What’s on the Roadmap for 2011

Online sales are kicking it again this year and overall sales are up. Even more exciting, there are a few REALLY HOT opportunities you’ll be able to leverage in 2011 that can help make next year even more profitable than this year.

Roadmap

LOCAL! Google is taking a serious look at local business. Google places, google local listings taking up all the space above the fold in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Google picking up Groupon for a cool $6B (yep – billion with a B) and still shopping. Aggregators and mass disseminators of local listings such as UBL.org and Localeze will take your info once and get it out to thousands of search engines, directories and other places – including GPS units.

So it’s time to get some LOCAL into your online store. If I’m looking for a walking stick, you bet I’ll put in a location caveat: “walking stick Seattle”. Make sure your PPC ads are set to show for LOCAL queries. Optimize pages on your site for local areas. Talk about urban hikes in Seattle, walk-abouts in Portland, and so on. The fact that you ship out of San Diego or Tulsa, OK is fine. Be sure to mention that you ship to Seattle in 24 hours. It provides me, the searcher, with a serious option to getting in my car and selecting a walking cane from a shop that’s probably 10-50 miles from my home. And I bet the online store has a lot more options to choose from than the local outlets.

Tip 1 – Optimize your ppc ads and landing pages for geo-locations and get your business listings correct everywhere.

Facebook! If you haven’t played with Facebook advertising yet, you’re REALLY missing out this holiday season. It’s not too late to get in the game, even for this season’s sales. But in 2011, you’ll really need to know this stuff. So get in there now. Prices for ads look like prices for PPC did in the late 1990’s. It’s important to know HOW to write ads for facebook and how to target your markets.

Highway

In google ads, you know WHAT people are searching for, but you don’t WHO they are. In facebook, it’s the opposite: you know WHO I am, but you don’t know WHAT I’m thinking about at the moment. In truth, it hardly matters what’s on my mind right now. If you know my sex, age, what I do for a living, my hobbies, where I live and travel to (or don’t), and other traits and habits, you can target me very well and keep after me wherever I go in facebook. I have ads that are ALWAYS on the right column of my facebook pages, regardless of what I’m reading at the moment. After awhile, it becomes difficult not to click on them just to see what they’re about. Try it. Connect with people by talking about what they like to do, what keywords. ie: “Urban hikers rejoice! You’ve got company!”

Tip 2: Get into facebook ads while they’re cheap and target traits and attributes, not keywords

Video! There are more and more companies offering short videos of your product(s) to help increase sales. They work. It’s holiday time – get yourself a camera, a small lightbox or just a white sheet and some lights. Take photos, take unboxing videos, take trying-it-out videos, take how-it-works videos. Try just a few and watch your analytics to see how it affects sales. You’ll be wanting video on all your products.

Tip 3: Video helps increase sales. Every time.

I’ll be back in 2011 with lots of news about new technologies, crowd sourcing opportunities to increase sales and much more. From Groupon and LivingSocial to RewardSnap and more, there are plenty of exciting new companies on the horizon to help you make more money.

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Gillian Muessig
Co-founder, President, https://www.SEOmoz.org
email: gillian @ seomoz.org
twitter: @ seomom