Online marketing is tough. It kind of has to be by the nature of supply and demand. If it were simple then everyone would do it until the point competition naturally produces ways to filter out the weaker choices.
Yes there are plenty of youtube tutorials out there, each with a link in the description with an “add to cart” button glowing somewhere shortly after. If you stop reading here just know this.
Do something, throw a crap advertisement up somewhere
The best results you will see in ecommerce will come from trying and failing and learning. I myself get a little nauseous when I see some of our first ads BUT I owe a lot of the business’s momentum to what I learned from them
We’ll keep this simple and keep in mind that the sooner you do these three steps, the less “error” you are going get with your trials
1. Define your target audience
Seems week-one, day-one stuff but gets overlooked by virtually everyone to begin with and quite a lot of the real competition have this down. I don’t necessarily mean the higher results in google, I’m talking about the results in google that are still above you once you are making a proper effort.
If you have an age range in mind and a location, your efforts will take a subtly different trajectory than you would have by bluffing it.
It is very tempting to try and get customers first THEN get the target audience profile accordingly. However it’s no good advertising stair lifts for the elderly in the newspaper when in actual fact your target audience is actually their 45 year old son or daughter who is actually using facebook and hasn’t touched a newspaper in five years.
Not sure exactly what your target audience is? Doesn’t matter, think of one anyway then adjust if you don’t see results. This alone can give you some brilliant comparisons and “A/B testing” data. So if you just targeted a facebook ad nationwide with an age-range of 20-80 and saw 30 clicks, it isn’t as valuable as if you had targeted one age group of 55-80, then the other 20-54 and saw that the younger crowd was actually making up all of the clicks.
This tells you to re-focus your efforts on the children of the people buying the stair lifts.
NEVER assume what your audience is thinking
You would be surprised what your audience may want. So target some audience groups and learn/adapt accordingly.
For example I first had assumed that clients would want to have simplified versions of website functionality to manage themselves. Turns out non-nerds will almost always recoil at the thought and so we offer complete management packages on a monthly basis as well.
2. Create compelling content
Should you use AI for writing content?
I’m going to say something controversial here, and I want to fight with someone about this!
DON’T USE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Writer’s block is not a thing, if you write a sentence I promise you stuff will come pouring out.
You’ve opened an article and seen the soulless talk of someone who is not speaking their mind. It’s nice and unoffensive and down the middle. BOOOORING! Well I can tell you now that most of AI content feels like this.
Most AI content of quality has had some user editing after and the user editing can quickly take more time than had you just written the article
Write your opinions and keep it to the point, that’s how you write content. Put a link at the bottom for what’s known as a “call to action” like a button to book a session or something similar.
I’ve toyed with the AI tools for content and I soon deleted the whole lot. Don’t get me wrong it read okay but it was so ****ing boring and one dimensional. Not to mention how much research I had to do anyway to fill in the gaps! You will end up editing a lot of it.
ChatGPT is in full flow and several professions like programmers and copywriters are shivering behind their sofas at the thought of Arnie coming in and taking their jobs.
AI can do any number of rude expletives I have to refrain from typing because I have to maintain a modicum of professional decorum. It’s a glorified automatic googling tool.
Does AI have it’s place for content writing? Absolutely! However I think it’s a tool for professional writers themselves and google is getting ever better and more ruthless at sniffing out the sites that have AI written content. Don’t take the risk.
What about professional writers?
I used to supress a smirk at the thought of the copywriting profession however I’ve come to realise how much of a skill it is. They have a lot of research to do to make their content sound authentic. They can be pricey but you could try them.
I encourage people to try writing because I find it’s best to have your own opinions and honestly, people are quite happy to see someone speak bluntly rather than just being nice because they’re in work. That’s important: have an opinion!
Compare asking someone at their desk as opposed to over an alcoholic drink in a bar. Who would you consider to be more honest?
I say this because it can feel like an effort trying to read between the lines of a web developer saying:
“Oh wix has it’s place and it’s a great prospect to build it yourself BUT maybe with the extra options that are actually quite simple to code which make it impractical HOWEVER there are tutorials that I, myself did not quite take to but to each their own!”Every spineless web developer taking the “it depends on your own needs/I don’t have the courage to commit to my opinion” approach
As opposed to:
“Wix’s tutorials are tedious with some milk-bottle bespectacled tw*t touting ‘wix is really powerful’ for ages before getting to the point. Not to mention the platform will charge you more per month to get basic features I could program in thirty seconds with my eyes closed (or actually just copy and paste from a google search) and you’ll probably only realise this when you’re half finished your site and therefore committed to the platform. Use Squarespace if you want to do it yourself.”
So should I write my own content?
I’m saying try it, and see if you can throw in a few keywords that the google search engine overlords may like to see to get your content ranking. You don’t need to be Christopher Hitchens as people are often just looking for honest advice from an expert. They are not likely to criticize your use of who/whom if you’re selling diapers and baby toys. I doubt even a particular yarmulke wearing political pundit would care when trying to learn the best way to dispose of diapers…
Dirty diapers don’t care about your feelings
Go to google and start typing about your blog post ideas, you can see in the auto complete drop down box there will be some ideas that people are wanting to know. Also search for some terms and scroll down to find the “people also ask” section.
Congratulations, you are now an amateur content writer
3. Promote your content
Promoting content, so this is a longer topic because it’s a massive scope of ads, PPC, social media campaigns and a veritable pitfall of money.
So you should youtube each topic in it’s own when you’re ready (just youtube search one and go for it) but I will offer a few thoughts on each.
Referring specifically to search engines. This works however it is a potential black hole for your budget.
I know of someone who is pulling approximately £140,000 per month from his online business. That’s a tidy number, right? It seems a little less tidy when you consider he is spending approximately £120,000 on paid search engine ads.
£20,000 per month (with a few expenses) is still a juicy payday however consider that he’s managing £140,000 of work for £20,000 of actual cash.
Paid ads are great for information that you can use in a targeted SEO campaign which is the gold standard and most desirable successful method.
Search engine optimisation is where your site and each page is on search engines according to particular search terms. This is a dark art that is honestly, result driven guess work.
I am on several social media groups that specialise in SEO and it’s hilarious watching them go nuts because google released another update that basically flipped the table of what they understood to make their content rank.
Basically good quality content, good structured website and a few outside links to your site (backlinks) are what search engines say they want.
It’s the long game, I tried my hand at SEO for a short while just to familiarise myself with it and I think I would rather chew glass than specialise in it.
Youtube search Matt Diggity and you’ll learn all you need to know about SEO. His videos are fantastic, informative and to the point. He also gives quite a few high-quality free downloads.
Social media ads
As cheap as you want it to be, you could spend a pound/dollar a day and see attention coming your way. It’s a great way to get our there and is relatively simple to get started. Also with the simplicity of ads, it’s fairly easy to make one yourself.
Again, data from these results can be useful for your overall SEO campaign. Facebook has a great interface for performance which – provided you have patience – can give you some great insights into your potential audiences.
I hope this has been of some help