How To Drive Traffic To Your Online Store: 3 Proven Strategies
You’re about to learn 3 actionable strategies to drive traffic to your website. These strategies won’t make you an overnight success. But they will show you some low-hanging fruit to get immediate visitors to your eCommerce site, and how to grow an audience over the long-term. So grab a coffee and get comfortable. It’s time to learn how to drive traffic to your online store.
Before we dive in, here’s a quick index of everything we’ll be covering so you can get right to what you’re interested in:
- Starting a blog for SEO and more
- Influencer outreach for maximum visibility
- Paid advertising for immediate results
Each of these sections is an actionable, step by step guide you can follow to see results today – even if you’re just starting an eCommerce business. If you don’t have time to do it right now, bookmark this page so you can come back to it later.
1. Start A Blog And Drive Thousands Of Raving Fans To Your Online Store
Starting a blog is one of the easiest and best ways to drive traffic to your online store…
In the long term.
Writing a blog post every week, or even every day, won’t instantly make you show up on Google or get you boatloads of traffic. It’s more of a long-term play because it takes time to build up an audience and rank for key search terms.
The real reason for starting a blog is to use it as part of an eCommerce content marketing strategy. It’s not the blog that drives traffic, it’s the promotion and SEO work that do. That little extra effort to put your content in the right distribution channels makes all the difference.
For example, Wine Express used content marketing and saw a 154% increase in traffic, all thanks to their blog.
So, how do you start an eCommerce blog?
Blogging gets results when you focus on a few fundamental pieces. If you’re starting a blog, follow these steps:
- Base your content on keyword research.
- Create content that’s 10 times better than what’s currently out there for those keywords.
- Promote that content through influencer marketing (which we’ll talk about next).
- Continue to promote that content on social media, in forums, through comment marketing, and anywhere else you can post it.
- Build high-quality links to that content so you can begin to rank on search engines.
If you can follow those simple steps, your blog will pay dividends in return. For a more thorough guide, check out Jason Quey’s eCommerce marketing plan to get $118,000 in his online store’s first year, and over $700,000 in it’s second, all from using a blog!
2. Reach Out To Influencers To Promote Your Site
If you’ve been in the eCommerce space for more than 20 minutes, you’ve probably heard about influencer marketing.
The idea is to find influencers who already have a large following and have built trust with their audience, then reach out to these people to get them to promote your product or website on their social media accounts.
However, influencer marketing is so much more than that! You can use it to promote your blog posts, contests, and even develop mutually beneficial partnerships.
Let me give you a personal example. I recently wrote a post about RV living stories for my travel blog, and to help me write the post, I reached out to over 20 full-time RVers to share their experiences.
Many of them gladly contributed – and had popular blogs of their own. When the post went live, I shared it on Facebook and tagged all of them. The results were over 13,000 people reached and over 2,000 visitors to my site in less than two weeks.
I didn’t have to pay them to promote it for me – they gladly did so for free because they were a part of the post. If you can make influencers look good, they won’t want money from you to share your blog or your products.
In case you don’t already have a list of influencers to get in touch with, here are a few quick ways to gather a list:
- Skim through this list of influencers in almost every niche
- Search your topic on BuzzSumo and look for the people who get a lot of retweets
- Do a Google search for “top [keyword] influencers” or “best [keyword] blogs” (for example, “best fashion blogs”)
Once you have a list of influencers, you can always reach out to them on social media. However, many of them will already be getting tons of notifications there, so it can be hard to break through the noise.
Personally, I like to send out mass emails to my list. I use a tool called MailShake to automate this process, and even automate sending follow-ups to those who don’t respond. You can learn more about this process here.
Working with influencers is my personal favorite way to increase traffic to my online store basically for free. If that sounds interesting to you, be sure to plan your influencer marketing strategy. For more help, check out our free influencer marketing course.
3. Use Paid Advertising For Immediate Traffic
Want to know the fastest way to show up on the first page of Google?
Buy some ads.
Despite the cost, paid advertising is still the quickest and easiest way to drive traffic and sales to your online shop. The challenge is getting enough ROI to continue to run them indefinitely.
There are a lot of ways to purchase traffic, such as:
- Social media ads (particularly Facebook)
- Google AdWords
- PPC networks like Outbrain
- Lesser-known promotion tools like Quuu Promote
Let’s break ’em down:
Social Media Ads (Specifically, Facebook)
While almost every social media platform has a paid advertising option these days, I’m going to focus on Facebook for this section. For two reasons:
- Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities are really powerful
- Facebook’s pixel has some built-in AI that allows it to learn who your best audience is, so it gets cheaper over time
It’s also super easy to get started with Facebook ads, and it’s the channel I’ve seen the most success on. Pinterest has some potential as well, especially for eCommerce, but I haven’t nailed it down enough yet.
This article isn’t an end all be all guide to Facebook advertising, but I wanted to give you a few quick tips that helped me get the most out of my ads so you can copy what’s working:
Stick to boosting what’s already performing well organically.
For example, a friend of mine is helping a local Zoo in our area called Claws N’ Paws with their social media. He posted a video of a new giraffe being unloaded from the trailer and walked to its exhibit. The video started performing well organically, so he boosted the post. It ended up getting over 28k views, and more than 75% of them were completely unpaid and organic.
The remarkable thing is that their Facebook page only had 7,662 likes at that time – which means many of those views were from the friends of their followers. The video got over 200 shares!
Many people complained when Facebook changed their algorithm to show your posts only to a small percentage of your followers. In reality, they just made it so only engaging posts show up in your follower’s feed.
This is actually a good thing for the users because it means they won’t be spammed with all the random crap people tend to share on their Facebook pages that wouldn’t get any engagement no matter how many people saw it.
Long story short – experiment to figure out what your audience likes to engage with, then boost the posts that are already performing well in order to maximize your reach and ROI. Next tip:
Use more video content.
Video content gets, on average, 135% greater organic reach compared to a static image or text-only content. My friends Zoo example above proves that.
His video also proves that the quality doesn’t even need to be very high. The video they posted is very pixelated and all over the place. But people still engage with it because it’s not every day you get to see a giraffe being unloaded from a trailer. Despite the quality, it’s interesting.
Here are some video ideas you can take:
- Show everyone behind-the-scenes of your production process or your office
- Create videos of cool or unique ways to use your products, like the “Will it Blend?” series
- Use a tool like Animoto to create text overlays on moving images of your products
One last thing to keep in mind: Roughly 85% of Facebook videos are viewed without sound. So make sure your video is still engaging even if the sound is off. Tasty does an awesome job of this:
To increase your chances of organic performance, tag influencers in your niche.
We already discussed this in the section on influencers. By tagging others who have a large following, you increase the chances they’ll share it with their followers. A simple tip – but an important one, nonetheless!
Finally, incorporate UGC.
User-generated content (UGC) are things like user’s photos, user reviews, and anything your followers post on your social media accounts.
You can leverage their photos and reviews in your Facebook ads to massively increase engagement. It’s a win-win-win: Your customer is flattered, engagement is high, and you didn’t have to create any new content.
If you’re ready to dive into Facebook advertising, check out AdEspresso’s complete guide.
I won’t pretend to be an expert on Google Adwords. I haven’t had much experience with it, personally. However, I know many people are using it to great success, so I wanted to mention it.
Shopify has a guide to Google AdWords for eCommerce. They walk you through everything you need to know to get started, step by step. Alternatively, you can hire an AdWords management company like KlientBoost to take care of everything for you if you have the revenue.
PPC Networks (Outbrain)
Outbrain is a “content discovery and marketing platform”. Basically, they partner with sites in almost every niche, which allows you to purchase PPC ads on those sites.
For example, your ad might show up on CNN.com at the bottom of an article, as shown below:
Obviously, this works best in combination with blog content rather than product pages. Which is why the first strategy in this guide is so important!
A Hidden Gem: Quuu Promote.
Quuu Promote is a little-known tool where you can submit your content (along with a small fee) to get it into the Buffer schedule of various influencers and interested parties within your niche.
Basically, there are two parts to the tool: The promotion side and the client side.
On the client side, people sign up for Quuu to get hand-curated content related to their niche set up within their Buffer feed. The benefit is that you’re constantly sharing good content (since Quuu looks through every post with an approval process before they accept it). Which means your social accounts are active with less work.
On the promotion side, you’re paying to get your content in those feeds. Simple as that. I’ve used it, and while it’s not insanely effective, it is an easy way to get shares and drive traffic to your blog content. If you have a sharing bar that displays the number of shares on your content (like Sumo, for example), this strategy will give you some social proof, which can encourage more shares.
And that’s all I have on paid advertising!
Knowing how to drive traffic to your online store isn’t complicated. It doesn’t require weeks of relentless study or spending thousands of dollars (unless you can find a way to make a huge return on that paid investment!).
What it does require is a willingness to do things right and invest in the long-term. With the three major strategies laid out in this guide, you’ll begin to grow exponentially over time. Especially with SEO – once you rank one page, it gets easier to rank the next, and the next, and the next…
So invest a little time putting these strategies to work. Take time today to implement what you’ve learned. Do things 1% better every day, and by the end of the year you’ll be 3,780% better – or, in other words, almost a 38X improvement!
[This article was originally published on the Photoslurp blog]