You’ve got to spend money to make money. You get what you pay for. Mo’ money mo’ problems.
It speaks to the idea that unless you’re investing large amounts of your precious cash resources (usually upfront), your business may never take off.
However, the truth is you don’t have to break the bank to market your ecommerce store. That is one of the blessings of using print on demand to run an ecommerce business. In this industry, it’s not the brands with the biggest pocket books who win. It’s the brands who can connect with their niche audience using finely targeted and time-tested methods of marketing. You can successfully run your ecommerce store on a budget using these tips for organic and paid advertising.
Search Engine Optimization on a Budget
You’ve built your website, listed your products, you have tons of great images and engaging content, and links to helpful reviews. You hit publish and wait. And wait and wait and wait for your first sale. Unfortunately, even the best websites with desirable products can’t generate sales without their customers knowing where to find them. How do you effectively find new customers and build traffic to your website? These tips explore Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and offer some advice on how to improve your website’s ranking the organic way, without spending a dime.
What is SEO?
Search Engine Optimization is the process of attracting potential customers to your website from “free” or “natural” search results. Once you understand how search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo rank their searches, you can create and execute a SEO strategy to move your website up their rankings.
Think of search engines as librarians of the internet: they arrange webpages like a bookshelf and have their own system of ranking and organization. Knowing their system, and tailoring your ecommerce site to move up on their list of search results, is the cheapest and most sustainable way to build website traffic.
Now, increasing traffic is great, but if you are selling garden tools and are generating traffic from customers looking to buy computer chips, you’re not generating quality traffic. To truly improve your SEO, you need to make sure you are attracting visitors who are interested in your products. To do this, we’ve outlined a simple, five-step strategy below.
Improving Your SEO in 5 Steps
Step 1: Have Great Content
By having content that your customers find useful and share, your ranking goes up. Pretty easy, right?
Step 2: Know Your Keywords
Perhaps the most important part of an effective SEO strategy is having an excellent understanding of the keywords that move the needle in your industry. There are some great free tools from Google like the Search Console, Analytics, and Keyword Planner that will help you identify the keywords that are generating the most buzz and traffic.
Step 3: Create Keyword-Focused Content
Having multiple pages of content focused on important keywords in your industry will improve your search engine rankings. Make sure the content is relevant to your products and include lots of links to your items to boost sales. Your ranking will also improve when customers link to your website on social media or their website so make sure your posts are awesome!
Step 4: Don’t Forget About Mobile
Although search engines use the same algorithms to rank pages regardless of where the customer is browsing, it is important to make sure mobile users have the same experience as those on a desktop. To ensure this, make sure your page speed is manageable for mobile browsing, don’t use Flash or popups, and make sure your site is designed for use on mobile devices.
Step 5: Track Conversion
Website traffic and views are fantastic, but we want to make sure this increased visibility is translating to more sales. Use tools like this one in Google Analytics to see what content is leading to sales.
Other Ways to Improve SEO
Start a Blog
A blog is one of the easiest ways to create a consistent stream of SEO focused content. Although your product pages can improve your SEO, a blog is more engaging, more flexible, and has the ability to attract a wider range of readers. Struggling to think of what to write? Include product reviews, how to guides, and insights about your company. A blog is an easy way to build brand loyalty as well!
Make sure your pages, images, videos, and content have descriptions. This is an easy way to quickly bump up your SEO as well as your website’s accessibility. It’s a win-win!
Focus on Page Load Speed
Both Google and Bing take page-loading speed into account when ranking a website. Make sure your page loads quickly (on a desktop and mobile device!) to improve dwell time and reduce bounce rate, two other measures of SEO.
Headlines with numbers in them are 36% more likely to generate clicks according to research by Conductor. Additionally, a study of 150,000 headlines found that headlines with odd-numbers in them have a 20% higher click through rate than headlines with even-numbers in them.
Use Infographics and Professional Images
Buzz Sumo found that infographics generate 2.3x more social media shares than how-to posts while Marketing Sherpa found that pro images received 45% more Facebook shares than “semi-professional” photos. Shares of your content increase your SEO and is free advertising – the best kind of advertising!
Again: Have Great Content
We can’t emphasize this enough. Having great content is the best thing you can do to quickly improve your SEO.
Finally, make sure you check out these top 3 free SEO plugins for Shopify. Yes, it can take some time for you to really start seeing results with SEO if you’re doing it all yourself, but these free plugins help ensure you’re in the game for the long-run.
Paid Advertising on a Budget
Now that you know the basics, you’re ready to tackle paid advertising with any budget. However, don’t forget the basics. Before you can succeed with any paid advertising campaign you want to make sure your SEO strategy has been implemented. By learning the important keywords in your industry, and then creating content around them, your paid advertising will go even farther as your new customers share and link to your website.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your advertising dollar, we’re going to look at a couple types of paid marketing. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to consider Facebook advertising as a separate category.
You’ll like Facebook Advertising if:
You’re looking to reach a large audience. Facebook has over 1 billion daily active users that you can advertise to in just a few minutes.
You’re on a budget. The average cost-per-click (CPC) is $0.61 but can be much lower depending on the industry.
You want complete control. Facebook allows you total control over your daily budget and the ability to set a maximum CPC.
You may not like Facebook if:
You have a specific geographic area. Facebook has a large reach and makes it difficult to target a very small area or consumer.
You sell business to business. Most users on Facebook are end users and are less likely to be interested in products geared for businesses.
Social Media Marketing
You’ll like Social Media Marketing if:
You want to build brand awareness quickly. By advertising on social media you have the ability to reach billions of people around the world with just a few clicks.
You can partner with influencers. Partnering with social media influencers is another way to reach a specific customer set while also building a reputation for your brand.
You have great images and video. Pictures are worth a thousand words and a lot of money when advertising on social media. Make sure your products look great to get the most out of your social media ads.
You may not like Social Media Marketing if:
You lack a clear social media strategy. Just paying for ads isn’t enough. Make sure you plan out your ads and posts to present your brand in its best light.
You can’t respond to interactions. Engagement is the true indicator of an engaged audience and if you don’t have the time or resources to cultivate that, then it’s probably not worth the effort.
How Gooten Can Help
Our extensive dropshipping network and print on demand service allows you to convert those ads into sales and money in your pocket. Sign up for free and let our team of Success and Support agents help guide you to a simpler and more lucrative way to grow your ecommerce business.
After reading this guide you’ll be ready to take on Amazon. As always, at Gooten, we’re here to help. We have thousands of products that are ready to find a home with your customers, what are you waiting for?