Driving traffic is one thing. Driving relevant traffic is another. Obviously, relevant traffic is the only way to go when it comes to acquiring customers. As long as you are able to do that, your sales will keep increasing. That’s the key to survive. Yet, it is also the biggest struggle.
eCommerce companies these days are finding it increasingly challenging to draw (engage and retain) their potential target customers. With hundreds of eCommerce stores coming up every single day, competition has become ever so brutal.
One cursory glance at the graph below and you’ll see the sharp increase in customers that Shopify has witnessed in recent times.
As competition grows and sends your conversion rates down the hill, how do you increase eCommerce traffic and keep your sales from flatlining?
Do you know that the top 100 online retailers are able to convert only 2.8% of their visitors? Which implies that thousands of other merchants who don’t fall in the ‘top merchants’ category need to work even harder to increase the footfall in their stores. After all, if the best can only convert 3 out of 100 visitors, the average online merchants will find themselves settling for an even unimpressive number.
The baseline here is that the more you increase eCommerce traffic numbers for your Shopify store, the better your chances of winning more sales. And, in this post, we give you our two cents on how to keep winning!
Evergreen strategies to increase eCommerce traffic
1. Optimize for search and search engines
Either your store is on the first page of the search engine or it is lost in the hurricane of search results over the Bermuda Triangle – never to be discovered. A typical shopper will head to the search engine before they even find your brand on social media, when looking for something specific to purchase.
Statistics establish that 93% of online brand journeys begin from search engines. So while you may find the constantly changing algorithms hard to keep up with, you can’t put SEO on the back burner.
Numbers, as usual, prove the point precisely. As per SmartInsights , the number one spot on Google gets you a click-through rate of 36.4%. By the time you reach the 10th position on the first page CTR dips to 2.2%. Thereafter, things just get worse.
To make your Shopify SEO game plan strong, begin with an in-depth keyword research, including those keywords that your competitors are using to rank on the top positions on Google. ReferralCandy created this nifty guide on how to choose the right keywords to increase eCommerce traffic. Read it here.
Include your keywords within product descriptions, product titles, product images alt text, and meta descriptions for all your web pages. Apart from on-page SEO, create a strong action plan for off-page SEO as well. This will help you pull traffic from other websites that have high domain authority.
2. Use Email marketing to drive engagement
While SEO drives both new and repeat visits, email focuses strictly on your existing customer base. The idea behind email marketing is to keep your current customers in the loop and nurture them for re-engagement and repeat buys.
What’s great about email marketing is that you don’t have to work your way to earn any rank. However, you need to pay considerable attention to driving in high open and click-throughs. Keep your email marketing targeted and highly-relevant. That’s the only secret to ensuring that you don’t end up in the junk folder of your email recipients. Nail email marketing and you will be easily able to earn $44 on every $1 spent!
Considering the ROI that email marketing promises, online merchants— both big and small— have been leveraging it to send out recommendations, promotional offers, as well as informational content. Email marketing also works wonders for cart recovery and for re-engaging dormant users.
Unlike what many believe, despite being quite an old tactic, email marketing hasn’t become outdated or faded away. Instead, it has evolved to a point where it’s now possible to run laser-focused personalization campaigns that are highly relevant to buyer intent and stage.
Behavioral automation has enabled marketers to dig out ‘onsite action-based’ user insights, which can be utilized to send transactional and trigger-based emails that give way better conversions than broadcast messaging. Consider the following email to get a better hold on behaviorally targeted email marketing:
It goes without saying that everyone nowadays has at least one social media account; Facebook being the most popular with over 2 billion monthly active users. Instagram, too, is a rage, thanks to how easy is to make things socially shareable using it. Over 1 billion people today have an Instagram account. If you want more numbers on social media usage, this post by Buffer is a quick and easy read to skim through.
Online merchants can use social media for organic as well as for paid promotions to win more (quality traffic). For example, to increase eCommerce traffic organically to your Instagram page, you need to use interesting and high-quality pictures, absolutely crisp and engaging copy, popular hashtags. Posting stories can also help you get discovered by new audiences on the platform.
An emerging tactic to grow your following on Instagram is to win shoutouts from pages that have significant user following. Nice Kicks uses this strategy for organic growth by encouraging shoppers to show off their latest purchase from them.
Everything said and done, organic growth and building a huge following is a time-consuming exercise. That’s why paid promotions! For tapping in visits quickly from a super interested audience base, run ads. Here’s how Koala used Facebook ads to get more visits, and subsequently purchases, during Easter.
Take special note of Instagram in your paid marketing strategy. Mobile ad revenues for this channel raked in a whopping $2.8 billion in 2017 worldwide. You don’t want to miss this tremendous opportunity, do you?
4. Tune in to the Facebook Messenger
Relatively new yet extremely promising, Facebook Messenger is the second most popular iOS app of all time. The first being Facebook, of course! The same source also points out that over 20 billion messages are exchanged on FB Messenger every month!
Smart marketers and eCommerce merchants have wisely added Messenger to their channel mix.
Automation further strengthens the case for messenger marketing, taking away the need for 24/7 manual support on chat. Instead, chatbots neatly imitate humans by smartly conversing with shoppers in a contextual and personalized manner. Facebook Messenger marketing is used to run campaigns ranging from promotions to cart recovery to referrals to feedback solicitation. Check out this screenshot to get a quick cue on how messenger marketing works.
5 Stay in touch with web push notifications
Web push notifications are a great way to get to those customers who don’t like subscribing to emails or for those who are less likely to open their email in time. Since web push notifications land straight on device screens, people don’t need to be logged in to receive and access timely alerts or messages.
What’s even better is that only people who want to be notified about your products will opt-in for web push notifications. So you have genuine buyers, right there! This means that your click-throughs won’t get wasted as the traffic being targeted is highly relevant.
To further improve conversions from web push notifications, you need to have a strong hold on best practices for all types of shoppers – active, dormant, frequent buyers, cart abandoners, etc.
For example, to drive re-engagement from your current, frequent buyers, you can run recommendation or special discount campaigns to this segment of your subscribers. Or you could promote a limited range of products to make them feel special.
Similarly, you can also easily re-engage one time visitors who walk off without making a purchase. Send them a one-time discount with web push and see them rushing back! Read more about Segmentation.
All you need to do is enable an opt-in that appears for your visitors a few seconds after landing on your store. With Shopify apps like PushOwl, you can set this up and get started with your first campaign in minutes. The ready to use campaign templates make it easier to visualise and create campaigns, and the dashboard gives you insights on their performance, so that you stay ahead!
6. Work out a solid content marketing strategy
People will rarely buy on their first interaction with your website. They need enough information and convincing about their purchase. To nudge shoppers from this consideration phase to becoming purchase-ready, you need to lean on content marketing.
In simple words, content marketing requires you to create interesting, engaging, informative, and helpful content for shoppers at any stage in their purchase journey. However, that’s just half the story. Content marketing also requires sharing content on the right channels and often syndicating it to grab fresh eyeballs.
Get creative and play around with fresh content formats. From podcasts to Infographics to lookbooks to virtual reality augmented explainer videos, spin out content that piques interest. In all cases, however, keep your messaging relevant to your target audience. Proflowers, for example, went all out to create a super informational list of 151 flowers to help their shoppers buy the best blooms for the season.
Lastly, instead of talking and sounding too salesy about your product, create content that actually helps your shoppers make informed purchases. With a strong content marketing strategy in place, you can improve your engagement rates considerably, as reported by 72% of marketers. Hungry for more proof? Check these statistics from Optinmonster.
7. Make the influencers join in
Influencers are the celebrities of the digital age. With a huge fan following, they are the trendsetters on social media. The effectiveness of influencers is similar to how people trust celebrity endorsements. Stats reassert this point – 86% of the most-watched videos on YouTube about beauty were made by influencers, compared to a mere 14% from brands.
This cognitive behaviour of placing trust in authoritative figures has been leveraged by many online merchants to run successful marketing campaigns. For small scale solopreneurs who want to grow traffic quickly without having to shell out hefty sums on ads, influencer marketing is talismanic.
Here’s how JCrew uses influencer marketing to get their brand promoted on Instagram:
8. Join the affiliate marketing bandwagon
Affiliate marketing promises scale and distribution, which consequently results in increasing your reach quickly and consistently. That’s probably the reason why more than 80% of brands today leverage affiliate marketing. What makes affiliates really tick for small businesses is that they payout to the affiliate only when they complete a sale. This lowers risk, turning it into an ideal money-making scenario.
However, to reap the best results from an affiliate program, choose your affiliate partner and program with utmost caution. Hunt for publishers that your target shoppers visit and engage with frequently.
Having your affiliates display your products gives you a higher probability of grabbing the attention of the audience you aim to bring to your web store. Moreover, since these affiliate sites are trusted by your ideal target shoppers, they are likely to take these product recommendations seriously.
Hunting for ideas to make affiliate marketing work for you? Here is an excellent resource for to start: 10 Surprising Ways Affiliate Marketing Will Transform Your eCommerce Business.
9. Invest in search ads
What people type on their search engines reveals a lot about their buying intent. Search ads leverage this intent by displaying super relevant search results. In a nutshell, this means search ads help eCommerce businesses win highly relevant click-throughs at the lowest possible cost per click.
Consider the following example.
When a user types in his search query, search ads line up right on his screen showing him the most relevant options to interact with. The shopper can now click on any one of these products based on the copy, description, price, and image. While optimizing for search ads, pay attention to these parameters to beat competing advertisers.
10. Set up a Facebook Shop
We’ve already established the case for adding Facebook marketing into your list of priorities. Besides driving traffic to your online store, it can also be the platform that directly fetches you conversions.
Social shopping is on the rise because of how convenient it is. Simply click on the ‘buy it’ button and you are directed to checkout. That’s why setting a Facebook shop is a future-forward tactic.
However, if you don’t want your Facebook Shop to eat up your web store’s footfall limit the number of products that you display on the social platform. You don’t want all these people to miss out on all the promotional campaigns currently running on your website, right?
Want a glimpse of how a Facebook Shop looks to your shoppers? Here you go:
11. Run retargeting ads often
Only 2% of people make a purchase on their first visit. That’s a walloping 98% of the traffic— along with all the time, effort, and money that you’ve spent on bringing this traffic to your store— that is going down the drain. To add to this, you will even have customers in your list who are dormant for months.
Massive potential sales lie hidden in these dormant as well as untapped visitors. Not to forget, even your repeat buyers are extremely profitable if you are able to frequently bag repurchases from them.
In fact, statistics and studies prove that a repeat customer spends considerably more during his sixth purchase than his first. That is why you need to put your efforts into retargeting. To supercharge your retargeting ad campaigns targeting users by specific actions taken on your site, just the way Jasper’s Market does:
If you run your eCommerce business on Shopify, make use of apps like Shoelace that have been built to ensure that retargeting works for you. The app leverages automation alongside human expertise to help you engage with customers at all stages across their purchase journeys.
12. Take SMS seriously
If you consider SMS as an outdated channel understand that no channel gets obsolete. What gets obsolete are the tactics and strategies used for running marketing campaigns on those channels.
Today, people demand ease and convenience. Therefore, a plain text message minus any embedded links that take them straight to a landing page, will fail. Thanks to technology, you can embed images, videos, and links in your SMS to make them more engaging and ‘click-worthy’.
Want to use SMS marketing for promoting time sensitive offers? SMS API’s allow you to quickly pull in a big crowd into your sales funnel. For Shopify eCommerce stores working on increasing their web store’s traffic, apps like SMSBump take SMS marketing to the next level.
Using the app you can create SMS workflows for cart abandoners, frequent buyers, and to run different campaigns, just like you do with email.
13. Think about selling on eBay
eBay has millions of customers. Wouldn’t it be great if you could attract this set of audience to your Shopify store. Plus, selling or marketing on eBay doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, making it a cost-effective strategy to drive traffic to your store.
Most shoppers on eBay understand that sellers might be running their own web stores. That’s why when searching outside eBay, they are likely to look for your eBay seller ID. To make it easy for people to look you up, double-check that your eBay ID and Shopify store domain match.
Once they have found your Shopify store, the next thing that they’ll look for is brand consistency. Shoppers prefer and trust a seamless shopping experience. Use the same colors, images, logos, and fonts on eBay that you use on your Shopify store. That’s how shoppers will be sure that it’s actually you!
Here’s a nifty resource to help you get started: Find new customers for your Shopify store by selling on eBay.
Lastly, if shoppers are searching for you outside eBay, chances are they want to explore options other than what you’ve already listed on eBay.
Over to you
Your top priority as an eCommerce business is to focus on continuously increasing as well as consistently maintaining a good influx of traffic.
Once you’ve gotten there, you can start implementing different engagement, re-engagement, and conversion optimization strategies to quickly convert footfall into an active and a loyal customer base.
With the tactics mentioned above, you’ll soon see a considerable increase in eCommerce traffic that converts. Have more interesting strategies to add to this list? Share in the comments below!