Tricks & Treats for Scary Good Online Marketing

In honor of Halloween, we’ve put together a list of tricks and treats to help boost your marketing efforts. From social media to SEO, there are lots of little ways to improve your work, and I’ve pulled together some of my favorites. So ring the doorbell and hold out your bags, we’re about to get started.

Social media

You can’t talk about marketing an online business without talking about social media. From Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, there are literally billions of people online every day ready to engage with your brand–if you know how to reach them.

Social media is expensive. Sure, the most popular platforms are free to use. But creating content, monitoring engagement, responding to questions? All of those things take time, and time costs money. To get the most bang for your buck, focus on the platforms that serve you and your customers the best. Commit to doing one or two well, and don’t worry about the others.

While Facebook and Twitter have long been the favorites, Pinterest has quickly climbed to become one of the most popular and profitable platforms for online businesses. Learn more about how to create a winning Pinterest presence with this great video from our own Matt Winn.


Email marketing

Despite repeated rumors of its demise, email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to promote your business. But as customers sift through the growing flood of email, it gets harder and harder to reach them.

Make sure your subject lines clearly communicate who you are and what you’re sending. If you send a regular monthly newsletter, include the name in the subject line or the sender address, so your customers can recognize it. If you’re sending a special offer, don’t just say “Special offer”–let them know what the offer is.

Of course, it doesn’t matter what’s in the subject line if your email never makes it to the customer’s inbox. Spam filters are more advanced than ever before, but they’re not fool-proof. Here is a great list of spammy words to avoid in your subject lines (and even in the body of your email) if you want to improve your chances of getting through.



A successful blog is one of the best ways to attract relevant, sustained traffic to your site. Not only can you reach an active community of interested readers, you can also improve your search engine rankings by generating lots of relevant, keyword-rich content.

Find your niche and stick to it. With more than 180 million blogs online right now, there’s no room for generic writing. So don’t be afraid to go on a tangent about specific topics related to your store or products. You don’t need to attract thousands of readers–you just need the right ones.

You can write the most interesting blog article in the world, but if you top it off with a boring headline, no one will ever read it. Give your posts some extra punch with Copyblogger’s free “Magnetic Headlines” series.


Web Content

Website content may not seem like “marketing,” but it is. In fact, your web content is probably the most important asset you have for triggering sales. No matter how customers get to your site, it’s the content they find when they get there that ultimately drives them to purchase.

Give people what they want. Think about your customer’s needs. What are they looking for when they come to your site? What information will convince them to make a purchase? When you’re describing your products, don’t just list the basic facts. Highlight important features, describe benefits, explain the differences between them and other products.

To really learn how to supercharge your site content, check out Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content by Colleen Jones. To get started, you can read a sample chapter of Clout (online or PDF) on how to use classical rhetoric (remember that?) to write persuasively.



SEO is the elephant in the room whenever we talk about web content. As much as we’d like to think otherwise, most users find us through search engines. So while writing content that users want is important, it’s also important to feed the robots.

When you’re choosing which keywords to focus on, pick a balance of popular, competitive keywords and more specific, niche terms. The niche, or “long tail” keywords will be less competitive, giving you some quick wins while you work on the difficult climb for top keyword rankings.

Volusion’s SEO experts recently hosted a webinar called “The 7 Deadly Sins of Ecommerce SEO.” You can download the slides or replay the full SEO webinar.


Online marketing is a constant process, and we can always find ways to improve. Little tips and tricks like these are a great way to give your efforts a boost without taking a lot of extra time.

Keep up the hard work, and you’ll have buyers lining up at the door. In fact, I think I hear your doorbell now…



Clay Delk writes about the intersection of copywriting, usability and design, and how it can help others create the best content to serve their users. Outside of work, Clay enjoys mantiquing, making furniture, homebrewing and doing things outside.

4 Responses to “Tricks & Treats for Scary Good Online Marketing”

  1. Sully

    How does SEO really help for a industry driven by brand specific sales?

    People buy from brands not what they find via SEO….Thoughts?

    • Nathan Joynt

      Hi Sully, thanks for the comment. You’re right, brand-specific searches dominate competitive markets like sporting goods and even software. I face that fact all the time here at Volusion. However, you can use the power of your experience and expertise in your industry to create content that captures the long-tail and extreme long-tail search queries that make up more than 50% of the total searches performed on Google each day. That is, searches of 4 or more key terms. The challenge is in identifying these searches. One of the best things you can do is get into the head of your target market. Use email and social media to your advantage to learn more about your target market. Sometimes it’s best to just ask questions about what they want. It’s important to identify all their wants and needs and then provide the useful content that solves their problems. You will rank for a larger variety of search terms as long as you truly understand what your market is searching for. This takes time, but it will build brand recognition and trust – for your users and the search engines. People will trust you because they’ll realize your blog, for example, is a valuable resource to help them improve their game. Hope this helps.

  2. Roslyn Collings

    Wow! Great article for everyone trying to get on top of this difficult topic – I’ve found that good website marketing is a moving target needing constant attention and these ‘tricks and treats’ will surely make it easier.

    • Clay Delk

      Thanks Roslyn! You’re right, good website marketing never stops, and it never stops changing. Hopefully you’ll find some of these tips helpful.


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