One of the great things about e-commerce is that thanks to keyword-sensitive ad networks like Google AdWords, becoming profitable as a new business – or at least keeping some amount of revenue flowing in – isn’t really that hard. All that you really need is an appealing offer and an attractive landing page on your website to present that offer. Once you have those things in place, all that you need to do is direct traffic to your landing page with campaigns on sites like AdWords and Facebook. A certain percentage of your visitors will become customers, and you can decide based on your conversion rate how much you can afford to spend on further advertising.
That’s an oversimplification, of course, but once you have a strong ad that links to a high-converting landing page, your online marketing practically runs itself – at least, that’s the case if traditional advertising networks are open to you.
There are some businesses, however, that can’t use traditional advertising networks. Those include businesses operating in the vape juice, legal cannabis, and casino segments. Some new business owners learn that the hard way when they attempt to launch ad campaigns and find themselves getting locked out of the advertising networks they’re trying to use.
So, are you the owner of a business that can’t advertise on AdWords, Facebook or other popular ad networks? The reason why people choose to operate businesses such as vape shops and online casinos is that those industries can be extremely profitable. Getting to that point, though – let alone just making your first sale – is incredibly hard when you can’t advertise on the networks that most online businesses use.
What can you do to make your online business a success when you can’t just pay to drive traffic to a landing page? That’s a challenge requiring some creative solutions, and you’re going to learn those solutions in this article.
Google may not allow businesses in certain industries to advertise on the AdWords network, but the organic search results are fair game for everyone. If you can manage to create a page that Google deems a relevant result for a given search term, then that page can generate free traffic for your business. Paid traffic from AdWords is a great thing, but free traffic from Google’s organic search results is even better – so claim as much of that traffic as you can.
Content marketing is the act of giving away information for free with the hope of attracting organic traffic from Google’s search results and potentially converting some of those visitors into customers. It’s a great way to bring people to your site, generate awareness of your brand and establish yourself as an authority in your field. People who see your name when they search for non-commercial content will be much more likely to remember your business again in the future when they search for products to buy.
Blogging is the most effective form of content marketing. When you begin to think of potential post topics for your blog, think of ways in which you can provide value to your readers without expecting anything in return. As an expert in your field, you have unique knowledge that laypeople lack. You probably answer questions from your customers every day; those questions and answers make great topics for content marketing posts. Blog posts that answer questions and solve problems while bringing your expertise and unique point of view to the table will be very effective in driving traffic to your site.
Sponsored Placements and Advertisements
Although companies in some industries can’t advertise on traditional online channels, there are several websites in your industry that have already gone through the difficult initial stages of generating awareness and now receive consistent traffic every day. Many of those websites may offer advertising opportunities through which you can place banner advertisements or sponsored blog posts with the hope of generating click-through traffic to your site.
One way to find potential advertising opportunities is by searching Google for your industry’s main keyword along with the word “advertise.” Another way is to look for review websites, blogs, forums, and industry magazines. Just as you can’t generate traffic for your site by paying for advertisements on AdWords, those websites can’t generate revenue by displaying AdSense placements – so they need paid advertisements from companies like yours. The best part is that display ads and sponsored blog posts can be very effective as marketing vehicles and often cost much less than you might think.
You can also find sponsorship opportunities by searching Google for your industry’s primary keyword, along with words and phrases like “sponsors” or “recommended sites.” Many websites will add you to their lists of sponsors – even if they aren’t in your industry – for a small sponsorship fee that helps to defray their operating expenses. Getting a link from another website isn’t just good for generating potential click-through traffic. Google uses links to help determine search engine rankings. If your site has a large number of inbound links from other high-authority sites in your field, you’ll be more likely to receive high rankings for competitive search terms.
Social Media Influencer Campaigns
In every industry, there are people on social media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and Twitter who post interesting content, generate large follower bases and ultimately become influencers. A prominent social media influencer may have thousands of followers who are all potentially interested in your products – and influencers earn their money by accepting sponsored content opportunities from companies like yours. It’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Contact the prominent influencers in your industry and ask what the cost might be for a sponsored product feature or review. When you’re looking for influencers whose follower bases you would like to reach, don’t just look at raw follower numbers. Although social networks use sophisticated algorithms to detect unauthorized activity, there are still many unscrupulous individuals who buy fake social media followers in an attempt to look more influential than they actually are. Look for social media influencers whose posts generate plenty of comments and shares. Partnering with a social media influencer will only be profitable for you if you choose an influencer whose followers actively engage with the content.