In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together a list of tricks and treats to help boost your marketing efforts. From social media to SEO, there are lots of little ways to improve your work, and I’ve pulled together some of my favorites. So ring the doorbell and hold out your bags, we’re about to get started.
You can’t talk about marketing an online business without talking about social media. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, there are literally billions of people online every day ready to engage with your brand–if you know how to reach them.
Social media is expensive. Sure, the most popular platforms are free to use. But creating content, monitoring engagement, responding to questions? All of those things take time, and time costs money. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on the platforms that serve you and your customers the best. Commit to doing one or two well, and don’t worry about the others.
While Facebook and Twitter have long been the favorites, Pinterest has quickly climbed to become one of the most popular and profitable platforms for online businesses. Learn more about how to create a winning Pinterest presence with this great video from our own Matt Winn.
Despite repeated rumors of its demise, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business. But as customers sift through the growing flood of email, it gets harder and harder to reach them.
Make sure your subject lines clearly communicate who you are and what you’re sending. If you send a regular monthly newsletter, include the name in the subject line or the sender address, so your customers can recognize it. If you’re sending a special offer, don’t just say “Special offer”–let them know what the offer is.
Of course, it doesn’t matter what’s in the subject line if your email never makes it to the customer’s inbox. Spam filters are more advanced than ever before, but they’re not fool-proof. Here is a great list of spammy words to avoid in your subject lines (and even in the body of your email) if you want to improve your chances of getting through.
A successful blog is one of the best ways to attract relevant, sustained traffic to your site. Not only can you reach an active community of interested readers, you can also improve your search engine rankings by generating lots of relevant, keyword-rich content.
Find your niche and stick to it. With more than 180 million blogs online right now, there’s no room for generic writing. So don’t be afraid to go on a tangent about specific topics related to your store or products. You don’t need to attract thousands of readers–you just need the right ones.
You can write the most interesting blog article in the world, but if you top it off with a boring headline, no one will ever read it. Give your posts some extra punch with Copyblogger’s free “Magnetic Headlines” series.
Website content may not seem like “marketing,” but it is. In fact, your web content is probably the most important asset you have for triggering sales. No matter how customers get to your site, it’s the content they find when they get there that ultimately drives them to purchase.
Give people what they want. Think about your customer’s needs. What are they looking for when they come to your site? What information will convince them to make a purchase? When you’re describing your products, don’t just list the basic facts. Highlight important features, describe benefits, explain the differences between them and other products.
To really learn how to supercharge your site content, check out Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones. To get started, you can read a sample chapter of Clout (online or PDF) on how to use classical rhetoric (remember that?) to write persuasively.
SEO is the elephant in the room whenever we talk about web content. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, most users find us through search engines. So while writing content that users want is important, it’s also important to feed the robots.
When you’re choosing which keywords to focus on, pick a balance of popular, competitive keywords and more specific, niche terms. The niche, or “long tail” keywords will be less competitive, giving you some quick wins while you work on the difficult climb for top keyword rankings.
Online marketing is a constant process, and we can always find ways to improve. Little tips and tricks like these are a great way to give your efforts a boost without taking a lot of extra time.
Keep up the hard work, and you’ll have buyers lining up at the door. In fact, I think I hear your doorbell now…
-Clay Delk, Senior Content Strategist, Volusion
This post is part of our Method & Message series by Clay Delk, Sr. Content Strategist at Volusion. Check back every other Wednesday for the latest discussions on content, context and commerce on the web.