Are you an online entrepreneur with an eye on entering the vaping industry? If you are, look out – because as you’re about to discover, the vaping niche is almost completely unique in the world of e-commerce. If you want to play with the big boys like Vape Juice, it’s a long way to the top.
What is it that makes the vaping niche so unusual in e-commerce? It’s the fact that you can’t use most of the traditional techniques that you’d use to drive traffic to an online shop. In most niches, you leverage paid placements on Google and on social networks like Facebook to drive traffic and generate your first sales. Using the revenue from those sales, you develop your website’s SEO with the hope of building a sustainable business that derives most of its sales from free organic traffic.
In the vaping industry, though, the traditional model for online marketing is turned on its head because Google doesn’t accept paid ads from vape shops. Neither do Facebook and the other major social networks. From the get-go, you have to focus on SEO as your primary driver of traffic – and many new entrepreneurs in the vaping industry aren’t prepared for that level of effort and expense.
Has this article scared you out of the vaping industry yet? If not, you might have what it takes to compete with the major vape shops. These initial SEO tips will help you get started.
Don’t enter the vaping industry until you know your USP
Before you enter the vaping industry, it’s worthwhile to take a bit of time to see what your competitors are doing. How will you position your site against the others that are already well entrenched and receive plenty of traffic? If you’re just planning on throwing a shop online and filling it with products, you’re planning to fail because the fact that your shop exists will not be enough to convince consumers to change their buying habits. Before you begin, you should know what your unique selling proposition is and how you will differentiate your business from your competitors. What’s special about your business? Is it the product selection, the shopping experience, the prices or something else? Identify what makes your vape shop different and make sure that potential customers are aware of your unique selling proposition within seconds of visiting your site.
Write your own original product content
Bar none, the biggest mistake made my most new owners of online vape shops is copying their product page content from other sources. To understand why that’s such an enormous mistake, copy a sentence from a product description on a popular online vape shop and paste it – in quotation marks – into Google. You’ll likely find dozens – possibly even hundreds – of other sites using the exact same product description. The problem should now be abundantly clear. The majority of those sites receive no traffic whatsoever. There’s no reason for Google to give those sites a high ranking because they bring absolutely nothing new to the table. If you copy your product descriptions from other vape shops, you’ll have exactly the same problem and can expect to receive no traffic whatsoever. Take the time to write an original, compelling and helpful description for every product on your site.
Start a blog – but don’t expect sales from it
The majority of the content on your website will fall into two categories. You’ll have commercial content – your product and category pages, for instance – and you’ll have informational content. Once you have the commercial section of your website up and running, it should be your goal to start a blog and fill it with helpful informational content as quickly as possible. When your site is new, don’t worry about trying to generate sales from your blog because that probably isn’t going to happen. Instead, focus on writing content that answers questions, solves problems and helps people have the best possible experience with their vape gear. Try to write informational content that’s helpful enough to earn organic links, because those links will help your website rank for more competitive search terms.
Consider placing ads on vaping websites
Although you can’t advertise through traditional outlets like Google AdWords if your site is a vape shop, there is another advertising avenue that can build awareness among the very people you’re trying to reach at a surprisingly reasonable cost. That avenue is the world’s many vaping websites. Almost all vaping sites earn their revenue by displaying advertisements. Just as you can’t advertise your vape shops on the biggest ad networks, vaping websites likewise can’t display ads from the large networks and depend on direct sponsorship from businesses in the vaping industry. Ad rates on vaping sites are often quite affordable.
If you’re considering placing an ad on a vaping website, you may find these tips helpful.
- Make sure that the website targets readers in your region. If your vape shop is in the United Kingdom, there’s probably no reason to place an ad on a vaping website based in the United States because that site’s readers aren’t likely to buy from you.
- Do your best to verify that the website actually receives traffic. There are several online tools that you can use to estimate a website’s organic traffic based on that site’s rankings on Google. You can also check to see if the website maintains reader engagement through an active social media presence. Your ad campaign can only be successful if the site receives traffic.
- Make sure you know what the ad will look like on a mobile device. Most of the people who view your ad will do so on smartphones.
- It’s usually wiser to buy ad space by the month than to pay for a specific number of impressions unless the price per thousand impressions is extremely low. That’s because it’s common for a reader of a vaping site to look at several pages – thus inflating the view count of your ad – before leaving the site.