By the end of 2021, there were an estimated 2.1 billion digital buyers worldwide. This represents a significant opportunity for those working in the online sphere — as long as you can get them to your site.
By incorporating modern strategies into your business plan, you can take the first step into a new world.
Search Engine Optimization
There have been three major phases in SEO:
- The first phase was all about metadata, keyword density and basic structure. Search engines were simpler back then and easier to fool, allowing startups to compete with industry heavyweights.
- The second phase added a new emphasis on unique, high-quality content and inbound links.
- The third phase and current phase is the most difficult. To compete with big-box chains, you now have to create what experts call 10x content — content so unique and shareable that it’s ten times better than anything else someone could read on the chosen subject.
Organizations now have to prove to search engines that they’re a contributing, relevant and respected player in their industry community.
To get to that point, you need to optimize your site through the following:
Architecture, links and general content.
Everything from the first two phases is still essential.
In fact, without solid site architecture, unique content and a paddock of quality inbound links, you can’t even get a seat at the table.
Think about those SEO basics as a qualifying competition you have to win to prove you deserve a chance at the Olympics — or even play the game. If you fail to perfect these basics, you likely will not qualify for further consideration in the minds of the search engines.
10x content can take the form of:
- User guides.
- Email campaigns.
- Definitive essays and/or explainers.
10x content must include either a fresh angle, a wealth of expertise and style or an overwhelming value. You’ve got to become one of those hard-charging expert innovators, and it’s not always easy.
Community influencer status.
Within modern SEO, you’re not going to rank for relevant keywords if you’re not a legitimate authority on the products and services you sell. Every industry — and every ecommerce site — should have deep and meaningful connections to their relevant communities.
Begin by connecting with influencers in your segment and then asking them questions about your vertical. Then, publish content highlighting their expertise.
By increasing your status within the community — and your credibility as a thought leader — links, trust, relevance and traffic will start to flow.
Search engines use a variety of signals to rank the links on your site, including:
- Quantity: Search engines pay attention to the volume of your links. That means you need to be connecting with potential partners, writing guest blog posts and creating excellent, relevant and shareable content for people to link to.
- Quality: Quality links consider many factors, from domain address and link source. Ultimately, the more impressive the domain, the more impressive the link value.
- Relevance: Search engines prevent link-spamming by considering the relevance of the referring website. If your ecommerce website has a thousand backlinks from random, unrelated sites, those links are worth much less.
Invest in video content for top-performing blogs.
Digital video consumption is on the rise as more and more users look to online spaces for their entertainment, from online stores to social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
For businesses, offering video content like product reviews, comparisons or demos can be a quick and easy way to retain eyes and attract a newer audience to your ecommerce store.
Social media marketing.
Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have worked their way into practically every aspect of modern life.
Ecommerce is, of course, no different. Using social media within ecommerce spaces involves promotion, sales, links, shares and cultural relevance. It’s something that every ecommerce retailer has to take seriously and devote meaningful time and effort toward.
Social media can be the single most crucial part of an ecommerce traffic generation strategy.
Sharing then promoting.
Social media is, first and foremost, a place to share. It’s better to offer several pieces of excellent, non-promotional content for your followers before you follow up with self-promotion.
Successful social media strategies imbue your pages with personality, are responsive to user input, are well-designed — for mobile and traditional screens — and seek to create genuinely shareable content.
Be careful not to overwhelm people and turn them off with your self-promotion.
Reciprocity and relationships.
Make sure that the actions you perform on social media are helpful to the people you’re trying to attract. That doesn’t just mean providing excellent content — it means seeking opportunities to help them.
Follow them, promote them but don’t ask them for favors constantly. In fact, 15% of Twitter users unfollow brands within three weeks. Don’t let it happen to you.
Choose the right platform.
Find out which social media platforms have the most influence and relevance in your industry.
- If you’re in B2B sales, LinkedIn may be the right option for you.
- If you’re selling clothing, you might want to take advantage of the photography-centric Instagram.
Even Twitter has opportunities for brands, so think through your marketing strategy and choose your channels wisely.
Remember that a considerable percentage of all ecommerce shopping is now done on smartphones. When people use their phones, they’re often on an app like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Snapchat.
Always think about how something you share on social media will play on mobile devices.
Videos typically perform better than images on mobile. When posting a video, don’t be afraid to de-emphasize extended captions and use numbers and emojis.
Social media sales.
Many social media sites have gone beyond simple advertisements and links to functionality that allows customers to make purchases on the site.
Time and commitment.
Social media isn’t something you can delegate to your intern for a few hours every month.
You must have a genuine commitment based on time and effort to succeed, even if the financial benefits aren’t immediately apparent. Social media is the future — and increasingly the present – of online business.
Google Ads and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The fastest way to drive site traffic to your online store — and the kind that will drive conversions — is to pay for it.
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a subtle art, especially when you’re trying to compete on unequal terms with a big-box retailer. How can you beat the big boys without outspending them?
If you’re a smaller retailer, AdWords and other pay-per-click services make it clear that you’re operating at a disadvantage. The market sets the bid price, and the cost can be prohibitively high.
There are a few things you can do to settle the score:
Ad Rank in AdWords results from your Quality Score and your bid. You probably can’t outbid big boxes, but you can beat their Quality Scores with smart, focused effort.
There are two types of bid modifiers that you could use:
- Day Parting: It may be advantageous to serve ads during certain times of the day.
- Geo-Targeting: You can get more specific by targeting certain areas or demographics.
If you are a business that depends on phone calls to close sales, consider an aggressive bid modifier to reach people already using their mobile phones.
Broad Match and Modified Broad Match leave much to Google’s interpretation, while carefully placed Phrase Match keywords can help keep costs in check and give you the exposure you need.
Make sure to segment successful conversions out of your re-marketing audience. Don’t waste money trying to catch fish you’ve already caught.
Don’t limit yourself to just Google search.
If you’re on a limited budget, using other search engines can sometimes get lower conversion costs where the competition is less intense.
A modern ecommerce retailer must become an expert at winning these comparison shoppers. Google Shopping is the new frontier of paid search and an excellent way to improve your ecommerce traffic generation.
Unlike AdWords, Google Shopping allows users to see photos of the product they’re looking for, instantly compare prices between ecommerce retailers, filter their results and even set acceptable price points.
Optimizing the feed.
Google Shopping is all about the feed. Your data quality is foundational for results. Many ignore this due to technical constraints, but doing so can handicap your shopping efforts.
Here are some ways to optimize the feed:
- Product Titles: Title descriptors should read from left to right, most important to least important.
- Product Descriptions: Organize these from most important to least like your product titles. Be short and to the point — keyword targeting is the way to go.
- Last Click Conversion: Google Shopping customers are at the bottom of the funnel, so don’t be bashful with your bids.
- Budget: Google Shopping is a growing service, meaning it should be an increasing portion of your budget.
BigCommerce’s integration with Google Shopping will automate much of this for you.
Influencer marketing is a way brands can promote their new products through endorsements, outreach, plugins or recommendations from influencers and content creators on the internet. Social media and blogs are home to most influencers, although other creators like podcast hosts can fit the bill.
Influencer marketing is often a part of brand awareness campaigns, but it can also result in conversions and sales.
To get involved, you should:
Build relationships with Instagram influencers.
Furthermore, the influence engagement rates on Instagram are higher than almost any other platform in the world at 94%. Building connections with Instagram influencers is a quick way to increase ecommerce traffic while gaining younger viewers.
Connect with popular blogs and YouTubers.
One of the few platforms with higher engagement rates than Instagram is YouTube. With more than 2.5 billion users, YouTube has become a singular place in the online space, allowing independent content creators, bloggers and vloggers to find success.
Ecommerce businesses should take advantage of the existing markets available within their specific industries.
No matter what the product or service, there is likely to be a channel involved. Partnering with them could be a fantastic way for both parties to gain further success.
The Final Word
In the end, it’s not the fastest, the most efficient nor the most robust retail site that wins — it’s the one that can successfully combine all three tactics.
Successful ecommerce sites have to drive organic traffic in droves, convert those visitors efficiently and keep diligent track of their data to thrive and iterate properly.
Just as a two-legged table cannot stand, an ecommerce site that’s only good at one or two things cannot reach its full potential. By unlocking and implementing the various, modern options listed above, businesses can increase their ecommerce traffic and transform their business.
FAQs About Ecommerce Traffic
Which growth strategy should my business start with?
The first step to crafting a successful ecommerce growth strategy is to build an effective website and online store.
No matter how many influencers you partner with or how much time you spend on digital marketing campaigns, if the website or store they eventually go to isn’t up to snuff, then all of your work could be for naught.
With the help of an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce, you can build and design a beautiful online store to help you grow your business and your brand.
How can I increase my conversion rate optimization?
Maximizing conversions is about efficiency and optimizing your website to convert the visitors you drove to your site.
It’s about knowing your users, your competition and your industry — and using that knowledge to take advantage where and when you can.
Landing Page Optimization
Landing and home pages are the pages on your site that drive traffic, from paid search and inbound links to your SEO efforts.
To fully optimize them for conversion, you need to make sure you’re running full speed on several fronts:
- Speed: Your website needs to load instantly, respond to clicks immediately and limit user frustration with lags or slow buffering.
- Cleanliness: Your website should be clean, easy to read, navigate and operate. A clean design increases buy-in, trust and sales.
- Click through rate (CTR): Make sure that your website has a way to review your click through rate. CTR is a metric used to see how well your keywords and ads are performing.
- Relevance: Your landing page must be relevant to the product or service you sell. A cluttered or distracting page can turn potential customers away.
- Calls to action (CTA): When people click on a link, an ad or a Google listing, they have moved into the conversion pipeline. Companies cannot fail to have a clear and compelling call to action on the landing page.
Product pages are the most important part of your conversion funnel. They are where buyers make a decision and where the proverbial iron is hot.
Google Shopping traffic will always land on a product page, as will AdWords and paid search traffic. An efficient product page is the hallmark of a successful ecommerce retailer.
There are five essential elements to consider when optimizing your product pages.
While you’ve hopefully developed a strong base of repeat customers, first-time visitors won’t know much about you. That’s why it’s so important to build trust quickly.
Trust badges, seals and icons are de rigueur for shopping carts, but you need to introduce an element of trust upfront on your product pages and with your product descriptions. Don’t give new customers any reason to doubt your credibility.
Creating a sense of urgency is key to getting someone to make the leap and checkout. When people feel that they have to decide sooner rather than later, they are more likely to pull the trigger on a purchase.
There are many intelligent ways to do this, such as setting time limits on giveaways, offering limited referral programs, letting people view stock count and including real-time shipping information.
A “Buy” button is your product page’s most important call to action, and as befits a feature of such importance, you need to test many different versions before settling on one.
- What should the button say? “Add to Cart,” “Buy Now,” “Get Started,” etc. When selecting your button language, you must know your target audience and test different versions.
- Where should it be located? When designing your mobile product page, you want the button as easy to find as possible.
- What color should it be? The answer is different for every industry and every site. Ultimately, creating a consistent contrast between your buttons and the dominant colors of the page is most important.
Make sure your product pages are sticky.
You will not convert every visitor to your product pages, but there are many ways to get your site stuck in their minds, make them more likely to return or even extend the sales window.
Here are some examples of winning product pages that essentially act as landing pages.
5. A/B and User Testing
Everything you need or want on a product page must be tested. The internet is unique in allowing retailers to test big decisions efficiently and scientifically.
Ecommerce retailers are often too close to their product pages to see them clearly. User testing allows you to watch people interact with your site in real-time as they narrate their impressions, frustrations and pleasures.
6. Site Search
Users using your ecommerce site search are more engaged than the typical shopper and offer the underrated benefit of highlighting their purchase intentions.
It is easy for retailers to forget about site search once the initial implementation of a new search appliance is a few months old. Be sure to review your site search report monthly and query it for at least the top 20 most common searches.
You can also have unbiased users perform the same searches to provide quality feedback you can use to better merchandise your SERPs.