Saturday, February 20, 2016

Two Years Later...What's Changed in How I Market Online

Two years ago, I set out to market my 3D site, and was pretty successful all things considered.  I would like to mention some hits and misses I made over those years.

Feeder Sites are NOT a Good Idea  Two years ago, prevailing wisdom said you should pick URLs that would match what people were searching for and build sites to catch that traffic. I actually posted on this, and while it made sense two years ago, it is no longer a valid strategy. 

Building a bunch of feeder sites is a looser's game for a number of reasons. First, everyone, including search engines love authenticity and hate the opposite. A real site that is the living, breathing representation of a business will always outperform a site that is only built to catch traffic no matter how good your URL is. 

Secondly, if one site is difficult to maintain with new content, then multiplying that for every feeder site you have is pretty much impossible to accomplish unless you have a staff of people to help you. Google is pretty smart at figuring out which sites are legitimate and which ones are just dead hooks floating in the water.

Initially my feeder sites were very successful in directing traffic to our primary site, but apparently Google caught on to that strategy, and overnight, our feeder sites dropped in rank from #1 on Google to completely off the radar.  Our primary site,, however, did not drop, but has gained steadily since then.  Why? Because is a real site which is supported with YouTube,  Twitter, and Facebook content and is updated on a fairly regular basis.  We also work hard at driving traffic to our primary site and Google sees that.  The feeder sites which were just dead billboards in cyberspace were flagged as such by Google's algorithm and were  punished accordingly. 

So, my advice for marketing a web page as of this day is to focus on one site and don't build a bunch of other sites hoping to catch traffic.

Don't Be Afraid to Blow Cash on Advertising

Granted, most of us don't have a ton of cash, but look at it this way.  If you have a site and spend $1,000 marketing your site on Facebook and only sell $500 in product, but get 500 people to opt-in on your site and get 500 likes on your Facebook page, that means you spent $500 to build a legitimate list of 1,000 people.  That's pretty good groundwork for your future marketing. 

I know spending money is painful, but I would recommend spending $100 dollars at a time on Facebook until you stop getting the market penetration that you desire. Each time, you can target a different country and monitor your results. We have steadily increased our Facebook ad campaign spending each time we release a new product, and it seems to work well for us.  Currently, between Facebook and our opt-in list, we can now reach over 12,000 qualified customers.

Engage Your Customers Frequently on Social Media, but Don't Bother them With E-Blasts

It's always a good idea to connect with your fans via your site blog or social media, but don't send them e-mails every week unless you have something really good to share with them.  I reserve sending out bulk e-mails only for new product releases, free give-aways, and a reminder that a promotion is about to end. In each case, there is a notification about an expiring discount that can be grabbed.  One thing I hate is getting too many e-mails from some ambitious marketer, so I try not to be one.  Again, blogs and social media are a different story, so use those as often as you can.

Make Friends with Other Movers and Shakers in Your Industry and Partner Up

Lastly, there's always someone out there with a bigger list than you have. Give them something you've got that they can profit from and promote on their site. This can be done using affiliate plugins that give your affiliate marketer a piece of each sale.  If you do this, you can get a quantum boost in market penetration overnight even if you don't make much cash. Remember, your list is your crown jewels, so a bigger list is always a better one.

That's it for now. Next time, I'll talk about my experience with Shopify.