Like brick-and-mortar stores that don't get customers because people don't know about them, many ecommerce online stores full of great products get few or no online sales because of low traffic. If you're in a similar position or just want to grow your retail ecommerce sales, here is some advice on how to drive traffic to your ecommerce store.
10 ways to increase traffic to your online store
Increasing traffic is largely a matter of raising your visibility and letting people know that you're trustworthy. These tips can help online retailers do that.
1. Utilize all social media platforms
Each social media platform reaches a different group of people. For instance, TikTok is popular with younger people, while LinkedIn users are often college graduates and professionals. The more platforms you use, the more groups you can reach, and the more brand recognition you can build in people who see your posts on multiple platforms.
Though there are specific ways to optimize posts on each platform, some principles are common to all platforms:
- Post regularly and frequently: The frequency you post depends on the platform. For example, while you might make one Facebook post per day, you should make Twitter posts multiple times a day because tweets quickly get buried by newer ones.
- Use hashtags when available: If hashtags are available on a platform, users can use them to easily see posts on that subject. If you want your posts to be visible for certain subjects, you should use appropriate hashtags to make them more discoverable.
- Track engagement indicators: Every platform offers some key performance indicators (KPIs) — such as likes, shares, and comments — that tell you how consumers are responding to your posts. If you want to make your posts more effective, look at the trends in these KPIs and think about why your most successful posts were so engaging.
- Research the platform's best practices: Every platform has best practices that will help your post appeal to its users. For instance, you can get more engagement with a long post on LinkedIn than on Facebook. Finding out the best practices for posting on each platform and tailoring your posts to fit them will make them more successful.
2. Prioritize influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is a new field with a lot of potential. Influencers are people within a field who have built a dedicated audience that engages regularly with their content. They also tend to have high authority and trustability within the field.
As a result, you can take the guesswork out of reaching the right people. Instead, by entering a promotion deal with an influencer in your niche, you can guarantee that your marketing efforts reach an interested audience.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the influencer's content before you approach them, though. People tend to draw connections between your brand and the influencers you work with, so it's best to reach out to people who you feel could best represent your brand.
3. Develop a consistent content schedule
Without a schedule, people often make posts at odd hours, when it's most convenient for them. As a result, many posts receive less engagement than they could. Making a content schedule helps you think strategically about future posts. For instance, if you notice that your Instagram page gets the most engagement when you post in the afternoon, you can capture peak engagement by scheduling Instagram posts only in the afternoon.
Consistency also conditions people who like your content to return habitually. As your content becomes a regular part of their lives, they become more loyal to your business, making them more likely to support you as well.
Developing a schedule also helps you spot large gaps where you don't post anything on any channel. This helps you spread out your content so that you remain visible without flooding people's feeds.
4. Use targeted ads
Ad targeting lets you choose the groups of people who can see a particular ad. This enables you to design different ads for different segments of your target audience. You can then personalize and optimize each ad to address its respective segment's pain points, instead of trying to make marketing materials that appeal to everyone.
5. Ensure branding is consistent
In marketing, the rule of seven states that it takes at least seven interactions with a brand before someone remembers it. This means you need consistent branding to minimize the number of brand interactions people need to have with your content. Higher recognition also increases brand awareness, making you stand out in a potentially crowded marketplace.
If your brand marketing is inconsistent, visitors also may think they're looking at an impersonator's branding or may feel like your business is disorganized. Making your branding consistent gives your business a more professional feel, which instills trust in people who see you.
Once customers are familiar with your branding, they're also more likely to check out your web content or even purchase your brand's products or services. In fact, a recent study showed that brand consistency increases revenue by 23%.
6. Create blog content
Blog content is a great way to build authority in your field while developing a relationship with potential customers. You can write content relevant to people who might want to use your product, teaching them how to solve common problems and discussing trending topics in your industry. Even a topic as simple as "What is an ecommerce store?" may attract traffic.
Your blog can also become the basis of the content you make for social media platforms. Every time you post an article, you can repurpose and share the information on your different platforms, linking people back to your blog post to learn more.
By linking your blog to your online store, ecommerce becomes associated with helpful content, and you give people a reason to regularly return to your website. Each post can also mention and link products you offer that will solve the reader's problem, directly sending people to sales channels or a payment gateway.
Finally, blog content usually has a longer shelf life than other forms of content. A year from now, someone may stumble across your brand through a blog post you put up today. In contrast, a tweet you put up in the morning may never get seen again by the evening. Inbound links you build to your blog posts over time also last indefinitely as an available path online to your website.
7. Start an email campaign
Once you've built an email list, you can use it to launch an email campaign that drives traffic to your website. Email marketing is a relatively inexpensive tool that lets you quickly reach a large audience of people who are interested enough in your brand to want email updates. It also offers a lot of flexibility, so you can tailor your messages to specific demographics or unique customers.
By sending regular newsletters to people on your contact list, you keep your brand at the front of their minds and drive visitors to your website. The key is to make your emails engaging and relevant, with a call to action that strongly encourages readers to check out your website. You could also notify your contact list of special offers to drive traffic to specific pages on your site.
If you want to optimize your email marketing, here are a few tips:
- Make the subject line clear, engaging, and reflective of the content.
- Verify your email list regularly so it's up to date, free of nonexistent email accounts.
- Find a healthy balance between sending too many and too few emails, so you're at the front of recipients' minds without annoying them.
8. Encourage customer reviews
A recent survey found that 49% of shoppers trust consumer reviews as much as they would trust a personal recommendation from a friend or family member. In the digital age, reviews are a powerful tool.
Unfortunately, people who had a problem with your product are more likely to leave a review than people who liked it, which can skew your brand's rating. You can counter this by simply letting people know it would help you out to leave a good review if they liked their purchase.
It can feel awkward to request product reviews, so here are some tips:
- Let customers know you're grateful for any honest feedback and will use it to improve the shopping experience for future customers.
- If you have to ship an item to the customer, you can include a thank-you note that lets them know you appreciate their patronage and requests a review. This can even include a QR code that takes them to the review page.
- You can automate post-purchase email or text messages to shortly and sweetly request a review a set amount of time after the customer bought something.
9. Make sure your website design is attractive across all devices
Many people now access the internet on their phones, but not all stores in the ecommerce industry realize that they need to cater to these people. As a result, their traffic decreases because their site doesn't work properly for mobile visitors.
Try these tips to optimize for mobile screens:
- Remove or redesign pop-ups, because they often take up far more space on a phone screen than on a desktop.
- Use custom CSS to make your site responsive.
- Test your site with Google's Mobile-Friendly Test tool.
- Pick responsive themes and plug-ins.
10. Prioritize SEO best practices
Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy of making minor changes to help a search engine understand how to rank your content. Here are some general SEO best practices to consider.
Search engines favor websites that have more inbound links — also called backlinks — leading to them. They believe that having more backlinks implies that more people see your information as authoritative and accurate, so they rank them higher.
One way you can increase your backlinks is by finding brands of a similar size to yours in a niche that complements yours. You can then request them to place a backlink to your page in exchange for a backlink on your site to their page.
Internal linking strategies
Internal links send readers to different pages on your website. With well-placed internal links, you help the visitor navigate your site in a journey that feels organic. These links also help search engines understand your site's structure, making it easier to index the website.
Here are a couple of tips that you should incorporate into your internal linking strategy:
- Use quality anchor text: Since you have full control over the link placement on your own site, you should try to place it on words or phrases that clearly indicate the target page's topic, so readers and search engines know what a page is about before clicking it.
- Support your new pages: Pages that haven't earned many authoritative backlinks rely more heavily on relevant internal links.
Strategic keyword selection & placement
Keywords are the search query that a search engine may recommend your page for. To pick the right keywords, think about what a customer might search for. Then, use online tools like Google Trends to find ones with high search volumes and low competition.
You need to use the keywords you've chosen in your article, but they should appear naturally. If a search engine thinks you've stuffed too many keywords into your content, it'll rank it lower.
Technical SEO and core web vitals
These SEO elements focus on how a search engine views your website. Technical SEO helps a search engine browse your website so that it can index all of its content. Important factors to consider for this include:
- HTML formatting
- Site maps
- Site architecture
- URL structure
Core web vitals are a relatively new set of SEO ranking signals that focus on how your page performs in the real world. They encompass three metrics:
- Largest contentful paint: This is the time it takes to render the largest visible content element.
- First input delay: This measures the browser's response time when a user first interacts with your page.
- Cumulative layout shift: This measures a page's visual stability based on how far page elements move around.
Improving these metrics doesn't just improve your search engine ranking — it also makes people stay on your page longer.
Invest in a complete solution for your ecommerce business
Increasing traffic is only one way business owners can grow an ecommerce store. If you want to learn more about end-to-end solutions that help you build a powerful customizable ecommerce online store and seamlessly scale your business, contact Cart.com and see how we can help you grow.