Magento 1.3 Sales Tactics Cookbook Review

Magento 1.3 Sales Tactics Cookbook Review

This is the third Magento book I have reviewed at this blog. The first book took a beginner through the basics of adding products to and running a Magento store and not much more. The second book was for Magento Developers interested in extending Magento’s functionality. So both of those books covered the “build it” part of running an online store with Magento. And this book covered the “and they will come” part of running your store.

And believe me the work has just begun once your store is up and running. Now you have to make sales. The great part about having an online store is that you can market it quicker and more cost effectively than a brick and mortar store. The bad part is that it is hard to know where to begin. But you have to begin.

The most common issue I run into when someone is wondering why they aren’t getting any sales is that they just aren’t doing anything to promote their sites, get links to it or interact with their customers. And Magento 1.3 Sales Tactics Cookbook gives you the tools to get started on a marketing plan for your ecommerce site and hopefully with them, you can stick with it.

The SEO Part

One point brought up in the book was you optimize a page and not a site. The Sales Tactics Cookbook goes over the basics of fleshing out your product pages completely from product title to meta tags. Magento has a lot of places to add your keywords and the product pages have a lot of options. Don’t just skip through them. Use them to your advantage.

The book also goes through customizing the title of pages throughout your site in the Magento configuration menu. Every store owner’s first thought is to put the name of their store on every page title. This is definitely a good practice, but the importance of your store’s name depends on whether people search for it by name and whether that name is descriptive of the products you sell. Page titles hold valuable keyword real estate and if you can find common search terms to fit in there with your store name that describes what you do, you may be surprised at the results.

You will also learn how to create and submit your sitemap to Google. A sitemap is a file that tells Google where every page on your site is. It doesn’t really help with SEO but it does help Google pick up and index your newly optimized pages quicker. With Magento, you can cron your sitemap generation so that your store automatically generates a sitemap for Google and the other search engines every day or every week.

The Sales Tactics Cookbook also walk you through adding your products to Google Base and a few things you can do to make your products more visible there. Google Base and other shopping sites can bring you a lot of customers if you do it right. You are not going to be an SEO master after reading the book but you will know where to go and what to do in Magento to edit the data that will affect your rank in Google. After all, books 3 times this size have been written on just SEO.

The Landing Pages

I have shopped online for a long time. I do compare prices and tend to find the best price on things. But I also pass judgement on the sites I buy from. It doesn’t take long. A few seconds. If your site is inviting, well laid out and up to date graphically, I hang around longer and don’t second guess checking out. If your site looks like it has needed a design update about 10 years ago, then I go into security mode. Anything a bit off in the store and I am looking elsewhere first.

If you are selling online, look like it. The Cookbook will walk you through making your online store an inviting place for your customers. It will walk you through adding videos to your store, optimizing product images and using all 4 of Magento default page layouts. You will also learn how to use Magento’s CMS system to create landing pages, linkbait pages and customer service pages. Even if you are using one of the default Magento themes, you can still create an attractive store and there is no end of customizations you have available.

The Social Media Part

The internet is full of buzzwords like social media that make you think you are dealing with a whole new form of marketing. I don’t see it that way. You need customers in your store whether it is online or down the street. To get those customers to your store, you need to advertise and market it. The tools may be different but the concept is the same. This guide introduces you to social media and how you can use it to increase traffic and sales at your store. This book will walk you through setting up Twitter, Facebook and Posterous accounts and then show you how to effectively use each of your accounts to bring even more customers to your Magento store.

The Customer Relations Part

Magento was built for customers. Most of the features the average online store would need are available without adding extensions and for added functionality, you can choose from free or commercial plugins in Magento Connect. The Sales Tactics Cookbook shows you how to use these tools to bring in more sales and satisfied customers. In the book, you’ll learn how to:

  • Entice customers to add more to their cart with Upsells, Crossells, Related Products and Free Shipping
  • Create promotional pricing in the cart, with coupons or by amount of sale.
  • Build a clearance category to liquidate old inventory
  • Give your customers a voice with Reviews, Ratings, Polls, Public Wishlists and Tags
  • Set up Email to a Friend on your site
  • Create an international store or multilingual store to expand your market
  • Build a wholesale customer group, set up bulk tax-free pricing for them and setting your wholesale policies
  • Keep in touch with your customers with a Newsletter

All these features come in the free Magento Community version and I am sure most store owners are only using a percentage of these tools. This book is a must for anyone who is working to get their Magento shopping site more traffic and sales and have yet to learn any SEO or social media marketing techniques. It is also a great help for SEO’s that must work with Magento. It shows you where to go to make tweaks in structure and content.

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Stephan Miller

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Kansas City Software Engineer and Author

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