The UK’s leading vape shop: A lesson in digital marketing

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By Pascal Culverhouse

When I started my e-cigarette business back in 2013, I was acutely aware of the importance of search engine optimisation (SEO). Having worked on my father’s website, which sold fireworks, I realised that marketing e-cigarettes wasn’t a world away from fireworks, as they both have similar advertising restrictions. This meant that promoting my new vape shop was going to be fiercely competitive.

Fortunately, the SEO I had learnt previously gave me an edge over my competition. Thanks to this, I’ve been able to achieve excellent visibility and improved traffic across all aspects of my business — using tools and tricks that can be tweaked and replicated by countless businesses.

While pay-per-click (PPC) advertising isn’t actually legal within the industry that I work, it isn’t necessarily the right choice for all business owners, either. If you’re the founder or CEO of a SME or startup, you might not have the capital to promote your company in this way. There are smarter, more cost-effective ways to achieve your goals. Read on and see how you could achieve a more trustworthy style of branding that need not be expensive.

Search Engine Optimisation

SEO is the core building block on which we can influence our brand’s online presence. It equips us with the tools and knowledge to not only increase the volume of traffic to our website, but more importantly, the quality of that traffic. Strong SEO is about being in tune with your potential customers and making it as easy as possible for them to find exactly what they are looking for.

With the way that the UK’s consumer habits are changing and the fact that websites hold more potential than physical transactions, there’s no more important time than now to fine-tune your marketing strategies.

SEO helps by allowing us to discover the specific words we need to improve our Google search rankings. These keywords or phrases represent those which potential customers use when browsing the internet. This gives us an excellent understanding of what our customers are looking for; all that’s left now is to make sure they find it!

Content Marketing and the Vape Shop

This is where content marketing steps up. It provides an opportunity for your advertising campaign to mould your brand image and promote products in tandem. Its main objective is the development and publication of web content to secure backlinks. Using keywords within the content that includes a backlink influences Google’s perspective of your website in relation to the chosen keywords.

For each of your keywords, you will need to decide which web pages you want to push. A backlink works as a connection between the included keywords and the web page you want to promote. For example, if your keyword is “vape shop”, you would use a link to the homepage of your online vape store, as this is most likely where someone would want their Google search to take them.

In fact, content marketing is a huge part of running a successful online vape shop. This is because it is illegal to directly pay for the advertising of any e-cigarette products. Instead, vape shop owners use extensive content marketing campaigns to secure increased traffic and visibility. However, no matter how effective your content marketing strategies turn out to be, without competent on-page SEO, your efforts might be fruitless.

Why On-Page SEO Is SO Important

The last thing you want after running a successful content marketing campaign is for all the new traffic to arrive and find a poorly formatted page, with spelling mistakes and HTML errors. While on-page SEO isn’t just about grammar and content, it encourages the habit of good housekeeping for each one of our web pages. This way, we can guarantee that when Google comes to rank our website, they won’t be turned off by any unnecessary errors.

Understandably, these are simplified strategies for a non-paid advertising campaign. However, I wouldn’t be writing this article today without these tactics. They have been essential to the success of my business, even fostering a confidence in digital marketing that has enabled Electric Tobacconist to start a vape shop in the United States, in addition to the one here in the UK.

And the best part about these online marketing tips? With a bit of dedication and research, any online business owner can use them to their advantage.

Pascal Culverhouse is a successful business owner and specialist on staff motivation techniques.