When you run an online business there are two types of marketing or rather two intents behind each marketing decision you make. Type one is to nurture your existing audience, this is doing things like sending regular emails to your list and type two is to grow your audience, in order, to get new customers.
You need both types of marketing to create a business that runs well.
When you are deciding exactly where you want to focus your energy, you need to consider what type of results you are hoping to get, for example, if you are wanting to get more sales quickly, it will be more effective to focus on nurturing your existing customers.
Another common mistake is using one piece of a marketing strategy that would be more effective for growth but then not following through with the rest of it. For example, if you create a new opt-in or lead magnet in your shop, but then not doing any promotion to get customers on your shop to see it. In this scenario, it seems like this method is ineffective but truly the problem is following through.
As you can see, marketing your shop isn’t just as simple as telling you to fill in the blank. This is why it was so difficult to get started with this episode.
So let’s talk about ways to drive traffic to your shop that ARE effective and we’ll also talk about how it works.
1- Writing a strategic blog in your own shop.
Blogging is a really great way to bring in traffic to your shop, but you can’t just write any blog post. You have to write good quality blog posts that include keywords and are really valuable information to potential customers. Blogging isn’t the fastest way to make a huge sale, but it’s a really sustainable way to bring more traffic to your shop. It’s also reusable. When you write a blog post you can share parts of it on social media and in your newsletters. You can take one blog post and turn it into as many different promotional pieces as you want. It also lives on forever, blog posts on your website, don’t expire as things do on social media. If you do a search on Google or Pinterest for any topic, you’ll find posts from years ago.
The key to blogging is writing blog posts that include keywords and are really valuable to your customers. This is something we’re going to talk about more in-depth later on this podcast because blogging can be immensely beneficial for your shop.
2- Guest blogging on other people’s blogs.
Writing guests blog posts or being on a podcast is another great way to drive traffic to your website. In this method, you are borrowing someone else’s audience. This is the fastest way to grow your business because you are reaching a completely new audience that someone else has built. Much like your audience trusts you, the other person’s audience trusts them, so it really gives you clout with the audience you are “borrowing.”
This also takes a lot less time and effort on your part. You’ll want to promote the posts and reshare anything the host of the blog does to promote your guest post but ultimately it’s not really your responsibility to do the majority of the promotion. The majority of your time is spent creating really great content for the host of the blog you are going to be posting on.
This is also really good for your shop because it’s giving you a backlink. Which just means another website is linking to your website. It’s really great for your SEO.
3- Posting on social media.
It’s no secret that social media is a great way to get traffic to your site. We already know that there are a ton of different ways to get traffic to your website from social media. At this point, every social media platform has like 10 different ways to help you drive traffic. Each one has an expert that can help you learn to use the platform to grow your audience. You can use Facebook groups or Instagram Reels. It doesn’t matter. There is someone out there who is using each method to get more sales in their shop.
I believe the secret is to pick one that you enjoy, and your audience enjoys and learns to use it strategically. Go all in. If you LOVE Instagram stories, then go for it. It’s more than possible to use Instagram stories to get more sales in your shop.
Depending on the way you use social media it can be good for new traffic and nurturing the existing audience.
If you want to learn more about Instagram, check out my friend Nicole at Lattes for Lunch.
4- Set up Google My Business.
Google My Business is non-negotiable. Basically Google My Business has become the phonebook of the internet. It’s a free tool created by Google to help you get more traffic. It’s really effective for local businesses but it’s also helpful if you have a business that exists online only. I guarantee you, there are people in your area google for a business like yours and if you have Google my business set up, you can show up in those results. If you don’t set it up, then you have no chance of showing up.
If you haven’t set up Google My Business yet, head over to my website and grab the Visibility Boost freebie because it walks you through all the steps. You can find that at Alexanderdesignco.com/boost
There are even tips to explain what to do when your business is online-only, and you don’t want to show your address publicly. I hear this excuse all the time, but I promise you. I’ve been through this process myself and my Google My Business does not publicly list my personal address.
You can also create listings on other business directory platforms. I personally haven’t seen a huge amount of traffic from these types of sources but it is another option. You just want to make sure the directory was created for people that would fit in your ideal audience. Think quality over quantity. I’d also be really wary of directories that make you pay to be listed on their site. There can be some negative side effects to paid directories depending on how they work.
5- Promote your business on Pinterest.
Product-based businesses do really well on Pinterest because people go on Pinterest to take action and shop! Pinterest is a visual search engine so as long as you have really great photos of your products, then Pinterest is a great way to get more traffic to your shop. You don’t even really have to do much extra work after you learn how to create effective pins thanks to tools like Tailwind which will pin for you during the day. Pinterest is another platform with a longer lifespan. One pin can keep gaining popularity for a long period of time.
Pinterest is also a good place for advertising because the price is really competitive compared to Facebook or Instagram ads. For my own business, I’ve seen great results from doing a few Pinterest ads.
6- Collaborate with other business owners.
Much like guest blogging or being on someone’s podcast, collaborating with other shops or business owners, allows you to borrow an audience that someone else has built.
For shop owners, this can be as simple as hosting a giveaway with another shop. One of my sweet clients, Jess from Bella Vida Candles hosts a giveaway with another shop owner every week and she’s seen really awesome growth from it. Plus it’s helping you build really awesome connections with other shop owners. It absolutely never hurts to have more friends in the industry.
Just be sure that your giveaway attracts your ideal customers, not just someone who wants to win anything they can get their hands on. You know how sometimes businesses will team up to give away an iPad or a huge gift card. These types of giveaways will attract people who want free stuff, not people who genuinely want to try your product.
7- Create a referral program for your customers.
What I love about this tactic is that it rewards your loyal customers for bringing you new customers. It’s like when you go to your local coffee shop and they give you a punch card for a few one after you buy 10 drinks… except better for you. Basically, when your existing customers send you a new customer they get a small coupon to say thank you for telling your friends about us.
You can get this set up on your Shopify site with the app Smile. It’s a loyalty card and referral program all in one. Your customer will earn points for doing things like sharing and for every dollar they spend, which adds up to some sort of reward for them. The best part is you get to set the values, so you can make it so sharing about your shop is worth quite a bit, to really help bring in new customers.
The idea behind this is really great. One it’s nurturing existing customers by giving them rewards for shopping and sharing, it’s helping you reach new customers and it’s fairly effortless on your part. All you really need to do is make sure your customers know about it. Which you can do through your emails and alerts on your site.
8- Use retargeting ads and abandoned cart emails.
Sometimes people don’t buy even though they want to. Maybe they got distracted or didn’t want to get up and find their wallet at the moment. Retargeting ads are a fairly inexpensive way to remind potential customers that they found your products intriguing. While abandoned cart emails remind people who got distracted to finishing their purchase. These work really well together.
I feel like this is another one that’s pretty effortless as well. Once you set up your email sequences you can pretty much leave them be for the most part. With everything, you will want to tweak and adjust them as you learn more about customers and see what’s working.
I’m not an ads expert so I won’t say much except in my limited experience, it’s much easier to interest someone who has already shown interest than it is to run ads to a cold audience.
What I love about this strategy is that it stacks with the other ways of driving traffic. So if you spend time guest blogging or collaborating with other shop owners, your retargeting ads and your abandon cart sequences will be working and making the effort you put in even more effective.
9- Creating good video content.
Mostly I mean YouTube here, but the nice thing about video content is that you can really use it everywhere. You can use YouTube videos on Facebook and Instagram. Creating videos for your business is great because it’s really engaging. Some people just really love watching videos on YouTube. My husband is one of them. One of the channels he watches regularly just did an income break down the video and they said their shop has grown over 500% in the last four years while their main focus is creating editorial content.
Now obviously, it’s a little different when your business is focused on creating content rather than selling a product but there’s so much room for growth when it comes to creating video content for product-based businesses. I think we’ve really seen this unfold in front of our eyes with the rise of Tik Tok and now, Instagram Reels. The key is just being really creative with how you are showing off your products in these types of videos. As with everything we’ve talked about today, the secret is learning how to do this creatively.
Find a product shop that’s using YouTube as a method of promoting their business and learn from them. And of course, as we talked about before, don’t forget to promote your video!
10. Learn to create optimized product listings.
No list is complete without talking about optimizing your products so they show up on search results. This is called Search Engine Optimization, and it’s one of those things I love talking about because I’ve seen transform businesses. Again it’s not a speedy thing, but once you learn how to create really optimized listings you’ll start getting organic traffic from Google results which will bring more traffic to your shop.
Once you learn how to create listings that are optimized and by that I mean, using keywords to describe your product really well and putting those keywords in the right places, it starts to come second nature. You’ll know exactly what to call your products and how to write listings that get you new customers.
I know search engine optimization sounds really technical which scares people, but it’s not. In fact, I’ve made it one of my life goals to Simply SEO for Shop Owners… which is exactly why I have a course with that same name. Check out Simplified SEO for Shop Owners here.
It walks you through learning how to find good keywords for your products and where to put them on every type of content for your website. From the images to the listings, the pages of your website, all of your collections, and even blog posts. The course is only $49. It’s one of those skills that every shop owner needs to learn to do themselves.
Now, some of these that we talked about, you can set up once and be done. Others are going to take a time commitment, and they’re going to be something you have to do regularly like every week. And some of them also take time to start seeing results, you’re not going to get overnight success from optimizing your product listings or writing one blog post. So I just want to remind you that things take time to start seeing results. Consistency really matters. And I want to remind you that you don’t have to do everything we talked about,it would be crazy for you to start trying all 10 of these things, pick one or maybe two and really focus on them. Take a good course about that one traffic method and see what you can do and how you can grow in that way, instead of trying to do a tiny bit of everything because I think you’ll see really great results. If you just focus on one or maybe two traffic methods. This is also what I have done and it’s worked really well for me.
SEO for your e-commerce shop doesn't have to be overwhelming!
Here are five quick and easy ways to improve your store. You don’t have to be tech savvy. You don’t have understand keywords (much).
Seriously, no previous knowledge required!