I’m often asked how people should get customers to their online store.

I’ve made this a short overview, but you’ll find lots of SEO and Content Marketing tips in this blog, starting with the suggestions at the end of this post.

Content Strategy1. Organic SEO

Natural – Organic – search traffic is the lifeblood of most online businesses. Done right, SEO will provide all of the visitors you need and they’ll often be the ones that buy.

If you want these visitors, you’ll have to commit to producing good quality content regularly. And this is why the thought that Organic SEO produces ‘free’ traffic is so wrong. You will need to invest in staff time and training or external experts to produce the excellent quality and continuity you’ll need for success.

If you don’t have a blog on your shop, you should have one. It’s a great framework for publishing your content.

But you’ll need to have a content strategy, built at the very least on understanding your customers, plus key phrase popularity and competition. If you don’t, you’ll just be producing noise – and you’ll be nearly the only one listening.

You’ll also possibly want to look at ways to build links – but beware, a search specialist at Bing’s has recently suggested the only valid forms of linking are those that you don’t expect. Think about it.

2. Social media

The great thing about social media is that it can work hand in hand with your blogging. Tell people on social media about your posts. If your content is good enough, it will be shared with others’ social networks.

You get three main benefits:

  • The Search Engines like to see Social Media activity related to a site, so it can help your SEO
  • You build relationships with people who may buy from you or share your message for you
  • You get traffic from your and others’ social media activities

But just like your SEO content, you’ll need to have a clear strategy for your social media activities, too.

Understand where you’re most likely to find your customers – do you sell to individuals? Start by investigating Facebook and Pinterest. If you’re selling to businesses, have a long hard look at what you could be doing on LinkedIn.

You’ll find both individuals and businesses on Twitter and Google Plus.

Post consistently. Post your own content and links to your blog, and to good quality content from others.

3. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is, broadly, engaging and developing relationships with customers by creating great content.

The cornerstone of your content marketing should be your copy – standing content, blog posts and product information. It engages with people and helps you rank on the search engines.

But there’s lots of other kinds of content that you can create to help your business, such as:

  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Slide decks
  • Webinars

The bias on Writing For SEO is for written content – something about what it says on the tin, I think – but I should really broaden the content types I produce.

4. Paid Search (PayPerClick)

For must of us, Google AdWords is synonymous with Pay Per Click advertising – especially here in the UK where Google is just about a monopoly in search.

But don’t ignore Bing Ads. These are very much the same idea as Google AdWords, but place ads on Yahoo! and Bing, and make a lot of sense if you have more than a basic budget.Newspaper ad

5. Offline marketing

It can be easy to forget offline marketing, the traditional stuff like:

  • PR
  • Advertising (print, radio, even TV)
  • Brochures
  • Promotions/Coupons

The downside is the difficulty in measuring the results. Do try offline methods, especially if yours is an established business moving online, but be realistic. There are reasons why marketers like the current generation of online marketing.

How do you get buyers to your online shop? Or, just as interesting, what has not worked for you?

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I’ve gathered my posts about Selling More From Your Online Store into one convenient download.

Thanks to Pat Henson for allowing me to use his picture of the advertising on an old country store, and John Lloyd for the newspaper ad.