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1. Link Popularity - very important. Takes time and patience.
2. Good Domain (Branded or Optimized?) - If you do not have a good .com or .net domain, you will have an uphill battle.
3. Search Engine Optimization. - Important, but becoming less important as more and more of the search engine results are "sponsored"
4. Affiliate Program - Only important if your customers have their own website, and you can focus time on the project. It is very hard to do w/o spending a good deal of $$$.
5. Newsletter - Not that important. When you get 1000 plus members, then it might be and idea to send a site update every few months, if the customer opts in for the newsletter.
6. Bizrate.com - Skip it. Their bids are too high, and you are going one on one against major billion dollar companies that have a blank check towards these "shopping engines". Besides, it doesn't convert as well as you can imagine. Plus, there are dozens of other merchants that may be offering the same thing that you are offering at a lower price.
7. DealTime.com - See above statement.
Just stick with keywords linked directly with the item that you are selling. Stick with Adwords, Overture, and possibly Ah-ha (at extremely conservative bidding). All the others are crap. So do not even waste your time.
Hope that helps!
More of what I was wondering is all the steps that people take to promote their ecommerce business. There are tons of things that can be done and am looking more for a LIST than someone's point of view as to what is good and what is not.
We can get to what works for some people and not others at the end of the email, after everyone has contributed. Please add what you do for your sites.
Setting an example
Asking for a link
Contests + games
Offer e-mail service
Press media kit
Who are your customers? What do they like? What do they use your product for? Alternate uses? Associated products or services? Fan sites / support sites? What else do they buy? From who? How can you break down your market (eg, IT literate / non IT literate - the "nons" could represent a great untapped market)? How much do your customers spend? Are they responsible for the purchase or is it bought by someone else? What is the relationship there? What other or related interests do your customers have? What do they *want / need* from your product? How can you reinforce this? Why did your customers buy from you? What sets you apart from your competitors?
If you have identified a clear market segment to target, then you can go ahead and work out ways in which to target potential customers. It may be that your market is very broad and undefined, in which case mass marketing (email, snail mail, cold calling) and SEO would be your strongest allies.
But if you have a niche market and you rely on SEO to bring you the trickle of traffic from people who search for what you sell, then you are losing the business of all the people who dont search.
I heard a dirty rumour that people who dont use Google have money to spend as well... ;)
Alex your list seems pretty solid as it is just now - I would add customer service, repeat sales and client referrals to it as well.
Some things are common sense - car owners buy certain car related products for example. Other stuff you can make a guess at - 18 25 male is likely to spend a large percntage of his income on: alcohol, music, electrical equipment, cars, hobbies, etc etc.
Otherwise, a small survery could find this information out.
Think of it in terms of working out the likes and dislikes or your users to enable you to convey your message better (as oppose to actually branching out to sell these products). How do companies target 18 25 males? Cars, sports, women, socialising and personal appearance.
But you wouldnt use this stuff to target 18 25 women, would you? Well maybe personal appearance! ;)
>I am also having problems getting 3,000 or do pages indexed on GOOGLE. Any suggestions?
Uh ask someone else! :P Thats a whole different thread in itself! ;)
Make it so they get something out of doing it, a competition or free delivery, a small discount. Something along those lines might help.
If you have a mailing list already try putting it in your newsletter.
HEHE we must have been typing at the same time! You are obviously faster though :)
The sites I buy most from online were not found from search engines but from word of mouth. I know (as mentioned in this thread already) I cannot assume I am an average customer :-) but I dont need to use a search engine to find these sites, their urls are lodged firmly in my head.
Opt in info emails, offer emails, specials emails, buy as a bulk pack, at discount etc.
they do it in the stores in many countries in the world.
And one more question (probably, offtopic) - how many of you will buy products from an Eastern European e-commerce company? Does anyone have any experience and will you consider such a thing in general.
You also need a way to track which strategies are working. Have a specific url and landing page for each campaign, each with a registration form (but don't insist that visitors register befopre entering the site). Or at the very least, ask customers who visit your site to tell you how they found it. Then you can track the effectiveness of different marketing approaches, ramp up those that are cost-effective, and abandon the ones that are not.
The problem with the Alexa counter is that the ranking is based on traffic from those who had installed the counter only. Therefore, if you have the Alexa counter installed on your own browser and you visit your own web site often, the ranking of your web site will go up substantially. However flawed it is, I would recommend that you install the counter on the own browser and use it to visit your site for debugging purchases.
HTML generator forms can be limited if you don't have the knowledge for programing so the form has a backend. Otherwise, all you get is raw data that you have to input somewhere by hand :(
We have always found that stroking the customer's ego helps alot in getting them to fill out the survey. i.e. we NEED your opinion. Your opinion is very IMPORTANT. THANK YOU for your opinion The old tequniques to get people to buy will get them to fill out your survey.
Its my view that you cannot take the results from site feedback from one site as being "statistically significant" or representative of more than the population of people who filled in the survey.
You can ask qualitative things, open ended questions, ask for suggestions which might make their shopping experience more valuable, sort out issues that are holding them back from buying.