Understand the importance of site content over other SEO practices
Refer to What should I be doing about SEO?
Quality of products, service and support
Having high quality products, service and support is vital for maintaining existing customers and converting new ones. Word of mouth snowballs from this and is perhaps the most powerful way to grow long lasting business. Big Cartel and Aarcade both built their businesses primarily based upon word of mouth.
Be nice and grateful to customers, they have believed in your site / your product and deserve your sincerest thanks. A postcard, or something extra, included in a delivery can be a great way to communicate this.
Define your brand and define your audience
Take the time to define your audience and ensure that the presentation of your site (i.e. theme, content, colours and fonts), and the vibe it conveys, will be attractive to that audience. Make sure your branding, including your logo, is professional and impactful. If you need help with logo design, try a community design service like 99designs or an online tool like Squarespace Logo.
Get your site right
Although already mentioned in the What should I be doing about SEO? article, it bears repeating. Your images are the most important element in your shop appearance and product presentation, take the time to get them right. Refer to The importance of product image quality and size.
Your home page is the most important page on your site. Read our article Getting your home page right.
Don’t be afraid to let your inspiration, your story, your passion or even your day-to-day come through in your blog, shop content, products and communication. Being human can provide something for your customers to identify or bond with and can deepen their relationship with you and your business.
Keep your menus and links organised and approachable. Start at your home page with the eyes of a new visitor; how easily and quickly can you find information and products at your site?
Review online directory services that allow businesses to create a free listing. Add your business to these sites where applicable, and if the site already lists your business, claim it by adding more details to the listing, such as your site URL, a map, phone numbers, or business hours.
Some examples of online directories include:
Create a connection with your customers and visitors via Social Networking, Newsletters, a Blog, Vimeo/YouTube, etc. Encourage the growth of this community with special offers (see next section) or access to special products, pre-release information, etc. Blog, tweet, share, video and update with relevant, unique and engaging content.
Reach out to other relevant audiences; search for blogs, magazines, newspapers, etc. Offer your brand / products / story to be featured wherever possible.
Get involved in relevant communities; search for forums, message boards, local groups, etc. Participate in a positive way (but don’t be spammy).
Make use of your Big Cartel discount controls to create special offers to promote community (see above) and to tempt new customers.
Develop lookbook or catalogue pages to showcase your latest products or services in the best light, and share the link to these pages in relevant networks and communities.
Use Google Tools
Make use of Google’s powerful tools, like Google analytics and Google Alerts, to keep informed on who is visiting your site, the latest news and discussions relevant to your site / product, competitor’s products / services and other useful data.
Learn From Others
Browse your competition and any shops and sites that appeal to you. Take note of what they are doing to present and promote their products and what in particular has an affect upon you. Take the best of what you find and apply it to your business where practical.
Practicality and Perseverance
Be practical about the steps you can take in promotion. Trying to do everything recommended here (or in the reference material below) can weigh you down and dampen the energy of your business. As with everything you read, take on only what feels right to you and shelve the rest for later.
Each act of promotion may not yield instant results. Persevere, and above all else, maintain your passion for your brand and your products.