There is some mystery to internet marketing. One can spend many hours every day pottering around and getting absolutely nowhere. Are we losing sight of something?
The Internet is basically an advertizing medium, like the newspapers or radio; only, it is (or can be) free. But on the other end of your advertizing is a real person living a normal life just like you, who is (hopefully) curious about your product.
You still have to follow all the traditional advertizing rules. The biggest poster, the loudest voice wins. But only if the product it promotes, is of real value. To your customer.
Let’s double-check here the meaning of value. Let’s say you’re selling swimming pool pumps. You may have the most advanced product on the market, worth absolute thousands; but to me, who don’t have a swimming pool, it’s worth nothing, so I won’t buy. It doesn’t matter how loudly you shout at me the qualities of your pool pump.
Just because we can, online, we just tell everybody about our product. Here’s the sad truth: 99% of people are not interested. My question to you: Can the other 1% hear you? Are you even reaching them? How can you be sure?
Customers are always a self-selected group. So before you let anyone into your shop in real life, you’d check them out first. You’d look them up and down and if they look as though they’re going to steal something rather than buy it, you gently but firmly take them by the scruff of their collar and… you get the idea.
In a web store you can’t do this. Literally anyone comes and looks. So all you can really do is guide them gently by their search terms.
If you e.g. have the word “free” somewhere in your search terms, be prepared for a lot of traffic – that buys nothing. After all, you wouldn’t take out money to pay for something either right after being promised a free deal.
Now you need to ask yourself: Is “free” what you want? That load of traffic may result in referrals. If you offer one or two genuinely free things, you may find people storming you for them – if it’s a product they want. They may recommend the site to others (send the link). Or they may do nothing at all for you – after all, free is free, no strings attached.
If you include words like “budget”, “affordable” and “low-cost”, you’ll be more likely to attract buyers – once again, if you have something they want. The act of handing one’s credit card details to a website or opening your Paypal account is still more frightening for many (middle-aged, moneyed customers) than pulling cash out of one’s wallet.
I believe the trick to internet marketing is how well you can put yourself in your customer’s mind. What do you have that they really want, and who are “they”, which group of people, where do they hang out and dine, how can you find them?
These are only a few thoughts to move those sluggish brain juices.