You've just finished adding your last product to your eCommerce platform. You're ready to launch your store, and so excited to get that first sale! Thousands of people will soon be coming to your site and buying your products! It's going to be great.
Fast forward a couple months, and you're feeling discouraged. Where are all the people? Why isn't your bank account bursting at the seams? Why are you still eating ramen soup?
Simply having an eCommerce store is only the first step. How are people going to find you amongst the thousands of other online retailers? You need to make your presence known in order to make that first sale and keep them coming. How can you do that without breaking the bank?
Fortunately, there are some budget-friendly ways to drive traffic to your eCommerce store.
The amount of people using social media is mind blowing. Take these stats from Statistic Brain, for example. If you are not taking advantage of social media, you are missing out on reaching millions of people. The key to social media is knowing how to use each specific network. Each platform has its own unique advantage (and challenges).
With over 1.2 billion users, Facebook is a leader among social media. It is great for sharing a wide variety of content ranging from news stories and surveys to inspirational quotes. Think of your ideal customer and why they choose to shop with you. What are their morals, values, interests? This will give you ideas about interesting things to post on your Facebook page.
Facebook is about building a relationship with your customer. Posting about interesting topics helps build that relationship. People tend to become loyal to brands based on their values.
Don't over-post about your products and brand. Consumers may become annoyed and frustrated when a company spams their feeds. Try to keep promotion to a couple of times a week, keep it relevant to your audience, be interesting and make it a conversation - not a one-way sales pitch.
Twitter is very multifunctional, as you can use it in a variety of ways. One thing to keep in mind: Do not spam on Twitter. Make sure when you tweet something about your brand it is relevant to your followers.
People love sales, coupons and contests, so it's OK to tweet these things occasionally, and can encourage followers looking for deals.
What is going on within your industry? Maybe your company is a skateboard shop. In that case, tweeting about local skateboard events is a great idea. Is there an interview with a pro skateboarder that you think your followers would like? Tweet that. It's about sharing useful and engaging information with your followers.
Be helpful. Is there someone asking a question about a certain brand you carry? Answer them! You can search for keywords that you think may pertain to your industry or brand and see if there is anyone in need of help. This leaves a lasting impression in a person's mind. The next time they want to buy a product, they may come to your store.
Pinterest is a social media eCommerce giant! Just take a look at these stats from Digiday.
This is where having great product photos really helps. Pinterest is all about visual presentation, so make sure you pay attention to how your products look.
You should add a "pin it" button to your product pages, as it allows users to quickly add a product to their Pinterest board. Your company should have its own Pinterest profile.
Like the other social media networks, you don't want to spam. You want your pins to be useful and engaging.
A great example of how to use Pinterest is MyPakage, a men's underwear company from Vancouver. You will see that they are appealing to their ideal customer. They have ideas for outfits, great cars, inspirational quotes - anything they think their customer would be interested in.
You can add hashtags to your pins as well, which makes it easier for people using the search to find your products.
You might be thinking "but I don't like taking selfies," and that's OK. Instagram can be so much more than duck lips and pictures of food.
Trust can be won through Instagram. Showing who you are behind the computer screen helps build a connection with your audience. You can even get your customers involved. Many companies encourage their customers to tag pictures of themselves sporting their clothing or using their products. It engages your audience and creates a community.
Posting pictures of everyday life helps people feel connected to you. They get to see who your company is from the inside, providing an opportunity for them to connect with your brand on a deeper level.
You will want to start a YouTube channel, one of the biggest websites on earth. There are a few different ways to utilize YouTube and engage your audience.
This can be either showing them how to use your products or a tutorial related to your industry. If you sell makeup, you could teach viewers how to achieve a certain look. Perhaps you sell power tools. Post a video on how to make a simple wood table. Tutorials on YouTube are very popular and can send lots of traffic to your eCommerce store.
Many people use YouTube for product reviews. Talk about your products; show you are knowledgeable about the products you sell.
Interviews can be conducted in a few different ways. You could interview real people on why they love your products or how your products have helped them, or you could interview a professional within your industry. Not only does allowing people to speak openly about your products build trust, you'd also be providing your customers valuable information.
SEO plays quite a big role in driving traffic to your eCommerce store. You don't need to pay an SEO company to get results. There are some things you can do on your own.
Search engines love when your site has a lot of links. It shows that your site is credible and must be providing great content. You can do this by encouraging people to share your blog posts, guest blogging, social media, etc.
Blogging is a great way to provide search engines with unique content. Your content should have a strategy rather than just random things from day to day. Positioning yourself as an expert in your industry is a great start.
Having a great product description sets you apart from other companies that have the same product. Not only do search engines love unique product descriptions, but they also give you an edge over the competition.
Always allow customer reviews. They provide new unique content on a regular basis. Not only do search engines love this, but it also shows that your company is transparent and trustworthy.
Your customers usually start their search for a product with a few keywords or question on their preferred search engine. This makes keywords an integral part of getting people to your site. There are many articles that go into great detail on how to properly use keywords. A good beginner article is this one from Moz.
Blogging provides you many benefits. First of all, blogging provides the search engines with lots of unique content. If you are blogging about something educational or interesting, people will leave comments and share your post, which gives links back to your website and gets your name out there. It will also give you something interesting to share on your social media networks.
Educating people is extremely important. You want to be a credible source that people go to read on a regular basis. Blogging is a great way to build a relationship with your customers. Talking about issues and where you stand on them can ignite a bond.
There has been much debate on just how long your blog post needs to be. Many people claim that if a post is too long, people will lose interest and leave. Others claim that a blog post should be at least 2,000 words. The following statistics show what you should aim for:
This chart shows that higher ranking blog posts are around 2,000 words. If you're new to blogging, this may seem like quite a lot. What you should initially focus on is having interesting, quality content that people will want to share. As you hone your blogging skills, you will be able to write longer blog posts.
Referrals are arguably one of the best ways to acquire new customers. Referrals can happen naturally through word-of-mouth marketing. You can encourage this by offering impeccable customer service, competitive pricing, great products, strong branding and more.
Many online clothing boutiques have done quite well with referrals. For example, a clothing boutique could gift a fashion blogger a piece of their clothing. The fashion blogger would then wear that piece of clothing and blog about it and the company. After seeing the article of clothing, their followers may come to your store and purchase that item.
You could also run a contest where if you get a friend to sign up for your newsletter, they get a coupon code. Or you could offer a free product if they refer a friend to your store. These types of things are inexpensive and will generate buzz and traffic.
These are just five ways to drive traffic to your eCommerce store. If this seems like too much to do all at once, pick just one area and focus on doing that really well before moving onto the next.
Danny Halarewich is the Co-Founder & CEO of LemonStand, a cloud-based eCommerce platform that's built for professional online retailers wanting to grow their business. Learn more at lemonstand.com or follow them on Twitter at @LemonStand.