Operating an online store can be tough if you don’t know how to actually attract customers. It comes down to having a well-thought-out marketing strategy in place that utilizes every platform and tool that you have at your disposal, in a meaningful way that connects with your audience and builds your brand.
Getting more traffic to your BigCommerce store requires an understanding of what your users are looking for, a clear brand message, and a multifaceted approach that covers all of the essential areas of eCommerce marketing. It also involves synthesizing all of these tactics into a workable strategy that is relatively easy to implement, and that makes sense for your particular industry.
Before you can put together a decent strategy, you first need some information on each method of generating traffic, and why each is so effective for eCommerce businesses. This guide will cover 6 key areas you will want to investigate, the upsides and downsides of each, what to expect, and how you can best tie everything together in order to get real results.
Focus on Getting Customers to Your Online Store
You want to start your BigCommerce marketing efforts by taking a step back and retraining your focus. The ultimate goal here is getting more customers to your store. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost in all of the different apps, themes, platforms, features, and “hacks,” that are floating around out there, which can distract you from actually accomplishing what you set out to do.
In this case, you want more users visiting your website and seeing your products. That’s what it all boils down to and that’s what your central focus should be. So any changes or additions you make to your site, or any time you invest into your digital marketing, should center around this. If what you are doing or spending money on isn’t resulting in more traffic, it’s a waste of your time.
Getting those customers coming into your BigCommerce store is absolutely essential, so it’s important to take the necessary time to understand exactly how to get consistent results. You don’t want to rely on a trickle of traffic coming in from Google and the occasional sale via word of mouth. You also don’t want to simply throw money at Google Adwords and expect a decent return. This isn’t a sustainable way to run a business online.
As you work on your marketing plan, simply keep in mind that generating traffic is the goal. Regardless of how popular you think your products are or how much word-of-mouth business you are getting, you can’t ride on this kind of luck for long. Not only is traffic generation the key to remaining stable, it’s the only way to truly grow as an eCommerce business. There’s simply too much competition out there and too many other options to think you can get by without the right marketing strategy in place.
The Best Ways of Generating Traffic
There are many ways you can bring traffic to your website, but not all of them are worth your time. There are also different ways to approach each of the methods we have listed below. For instance, “social media marketing” can mean many things. Are we talking about creating funny memes on Facebook or promoting stylish ads on Instagram?
This section will break down each of the 6 primary ways to get more traffic to your eCommerce store, so that you can better understand the benefits of each one and why you need to incorporate them into your overall marketing plan. Keep in mind that you don’t necessarily have to invest time into each one of these areas, but it’s good to be aware of them, because each is a potential avenue for generating traffic, which is of course the goal here.
1. BigCommerce SEO
In general, search engine optimization should be the backbone of any digital marketing strategy that you intend to implement. While there are several other great ways of bringing in more traffic to your website, no other method is as potentially profitable as SEO.
BigCommerce SEO is useful because it can produce consistent and scalable results. The more you invest in your SEO, the more you get out of it, and the longer you work on it, the greater the returns you see. While you may have fluctuations due to market trends and Google algorithm updates, optimizing your website for the search engines provides the most logical path forward for any business owner who wants to generate more traffic and sales.
Why is SEO so effective? There are several reasons for this, all of which involve the role Google plays in our lives and for eCommerce in general. When most users hop online to search for a product to buy, very rarely do they go to the actual retailer beforehand. They use a search engine like Google to kick off the hunt. Whether they are looking for a new phone, a piece of clothing, the latest video game, or a customized trinket of some sort, the search usually begins on Google.
It’s in Google’s best interest to serve the best possible results to its users. This means providing them with a web page that either answers their questions or offers them a popular and well-rated product. This can be an extremely powerful asset for businesses, because when your page or product makes one of those coveted top spots in the Google search results, it carries enormous weight.
It’s not just about the traffic you are getting at this point. Page one rankings quite literally build your brand, because even when certain users don’t click onto your website, they might see your name pop up. Keeping your brand in the minds of your potential customers is half the battle. When SEO is done right, it not only helps bring in organic traffic, it can help bolster the way your brand is perceived, and actually help you build a community.
There are also no real downsides to SEO as well. The only slight negative against this method is that it does take a bit of an initial time and money investment to see real results. Even if you already have a few good rankings, a SEO campaign is unlikely to yield powerful results in the first six months to a year. Unless you are going after extremely uncompetitive keywords, which usually aren’t worth your time anyway.
SEO is well-worth the investment for your BigCommerce store however, because over time, your rankings will slowly improve, which in turn will allow you to attract more and more customers naturally. No other form of marketing can get you the same kind of long-term and consistent results as SEO can, which is why it is considered the core part of current eCommerce digital marketing.
2. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
The next major avenue of marketing you will want to consider is pay-per-click advertising, or eCommerce PPC. This method of marketing can be extremely beneficial for short-term gains and quick results. In the right hands and for certain niches, it’s also quite scalable, which means that you can actually use it to grow your business with the right approach.
The major downside that you want to be aware of with PPC is that no matter what platform you decide to advertise on, there is always a high risk of losing out on a lot of money. When not managed properly, a PPC campaign can act like a black hole for money. To run a campaign properly, you need to have a great deal of knowledge when it comes to targeting certain audiences, and you need to have a solid grasp on sales copy and what kinds of images get clicks.
Much like with SEO, this is not an area you want to engage in unprepared. You first need to analyze which platform is best suited for your business and your products in particular, and from there, you need to decide what kinds of ads you are going to run. Google AdWords can be especially costly if you don’t know what you are doing or are going after the wrong keywords. Make sure you have a firm grasp on your audience and start with a smaller campaign, only scaling when you begin to see results.
3. Email Marketing
Email can be another way to draw in customers to your BigCommerce website, especially if you have taken the time to meticulously cultivate and prune your email list. This is important to note, because you’re not going to get much out of emailing a bunch of random contacts on a generic list. Your email marketing will only be a successful part of your marketing strategy if you have invest a lot of time into building an email list of fans rather than simply anyone who has interacted with your content in the past.
One of the only downsides to email marketing for eCommerce specifically is that it can be hard to keep your emails relevant and exciting. Crafting click-worthy emails is something of an art that not all marketers possess, but if you are able to get enough engagement through emails, it can serve as a solid remarketing strategy.
4. Social Media Marketing
Social media is one of the best ways to generate traffic to your website these days, but it does require a substantial amount of work. This method differs substantially from PPC and SEO however, because of the need to connect with your audience.
With PPC and SEO, technical knowledge and skill will cover the bulk of what you need in order to manage a campaign. Social media is altogether different however, because to get decent results on one of these platforms, you need to actually interact with your potential customers and provide them with consistent value.
It doesn’t matter how many tweaks and “optimizations” you make to a social media account. What matters is the human element, how you interact on a daily basis and what kinds of information you are offering. You can’t simply act salesy and drop links to your products, that’s not how it works (although many marketers still believe that’s how it works).
Social media marketing for eCommerce requires a huge time commitment. How often you post on your social media of choice is important, but so is how often you comment and respond to other people, as well as what kind of value you are providing on the platform as well. Creating memes and other sorts of viral and sharable content is a must, but you have to adjust for your specific industry and craft material that meets the right expectations.
When done correctly, this can be an exceptionally effective form of marketing because it directly bolsters your brand and provides an easy channel for your fans and customers to get in touch with you and feel like they are a part of what you are building. From there, it’s easy to get them on your website through deals, sales, contests, announcements, blog posts, and other methods.
5. Influencer Marketing
A newer form of digital marketing but an effective one nonetheless, especially for eCommerce businesses. If you want to get more traffic to your BigCommerce store and you aren’t quite ready to pour money into PPC, and don’t quite have the time to spare for email marketing and social media yet, you might want to think about hiring an influencer.
An influencer is anyone who has a solid and dedicated following on social media, typically a popular platform like Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok. The idea here is to connect with an influencer in your niche by reaching out to them on the platform or through email, and asking them to help you promote your brand or one of your products.
Many influencers are interested in these kinds of deals because this is how they actually monetize themselves. Influencers usually make money through the relationships they set up with eCommerce merchants. You pay them to promote your products to their loyal following, which gives you brand appeal and makes your whole business seem more relevant. It can also directly drive traffic to your products if done correctly.
What makes influencer marketing so potentially effective is that this kind of advertising is what many users connect with right now. They don’t want to be served bland and sterile ads in Google or Facebook, and they certainly don’t want to see commercials with sales pitches. They want to see a real person using a real product that provides them with palpable value. This gives the shopper a “green light” to visit your website and try your product for themselves.
6. In-Store Promotions and Contests
The last arm of your marketing strategy should involve some kind of promotion or content. You can even run these in your brick and mortar location and have them bleed into the digital world by making certain stipulations. For example, signing up on your email list as a prerequisite for entering an in-store giveaway. These kinds of tactics generate enthusiasm and help show off your brand’s personality.
If you don’t have an in-store location for your BigCommerce store, you can simply substitute in your Facebook page or wherever you have your core following online. Then you can use this platform to direct users to your website using that email trick or some other useful method.
Putting Together Your eCommerce Marketing Strategy
While you don’t have to be a social media savant or a SEO wizard to see some traction with your marketing efforts, you do have to put together a workable plan, otherwise you’re not going to know what to focus on and you might get overwhelmed. It also may not be a good idea to try and tackle every one of these points all at once, because not only are several of them time consuming, you might find the data from one area useful for gaining traction in another.
For instance, by running a methodical and well-researched SEO campaign, you can gain a lot of information on your audience and their habits, which can then help you build a better PPC campaign. Running a PPC campaign can help you build a social media presence, and so on. So while you may be able to theoretically tackle every avenue of marketing at once, it’s probably not the most effective way of going about it.
There’s a lot that goes into creating a full-scale marketing strategy, but you most likely will want to focus on two areas at first and go from there. SEO and PPC, for instance, pair well together. If you already have a decent email list, this might be a better option to focus on until you get more traction in the search engines.
Taking the First Step to Generate More Traffic
As you can see, marketing for eCommerce can be somewhat complex. Even if you are on BigCommerce, all of their apps and features won’t automatically help users find your website or purchase your products.
If you are serious about succeeding online, you’re going to need a skilled marketing team to help you make it happen. Here at Genius eCommerce®, we specialize in all aspects BigCommerce digital marketing, and know how to build campaigns that get results. Our diverse and agile team draws from a wealth of eCommerce experience and knowledge, giving us insight into the best approach regardless of the industry or task at hand.
Whether you are looking for a long-term SEO plan to build a foundation for your business, or quicker results through Amazon PPC or even Facebook marketing, we have the solution. Give us a call today at 888.982.8269 and we can get right down to business to discuss your marketing strategy.