Do you have an idea for a product or service?  Are you ready to take the next step and launch an e-commerce store?  If so, you have come to the moment of truth and are now faced with the same question as all new internet endeavors: Will you be able to take your idea and actually convert sales?

Ecommerce FulfillmentUnfortunately, the efficacy of your product plays only a partial role in dictating the conversion ratio and overall success.  Without a lot of people visiting your website, the sales will not materialize.  This is especially true if you are entering a competitive market.   Simply putting a website on the internet does not ensure that people can find you.  Long shot celebrity endorsements or access to small mailing lists can only generate a finite amount of business.  In order to succeed over the long run, you will need to learn how to take advantage of ongoing marketing channels that ensure a steady flow of visits to your site.  In many cases, utilizing a start-up e-commerce consulting specialist may be prudent.  For those of you looking to save some money and do it yourself, here are 5 basic methods for driving visitors your site:

  1.  SEO:  Short for Search Engine Optimization, SEO is the art of optimizing your website so that it ranks high in organic search listings.  This can be accomplished through “on-site” and “off-site” optimization.  On-site optimization best practices include utilizing target keywords in site text, header, titles and anchor text interlinking.  Off-site strategies center on link building.  Link building is the process if seeking back links from prominent websites with similar content.  SEO can be extremely lucrative since there is no hard expense associated with it.  For those with plenty of free time and are not afraid to dive into a complex process it can be done alone.  For those who are not, it is advised to seek help from one of the numerous SEO consultants that can help create and implement an SEO game plan.
  2. PPC:  Short for Pay-Per-Click, PPC is an efficient and direct method to reach your target customer.  As the name describes, PPC is paid search advertising and you are charged by the click.  Google, Bing and Yahoo all have paid advertising networks that allow you to bid on prominent listings for searches of your specific keywords. Although PPC visits come in lower numbers, the end customer has found you by searching your chosen keyword and is much more directed and motivated purchasers.   Paid advertising can be very expensive but it allows you to dictate specifics like click bid and daily budget.
  3. Affiliates Sales:  Affiliate marketing programs allow sales affiliates to market your website and earn commission based on the sales converted by their referrals.  Commission percentages earned by affiliates depend on the type of product or website being marketed.  Some affiliates in niche markets like ringworm treatments earn as much as 60%-70% of the total sales amount.   For e-commerce merchants, affiliate marketing allows for fixed marketing expenses as sales commission is only paid on converted sales.
  4. Social Media:  One of the new and upcoming trends in e-commerce marketing is the use of social media to market your product or service.  The ways in which small businesses and e-commerce stores can capitalize on social media are still being figured out.  Testimonial advertising has always been pervasive and social media allows for testimonials to be broadcast worldwide at the click of a button.  Using Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest as a platform to promote product updates or special offers can only help spread the word.  Simply adding the social media icons to a website provides a certain amount of perceived value as well as SEO bonus points.
  5. Email:  Just as PPC allows you to target customers that are looking for your keyword – email marketing allows you to advertise to customers that have already shown interest in your product or service.  If you are spending money and resources getting people to visit your website, you have to find a way to capitalize in any way possible.  Simply adding an email list or coupon club sign up form and routing them to an email list management service will allow you to tap into an important customer base.  Once your list grows you have access to a customer base which is much more likely to act on special offers and new product notices.