Here are some of the top ways to advertise, some are free and some are paid:
SEO: Search Engine Optimization (free)
SEO is where you place special tags in your HTML code called Meta Tags. These tags allow you to write descriptions about each of your pages online, enter in keywords for that page and create titles.
Search engines crawl your meta data for these keywords so they know what to serve up to searchers who are using their search engine. You must use careful consideration for these descriptions (keep them under 160 characters) make sure to include information about what the page is all about and write unique descriptions for each of your pages. Don’t repeat words. This is considered keyword spamming, and some search engines, like Google, will penalize you for it.
Let’s do a quick example, say you are selling scented candles. First you would do some research to find out the keywords people are using to find other stores offering similar items. Those are the keywords you want to focus on for your meta description and meta keywords. Your home page would have your main navigation, brief information about your business and what you are selling. So your meta description could say something like this: Shop here today at Candles N More for the best scented candles, soy wax candles, home fragrances and potpourri scents. Highly scented soy candles for your home burn cleaner and have more concentrated fragrance oils than your standard wax candles.
See what I did there? That description contains the word candles 5 times. There is no mistaking that’s what is being offered. Then I threw in some additional keywords that are probably be used to find those products like scented candles, soy wax candles, home fragrances and etc. So you will craft your descriptions something similar to that and use your own found keywords that people would use to locate you.
Advertisements come in several forms. Whether it’s paid advertising in the search engines called PPC’s or banner ads that you can put on other websites.
PPC of course means Pay Per Click advertising. You create a text banner ad (usually three lines of text) for a search engine, and pay that search engine company a set amount per click. This can rack up quickly, so if you are new to selling online, you will need to make sure that you create a budget and stick to it so you don’t all of a sudden get a thousand dollar invoice from the search company that you would have to pay out of pocket.
Backlinking Directories: (free)
There are also websites out there that will allow you to place an advertisement on their websites. These are called Backlinking Directory’s. So just do a Google search to locate those. These Directories will allow you to place your company name, brief description and a link back to your website. Be careful though, there are good ones and bad ones. So make sure that you do your homework about the Directory before posting there. Google considers some of these spam sites, so just be picky about it & don’t try to just post your company information all over the place. Carefully choose the ones you think would be a good fit, and ones that Google wouldn’t have issue with.
Forums, Blogs and Other Websites: (free unless you want a banner ad)
If there are blogs or forums out there that are talking about products that you offer, then you can join these sites to comment on other users messages and include a URL to your store (if allowed). Some of these sites also allow banner ads on their pages that they may allow you to pay to display there. Most of these banner ads would be paid ads unless you have an affiliate program and you can reach out to the blog owner or website owner to see if they would like to join your program so they can earn money for the valuable website space.
Hosting Directories: (free)
Some hosting providers will have store directories that contain pages of all the sites that are hosting on their platform. Yahoo is a good example of this; https://shopping.yahoo.com/stores/ This is a good way to get more backlinking for your online store. So if you cannot find a store directory for your hosting provider by looking in your admin area or searching online, you can ask them if they have one.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… these are just a few of the platforms that many businesses use to gain more business. Facebook and Twitter allow for purchasing ads, which are used for highly targeted audiences based on what those people are liking as well as demographic marketing. If you don’t pay to advertise on these sites, you must be seriously active on them. Posting things daily, following people with the same interests, being clever and hope that things you post will get shared and etc. Social marketing should be fun! So be as silly as you dare to be if you are offering fun products and show the lighter side of more serious products.
Whether you choose free methods of advertising or paid methods or a combination of both, always do your homework and use the best keywords to get the most bang for your efforts.