For most businesses involved in e-commerce there are no prohibitions on what they can or cannot do in terms of marketing their business online.  Selling shoes or sunglasses and want to spend a million dollars on Google ad words and CPC advertising? Go for it. Same goes for advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

But for a certain segment of businesses that are perfectly legal these avenues of marketing are restricted.  If you run a gun shop, anything to do with gambling, any adult sort of content or an online headshop, Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube will not take your money. Nor will a host of more mainstream web sites that sell all manner of advertising.

Why?  It’s a bit of mystery.  While these businesses are perfectly legal they are considered restricted and are thus limited in terms of how they can market themselves and thus how they can drive traffic to their storefronts. Thankfully, there are some methods that they can employ and many of these businesses turn out to be very successful.

Invest Heavily In Organic SEO Techniques

Since Google, Bing and most other search engines forbid these sorts of companies from buying cost per click advertising and keywords these businesses have a need to succeed at ranking high by organic means.  This involves ensuring their on page and technical SEO is completely buttoned up. Sites should routinely run SEO audits to make sure they are as optimized as can be.  In addition they must do aggressive link building campaigns and must also create good, quality original content on a weekly basis, on their own sites and with guest posts on other sites.  Link building and content production are slow and labor intensive process, and it takes some time to see results. But the results are worth the effort because ranking high organically is much better than just appearing at the top of a search results page because you bid the highest for a keyword.

Leverage The Power Of Social Media Influencers

The power of social media influencers is undisputed. In fact many big companies have shift large amounts of their advertising budgets away from traditional ads in favor tapping influencers, who have a more direct and authentic relationship with their followers. This tactic is even more necessary for brands and companies who cannot pay for sponsored content or ads on various social media channels.  First and foremost you need to be sure you develop and grow your own social media footprint on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Spend some developing your following. Post often and make sure you develop your own style and voice. Once you have a following you can begin to reach out to social media influencers who are big in your niche and figure out ways that you can work together.  While the bigger ones will charge expensive fees some younger influencers will work for free product. Doing product giveaway contests is one good way of utilizing an influencer. So is simply asking them to promote a discount code or sale and offering to share a percentage of revenues. SmokeSmith Gear, which sells glass bongs, vaporizers and smoke accessories, has used this technique to increase both its gross sales and its social media footprint.

Find Alternative Advertising Networks & Channels
When you’re barred from advertising on the major networks you need to find new places where you can advertise. Finding the right one require you to become an expert in your niche and to know your audiences and the larger sites that service that audience. Most of the niches and industries listed above are not allowed to use the Google Display Network.  That cuts down a large chunk of the internet. But there are always alternatives and niche ad networks. Again, you need to become expert in your industry and figure out what these networks are. In the cannabis industry there is a network called Mantis. They are one of the largest display networks that cannabis related sites can use to advertise. Just do your homework and do some research and make sure that the network is legitimate and that the metrics they site are validated.

 

Published by Charlesa Gibson