How to Get Ahead in E-Commerce Without Traditional Advertising


A big part of any web hosting company’s job is to help new clients get their websites up and running as quickly as possible. The sooner your website is online and making money, after all, the more likely you will be to remain a customer of that hosting company for a long time. The problem, though, is that the quick start guides you read at your hosting company’s website and elsewhere don’t apply to every type of business or every business’s situation. 

One of the biggest examples of where “E-Commerce 101” guides fall short is in discussing how to generate web traffic. The guides will usually default to the same stock piece of advice – that you need to create an account on Google AdWords and start bidding on keywords. Unfortunately, though, that advice doesn’t work for everyone. If your site sells CBD oil in the UK, for instance, you’re out of luck because Google doesn’t accept ads from CBD sellers. Also, many e-commerce startups simply don’t have the money to bid on keywords. There’s so much competition on AdWords that you can easily blow through your entire advertising budget and have very little to show for it.

Whether you’re in an industry with marketing challenges or simply don’t have the budget to start bidding on keywords, you need to find a way to bring traffic to your site without traditional advertising – and that’s what you’re going to learn from reading this article. Believe it or not, it is possible to get ahead in e-commerce without giving a portion of your profits to Google. Here’s how to do it.

Start Working on Your On-Site Content

If you want to drive traffic to your website and start earning some serious money, the most important thing that you can do is start working right away on your on-site content. To understand the reason for that, you need to understand how Google works as a search engine. Ultimately, every search on Google is a keyword-based text query. Over the years, Google’s search engine has gotten better at processing complex queries. 

Recently, Google has also made great strides in improving the search engine’s ability to understand the intent behind different queries – whether the user wants to see a local business, a product page or an informational article, for instance. Ultimately, though, every search on Google comes down to keywords. If you don’t have a page on your site addressing the keywords in a given search query, you have virtually no chance of appearing in the results for that search. 

Now, think about the thousands of different keywords and keyword phrases that relate to your industry. Suppose, for instance, that your business model involves buying products from a distributor and reselling those products to end users. The people who might be interested in buying from your website might search for specific products and for the makers of those products. If you compile all of the product and brand names on your site, you might have a list of hundreds of keywords right there – but that’s just the beginning. 

People also search Google for informational content. They want to know how various products compare to one another. They want to know how to have a better experience with those products and how to fix the problems that may occur while using them. If you can answer those questions on your website, you’ll have a very good chance to generate a substantial volume of traffic.

Writing on-site content is a job that’s never really done, and it’s the best way to build a website that attracts a massive number of visitors every day.

Build a Better Buying Experience

Providing a buying experience that outclasses your competitors is one of the most powerful things that you can do to establish a strong online brand. If you look at the other websites that sell products similar to yours, you’re probably going to find that some of those sites are virtually indistinguishable from one another. Companies in the same industry often use similar logos, and e-commerce startups often use the same free Shopify and WordPress themes. Hopefully your website doesn’t look like the others in your industry – but if it does, it’s never too late to set yourself apart.

Building an e-commerce website that stands out from the rest isn’t just a matter of having a website that looks different. It’s also a matter of building a shopping experience that’s better because it’s easier, faster or more fun. Is your website a joy to navigate? Is it easy for customers to find the answers to their questions? Do you provide intelligent product recommendations and discovery features that help people find what they need? You may find it very helpful to hire a developer who can help you spruce your website up.

Find Creative Ways to Keep Your Customers Engaged

Once you’ve begun to establish your e-commerce business and attract some customers, the next major step is finding ways to encourage repeat business by keeping your customers engaged. Many companies use email newsletters and social media outreach to engage their customers – and while those techniques can work, consumers have increasingly grown blind to them because they’re already bombarded with commercial messages wherever they go online. 

One way to build customer engagement without simply copying the things your competitors are doing is by creating a customer loyalty program that excites your customers because it feels like a game. That’s going to take a bit of creativity on your part. After all, if it were easy to create a truly top-notch customer loyalty program, that’s what every company would do. A good way to start, though, is by examining the loyalty programs that engage you as a consumer. If you’re excited to show your loyalty card when shopping at a particular merchant – or you enjoy checking your point balance to see how close you are to a given reward tier – those are the qualities of a reward program that you should want to emulate.


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