When ecommerce first arrived on the web, a general wariness plagued the opinions of most buyers.
People weren’t sure what to make of brands like Amazon and eBay.
Customers would think, What? You want me to give you money before I even have the product?
How can I trust that you’re going to send it after I give you my information?
Today, the internet and its trade still scare some people.
But it’s now more common for people buy online from stores they’ve never heard of before, trusting that they’ll receive the item in a timely fashion.
Why? Everyone is now familiar with the world of ecommerce.
You don’t have to take my word for it:
Consumers worldwide spent over $1.5 trillion in ecommerce in 2015.
What’s more, the trend is growing at an incredible rate. If it continues, consumers will spend over $4 trillion in ecommerce in 2020.
But despite all the money being spent online, as with anything worth doing, the internet is getting cluttered with ambitious entrepreneurs taking a stab at ecommerce.
As of 2015, an estimated 12 million ecommerce stores ruled the web.
I’m no mathematician, but I can say that there’s a whole lot of competition out there.
Sure, there are a lot of consumers with a lot of different tastes, opinions, and desires.
But that consumer variety can’t compete with the sheer volume of online stores trying to get their cut of the most recent gold-rush.
And here’s the worst part:
Only 650,000 of those 12 million stores are making over $1,000 per year. Or just 5.5% of stores make any money.
That’s enough to ruin most people’s faith in ecommerce.
But don’t give up so quickly.
Here’s the question we need to address:
How do you, in your position — with fewer assets than some ecommerce players and more than others — increase the traffic to your store, and thus, sales?
How do you ensure that your ecommerce store draws the eyes, hearts, and pocketbooks of consumers everywhere?
Here are seven ways for the beginner and the expert alike.
1. Monitor link-luster mentions
Have you ever wondered if people are mentioning your brand name?
That’s a valuable exercise.
But the truth is that people are probably mentioning your brand without any link to your website — which means that you’re missing out on any traffic that could come through an inbound reference.
I’m a content marketer, and I can’t count how many times I’ve come across content that mentions a brand without linking to it.
That scenario is the bane of SEO hopefuls everywhere.
So, how do you handle that situation?
Well, first, you need to monitor link-lacking brand mentions.
If you sign up for their software, Mention will monitor any keywords regarding your brand and products — whether they have a link or not.
You can also filter your monitoring so that Mention doesn’t bombard you with unnecessary notifications.
You can even respond to social media mentions directly within the app.
But for our purposes, linkless website mentions are what count.
First, you have to find the contact info for the website that mentioned you.
As Andrew Scarbrough from Bigcommerce writes, “Focus your time finding the contact info for the person that can turn that plain text shoutout into a relevant inbound link.”
[clickToTweet tweet=”Spend time finding the person that can turn that text shoutout into a relevant inbound link.” quote=”Spend time finding the person that can turn that plain text shoutout into a relevant inbound link.”]
Once you do, send them an email that says something like this:
I noticed that you recently mentioned me in [specific article]. I really appreciate you doing so.
Would you be willing to add this link to the mention as well for me?
Thanks again for mentioning me in your content!
Most people will add the link without any problem.
To gain all of that lost traffic from linkless mentions, all you need to do is ask!
2. Run Facebook Ads
Do you run Facebook Ads?
If you do, you’re probably already familiar with their power. If not, you might still be wondering if they’re worth it.
Let me take away any guesswork you’re doing.
93% of consumers allow social media to influence their buying decisions.
And 77% of companies have acquired a customer through social media.
For these reasons, marketers put their money where the data is, with 92% of them running Facebook Ads.
Okay, you’re convinced. Facebook Ads drive traffic and land sales.
But how do you start your first Facebook Ads campaign?
Well, many people have gone before you and created their own. There’s no need to be a pioneer.
This exhaustive guide from Bigcommerce will walk you through exactly how to tackle your first Facebook Advertising campaign.
3. Become an SEO pro
Just how powerful are search engines and the traffic they drive?
They’re massively powerful.
93% of online experiences begin with a search engine.
That sounds promising, right?
Only 25% of people ever scroll to page two.
That’s a harsh reality. If you’re not on page one of search results, your traffic is dying in a pool of low domain authority.
While the opportunity that search engines provide is massive, the ability to get lost in online clutter is equally (if not more) massive.
How do you ensure that you’ll rank well and become the SEO pro your ecommerce store needs you to be?
Many people have spent the better part of their careers studying the ins and outs of SEO, so I can’t give you an exhaustive guide.
But I can give you the basics.
Here’s a beginner’s list of what you need to optimize to rank better in search engines.
- More backlinks from high domain-authority websites. The more, the better.
- Savvy internal linking. Make sure each web page links to at least three other pages on your website.
- Savvy external linking. Make sure each web page links to at least three external website resources. Ideally, choose sites with high domain authorities.
- Well-placed keywords. Decide which keywords you’ll target with your content and focus those keywords throughout your content and product descriptions.
Here’s a more exhaustive SEO checklist for those of you who want to dive deeper.
4. Send free product to Instagram influencers
Influencers are a great way to drive traffic to your ecommerce store.
That is particularly true if you work with an influencer that lines up well with your brand.
For example, if you sell makeup, then find a makeup influencer on Instagram.
If you sell shoes, work with a fashion influencer.
If you sell outdoor gear, look for an outdoorsy influencer.
If you sell glasses, don’t work with a motorcycle influencer (unless they wear glasses and your glasses are specifically for motorcyclists).
You get the idea.
Once you find an influencer, one of the best ways to get them to share your product with their followers is to send them a free box of goodies.
Here’s what I mean.
By searching for “Instagram makeup influencers” on Google, I found Desi Perkins.
If I sold makeup and wanted to work with her, I would send her a message. I’d explain what my store sells and offer her a free product in return for a feature on her profile.
Shopify offers this email template for doing just that.
My name is [your name], and I’ve been a big fan of your Instagram posts.
You might be interested to know that I’ve recently launched an online store around [the type of product you sell]. I’m particularly proud of [the product that you’re sending], and wonder if you might accept if I pass along a sample of it. If you like it as much as I do, perhaps you’ll consider sharing it with your audience?
Please let me know if there’s a business address for me to send a package to, and if you have any questions at all.
You might be thinking that Desi Perkins is far too lucrative for your small ecommerce store. If that’s the case, aim for smaller-level influencers.
The beauty of influencer marketing is that there’s an influencer for every size of business.
And those influencers can help drive traffic to your store if you work with them.
5. Build an active social media following
Paid social media ads are great, but nothing beats an actual audience that follows you, not because you bought them, but because they like the content you release.
In other words, one of the best ways to drive traffic to your website is to build a following on social media.
74% of consumers rely on social media to guide their buying decisions.
But how do you build a following organically?
You have to start by creating quality content. Then, you must post that content consistently.
But that doesn’t mean you have to release and announce a new blog post for every social media post.
Instead, consider something simple like SUCCESS Magazine does with some of its posts on Facebook.
But you aren’t limited to quotes. You can ask a question or play the “caption this” game.
Remember, people are usually on social media to engage with interesting and fun content.
If you create it, they’ll come.
6. Feature influencers in your content and tell them about it.
Many strategies exist for reaching out to influencers.
But not all of them cost money.
One way to engage with influencers without seriously damaging your pocketbook is to write a blog post where you mention or feature an influencer.
Facebook fashion influencer, Xenia Tchoumitcheva, is someone that a big brand could use this method with.
If, for example, your ecommerce fashion store just came out with a new line of clothing, you could write a blog post discussing what inspired the line and what makes it different.
In the blog post, you could include something like this:
Xenia Tchoumitcheva was a huge inspiration for this line of clothing.
Then, once the piece is live, message Xenia thanking her for the inspiration she provided and asking her to tell her friends about it if she loves your product.
Something like this:
My name is [your name], and I’ve been a big fan of your Facebook posts.
You might be interested to know that I’ve recently launched a new line of clothing that you inspired. I even mentioned you here in my announcement blog post: [link]
If you like it as much as I do, perhaps you’ll consider sharing it with your audience?
Thanks again for your inspiration.
Next thing you know, you might be on her Facebook feed with a mention.
Or as she models your products.
And that will, of course, drive traffic to your website.
Again, if Xenia is too big for your ecommerce store, find a smaller influencer to work with and use the same process.
7. Encourage user-generated content.
User-generated content is one of the best avenues for driving traffic to your ecommerce store.
What is user-generated content?
It’s when, through a marketing campaign, you prompt your audience to create content surrounding your product.
Then, if your campaign is creative and appealing, you gain massive brand awareness and engagement.
A 1981 Calvin Klein commercial used the slogan, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.” Playing off of that nostalgia, Calvin Klein launched its user-generated content campaign on Instagram, asking its audience to fill in this blank: “I ______ in #MyCalvins.”
Celebrities and everyday consumers flocked to the creative campaign in unison.
The hashtag currently has 517,315 posts.
Here’s just a few.
And in the end, Calvin Klein gained 3.6 million new Instagram followers.
That’s not bad for a marketing campaign where the users create the content for them.
If you don’t have traffic, you won’t have sales.
And, well, if you don’t have sales, do you really have an ecommerce store?
The question is akin to asking, “If a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Such questions are largely nonsensical, but in the case of your ecommerce business, it’s a valid enquiry.
In the end, if no one is buying your product, you don’t really have a store.
That might be hard to accept. In fact, I hope it is.
I hope that you don’t settle for being in the 94.5% of ecommerce stores that make equal to or less than $1,000 per year.
You’re better than that. So, be better than that.
You have to monitor mentions of your brand on the internet, utilize influencers, leverage the power of social media, and encourage user-generated content.
We’re not questioning if people are buying products online. We know that they are.
The question is, “Are they buying them from you?”
And you can answer that question with a “yes” by choosing to implement these 7 tactics.