How to attract customers to your 3D model and increase sales
This thread explains the most important factors on how you can attract more customers to your 3D models, optimize pricing and assess quality. If you work on them you can substantially increase the traffic, optimize conversion and at the end increase sales.
Basically, to attract more customers to your 3D model pages you need to understand SEO. If you are not familiar with the term it's Search Engine Optimization, or methodology on how to increase positions of any webpage on Google. Majority of customers start looking for 3D models on Google (60-70%), so your goal is to make your 3D model page appear at the top in the Google listings when a customer searches for related keywords like "spaceship 3d model" or whatever your model is. Here are the most important things.
- Backlinks. After publishing your model on CGTrader, go to external sites like forums or if you have your personal website and create backlinks to your model’s page. Links are essential as Google sorting algorithm rely heavily on them. The more links you create to your product page the higher your model will appear in Google. But don't abuse by spamming links everywhere as nobody like it and those links might be deleted soon. Also Google always looks how relevant linked pages are. So the best way is to place them on related 3D sites/pages where you think your model would provide some value. For example you can search 3D forums or blogs where someone asks for the related 3D model, refer him to your model’s page and offer him it for free or at a discounted price. Another effective way is to create your personal blog on platforms like wordpress or blogspot.com and everytime make a post with a link to your 3D model page. It costs nothing and takes little time. Some sellers use this tactic very effectively. It is important to name/anchor the link with related keywords like “Eiffel tower 3d model”.
- Create a fragment or incomplete version of your model, publish it as free on CGTrader and place a link in the description that will lead to the complete version of your model. This way you will let customer to test your model, and create additional link to your priced model. Some sellers go as far as to publishing fragmented free models on external repositories like sketchup warehouse and adding links back to their CGTrader model pages. Such links are extremely related in terms of the content and have high value.
- Create non-shallow, related and unique descriptions. This is probably the second most important factor after backlinks. If you don’t bother writing informative descriptions two bad things happen: 1) potential customers will not get the needed information about the product and might not risk buying it 2) Google will treat is as a shallow content page because it will not find much relevant and unique information on that page. By saying relevant and unique I mean natural informative text with a lot of technical and product related information. What is your product about, how it was created, all technical information like textures, polygons, shaders, software, etc. act as related important keywords for Google.
- Descriptive and meaningful titles. Google considers title as the most important part of the page, therefore you need to write meaningful and descriptive titles. The best way is to write 4-6 keywords, some of them should be specific and some of them more general, for example: (Sony Speakers - Home Theater Sound System). Don’t write too specific words like names (Bob, X-31, etc.) or too generic (quality, best, detailed, etc.), rarely anyone search for them.
- Be sure the description is original and non-duplicate. Google usually finds thousands of duplicate content pages and tries to decide which of them is original or more valuable. So if you first publish your model on other marketplaces like Turbosquid and then on CGTrader (copy/pasting description, title etc.), Google most likely will treat your CGTrader model page as duplicate and hide in search results. In that sense your Turbosquid and CGTrader model pages compete with each other (considering you wrote non-shallow unique description). If you want to drive more traffic to your CGTrader 3D model, publish it first, add external links, then after a few days on other sites.
- Share on social networks like FB, TW, G+ (especially on Google+). Google and other search engines increasingly use social shares as quality signals. It is very easy and takes no time.
- Category / Demand. With our current traffic volume, the best selling models on average get 120 views per month. Models with medium sales (1-2 lifetime sales) usually get 40 views/month. Models without any sales get 18 views/month. These are just averaged numbers, but they are useful for indicating the demand from organic traffic perspective, or how well your model performs in attracting customers. It depends on category and how specific your model is.
How to increase conversion.
- Conversion. If your models have a lot of pageviews but low sales (low conversion), it means that there might be some quality issues or the price is too high. Sales rate of the best selling models is usually 100-150 views/sale. Medium selling models rate is 500 views/sale. So if you don’t get any sale when your model has 1,000 views, then you need to work more on quality factors or adjust the price.
- Price / Quality ratio. High quality/detail models usually sell at $100-200. Medium quality models sell on average at $40-50. First, try to objectively assess the quality/detail level of your model. What rating would you give on scale of 1-10 in terms of quality and time to make it, and also compared to the best ones on CGTrader? If it is 5-6 or it doesn’t take much time to make it from scratch, then it will likely sell better at $40-50 price tag or less.
- Representation. If you get views, the quality is good enough and the price is decent but the sales are still low, then work on the representation of the model. These are well known things: publish at least 5-10 images with wireframes, work on illumination and shaders - renders must be crisp and clear, sharpen them a bit, export model to several formats, always write informative description and title. This topic on its own is big enough to be presented separately.
Hope you found it helpful. Let me know if you have any questions or share your own tactics to help us drive more customers to CGTrader!
Great review and suggestions! Thank you for this excellent post and very useful tips
Very nice, thank you, I will definitely try something :)
Now THAT'S marketing & sales data! Actually, I chose CGT because they were willing and able to report aggregate marketing data. Squid won't, unless you're in their guild! (BTW - note they are adapting to the market with PixelSquid, custom 2D images of 3D objects.)
This infographic convinced me of CGT's ability and willingness to share sales data -
And this post confirms it! "Conversion Rate", you say!!!! "Organic Traffic" too? And some solid actual stats I can use. Thank you!
I did a Google search for "cotswold manor house 3d model" and my model does come up at the top of the list as an image and also as a link to the product page, so the SEO does work and given the referral rate from Google searches (60%-70%) it is worth the effort to use descriptive keywords, I'd say.
Of course, there is a factor that shouldn't be underestimated. Aside from quality, pricing and placement, Market Demand, is decisive. Honestly, I don't think there will ever be a high demand for a 3D model of a Cotswold manor house, so I designed it as reusable modules to offer it in a builders' kit. That might extend it's usefulness. . . but still, there is no certainty that anyone actually needs or wants a 3D model of a Cotswold manor house. That applies to any product or service, really.
This model is sitting at 137 views after a month, just a little above the statistical "best selling models" average. We'll see if there's a sale when it hits 150, 500 or 1,000 views. It might just be the anomaly, being SEO top-listed, priced low for the category, viewed often, 'Liked' even, but not bought.
I'm experimenting. Thanks again for the data.
Thanks tersta and your welcome!
I looked at your Cotswold manor house, it is quite a high quality model and intelligent modular approach. Your model appears at the top in the Google because phrase "cotswold manor house 3d model" closely match your title. Also, as you said, rarely anyone searches for cotswold manor house 3d model, which means that this or similar phrase is not very competitive and have low search volume. Although the title accurately specifies your model, not everyone knows architecture history that well, so the demand for it might be too low as it is quite specific.
Your house might be interesting for customers that look for English manor, country house 3d model. If you could increase position with these more general keywords, you might get more potential customers. Again the best way to do this is to create backlinks with anchor text as the phrase you want your model to be searched for, and make sure the title of your model has these keywords.
I started testing by offering free piece from my model to try it out :)
Awesome!! Now this is what i call real help!!! Thanks!!
Thanks for this valuable information Marius.
Glad you want to better understand SEO, if you know it well you can do miracles with attracting traffic and sales!
Anchor text is simply the text that is shown instead of the link, for example in your message above link to your profile (https://www.cgtrader.com/tersta) near the avatar is named "tersta" this text is the anchor text. With G+ I think you just need to copy/paste your model page url in G+ and it will automatically generate image and the link to it with the title as anchor text. Or you can just press G+ share button at your product page, the popup will show up and there you can publish it to your G+ wall (but you must to choose Public as your circles).
Sometimes Google need a few weeks to index a page, it depends on how much visibility it has.
I would suggest to rename it "English Manor Country House", because too many unnecessary words "dilute" the "strength" of relevance of your title. So on one hand you want to write as much as possible relevant words, on the other hand you want to pick the most important words (not the most precise/specific, but those that are the most relevant and have largest possible search volume). So in your example word "Cotswold" is too narrow, "Stone" is more or less ok, "Builders Kit" better eliminate because it is too generic and has a large volume - you don't want it to take over the essence of the phrase, besides not many will think of "builders kit" they just want 3D model (it's more technical advantage than targeted term).
Hope that helps, keep up! ;)
I love the G + share and facebook share options it really makes it a lot easier to post stuff to your page rather then having to open FB every time. Thanks for having this option!!!
I guess it also makes sense to make a 3D printable version of one's top selling models. If the industry is heading towards 3D printing...
Yes, balance between relevance, specificity and volume (demand). Try always to identify a few specific words (but not too specific that nobody will search for), and a few more broad words which will generalize your object. Also describe certain characteristics which clearly distinguish it from the group it belongs to. For example "Wooden country villa house" or "Modern commercial office skyscraper building". Try always think how well the title characterizes your model to a customer who might be looking for something like this.
Regarding the results don't want to disappoint, but changing only the title is only one little step in SEO, so results might be unnoticeable. Firstly by targeting words for larger traffic volume you automatically start competing with more quality content (because there are much more models/content for more general terms than Cotswold).
Secondly here you optimize only the content (text). Much more important is how much authority your page gets through backlinks (internally on CGTrader and externally). Sharing only on G+ will not give very big boost, because this action requires no effort and everyone can do it easily. Google looks not only at the amount of links but also at the authority of the websites that point backlinks to your page. If for example you would make some kind of viral tactic that would go viral through many forums like reddit or social networks, or if you somehow would get Wall Street Journal or Wired pointing a backlink to your page, then that would be a huge boost.
On the other hand sharing on social networks is effortless, that's why it is recommended to do it.
Fantastic info, thank you so much for sharing this with the knowledge base here at CGT (especially practical suggestions on Backlinks). Much appreciated.
LOL! I'm sure Wall Street Journal and Wired have better things to talk about than my models...although I have had people from Princeton read my articles and the Canadian Museum of Civilization added my poem to their Natives Peoples exhibit...oh and the US Library of Congress told me they had a copy of something I wrote...and CSIS let me know they're protecting my intellectual properties internationally... Since that was back before the days of SEO (and Internet, almost), I'd say that if you're going to get noticed, you're going to get noticed. On the other hand, because there are no borders on the Internet, the middle-of-the-road sorts, like me, are small fish in big ponds without the local ('small pond') isolation that affords a little protected niche market. So, essentially in the world of SEO I'm competing with - not only every 3D designer worldwide - but also anyone who has anything to say about "English country manor house 3D model". I'd have to work really, really hard to get top ranking despite all the SEO noise, wouldn't I?
What about a more direct marketing approach than the SEO SPAM-A-LOT strategy? For instance, I might approach historical associations about custom-built models for virtual tours of their historical sites, or about publishing an article about the same in their newsletter. Similarly, if I modeled vegetables, I'd talk to nutritionists who publish newsletters and perhaps render a nice veggie picture for them in exchange for a mention in an article. I don't know if this method would be any more profitable than the SEO one, but I do think it would be a lot more interesting to communicate directly with people about a shared interest.
That actually brings me around to the named downloaders of the free model I have posted. From what I can tell, none of them have published models. I'd like to profile them. Do they set up an account and then download everything they can find before disappearing for weeks at a time? Are their email addresses good? What percent of free model downloaders eventually buy models and in what price range and from what category? Conversely, what percent of the same group eventually become designers and publish their own models?
Yep, lots of opportunity for data mining, even if the chances of making a ripple in the worldwide SEO pond are slim to none for most of us.
You are totally right about WSJ and Wired, it is not easy to get there, that's exactly why authoritative links are so valuable and Google values them a lot - if such sources refers to a page, it means that page holds a lot of value and should appear higher in the related results.
If we are talking about any phrase that includes keywords 3D model like "English country manor house 3D model", then there are not so many competitors who have anything to say more than you. Your 3D model is already saying enough. Wait for a few weeks and then try to search it on Google, it is quite possible it will be in the top results. But then we want to position not only for this exact phrase, but also for variations like "English house 3D model" or "manor 3d model", here a bit more of work and link authority is needed.
Well tersta, I can say that tactics you just told are what we can call high-end SEO marketing. If you could find a way to show your model or image as interesting content to outlets in the related vertical/industry, that would be the most effective way of doing SEO.
Regarding the downloaders, we have implemented email confirmation and other protections from the leechers - anyone who wants to download more than 10 free models, requires to have 2nd reputation level, then at 30 models requires 3rd level, and so on. This way we ask them to be active and give back to the community if they want to use our repository. On the other hand I do think that free models help us grow. I remember back when I used to work on 3D projects and needed models, first I searched for free models. Often they weren't so good and I had to purchase. I think many buyers do that.
Well, Marius, today Turbosquid is holding top Google search spot on "English country manor house 3D model", followed by stock photos, Wiki entries and a Youtube video. "English house 3D model" is shared by TS, Sketchup, Sweet Home 3D and 3D Warehouse. I will have to check back in a couple weeks to see if the new indexing puts my model any closer to the top.
Oh, we should expect the Free Model Downloaders to do exactly what they have been doing - gorging when they can and then running off to wherever they came from. But if we know where to contact them, we can start directing their behavior. Maybe they'd like exclusive discounts on bundles...like a buy 1 get 1 at 50% off. If I was going to make a habit of posting free models, I would keep a list of who likes what and then contact them directly when I upload a similar model with a price on it. Of course, because I only have one model for Free-Loaders, I can't really tell if there is any discrimination. Would they take all models or select just those that they can use? I don't know.
I've downloaded my share of free models too! The reason I model is because I couldn't find the free or modestly priced models I needed and had to make what I needed. I expect that CGT Free-Loaders may also evolve behavior. They may become designers or buyers. Knowing who they are today will help us track what they become. That's why the user data is so important.
excellent post, bunch of stuff i didn't know. Thanks for sharing :)
Thanks for the post!
Great suggestions !
Useful informations for me! Many thanks!
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