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E-commerce Marketing Philosophy

I understand a lot has been written about marketing your e-commerce storefront. Hundreds and thousands of tips and tricks are on the internet and just as many “experts” touting their services as the best to give you Amazonian like status in the Google rankings.. With all that is out there many of you refuse to accept the fact that you actually have to market your website to make it successful. The blame is shifted to a lack of product availability or perhaps a down economy. We the reality is more than likely it comes down to one simple thing and that is traffic. Traffic is the number one measure we use to evaluate a given websites success. Obviously it goes on from there as far as important metrics but without traffic there is nothing else to measure.
The World Wide Web is a big place. Do you honestly think that some of the huge brands such as Amazon, Ebay, Zappos etc grew successful web based businesses buy simply building a site and turning it on? The answer you should be thinking is a “NO!” These companies have spent 100’s of millions marketing themselves to drive traffic to their respective sites in order to become house hold names. The simple beauty of the internet is that it gives the small to medium size guy a legitimate shot at competing with some of the known big dogs in any given industry. This will not happen for free though. You will spend either time or money to accomplish this and in many cases both. So the question is raised from this….How much is your time worth? You better know the answer to that before saying “I will spend the time and do this myself”. More often than not business owners make the mistake of taking on these types of tasks not factoring in what their time is really worth. Sure it may be “expensive” to hire a company such as Outdoor Business Network to handle your marketing efforts but at what cost is it to your business to have you fooling with marketing and not managing maybe your employees at your brick and mortar or tending to current customers. This also doesn’t factor in that something for a pro marketing agency may only take 3-4 hours to accomplish may end up taking you 30, 40 or more hours for the same task. These are things you need to ask yourself.
Still don’t think you need to market your website. Let me paint this picture. You have just built the most beautiful brick and mortar storefront known to man. The location however has it in the middle of a forest in the middle of nowhere USA. There are no roads leading to this store whatsoever. Now remember it is an amazing store and people WILL buy if they go there. In order for your store to be successful you need people or traffic coming through the doors correct. The fastest way to do this is run a major highway right by this store for all that drives by to see. People will stop and they will shop and if it is a positive experience they will tell others all about this amazing store. Over time you will have built up enough word of mouth advertising you may be able to expand into some paid advertising. Your website works in the exact same way. You have to build traffic buy building paths or routes to your store through various digital marketing efforts. It does work however it does take time, patience and effort. If you want it to work faster then it will of course take real dollars to make that happen.
So my advice is simple. Start small if you absolutely have to but by all means start somewhere. Success rarely happens overnight and even less often happens without effort. Give us a call if you would like to learn more about our marketing programs and how to better present your website.

Employee Profile: Michael Sell

Yes, that is his real name. Michael Sell, or Mike as he’s referred to around the office, is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Outdoor Business Network, using his knowledge of the outdoor industry to better serve our customers. Chances are, if an outdoor sport involves a helmet, a flotation device or protective earmuffs, Mike has tried it at one time or another.

Including snowboarding, mountain biking and crossfit training, Mike has begun shooting in tournaments for the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA). After working for the security industry at the Fermi II Nuclear Power Station, he decided to do IDPA to keep his perishable shooting skills fresh. He placed 5th out of 12 in the first IDPA tournament he competed in. Mike last competed on May 6th at the Brooklyn Sportsman Club in Brooklyn, MI where he placed 7th out of 17.

More than competing or indulging in outdoor sports, Mike enjoys spending time with his 7-year-old daughter, Aubrie, who is just finishing up the first grade. Aubrie and Mike go sailing and fishing together, but her favorite thing to do with her dad is watch cartoons. Fortunately, though, Aubrie loves all of the outdoor sports that Mike does and is eager to try them all, too. She wants her very own pink cricket, which couldn’t make Mike happier. “I started shooting when I was seven or eight,” Mike said, “and I was hunting by myself when I was nine, toting around a shotgun in the woods.”

Mike smiled as he grabbed his phone to show a series of photos and videos of Aubrie. There are some of them together, making silly faces at the camera, while others show Aubrie passed out on the couch after a long day of playing outside or sailing with her dad. The best were of Aubrie and her pet snake, a nine foot red tail boa named Beautiful. “Of course she named the snake herself,” Mike laughed as he flipped through more photos.

Although Mike has a strong love for almost every outdoor activity and is excited to share those activities with his daughter, his career has been built on a dedication and passion for sales. With 10 years experience directly in sales, Mike has finally found a way to fuse his hobbies and his career. “I love working with numbers,” said Mike, “seeing where there is room for improvement. I like to visualize my goals through numbers and push myself to meet and exceed those goals.”

While Mike does participate in many extreme sporting events, he does have a soft side. Guitar is one of his only indoor hobbies, though he would describe himself as a hack at best. Mike is also an expert on a sewing machine and even makes his own Halloween costumes nearly every year, although it’s hard to picture him at the task. He has a good sense of humor, always ready to laugh with others and at times, at himself. This year, he will be going as Mr. Clean for Halloween.