SEO won’t help your Shopify store.
Try communication marketing instead
One of the most enthusiastic customers we work with sell an intriguing new category of fashion called Everyday Carry. Originally an offshoot of the evergreen market for army surplus kits (guilty fan right here!), this emerging niche refers to items that are carried on a consistent basis to assist in dealing with normal everyday needs of modern western society, including “possible emergencies”.
Some of these customers often ask us if SEO is really that necessary to drive customer traffic to their website. I mean, there must be folks out there who’re searching for hunting knives and Rambos right?
SEO is overrated for most businesses. It takes far too much effort and time to be #1 on even a single keyword. Also, if you have a new product that nobody knows of and nobody is searching for, how will SEO help you gain the first few sales?
SEO may eventually provide you with a further reach, but owning your niche via Communication Marketing is much easier. Especially for a SMB (Small-Medium Business), it starts generating sales much faster.
Communication Marketing should be prioritized over SEO for any SMBs.
It benefits small — medium sized business the most, especially those seeking to gain the first few customers and subsequently grow a loyal customer base. The more you communicate, the more you leave an impression on customers and potential customers. When an impression is left on a potential customer, you convert him/her into a customer the next time he/she needs your product.
The best part about communication? It’s entirely free. You just need to communicate (I know, duh). Be the ambassador of your own products. Let me walk you through how to engage in Communication Marketing in this short post.
To help you identify the correct segment of people to target, I encourage you to first decide what niche and market you’re targeting, then develop a customer persona for your products.
If you’re unsure of what market you should be targeting, Semantics3 Analytics provides you with the ability to slice and dice your audience to see where you should be focusing your efforts on. The application automatically segments users into groups such as “Big Spenders” and “Loyal Customers”, allowing you to see where your best customers are from. You can also create your own segments.
Use the data created for you to find the market you should be targeting. For example, if I sell minimalist wallets like these:
Hypothetically, Semantics3 Analytics would tell me that a significant chunk of my best customers reside in San Francisco. I also know from the data that majority of the leads come in through the website www.reddit.com/r/EDC.
This also tells me that my customers are into EDC, short for Everyday Carry. The EDC community love things that are practical, functional, and good for daily carry and use.
Here’s how the information I’ve gathered might look like in a table:
Try it! Fill up the table with your own products with the help of Semantics3 Analytics.
Here are a few simple ways you can use to actively leave impressions of your brand and product on potential customers based on the exercise you did above. I’ll be using the minimalist wallet mentioned above as a use case for some parts of this guide.
Communicate With Communities
Identify communities your potential customers might be in and actively participate in that community. For the minimalist wallet, there are plenty of EDC communities available online.
Here are some examples
Participate in discussions, share your insights and views, but don’t attempt to outright sell your product. Nobody likes it when their favorite place to hang out gets ruined with advertisements.
Want to leave an impression on your brand? If it’s a forum, sign off with a link to your shop! If you provide insightful, valuable comments, people are likely to try to find out more about you. That’s how you get truly relevant leads. It’s a win-win situation whereby you might sell something, and somebody may have been looking high and low for your product.
The best part of actively participating on a public discussion board is that your efforts are compounded and accumulated.
It doesn’t disappear given any time period. Have you ever seen forum postings from 5 years ago that still answer questions you typed into Google 5 years later? That’s what I’m talking about, the relevancy still apply years from the time you post.
Communicate With Competitors
Now that you know what market you’re trying to make a mark in, find your competitors. Comment on their blog posts, leave insightful and well-meaning thoughts. Invite them to guest-post on your blog. Chances are even though you sell similar products, customers may find your/your competitor’s product more suitable for your needs. There’s a 50/50 chance customers will be referred to either way, you’re not losing out on much business eventually. Also, isn’t it better to keep the business within your community of similar products, and not have the sale go elsewhere?
Trust me, the world is bigger than you think. There’s enough room on the planet for multiple competitors to thrive in the same ecosystem. I chanced upon Seth Godin’s post for today which succinctly illustrates this point. Here’s a quote from that post —
“if there’s more good stuff, more people enter the market, the culture gets better, more good work is produced and enjoyed, more people enter the market, and on and on.”
Check out the rest of his work here, plenty of insightful bite-sized thoughts.
Communicate Actively About Your Product
Do you have an interesting story about your product? Perhaps you’re selling Damascus Knives, and wouldn’t mind talking about how the wavy patterns on the knife blades are created.
Check out this video on how Damascus Knives are handcrafted if you’re interested. It definitely makes one more appreciative of the skill and effort that goes into making it, justifying its value to a consumer.
Share your story in a blog post and generate interest in your product. If you do not take the time to communicate to your audience how interesting your product is, your audience will never know. Share the value you see in your product, justify the purchase for your customer. If your site does not receive much traffic, you can either cross-post to forums, or post on sites with a larger audience base, like Medium.
Publish a blog post every week? Start a mailing list to create an active pool of readers who are genuinely interested in your products. You can start collecting leads for your mailing list by offering discounts on purchases (e.g. 10% off if you sign-up for our mailing list).
No social media presence? Start one! Show your products being used in its natural habitat. The more photos of your products people see, the more likely they are to purchase it. Show them how your product is meant to be used. I like the Viberg Service Boots and would love to have one, but cannot justify the price tag. However, seeing the boots being used and how it might look awesome on me definitely makes me more inclined to buy these boots in comparison with boring stock images with white background. Viberg also documents the process of making one in their Instagram account, which makes me appreciate the boots even more.
Check out Viberg Boot’s Instagram account:
Communicate Down To The Nitty-Gritty Detail
Organizing a pop-up store in New York City for the weekend? Find existing customers residing in New York City with Semantics3 Analytics’ Segments Tool. Drop them an email, letting them know you’re going to be around and invite them to drop by. Physical communication with your customers is one of the best ways to learn more about your customers.
Interested in cultivating a group of loyal repeat customers? Repeat sales can be a goldmine for online stores. Not only is a happy customer more likely to buy again at a much lower cost per acquisition but more repeat customer means more regular (predictable) revenue for your store as well. You can create a segment for generating repeat sales yourself using filters in-app to have Semantics3 Analytics show you all your customers who have not come to the store in the past month and get in touch with them. See how they are, and if they need anything else. Or let them know about a related product that’s new on the store.
More often than not as independent business owners, we know that our products deserve more attention than they currently receive, more love from their respective communities than they currently get.
The primary issue for many small medium businesses is that marketing often costs much more than any of us can actually afford. Because of this, you get a lack of traffic, lack of awareness of your product, and lack of sales as a result.
Communication Marketing is a simple way to scale your business organically at a sustainable pace. By communicating with your customers, you also get the chance to learn more about the great things and flaws about your products, giving you a chance to improve your product and make them better for more people.
At Semantics3 Analytics, we can help you identify that segment of customers you need to communicate with. The application can help you identify opportunities you shouldn’t be missing. Semantics3 Analytics is entirely free for small businesses trying to gain their first few sales. Check us out @ https://www.semantics3.com/products/analytics.
EDIT: Looking for Hits Analytics? That’s us! We are now Semantics3 Analytics — read the official announcement here.
Semantics3 Analytics is an e-commerce specific analytics tool developed by Semantics3, the company that operates the world’s largest eCommerce product database.
Built in Bangalore, Singapore and San Francisco by Thaddeus and the Semantics3 team
Published at: November 02, 2016