Optimizing for people who don’t yet know they want your product
If your search engine optimization efforts are focused solely and capturing visitors who are searching for products like yours, you may be missing a huge chunk of your market. Don't forget about those people who are looking for complementary products, services and information.
Over the last six months, some of the things I've done that have brought the most new traffic to my product webpages have followed this approach of providing information and services that are complementary to my products. One has been this blog, and my related SEO pages. These have brought in links from others with websites related to search engine optimization, and in the case of my article on using RSS for SEO, particularly from sites that cover both topics. SEO isn't the core of my business, but my RSS products are useful for SEO, and thus, my SEO pages are useful for driving traffic to my product pages--I'm learning that SEO is a bigger part of my business than I'd previously realized.
Another great traffic driver has been my RSS and Atom feed directory. I don't (yet!) provide any paid services from the directory, but the relationship to my products is obvious. The directory was growing slowly but surely until I decided to start advertising it with Google's AdWords. Since then, traffic on the site has exploded, and lots of that traffic continues on to my product pages.
Perhaps the most important lesson I learned from advertising Chordata (the feed directory) is that sometimes it's more effective to advertise free information, products and services, and then to guide visitors from your free webpages to your profit centers, than to try to advertise your for-profit offerings directly. I get much higher click-through on ads for the directory than I do on ads for my paid products.
Your for-profit pages should be optimized to bring in people who are searching for your for-profit products, but don't overlook the value of building free pages with complementary offerings, and optimizing those pages to bring in people who haven't yet realized the value that products like yours offer them.