Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Help with Your New Online Boutique and Business

Driving Online Traffic For Your Boutique Webstore

How is the boutique search traffic working out? The going out there tough? I bet it is. You either designed or had some help getting your website all set-up and ready to go, or even paid out big bucks to have it finished for you, waited for that final day of launch, and aside from some friends and family through your facebook, the internet traffic just wasn't finding you. The net is flooded with top ten lists of do this for search traffic. Don't do this to get followers. How to get instant search traffic. Top eleven ways to boost social media. Right Here ! They all look promising and do offer some basic entry level advice on how to optimize your wordpress page or store. Or you may be on Shopify, or a started with a basic Wix webstore. But if you are reading and doing what everyone else is, you really are not making any ground now are you. Just moving from one treadmill to the next.
Your field of dreams is trickling in a slow marginal flow of traffic, and your awesome one of a kind unique products that are going to revolutionize the world are flat out not selling.
Guess what you are not alone! On-line business and e-commerce is huge and you just want a small piece of that pie. Carve out your own little niche and profit from there.
Do not get discouraged, as most people flat out give up after trying what is either bad advice, or seems like what they should be doing. So you have a facebook page up with a hundred followers or so. Why not drop $35 on an ad to run? Pinterest does the same, sign up, apply, and get your product out there. Here come the masses, lining up ready to shop. . . wait, their not.

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Lesson learned. A few bucks here, a few bucks there, with more and more avenues of potential marketing before you, and the hundred dollars you just spent can easily turn into a thousand if you followed all of the channels which all do seem plausible for reaching an audience. And landing your first sale. A ten dollar ring. Or a fifteen dollar tee shirt. Then factor in the shipping, the tax you have to pay, cost of material for the box or envelope you shipped it in. You just spent $200 to make $5. Believe it or not you are actually on the road for success, as you are making most likely the same mistakes and pitfalls that everyone before you made. That is why giants such as Facebook and others are worth the billions that they are. As long as you learn how to effectively gain the traffic you want, at a minimal cost, without just throwing your money in the wind.

Throwing Your Money Away On Advertising ?

From my experience , internet traffic and customers does not come free and easy. All of the little lines of communication are tied up by the giants, all wanting a piece of the action. It makes sense after all if you owned a giant mega-complex that had traffic drive by every single day would you allow people just to post up signs driving traffic away from you toward them , for free? Of course not that is absurd, and these people who run Microsoft, Bing, Yahoo, etc. etc. are no dummies either.
So let's play fantasy here and imagine you have a little cute fashion boutique or sun glass shop around a corner that just seems to be missing the eyesight of traffic. Would you hire for arguments sake here a sign guy at $20 a day to flip a sign pointing people in your direction? If that twenty dollars a day brings in ten new people, and one out of those ten people purchase something for fifty dollars, then that was a twenty well spent. Think of advertising the same way. I call it the sign guy. The adsense people allow you to set a budget a day, on how many people or clicks you will get to go toward your website or store. You obviously want the right people who are interested in your product to be there, not a concrete brick layer. So your dollars are most effective for this manner you do need some type of keyword strategy planned out.
Think about this, you own an on-line store, or boutique and you use whatever form of tagging you are doing from alt-text on photo's, to meta-tagging, or just long-tail keywords with the basic idea of what you are "online-store" or even "funny t-shirts". I hate to break it to you but there have been people doing this, using these, a hundred times over, every day, for years on end, and you are so far back and down the line you do not even know where the front begins. You threw up a tag of #style or #funny. You are now in a pool of 286,000,000. For the month. Gone and lost forever the moment you arrive. It really is like you dropped a piece of sand on the beach and wonder why nobody finds your small little grain, even though it shines very bright to you.

Keyword Planning For Your Business

I will do a much more in depth piece on keyword strategy and planning at a future point in time, but for the novice here, keep in mind, that search engines will find you through keywords that people type in. Successful usage of keywords, both long-tailed and short, will drive direct traffic that you want based on how you are found. In order to be found, you want to rank high in relating phrases that are commonly searched for right? So for example you have a franchise business. You have been tagging Franchise, how to franchise, best franchise, what-have-you. Your keywords are going to be so lost to all of the giants of the world you really have no shot. Do you really think a few pictures, products, or posts with the word 'franchise' is going to out-rank things like 'McDonalds franchise opportunities' or lets toss in the thousand of other established businesses out there that use that word in any way shape or form. And have been doing so for years upon years with teams of professionals. You can be working against yourself and not even knowing it. It's all about making your time and efforts as useful as possible. Try and narrow down that field a bit, and instead of being lost in a pool of billions, try and get found in a pool of thousands. Refining things down to say 'How to start your own online franchise boutique' will get you into a much more specific category and likely to be found, but that is something that you have to be prepared to run with and push at, until you get where you want to be. I mad an initial mistake thinking tagging something like #fashion was a good idea at first, and while not bad. . . it's just that lets say through Instagram they get millions of posts tagged as fashion everyday , thousands by the hour. So in a nano-second all of your work is lost in the digital sea.

Divide and Conquer

Back to my organic followers. Lets assume you have a few free hours, read an article, like and unlike people who don't follow back, follow large groups, target small groups, post pictures, buy a bunch of props and take better pictures, use ten thousand hashtags hoping somebody somewhere see's me and all that i'm worth ! And I will repeat this process for hours each and every day and amass hundreds of followers, most whom might not even use the service any more. The actual amount of work and or man hours put into this can add up to an easy full time job as time passes and small successes and gains are made. But at the end of the day is spending all this time effort and energy into gaining a few hundred random followers on any one of your social media accounts worth it, and by the time it becomes of any significance people have most likely moved over to the new hot or 'it' platform.

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The King Of One Media

Howard Stern has always been known as the self proclaimed 'King of all Media' but in the digital marketing world you should never ever ever assume this is going to be you going in. Think more 'The King of one Media' and let that sink in. Do you really believe that you are going to amasses a successful blog, 25k + followers on Instagram, another 30,000 on Pinterest, and that facebook like page is just going to keep trending upward each and everyday. It is not realistic for the normal everyday start up business owner with no previous foray into this realm. Unless you throw big bucks on marketing, advertising, promoting, and have a team of people working around the clock for you, or employ some very bad black-hat techniques, you could spend realistically years and not get the results you initially dreamed.
Instead just spend your time on one platform. Pick the one that you feel you can target your demographic out the best, and just roll with it. Yes you should have accounts across other forms of media for certain, especially if building a brand, but really focus and hone in on one. There are tools and apps that will let you easily link a Tumblr post to say your Google + , and if you have a smart phone it becomes even easier to finish up Twitter and whatever else. But post just is not really enough, you must be out there engaging with your audience. There is some truth to a lot of those internet guides in the fact that you must for awhile actively seek out and search your audience. Really let them know that you exist and are there. It takes a tremendous amount of fortitude to keep putting yourself out there without getting instant results and gratifications especially in this insta-now me world. But build a complete body of work, and stay consistent. After you work out a thoughtful piece, ad, or however you are presenting yourself, the work does not stop there. It does take finding similar groups with interests and potential candidates of people who will enjoy your work. Following others, even en-mass to the point of hundreds does actually work. Knock on their door, give their page or account a little love, and you would be surprised to see how it is reciprocated and appreciated back. Think of it like passing out little fliers. They either toss it in the trash or give you a follow back. You will eventually find a core group of loyalists who you all in turn share each others works and interests, and watch it grow from there.
Stick with your one platform and you will eventually see the rises and falls of what it is you do. Times of day, patterns, activity, the way certain posts, titles, keywords, and hashtags all will form a larger picture, and begin your gradual ascent from a core audience you build. Randomly throwing out a tweet here, a facebook post there, or a forum comment somewhere is not really an effective time management process.
A great analogy I love to use which my wife hates is take World of Warcraft for example. We all have heard of it. You start as a little fighter peasant with just the clothes on your back and a wooden sword. This is you, trying to reach level 80 and slay the huge dragon. If you play that game every day, and figure out the strategies, you will reach that level cap, and be at the end game content. How is this actually relating? Because liken World of Warcraft with say Snapchat. Well then you had Everquest, ElderScrolls Online, Star Wars Online, Ultima Online, etc. Look at all of these as say a Twitter, a Tumblr, A Pinterest. Now if you logged in every day, and played the characters you made a little bit, and only gained 1/5th of a level across all accounts, you are never going to reach the point you want to be with ANY of them. Then by the time you finally reach that summit, another new game has come out, and you are playing on a dead server.
Stick with one. For now.

Spinning directions with all the social media

Or worse case paranoia head case scenario I have come to find out and realize they are just doing exactly as I am. . . oh god I am months deep and hundreds of finger spamming hours in and have five hundred followers on one of my social media accounts and pages, only to hear of Snapchat right around the corner as the new 'it' thing. Should I have been on that the whole time? Is that the new wave of the future and people are migrating over to it. They must be as I read some post somewhere months ago while spamming for followers, maybe I should have listened. Now I am months behind. Their are fifteen year old posting pictures of their cat with 15,000 followers and I am churning out quality original content everyday for months and only have 500 ! What the Hell ! I want to scream and claw out my eyes, or somebodies eyes or something. How does all of this work , and how does one have the time to run a business, make or purchase products, work on your craft, and then do all of this self promotion marketing on top of it?! I not only have to be an artist, or a designer, but now a model, a photographer, a search engine specialist, I have to re-design my web and code it more efficiently now as I have went from page 7 in rankings to almost 6. All I want to do is sell stupid tee shirts with stupid elves getting drunk on them godamnit. And I have to become all of these professions, I just cant do it all, but wait. Whats that your telling me I can buy followers. . .

Getting Down and Starting With The Basics

The real nuts and bolts, nitty gritty, and organic safe way to go is by taking some time to read and comply with Google and Microsoft Bing Webmaster Toolbox and the other search engines compliance. I won't lie it is going to be difficult and confusing if you have never delved into that realm before. But it is imperative that you not only become familiar with it, but for the sake of your own business learn how it works. You started an online business, yet you really do not know the basics on how it even works. If you had a brick and mortar store, or any storefront, you would have to learn a bit about building code, and the details as far as lights, insurances, bathrooms, parking, loading times, signage display, etc. I could go on, but think of this as no different. It is your business, you are the owner. And you have to learn how your business is structured in the digital world. It will also help you communicate with anyone you are doing work with to avoid getting ripped off as well. If somebody is trying to get $2500 from you and promising x, y, and z. go in with a little ammunition, and you will be able to discover if they are just trying to sell you the magic beans or the actual hen that laid the golden eggs.
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Start With Submitting Your Online Store To The Search Engines

So where do you start, well the first place I would go to is Google Webmaster Tools. Google Webmaster Tools It's really that easy just search for it. First click and you are off. Here you can sign in with your Google account and submit your website. I was actually surprised for awhile but not anymore as to how many people hire people to help promote their website and only to come in behind and find out they never even did the basics. They never even added their store to Google's search engines.

Using Google To Your Advantage

So you got that down ? Good. Website submitted to google. But wait, there is more, verification codes, lines of HTML , Java, or what have you, that need to be added to my website, it's starting to get confusing down here. And it will be, for awhile, and let me speak from the heart that it always will be that way. You just have to take a deep break, take it one step at at time, and search for help each step of the way. It will piece together. You will have to log into your Wordpress or whatever web template you are using and add little snippets like Google Analytics. Or your Google Plus account code. The reason you were never being found is because you were never plugged into the system. Bing has their own toolkit also. This method must be applied to the search engine companies you want to be listed with. After your website is indexed ( it can take a day or two ) you will gain access to all sorts of amazing features , and all sorts of errors I am sure. But it can give you a very great real world wake up call as to where you actually stand, and what needs to be done. You might have crawl errors, index errors, re-directs, and not be mobile friendly. It's ok, nobody ever has it all right the first time, especially if you did it yourself.
So your in, and feel good, and you might even see you did gain some random search traffic wanderer. You can tell exactly how they found you. So you can see what's working. And if you have been pumping up something like #funnyshirts for the past 3 months on as many places as you deemed relevant , and are getting zero traffic, well it's time for the wake up call and not be defeated but simply change your strategy. These growing pains are tough, but by eliminating what is not working, tweaking it slightly, and seeing results. You are taking the steps that each and every successful person who probably inspired you to embark down this path did. Ask a stock broker how the stock market works. If they didn't know they probably would just be losing a ton of cash. Ask an on-line business owner how sales work. You don't know, and only by avoiding on learning, how it works from the structure, the frame, and the ground floor up, you will be lost as well.
Sounds like a lot of work, well it is. And honestly if you are not putting in a solid eight to ten hours a day you really are only going to be falling behind. If you really want to take your hobby to the next step and form a successful business, be prepared to work around the clock. I have always said if you haven't lost sleep over it, you don't care enough. The path to success is only through hard work, I do not know any other self-made professional who has done it any other way. You have to be almost obsessed with it to a point where you just flat out do not give up. Something not working out? Look it up and learn it. Somebody wrote all of this code and these systems for you. Use them to your advantage and enjoy it. Drink some coffee and come back to it. But you must figure it out, otherwise your competition will.
I will continue to write on this topic focusing in and narrowing on more topics, and how they work and can directly apply to you and hopefully your field.

You Thought This Was Going To Get Easier?

With so many new tools, phrases, and resources at your disposal, what to sift through and focus on and what is going to be hours spent on unproductive work? Looking for a very direct approach try out Adsense by Google or Bing Adwords. Here you basically pay directly for the phrases you want to be found in. It is not that hard to generate a small little snippet of an ad and you then pay or bid on keyword phrases you think work for you, and will direct potential customers. This way you are paying for exactly what people are searching for, and only pay when they click to your website. If you sale purses for wholesale prices, you then can look up a simple keyword phrase such as 'buy wholesale purses' and it will give you a quote on how much that takes to purchase. It could be 0.05 cents up toward $5.00 and beyond. Set yourself a budget, plan out a strategy, and see what happens. If you are getting direct targeted clicks but your product is not selling, that can mean one of two things.
One : Your product just is not very good, but this is most likely not the case
Two : Your bounce rate is horrible. Bounce rate you say? Back to the Google Analytics tool you should have set up already, it will tell you what your bounce rate is. This is the rate at which people click on your website then click off of it. Are users not browsing ? You should be able to read an analyze all of this daily. Just because you see traffic now does not mean that your products see traffic. Is it easy to navigate? Is it clear what you are selling and very simple to one click shop? Or are their ads, banners, useless information and graphics cluttering up and slowing down the process? Think outside the box before you get defeated, and always adjust your strategy before throwing it all away completely. Otherwise you will just move to another ineffective manner of doing things, still not learning in the process.

Do's and Dont's of boosting social media

Buying followers, cheap, easy , and wow what a difference my accounts will look for only ten dollars. Gone are the days people will see my facebook account with only two hundred of my closest friends and family. This is supposed to be a business, and to be looked at as one and taken seriously as one, when people click to my page or account it's going have over one thousand if it kills me. Or costs me a quick ten bucks. After all how will they know or care right? Nobody is actually going to go through each and every single one and determine if they are real or not. Why wouldn't some Saudi Arabian boy who only speaks some ancient dialect of Egyptian be following me. I'm a big deal over in that part of the world, duh.
Success and follows only breed more. Who wants to log-in and check up on a dead page? I sure don't. If i give off the aura of activity and success it will just breed more. After all what does that passage from the bible say "Iron sharpens Iron" it's from Luke or Mathew or somebody, but it has to apply here. I know the mindset I really do. You want to have some results for all of your hard work time and effort. The problem is you are not gaining anything for your money. Those are not people, they are just 'bots' and will never spend any money on any of your products. In fact you could get an account banned very easily. Why would you spend money on people and or things that will never in turn give that back. You can brag to your friends and family that you are growing, but at the end of the day you really cant pay your bills and your business is going to float under. You have to be very careful about who you hire also, as not all traffic is good traffic. And you could pay someone up to $1000 a month to manage your social media accounts, when all they end up doing is posting inspirational pictures with some positive quote about life that pertains nothing to your actual product or business, and probably turn away more people than are gained. Or they take your $1000 and spend the ten bucks and buy you fake followers, only to be gone in a puff of smoke when you realize you just paid them thousands to avoid what you were doing for basically free.