When you have an online store, you need to find a way to drive traffic towards your site. Without traffic, you won’t be able to sell your products and services. There are a number of ways you can encourage customers to visit your site, including SEO, social media strategies, AdWords and Google Shopping.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Since the world of eCommerce was first developed, SEO has continuously evolved. In the beginning, search engines were much simpler which meant that working on SEO was as simple as selecting the right keywords for your website. But as search engines become more complex, online stores found that SEO was more about developing unique content of a high quality. Nowadays, online competition has become so fierce that businesses also need to prove themselves as a relevant and worthy member of their industry.
There are several steps you can take towards optimising your site for SEO, and the most important of these are layout and content. These are the backbones to SEO, and if you can prove your business’ worth in each of these areas, then you will make it into the higher ranks and increase the amount of organic traffic to your site.
When structuring your site, make sure there is a flow of logic that shows exactly how pages are related. Use category pages to provide some structure, and then nestle your product pages under the relevant category. Not only will this help Google have a clear understanding of how each page is connected and relevant, but it will also make your site user-friendly and simple for customers to use. Once you have a solid foundation, you can start building the rest of your site.
Nowadays, businesses need to focus on what is called ‘10X content’. The idea behind this concept is that you need to create stand-out content that is 10 times better than anything else in your industry.
There are so many ways to do this, including user guides, videos, eBooks and essays. The list is never-ending and businesses are constantly developing new ways to stand out, so pull your team together and start getting creative. 10X content isn’t easy, but by mixing up a cocktail of creativity, you’ll be off to a great start.
2. Social Media
Social media sites have become an integral part of every aspect of modern life, and eCommerce is no exception. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have become the best marketing tools around, and with just the push of a button, you can have your products and services advertised to a world of people.
The key to a successful social media strategy is to focus on introducing your brand first, and self-promotion second. It’s important that you let your brand’s personality shine through the content you produce, and create posts that your customers will want to share with their friends and followers.
Try to be exciting, fun and informative, but most importantly, keep it real. Avoid over-promoting yourself and don’t beg for followers and favours, as this will do exactly the opposite. Most importantly, find opportunities to actually help your customers. Always think about what you can do for them, and try to be responsive to the comments and feedback you receive.
The various functions offered by the different social media sites means that different platforms are more relevant to different industries. Think about your products and services, and which platform would be the most helpful in reaching your target customers and promoting what you offer.
If you sell products with an aesthetic quality like clothing or homeware, then a more image-focused platform like Instagram would be the place for you. If you offer services directed more towards other businesses, then LinkedIn is a great place to get connected with potential clients. It’s important to really think about where your customers are more likely to spend their time, and make sure you’re using the appropriate platforms.
Facebook Shop and Instagram Shopping
If your brand relies heavily on visual content, then it’s also worth considering Instagram Shopping. Using hashtags will instantly help to generate a flow of traffic from amongst 1 billion active users, and can help present your products in a way that is both relevant and authentic.
Business’ first need to set up a store and product catalogue with Facebook. After that, you simply connect your Instagram account with your Facebook Product Catalogue to start creating and tagging shoppable Instagram posts. Automatically synchronising your Instagram and Facebook accounts creates consistency, expands your reach, and allows you to take your customers on a quick and easy journey that drives traffic directly to your store.
If you do decide to use social media and Instagram Shopping, then bear in mind that more and more people are using their smartphones and tablets to make online purchases. So, if you want your business to appeal to a wider market, make sure it can be mobile optimised. This will allow adverts and links to be shared and opened instantly, allowing customers to make quick and easy purchases. If they have to pull out their computers just to open your link, then the likelihood is that they might forget or simply won’t bother.
3. Google Ads and Pay-Per-Click Advertising
SEO is great for long-term, organic traffic, but this can take a while to get results. The quickest way to drive traffic to your new online store is through paid advertising. Although it costs money, it’s a surefire way to double the return on your platform by making your site stand out and reach customers before your competitors.
Unfortunately, you have to bid for your ad. This means that the market sets the bidding price, and depending on the competition, this can become quite costly. If you can’t afford to outbid larger companies, then your rank will be lowered. So how exactly do you make the most of Google Ads without paying more than you have in your budget?
Simply put, your Google Ads quality score is based on how relevant your ads, keywords and landing page are to the person that sees them. The more relevant they are, the higher your Quality Score. This, in turn, means lower costs and a better Ad Rank.
The most important of these is your landing page. Make sure the content and structure are easy to use and look to increase user interaction, keeping potential customers on your page as long as possible. One way to do this is to copy the phrase used in your ad into the content on your landing page. This makes it explicitly clear to the clicker how they have ended up on your site.
Click-through rate also plays a large part in determining your Quality Score. Look to increase hits to your website through countdowns. You can also use Ad Extensions to include reviews, or put your main keyword into your URL to help reinforce the relevance of your ad.
This quality score is the key to unlocking the potential that Google Ads holds for your business. You might have the perfect keywords and a fantastic call to action, but without a high-Quality Score, you could end up paying more than those terms are actually worth.
It’s also worth remembering that you don’t need your ad to be available 24/7 in every city and town. If your products are aimed at farmers, then there’s probably not much point paying for an advert in the middle of London.
With Geotargeting, AdWords allows you to target your advert at a specific geographic audience, and with Dayparting, you can also choose a specific time of day. This way, you can cut the costs and only pay for the time and location that will suit the services you offer. Removing successful conversions from your remarketing audience can also cut unnecessary costs. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying to show an advert to someone who is already your customer.
If Google is still outside your budget, then you could get lower costs through other search engines that are less competitive. When starting a new business with a tight budget, it’s always worth comparing, and as most search engine adverts work on a pay-as-you-go basis, you can give them a go without any costly commitments.