How to Increase Traffic to Your eCommerce Website
Each year, more people shop online. Affordability and convenience continue to drive consumers to shop with online retailers. As interest and trust in online shopping increases, so do the number of retailers taking their business to the web.
Competition can be healthy for your business. However, rising competition means you have your work cut out for you if you want to get in front of your audience.
Online retailers often feel like pumping money into costly pay-per-click ads is the only way to increase traffic to their website.
There are plenty of low-cost (and free) ways to get more visitors shopping in your online store. In this article, we’ll show you some of the tried-and-true methods for building traffic to your eCommerce site.
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Let Referrals Generate New Customers For Your Online Store
Your current customers are one of the best sources for driving new customers to store. Referrals can generate a significant amount of income. In fact, 65% of new business comes from referrals according to data shared by the New York Times.
There’s a little referral marketing taking place around every business. People naturally talk about their purchases and experiences. Actually, they do it more frequently than you can imagine. There are around 2.4 billion brand-related conversations happening every day in the United States alone.
Incentivize Through Referral Reward Programs
Those conversations can happen without you taking any action, but you can (and should) encourage it. 77% of consumers are more likely to purchase something new when turned on to it by a friend. Not to mention, people who are referred by friends are 4x more likely to make a purchase.
The easiest way to jumpstart referrals is to implement a referral rewards program. These programs integrate with your eCommerce platform and track customer referrals. When a new customer attributes a purchase to an existing customer, the existing customer typically gets reward points, credit, a cash bonus, or some other reward.
The size of the reward isn’t as important as the incentive itself. More than 50% of consumers say they’re likely to give a referral when offered a direct incentive.
A service like Referral Candy is simple to setup and you have 100% control over how customers are rewarded and the types of rewards they get.
Give Customers a (Good) Reason to Talk About You
Word of mouth and referrals are the oldest (and most cost effective) form of customer acquisition. Unfortunately, too many businesses just assume customers are talking about them. They settle with the idea that their service is good enough to inspire customers to talk about them.
When was the last time a business motivated you to tell people when you had an average, mediocre shopping experience or customer service?
“Most people don’t tell each other about their perfectly adequate experiences with businesses,” writes Jay Baer, marketing speaker and founder of Convince and Convert. “They tell them about the experiences that are memorable, interesting or outstanding. That’s the tipping point for word-of-mouth: It’s about creating an experience that is actually worth talking about.”
If you want to benefit from referrals and get word-of-mouth churning more traffic to your eCommerce store, then give your customers a reason to talk about you.
By changing your customer service and operations to a more customer-centric model, you’ll improve customer satisfaction and customer retention. Not only are your current customers staying longer and spending more (increasing customer lifetime value), they’re also more likely to become vocal brand ambassadors generating more new customers for you.
Generate Free and Targeted Traffic with Content Marketing
You might not fancy yourself much of a writer, and that’s okay. A lot of business owners go blank when they consider starting a blog. With everything on your plate, it’s not always easy to make time for putting blog posts together or trying to figure out what to write.
It’s worth it though.
Creating authoritative content around what you know (your business, your industry, your products, etc.) can drive laser-targeted traffic back to your site.
Especially when that content is helpful and relevant to your audience’s needs and interests.
Here’s the proof of just how effective content can be when used in eCommerce:
Companies who blog get 97% more links (and more traffic)
6 out of 10 consumers have made a purchase after reading a blog
Over 409 million people read more than 23.7 billion pages every month
Most importantly, 93% of web traffic originates with search engines. Creating awesome, educational content that entertains and answers readers burning questions can rise to the top of search results. Each blog, once published, becomes an endless source of relevant traffic.
Any content your audience finds valuable has a chance of getting shared across social media increasing visibility for your online store around the world.
Need help with creating awesome and high-value content? Start with these resources:
The Honest Guide to ecommerce Blogging – Wishpond
Target Influencers and Their Audiences
Teaming up with an influencer to talk about your products and your brand can potentially expose you to thousands – if not millions – of new customers. Influencer marketing is the fastest growing online acquisition method with 86% of brands surveyed by eMarketer using influencer marketing last year.
There is a cost involved but nearly a quarter of marketers feel influencer marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing methods for generating new customers.
Don’t just choose any influencer. Take the time to find an influencer relevant to your industry who also shares your beliefs - which are often aligned with the values of their followers.
The trust your audience has with the influencer can have a dramatic impact on your traffic. Around 49% of consumers look to influencers for recommendations and 40% of consumers admit to purchasing something after seeing it discussed by an influencer on social media.
If you’re budget is limited, and you can’t quite afford influencer campaigns there’s another way to tap into their audience.
Create blog posts that feature your favorite targeted influencers. Talk about their ideas, content, opinions and more. You can even talk about multiple influencers in a “roundup” post that links back to them.
When the content goes live be sure to notify the influencers. There’s a good chance they’ll share it with their audience which boosts your exposure.
Build Social Traffic with Intent to Convert
Social media may occupy a lot of our time, but it’s actually one of the smallest referral traffic sources, averaging about 3.3% of traffic on average for eCommerce stores. Still, traffic is traffic.
The amount of content clogging up user feeds does pose a problem. You may struggle to get your content on the feeds of people who don’t already follow your brand.
The key is creating high value posts. Especially those that can get an emotional response or tell a story. The more interesting and valuable the content, the more engagement you’ll see. As engagement rises, your social posts will start to show more prominently in the feeds of those who follow the others engaging your posts.
Just like your blog, you need to focus on creating high-value, interesting, and entertaining content that’s worthy of a like, comment, or share.
And don’t forget the visuals.
Writing quality posts on social media isn’t enough. You need really great visuals to go with your posts. When customers are speed scrolling their social feed they’ll stop on a dime for something that looks interesting.
That’s because our brain processes images 60,000x faster than words. Once they see those visuals, the content will pull them in to jumpstart engagement. According to Buffer, Tweets with images get 150% more retweets than text posts.
Facebook posts with images see 2.3% more engagement than general posts without images.
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Use Cross-Channel Selling on Social Media
You don’t have to send your customers to your website in order to get their eyes on your products. A number of social media platforms have recognized the amount of time and attention given to their networks and they’ve made updates catering to the needs of businesses.
Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have all included features that allow brands to promote products and link back to the checkout on their site. The features have become so popular that eCommerce platforms like Shopify include built-in functionality to integrate with these features and have products automatically listed.
Granted, people are on social media to socialize and not necessarily to shop. That won’t stop them from clicking and investigating a product that catches their eye. That gives you the chance to turn a view into a potential customer.
According to AdWeek, 1/4 of Americans check social media before purchasing a gift, a third of consumers have taken action when seeing a product being promoted in their social feed and almost a third of online shoppers find new things to buy on social media.
Get your products listed on your social channels and don’t be afraid to promote them alongside the other high-value content you’re creating and sharing.
Experiment with Abandoned Cart Emails
You don’t just want to increase traffic; you want traffic that converts. Every day, customers visit stores online, shop, add items to their cart, and then leave without making a purchase, never be heard from again.
The Baymard Institute measures the average abandoned cart rating among the largest brands each year. It tends to hover around 70% year over year. Some of those may return eventually, but why leave it to chance?
In your efforts to increase traffic to your eCommerce website, you should also try to get that traffic to convert.
An abandoned cart email campaign can help you return some of that lost traffic back to your store.
A short series of emails showing the customer what they left in their cart with a call to action to come checkout has been shown to recover as much as 29.9% of lost sales. In addition, the average order value of recovered purchases is 14.2% higher on average than typical purchases. That’s great return on your email marketing efforts!
eCommerce stores commonly send two to three emails in an abandoned cart campaign:
Right after the cart is abandoned
The second email within 24 hours of the cart being abandoned
The third email within the first 3-5 days after the cart is abandoned
Often the last email sent is a last-ditch effort to win the customer back and sometimes includes a discount offer such as free shipping or 10% off. It’s a smart way to incentivize the customer to return.
If you already run abandoned cart campaigns, then try optimizing them. Make improvements to the copy, visuals, and subject lines to improve the number of carts you recover.
Here are some great resources to help setup and improve your abandoned cart campaigns:
Best Practices for Cart Abandonment Emails – GetResponse
Abandoned Cart Email Examples Proven to Boost Revenue – OptinMonster
Use Retargeting to Nurture Your Audience
While there’s a number of free and low-cost options to increase traffic to your eCommerce store, you’ll want to establish some kind of a budget for paid advertising. However, rather than burning through ad dollars with blind campaign targeting, you can use retargeting (also referred to as remarketing) to focus only on customers likely to convert.
Retargeting through Google Shopping ads and Facebook ads and other social sites work similarly to abandoned cart emails. By installing a pixel or tracker on your site, the user’s activity and behaviors are recorded.
If they view certain products or pages but don’t make a purchase, you can use the tracking code to show them dynamic ads in Google and in social media that display the product they showed interest in.
This approach to paid advertising can boost ad response by as much as 400%. The click through rates are also noticeably higher: display ads average a 0.07% click through while retargeted ads average 0.70%.
Those customers do go on to purchase. According to CMO, customers retargeted with display ads have a 70% higher conversion rate.
Check out these resources to help you master growing traffic through retargeting:
Facebook Retargeting Ads: A Step-by-step Guide – A Better Lemonade Stand
Ultimate Guide to Adwords Remarketing – PPCHero
Don’t Forget This One Thing While Trying to Increase Traffic to Your Online Store
Even with the inclusion of paid advertising, you don’t need a huge ad budget to be successful in eCommerce. You will need to actively market, exceed customer expectations, and tap into your creativity to start increasing targeted traffic for your online store.
No matter which recommendations you use from this article, there’s one thing that is vital to success: you need to keep your audience at heart. Your prospective customer is the reason you’re delivering better service, creating content, packing in value, improving your engagement, and more. As long as you focus on solving problems and empowering customers, you’ll see the growth you’re aiming for.
Written by Ruthie Bowles
Ruthie is a content marketing consultant for Logiwa. Her specialties include small business development and inventory management.