How to Drive Traffic to Your Online Store

Running an online store is no small task. It takes a lot of time and effort to perfect your products, to photograph them and write product descriptions, and to ultimately launch your online store.

But guess what? You’re only halfway done. You still have to get the word out to get people to visit your online store.

Marketing may sound daunting, especially if you’ve never done it before. You may not know where to begin, or how you should connect with potential customers. The good news: We’re here to help you learn the basics of driving traffic to your website. You’ll learn how to:

  • Create an effective blogging strategy: Learn how to build a blog that uses engaging content to attract visitors
  • Promote yourself on social media: Discover the basics of social media marketing and how you can use it to direct traffic to your site
  • Get the most from email marketing: Leverage the power of newsletters to strengthen your relationships with customers while promoting your products or services

These initiatives will help you design a growth strategy that carries your brand into the future.

Create Content People Enjoy

You need to give people a reason to follow you and learn about your work, and blogging is a great way to do that. According to HubSpot’s Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics, search engines generate the most traffic to blogs, and blogging is one of the most popular forms of media used in content marketing.

So, how do you start writing regularly?

First and foremost, you need to come up with a content strategy. Don’t create content for the sake of creating content. Your blog needs to have value by doing things like:

  • Educating your readers: Think about a question or pain point your customers or visitors might have, then address it in a post.
  • Telling a story: Storytelling is a powerful marketing tool that lets you engage with your readers on a personal level, which can make them feel more connected to your brand.
  • Showcasing happy customers: Show your readers how your products or services have solved problems or are incorporated into the daily lives of customers.

Think about what content potential customers would be searching out online, then build your content about that. Google gives preference to high-quality posts by ranking them at the top of search results. Here are a few tips to help you make your blog posts stand out:

  1. Don’t waste the reader’s time - make sure every post has value
  2. Avoid spamming keywords and phrases
  3. Always link to related products and articles for readers who want to dive deeper

Not only do these three tips help you write engaging blog posts, they’re also the foundation for good search engine optimization. Whether you realized it or not, you just learned the basics of SEO! If you want to learn more about this topic, start with a primer on SEO, then check out The Beginner’s Guide to SEO by Moz.

Considering SEO can help you determine what to write about when you feel stuck. Think about what content potential customers would be searching for, and write about that!

Finally, make sure every blog post ends with a call-to-action (CTA). You can use a CTA to encourage the reader to take next steps, such as:

  • Viewing a specific product or product line
  • Joining your mailing list
  • Following your brand on social media

Oh, and one more thing: You should have a consistent publishing schedule, but there are going to be times when you struggle to come up with topics to write about. Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us. Focus on other ways to cross-promote your content, like reposting your newsletter on your blog, when times are slow.

Build Your Email List 

Email marketing is a must for all online business owners. Data shows that every dollar you invest in an email marketing campaign generates $42 on average.

Email marketing can take many forms, but focusing on a newsletter is a great place to start. If you’re not building a list of contacts and sending regular newsletters, you’re missing out on traffic and potential sales.

If this is your first time creating a newsletter, you might be wondering how to get subscribers. Adding an email sign-up form on your website will help you build your mailing list, but you also need to give people a reason to share their contact info.

Behind the scenes looks, early access to new products, and exclusive discounts are all great incentives to subscribe to your newsletter. Don’t forget to encourage your social media followers to subscribe to newsletters from time to time as well.

You’ll also need an email marketing tool that lets you build, schedule, and send your newsletters. There are a number of great platforms available, but if you’re looking for a solution that’s affordable and effective, consider Mailchimp. It’s powerful, easy to use, and seamlessly integrates with Big Cartel.

Once you’ve built your mailing list, it’s time to create some newsletters. Much like blog posts, newsletters need to bring some sort of value to the table. You can use them to:

  • Generate awareness around new items or products that are about to be discontinued
  • Share deals, sales, and coupons
  • Talk about updates with your shop or services
  • Share behind-the-scenes information that makes subscribers feel like VIP insiders

Here’s an example of a Big Cartel newsletter. Notice the value of the content and how it helps readers overcome problems, in addition to offering a personable view of the Big Cartel team.

Promote Yourself on Social Media

Social media can be used to connect with customers, to share your blog content, and to engage with followers through content that starts a conversation.

There are several social media platforms out there, but the first three you’ll want to consider for your marketing efforts are:

  1. Facebook: Largest audience of all platforms, users varying in age – including people aged 50 and above. Great for sharing long-form content, pictures and video (live and recorded.)
  2. Twitter: Biggest user group is between ages 18-29. Great for sending updates and responding directly to followers’ questions and concerns.
  3. Instagram: Primary audience is Gen Z and Millennials. Platform is used almost exclusively to generate brand awareness by sharing visually appealing photos and videos, but also includes live video and direct messaging features.

You can have a presence on all three platforms, but don’t spread yourself too thin. Choose the platform that’s the most used by your target audience and make that your main marketing channel. From there, learn the nuts and bolts of creating an effective social media campaign by reading our beginner’s guide.

Make sure you’re:

  • Sharing content that delivers value to your followers
  • Linking back to your site or blog
  • Engaging readers through activities like Q&As
  • Using high-quality, attention-grabbing images and videos

You can even use social media as part of your outbound marketing campaigns by running ads on these platforms, which will help you advertise to specific audiences.

While these guides are platform-specific, much of the information covered can be applied to other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, and Snapchat.

You also may want to consider partnering with an influencer as part of your social media marketing. If your budget is small (or non-existent), consider collaborating with microinfluencers. Microinfluencers have become a popular way for brands to generate awareness, and unlike influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers, they tend to have a few thousand followers that they engage with regularly. Many times, they’ll accept free products in exchange for promotion rather than expecting to be paid per post.

But you can’t work with just anyone. Be sure to choose an influencer partner who:

If you’re serious about partnering with an influencer, there are also companies like Influential and #paid that match customers with the optimal influencers for their brand.

Creating a Marketing Strategy That Pops

Running a successful marketing campaign isn’t as hard as you think; the key component is to create meaningful content that your customers want to see. Creating engaging, creative, and educational content will keep your customers coming back to your site. And it might even turn some into brand ambassadors who refer you to their friends and family.

Kaleigh Moore

Freelance writer specializing in the ecommerce and software industries.

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