Here is the remainder of our general outline:
Overview: We would like to expand our business into international markets.
What we have done: Cursory research at best.
What we want to do: Before we even begin to think about expanding into international markets we need to have landing pages written by native speakers that assures people about international shipping, order processing, and customer service. Currently we may be losing existing international business because people feel unsure about ordering from us.
This needs to be a high priority goal this year.
Overview: The back links to our site are rather poor, which hurts our page rank and impacts our search engine positioning. We need to increase our back links through a variety of methods.
What we have done: Nothing, the state of our back links is horrific considering how long we have had a website.
What we want to do: Create a viral campaign to gain backlinks, including commenting numerous “do follow” blog sites with high page rank. As well as getting listed on as many directories as possible.
Overview: Mobile Commerce is rapidly growing and many companies are giving their customers the opportunity to shop online by viewing their websites as a store front.
What we have done: We have briefly spoke to mporia, a company which quickly converts your site into a mobile phone friendly version of our current website.
What we want to do: Do some further research to see if it would be worth it to have a mobile phone friendly version of the site, stay up to date on the happenings of mcommerce.
Participation on Message Boards
Overview: Message boards can give us direct access to fans and the ability for us to subtly push our products.
What we have done: We have joined a handful of sites and begun posting a little bit, no large push.
What we want to do: Determine the largest sites available for specific niches and make an effort to contribute a handful of posts a week. Make sure to have our site URL in our profile. Also create an avatar and a brand around our profile to push on all of these sites.
Pay Per Click Advertising
Overview: Pay per click advertising is paying for clicks on sponsored links in search engine results pages, content networks, and websites/blogs.
What we have done: Currently we run PPC campaigns on three major search engines (Google Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing, and Microsoft Adcenter). We have not spent much time using the “content network”.
What we want to do: Continue developing and optimizing our current PPC campaigns, while also expanding into a few other search engines and web pages. One new ad platform that we would like to explore in 2008 is the new Facebook ad system. Another option we would like to explore is to get into the Adsense content network and place our ads on specific pages which show sponsored links. Other opportunities that we will consider are image ads and any new programs that are rolled out by Google in 2008. Pay per click advertising has been a very strong source of new revenue and sales for my former company. The revenue numbers that we see referred from PPC through analytics do not show repeat purchases by these customers, making it hard to measure the true value of a new customer that we obtain through pay-per click methods.
Print – Sales
Overview: Although many publications are downsizing, there are a few industry stalwarts that remain strong. It is important to stay relevant in these publications and for us to continue branding ourselves as the online source for unopened boxes and cases
What we have done: We have advertised in various industry publications and currently target industry specific magazines. We also do have dabbled with some secondary publication.
On a non-industry level we have ran local print advertising in phone books and the entertainment book, as well as in newspapers.
What we want to do: We want to focus our print (selling) advertising on the “necessities”.
Overview: SEO needs to be more of a focus, the site overhaul (which is out of our hands) needs to become a MAJOR priority for this company. There are other things that we can do that will improve our SEO that can be done in marketing and throughout other departments of the company as well.
What we have done: Starting the new site is the right move but we have a long road to go down.
What we want to do: See attached list for some of the SEO improvements we have listed.
An additional thing we need to do is create a best practice for the way our products sections are written up (bold key words, etc). Currently the copy we produce and approach we take needs to be changed. People are not using enough keywords and it isn’t being created in a very SEO way.
Overview: Shopping Portals allow us to reach customers that may or may not be educated about our products. There are a growing number of portals available and some are becoming more and more popular with an increased number of online shoppers. A few benefits to us are the possibility of gaining new customers/name recognition/site traffic.
What we have done: We have used the Bizrate/Shopzilla network, Nextag, and Shopping.com, as well as Froogle.
What we want to do: We want to expand our presence in more portals. There are specific areas we can get into such as yahoo product submit, price grabber and possibly amazon. This is a great way to gain name recognition on the web as well as new customers. It is important for us to expand this as e-commerce numbers are constantly increasing. The new “social shopping portals” (which allow customers to share their feedback with each other in a community atmosphere) are continually growing more popular as well.
Overview: Social networking sites like: MySpace, Facebook, Hi-5, Bebo, and others offer up searchable places where we can target potential customers by keywords and groups.
What we have done: We have established a small presence on MySpace and are building numbers on a local level. Also a former employee had previously created a Facebook profile which is inactive right now. We have also created profiles on a few other social networks but have yet to really populate them.
What we want to do: We need to increase our MySpace presence and target beyond sports cards and local teams by creating sites targeted to specific niches that we cater to. Besides MySpace we need to start branching out to other sites and implementing a procedure to promote on these sites. After we establish a base we would like to offer up coupon codes and other traceable promotions to understand our conversion of customers from these sites. .
Additional Things to consider:
Having a member of the IT department create apps or widget for Facebook and/or Open Network, this helps create free advertising and branding.
Sponsoring pages and forums
Overview: There are large amounts of forums that we can get advertising on for swaps of product.
What we have done: nothing
What we want to do: On social networking sites alone there are highly trafficked forums that we can advertise on with a simple product swamp. Beyond that there are a lot of fan sites and personally run message boards for teams, players, and products that we could advertise on for little cost.
Sub-sites aka microsites
Overview: Sub-sites allow us to promote certain products specifically by creating a content rich website that is well regarded by search engines.
What we have done: a small array of sites
What we want to do: We need to evaluate the current products we have and the direction that we want to go with this. I believe the next step we need to take is a (blank) related site.
Overview: We need to see where our name is mentioned on the internet and respond to praise and criticism alike.
What we have done: Nothing
What we want to do: Subscribe to various free services to keep track of where our name is used on the web. If there are blog posts praising us or pointing out valid criticism we need to respond. This is to prevent negative reputation building and also an extension of customer service.
2008 Note: This is by far the biggest mistake we made. All we did was have a google alert and didn’t dive in past that. There weren’t a lot of sports card blogs that we had to be worried about being mentioned in. But it was something we could have done a better job with.
Overview: Video has become the hottest new way to promote business online.
What we have done: Commercials and planning virtual store tour
What we want to do: We need to take a page out of a competitor’s book and begin to produce original content that is valuable for customers; Industry specific events, how to’s, interviews, commentary, just about anything that we can think of. Video content has become so important and we need to begin to create some homemade videos to plaster all over the web.
Overview: Wikis are a user maintained source of information.
What we have done: Nothing.
What we want to do: Hitachi has successfully created an industry wiki for storage drives. We can be an industry leader and create one for our market as a sub domain to our website. This will help increase our search engine positioning, become a useful tool for collectors, and help foster a community. We just need to do the initial setup and have someone help monitor it.
Tomorrow: Comparing my general plan versus what Jeremiah outlined.