Competition for customer attention is now fiercer than ever. Your business needs to stand out in order to drive traffic to your website, and you can use multiple strategies to achieve this.
Having launched a few ecommerce businesses myself, I’ve picked up a few ways that can help you drive more traffic to your online store. In this guide, I’ve put together a list of free and paid strategies you can use.
9 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Site for Free
1. Use SEO to Boost Your Visibility
Studies have shown that 75% of traffic goes to the top three results on online searches. Doing all you can to ensure your website ranks higher when your products are searched will help drive a lot more traffic your way.
Here are some ways you can optimize your website’s search engine visibility for free:
- Use internal links: A Google metric called PageRank values web pages based on the number of pages that link to it, so adding plenty of internal links can help your website rank higher in search results.
- Write strong meta descriptions: Having a meta description that's instantly eye-catching makes users more likely to click through to your site. Write engaging, informative meta descriptions that include keywords if possible – and keep them within the range of 145 characters to 160 characters.
- Use long-form keyword variations for pages: Long-tailed keywords are easier for search engines to rank and tend to get a lot more clicks than shorter terms. Include as many of these as possible to boost your product pages’ visibility. A free tool like keyword.io can help you discover long-tailed keywords related to your products.
You can use paid SEO tools such as Semrush or Ahrefs to help you gain insights into where you can improve.
2. Maintain a Strong Social Media Presence
Here are a few ways you can boost your presence on social media and help direct more traffic to your website.
- Engage proactively in discussions related to your industry: For example, post thoughtful contributions to conversations that are trending on Twitter. Try to naturally drop mentions of your store or products in conversations you engage in, but don’t be pushy.
- Post regularly and at the right times: Studies have shown that the best times to post on social media are from Tuesday to Thursday at 9 or 10 in the morning. Posting consistently is key to staying on people’s minds. Remember to include clear mentions and links to your website when you post.
- Join groups and communities: There are groups for almost every interest or niche on social media platforms. You won’t be allowed to directly push your products or store there, but joining discussions under your business name, and having clear links to your store on your profile can help steer some potential customers your way.
3. Get on Google Shopping
Google Shopping is Google’s product search and comparison platform. By adding your products to Google Shopping, you can boost the visibility of your products while fostering a greater sense of trust among users that come across them.
To get started with Google Shopping, simply create an account with the Google Merchant Center. You can then set up a data feed that pulls product information directly from your ecommerce site.
Google Shopping is free to sign up for and list your products with, making it an invaluable option to drive traffic to your website.
4. Build a High-Value Blog
If you operate within a certain niche of ecommerce, such as home fitness equipment or sustainability-focused products, your blog is a great chance to show off your expertise and cultivate a reputation within the space.
Use this opportunity to not just focus on your business or products, but offer some entertaining or informative resources relating to your niche. If you regularly publish content that people find useful, you’re likely to gain followers and potential customers down the line.
You can also use your blog to include more keywords and internal links for your website. With some luck, maybe some popular sites will link to your content.
All these factors can play a role in boosting your site’s visibility on search engines, ultimately leading to more traffic.
5. Create Video Content
If you aren’t already putting out video content on popular platforms like YouTube or TikTok, it might be time to start. Creating entertaining or educational videos on popular platforms is a great way to reach a massive audience of a wide range of demographics.
You want your content to resonate with your target audience and build trust with them. Most of all, you want them to feel a sense of urgency to visit your site. Here are a few tips that can help you achieve this:
- Tell a story: Tell short, relatable, and inspiring stories that align with your brand’s image and identity.
- Keep it entertaining: Try to cater to your target demographic’s interests. Use humor and cultural references relevant to this group to try and capture their attention.
- Offer educational content: Consider publishing some longer-form videos on YouTube where you offer useful, educational advice for your audience. Ideally, try to tie it into products you sell; however, if this doesn’t flow naturally, don’t force it.
- Use video testimonials: Video testimonials from existing customers are a powerful way to inspire trust in new potential customers. Consider offering your past customers an incentive to send in video testimonials that you can compile.
Remember to show specific examples of your products or services in your videos, and examples of them in action. Finally, don’t forget to include links to your website in all your videos and descriptions.
6. Create a Podcast
Similar to blogging or creating long-form video content, podcasting gives you a forum to show off your expertise and offer your target audience informative content.
If you opt to create a podcast, be concise and don’t be too repetitive in the content you publish. Bringing on well-known guests could be a great way to give your podcast some recognition and create a following.
Keep in mind spreading awareness of your business will help you in the long run, but it won’t direct customers toward your website immediately.
Mention your business as frequently as you can without sounding too sales-y. Consider crafting anecdotes of problems your products can either solve or make easier, and then mention these organically.
7. Use Rich Snippets
Rich snippets are tailored search engine listings that include product information such as price, rating, and whether it’s currently in stock. By using rich snippets, you let shoppers learn more about your products without having to visit your site.
When your products appear on search engine results and include detailed product information, the number of people that click through to your website is increased by as much as 30 percent, a study by Search Engine Land found. The more precise information also means that those who do click through to your site are more likely to complete their purchase, too.
You can implement rich snippets by including structured data in your website's theme. If you’re unsure about how to do this, consider hiring an expert or using a paid service such as Schema Plus to walk you through the process.
8. Utilize Email Marketing
Email marketing is a powerful tool to generate traffic to your website from your existing audience.
Every individual on your email list is one that you’ve established trust with at some stage of their customer journey. Whether they signed up to your email list, created an account but abandoned their cart, or completed their purchase, they’re worth reaching out to.
As you build out your email marketing strategy, consider keeping the following strategies in mind:
- Offer a small discount to customers on your email list.
- Promote new products to members of your email list – if you can send them personalized suggestions related to their past purchases, even better.
- Mix up the content of your emails. Occasionally send out information your readers may find useful or updates about your business rather than just promotions.
9. Get Customer Reviews
It’s always a good idea to reach out to your existing customers and ask them to leave you positive reviews on sites such as Trustpilot, Google, and Yelp. A presence on these sites can help new customers discover you and help you drive more traffic to your site.
6 Paid (but Affordable!) Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Site
1. Work with Influencers
You can team up with influencers in order to drive some traffic to your product pages. This will expose your business to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of new people that may not have found it otherwise.
Research influencers that are in a similar niche to yours. It doesn't have to be an exact match. As an example, if you're selling VPN services, many influencers in the technology space would be a great fit to help market your site. Make sure that their image aligns with yours and reach out to offer a partnership.
Working with an influencer with a very large following will likely be expensive. You can also find influencers with a moderate reach that will be happy to advertise your product in exchange for a smaller amount of money or even just free products or services.
To increase your chance of success, offer the influencer a discount code to share with their followers. The new potential customers will be more likely to check out your website, and you will have a strong metric to check how many sales you got through the partnership.
2. Run Discounts and Giveaways on Social Media
Engage with your social media followers by running special campaigns and giveaways on your profiles. Offer occasional discount codes on your social media, and encourage people to follow you so that they don’t miss out on subsequent discounts and giveaways.
You can give away your own products or services or even branded merchandise. Make it more fun for the participants by asking them to guess something, tell a story, or post a photo. You can further your reach by making it a requirement that participants need to follow your page and share your post.
If possible, host the giveaway on your own website and only advertise it via social media to maximize the traffic. Remember to create a sense of urgency. Only run these giveaway campaigns for a short amount of time and highlight the fact that your followers need to act now. This will make them more likely to visit your website rather than wait.
3. Paid Social Media Ads
Paid advertisements on social media can be worth it because you're paying the website to target your specific audience. You can usually pick age brackets, interests, and other metrics to filter users by and then try to target the people who are the most likely to check out your website.
Before you invest in a marketing campaign, evaluate which platforms to target. Some metrics to look at are:
- Your own follower counts on each platform
- Your target demographic
- Your competition on each platform and how well they fare
4. Google Ads
Google Ads offers your business a unique opportunity to advertise your ecommerce site as a whole, as well as your individual product pages through Google Shopping. Google also gives you the option to display your ads on YouTube.
Google has four distinct ways that it delivers ads to consumers:
- Search ads (SERPs): Text-based ads that are shown at the top of search results.
- YouTube ads: Video ads that are shown across YouTube.
- Google Display Network ads: Ads that contain text, images, videos, and rich media that are shared across all Google domains (YouTube, Gmail, Google).
- Google Shopping ads: Product-specific ads that show at the top of Google search results, Google shopping searches, and Google Display Network. Unlikely regular text-based ads, Google Shopping ads are based on product data rather than keywords. To use this service, your products must be listed through Google Merchant Center.
Google ads can be expensive if you’re targeting popular keywords – however, if you fine-tune your ads to reach the right audience, it can be well worth the expense.
5. Reach Out to Larger Websites
You can drive a lot of traffic to your website if you team up with websites that have a larger following than you do.
Research and regularly read all notable websites in your niche. If you find one you'd like to advertise your business on, reach out directly to the marketing department and attempt to form a partnership. This may be costly, depending on the size of the website and the extent of your cooperation.
Similarly, you can reach out to journalists who cover topics related to your business and offer to send them some free samples for them to try and review. They would then link back to your website.
Remember that journalists usually won't be in charge of whether their reviews get posted on your website of choice or not, so this might be a bit of a gamble.
6. Start a Referral Program
If your ecommerce business doesn’t already run a referral program, it’s worth starting one to try and generate some new leads. Studies have shown that customers that find online businesses through referrals are over 30 percent more likely to buy something.
Consider a simple referral program such as offering a gift card, account credit, or discount to each existing customer that brings in a referral.
You’ll have to cover the account credit or discount for each new referral, but this should soon pay for itself – you’ll have a new customer following each referral. In addition, the recipient of your reward is likely to spend more money when they go on to redeem it.
The Benefits of Working with Pay.com as Your Payment Service Provider
Once a potential customer lands on your website, a lot of things can still go wrong until they choose to buy something. One of the major deterrents is a lack of a trustworthy and robust payment system.
Pay.com helps you reduce cart abandonment. Your business can accept a variety of payment methods, including credit and debit cards, digital wallets, and even ACH transfers. You can offer a frictionless checkout process to enhance customer experience.
You can easily add or remove payment methods through your Pay Dashboard. The dashboard also gives you access to advanced sales analytics that may help you choose the best ways to drive even more traffic to your website.
The Bottom Line
Driving more traffic to your website will always be an ongoing process. Even the most recognized brands in the world continue to make efforts to increase customer traffic. If you tackle the task in several different ways and stay patient, you will see an increase in website visits.
Make sure that your potential customers stick around and make a purchase by offering all of their favorite payment methods.