Online marketing can be a frustrating business. It’s difficult for big companies to be passionate enough about their product to actually sell it well. When you find a site that really does and you know it’s got a big future.
I was talking trainers the other day and was recommended Crooked Tongues. I’ve spent a bit of time (not to mention cash) on the site now and although there are some pretty basic SEO problems that haven’t been taken care of it doesn’t really matter. This site is built around the product – trainers. Selling them almost feels like a necessary afterthought but undoubtedly they must be selling tonnes.
So, where are they getting it right?
So many places but it basically boils down to giving a shit about the stuff they sell. They are talking trainers on the site, not just making conversions. Take a look at the top level navigation. It’s not category pages; mens, womens, kids etc. Instead the top priority is given to news, editorial, on show, forum etc. with a single link to the ecommerce store. This goes against the grain of what almost every other site is doing.
Crooked Tongues is exactly the sort of site that Matt Cutts has said should do well in search results and it appears to be doing just that. Their budget must be small compared to the big online sports retailers but they do pretty well in the few searches I made. It has plenty of good content and is very engaging, it’s not just another e-commerce site.
Granted, it’s selling a product that people really care about but the lessons here can be passed on to any site. The passion and understanding that you have about your product is transmitted in so many ways. For example, writing a quality blog and linking to it prominently on your site is a great way to send the message that you care about your product. Interacting properly with your users (they are users who buy things, not just customers) via forums and social media is huge.
Sales in social media is a secondary effect. Interaction should happen because you care about the user and the product you are selling. It’s very obvious to users when a blog/tweet or facebook page is an afterthought. There may be some benefit to it but the real benefit only comes when you actively engage because you care. In this case the prominence of the blog, forums etc.on the site is really important. I would go so far as to say that the day it changes, you’ll know they’ve sold out.
Imagine if you did the SEO and other online marketing equally well? Maybe they are, I’ve not looked too hard into it but I like to think that’s how I would run my online store.
I’ll retract all of this if my trainers don’t arrive tomorrow