Thanks to our partners at BigCommerce for this guest post.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you likely know that eCommerce is a huge force in the retail market, and the upward trend appears to be here to stay. (So if you are living under a rock, there’s a good chance you got it shipped to you in two days from Amazon).
Just look at these numbers. According to data from Statista, global eCommerce sales are projected to reach $6.5 trillion and take 22% of the total retail market.
This is welcome news if you are currently running an eCommerce business, but you should also know that it’s an increasingly competitive market.
According to some estimates there are in the range of 12-24 million eCommerce sites across the globe. The good news? Less than one million of them sell more than $1,000 a year, so there’s definitely room for growth.
Just like how brick-and-mortar shops need customers to walk through their doors, increasing your site traffic is key to eCommerce success. You could have the best product in the world or a fantastic on-site customer experience, but it won’t matter if shoppers never see it. Instead, you need to understand the ROI of your customer experience and how traffic and support can turn into more sales.
In this article, we’ll look at some key strategies for increasing your site traffic and opening the floodgates for eCommerce growth.
Make Sure You Receive the Right Traffic
Would you rather bring in 100 shoppers who bounce right away or 10 potential customers who think your site is just what they’re looking for? Obviously, increasing traffic for traffic’s sake isn’t the goal here. You want to make sure you’re bringing in shoppers who are likely to convert.
1. People interested in your specific products.
Depending on your industry and the products you sell, your target audience may be very broad or very narrow. It’s key to know your audience well, what appeals to them, and what they search for. It’s also important to research your competitors to see how they’re targeting the market, and how you can tweak what you’re doing to appeal to your specific niche.
2. People on, or who might join, your mailing list.
People who have visited your site before, even if they haven’t purchased anything, are a clear group of people who want what you have to offer. Make it clear and easy for them to join. You can directly market to them and encourage them to repeatedly visit your website.
3. People who will become customers.
This seems obvious to say, but it’s important to prioritize building an audience that is more likely to be interested in your products. Again, this comes down to knowing your target audience and how best to reach them.
10 Ways to Increase eCommerce Traffic
Now that you know the audience to focus on, here are the top ways we know to help get people buzzing to your site.
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Email marketing
- PPC campaigns
- Affiliate marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Test CTAs
- Offer a rewards program
- Give retargeting a try
- Go mobile
Content marketing is a great way to draw organic traffic to your website. According to the 2020 trends report from the Content Marketing Institute, 75% of B2C brands have found success with their content marketing strategy.
This strategy means combining engaging content with a clear SEO strategy to draw in organic traffic through high-intent keywords while keeping people interested. You want to provide relevant content that will help people understand your products and brand, while also giving them information they need.
The key to a good content marketing strategy is to balance the message you want your reader to get with something they can truly find value in. That will keep them coming back to your site again and again.
As mentioned above, SEO should be a part of your content marketing strategy, but it can be used across your site to make sure you are ranking highly and getting visibility on your brand in google searches.
SEO strategies for increasing traffic could easily fill a whole article on their own, but if you’re new to SEO here are a few things that should definitely be on your checklist.
1. Ensure URLs and canonical tags are clean and simple.
This is an easy step that helps both visitors and search engines better know what the page is about. An easy-to-interpret URL helps your potential customers better navigate your site and allows Google and other search engines to rank you higher. Use relevant keywords thoughtfully to improve your rankings while still prioritizing clarity.
2. Construct detailed meta titles and descriptions.
When your website or a particular page shows up in search results, shoppers will usually see the title tag, URL and meta description which adds important context. Your title tag needs to have a keyword in it and needs to be short and compelling. Google looks to make sure your title tag has a keyword for ranking purposes.
The primary goal of your meta description is to get searchers to click on the link. Best practices include making a clear call to action, containing a focus keyword for the content on the page, and being both relevant and unique.
3. Include external links to relevant industry experts.
Linking to other highly ranked websites from recognized industry experts can help improve your rankings by showing search engines you are connected to relevant and credible sources. It also provides readers increased value and helps cement your reputation with them.
When related sites backlink to your content, it also helps to drive up your domain authority, and thus, your search engine rankings and therefore traffic.
4. Develop a web of internal links.
Linking to your own internal content also improves your rankings. It makes it easier for search engines to crawl your website, and also makes visitors to your site more likely to stay longer as they delve into relevant content.
5. Keyword research.
The first part of any SEO strategy is keyword research. You need to consider what keywords you want to rank for and conduct research using SEO tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.
According to Adam Enfroy, blogger and former head of digital at BigCommerce, you need to separate your keyword strategy into three buckets:
- Your blog posts
- Category pages
- Product pages
In the examples Adam outlined below, let’s take a camping store as an eCommerce example and discuss three potential ways to sell a backpacking tent via search engines.
First, your product pages should include your most specific keywords, tailored only to your product name and details. These are for web searchers ready to buy and already know exactly what they want – i.e. a Google search like “Big Agnes Copper Spur HV UL2”. These web visitors have done the research – they know exactly which tent they want and just need the product page to buy it (and maybe a few similar options to compare.)
Second, your category pages should rank for terms that are most relevant to the category of products you sell. For example, “backpacking tents.” In this case, a web searcher may not know which tent they want, but are ready to see some options. These category pages need the target keyword in the title of the page, in the URL, and throughout the content.
Bonus tip: Category pages should also have a “content block” at the bottom of the page. A category page usually only includes a list of products and doesn’t provide search engines enough valuable content on the page. One way to help is to add a 500-1,000-word “content block” listed under the products.
Finally, your blog posts should target keywords that bring in the most traffic. These can include “how-to guides”, “top-10 product guides” and more interesting articles that have search volume. While these searches may not bring in readers ready to purchase right away, they can build brand awareness and increase the size of your email list for bigger sales down the road.
For more advanced keyword research tips and ways to SEO-optimize a blog, read Adam Enfroy’s guide on how to start a successful blog in 2020.
Unlike some of the other tips on this list, this one applies not to new and first-time visitors, but to those who have visited your site before and provided you a way to contact them. Contacting them directly gives you another way to encourage them to come back and consider shopping on your site again.
1. Send cart abandoned emails.
Did they fill their cart and never pull the trigger? A quick email with a compelling subject line or a coupon code might just entice them to finish what they started.
2. Send promotional emails.
This one applies to anyone on your email list. You can send promotional emails and newsletters to advertise sales you’re running, a giveaway, or deals on new products. Encourage them to not miss out by visiting your site.
A PPC, or pay-per-click campaign is an ad campaign where you pay for each person who is driven to your site. Options for PPC campaigns include buying keywords or ads on Google or Facebook ads or Instagram ads.
If you are planning a PPC campaign, you should carefully choose where you place your ads and constantly review keywords to make sure the ones you’re choosing are still relevant and effective.
What’s better than encouraging people to buy your products directly? Having someone else do it for you! Affiliate marketing at its most basic means allowing third parties to promote your site while giving them a commission on sales that come through their links.
One statistic found that affiliate marketing programs can boost revenue by 30%. It’s important to choose your affiliates or affiliate networks carefully to make sure they’re who you want associated with your brand and that they’re promoting you in the right way.
Influencer marketing is similar to affiliate marketing in that influencers on social media platforms sometimes rely on commissions from links they post to your website to help drive new customers to checkout. However, depending on their level of followers or website traffic, you may also need to pay them a set fee for their services.
Much like with affiliate marketing, if you’re planning to use influencers as part of your digital marketing strategy, make sure the people you choose are those you want representing your brand.
Your CTAs, or calls to action, are supposed to do just that—convince someone to take the decisive action to visit your site. As such, they’re a huge part of your ad campaigns. A well-placed, perfectly-worded CTA demands to be clicked.
But what if you’re not seeing the ROI that you would like from your CTAs? Try playing around with different wording or even button placement. A/B test to see which optimizes the number of clicks you get to your landing pages.
Offer a Rewards Program
Another way to increase website traffic to your online store and also to increase your conversion rate is to offer a program to reward new and repeat customers.
As with most of these strategies for driving traffic, the key is to know your audience. Present different reward options, make the rewards easy to understand, and keep them relevant to your audience.
Give Retargeting a Try
You don’t just want traffic to come to your site and bounce, you want them to stay and convert. Thus part of your strategy to drive website traffic is to bring back the ones who got away.
According to research, only about 2% of website traffic converts on the first visit. What about all the others? Retargeting, sometimes known as remarketing, means using cookies to follow visitors over the web so that they continue to see your messaging and consider coming back.
Retargeting works best in conjunction with some of the other items on this list like content marketing so that your customers are being served a seamless narrative about your brand.
Much like talking about eCommerce numbers growing feels like preaching to the choir, you are likely unsurprised to learn that people have really gotten on board with this little thing called shopping on the go.
According to data from Statista, mobile eCommerce sales in the U.S. alone will reach $338 billion in 2020:
As more and more people become comfortable shopping online, it’s important to have a good mobile experience to raise your search engine rankings because Google prioritizes sites with good mobile load speeds. Your customers will also be expecting a mobile-optimized experience.
Build a Good Traffic-Building Strategy, and They Will Come
Not all of these tips may be the right for your audience, but consider implementing a few of them to see how your traffic improves month-over-month as more and more new and returning visitors come to your site to check out your store.
Your eCommerce platform can have a hand in how much traffic your online business achieves. Make sure to choose a platform, like BigCommerce, with industry-leading SEO, merchandising, 70+ native discounts and promotions, and more.
Get a custom demo of the BigCommerce platform to learn more.
About Susan Meyer
Susan Meyer is the Enterprise Content Marketing Manager at BigCommerce, where she researches, analyzes and educates brands making more than $10M in annual online sales on tech stack scalability, flexibility and overall growth strategies that alleviate growing CAC. She lives and works in Austin, Texas and her decade of writing experience spans everything from young adult nonfiction to technical documentation.