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Driving Traffic to Your E-commerce Site

Driving Traffic to Your E-commerce Site

The power of e-commerce can’t be denied; in 2017, online businesses raked in $446.8 billion in sales in the U.S. alone.

But those numbers are just a small piece of the overall e-commerce picture. Many of those sales wouldn’t have been possible without effective marketing tools and tactics, including SEO and PPC campaigns.

Let’s break down the many ways an e-commerce business can drive traffic onto their sites, thus fueling conversions and increasing sales.

Paid vs. Organic Search: What’s in a Name?

There are several types of marketing campaigns that are tailor-made for e-commerce sites, the most common of which are PPC and SEO. There are several distinctions between the two campaign strategies, from the time frame of results to overhead cost. The best campaign for your e-commerce store depends on a variety of factors, from your spending capability to the amount of time you want to spend on marketing.

PPC stands for “pay per click,” and this tactic requires the use of Google Adwords as well as a daily budget. With PPC, you’re likely to see immediate ROI. Conversely, an SEO campaign promises a slower return, but potentially better results.

When a potential customer types in a search term into Google, the results are part organic, part PPC. Paid results are typically listed at the top of the page, but many users skip over those results in favor of the top organic results. Further, the paid ad campaigns of new e-commerce sites often fail, according to Moz.

The primary reason for failure is lack of engagement and lack of trust on the part of your target audience, the majority of whom have likely never heard of your company or products. That audience has little reason to stick around. Thus, you may be better off investing in an organic, SEO-heavy campaign.

“Organic” in this case refers to results of trustworthy sites with relevant keywords, as determined by Google. Sites rank higher in organic search results when they’re updated regularly and are optimized for SEO.

What Makes a Great SEO Campaign?

Thoughtful, relevant SEO that gets results can be hard to come by, but many industry insiders believe it’s the best way to drive traffic to e-commerce sites. Successful SEO optimization involves using a variation of your keyword(s) in as many locations as possible, from headers and page titles to image tags and general content.

The bulk of keywords are found within your site’s content, and here is where SEO truly shines. When you have engaging, shareable content, people will want to visit to your site.

Online collaboration goes hand-in-hand with SEO campaign success, and it’s another organic method of driving traffic. For best results, partner up with a niche blogger, YouTube marketer, or Instagrammer with a large following or fan base. When that individual shares your content, your company is automatically seen as trustworthy by their followers.

Optimizing Your E-commerce Site for Mobile Users

These days, it seems as though people are staring at their smartphones almost constantly. If recent data from Statsia is any indication, that’s almost the literal truth. As of January 2018, about 3.7 billion people use mobile devices on a daily basis. Those users are downloading nearly 10 billion gigabytes of data every year. Shouldn’t your e-commerce site get in on that mobile action?

An e-commerce site’s mobile-friendly status starts with responsive web design. Users expect easy access and streamlined navigation on their smartphones, and are likely to leave a site if those expectations aren’t met.

One simple way to create engagement with mobile users is via videos. Video marketing can be used in every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness to decision and, ultimately, retention. Your videos should be well-rounded, engaging and informative to ensure the maximum impact and ROI.

Don’t Underestimate the Potential of Nostalgia

Once your digital channels are covered, it’s time to stand out from the crowd. Much like niche bloggers, print marketing is an ideal co-conspirator in your traffic-building campaign. Baby Boomers and Gen X-ers yearn for the simpler marketing tools and styles of a bygone era, but Millennials are increasingly willing to jump on the nostalgia bandwagon.

According to Forbes, “building social connectedness through nostalgia is an easy way for companies to leverage the optimistic feelings that often accompany walks down memory lane.”

Savvy e-commerce marketers can also merge nostalgia and modernization by placing scannable QR codes on various forms of print media. Those codes could unlock “secret” content or give potential consumers the chance to save money or receive a free gift. The possibilities of QR scanning are nearly limitless.

Bottom Line

There’s no one “best” way to drive traffic to your e-commerce site. Indeed, many digital marketers have found success using a variety of tactics, including PPC, SEO, and nostalgia marketing. By making a connection with our desired client base, you have the greatest chance of engaging audiences and converting those curious visitors into loyal customers.


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by Devin Morrissey // Devin has been a dishwasher, a business owner, and everything in between. He writes from his garage, occasionally rising to experiment on his friends' cars or do jumping jacks for no reason.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.