Online shopping has never been more popular. In the UK a massive 82% of people are internet users, and at least 77% made online purchases during 2017. Ecommerce sales accounted for £533 Billion during 2015 and it’s estimated that at least 70% of UK customers owns a smartphone.
With these figures, which are only likely to rise during 2018 and beyond, you have a huge range of potential customers out there.
Unfortunately, the explosion in internet use over the last couple of decades has meant that the online world has become incredibly busy. While on the one hand you have many more potential customers out there waiting to be reached, it’s also true that you have to compete for the attention of those potential customers; who are becoming more discerning than ever.
That’s why it’s no longer enough to create an online store; you have to actively entice high quality traffic. While some people believe this means you have to spend a huge amount of money on pricey advertising campaigns, the great news is that the internet is a great leveller when it comes to online marketing. There are many opportunities to build your online presence, even on a start-up budget.
These ways require patience and time, but if you’re willing to put in the energy to using them, it will pay off as your online store gets the right customers visiting.
Below I’ll share Five Key Steps you can take to entice more traffic to your ecommerce store.
Step #1: Use SEO Techniques to Improve Visibility
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the way that you get traffic to your site via ‘organic’ search results that potential customers type into search engines like Google or Bing. Although you can pay to have results shown in searches, SEO is the way that you bring visitors to your site for free. Search engines have to be able to find your website otherwise few people will know it’s there. The goal is to have your product appear in the red box.
Getting your site ranking on search engines so that your results appear high up on the page (ideally first), rather than getting lost in hundreds of result pages will take time and effort from you. But because search engines are the primary way that people find information online – whether that’s looking for advice, information or searching for specific products, it’s vital to getting more traffic.
Having product descriptions that are accurate and easy to understand is key to SEO, but it’s not the only way to build your ranking. Writing great content that’s informative and relates to your product/service will help to keep your website fresh and help build authority in your niche for users who find your site.
While SEO can be a complex topic, so start with free resources like Google AdWords and other keyword planners to help you research what terms people enter into search engines that relate to your service, and how to write content and product descriptions that match these searches.
Step #2: Embrace Social Media
You might not be a Facebook or Twitter fan –but research shows that a massive proportion of internet users are! In 2017 2.64 billion people worldwide were using social media. A huge number of businesses use social media as one of their main forms of promotion, especially in their early days, which means you need to get on board.
When using social media to generate traffic to your online store, remember these key steps to making social media work for you:
- Be active – once you have your social media platform set up, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest or Instagram you need to be posting regularly.
- It’s not just about you – Yes, your social media should reflect your product or service, but your social media activities should be about more than simply promoting them. Building a social media presence that people want to engage with means interacting with other brands and users and offering interesting and engaging material to help people get to know you and what you’re offering. Make sure you communicate regularly with your customers and answer any queries they have. Share and like other people’s posts.
- Call to action – When you do post about your product make sure you invite people to engage more deeply by linking to your online store. This will encourage your customers to visit and see what you have to offer.
Step #3: Build Authority in Your Niche
By building authority in your niche via offering relevant and useful advice and information, you can help build trust in your products and services – which encourages people to keep visiting your site and ultimately buy from you.
Adding a blog to your online store can help drive up traffic by helping your SEO and positioning you as an expert in your field. Although many sites use their blog simply as a way to keep customers up to date with news and events, offering free advice and information will make your efforts far more effective. Many ecommerce platforms like Shopify and Woocommerce offer easy ways to add a blog to your site. Share great content you create to your social media, and build brand awareness.
Step #4: Engage Influencers by Offering Freebies
Influencer marketing is where you get your product or service seen by people who are influential – especially on social media. With today’s blogging world and huge social media audience, many people have built massive platforms with large amounts of followers. Vloggers, youtubers and instagramers can even sometimes make (very lucrative) careers from using social media in their niche. For example the popular game Minecraft has inspired several gaming ‘vloggers’ to make profitable youtube and other channels about the game.
One of the best known UK Youtubers in this niche is Dan Middleton, aka ‘Dan TDM’ who made a whopping £12.3 Million in 2017! His Youtube channel has over 18.3 Million subscribers. With this sort of reach, it’s no wonder many companies reach out to these online influencers to help them promote their service.
You can engage with influencers on social media by telling them about your product or offering a freebie to encourage them to use and review what you have to offer. Choose who you approach carefully – make sure they are relevant to your niche and likely to enjoy what you have to offer.
Ask for a review in exchange for this free gift. If an influencer with a large following enjoys your product and posts about it on their channel it could explode your traffic.
Step #5: Run an Online Competition
Running an online competition is a great way to get traffic to your site and increase your social media following. Facebook is the largest social media platform and a great place to use when you want to run a competition.
While you can run straightforward competitions, you can also get creative with your product promotion. For example, offer customers a chance to win if they take a picture of themselves using your product and tag you in it with a specific hashtag. This can allow some great interaction with your followers – and increase product visibility.
Offer a time-limited giveaway of a new product or service if customers like or share your post. This helps to get your product out to more people.