I constantly hear people with T-shirt brands that sell online complain about the lack of traffic to their site/blog. Whether you’re just starting out or have been at the game for a while, the following tips will definitely help alleviate that problem. But remember… its not just a one time fix. The following solutions will take up some of your time, but the rewards will be huge.
1. A Good Website (free). The most important thing you can do to increase traffic is to make sure your site is… well… good. This means ease of use, flows well visually and mechanically (structure), and is helpful to the visitor. I recommend looking into bigcartel. It’s a website creator and shopping cart service that’s free if you sell less than 5 products. If you sell more than 5, it is still extremely cheap and worth every penny. It does all those things for you that I just listed above and more. I know that when I see a crappy website, I usually don’t buy from them or keep going back. When a site looks unsafe and unprofessional, then its probably a direct representation of their product or service also. A good website is important to create returning visitors (customers) and people will be more likely to recommend it to their friends.
2. Forums (free). A forum is an online community where people discuss anything from music to cars and from home crafts to sciences. There is a forum for everything. Since you created a brand about something you like or have a passion for, you may already be a member of one of these forums. If not, go and join one. You will find a great wealth of information and sometimes even make friends. Put your brand name and website (or blog) in your signature (if allowed-different forums have different rules). Your signature appears after every post so anyone reading that thread will see it. Provide useful and helpful information to other members and only bring up your products when appropriate. Don’t be an annoyance. Most forums will terminate your account if you specifically join to advertise. This is also known as spam. Although not free, you can always place banner ads on forums or become a “sponsor” where you ARE allowed to advertise your product (if the forum allows sponsors and is related).
3. Facebook (free). It is a great tool for brands to keep their fans in the know. Create a Facebook page (for your site, blog, or a combined one) and post updates that really show the person behind the brand. Make it personal and let your fans see the real you. Post links to your website or blog to drive more traffic to them. Since these posts show up right in the user’s news feed along with their friend’s updates, they won’t miss a beat. Every person who “likes” your Facebook page will see your posts.
4. Blogging (free). Create an effective blog about the industry as a whole, not specifically to your brand. For instance, if your company specializes in video game parody shirts, create a blog that reviews video games you own, or talk about new ones coming out. Consider posting funny, interesting, and related content that people will find useful and want to read. Remember to update and post often. Blogs are great because people can subscribe to them and will constantly be checking your blog for updates.
Then, advertise on your blog (also free) in the margins or as a post to drive customers to your online store (don’t overdue the latter). Not only are you creating a blog related to your product, you will be providing people with a service that they find useful. At the same time, you are gathering your target market in one place where you can directly advertise to for free. Since these people reading your blog are genuinely interested in the subject, they will find your tees and other products interesting as well. A blog will give your site traffic with a higher percentage being potential buyers.
You can also advertise on other blogs fairly cheaply. Find an already established, high traffic blog that is similar to yours with the same demographics (but a different goal), and send them a shirt to review (ok, this one isn’t really ‘free’). Using our example, you can mail one of your video game tees to a blog that reviews T-shirts – like Pop Culture Tees for example.
So there you have it. Four tips to get more traffic to your website. Do any of you use these methods? How are they working out for you? Do you have any other ideas you’d like to share? Let us know in the comment section below!