With more buyers shopping on the web than ever before—39% of consumers say they’re shopping more online this year—it’s never been as important to attract high-potential website visitors. This traffic can drive sales from new buyers and increase revenue from existing customers.
Of course, driving traffic to your website is just part of the answer, says Deana Thornton, Director of Commerce Marketing at Mailchimp. Conversion is the ultimate goal.
“If you want to drive conversions, you need to increase traffic from people who are in the market to purchase what you offer,” she says. “To do this, you have to reach the right audience in the first place and then convince them to visit.”
Use these 9 tips to increase high-potential website traffic and support e-commerce sales.
1. Optimize your website for organic search
Search is the top way both individuals and businesses research new products and services, and it is an important way to drive interested shoppers to your website. This means it’s critical for you to make sure search engines find your website and bring it to the attention of the right people through search engine optimization (SEO). SEO—the practice of improving the quantity and quality of traffic to websites—helps your pages rank higher on Google and other search engines for relevant, targeted queries. Taking advantage of search begins with understanding what search engines are looking for when they rank websites. Relevant keywords—the terms people are most likely to use when they search for your product or service—should be featured in all areas of your website in a natural way. Make sure they’re used in headlines, product copy, subheads, title tags, meta descriptions, URLs, and alt text for images.
2. Invest in paid search
Sponsored listings on search engines—where businesses pay to be featured in search results—are a great way to raise visibility and drive high-value traffic to your website. Be sure to track the return on investment (ROI) to verify that the results are worth it. Do your research, and align your keyword spend to when it makes the most sense for your marketing strategy, advises Sonaly Patel, Senior Commerce Marketing Manager at Mailchimp. “This might be during a season when there’s a high demand for what you offer, or when you have a big promotion scheduled.”
3. Engage in social channels
You can easily create and schedule posts within Mailchimp for all of the major social media platforms. These posts can help you boost qualified traffic to your website, both from existing customers and new prospects with similar interests. Paid social ads on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram can also drive traffic and encourage followers to sign up for your contact list, which opens another avenue of communication. Sonaly suggests monitoring your social channels regularly for opportunities to post or respond. “Be active, and respond to comments and feedback as quickly as possible, so there’s a human element in your social strategy,” she says. “And don’t be shy about asking customers to share your posts, which will boost your reach."
4. Work with influencers
Find social influencers and bloggers who have sizable audiences in your target demographic. Posts shared by influencers can help boost awareness and your SEO value if they feature your products in an authentic way. “If someone is influential in your target demographic, relationships with them can really drive behavior with your target customers—and direct traffic back to your website,” says Deana. Influencers will be interested in you if you have something that appeals to their audience. Work in partnership with them to offer content of value to their audiences, such as behind-the-scenes information, contests, or giveaways.
5. Write blogs or articles
Publishing original content, either on your own blog or on industry websites, can position you as a thought leader. When you are considered a go-to, knowledgeable source of information, buyers will come to your website when it’s time to buy too. Articles that provide how-to advice and education as opposed to a sales pitch will show customers that you can be a trusted source of information. If you’re struggling to figure out what to write about, consider sharing best practices or tips that will help your audience solve their most pressing problems. Once you’ve created this content be sure to share and promote it through your social media channels and via email messages.
6. Drive awareness with public relations (PR)
There are plenty of ways to do PR on a budget, either on your own or with the help of a small agency or freelancer. Local publications and websites are always looking for interesting stories and contacting their editors with a pitch can lead to wonderful visibility that will attract high-potential website traffic. To increase your chances of success, research the website or publication you’re pitching so you approach editors with an idea that's meaningful to their readership or community. For example, if your e-commerce store is working with a local elementary school to get supplies to students taking classes remotely, you can pitch a human interest angle for coverage of your company.
7. Use retargeting display ads
Retargeting can capture the attention of customers who visit your website but leave without making a purchase. These ads give you another chance to connect with someone who was interested enough to visit your site or put something in their shopping cart, and drive people back to your website. Mailchimp makes it easy to create and activate retargeting ads, which re-engage shoppers on social media or other websites after they leave your website. “You’re leaving sales on the table when a customer visits and doesn’t convert,” says Sonaly. “Just remember that retargeting can get expensive, so make sure you use your budget when it can have the right impact.”
8. Make the most of email
Email is still the preferred method of communication for many buyers, and it can increase traffic from your existing audience. Emails that connect at different points in the customer journey can be automated with minimal effort, freeing you up for other important tasks. These include welcome emails that introduce new customers to your brand, abandoned cart emails to bring people back to complete a purchase, messages highlighting best-selling items, and more. “There isn’t a lot of work after you get automations set up, and they can branch out in different directions based on your customers’ behaviors to encourage people to come back to your website,” says Sonaly.
9. Increase reach with affiliate ads
In affiliate marketing, brands partner with other websites or publishers (“affiliates”) to promote their products. For example, an Italian recipe blog might feature a pasta maker readers could use to make fresh fettuccine. Affiliate marketing is performance based, meaning the affiliate partners earn a commission on sales generated by the links on their websites. Promotions via affiliate networks—such as a percent-off offers or Buy-One-Get-One-Free (BOGO)—are an excellent tactic to reach new customers and drive traffic and sales. “When you begin working with affiliates, start slowly to see how it performs for you, and then decide if you want to expand your program,” says Sonaly. “Choose offers that will get noticed, so you get the best results.”
Gauging the value of traffic
For an e-commerce store, the ultimate way to determine the value of website traffic is conversions; are the people who come to your website eventually buying? But, there are other numbers that matter when you are determining the quality of the traffic to your website including how much time visitors spend on the pages you drive them to and where they link off to from those pages. It’s also important to monitor what’s in play when your visitors arrive but don’t stay.
“If people 'bounce,' meaning that they land on your site and then immediately navigate away, that may suggest your landing pages need to be reevaluated,” Sonaly says. “Understanding what information resonates with your audience and what does not will help you make better decisions about your content—and that will boost conversions.”
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