BigCommerce claim in their 2016 research that a massive 51% of internet users in the United States shop online. That’s close to 155 million customers for online stores like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and even small businesses in the US to sell to. But even with that huge markets at your disposal, the real trick is to reach these customers and engage them.
Many online stores are launched and quickly die out due to their inability to market their brand name and products. Not everyone can build the next Amazon or GroupOn in a day, as the French proverb goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day…”
You can’t expect to launch your store, fill it with merchandise, and expect to land traffic there without masterful strategies. Luckily after years of experience in eCommerce I’m sharing 7 most rewarding strategies for all to learn from, now let’s have a look at that traffic problem!
7 Tricks to Drive Traffic to Your eCommerce Store
Driving traffic to your eCommerce store needs a clear plan. This plan must be followed strictly to make sure you build up an audience, keep them engaged and at the right time pitch your products to them. Here are my 7 amazing tricks to drive traffic to your eCommerce store:
The process as I believe begins with observing what strategies your competition is using to attract, retain, and sell to audiences. This involves analyzing
- Facebook Marketing
- Facebook Live Campaigns
- Email Marketing
- Giveaways & Competitions
- Instagram Marketing & Influencers
- Reddit Marketing
Not only will this give you an idea of how buyers behave in the industry, but also which products sell best. There are a wealth of resources that you can use like influencers, Facebook pages, Google ads, keywords etc. that we will discuss ahead. Also keep in mind that as an entrepreneur you will depend on a variety of analytical, marketing and content management tools.
Facebook Pages & Groups
Creating proper presence on Facebook is essential through either a profile, a group or a fan page. With over 2 billion active users now crowding the famed social network, it is essential to create a presence there. Facebook is bigger than a social network now, its now an untapped sea of potential buyers willing to connect to the right sellers.
Creating a group or Facebook page is essential if you wish to build a global audience. Facebook gets your brand viral with proper social campaigns, free of cost. If you have an engaged audience you have already created a customer base. The best aspect is that you get to know your audience personally, sharing common interests with them, and interact with them.
Facebook Business Advertising
Although you can always use free marketing techniques, Facebook Business allows you to actively market your products for a fee. Paid Facebook ads allow your posts, feeds, and ad banners to reach a larger target market. But, remember that this is not for everyone, since it requires experience & in depth understanding of Facebook business tools.
Marketing with Facebook Ads starts with defining the campaign objective. Provided objectives by Facebook Ad Manager include:
- Brand awareness
- App installs
- Video views
- Lead generation
- Product catalogues sales
- Store visits
Second, it is essential to research your audience on the basis of their:
- Behaviors, and
- More Categories
You can then choose the audience who will see your ads and then Facebook analytics will offer you complete statistics of the campaign. It is important that you split ads for different audiences, by which I mean A/B testing. Changing ad design elements namely images, text, headlines, targeting, call to action and value propositions for different audiences.
You should also test different Facebook Ad campaigns by different:
- Relationship Status
- Purchase Behaviors
- Education Level
- Miscellaneous Characteristics
- Device Type
- Create a presence on Facebook with a Page or Group to tap the billion people platform
- Tap the highest views with the all new Facebook Business
- Reach a larger relevant audience
- Test different campaigns based on different characteristics & factors
- View complete analytics for every ad campaign
Find the most popular Facebook pages related to your niche, go through the pinned & top posts with the highest number of engagements (shares, comments and likes). Then, browse through the profiles people who engaged with that content. If they’ve made it public, you can easily map common interests that are relevant to your niche. You now have new interests to target for your Facebook ads as well as relevant content ideas that your audience will like.
The emerging trend of Facebook Live video is gripping the eCommerce industry too. A simple three step process allows Facebook users to broadcast their desktops to their followers. E-stores can use this amazing feature to broadcast daily video blogs, unveil new products and engaging activities.
Manage & Share Live Feeds
Facebook Live also offers great ease for store owners to allow others to broadcast feeds on their behalf. Moderators can also pin top comments below the feed to encourage engagement. Another massive feature of Facebook Live are its permalinks. Live feeds can be published to external websites and visitors will land on the live broadcast.
Since Facebook Live feeds can be published to unlimited number of pages after the feeds is finished, e-store owners can also engage with audiences for real time reviews. This brings about huge space for service improvement and address product quality issues.
Unbox & Unveil New Products Live
E-stores can utilize these rich features for their advantage very easily. Owners can unveil products live for their audience to create hype. Products can also be sent to influencers who can broadcast complete live demos, especially for products like electronics, clothing, shoes, gadgets etc. E-store owners can answer live questions, solve queries and answer delivery related questions live too.
- Use Facebook Live to create real life demos
- Engage with your audience in real time
- Publish Facebook Live feeds to different blogs, websites, forums & communities
- Unveil new products on Facebook Live
- Create brand awareness & recall with live feeds
- Create interesting video blogs for new visitors
Start a Facebook live video during times when your audience is also active on Facebook (these time statistics can be accessed from your Facebook analytics). Do an unboxing video on some of your products with the promise of a free gift, giveaway or a store coupon code for your live viewers.
Email Marketing , the conventional way of marketing your business online, believe or not is still alive and well. This includes sending out emails, newsletters, special offers etc. to your visitors & customers. Remarkety concludes in a 2016 research that 23% of recipients open these emails, approx. 18% actually click through, and 1% convert. IBM’s Email benchmark study also identifies a steady open rate of 21.5% in the U.S. has been recorded in 2016.
Email marketing is built on trust and differs by industry type. If the audience trust your brand you will have better open rates. You can also take a look at industry wise email open rates here. There are however some aspects you can test to see which type of email marketing techniques work best for your business, these include:
- Subject Line
- Body & Message
- Call to Action
- Timing of Emails
Segment Emails By Sales Funnel Stage
An essential element to understand is segmenting email lists by stage of sales funnel. A person can be in the early stage, consideration stage or the buying stage of the sales funnel. This requires you customize emails, considering the above, depending on the stage the customer is in. During the early stage a person has a problem and they are looking for a solution, you must educate the reader what the solution is. Blogs, research papers, scientific & medical reports, videos can all contribute which can be sent through clever educational emails.
Then comes the consideration stage where your prospect is considering buying your product as their preferred solution. Highlight why your products are the ideal solution, let them know how it will help solve their problem. Then in the final stage delight the buyer when they have chosen your product. Send them a thank you email, after sales offers, support, how to use guides and other material in emails.
Remove Inactive Emails
It is also essential to manage your mailing lists, sorting out the active users from inactive ones. It is recommended to refine your email lists every 3 months to ensure your open rates don’t go below the average we have discussed above. You can also get tips from this blog from fulcrumtech.
Furthermore, you can increase organic traffic with email campaigns by getting visitors to sign up to newsletters and exclusive discount offers. Visitors are then engaged with your brand and are bound to keep in touch through your e-store & blog.
- Create seasonal email campaigns to remind audiences
- Sort lists of emails in accordance to the stage they are in the sales funnel
- Manage mailing lists to filter out inactive emails
- Create newsletters, exclusive discounts & offers for email campaigns
Include names and birth dates when creating your email sign up form. Send out birthday & holiday greetings to your subscribers on celebratory events along with freebies, birthday-only coupons to give them a pleasant surprise. Learn more about automating messages such as birthday wishes here.
Giveaways & Competitions
Giveaways, competitions, sweepstakes and offers can be massive for your online store if delivered at the right time. Creating seasonal offers for Halloween, and Christmas etc. is a brilliant idea to both drive traffic and get an increase in sales.
These giveaways and competitions can be designed for a variety of channels including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Influencer websites, emails etc. e-Stores can also design hello bars on their landing pages for visitors who arrive from organic searches. The great fact is you can do this weekly, monthly and yearly. Once the audience is hooked to offers they will be return buyers. Also have a read through this amazing article from Shopify on Giveaways to increase traffic.
- Organize giveaways, competitions & sweepstakes for special occasions
- Use influencers, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, organic searches and emails to deliver these campaigns
- Design campaigns quarterly, half yearly and yearly for better brand recall
Using the methods mentioned in our Facebook exercise above, find some interests related to your niche’s audience. Source a product related to those interests from eBay or AliExpress and host a giveaway for your customers (such as a free gift for all orders above $50).
Instagram marketing & Influencers
Omnicore Agency report that in April 2017 there were close to 700 million monthly Instagram users. Since it’s a Facebook owned service we can expect that number to radically grow. Instagram influencer marketing is becoming a norm for eCommerce stores.
Marketing on Instagram can be both organic and paid. If you wish to use organic techniques you can create a profile for your store and share appealing content to engage the audience. You can then place a buy button to encourage your followers to browse through your e-store.
Similarly, you can also partner with influencers or Instagram users with a large following. For a nominal fee, influencers will publish your products, posts, and messages to their followers. MadiaKix published an excellent infographic detailing prominent stats for influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is now a $1 billion dollar market, projected to grow to $2.38 billion by 2019. 24% U.S. influencers consider Instagram as the most important platform for marketing.
A great way is to send product samples to Instagram influencers. These samples are then advertised by the influencer with a link to the e-store in their photos of the product. Instagram has been identified to offer 25% more engagement compared to other social media platforms.
Use Trending Hashtags
Instagram Web Viewer, WEBSTA, is also an ideal channel to approach for Instagram marketing. The website offers trending hashtags that can be used in your niche to advertise products free to a large audience.
Also, remember that engagement depends on the quality of content being shared on the Instagram account.
- Create an Instagram profile for the e-store (free)
- Consider both free & paid Instagram marketing
- Partner with influencers on Instagram to reach larger audiences (Paid)
- Use hashtags on Instagram to reach untapped audiences
Search for top hashtags that your niche/audience use, to see which content generates the most likes and comments. Observe post timings-of-the-day and number of followers, maintain this data in an excel sheet. You’re basically looking for people with a relatively small number of followers who are getting a lot of engagement. Then try creating similar pictures or videos for your Instagram profile and post them regularly on the timings against which you saw the most engagements. You have now solved two problems (what should I post and how do I get engagements?) at once!
Reddit currently has traffic metrics of over 1.5 billion per day, with an average visit duration of 10 minutes per user. The renowned hub of communities is an excellent platform to create a fan following for your e-store. There are 50,000 communities and over 250 million registered users from 217 countries available on the platform currently.
Follow Reddit Rules
Do remember that Reddit may seem a bit confusing at first because of its ordinary design and confusing features. But, the important thing is to listen and read through hundreds of Reddit threads. There are certain rules and etiquette that must be followed on Reddit. Inability to comply will simply lead to your profile being banned. Always read guidelines provided by moderators when joining threads.
Build Your Audience
The process begins by joining the various sub-Reddits related to your niche. Read through comments and chat with users who have relevant questions related to your products. Once you have an engaged following, you can create a massive fan following from around the world for your e-store. This will however take time, it is not something that happens overnight or even in a fortnight, be patient.
Share Interesting Content
The platform allows sharing videos, blogs, podcasts, special offer coupons and other techniques to engage audiences. The greatest value to Redditors is unique and new content, created by other users. Sharing something that the audience has not seen yet can get massive traffic on the e-store. Create something unique like several a photo of several kittens eating from one bowl if you own a pet food e-store.
Advertise on Reddit
Reddit also provides banner ad space and customization options to create a lasting impression for brands. This traditional digital marketing technique is easiest, but will cost for the ad space. The platform also provides real time analytics and feedback from your audience to deliver better ad campaigns.
- Tap Reddit’s massive community for prospect customers
- Listen to people, understand their issues
- Partner with communities and advertise using banner ads
- Create a dedicated community of your brand
- Solve user queries plus provide videos, unique & interesting content to your audience
- Provide links to product pages when audience is ready
SEO – Search Engine Optimization
Use Keywords in Content
Optimizing your e-store’s product pages for Google is a must, since you want to rank better in searches. Keywords, an essential element of SEO, are popular search terms buyers’ enter in Google search to find products. Intelligent use of popular search terms in e-store content is essential. Keywords must be relevant to your products otherwise the new Google AI will not rank your pages higher in searches.
Unique Descriptions & Titles
Product descriptions are another essential element of your SEO. The more unique your product descriptions, the better your store ranking.By unique I simply mean create your own descriptions & product titles, do not copy it from supplier catalogues.
Use Alt-Text in Images
Another important, neglected aspect of eCommerce SEO is tagging your product photos with alt-text. This feature usually available through WordPress or Shopify CMS, allows you to give your product images a proper title. This trick allows your products to be found in Google Images searches, allowing more people to find your online store.
Use Keywords in URL Slugs
The ‘slug’ in e-store landing pages or product pages URLs are crucial to get a higher Google search ranking. Slugs must contain your primary keyword, since it is a recommended practice from Google. So, for a pet food e-store using the keyword in the URL slug (shown above) is the ideal way to rank higher in Google searches.
Be Human, Listen and Talk to People
It is also essential to answer questions relevant to your audiences and targeted niches. This can be done through a blog on your e-store, forums & communities, and even on social media websites. A major platform you can use to answer important queries like “which pet food is most nutritious?” is the Q&A website Quora.
Traffic arriving from search engines is proven to increase brand visibility among new audiences, while providing other additional benefits.
- Use keywords across content on the e-store
- Create unique product titles and descriptions
- Label you product images with Alt-Text
- Use keywords in URL slugs
- Answer relevant questions that your audience search for on blogs, communities, social websites
Find medium sized stores that sell products similar to yours. Run them through a traffic analysis website such as Similarweb or Ahrefs to see how much traffic they’re getting from search engines. You’ll be able to analyze what pages generate the highest amount of organic traffic for them and should have a clear idea to improve upon that to compete with them.
That’s all for now, folks!
I hope you enjoyed my brief overview of ways to increase traffic on your eCommerce store. If you liked it do remember to share it with friends, and do leave feedback for me to improve. For more guides, tips, tutorials, tricks and educational resources stay connected and come back soon for more amazing reads.