Driving traffic to your online store isn't something that can be accomplished with any one quick fix - it's a perpetual task, that will certainly get easier as your reputation and customer base grows, but that will never be easy. Since SkuVault's client base is primarily eCommerce merchants, we talk a lot about webstore optimization, and we've gone ahead and compiled five of the more interesting tips for increasing traffic to online stores we've come across.
1 | Affiliate Programs
An established affiliate program allows you to track sales by referral. Referrals are encouraged by providing existing customers with a special ‘affiliate link’ which informs your website's analytics that “this sale came from [customer X]”. Each affiliate has their own unique affiliate URL that they can use to promote a product or service. How do you encourage your existing customers to do your marketing for you? In the case of affiliate programs, typically a commission of about 15-20% is paid for every sale to the affiliate.
For all the online retailers we've encountered who employ this, we have definitely run into a few eCommerce store owners who've balked at the idea of sharing their profits in any way. What these owners may not realize is that they would be receiving sales, without any upfront cost, that would not have existed without the affiliate program. In this regard, affiliate programs can be viewed as a sort of "pay-as-you-go" approach - instead of having to pay $100 for an ad that generates 5 sales, for example, you may find that an affective affiliate program may generate 20 extra sales a month without you having to spend a dime. It also engenders a deep sense of customer loyalty, as your existing customers can make a little extra money just by promoting their favorite products.
2 | The power of “Word of Mouth Marketing”
Adding an application that enables your followers to leave comments and rate their purchase experience works to strengthen your credibility and your customer’s trust. Yotpo, for example, is one of several popular free social review apps that helps convert over 8% of customers to reviewers through their "mail after purchase" email, which results in a large number of reviews being created.
The best part of this type of marketing is that this process is automated, so you don’t have to spend time reaching out to customers to try and get new product reviews. Connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts and post your user-generated product reviews directly to your Facebook business page or Twitter account. These reviews help bring social traffic to your product pages, which in turn increases sales.
3 | Take Advantage of Instagram
One great strategy is to launch a marketing campaign via Instagram. This means developing a theme and spreading the word to your fan base. Your specific theme will direct the focus of the campaign and help fans get on board.
Create a Theme: Be sure to generate a theme that is broad enough for a wide audience, without excluding anyone, but narrow enough to avoid an onslaught of non-cohesive photographs.
Cumulate Content: Once you have a theme, you can begin aggregating user-generated content and then use those photos to build your brand and market your products.
Link to Products: Go through the collection of photos and identify your products, linking back to the specific product pages on your website. This way, when consumers are shuffling through photos and see an item they like, they don’t have to spend time searching through the website and product archives to find the item.
4 | Run a Launchrock Campaign
Launchrock is a popular free service for collecting email addresses of people who want to get early access to the launch of a new app, service, product; really anything. The special thing about Launchrock is that it integrates social within the subscription process which is a very powerful component that can be used to turn a regular promotion into a viral marketing channel to help drive traffic and sales.
After opening a free account with Launchrock you can fully customize their widget and marketing copy and then embed the widget within your promotion page on your site. The idea is to create a give-away or some other promotion which works on friend-bring-a-friend and use the social features of Launchrock to make it viral. Within Launchrock, you have detailed analytics on the number of referrals each email brings which can help you identify the top influences. These influencers can then be contacted via email and thanked personally for their help in spreading your promotion which adds a very nice personal touch to your promotion.
5 | Social Content
One of the best methods for generating traffic and links to your store is to create useful content that others will want to reference. Social content can be in the following different forms:
- News posts
- In-depth essays
- How-to videos and articles
High quality content is likely to draw the attention of trade publications, bloggers, or other thought leaders in the industry. Users searching for an answer to a particular question may find the answer on the site through search engines. It’s important that content is regularly updated to give customers a reason to revisit the site. Allowing customer contributions through forums and comments can also increase the amount of useful content on the site with little to no extra effort.