Business success today requires a strong online presence. Creating an e-commerce website is a major step, but not the main one. Building a robust online presence that will give your business a competitive edge involves quite a bit of work.
This chain of events may be more or less successful depending on the level of effort you put in and how effective your online strategy is.
A good strategy means that you are attracting the right people to your e-commerce website. These are people who are interested in what you are selling and have the potential to buy.
Attract the wrong people (poor quality traffic) and you won’t be able to sell.
In this article, we look at strategies that will ensure you attract the right people and direct them to your e-commerce website. From there they may spot things they would love to buy – a win on your end.
A comprehensive strategy involves generating both organic and paid traffic for your site. Organic traffic is generated through free methods. Paid website traffic on the other hand comes from paid search methods.
Let’s look at each method in detail.
Organic Methods of Creating Web Traffic
You can get traffic to your website without necessarily paying money for it. All you need is the right mindset, time and the knowledge to execute the necessary tactics. There are various methods of generating website traffic organically as we’ll discuss shortly.
But first things first, let’s see some best practices in organic web traffic.
Many marketers would argue that collaboration is not exactly a standalone method of generating traffic to your e-commerce site. Others would on the other hand argue in its support. That it is a best practice is, however, not debatable.
There are a lot of people in your industry who are resourceful and whom you should collaborate with. These include bloggers, people on Snapchat, YouTube marketers, Instagrammers and Podcast pundits.
These are people who are good in these channels, and chances are that they already have loyal followers. Find a way to tap into their networks to reach new audiences for your site.
Few people will be willing to help you for free, so see how you can create a give-and-take scenario and be able to leverage their existing networks to boost your reach.
What you offer them in return could be anything they’re interested in, including your network. That mutual relationship is what completes the association between you and them to qualify it as a collaboration situation.
Caveat: do not collaborate with just anyone. Identify people who will be useful to you. How, you wonder?
Go for those who have the largest number of followers with the biggest composition of your target market.
If you sell a line of clothes for instance, you will want to collaborate with top fashion bloggers in your niche. Chances are that they already have the attention of the people you seek to sell to.
Getting them to endorse your products will be a powerful leverage. Dressing them in your line of clothes will make their followers recognize your brand and start relating with it. Already you’ll be making inroads into this market.
In this online generation, it’s easy for people to forget the immense power of their offline networks and face to face interactions.
It is important to keep people who have similar interests as you close by. There’s a lot that you can accomplish through this actual, offline community.
To make this network work for you, consider attending local meetups, workshops and industry related conferences. Use these platforms to give talks and lectures. In every instance, find smart, witty ways of associating your topics with your offerings.
You’ll not only be marketing your offerings indirectly; you’ll also be gaining reputation as a prominent figure in the industry.
In addition, learn to listen and better communicate thoughts and ideas to be successful in your offline efforts.
Away from these best practices, here are the main free methods that help drive traffic to your e-commerce website.
Optimize your E-commerce Store for Search Engines
Search engines like Google, Ask and Bing are like the Internet messengers and guides. They help users find everything they are looking for on the internet by returning search results or taking users to the respective sites.
If you want to buy a product online, you may approach it in two ways:
Search for it on your browser’s search tab, or;
Visit your preferred online store and look for it there.
In either case, your default search engine is in play to get you to the product you are looking for.
The search engine will return search results that it deems most relevant to your search.
And you’ll notice that in most cases, the most accurate results appear at the top of the search engine results page (SERP; page that contains search results).
If more than one page has contents that are equally relevant to the search, the page that’s most optimized will take the lead and appear at the top of the SERP. That’s why search engine optimization (SEO) is so important.
To make the pages of your e-commerce website more visible to search engines:
Make Good use of Keywords Keywords are the specific words that appear in search phrases that act as pointers telling search engines (crawlers) exactly what a user is looking for.Use Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords that are most relevant to your products or services, and that are currently most relevant to your target market.This free tool will help you identify the best performing keywords that you can choose to add to your plan.
Improve your site’s performance Make sure your website is optimized to load fast on all device types and browsers. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to test your site.
Optimize your e-commerce site for mobile usage Most users visit your site from mobile devices. Make sure your website looks and works well on all mobile devices and browsers. Use tools like Browserstack,Google, or Screenfly to test your site’s mobile performance.
Make use of search engine tools Search engine companies like Google and Bing have good forums, guides and tools that will guide you better. Use them to improve your performance.
Optimize key pages in your e-commerce website The homepage, product pages, category pages, contact information page and the about us page are the most important to your online store. They should have all the necessary tags and should display relevant content. Use Moz to learn how to optimize these pages. Notice that these page optimization practices are not the only factors influencing SEO. There’s more, such as the quality of content on your site.
Which brings us to our next item on the list of free methods for driving traffic to your online store, content marketing.
Initiate a Robust Content Marketing Strategy
Users are constantly looking for valuable content, and Google now rewards sites with high quality content by using it as a ranking factor.
Having relevant information on your site is therefore a requirement. Start by creating a blog and make it a core part of your content marketing strategy.
The idea is to be helpful to your users. They will keep you in mind and buy from you when they need something you’re selling. That’s how a value ladder works.
Other ways to help your target audience find solutions to their day to day challenges include creating the following types of content:
User buying guides
Periodic videos (could be on a weekly basis)
Once you have these items in your arsenal, be sure to share them systematically on;
Emails sent out to your subscribers
Videos uploaded to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook
Other content such as photos and infographics shared on your social media profiles
Content displayed on your online store (homepage, search pages, product pages, category pages)
Useful Blogging Tips
Write list posts
Most users love reading listicles because they are easy to scan through. Creating list posts is an effective way to get more traffic on your e-commerce website. That’s why Buzzfeed is as popular as it is.
Write longer posts instead of shorter ones Google ranks longer posts better than shorter ones. A 1,000+ words post is likely to attract more backlinks and shares and get higher rankings by Google.
Prioritize content quality over SEO Don’t use keywords awkwardly to boost SEO over quality. Let quality come first and ensure all keywords are spread out in a natural manner.
Use catchy and memorable headlines Headlines appear conspicuously to people when you share your posts. It therefore needs to be easy to read, catchy and particularly memorable. Ensure however that the content under the headline is of equally good quality. Otherwise you could be hit by the Google Fred update.
Keep these Tips in Mind when Performing Content Marketing:
Consistency Create content on a regular basis to keep your followers engaged
Content Diversity The same style and approach over and again becomes boring over time. You don’t want that. So be sure to alternate from text to video to other visuals such as infographics and photos.
Focus on Quality Is the material helpful to your audiences? Ensure the content you’re creating is always valuable to the people interacting with it.
Use Forum Posting to your Advantage
Forum posting is one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies that marketers rarely use. Just like online article submissions, forum posting allows you to include links that lead back to your site’s content.
Members ask questions on these forums seeking some form of help. These answers are often voted in order of their usefulness.
You can leverage various forums by posting comments that provide help to one or more members of the community while also referring them to your own blogs or website for further help.
This strategy can benefit your sales by establishing you as knowledgeable vendor or helpful service provider. It can also draw attention to your products and/or services and increase the page ranking of your website by generating a stream of high-quality, organic backlinks.
To get the best from forum posting, join as many forums as possible. Make sure the forums you are joining are relevant to your business or products and services.
Social media is the place where you can meet most of your target audiences today. Back in the day it was easier to reach people organically. Today however, social media has become more dotted with competition and you need to go for premium (paid) services to get better results from your social media campaigns.
Start by creating a profile on the selected social media platform. Focus on building a huge follower base. Then use it to drive traffic to your online store freely by consistently creating valuable content.
Bonus: engage your audiences by posting content regularly, responding to questions and comments; liking, commenting and following your followers to make everything interactive, fun and useful.
Paid Methods of Creating Web Traffic
There are a lot of premium services through which you can generate traffic to your online store. Facebook Inc.’s portfolio including Facebook.com and Instagram both have paid ads services that you can subscribe to.
Once you have created your Facebook page or Instagram profile, you can boost the reach of your posts by subscribing for a suitable ad package.
You can use the same approach for the other social media including Twitter and Snapchat.
Investing in a pay per click (PPC) model is a premium way to drive traffic to your website while paying only for the engagement. Google’s AdWords service is supported by a lot of free services, including the Keyword Planner and the Search Console.
With a PPC plan you can target specific keywords that you wish to rank and be known for. More common or competitive words are likely to cost you more.
Specific or long-tail keywords, on the other hand, can have less exposure, but will often be inexpensive, yet will attract visitors who are more likely to buy from you. Make sure you come up with an effective paid marketing strategy with PPC since you can easily lose track of your ad spend and your ROI can disappear overnight.
Google Product Listing Ads
These are cost per click (CPC) advertisements that you can purchase through the AdWords service. The ads appear on top of Google’s search results pages and to the left.
Features of Product Listing Ads
they feature eye-catching product images, contact and detailed pricing information
they are tailored towards products or product categories and keywords
They comprise the two lines of text characteristic of the basic text ads
To use the service, visit Google Merchant Center and revamp your normal text ads into more vibrant and detailed Product Listing Ads.
Generating traffic for your e-commerce site can be complex and not a one off thing. You’ll notice that we have delved into more details on the free methods, because they are really what makes the foundation of a successful online marketing strategy. Take time to learn both methods in depth, and feel free to share with us what you think would work for you.
Are you Stumped on How to Best Utilize the Organic and Paid Marketing Methods Available? Let SurgeStream Help.
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