One of the most frequently asked questions amongst online business owners is, “How do I get more TRAFFIC to my site?”. You might have the greatest business, best prices, friendliest customer service, but if no one can find your store, you won’t get any sales.

It’s the same principle as if you had a restaurant. You can hire the best chefs, have the best ambiance, wait staff and ingredients but it’s in the middle of the Sahara Desert or the Island from LOST, I bet you’re not going to get much foot traffic going by or too many phone reservations. You want to be on the busiest street in town!

Just having a storefront (physical or online) is only part 1/2 of the equation. An excellent website, with memorable branding, good prices etc… is a great start but the other (and arguably moreimportant) factor is getting a ton of people to your site so you can make sales!

So it’s imperative that you promote your site and get as many visitors to see your products as possible. There are numerous strategies including Paid Search, Social Media and Search Engine Optimization.

Let’s go through an overview of each type of marketing.

Paid Search

Pay-Per-Click advertising is an easy way to start getting traffic to a new website. The most widely used PPC services(in order of popularity) are Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and MSN (Bing) AdCenter.

The best part about Paid Search Advertising is that it is Non-Interruptive marketing. Most advertising (TV, Billboards, banner ads) interrupt the target and force them to look at an advertisement. The genius behind Paid Search is that you can put your ads in front of people who NEED your products or services by targeting a specific keyword, or phrase.

Think of it this way… if someone searches for “improve my golf swing” the ads are all about books, videos and other training that sell the answer to that exact issue. There’s little guessing when you’re dealing with a search term submitted to a search engine like Google. The person “Googling” the keyword phrase, is looking for a solution to their problem or a cure for their pain and you can easily slip your marketing right in front of them when they are searching. It’s extremely effective and that’s why Google makes billions of dollars selling this advertising!

Social Media, Networking and Bookmarking

In the past couple years, a there have been books written about Social Media Marketing. It’s a very hot topic with the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google Buzz & Wave, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, and thousands of others socially based websites.

Social Media presents business owners with the opportunity to communicate and connect with prospects and current customers in a way that was never before possible. If you had a website that had golfing equipment, you can socially target golfers by searching their Twitter Tweets, Facebook Interests, and tons of other socially shared data.

In the same way that paid search lets you almost get into your prospects head, SMM uses their submitted and public data to laser target your marketing to communities of like minded people all over the world.

Facebook Pay-Per-Click is also something worth checking out since you can target people demographically with a ton of specificity. You can even target them based on what they “Like”, and more… check out this post written by Ed Dale (a BRILLIANT marketer): Facebook Bombshell.

Like I mentioned earlier, the strategies, psychology and specific plan for each Social Media site could fill a wing of a library. If anyone out there wants more info about Social Media Marketing, leave a comment below.

Search Engine Optimization

SEO is a fundamental source of traffic. The difference between Paid Search and SEO is that SEO is based on 100′s of variable that the Search Engines use to organically rank the results of a keyword search. The more “relevant” your website is for the particular search term, the higher in the results it will show up.

The actual, specific algorithm that Google, Yahoo and Bing use is a mystery but there have been thousands of marketers that have broken through and figured out what counts and what doesn’t.

There 2 types of SEO: On-Site and Off-Site. On-Site SEO includes the content, linking, structure and code on your website. Off-Site SEO includes the sites that are linking from other places on the web to your site.

The most important part of SEO is a strong inbound linking strategy. Yahoo recently wrote a nice overview of how to get inbound links, here. Basically, you can go out to forums, blogs, article sites and social networking/bookmarking sites and post links to your site. The other way is to get links naturally by posting EXCELLENT content to your site and getting links from bloggers and other sources. On the web, content is KING.

Conclusion

The final lesson for this post is that none of these strategies work without an overwhelming dedication to promoting your business online. Put yourself out there, and tell everyone to tell everyone else about your idea and make it spread.

One of our friends, Mike who owns SuteArrival.com, is a great example of this e-commerce entrepreneurial passion. He’s always tweeting, status updating and promoting his website. He learned from some of the greats like Tony Hsieh from Zappos.com, and Gary Vaynerchuk who are incredible marketers who everyone should follow and study as well.

So with that overview complete, make sure that you keep learning more about traffic generation and studying the new trends in these areas.

What would you like to know more about specifically? If you have any questions and would like more information about marketing your website, leave a comment below! I would be more than happy to dive into any topic above in more detail.

Or give us a call 1-888-335-2747!

Ted.com is one of my favorite websites ever. The entire site is filled with some of the most interesting, captivating, thought provoking and mind blowing presentations from the world’s top geniuses and experts. I highly recommend clicking around Ted.com and learning something…

I recently watched this particular video called, “Are we in control of our own Decisions?” by Dan Ariely. Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist and wrote the book “Predictably Irrational” (Official Site). His TED Talk is brilliant and has a few ideas that we can use in our online marketing and on our e-commerce websites.

Watch the Video here:

Default Options

One of my favorite takeaways from this video was the idea that a majority of people will simply agree with or comply with the default option. This was evident in the studies that showed the countries with high and low rates of citizens willing to donate their organs. If the question was, “check here to opt in” the country had a low acceptance rate, and when the question was “check here to opt out” the acceptance rate was extremely high.

organDonators

How can you use this in your marketing?

You can use it in an upsell process. You have to be VERY careful, and transparent when you’re doing it so customers don’t become alienated by your website or flood your customer service number with complaints. Don’t just add extra cost to the checkout, make sure it’s apparent to the customer that it’s happen. There are many marketers and checkout processes that do (usually in the domain registration space (GoDaddy is king), web hosting and info marketing).

Think about this. A product is in your inventory and listed on your site for $10. After the customer gets the product in their cart, and gets to the checkout there is an automatic upsell before the order confirmation. This upsell charges $X that might change the shipping or improve the actual the item in some way by adding a feature, it could be a warranty, insurance, or even an extra product (for example, if you sell glasses, upsell a cleaning and repair kit). If the upsell’s price is marginal (based on the price of the original item, probably adding around 10% – 20% to the order), and the upsell is included by default, you might expect a low rate of opt out based on the data shown by Ariely in the video.

optinOptout

The upsell should be very obvious though so the customer can easily choose to opt out. Just imagine all of your order values increasing by adding in a few upsell options in your checkout and making them the default choice.

Price Anchoring (forcing a Good Deal)

The other takeaway that I thought was excellent and applicable was the price anchoring technique that The Economist magazine uses to drastically increase the number of subscribers that would take a higher priced item. They offer a web only, print only and a web + print option. The Web Only option is $59, the print only is $125, and the web + print is $125. Look at the results that Dan Ariely got from polling students at MIT, with the print only and without the print only options.

The results when the print only deal was an option:

withcombo

and the results without the print only option:

noweb

This is incredible! When people think they are getting a good deal, they are likely to take the good deal but when there are two distinct and different options, price usually wins. Try positioning your products, shipping options or upsells in a way that your customers are getting something for nothing or getting a great deal… A/B test and see what happens. Brainstorm how you can do it like The Economist Magazine did it.

Think about Amazon.com – they offer free “super saver” shipping on any orders over $25. I know that I’ve added an extra product or two into my cart just to get over the minimum price, usually sending it to over $30. I doubt I’m the only one… have you ever done the same thing? This increases the average order value for Amazon which improves their marketing ROI and average $/Visitor among other important stats.

Thanks for reading! Have any feedback or some other ideas from the video? Leave some comments below!

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