Post from guest author Viktoria Kanevsky. Originally published on vkecom.com
How to get traffic to your website is the number one question every online store owner/manager has. Two main ways to get targeted traffic from new customers (acquisition) and returning ones (retention) are organic traffic and paid advertisement.
When I was running E-Commerce for large companies, we invested in each organic and paid method. Also, when I started my boutique, I still ran each channel on a tiny budget and resources. Smaller online fashion and lifestyle stores & boutiques with limited budgets and resources need a channel roadmap that works precisely.
HOW TO GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE TO AQUIRE FIRST TIME CUSTOMERS
So what is organic traffic? It is when potential customers find your website via search engines and social media channels without you paying for advertisement. I want to make it clear that organic traffic does not mean completely free. You will need either to hire a professional to set everything up or to teach yourself.
SEO is the number one method. Unfortunately, it is the most mysterious process. Every boutique owner or manufacturer knows SEO is a must, but very few people know what it is, how it works, and what needs to be done.
SEO is the set of techniques that help people to find your website on Google by typing particular words. SEO can be complicated, but here are the essentials:
There are three main parts of SEO: On-Page, Off-Page, and Local
1) On-page SEO is the set of techniques implemented inside of your website. You optimize text, images, and meta tags as a minimum. There is a long on page SEO elements, but it’s a topic for the separate SEO article.
On-page SEO is an original keyword-based text for each page of your store. You research keywords, create a list and “plant” keywords’ based text in store’s categories, subcategories, and product pages so you will receive steady traffic over time in the future. Each image on your website must have a keyword based name and pages have meta tags. It is the simplest way to describe your on-page SEO.
Using keywords in product descriptions, you let Search engines know what you are selling so they can show your products to potential customers. For example, three years ago I accidentally bought several crown shaped mirrors at the gift show. I researched related keywords and created an original product description for this mirror. Now my store is showing up on the first page every time someone types in Google “Crown-Shaped Mirror”)
2) Off-page SEO is the combination of backlinks and Social Media signals. It is when quality websites link back to your store (inbound links) and people like, comment, and share your content on Social Media. Linked websites’ quality determined by how much a site is related to your store (for example if you sell apparel, you want fashion blogger link back to you) and Domain Authority (DA) metric. Large agencies charge up to $500 of one backlink with domain authority 21-41, $1000 for domain authority 42-57, and $2000+ for one backlink with domain authority higher than 58.
Implementing influencer marketing is a fantastic idea because when bloggers/YouTubers link back to your site, you will receive not only sales but lifetime organic SEO.
Social Signals such as likes, shares, and comments you receive via Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. are also indicators that your site will show up higher in Search Engines.
3) Local SEO (even if you don’t have a B&M) location is a must. As a minimum, you have to create Google My Business page and optimize it with local keywords (keyword+ city). Also, you have to add identical NAP (name, address, phone) to citations (websites and directories). And then to optimize for Bing Local, Apple Maps, Yelp (if you have a B&M location) and all other applicable sites
ORGANIC TRAFFIC FROM BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Your Blog. Want to get traffic to your website from your blog? You have to create keywords based posts and images. The difference between a store and a blog content is that blog should be more informational and entertaining. You have to write texts for both humans and search engines. You should write about something that provides your customers actual value. For example, styling guides, wardrobe tips etc. Successful blogs have high quality for both your visitors and search engines
Social Media. Different channels perform differently for every company.
Instagram – it works better if it is organic and followers are super engaged. Then they will go to your store to shop. Nowadays you can convert people to customers only if they are engaged. If they are just hanging in there, it is a waste of time and your time is limited.
Pinterest – is a search engine more than a Social network. Setting it up is time-consuming, but once it works, traffic source will be steady.
Facebook Groups – this is the goldmine if your group members like you, your brand, and your content. They will become your most loyal customers.
PAID ADVERTISEMENT TRAFFIC
When you decide to get traffic with paid ads, the first thing you need is a test budget. You should run tests for each channel and understand what works the best for your store.
Before you invest, you have to have keyword research on hands and know precisely who your target customers are.
1) Advertisement with Google, Pay Per Click (PPC) – it works well for long- tail keywords. PPC is the channel I suggest to outsource to professional because running Google Ads is a specialty. A specialist will always do better on such a competitive field as fashion & lifestyle products.
2) Advertising in Google Shopping Feed
3) Paying Influencers to promote your store (or you can negotiate to do it for free, in exchange for products). This is one of my favorites because with the right influencers for your target customers, you will be successful in the long run with traffic and sales.
4) Buying ads from Social Media
5) Facebook Ads – there are three kinds of FB ads:
-raising awareness (brand awareness, local awareness and to maximize reach)
-Consideration (drive traffic to your site)
-Conversion – this is the kind of ad you need – these are ads that increase the conversion of your online store, advertise specific products to users who have interacted with your shop before or get people to visit your local store. Conversion campaign objectives require you to add a tracking pixel to your site.
FB ads can target by location, demographics, interests, behaviors, connections, and to be custom (my favorite one is Lookalike Audiences – people who are similar to your existing customers).
6) Instagram Ads –Same as FB ads they have similar objectives: brand awareness, reach, traffic, and engagement with your posts, video views and conversions on your website. Conversions require to implement the tracking pixel on your site.
As much as you need sales, you should remember that successful campaigns do not sell products or advertise significant discounts, but carefully balance the information and the inspiration value to make the community to like, comment and share their ads. Instagram offers the same targeting options like Facebook.
7) Pinterest is now providing only one advertising kind to entrepreneurs in the USA, Canada, and the UK; it is The Promoted Pin. Promoted Pins optimized for three different campaign objectives: awareness, engagement, and traffic.
Pinterest target by location, languages, gender, devices, keywords, interests, and audience (target people who visited your website, existing customers, people who engaged with Pins that are linked to your site or act-alike audiences that behaved similarly to your existing audiences.
8) YouTube – Lots of people have great success with YouTube ads. YouTube can be a much better source for the organic, keyword-based traffic.
HOW TO GET TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE BY GETTING FIRST TIME CUSTOMERS BY MAKING EXISTING CUSTOMERS RETURN
1) Email marketing usually responsible for 30+% of all sales. You have to treat each email address as gold by sending stylish informational and promotional messages with well-crafted subject lines.
2) Retargeting is an excellent way to contact people who already visited your store and remind them how great your products are.
Depending on the size of your business, it will be up to you to decide which traffic channels to implement. I would recommend setting up each organic channel possible. After that, allocate a budget for the paid ads and test what works better for your store/products in particular.