Of course a nice website design is key for the appeal factor once you have visitors, but lets talk about how to actually bring traffic to your site first. Bringing traffic to your website requires a lot of time and hard work on your part. Unfortunately you can't create a website and wait for the magic to happen. You have to create the magic. Think of yourself as the new coffee shop in town. This town also has a Starbucks and several other coffee shops in several shopping malls. While Starbucks is a place that 98% of the population has heard about and most likely knows where to find, the new coffee shop in town wont get noticed until he does some advertising. It works the same way on the internet. Out of all the web sites on the net, what will make people find yours?
Here are just a few ways to market your online shop.
- Add your signature to all your outgoing emails including replies. In that signature, put your website link. You would be surprised how well this works especially since people with an online presence use email daily.
- Join and advertise in online forums and other discussion groups that are pertinent to what you sell. If you make lampwork beads, you may not want to advertise on a bead forum. Instead, try a jewelry creating forum. After all, people who make jewelry are the ones who would be buying your beads. Add your signature to your profile so that every post you make has a link to your site. If the forum or group offers banner advertisements for so much a month, try a little paid banner ad and see how that goes for you.
- Join top sites lists or even advertise There are so many top sites list its hard to keep track of them all yet their banner advertisements can be seen on a lot of sites you might visit. They offer free listings to be included on the list but visitors to your site have to vote for your banner to rotate up to the top of the list. The more votes, the higher up you go. You could put your vote link on your links page where its not obtrusive or anywhere on your site for that matter. Most lists offer paid banner ads which work even better because it is seen on every page of the top site and you don't have to post anything on your site.
- Carry your business cards with you when you go places and pass them along every chance you get. You would be amazed at how many opportunities there are for handing out a business card. Probably more than you know.
- Ebay About Me pages are another good place to put your link to your website. Ebay doesn't allow for your website link to be on your listings but they do allow it to be on your about me page. Combine your winning bidder notice with your email signature and you're advertising your site that way too.
- Keywords and meta titles and descriptions are a great way for search engines to index your site and list you. Remember though that this listing takes time too. Search engines send a spider to crawl your site to compare keywords to your content to index you but they don't do a deep full site scan for at least a year so have some patience when it comes to search engines. For a great article on what Google says about SEO, visit this link. I will tell you this... If someone emails you out of the blue and says your site isn't optimized for search engines and if you will do this or that or let them do this or that for you, it will be, BEWARE! These people only email you like that because they want money from you.
These are just a few ways to increase traffic to your site. There are most likely many more ways to bring in customers. Once you have customers who are interested in your products, you need to keep them coming back for more. There are several ways to do this.
- Customer service is THE most important aspect of doing business whether in a brick and mortar shop or online. If you don't have top notch and friendly customer service, customers will not come back. Just remember this little rule of thumb. Do something good and customers tell one person. Do something bad and customers tell ten. The better your customer service is, the more your customer appreciates you and vice versa because a happy customer is the best customer to have!
- Offer freebies. Everyone likes a freebie. If you change what you offer, once a week or once a month, this keeps customers coming back and chances are, if what you're giving away has something to do with what you sell, the customer gets a sampling of your product. Most likely they will purchase from your if your sample freebie is something wonderful.
- Offer coupons for return customers. Sometimes, especially around the holidays, getting a discount is encouraging!
- Always follow up with your customers with an email letting them know you appreciate their business. A simple thank you is all you need.
- Deliver your products in a timely manner. It probably didn't take long for your customer to pay you so the return favor is really appreciated by your customer.