While it is easy to focus on shopping cart optimization and product placement, there is one topic that will either make or break your ecommerce website: customer acquisition. Driving relevant traffic to your site is the first step in making a sale. It’s the only way people will ever use your perfectly designed shopping cart or behold the product lines that you have chosen so carefully. Here are a few tried and true tools for keeping a steady flow of potential customers.
- Paid search. While many ecommerce website owners are constantly looking for ways to drive free and lower cost traffic to their websites, paid search remains one of the most solid strategies. If you know what keywords your customers are using and pay close attention to statistics and trends, this one method will comprise a huge amount of your sales. Unfortunately, there are no free methods that are as universally effective. That is not to say that paid search should be your only source of marketing, however.
- Email. Once you begin building up an email list (opt-in, of course), this can be a great way of getting repeat customers. We have written before about how to create great marketing emails; use these techniques to get the most out of your email list. Because people like to share and forward emails, this can be a method of customer acquisition as well as customer retention.
- Social media. Many merchants are reluctant to put too much energy into their social networking websites, but there is one good reason not to neglect this area: it is where the customers are. Paid advertising on social media tends to have good click-through rates and can generate a huge ROI. If you are reluctant to channel your meager marketing budget into a new and untested arena, simply maintaining a Facebook page for your website can increase your traffic.
- Mobile technology. While only a small percentage of mobile device users are buying products over their smartphones or tablets, many of them are using these devices to surf the internet, learn about new brands, and do shopping research. In many cases, mobile users are learning about new brands via smartphone apps. Unfortunately, many ecommerce websites are slow to catch on to these new trends. While 23% of consumers are currently using retail apps and 50% more plan to do so in the future, only 12% of online retailers have an app. Similarly, while 62% of consumers plan to buy via smartphone or tablet, only 32% of online retailers allow it. Enabling these services can eliminate more than half of your competition in these crucial and growing markets.
- Video content. YouTube is more than an internet phenomenon; it has changed the way modern Americans educate and entertain themselves. If you have created videos about your business or your products for view on this and other video hosts, you are ahead of the game. Video can be a great way of encouraging potential customer to engage with your brand.