Attracting the Right Customers

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If you are running an ecommerce website, you have probably noticed that traffic does not necessarily equal sales. Unfortunately, your SEO and marketing may be attracting people who are not likely to become customers. Here are a few ways to attract relevant traffic from your target groups. Warning: while this list includes some tried and true strategies that you will see in many customer acquisition lists, there are new ones as well!

  • Mailing lists. You are probably trying to build up your own mailing list—and this is important—but you can get a lot of mileage out of other people’s mailing lists as well. Find industry websites that are related to your field and ask them if you could purchase an ad in their emails or offer a product to be reviewed. Because people who subscribe to these lists tend to fit into a niche, this can give you very relevant traffic.
  • Social networking. This is not just a good place to reach out to the world as a whole, but a means of reaching your target audience as well. While it may take some time and effort to identify and approach key members of your audience, keep in mind that most people tend to be friends with others who are like them. For every Facebook fan or Twitter follower, you could reach 100 relevant, similar friends and even more as the word about your business spreads. Social networking is a huge part of viral marketing because it has the potential to reach massive numbers of people.
  • Links. With a minimal amount of effort, you can find websites that are relevant to your ecommerce website without directly competing. These websites may be willing to exchange links or a banner with you. Link exchanges are usually free and, if you do your research and choose the right partners, can bring in a substantial flow of highly interested customers.
  • Bulletin boards/News groups. For every niche imaginable there is probably an online community of people who discuss it, usually in the form of bulletin boards or news groups. While these venues tend to have rules about posting advertisements and promotions, some are very lenient, especially if you are offering items or services that can legitimately help the members. These are also good places to get to know your market. Consider bulletin boards, news groups and other forums a type of free focus group.
  • Special discounts for repeat purchases. Once you have relevant customers, why not keep them? Get your market in the habit of buying from you by emailing customers with a special deal or coupon to encourage them to make another purchase. It is easier to keep relevant customers than to find new ones!

Finding relevant traffic can be difficult; in fact, it is one of the most daunting challenges that many ecommerce website owners face. However, the trick is to figure out where your target customers “hang out” on the internet and to approach them there in a way that is low-key and consistent with your brand.