Internet marketers are busy trying to sell more and more online as the recession starts to take hold. They are beefing up their web sites, they are trying to gain more traffic and they are advertising like crazy in a bid to bolster their sales. But these are all the wrong things to do – at least in the first instance.

Concentrating on your own web site is the last thing to do in order to try and gain sales at the moment. Instead, consider other ways of gaining sales. Last week a successful online retailer privately sent me some data showing where his sales had come from. Here’s the ranking of sales:

  1. Via links from other web sites
  2. From YouTube
  3. Via his email list
  4. From Google AdWords
  5. Via his web site

What this suggests is that if you concentrate on your web site and getting good search engine rankings for it, you could well be denying yourself income from other sources.

Getting other people to link to your web site and producing short videos about your products and services on YouTube appear to be much more likely to gain sales than trying to get your web site noticed.

This is actually common sense – but often gets missed by many businesses because they get sucked in to the search engine race and the SEO hype that’s around. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to get your web site noticed – just don’t concentrate on it.

Think for a moment about a company that has been set up to publish books. It could also start its own High Street chain of bookstores who only sell the company’s books. But the publisher would be crazy – far better to get the books sold in existing stores that have tons of footfall. Attracting book buyers to a new High Street store would be an uphill struggle.

Online, though, many businesses do not follow this logic. Instead, they produce their own goods and services and then set up their own shop to try to sell them. Why not go where the traffic is? In other words, sell your products on sites that are getting the traffic, rather than attempting to take people away from already successful sites. That’s why you need to be on other web sites and get links from high traffic sites. You will increase your sales much more quickly doing this, than trying to get the search engines to take notice of your own web site.

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