Posted by : Amanda Stein Sunday, January 13, 2013
A few years ago, I was contacted by an old friend of mine who wanted me to help build his online business. My actual experience is in brewing beer and building home bars, among many other things that interest beer enthusiasts. But it’s not difficult to grow a small online business, especially with the unlimited amount of potential.
In fact, I took the dying Beertaps.com from less than $9,000 in sales a year to over $386,000 in sales in just a little over a year and a half. Within three months, it had doubled in sales per month and then it grew exponentially from there. It was figuratively like getting a train going, and then watching it roll once it started gaining its own momentum.
The first thing to remember is that online marketing is an ever evolving machine. There are new tactics every day, and there are a few that no longer work. I don’t think too much of this information is going to be groundbreaking. But, it’s the step by step approach of how I turned a website around from nearly dead to thriving.
When I analyzed the SEO, I found twenty low competition, high search volume keywords and keyword phrases to incorporate into my SEO campaign. I looked at my competitors. But, they didn’t seem to know what they were doing. That didn’t mean I was just going to dominate the search engines though. There were sites placing at the top for my keywords and they weren’t my competitors. So, I started looking at how they got there.
In all of my research, the sites that were ranking at the top of the search engines for my keywords actually became great resources. I contacted them. We went back and forth about strategies. I soon found them putting a link on their site to my site. We weren’t a threat to each other, so we didn’t mind giving each other props.
We started with an email list of fifty customers. They were very responsive. Each time we sent out a newsletter, our sales would jump a little. So, we installed a question form on our contact page. That way, a person with a question could simply fill out their form and we would capture their email, which was a double opt-in contact form from aweber.com.
Questions about our coupling systems and beer kits started coming in streaming. But, there were also requests for products. You have to love when a potential customer is asking you to find something for them to buy. We built our contact list to over four thousand very responsive customers over the next couple of months and they were loyal because we were very interactive. We let them know we were real people and not an automated system out to take them for their money.
The most responsive content I put together were DIY projects. For a business that sells home bar accessories, DIY projects about building a home bar hit a home run. I wrote about hanging glass holders and different bar designs. But, I also write quite a few articles about brewing beer. There were different angles to attack and I brainstormed all of them. Publishing articles on external sites will bring the most traffic. But, building a blog and keeping people informed internally is equally as important.
Other types of content that worked were funny articles that absolutely made no sense to trivia that is hard to find. Making yourself funny makes you more real to people and it builds reader loyalty. Trivia is always interesting, especially when you can find information no one else knows.
We kept in mind that the internet is an ever growing animal and we were responsive to the changes taking place around us. Social media certainly helped us attract a different type of customer and keep them informed. Our Facebook page is newly remodeled and growing by the day. But, we found that providing new content for internet surfers and giving them a non-complicated site was our most effective strategy.
Author Bio: Stan Schubridge is the spokesperson for both Beertaps and Steins and Glassware, he's a beer enthusiast who has a knack for learning more about brewing great tasting beer, building home bars and collecting beer steins. As far as brewing beer, his ideology is that if you have a home bar have a home brew, and then have a beer stein to go with it. Learn your taste and chase it!