Here are ten pretty effective ways to promote your web store online:
#1 Search engine and directory submission
Start with the major search engines and directories – Alta Vista, Yahoo, Infoseek, Lycos, Hotbot, Excite and Webcrawler � and then carefully select and submit to other search engines targeted towards your product or service. Beyond this you may wish to submit to the many other search engines available, or pay someone to do it for you.
#2 Negotiate or purchase links from other sites
Links from sites relating to products or services that are complementary to your own are likely to prove the best source of visitors. Identify sites that are likely to attract the same kind of customer that you are looking for and try to negotiate a cross-link with them.
Negotiating cross-links works well when both sites attract roughly the same amount of traffic. Clearly, you are going to have a hard time negotiating a cross-link with a site that has a much greater traffic level than your own (although its worth trying!) and in some instances it may be worthwhile paying for these links either direct or through services such as ClickTrade.
#3 E-mail marketing
If your site has been designed well, you should have a list of visitors and customers who have left their e-mail addresses and requested to be kept in touch with future developments and offers. This list of names is a valuable resource and should be treated accordingly. You need to judge when you have something of importance to tell your customers; too many messages and they’ll get annoyed, too few and they’ll forget you exist.
You have probably come across the following sentence a hundred times but I make no apologies for repeating it here. Never resort to spamming potential customers. There is no surer way of ruining the prospects for your new Web store.
#4 Newsgroups and Newsletters
Twelve months ago I would have had no hesitation in including newsgroup postings at the top of the list for any Internet promotion strategy. Now the level of Spam in newsgroups has reached such a height that their worth is diminishing. Deja News estimates that about two thirds of newsgroup traffic is either spam or messages sent to can cancel spam.
Never the less, postings to newsgroups can deliver good results; choose your newsgroups carefully and post only when you have something of worth to add, letting your signature file act as an advertisement for your Web store.
Postings to newsletters can also be effective. Moderated newsletters often produce the best results as they are kept spam free and can attract large, qualified audiences. The moderator will also eliminate any postings that are blatant selling attempts, so make sure your post is of value to the audience and let your signature file do the selling for you.
Newsletter sponsorship can also be a cost-effective way of reaching your target audience.
#5 Online advertising via banners
Budget permitting, you should consider placing banner adverts on sites whose products are complimentary to your own. Banner placements can either be purchased directly from the owners of your selected sites, or you can have a Web advertising agency handle your requirements. As an alternative, you could use banner exchanges such as LinkExchange.
#6 Create a signature file
Create a signature file and add it to the bottom of every e-mail that you send. As well as your e-mail address and the URL of your Web store, an effective signature should include a hook, that is, something that will entice the reader to visit your store. Keep your signature brief: aim for no more than 6 lines, each a maximum of 65 characters wide.
#7 Issue press releases
Although it is becoming more difficult to get journalists interested in new Web sites, a well crafted press release should still generate good results, especially if your site has something new to offer.
#8 Set up affiliate programs
Allow other Web sites to sell your products. You still fulfil all orders but pay your affiliate commission on each sale generated.
#9 Print your URL everywhere
Make sure the URL of your Web store appears prominently on every piece of paper your business generates including adverts, letterheads, envelopes, flyers, shipping cartons and labels, invoices, compliment slips, brochures and catalogs. This is a great source of free publicity.
#10 Keep refreshing your content
It is difficult enough to entice someone to visit your store once, so you need to ensure that they are encouraged to return by regularly updated content.
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