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Ecommerce strategy: should I enjoy google free visitors only ?

Is it worth paying Adwords to grow or just enjoy free visitors for now?

     
5:28 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Hi,

What would you do if you had a website with few hundreds orders a week that you get for free without paying any advertising (thank you Google!) ?

- Should I enjoy these "free" customers until Google stops sending them ? (and then pay for Advertising only when I have no other choice)

- Is is better to start paying for ads to grow the business now ? The problem is that it means paying more people to work for me and having less time to develop the shop / do natural marketing, etc...


Now I still enjoy making money with almost no investment (homemade shop, employees are partners and get salary only if we have profit...) but I am thinking about the future and what I should do to make sure to grow ?


Thanks for your ideas.
6:20 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Should I enjoy these "free" customers until Google stops sending them ?


Of course!

But work to develop other sources of traffic besides Google. Free Google traffic is delicious while you've got it but it's not a secure foundation for a stable business.

Is is better to start paying for ads to grow the business now ?


I would say yes. Far better to start some paid advertising now, when you have the luxury of time to fine-tune things for profitability, rather than waiting until you have "no other choice" and might be making decisions under high stress.
9:46 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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First off, congratulations - hundred(s) of orders per week is no easy feat.

Second, my advice is to run Google and Bing Ads now.

Not only will you increase sales, but more importantly it will be a good opportunity to learn the ins and outs of pay per click advertising.

Organic search traffic is great. I've been practicing SEO since the late 90's and absolutely love that kind of traffic... but search algorithms are changing constantly these days so I think it's always wise to diversify.
9:59 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Thank you for replies. and sorry, actually it's few hundreds orders a month, not week.

I understand that it would be better to try to sell more by using ADS but it means investment and more staff, so I wonder if it is really worth when we already make some good money now ?
10:06 pm on Mar 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

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few hundreds orders a month, not week


That's still pretty good.

Re investment: if you're doing things right, ads you run will pay for themselves with increased sales. You'd have to manage the cash flow along the way but in the end you should come out ahead.

When you say "more staff", what scale of campaigns are you envisioning?
4:00 am on Mar 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I agree. I would look for a way to diversify my advertising if I were in your position. I made the mistake of thinking the free Google traffic would last forever and now I'm struggling for it.

What I like about your position is the cushion of having a staff. If things get tough, worst case scenario, you might have to lay off a couple people. But at least you're still employed and won't be forced to wait tables at night.
2:55 am on Mar 6, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I think it really depends on your business model and what marketing works for you.

I do not spend any money on Google Adwords, it didn't make sense and was way too expensive. I tried it for a month.

I do have a couple first page listings in Google, but they do not bring in the traffic I had hoped. Based on my research they are great keywords for my industry.

Most of our marketing is done through social media.
12:12 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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I'd strengthen your other channels. By inference you have stated that losing Google is a business threat, so addressing that should be your first priority.
11:51 am on Apr 15, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Just because your business is on-line it doesn't mean that your only marketing channel is through the web. Look around at the posters, TV ads, magazine ads etc, the big boys certainly don't wait for you to find their site on Google. Look at specialist magazines, the little guys don't either.
11:43 am on Apr 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Learning the ad side of the business while you have free traffic is a smart move and gives you the flexibility of taking it slow. I was dependent on free traffic at one time and I always felt vulnerable to every google change, which I was. When my traffic dropped 50% I had to get serious about ads. What is interesting is now I feel more in control of my business and less at risk.
10:45 am on Apr 26, 2013 (gmt 0)

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Congratulations on reaching hundreds of orders per month. That is quite difficult to achieve. Now I would start working on reducing your Single Point of Failure risk. What is SPOF? Its when Google changes their ranking algorithm and your traffic disappears overnight. It is not pretty.

So work on Google Ads, Bing Ads, other printed ads, affiliates . Have a look at [webmasterworld.com...] for lots of good information.