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5 Ways to Drive Traffic to your Online Store

June 14, 2010

You’ve spent several months building up your online store and met with departments in your company that you never even knew existed. You’ve tested it, made it look pretty and worked out all of the back-end processes and details. The day has finally come when you can press that “go live” button. It feels great. Then you wait… and wait… and wait.

I’ve never been lucky enough to experience the whole “build it and they will come” phenomenon, or if this even exists. So in the hullabaloo of getting your store up and running it’s important not to forget about how you are going to get customers there in the first place. Which is why building a solid promotional plan should be a central part of your e-commerce strategy in order to:

  • Raise awareness of your online store
  • Drive people and their wallets to the store
  • Encourage sales through an excellent store experience

In this post, I’ll focus specifically on the drive traffic part, and will highlight five of the ways you can drive traffic to your online store.

1. Link to your store from your website

Obvious, but important not to overlook. It’s likely you are already getting a good number of visitors to your site, so make it easy for them to get to your store. Work it into the main navigation if it isn’t already, and use prominent “Buy Now” buttons on key pages, including the home page. Also don’t forget to incorporate links on those pages that are more geared towards customers who are interested in buying, such as product detail pages.

If you are really good, then do some usability testing on your site with your customers, and find out whether they able to get to the store from all the places they would expect.

2. Optimize your store for SEO

Google handles hundreds of millions of searches per day and counting. For me, more than half of the traffic I see coming through to my website comes from search. So you need to make sure you are ranking well in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) when people are looking to buy.

Do some keyword research to see which related phrase(s) are searched on the most. For example, it could be:

  • [Your company name] web store
  • [Your company name] online store
  • Buy [product name] online
  • Get [product category]
  • Or something else

If you are still unsure which the best phrase will be, then test out some keywords in PPC first and understand not only what drives volume, but what drives conversion.

Also don’t forget to set up a Google Merchant Account so that your products show up in Google shopping results.

3. Develop a PPC online store campaign

PPC is a great way to help drive “buy” related searches through to your online store.

Unlike SEO where you optimize for one keyphrase, PPC allows you to focus on several words and phrases that searchers with buying intent may use. For example, model numbers and trigger words such as “buy”, “purchase”, “price”, “discount” “deal” etc. The volume on these words may be smaller than usual, but are likely to convert better on the back end, since these people are most likely looking to enter into a transaction.

4. Spread the word through your social channels

If you are already active in social channels and have a good following, you can use this as an opportunity to spread the word about your online store. But a word of warning – If you are just starting out on social media, try to establish yourself first and build up your relationships before peddling your wares.

You may also consider offering up introductory promotional codes to use in your online store, and just make these available through Twitter, Facebook, or whichever social channel that works well for you. Dell put this to good use in their Dell Outlets Twitter account.

5. Email

E-what? Just kidding. Email is still worth its weight in gold (when done right) when it comes to demand generation. So don’t forget to Email your customer lists, targeting those people close to buying in the funnel, or existing customers whose warranty is coming to an end and may be looking for replacement products.

Last but not least, remember to set up good site analytics in your online store so that you have full visibility as to where traffic is coming from, key conversion events (and abandonments), and conversion to sales $ linked to traffic sources.

From → Search Marketing

One Comment
  1. Thanks for great tips.

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