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How to Sell Products Online (Part III: Promote your business)

You have come a long way.

You have decided upon a course of action for your eCommerce page.

You have even implemented the proper course of action in creating an eCommerce website.

Now it is finally time to get your eCommerce website noticed by the general public.

While promotion may seem secondary to the actual creation of the website, it is not.

Without some form of promotion, there is no way for anyone to find the product that they are looking to purchase.

Promotion comes in better forms than simply posting banner ads on other websites. Read below to discover the best way to promote your website.

Search Engine Optimization

I am starting the discussion with the often misinterpreted Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

I am doing this because SEO is the framework and foundation for how most Internet promotion works.

The ultimate goal of any website is to land first in a common search query. If you sell a type of widget, you want someone to land on your page when they search for widgets. You want to be the stop for this.

Remember that whole thing where you created your own website? Having your own website with a gear toward the product being sold is immensely better than simply having a posting on Amazon with some randomly generated code.

http://MyCoolWidget.com is better than http://Amazon.com/f75djfniub480920djadoh838d7uyw

(note: neither one of the above URLs are real webpages)

seo and lead generation

The Importance of H1

Assuming you read and followed the directions in part 1 and part 2 of this series, you crafted your very own website using the WordPress.org model or contacted us for help and got managed WordPress hosting.

The words “The Importance of H1” are one of many elements to keep in mind as ghost promotion for your website. What I mean by ghost promotion is something in the code of the page that automatically puts your page in a better standing, without visual promotion.

If someone searches for “The Importance of H1” on Google, they are now more likely to find this post than before, because I put the text in what is called Heading 1 format, or H1. I have also placed these words in other sections of this page now, increasing my chances of being seen again.

Now, it is somewhat unlikely that someone would search for “The Importance of H1” when looking for your widget, but titling your pages to look like a common search for widgets can only help to put your page on the top of the Google ladder.

There are other things to learn about SEO, but the purpose of the discussion here is to get you thinking about how you write on your website. Always create content and promotion that would be easy to be seen by prospective customers.

Generate Leads

Now for the most fun and organic method of SEO and Internet promotion.

Generating leads is fun because it is a way to get involved with the people you are helping.

As a small business owner, you are likely to get swallowed up by the SEO practices of larger and more storied companies in your field. Where you can win is with the personal aspect. Other small businesses and people in general always root for the underdog.

Consider generating leads to be the digital handshake or the digital town campaign.

Generating leads online

This is also fun because it is a “grass-roots” approach when you build your online brand.

Here are the steps to effectively generate leads:

  • Start from the other side

Do not what you would do. Do what others would for you. Go on Google. Think about what you would search for given the need of the product.

For example, if your widget is used to treat backaches, what would you search for?

  • Get active in forums

Let’s say you would search: “How to treat a back ache”

Search for it on Google, and click on relevant responses to discover what practices work.

If there are Yahoo! questions or general forums, get active and respond to people. Let them know about a certain “widget” that really helps and link it to your page.

This gets everyone who is looking for help to your page, whether your place was at the top of the list or not.

  • Don’t be shy

Make your posts personal.

Collect an email or two.

Be responsive to those looking for help and gently get them into your product.

The best kind of customer is a promoter. A promoter is someone who not only uses your product but also recommends them to friends and family.

On the Internet, a promoter is even more valuable, since they will not only tell friends and family but potentially random strangers on another forum or on a personal blog or website. Think about the domino effect that one happy customer can make on your small business.

Use Other Websites to your Benefit

I know I have been downplaying the importance of other websites like Amazon and eBay.

But the fact of the matter is people like what they are used to seeing and doing.

If I am a 40-something looking to purchase a book online for example, I may find your website in a search. But when I get there, I am going to see some purchasing portal to buy a book with my credit card.

I am going to freak out and check to make sure my credit card information hasn’t been swiped by the computer screen.

Linking to additional sources like Amazon give a customer a comfortable place to go when they do not want to purchase directly from you.

johnmichaelmorgan.com

In the website image above, John Michael Morgan posts a link call-to-action on the right side of the page with a link to the Amazon and Kindle version of his new book. This is a great way to assist customers who may be afraid to purchase something that is new to them.

People can still be apprehensive about buying digital content. Heck, I was in the Apple Store the other day (read: a physical store) and overheard a customer tell the sales associate that he did not want to give his name to “Big Brother”.

People are not all as ready as you to embrace the digital frontier, and they may need some help in doing so. Do not neglect this portion of your market.

Promotion without Promotion

In the above steps, I like to think that you are practicing promotion without promotion. What I mean by that is you are still getting your content out there, but in a completely unobtrusive fashion.

This is the type of promotion that people want to see on the Internet, promotion with a handshake and personal selling.

Hey, you could even hire someone to “market and advertise” simply by managing social media pages and generating leads online. It is effective stuff!

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