Is Your Web Store Attracting the Right Customers?

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    Consider these two fictional ecommerce scenarios:

    • The majority of visitors to a major online retailer selling motorcycle parts and accessories are elderly women who listen to jazz music.
    • A full two-thirds of visitors to a high-end cosmetics site are athletic men in their forties.

      Do these sound like optimal customer scenarios for an online business owner? Of course not! While the above scenarios are exaggerated, it’s not an embellishment to say that many online store owners fail to attract customers that are appropriate for their business. Just because a site gets a lot of traffic doesn’t necessarily mean it will be successful. This article provides some guidance to help you identify your current traffic and attract more qualified prospects.

        Know Your Target Market

          Who are your customers? If your answer to this is: “anyone who will buy my product,” then it may be high time to do a bit of homework. Marketing experts recommend that you understand the following types of information about your customers:

          • demographic information-such as age, sex, and nationality
          • psychographic information-like hobbies, interests, and opinions
          • geographic information-location and how it impacts spending habits
          • behavioral information-how the subject will use your product
          • benefit information-the perceived benefits the subject receives from your product or service
          • Conducting a survey is one way to find out prospective customer needs, buying preferences, and spending habits.

            Track Traffic

              If you’re not doing so already, tracking the existing traffic on your site is an absolute must in your efforts to better understand your online customers. However, simply knowing the number of “hits” on your home page is not enough. You should regularly monitor the following:

              • Referring site (where visitors link to you from)
              • Keywords used to find your site
              • Pages in your site that were viewed
              • Conversion statistics (did they browse or buy)

                Special attention should be paid to the number of overall visitors and any conversion disparity. If the number of visitors is far greater than those actually getting converted (e.g., by a factor of 10, 20, or more), then you should conduct thorough tests to see if the visitors really encapsulate your target audience. Traffic analysis is typically accomplished using software that analyzes the log files on your web server. (Note that GoECart includes basic traffic reporting from the Administration Panel, and a more advanced option using NetTracker® software is available too.)

                  Optimize For Success

                    Below are three fundamentals of online marketing that you must practice if you want to attract targeted traffic to your online store:

                      • Targeted Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – The major web search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, AOL Search, etc. are primary movers of traffic to your storefront. Any bad or incorrect search engine marketing practices will have unqualified visitors entering your store for certain. At minimum, do not target incorrect traffic by optimizing your web pages with too broad or too narrow keywords. Learn the basics of SEO and make sure your ecommerce solution is search engine friendly.
                        • Pay Per Click – Your online marketing program should incorporate a pay-per-click (PPC) strategy. When a prospective customer conducts a search using a keyword that you have selected as a part of a pay per click program, a small ad will appear near search results. When a site visitor clicks on your ad, you are charged a small fee. This is a great, inexpensive way to target customers who are already looking for your product or service.
                          • Listings on Relevant Content Sites – Whenever possible, make sure a link to your site appears on other sites that are already attracting your target audience. For instance, if you sell materials for making dolls, a generic listing on “Big Al’s Free For All Link List” isn’t going to land you the same type of visitor as a prominent link on a major crafter site. Try to get your site listed on as many major relevant sites as possible. The major sites not only get more traffic but search engines use link popularity as one criteria in ranking their pages so listing on big sites will also boost your rankings in the other engines.

                            Seek Help…Cautiously

                              The Latin phrase, caveat emptor (let the buyer beware), applies big time for those seeking web marketing solutions. While there are many options and services available to assist you with attracting qualified traffic to your web storefront, seek help cautiously. A sad fact is that peddlers of “snake oil” online marketing services abound-there are a lot of companies who make false or inflated claims about their search engine marketing capabilities. Do your homework. Check references to ensure the services is credible and can actually help you achieve your goals. (Note that GoECart’s peer division, MachInteractive, is a firm that specializes exclusively in professional grade online marketing solutions.)

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