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What sources of business work best for you? (Guide to Small Business Ecommerce Strategy)

are your business source eggs in one basketMany companies simply assume paid search, most often through Google, is their best source of business. It’s inherently trackable – and you know how much we love that around here – quick and relatively inexpensive. Customers love it, too. So much so that Marshall Kirkpatrick at Read/Write Web recently wondered whether mainstream users will ever learn about the browser’s address bar because so many searchers use brand terms – or URL’s themselves – as their search terms. But Google, for all its importance, is not the only game in town. Mike Moran looked at it another way, asking what percentage of your traffic should come from search. To Mike, the answer appears to be “the amount that makes your sales go up.” Smart man, Mike is.

The key takeaway here is that Google represents the largest single source of traffic for many businesses because Google also represents the largest site on the internet. But should it be your largest source of traffic? And are you getting your fair share of business from sources like:

  • Alternative search engines. Both big players like Yahoo and Live, and smaller, vertical search engines, like, Yelp and Kayak all fit here.
  • Referred traffic. Linking from other sites, whether partners, customers and even competitors.
  • Email. Obviously this is more for repeat customers. But they’re lower cost than obtaining new customers. Do you do what’s necessary to keep them coming back?
  • Direct navigation. Always a good one. Does your domain (or better yet, domains) match how people think about your brand?
  • Social. Finally, do you connect with your customers in other channels?

An effective ecommerce strategy looks at each source of traffic and business to determine the value of customers coming from each. Don’t neglect one channel simply because another (I’m looking at you, Google) drives significant volumes. After all, when you put all your eggs in one basket, you often end up with the yolk on you.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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  1. […] profiles for you or your business in these – or other appropriate – places? Last week we looked at alternate sources of traffic besides Google. Take a look. Or, you might end up a wallflower at the next […]

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