Thursday, January 27, 2011

SEO Made Easy Part 2: Choosing an Effective Keyword Phrase

Since a keyword phrase is so critical to better SEO, I feel compelled to explain the steps of how to choose one first. Then, I will tell you briefly where it goes. If you missed part one, really, you should go back and read it.

SEO Made Easy Part 2
A tutorial in layman’s terms about getting your online shop found.

A Scenario.
You opened a new online shop. Your carefully crafted items are displayed showing off your newly honed product photography skills and amazing descriptive writing which even the seeing impaired can easily visualize. You have all your virtual ducks in a row: banner, announcement, profile, and policies all filled. You wait for customers to come rushing in, but all is quiet in the online front. Your views are low and your shop is like an ice cream store... in the dead of winter ... in Alaska ... during a blizzard. In disbelief, you keep refreshing your screen to see if new views have come in. Nope. Nada. So, you wander into the Forums and ask “is this website broken?”

Effectiveness Counts.
Using an effective keyword phrase means the difference between getting views from Google on your listings versus getting no views at all. What makes up an effective keyword phrase?

An effective keyword phrase includes:
1. general shop category (i.e. art, handmade)
2. specific item category (i.e. paintings, purses)
3. a unique selling point (i.e. textured, fabric)

Since presumably you have a good grip on 1 (where you are selling), and 2 (what you are selling), then number 3 will be our focus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

SEO Made Easy Part 1: Get Your Online Shop Found

There is no EASY way to explain SEO. But if I can keep the chunks bite size, we may all be able to digest the myriad of tips and suggestions to a few chewable pieces.

SEO Made Easy Part 1
A tutorial in layman’s terms about getting your online shop found.

The Definition.
S.E.O. When I first heard the term, I was like “es - what - ti - oh” ? Then, I found out it was an acronym for “Search Engine Optimization.” Um, that’s nice, but what does it REALLY mean?

It means: how to make better (optimize) the way Google (a search engine) finds a web address online.

The Why.
Why is this important to you (and by you, I mean me), Ms. Online Shopkeeper?

Scenario 1: Imagine your potential customers searching on Google. Your shop comes up on the results as the number 5 link on Page 1. They click on links 1 through 4 on Page 1. They are frustrated since they are looking for something handmade. Links 1 to 4 are all commercially made wares. Then they click on link number 5. Well since you sell handmade wares, viola! The customers find you. They buy from your shop. They become big fans and lifelong clients.

Scenario 2: Imagine you are the last link on Page 3000. Yeah, it just does not have the same warm and fuzzy ending.

It’s all about being found first. The easier Google locates your shop and puts it on a page closer to number 1, the better for your shop’s visibility. Better shop visibility translates to more views for your merchandise. More views usually results in more sales. And, we all want more sales since we are selling stuff.

Lesson 1. Better SEO equals more sales.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Seven Basic Musts For Your Online Shop

Selling online is all about trust. You know you’ve thought about it. We are all basically buying from and selling to complete and total strangers. If you don’t get a warm and fuzzy of trust and happiness from an online shop you’re browsing, will you click and buy? Or click to go buh-bye?

So, how do you communicate that you are a trust worthy online shop? Is there a secret formula to this? Well, there is. Maybe it’s not a big secret, but what I have found is that people generally like to buy from shops whom they perceive to be organized. Whoa. What? Organized?

Yes, organized. Here's a real life example. Walk into a brick and mortar shop. Start browsing around. If you are not greeted, it’s minus 1 point. If there are no prices on the merchandise, another point lost. If the merchandise is not displayed ‘shabby chic random,’ but more like 'college dorm messy,' you will tend to walk away. Organization counts. Being greeted, having prices on items, and arranging the store to be pretty communicates being an organized shop.

Here's an imaginary phone call example.
You (happy): Hi, I was wondering when my widget will arrive?
Seller (confused): Widget? What? Huh? When?
You (now cautious): Um, I bought it last Monday online.
Seller: Oh, yeah (no he doesn’t). I guess I have to find my laptop under this big mess.
You (suspicious): Um, when should I expect it?
Seller (nervous): When I find it, I’ll mail it right away.

Yeah, not pretty.

Having an organized looking shop builds trust and building trust gets you sales. So, how do you communicate that you have it together (at least virtually) and that you are an organized online shop? Glad you asked. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Five Basic Lessons of Marketing (Or, How To Win Some)

I could go on about search engine optimization, or how to take better pictures, or go into the whole philosophy of Winnie the Pooh, but this is easier, more basic, and I believe more necessary.

Five Basic Lessons of Marketing (Or, How To Win Some)

1. You are not what you sell. I don’t care if you literally put your own blood on there (yeah, don’t ask), but it is not you. It is your stuff. You are selling stuff. Not you.

With that in mind, remember, not even Elvis or the Beatles had 100% of the market share when they were at their hottest. So, get over yourself.

Your new mantra: "Not everyone is going to love my stuff." I repeat, get over yourself. Realize that some (read: many) people will walk away and not even look at you. Do not take it personally.

This is business and it just is. No deep philosophy. No “it’s okay, it’s not you, it’s them.” It just is.

So, look up, smile, you need to get busy. Your new goal is to find the people that will love your stuff and keep them coming back.

2. Set your goal: “Find the people that will love my stuff.” This is a fancy term used in professional circles as business development, marketing and the like.

Now, how to do that? There is a key. This is very important and it will take some work on your part. You need to figure out what types of people will like your stuff. Who is your audience?

Some Easy and Obvious Samples.
Selling earrings? People with ears.
Selling signs that hang on doors? People with doors.
Selling sugary baked goods? People who eat sweets and who are not diabetic.
Selling life coach techniques? People who live life.

When you figure out who your audience is, you need to get answers to the following questions. What type of things do they like to do? Where do they live? Where do they hang out? How can I get there? Meet them? Know them? You need to spend the time to figure this out or you will not know where to go next.

Once, you answered the questions above. Then, start hanging out at those places. Find their common interests. Find their goals. Figure out their problems and offer them solutions. Investigate this. Once you find them, then, you can tell them about your stuff. Be yourself, or at least be really really nice.