How To Sell Online: 2 proven strategies
You’ve started a business, and now you need more customers. Ideally, those customers should come to you, not the other way around, right? While there are many options to choose from, we want to show you two super-effective digital marketing techniques that will enable you to grow your business and put getting new customers on auto-pilot. Meet our contestants – SEO and SEM.
If you want to succeed with your business (regardless of whether you run a digital or a brick-and-mortar company), you need a steady stream of potential customers (so-called leads) coming to your business month after month, year after year. With no stable sales, you will never be able to get your company off the ground.
But there are so many marketing options out there! How can you know what to opt for? When your main goal is to grow sales, you ought to focus on strategies that:
- Offer attractive ROI (return on investment)
- Get you tangible results in a short time
- Enable you to reach your ideal target audience
- Are in line with how people look for products and services
- Enable you to grow (i.e., work regardless of your company’s size)
If you have at least one strategy that ticks all these boxes, you won’t have to worry about acquiring new customers for many years to come. Thankfully, there are at least two strategies that help you acquire new business effectively and consistently, and they both are closely tied to Google.
Let’s have a look at them.
SEO: How to reach more customers via organic presence on Google
According to a study conducted some time ago by Google and Ipsos, the majority of shoppers use this search engine to find new brands (but also products and services).
If you want your business to attract more customers, you must be visible on Google, which is by far the most popular search engine ever (>93% market share in the UK as of August 2023).
And this is what SEO (search engine optimisation) is about. SEO is a marketing technique focused on improving your website’s position in the SERP (search engine result page). In other words, SEO specialists work to enable your website to be visible as high as possible for queries related to your services or products.
Of course, this is not something that can happen overnight. After all, there are other competitors fighting for top positions as well. The juice is worth the squeeze, though. According to a study conducted by Backlinko, CTR (click-through rate) makes sense mostly for the TOP 10 results, so this is where you want to be. Only a handful of people bother to go to the second page of Google results:
Getting your website to TOP 10 or even TOP 3 results is a job for SEO experts as it’s a multi-faceted and complex process. But getting there gives you good visibility for keywords and key phrases you’re interested in, and this is what you need to grow your business and attract more customers.
There are three major pillars of every SEO strategy. Putting them together in a well-thought-out way will get you the results you’re after.
Three crucial elements of effective search engine optimisation
First off, your website has to be properly designed and optimised. A website that takes a lot of time to load, is not optimised for mobile devices, doesn’t have high-quality content and cannot keep users engaged will never reach high positions on Google.
An experienced SEO specialist can audit your website and check whether it’s prepared to rank high on Google. There are multiple tools enabling us to run thorough SEO audits. One of them is Google Lighthouse. With it, we can check your website’s performance, accessibility and SEO-readiness. If you get mostly “green” results, this means that your website has a strong foundation for future SEO activities.
This is how it works with our website; our SEO specialists take care of our on-site SEO and, as you can see below, they are doing a very good job:
We get similar results for our clients, too!
A good website is not just about selling. It’s about providing your customers with the information and advice they need to make an informed purchasing decision.
People are not always looking for a specific product or service. Oftentimes, they just need answers and information. Your responsibility as a product/service provider is to answer your potential customers’ questions and dispel their doubts. You can do so through high-quality content, e.g.:
- Blog posts
- Exhaustive product descriptions
- The FAQ section on your website
- Case studies, use cases and more
Does your website fit in this picture?
One of the critical factors Google considers is how many other websites link to your webpage. The idea is simple – if other website owners recommend you to their readers/users, then you must be reliable and have a good offer.
Of course, backlinks also have to meet some requirements to be helpful when it comes to your position on Google, but more or less, this is how backlinking works.
When you combine these three elements, your website’s position on Google can go up. Good visibility on Google gives you more traffic, which ultimately translates to more potential customers reaching out to find out more about your services or to order some of your products.
The big question is, is it worth the effort? Let our recent case study answer this question.
Does SEO work? Our case study
According to Hubspot, 60% of marketers say inbound marketing (including SEO) is their highest quality source of leads. Here at Profitable Sites, we have similar experiences. Take a look at one of our clients – Infinity Diamond Jewellery. The SEO campaign that we devised and executed for this company drove a 10x increase in organic revenue and an 800% ROI within just 12 months!
And that’s just one of many examples proving that SEO, when executed properly, can be an amazing lead-generation tool.
Now, you have a general idea of how SEO works. Let’s turn to SEM.
SEM/PPC: How to get more customers quickly
While SEO is a tremendous tool, it shouldn’t always be your first choice. That’s mostly because SEO takes some time to generate the best results. Many companies, especially in the early stage of development, choose an alternative strategy that brings results much quicker. This is where SEM steps in the game.
What is SEM?
SEM stands for search engine marketing. This strategy focuses almost exclusively on paid actions that enable you to be visible on the first page of the SERP, even above so-called organic (SEO-generated) search results.
When it comes to Google, SEM mostly revolves around Google Ads, Google’s advertising platform allowing you to display texts and banner ads to people looking for products and services on Google as well as on thousands of partner websites operating within the Google advertising network.
Whenever a user types a product or service-related query on Google, the first thing they see are sponsored results. This is how it looks:
Sponsored results are almost always displayed first, meaning they have better exposure compared to organic results. The reason is apparent – this is how Google makes money, so it’s in their interest to put these results as high as possible. In the screen above, organic results aren’t even visible without scrolling the results page!
However, there are a few elements to consider when it comes to Google Ads.
How do you pay for Google Ads?
Google Ads are settled in the PPC model. This acronym stands for pay-per-click, and it’s pretty much self-explanatory. Advertisers pay every time someone clicks their ads. The rates for clicks vary depending on several elements, including:
- Your targeted locations
- Your industry
- The relevance and optimisation of your ads (well-optimised ads are usually cheaper to run)
- Your competitors’ activity (highly competitive sectors have higher PPC rates)
In general, we can say that most per-click rates vary between £2 and £10, but sometimes they can go as high as £50 in extremely competitive and profitable industries. What’s important is that all those rates are always approximate. An effective Google Ads team (we are a Premier Google Partner for a reason) can lower those rates by continually optimising your account.
Get good exposure on Google today
Running Google Ads, while quicker compared to SEO, still requires a good strategy and some groundwork. It all starts with setting a brand-new Google Ads account for your website. Once it’s done, you can think of what you want to advertise and how.
Google provides advertisers with dozens of options concerning:
- Target audiences: Who sees your ads and when, in what cities/countries, on what devices, etc.)
- Ads themselves: Do you want standard text ads or display ads? Do you want to advertise on Google or maybe on YouTube or even Gmail? What kind of message do you want to convey in your ads?
- Keywords and key phrases: What kinds of search queries should trigger your ads to display? For example, if, just like in the screen above, you run a bike shop, you’d probably want to display to everyone looking for “bike repair services” in your location.
- Landing pages: Where should your ads lead your customers? A main page of your website is not always a good idea!
- Additional assets: You can garnish your ads with additional links, photos, a company logo, prices, a phone number, and many more options.
Putting all these elements together and crafting good copy that resonates with your target audience will help you get better exposure on Google and, consequently, more new business.
There is one simple formula for your company’s success on Google Ads. In essence, there are just three variables that need to be perfected:
When you master these three factors, you can easily succeed on Google, provided you have a sufficient budget to grow.
Do Google Ads work? Our case study
According to Google estimations, GAds, on average, generate 8:1 ROI (for every $1 a business spends on Google Ads, they receive $8 in profit), so yes, it’s one of the most effective marketing strategies out there.
Take a look at one of our clients – Flawless Moissanite the Google Ads campaign we created and managed for this company generated sales of over 7 figures within 12 months.
Wrapping up: Find out more about SEO and Google Ads
If you want to grow and scale your business online, you need a good, results-driven marketing strategy. Our advice is to start with Google Ads and SEO, as those two channels can help you create a steady and long-term stream of revenue for your business.
In this article, we’ve just scratched the surface of what SEO and Google Ads are about. If you’re thinking of which strategy is better for your company, we’ve got you covered. We invite you to read this comprehensive guide: SEO vs. SEM: What to choose and when. It will help you make an informed decision.