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Are you unsure of how to drive traffic to your website or online store, now that you’ve finally got it up and running?
Believe it or not, the old saying ‘build it and they will come’ just isn’t true in the work of ecommerce. If you plan on selling products online, you need to be proactive with your marketing.
Using the 14 examples in this article, today you’ll learn:
- How to drive traffic to your online store
- The best ways to convert that traffic into customers
- Why there’s more to selling online than just getting traffic
Before we take a deep dive into driving traffic to your website, it’s worth noting something:
Traffic is useless.
Tim Soulo of Ahrefs, one of the best digital marketers today says it best:
“Traffic is nothing more than a vanity metric”.
If cash flow is important to your business (hint: it should be), traffic statistics are useless and irrelevant to you. What matters to you is converting that traffic into paying customers.
One could argue that yes, you need sales, but you first need the traffic to convert into sales.
And that is true – what I’m getting at here, is that traffic is important, but what’s most important is conversions. Don’t lose sight of that.
This article will show you 13 ways to get customers into your store and then touch on how you can convert that traffic into sales.
Not sure how to drive traffic to your online store? Read on…
1 – Use Influencers to get traffic to your website
Influencer marketing has been getting a pretty bad name as of late. Many ecommerce brands are looking at influencers to help them built traffic, but that’s not happening.
I’d like to make this clear:
A large Instagram following doesn’t make someone an influencer.
What makes someone an influencer is having a large following with whom they regularly engage and build a rapport with.
Therefore, it’s important that you find an influencer who has a track record of successful marketing campaigns in the start.
Where do you find such influencers? Intellifluence.com is a fantastic platform that lets you find reputable influencers who can help take your brand name to the world. When making contact with your influencers, be sure to start what you’d like from them. They can’t help your brand if you just give them an open playing field.
How to convert traffic from influencers: Be sure to use a similar message, vocabulary and tone of voice as your influencer. Similarly, be a fan of the influencer yourself. Get to know them. Win the hearts of your influencers following and your Influencer’s traffic will soon be yours.
Want to see how 3 brands used influencers to take their product to the world? Read the following article:
2 – How to drive traffic to your website with Quora
If you’ve not heard of Quora before, it’s a great way to build traffic to your website. It’s basically a large forum where people can ask just about anything.
Users are then able to answer the question as in-depth as they possibly can. In answers problem-based questions (eg, what are the best headphones under $100?), you’re able to cite your own brand or product. However, if you’re too spammy or salesy, visitors will see straight through you.
Quora can be a great way to build traffic to your website by showing how what you’re selling can solve problems.
How to convert Quora traffic: Be honest – state that you’re working for the brand, tell a bit of a story, but don’t go overboard. Quora is best used when it genuinely can solve a problem – do that before you start selling your product.
3 – Sell a niche product and increase website visits
Selling t-shirts online is great, but you’re facing some stiff competition. Selling t-shirts with logos of beer brands from the 70’s that are no longer available? That’s ingenious.
This is what’s called selling a niche product. You’re doing nothing more than selling a very specific product to a specific kind of audience.
By selling a niche product and knowing your audience (and where they hang out online) you’re able to drive massive amounts of highly-interested traffic to your website. This traffic is extremely likely to convert too as you’re selling a product that no one else is selling.
How to convert traffic to buy a niche product: Optimise your website for conversions. Don’t make your buyer take any more steps than necessary in order to get them to complete their purchase.
Interested in learning how to find a profitable t-shirt niche? Read the article:
4 – Comparison search engines can drive traffic to your website
One beauty of buying products online is that you’re able to compare similar products, or even the same products, just made by a different brand.
Not sure how to drive traffic to your online store by comparing yourself to your competition?
If a customer can find your product on a product comparison site but they didn’t know you existed beforehand, that’s a win.
Plus, if you’re on a product comparison website and your competition isn’t…well, who’s going to get the sale?
By listing your product on product comparison sites like Nextag, PriceGrabber, and Pronto, you ensure that anyone who’s sitting on the fence about your brand can easily compare your product to others.
It may seem counterintuitive to make it easier for yourself to be compared to your competition, but consider this:
How to convert traffic from product comparison websites: To use product comparison websites as a source of traffic, you need to make sure that your product feed is up-to-date. Here’s a great article that goes into great detail about how to make a product feed.
5 – Twitter can help increase your website visits
Twitter has quickly become the whipping boy of social media. But believe it or not, there are still hundreds of millions of people that use it to browse, chat, learn and create. And that’s traffic that you can drive to your website.
Not sure how to promote your online store using Twitter?
Well, rather than using Twitter to just promote your product, use it to interact, engage and have conversations. Follow hashtags that are relevant to you and your products.
Become a part of hour-long tweet-fests like #BufferChat to help spread brand awareness. Twitter is also a fantastic way to engage with followers on a one-on-one basis. You’re able to build a relationship with the individual as well as mass audiences.
This works well with influencers, too.
How to convert traffic from Twitter: Be a brand, talk, engage and have personality. Don’t always go in for the sell. Learn from the Twitter pros, like Wendy’s.
6 – SEO – the God of driving traffic to your website
In my opinion, this is the single-handed best way to build traffic to a website, web store or any page on the internet.
By applying SEO to product pages and a blog, you create a double edge marketing sword for yourself.
- Your blog (that’s focused on educating and informing readers about how your products can solve problems) becomes a go-to resource for anyone having those problems.
- Your product pages rank higher in Google. As a result, more people are exposed to your product when they are in the ‘buying’ frame of mind.
To get the most out of your SEO efforts, it’s crucial that you use tools like Google Keyword Planner or paid premium tools like Ahrefs. The internet is awash with so many tips about using SEO to get more traffic and sales. Backlinko is one of the best resources out there, hands down.
SEO is a long-term investment. It’s hard, confusing and can be difficult to get your head around. But it is, without a doubt, the best way to build long-term traffic.
How to convert SEO traffic: Develop a killer SEO strategy and traffic from Google will convert itself.
7 – Create and share behind the scenes videos
People love quirky, interesting and revealing videos – just take a look at the subreddit, r/interestingasfuck.
If there’s an interesting process used to make your product, or if your materials are sourced from an interesting place, capture it on video.
Short, 30-second videos are easy to watch, quick to consume and very very shareable.
I’d hate to use the word ‘viral’, but if it’s interesting enough and shared in the right areas, it will go viral.
How to convert traffic from behind the scenes videos: Be sure to put a watermark in your video. If there’s no way that a viewer can see your name in the video, how will they find out more about you?
8 – Leverage PPC advertising for traffic
Yup, paying for traffic is a great way to build traffic to your website. Whether it’s Google Adwords or a Facebook Ad Campaign, paid advertising can push insane amounts of traffic to your website.
It can also burn a hole in your back pocket.
That’s why you need to make sure that the people who see your PPC advertisements are interested in your products and ready to buy – or at least be interested in what you’re selling.
If your goal is just to drive traffic to your website and not sell them anything, PPC advertisements are the way to go.
On the other hand, if your goal is to get them to convert, you need a little finesse about it.
Here’s a great up-to-date article about getting the most out of Facebook Ads in 2018.
How to convert traffic from PPC advertising: Be sure that the people who click on your ads arrive at a specific page where they can add your product to their cart. Don’t just mindlessly send them to your homepage.
9 – Contests create shares, drive sales and get traffic.
Everyone want’s something for nothing, right? I mean, you’d love to have boatloads of traffic for nothing!
Contests are a great way to get traffic to your website, as (you guessed it) everyone wants something for nothing!
There are many ways that you can create a contest, but in order to get the traffic to your website, you’ll need to use social media.
Idea: Give away a high-value product using a competition system like Vyper.
Vyper increases the number of entries that a user has, depending on the number of times that they take a certain action. Entering their name is worth 1 entry, signing up for your newsletter is worth 30, sharing on Facebook is worth 50.
For each other person they get to sign up for the competition, they get a bonus 100 entries.
Again, this creates another double-edged sword. You drive loads of traffic to your website, the entrants themselves share your competition amongst their own audience, and you get to build a great PR opportunity by giving away a highly-priced item.
How to convert traffic from running a contest: Keep them engaged. Of course, there will be losers of your competition. But if they’ve become followers of yours on Facebook to get more entries, don’t alienate them – keep them engaged, talking and interested in what you’re doing. After all, the wanted to win what you’re selling. Now work on getting them to buy it.
10 – Affiliate programs help you increase traffic.
If you have an established core of die-hard fans, you’re able to turn them into ‘marketing monkeys’.
An affiliate program works like this:
- You find a person you’d like as an affiliate
- You give them (the affiliate) a unique link or code
- Your affiliate then shares this link or code around online
- A customer places an order for a product using said link/code
- You give your affiliate a percentage of the profit from that sale
By offering a kickback for every sale they get, you give them a reason to spread your brand name, drive traffic to your website and get that traffic converted.
How to convert traffic from an affiliate program: Many software companies gain affiliates by offering the affiliate 100% of the purchase price for a short amount of time.
That is, your affiliate keeps the total amount of each sale they get for a one month period, with the percentage dropping to 30% after that period. More incentive to work harder!
11 – Guest blogging for traffic and brand awareness.
Get yourself in front of another audience by writing some well-structured, entertaining and educational content for someone with an audience similar to yours.
That ‘someone’ may be a blogger, influencer or a brand whose products complement your own. FInd them, approach them and offer something that their audience will like – a blog post that solves the audience's problems, or entertains them, or even a heartfelt story.
This strategy can complement your SEO strategy too. It’s most potent though when you operate your own blog alongside your online store.
Oh yeah – if you’re not already, you should operate your own blog alongside your online store.
How to convert traffic from guest blogging: When you’re using someone else's platform to address an audience who don’t know you, don’t be salesy.
No one likes to be sold to, especially on a blog. Be honest, entertaining and add incredible value to your guest post – that will drive the traffic you’re after.
12 – Stunning photography gets customers into your store
Photography is an art – that’s just a simple fact. Many creative ecommerce brands have turned their product photography into a second product.
Are you struggling to see how to drive traffic to your online store with product photography?
Quality photography is shareable – and in this sharing social world we live in, shares (often, but not always) are preceded by clicks.
Hibou sleepwear and their beautiful lookbook.
Create a lookbook, take your product out into the world, and show how it is used. Use your products in an unorthodox manner, or make your photoshoot risky, sexy, abnormal. That gets attention, and that’ll get you shares.
How to convert traffic from stunning photography: Like the interesting videos we spoke about earlier, a watermark is essential. Better yet, make your brand logo play a part in the photoshoot itself.
13 – Forums are hives of traffic waiting to erupt.
Nowadays, there’s a subreddit for everything. But there’s also more than likely a forum or message board someone online for the same things.
Both forums and Reddit can be a great source of traffic. What’s more, there a great place for you to interact and build a rapport with your potential customer, and establish yourself as a specialist in the industry.
Forums that involve people that are truly passionate about what they’re talking about are a great source for you. Dig deep enough and you can find ways to develop and refine products so they can solve the problems of your customer.
How to convert traffic from forums & Reddit: Surprise surprise, don’t be too salely. But more importantly, be a regular contributor. Contribute in ways that don’t involve your brand. Share your expertise to help people.
14 – Using email marketing to drive traffic to your website
Don’t get so caught up in looking for new fancy ways to get traffic to your website, that you forget the older, tried and true methods – like email marketing.
If you’ve been building an email list (hint: build an email list), these subscribers are a great source of traffic to your website.
How to convert traffic from email marketing: Not sure how to drive traffic to your online store with email marketing? Give them an offer they can’t refuse. A massive storewide sale, a giveaway, give them some reason to not only go to your website but take the action you want them to take.
So there you have it – 14 ways to build traffic to your website. Some steps are simple, some steps are more involved than others. But all of them come with the added bonus of increasing traffic to your website – brand exposure and recognition.
In time, and with regular contact with these audiences (in multiple ways), you’ll be able to build up your brand awareness and start converting this curious traffic into brand advocates.
Remember that not all of these methods will work for you. Like all things in small business, it’s a process of trial and error. Implement an idea, test it, assess it, change it, then try it again. If it’s worth pursuing and doing it regularly, do that. If not, walk away and move onto the next idea.
Still stumped with how to drive traffic to your online store? Tell me what you sell in the comments and I’ll help you out myself!