|Other ways to get Holiday sales?|
For new sites going up this month that will undoubtedly be too late to get search engine exposure in time for Holiday sales this year, any ideas for some quick ways to generate sales through the site?
goto.com traffic is ramping up now with Netscape and AOL added. Might be the most economical/fastest way to exposure. I've been seeing a lot of bookmarking lately. I think it's a "I'll bookmark this now and come back here to do my Xmas shopping" kinda thing. Maybe? Other than that, giving something away coupled with a big banner ad campaign featuring the word "FREE" might be the only options.
Pay at: Yahoo, Goto and think about Looksmart.
For free: DMOZ1 but the submission must scream, "add me I don't need an edit", WebRings, Usenet [but be careful], trawl related forums for drop opportunities2, NBCi [wasn't Snap so much snappier], Alta Vista, Ink [with long phrases] and finally Text Based Advertising At Webmaster World3.
1You may just catch an AOL update but if not don't let anyone fool you into thinking that direct DMOZ traffic is not important, the demographics are good.
2I never said that...
3stcrim thinks he has the window seat tied up, just trying to creep my way there. ;)
If you are local oriented, offline advertising does work. From the local paper with a targeted classified ad, or standard block ad, those can do wonders for name branding and recognition over the long run.
If you have the ad budget, I am hearing many more .com blurbs on the local radio.
If you are in a smaller market with a good ad budget, those local "sponsored by" messages during the local news can really pull. I did a test for a client this summer when ad rates were cheap ($150 for five mentions and url on screen for 4 seconds during the week), and the results more than paid for themselves. He has went on to buy close to 10k worth of those type ads and it has more than paid for itself along the way.
Back online: smaller directories and vortals (niche specific directories) often add sites daily or weekly. There is an outstanding turn around rate on some of them. I don't know how you could afford to overlook any related to your site.
>Text Based Advertising At Webmaster World
ROFL - "Cookie Mix" might get some attention, but will they buy the Gingerbread? How about "Soup Mix- when you're ready to cook."
From my experience with home-based crafters, this is not a word they're particularly fond of. To me it doesn't make much sense, since a craft show can cost a few hundred for a weekend, and a web site stays out there.
I'll do DMOZ, Zeal and Yahoo and try my best to make them holler "add me." I keep descriptions no longer than 16 words, maybe less, and try to make them so tight there's no room to edit - so far so good. Can't hurt to try.
I do have a domain tucked away that could be a likely candidate for the other options - I haven't quite figured out what direction to go with it. It might not be a candidate for the directories unless I can make it very unobvious that it's really a collection of doorway pages (each with custom graphics). I submitted one single page as a test, which is sitting very pretty for over 2 months at AV without budging.
In addition to looking for options for these little sites this month, I'm exploring ideas for doing something on a cooperative basis for the "doorway" site. Something FREE is a definite must.
Brett, my intention for myself was originally local, but it hasn't worked out that way. One thing led to another, and it's all been reputation/referral so far. BUT after this Christmas rush is over, I plan to turn my attention to aggressive local marketing.
>smaller directories and vortals (niche specific directories)
The ladies wont want to spend money, so I will hunt these out. Theydo have their pitfalls to watch for, though. I'm working on one site (redesign) that the owner has been promoting herself for over a year. Indoing research to see how much damage she's done with duplicate content all over (crafters do that) I found a directory/FFA listing at Google with her URL in the description right next to "sexy bloomers." She is a preacher's wife, so I will send her the Google URL tomorrow so that she can see it when she gets home from church.. :)
Thanks all, great ideas! It's all going into a "marketing plan."
Happy Holidays - here is my gift.
AOL ranks "NEW" sites from ODP at or near the top for about 30 days after arrival. Time your site to be added.. Whoa!... NOW!
I have one craft client who I placed on a niche site with a strong community. That site offered banner ads for $25 a month. For the first two months the new site was up, this source generated 60% of all traffic, and a lot of sales, because the targeting was perfect.
Instead of a lonely start, the site came out of the gate with lots of well targeted uniques every week. Here's hoping you find such a good fit.
>I have one craft client who I placed on a niche site with a strong community. That site offered banner ads for $25 a month.
Would you mine talking a bit about how you find a niche target market? What kind of questions do you ask yourself and where do you do your research? A basic outline of the process perhaps?
bigjohn, thanks for the holiday gift! This is gonna take pulling a few all-nighters. Now that AOL has partnered with goto.com, any thoughts on whether the ODP or goto sites will get top ranking?
tedster, does your craft site have one product, or a variety? How big is the site? I'm getting a bit of a collection of crafts sites, with more coming, and I only do small ones, by choice. What I've found is that if I start them small (which is comfortable and reasonable for them to start out with), add a page every few months, and submit the new page, with a bit of overall tweaking, it's working well for getting and maintaining very decent rankings.
GoTo sites are at the top in a separate section marked "sponsored links" (I like this, they don't list the price, but they do indicate paying for position.)
Then ODP, spidered by AOL.
>>Would you mine talking a bit about how you find a niche target market? What kind of questions do you ask yourself and where do you do your research?<<
This is a very creative process -- besides being a web marketer, I am also a musician and visual artist. Finding ways to reach the various niche components of a market feels very much the same as creating a work in the arts: lots of time spent waiting for the muse to strike, but still taking action all the while.
I use lots of search engines, meta-search, directories and tools like Copernic. I start by searching on whatever keywords seem obvious. I cast myself loose and just surf, surf, surf.
Sometimes I strike oil on the first drilling, as in this case. Often it becomes more grueling than that, but I'm still getting the feel of the territory all the while, checking out competition, looking at page code, collecting potential links and so on.
>>does your craft site have one product, or a variety? How big is the site?<<
This particular site was developed much as you described, a few pages at a time. It was a learning experience for both of us, but it seems to be turning out successfully.
The site has gone from 20 products in April to 200 products currently. A total of about 250 pages, many of them enlargement pop-ups. In fact, I'm thinking of ways to turn these pop-up pages into a strong search engine asset. If the strategy works, I'll post about it.
The site's owner is nearing a liveable income exclusively from the site, six months after launch. Not bad for a new business with a low upfront investment.
The most important element we found is having really good product photos -- batch processed images just don't look good enough or detailed enough -- so I may spend between 1 and 2 hours tweaking each graphic file in PhotoShop.
This is one site where big pages and long downloads are not as much of a problem as elsewhere on the web -- visitors want to see a detailed and accurate view of the product before they buy, and they are very willing to wait a reasonable length of time. In this respect, it's a lot like an online art gallery I am devloping.
Still, I take care with file sizes, and try to make the most of each KB. Average page weight runs 150 kb, but the competition often runs 2 or 3 times that.