As we started our online business, we are stuck in a little bit of a slow start, being that our site is a wholesale apparel site, our niche of customers are really hard to target. Are there any free ways to advertise a wholesale site? my website is http://fashionlara.com
FashionLara, As a graphic Designer I would suggest a facelift for your site. Although you are selling wholesale, the basics of sales still apply, right? The site is pretty clean but seems to lack a fashionable sense of design. It seems to be more like a strictly functional look. Your image is a vital part of your business. Your advertising, including your website has to work hard for you, with words and graphics tailored to tell your story to potential customers. I don't know fashion, but your products look to be of a very fine quality. I would suggest that you make the site a little more inviting. Start with a look that puts a little more emphasis on the brand and what it represents. Is the big LARA on the left your logo? if so I would isolate it a bit more as an identifier along with one of your best products in a beautiful setting to set the tone. Personally, I think you have too much stuff on the first page which causes confusion as to where to click first. You can still have menu items clearly identified so they can navigate directly to what they want to see without creating a visual chaos. To me your beautiful products are presented in a bargain basement fashion which drags down the sense of quality. I am sorry if this critique hurts anyone's feelings. I know that a lot of work went into setting up this site. Since you asked I wanted to give you my honest outside opinion.
In regards to targeting your niche and advertising I could suggest a couple of things. My family had a small women's boutique apparel store, but I don't claim to be an expert. I noticed that the stores that seemed to last the longest and be the most successful had a very identifiable niche. For instance one specialized in very expensive dressy casual attire. Another dealt mainly in styles for the early to mid twenties age range. Another dealt only in plus sizes. The small stores that tried to appeal to a wide range of styles were not successful. My conclusion was that customers liked to go to a store that was a known quantity. The stores that understood this marketed themselves clearly and attracted the customers that were looking specifically for that type of product. I think you have to identify who your product appeals to specifically (meaning the retail customer). If you can identify the retail customer that will help you identify the stores that service them. With research you can then try to locate these types of stores which will give you a decent prospect list.
If you can come up with a prospect list you can then create some very custom email solicitations which can be sent directly to them. Once you have made contact and communicated you can also utilize fax advertisements if they agree to accept them. Of course there would also be telephone follow ups. Except for the cost of the phone calls (which can vary depending on your service), all of this would be basically free or very low cost.
I've been on quite a few biz forums lately, and the topic of free online marketing comes up a lot. I wanted to give my $.02 and see if anyone had any feedback on this. I also found a few nifty resources in my research: To promote your business, utilize Facebook business pages and all of the other free business pages: Yelp.com, Cityseach.com, and VisaBusinessNetwork.com. Signing up for all of these sites only takes a few minutes and can only increase your online presence. Ask customers to give positive testimonials to help market your business. Right now, if you sign up for Visa's new site, Visa will give you $100 of free facebook ad credit. Online marketing is smart, free, and relatively easy. We're already starting on Facebook, why not take it a little further?
Love to hear your thoughts and experiences with free online marketing. I believe these are great starters, and want to take advantage of other free resources before I resort to paid advertising.
If you want to increase you website traffic, the only way you can do this quick and effective, is using keywords that are specific to the website main theme. In this way, you target specific search queries, what makes possibility to get a click on your website higher.
So if you have a energy related website, there is no point to use general keywords, as "energy" or "electricity". Because there are hundreds of millions of webpages that have this words. And if your website has a page rank less than 10, it will just get lost in search results and their will never be a click from the search engine.
There is no use to write "submit URL for FREE!!!!!!!" We write "add energy URL for free", "add electricity supplier for free to Energy Directory" It is also useful to add words as "Microseismic Company" or "Vacuum Oil Filter Machine" - specific words that are included in the directory.
Only some thousands are writing "Microseismic Company" and people, who are looking for this are really looking for microseismic companies. This way there is a chance for a website with PR 3.
If you add a word "Lubricant Oil Regeneration" to your keywords, there is a chance, that there will be a click one your website. To the webpage with PR less than 10 and with keywords "Submit URL" - there will never be a click!
This way chance to get a click from a search engine is more than 0. And after this submissions, submissions and submissions... Directories, classified ads, forums, blogs. everywhere where you can put your link