Getting Creative with Online Marketing

Do you remember Jedward? Personally, I’m desperately trying to forget about the two lads from Ireland who seemed to dominate the headlines back in 2009 but there’s no doubt the gruesome twosome had something which stirred emotions, good and bad.  Some ridiculed John and Edward Grimes, after all why would you go onto a singing contest like The X Factor when you clearly can’t sing? Others pointed out the fun factor. Who can forget Jedward’s rendition of Britney Spears’ ‘Oops… I did it again. Instant classic!

Which brings me in a round-about way to the subject of today’s  rumbling. If you want to win with your marketing efforts in 2020, it’s time to get more creative!

The fact is, if you have an online business in the UK, you probably need all the love from Google you can get, the way to get that moving forward is to find more creative ways of getting convertible traffic to your website.

There are well-tested ways to get large volumes of traffic to any website which have been around for decades, including the use of ‘sticky content’ such as games, guides and free tools. In 2020 you are going to see more and more websites relying on these to get traffic and promote linking, because Google is getting smarter by the minute and the methods of marketing websites with link building are becoming less and less effective.

Gaming for Success

Going back to Jedward, enterprising website owners back in 2009 capitalised on the fame of the unlikely duo by creating a ‘Jedward Votegrabber Game’ https://bit.ly/3cHA7j8 . This became so popular that it captured the attention of major newspapers like the Telegraph, was mentioned on the BBC and at the time generated massive amounts of traffic.

The type of traffic generated by games of this type probably wouldn’t lead to immediate sales if this had been put on a retail website, but it does mean that the page this game was published on has languished in my rather long list of browser bookmarks since 2009 (yes, I know that’s sad…). If this was a page on a retail website, I’d definitely be well acquainted with all the products on that site by now as this is my go-to game when I’ve had a particularly stressful day at work.

This begs the question, are games an appropriate way to capture traffic for a retail website? Google seems to think so! https://goo.gl/qqZBtY.  Let’s face it, a large portion of the population in the UK are gamers (even the over 50’s like me) and the increasing sophistication of web languages used to produced websites and the ready availability of sophisticated tools for games creation means that just about anyone can create a game for their website.

Enticing Links

Google have stated over and over again that they want website owners to gain links through quality of content and don’t want people to build links themselves https://goo.gl/mxElju . Whilst it’s easy to gain links organically if you have a news website or a blog and know how to use social media effectively, it’s pretty hard to do this with category and product content on a retail website. So what should retailers do to gain those all-important incoming links?

Well, you could do a lot worse than creating useful guides, interest articles and videos to flesh out your website and get interest from Google. Creation of these types of pages means that your website benefits in several ways – you will get more traffic from Google (more content means your website ranks for more keyphrases), the articles you write will be read by people (who might convert into buyers) and also if those people like what they see, they may even link to your website, write about it on Facebook or a blog, or post on one of the many social media channels available.

Writing interesting guides and information for your website is therefore a no-brainer and something you definitely need in your content strategy for 2020.

Videos can also be very useful, although you will only get maximum benefit for these if you host these on your own web server – hosting on YouTube is fast and easy, but then you’re directing all of your traffic to YouTube!

For Google, your goal should be to dominate search results, the more pages you can score in the first page of results the better (preferably in the top three results on the first page) as these get the most clicks from Google’s search results.

Feature and usage guides work best for retail videos, especially for higher ticket items like watches. Show your potential purchasers the features of your products and you are showing that you have product knowledge, which is just the kind of reassurance purchasers need when making a purchasing decision.

Creative Social Marketing

One of the great things about retail websites and social media are that they allow you to connect with people from around the Planet. This means the reach of your marketing efforts are no longer confined to a geographical area around your ‘bricks and mortar’ store, your online store is in fact a global player in a very big marketplace!

Using your retail website and social media creatively throws up all sorts of possibilities. Think about getting creative on Facebook by launching a competition, combine this with a marketing message and you’re onto a winner.

One example was done several years ago by Motorcycle News. Readers were asked to send in photos of the newspaper being read in far away and bizarre places. Combine this with a competition and give away prizes and you can see the potential for virality – marketing like this can spread like wildfire across the ‘web!

Get Visual

Imagery is everywhere nowadays. Combine this with the fact that attention spans are dropping due to the bombardment of information we all must endure every day, sometimes the only way to get your message across is with an image.

For those retail websites which sell visually strong products, utilise the many different image-strong social media platforms out there. Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr spring to mind, but there are many others just waiting to give a link for your website, you may even gain some fans for your website as well!

 

 

David Fairhurst

Head of Creative Online Marketing

Intelligent Retail

David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London

 

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