be integrated with a healthy Social Media campaign allowing the store to “converse” with customers and potential customers in a friendly environment. Any problems or questions about products and services can be solved with no awkward or sometimes aggravated face to face contact. Tips and tricks can be passed on almost immediately to patrons with no wait time (depending on the level of customer service available) – business owners can answer issues from the luxury of their armchairs at home if they want.

An ideal example of this customer interaction can be seen in full use by Blackmilk Clothing on both their Facebook pages and website. Happy customers can be seen happily conversing with the Blackmilk team and showing off their latest purchases on the pages of the site. In return, the Blackmilk team gets instant feedback and direction, straight from the people wearing their gear.

Final Note

An online store can add an extra line of revenue to a business and it doesn’t even have to be the end of the physical shop front. Caravans Plus in Queanbeyan operate both with an offer in their ecommerce checkout that allows customers to order online and pickup in person, a perfect setup for the grey nomad travelling through that part of the world. No freight!
If you are interested in creating an online store, get in touch with Rusty Mango Design and have a chat about what is possible for your business. We can create ecommerce stores for all types of businesses, large and small.

Rusty Mango Design

Rusty Mango Design