6. Generating Traffic – How to Get Customers into Your Virtual Store
The best online store isn’t worth a thing if it doesn’t attract any customers. Luckily, there are several ways to get customers to come and take a look.
Free sounds good, right? There are several ways to benefit from free traffic. Let’s divide them into SEO, social media, and email marketing.
Search engine optimization for ecommerce
SEO is a long process. It can take months to find those particular search terms that really generate visits. Once you’ve reached those front-row positions, you’ll typically stay at the top for a while, but it also depends on what your competition does for their own SEO and how knowledgeable they are on the subject.
Please note: Investing in SEO is particularly beneficial when there are already a lot of online search queries by people who want to buy a product you’re offering. Now let’s assume you’re trying to sell MacBooks. That search term is used thousands of times a day on Google (according to the Google Keyword Planner, the actual number is around 10,000 times per day).
Now, you can get a piece of that pie by using SEO. Landing on the first Google results page when people search “macbook” will, however, most likely be out of the question – the competition is just too strong.
Instead, you could optimize for a search term such as “macbook air 13 inch review”. The term is only searched around 20 times per day, but the competition isn’t as tight there, either. You could do this for your blog, for instance. Still, reaching page one in the search results will still be incredibly difficult for an example such as this, but it’s a good way to illustrate the principle we’re talking about here. More information on the topic can be found in this ecommerce SEO guide for beginners or in this even more advanced guide.
Social media – ideal for “shiny objects”
You can get the most out of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Pinterest if your product is cool. Products that people buy in an impulsive moment – a funny t-shirt, an interesting video documentary, a stylish clothes rack, or a backpack with an integrated power bank.
You know, things the customers don’t even know they want to buy yet. Things that are shared and, as a result, spread by word of mouth. In order for this strategy to work, you usually need a large number of invested followers and fans.
Newsletters – turn prospects into customers
For senders with a smaller number of subscribers, there are a few free newsletter providers. These are excellent for beginners. A newsletter is especially useful if you want to animate visitors to return to your store, or if you want to turn a previous customer into a repeat customer.
You can get a prospect’s email address by offering a rebate coupon, for instance. If you offer a product that requires some explanation, you can also try a free PDF guide or an ebook. By getting their email address, you will be able to send out autoresponder emails to your customers, meaning an automatic sequence of predetermined emails that animates the recipient to return to your website.
Paid traffic: The easiest and fastest way (for people who have money)
Two services come to mind for this strategy: Adwords and Facebook ads. As mentioned above, you need to know what kind of product you’re trying to sell. The cool product is better suited for Facebook. As an added convenience, it’s very easy to pinpoint your target audience. For example, you can offer t-shirts for special interest groups (such as people who fly drones in their leisure time) and then market them to that particular interest group, too.
Google Adwords is more about search volumes and click prices. At the end of the day, it’s your return on investment that counts, and it should, ideally, be positive. That’s why you need to do some data analysis. Too many people throw their money at paid traffic ads without knowing whether they’ll get any success out of it. If in doubt, consult a professional.