Answering Cyclists Questions will fatten your bank account.
Every day Riders go online to find information about bikes. They search in google, they go to forums, they post questions on both Twitter and Quora.
They even stop into their favorite local bike shop.
If you are a shop it should be your goal to get in front of this passionate community in as many avenues as you can reasonably handle so that for them, all their questions lead to your great answers.
Cyclists’s questions serve as a reminder for what you should be talking about in your marketing and blogging as you know you already have an audience for that content; they are hungry to learn more about the topic.
Which means they are also more likely to buy products that the topic covers.
The key is to write meaty, informative pieces that will genuinely help your readers solve their problems, and in the process get them into a happy buying frame of mind to buy on your website and even better come into the shop where the magic happens.
200 words posts won’t cut it.
400 word post won’t either.
The pieces need to be as long as you can write about a specific topic to COMPLETELY solve the reader’s problem. Often that will be in the 1500–2500 word length post.
Some good examples of that are How to build a gravel bike and also the slightly shorter story https://theracery.com/blogs/news/how-to-buy-a-pro-used-road-bike found at The Racery’s website.
These two articles work, because they focus on one topic and they go way in deep to answer the questions that customers ask most frequently when they email or call about specific frames or bikes.
So how do we help Cyclists and make more money at the same time?
Great question! This post will show you how to mine your website’s data to find opportunities.
The first thing to do is to look in your website’s traffic data to see what the most popular pages are on your site. You’re going to see which pages get visited the most, and also which pages are the most popular Landing Pages, or the pages that get landed on when users arrive on your site from searching on Google or Bing.
Second, you’re going to look in your Site Search Results in your Google Analytics dashboard (you have Site Search turned on right? If not, you can turn it on with these site search instructions from Google.) to see exactly what users are searching for when they come on to your site.
Next you can look at your catalog, and your inventory to figure out if what you have to sell matches what people are searching for. This is where the magic happens.
If you stock what people are looking for, and you are already getting website traffic for that category, or specific product, then writing a long article about that category, or product will help you get more search traffic (what we call Organic Traffic) which will turn into more sales.
Let’s Say you stock a ton of cyclocross bikes and you are located near a cyclocross Mecca like Boulder, Colorado. And let’s say that six out of ten phone calls or customers coming in the shop want to know about the new cyclocross bikes from your largest vendor. This new bike has a new suspension system to reduce vibrations and integrates disc brakes in a new innovative way, but for some reason your shoppers aren’t buying.
You scratch your head and start to wonder why. Is my website helping my customers get the info they need to feel good about buying with me. Are enough of them engaging with my content?
Is it price?
Nope, you’ve checking within a 100 mile radius and see that you have your bikes priced at the lowest price available.
Is it availability?
That’s not it as you have a full size run in stock in both colors.
Is my staff trained well enough to answer their questions and overcome the customer’s objections?
They sure are. They are certified fitters and have attended multiple training programs to help sell more, and our online reviews describe consistently positive customer experiences.
So you start digging into the data and see that one brand is getting searched for on your site more than all the other search terms over the same period of time.
To see this data go into Google Analytics and click Behavior on the left navigation and then when that menu opens click Site Search.
This tells you that your users want more info about that brand. Assuming you already have great navigation and it is REALLY easy for users to find that brand on your site, then it tells you that there is an appetite for content about that brand.
So then you can go to any number of paid tools like ahrefs.com, spyfu.com or semrush.com (disclaimer - I subscribe to all three), or to Moz.com’s Keyword Explorer tool which is free to use to pull out keyword data about the brand.
Let’s Look at Moz’s Keyword results for Pinarello.
This shows that to rank the highest for Pinarello my site would have to roughly as high a domain authority as http://www.pinarello.com.
What is Domain Authority?
Great question! Moz describes domain authority as a calculated metric that predicts how well a website will rank on search engine result pages (SERPs). A Domain Authority score ranges from one to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a greater ability to rank.)
My site would also have to have as many linking Root Domains pointing at my site. There are over 200 ranking factors, but these two really set the bar and in a super simple way give insight into how hard it will be beat the competition.
If I currently rank in 83rd position and I get 2 visits a month on the topic, it will take a long time (around 2 years)to sell my product online. This is why it is critical to rank as high as you can for any important keyword. It will determine how long you have to wait to make money.
We see that getting to first position is extremely unlikely (I’ll need to get 855 more links and improve my domain authority considerably) to get there.
That would be a huge mountain to climb on a bike shop budget, but what about position 4?
My Domain Authority needs some work and I’ll need to build some links. Difficult? Perhaps, but not impossible.
Is this strategy of going for fourth position worth it?
Let’s go through the analysis. If there are 1600 searches a month and I get 5% of all those searches or (80 searches) and I have a 2% conversion rate (which is the percantage of sessions that end up with a conversion, which is in this case a sale) it means I’ll average 1.6 sales a month. And if the average frame retails for $3,000 that means I’ll gross $4,800 a month on that article.
That 4th position doesn’t look horrible any more. But what if I could get 8% of all the traffic. It gets more interesting. Using the same search volume (1600 / month, I’m now getting a larger 128 visits a month. With the same conversion rate, I’ll average 2.56 sales a month. Multiply that by the average frame retail of $3,000 and you’ve got a tidy little sum of $7,680 generated by one blog entry.
Is targeting a brand term the best strategy?
In the long run, it will be less effective to target Specialized, or Cannondale than trying to go after a “Long Tail Key Word” like Used Cannondale Mountain Bikes.
What is a Long Tail Keyword and why should I care about it?
Long Tail keywords are search terms that are made up of 4 or more words. According to Wordstream, over 70% of searches are long tail. And you should care beacuse it is much easier (and less expensive) to compete on a term like “Used Pinarello Road Bikes” than on “Pinarello” and will more quickly lead to you making money online. The search volumes are certainly lower, but if you can get a higher position on a smaller volume, the results can be awesome.
Let’s say the long tail keyword only gets 400 searches a month, but you can get 30% of the traffic or 133 visits. This is great because when someone is searching for “Used Cannondale mountain bikes” they are much closer to buying than someone just searching for Cannondale. And that means that if you can get the same number of visits, you’ll hopefully convert at a higher rate because the user’s intent is more of a buying intent than just informational.
And this means your shop will make more money.
A Real Life Example
On one client site, we recently posted a blog article that was around 2,000 words long and it immediately took over the targeted long tail keyword’s top spot. Within two days the client had sold three frames worth just south of $4,000. This strategy feels very worth it to me. Not just for the money collected on the sale of the frames, but because that page will continue to bring traffic and revenue long after we published it.
Is writing the article enough?
Another great question. There is so much new content being built all the time that publishing an article is akin to the proverbial tree in the forest falling; if you don’t actively promote the content then the content, no matter how great it is, won’t be seen by anyone and you won’t reap any benefit.
So how do you know where to do outreach?
Another Great question that I have to tip my hat to Brian Dean of Backlinko.com. His description of outreach is great on http://backlinko.com/skyscraper-technique. (Read Step #3 for details.)
A Small Plug
If building uniquely great content and promoting it to right people sounds like a strategy that could help your shop grow revenues, but you don’t know how you’d get it rolling (trust me, I get it, I managed a super busy shop for over 7 years), I’d love to connect with you to help in any way I can. I’ve worked with all kinds of shops all over the USA and Canada and can help you get going in the right direction.