Everybody understands that online has become a crucial aspect of any retailer. But how to best market oneself online is as yet poorly understood by the vast majority of retailers who are just about to get their online feet wet. To remedy this, here is the first of my top seven strategies to not only succeed but beat the big boys and their huge marketing budgets online. Strategy #1: Think Google – Act Local! Having a high rank in Google is the holy grail in online marketing. If your business is not on the first page of Google it might as well not exist online at all. The way Google ranks websites is by calculating how many sites link to it. So if you want to be number one in Google you need lots of links to your site. Now – the trick here is not to try to be number one for ‘manchester’ or ‘footwear’ globally. Attempting to do that will almost certainly doom you to failure. No. You want to start locally and expand from there. To get started: 1) Google the search term you want your site to be the first in Google for and see what comes up. You will notice that the results are localized to roughly your location. If nothing comes up for your location then even better! You can fill that niche easy. The way Google works is that it will try to return results relevant to your location. It knows full well that somebody in Sydney really could not care less about a shoe shop in London and vice versa. This is what you can leverage to your advantage. 2) Create links with local businesses. Go around your neighborhood and offer a “link exchange” with businesses that you feel would be good partners, and have a website themselves. A link exchange simply means that you link to their site and they link back to you in exchange – both of you want to get a high Google rank so this should be an easy sell. If not point them to this article. Once you have done this with 10 local shops, 3 clubs and a couple friendly pubs, sooner than you think you will improve your Google ranking until you have climbed all the way to the top of Google. It’s important that you create the right kind of link. To do this you need to get inside the mind of your consumer, as well as Google. Think of what they would search for to find your product. For example: Joe has a footwear store in Nambucca called Joe’s Footwear and wants to target the seach term ‘shoes’. He will want to improve his Google rank for example for the search term ‘shoes’ in his area, by receiving as many links back to his site that read something like ‘Joe’s Footwear – best shoes in Nambucca’. So he visits the local pub, menswear store and football club to ask them to link back to his website using that sentence. The important thing here is that the text underlying the link contains your business name, your rough location (suburb or town), a positive envelop (best, great, super etc) and your targeted search term. The way Google works, it will pickup that loads of local sites link to you for the term ‘shoes’ and when someone in or close to your location google’s for that term, your site will be right up there on Google for people to find and that on a shoestring marketing budget. The best thing about this is that the big names could not replicate this strategy if they tried. They simply can not afford to arrange link exchanges with all these local businesses the way you can and therefore might maintain their high Google rank in a generic way, but local foot traffic and opportunity buyers will be guided to your shop without fail. Next week part two: Compete on Service – Not on Price! Stefan Pernar – CIO FrontLine

Alex

Born and bred in Melbourne... I am passionate about my soccer, I'm learning to fly a plane and I have a passing interest in technology.

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