What does it take to successfully launch and grow a niche ecommerce business?
We find out when I interview Elisabeth Halvorson, founder of Cowbells.com who turned an childhood dream into a niche ecommerce success story.
Why did you start a business selling cowbells?
When I was 7, I wanted to be in the Olympics. A few careers later, I was able to catch up with that dream by delivering cowbells to cheer on athletes during the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Winter Games…. hey, mittens don’t clap. It was a RINGING success! We medaled in souvenir sales as the #2 most popular item behind the Roots beret. Since then, we’ve added more cowbell styles and a “s” to our name….
You’ve built your website, it looks awesome. Launch day comes, with much fanfare. Finally your website is done!
And then you wait. And aside from your friends and family, no one seems to visit your website. So it slowly dawns on you that you need a website traffic strategy. But which traffic source should you focus on?
The case for Facebook ads has been strong for a while. And only getting stronger. Yes, it’s not quite as cheap to advertise on Facebook as it was in the early days, but with the right campaign you often can beat the costs of other digital advertising, such as Google Adwords.
Facebook has gotten smarter too, its algorithm has gotten exceptionally good at optimizing your campaign so you don’t have to be a complete ninja to crush it. Yes, you definitely do need to understand the platform, but you don’t always need to get all the options exactly right.
In fact, at a Pubcon session recently Blitzmetrics’s Dennis Yu shared that once you have a winning ad set up and running, you can actually remove the targeting and Facebook will still deliver it to the right people.
As the introduction says: “Many business owner see SEO and content marketing as separate, but columnist Trond Lyngbø argues that solid keyword research can and should be used to inform content marketing strategy.” – SearchEngineLand
I couldn’t agree more. Augmented by customer and market research, keyword research becomes a potent tool in your hands, giving you valuable insight into just not content marketing and SEO as Lyngbø asserts but also into multiple aspects of online marketing, including social and paid traffic.
To really do a thorough job with your keyword research, you should be including less traditional keyword research tools such #tagboard. My list of 22 Keyword Research Tools has plenty of interesting tools for you to choose from.
After the beta launch of my SEO for Business Owners course, I’ve been planning to do a more expanded version next year (with a better title). One component of that planning is looking for partners that can help promote the course to reach a broader audience.
If you are not familiar with this business model, here’s how it works.
You find someone that has a business complementary to yours and has (preferably) a big list
They email their list promoting a freebie that you offer such as a free report or free webinar
You then sell your product to your newly acquired prospects
You pay your partner a commission for each person that he/she sent you that bought your product
Of course this is just a high level overview, but that should be enough information for you to get the gist of it. So the question is, do you have to disclosure the fact that you are a partner (or a affiliate) in the email you send to your list?
I’ve given serious thought to abandoning my web mail account. Because I’ve had it for a long time, I have an address that is exceptionally easy to remember which is convenient, but this ease comes at a price. More and more my email address is routinely used as a “fake” email by other people. Although I do have a way to filter these “spam” emails it’s a chore to periodically go and unsubscribe from all these lists that I never signed up for. When I am less cranky about it, I tell myself that it’s an interesting peek into what people do online.
I’ve received invitations to a BBQ party in Wisconsin, a trail of notifications of Christmas shopping purchases in Florida, an admonishment to close the gate from a UK suburb association, numerous car insurance quotes, invoices, periodic pleas from a gaming site to please please come back, and even a notification from a tax software company that the IRS rejected my return.