46 Ways To Drive Traffic To Small And Large Ecommerce Stores (Free & Paid)
The whole purpose of starting an eCommerce store is defeated if the site has no traffic.
Even mature online stores like Amazon and eBay have to constantly invest time and effort to promote their respective e-stores and ensure a steady flow of incoming traffic – both free and paid.
Things To Remember About Increasing Website Traffic
While the process of getting your first customer and your hundredth customer is the same, the critical thing to remember is whether that traffic transpires to sales and revenue.
There are a few questions you need to revisit repeatedly for that to happen.
1. Do I have a good product?
2. Do I have a target audience for the product?
3. Is my product backed by a compelling copy?
4. Is there a more cost-effective way to reach my target audience?
5. Am I using the right keywords in my Ads?
We appreciate that choosing the right ways to drive traffic to your eCommerce stores and compel visitors to purchase from your online store can be daunting, especially if you’re just starting up.
Competing against biggies like Amazon and eBay doesn’t make it easier either.
We’ve compiled a list of free and paid ideas to drive customers into your online store in this article.
23 Free Strategies To Drive Traffic To Your Ecommerce Store
1. Create An Informative Blog
Blogs are your way of speaking what’s on your mind and how your product, brand, or service will make a difference to your customers.
It gives you ample space to say why customers must choose your product over others and how it adds value to their endeavors.
Since most of the search market is controlled by Google, regular SEO-rich blogs will hugely impact achieving a higher page ranking.
Starting a blog is simple. Start with the built-in blog templates in your websites to get the ball rolling and search for short-tail and long-tail keywords to optimize your content and other SEO strategies.
2. Build An Email List
Create an email list of your existing or potential customers. Since existing customers already have tried your products, it is easy to establish a relationship based on their trust.
Small steps like offering a small discount for users who sign up to your email list, offering something exclusively for the first 100 sign-ups or promo codes, etc., can encourage customers to return and look at your new product.
3. Retarget Your Email Subscribers
Retargeting is a highly thoughtful strategy for targeting customers who had shown interest in your product but did not take any further action.
Another effective way to retarget customers is by using ‘abandoned cart emails’ where you can remind them about products, current deals or discounts, etc.
4. Optimize Your Mobile-User Experience
Search engines like Google have separate indexes for mobile and desktop users and employ a higher priority on mobile user index.
Since smartphones are always available with an active internet user, the probability of purchasing something on a mobile device is higher than from a desktop. Therefore, optimizing your eCommerce platform for mobile users must be a top priority.
Using strategies like Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) markup, structured Schema markup, responsive web design, compressing images, creating visual content, etc., can improve your chances of higher customer engagement.
5. Optimize Your Site For SEO
SEO is a paid strategy but preparing your website for SEO implementation is a free tactic.
Publishing relevant and authoritative content is one of the critical drivers for higher search engine rankings and SEO marketing.
Placing keywords in URLs, page titles, headings, and subheadings, using metadata, etc., can also drastically optimize your page ranking.
Regularly updating your content with new, fresh audio and visual content will improve your search ranking and a good user experience.
6. Use Backlinks
Backlinks are a clever way to improve your search ranking and user experience and increase the overall sale potential.
In simple terms, backlinks are links from one webpage to another. Creating backlinks enables B2B and B2C platforms to drive steady referral traffic automatically.
Such a strategy does not require additional expense for brand promotion and also acts as a sign for search engines to recognize and improve the organic ranking of your content, brand, or product.
It also helps create fast indexing and improves referral traffic to your main webpage.
7. Optimize Your Product/ Landing Page
The primary aim of optimizing your product or landing page is to increase conversions.
This can be achieved by providing detailed insights about your products to your target audience, email subscribers, and new customers. It is also a tool to measure metrics linked to your business goals.
Removing redundant data, speaking about key product features, contrasting colors, employing scarcity techniques, keeping essential elements perceivable without any ambiguity, etc., makes your product landing page appealing to customers.
A ‘CALL TO ACTION button at relevant places for customers to make a quick and easy purchase elevates your engagement.
8. Optimize Your ‘call To Action’ Step
A call to Action, in simpler terms, is a ‘nudge’ or a ‘prompt’ to a customer to make a purchase.
CTA optimization plays a significant part in positive sale conversion and improves user experience. We advise keeping CTAs briefs with prompts like ‘Learn More,’ ‘Join Free,’ ‘Buy Now, etc.
You could also create urgency or scarcity by declaring limited availability or low stocks to drive FOMO or ‘fear of missing out.
Personalizing your CTAs and converting it into a button can also improve the possibility of sales conversions.
9. Simplify Check-Out Page Optimization
When a checkout process involves too many steps, the customer usually gets frustrated and abandons the product to look for similar products elsewhere.
Simplifying your checkout page enables a smooth buying experience. A ‘Single-page checkout’ with fewer clicks offers less effort to navigate, thus reducing friction for consumers.
Another tactic to improve the check-out experience is by providing extra benefits like free shipping, discounts, coupons on future purchases, etc., to make the process more appealing and wholesome.
10. Create A Lucrative Referral Program
A referral program has a higher potential for conversion.
Starting a referral program is simple. Offering something of value to customers for every customer they bring in can be your basic referral program.
You can build a reliable network of relevant customers with word-of-mouth publicity while maintaining a cost-effective strategy. Word-of-mouth is one of the critical touch points in online sales and yields a good brand value.
11. List On Google My Business (Gmb)
Source: 9 to 5 Google
Google My Business (GMB) is a free web tool that helps local businesses to improve their visibility on Google Search.
Optimizing your listing on GMB can help your business stand out in the market. It can increase opportunities for higher visibility for your customers and offer better engagement.
Some of the apparent benefits of GMB listing are higher traffic due to Local SEO, better visibility, ease of use, help in collecting reviews, etc.
12. Launch Dedicated Social Media Pages
Social media is a great way to create excitement during product releases and convey new info about existing products.
An advantage of social media pages on platforms like Instagram is a strategy called ‘Vertical Building.’
For instance, in vertical building, a Health supplement powder business can create accounts about health pages, bodybuilding, sports, etc., first and ‘gather’ potential customers who are likely to use the supplement when it launches.
13. Leverage Facebook Groups To Grow Your Business
Facebook Groups are an excellent way for small businesses to make their presence in the online market. It allows for building your local community and establishing your authority.
These groups give you a deeper insight into customer behavior, likes, dislikes, etc., and create your niche. Facebook Groups are versatile enough to promote your business and, at the same time, provide value to customers.
Check out my guide on selling on Facebook for more information.
14. Create Your Own Space With Instagram Shops And Stories
Small businesses can leverage the Instagram store, also known as Instagram shopping, by creating product pages, adding their product catalog to the platform, turning on the Shopping feature, and tagging their products in posts and stories.
Since the platform is highly tuned for lifestyle statements, you can post daily stories and capitalize on the chances of impulse buying.
Additionally, you reach out directly to the customer without any middleman and establish a loyal customer following for your products.
15. Leverage Pinterest Marketing
Pinterest is a visual platform that uses minimalist content and has a vast potential to transform small and big businesses alike. The platform allows opportunities to drive new traffic and helps to connect with the consumer.
One of the unique features of Pinterest is that it requires fewer steps from discovery to conversion compared to other social media platforms.
Posting a picture with an excellent visual appeal can do the trick.
16. Engage In Upselling And Cross-Selling
Offering related products on a product page provide an opportunity for exposing options to consumers that they might not have considered initially.
This strategy improves the chances of conversion and can increase the average order value each time a customer checks out.
Contrary to popular belief, Amazon successfully increased its sales by 35% after introducing upselling and cross-selling on its platform.
17. Offer Free Shipping
The possibility of getting something free of cost is always an attractive offer for every customer. Although this strategy might feel counterproductive, the reality is a bit different.
Small businesses worried about shipping costs can include them in their product price to have it covered.
You could also offer free shipping only for purchases over a certain amount or agree to provide free shipping in exchange for helpful information like email addresses, referrals, survey sheets, polls, etc.
18. Offer Free Samples
Offering a free sample to influencers or customers can prove helpful while introducing a new product or service.
It creates trust, brand recognition, and loyalty among customers by offering them a sneak peek into the product’s use, performance, and benefits.
Moreover, free samples have a psychological impact on the consumer, inducing a need for them to reciprocate as an obligatory gesture. Levering on this strategy, businesses can collect valuable data critical for future improvements, business plans, innovations, etc.
19. Create Diy Or ‘How To Videos On Youtube
A part of video marketing, DIY videos require no additional cost and can be done within one’s home or business establishment.
For instance, creating a video on using your product and uploading it to a free platform like YouTube can help users understand the benefits and its proper usage.
Since YouTube and similar online platforms have a feedback comment section, businesses can gather valuable data, market sentiments, and more info to boost their sales further.
20. Leverage Online Resources (Whitepapers, Webinars, Live Chats)
Every business requires new consumers, and one way to accomplish that is through lead generation. Fresh leads often rely on available data about a product, service, or brand.
Apart from the product landing page, businesses can conduct live webinars on free platforms, engage in live chats, and release whitepapers to improve business visibility, foster trust, and connect with the market.
Considered one of the effective methods in traditional and eCommerce marketing, online resources can be a clever way to reach out to potential consumers in the market.
21. Use Infographics To Gain Positive Traction
Infographics are an excellent method to engage your consumers.
Engaging your audience with easy-to-understand visuals about a subject and using them to communicate information about a product, service or idea can lead to effective marketing for eCommerce businesses.
22. Implement Website Security
Since eCommerce sites collect sensitive personal and financial data, you must make your website secure.
Steps like acquiring an SSL certificate, securing order tracking info through data encryption, and implementing passwords can be a way to improve website security.
Including the security aspects of your business in marketing campaigns can foster trust in people’s minds and create brand loyalty.
23. Leverage On User-Generated Content
User-generated content typically involves videos or images of real customers using the product.
They can also include customer feedback in comments, images, videos, etc., detailing their user experience and product journey.
Businesses can leverage this space to increase product visibility and customer base. Companies can increase their credibility and establish brand loyalty with good reviews from existing customers without spending extra money on marketing.
24. Get Involved In Forum Participation Comment Marketing
Participating in an online forum can yield valuable insights into a customer’s mindset. Repeat customers can also provide their views on their experience, which automatically promotes your business without investing extra time or money.
Businesses can build trust, loyalty, and brand awareness through forum participation and comment marketing.
Paid Strategies To Drive Ecommerce Traffic
Now that you have learned about the best free strategies to drive traffic to your eCommerce store, do you still need paid marketing strategies?
Combining both the free and paid strategies can help you reach your potential customers at the right time and increase conversions.
Suppose you have already covered some or all of the free strategies we mentioned above. You have significant analytics data that you can use in your paid campaigns to target your shoppers better and make your marketing efforts more successful.
Here are the best-paid strategies to drive traffic to your eCommerce store.
1. Reach Relevant Customers With Google Adwords And PPC
If you were to leverage Google’s massive reach as a search engine, then Google AdWords must be your number one choice.
Google AdWords is the pay-per-click (PPC) advertising solution from Google. It uses bids on keywords to display/trigger ads on the search result page.
Businesses need to spend money only when a lead/customer clicks on a Google Ad. Since this strategy enables targeted adverting, the return on investment also goes up significantly.
2. Invest In Search Engine Optimization
SEO is indispensable to the success of an online marketing campaign. It not only targets quality traffic but brings in more customers.
SEO helps focus on user experience and creates a trustworthy experience for your customer base.
Small businesses can employ SEO to create brand awareness amidst fierce competition, measure the success of implementation strategies, and connect proactively with consumers within a defined budget.
By leveraging keyword research, understanding your completion, and creating refined content for lead generation, eCommerce businesses can use effective SEO strategies to improve the overall value drastically.
3. Implement Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing or SEM is a paid marketing strategy that businesses employ to gain a positive traction in the market. It is easy to implement, highly configurable, and easy to change.
SEM also provides accurate tracking of the success of an ad campaign with in-depth analysis for better outreach.
This strategy can pinpoint marketing strategies to specific customers at the right time and help raise brand awareness by optimizing keyword mixes, budgeting, and increase in organic traffic.
4. Launch An Affiliate Marketing Strategy
If you do not have an advertising team but still need to implement an effective marketing strategy, then an affiliate marketing program is for you.
A low-cost, low-risk program, affiliate marketing is highly flexible in targeting traffic to your landing page. Many businesses subscribe to this marketing strategy as it provides a high ROI because of the reviews from affiliates and its impact on consumers.
5. Use Social Media Ads To Optimize Your Business
One of the low-cost yet higher conversions avenues, social media ads are proven to increase brand awareness for all businesses.
Social media provides a user-friendly interface and provides an in-depth analysis of the performance of your ad strategies.
Small businesses can gauge brand sentiment and market association with a vast trove of social media advertisements analytics to create optimized campaigns and develop A/B testing to ensure a finely-tuned ad strategy.
6. Optimize Google Shopping Ads
One of the best ways to achieve comprehensive visibility for your products online is to use Google Shopping Ads.
Such ads target a broader market segment and help reach qualified business leads and opportunities. Whether B2-B connections or B2C sales, Google Shopping Ads provide more significant advertising ROI with minimal set-up effort.
It is also known for its simple management, valuable reporting tools, and mobile-friendly display on smart devices.
7. Use Guest Blogging To Boost Trust
The only difference between regular blogging and guest blogging is that, in the latter, you invite a highly influential individual or a thought leader to write a blog or series of blogs.
Depending on industry experience, businesses can choose industry experts to write blogs or articles that can positively impact business activities, marketing, and overall sales.
This strategy helps create brand awareness, provide fresh insight, generate trust, boost SEO and exert authority in the market.
8. Implement Press And Media Releases
One of the affordable options in paid marketing strategies is to publish press and media releases.
It increases organic web traffic, but it immediately impacts the audience and directly correlates to positive sale conversions. Further, it affects SEO strategies and can target customers additionally, gain the interest of media, market, and consumers alike.
9. Use Website Partnering For Conversion
Website partnership with an already established online channel will benefit eCommerce businesses, especially newcomers.
Small businesses can benefit immensely from such a productive partnership since an established website already enjoys trust, credibility, and market reach. The primary goal of such a strategy is customer engagement, while conversion comes as a by-product in the long run.
You can use this strategy to gain trust and then implement the strategy for high sales conversions with improved brand awareness.
10. Invest In Paid Email Marketing
If you aim to reach a global audience and want to deliver a highly targeted message to genuine customers at a low cost, then investing in paid email marketing is the way to go.
It is an easy method to share relevant information and an excellent way to measure growth and drive revenue with extremely metered content.
11. Create A Robust Content Marketing Strategy
A proven method to engage with genuine customers, content marketing helps to increase organic search traffic.
With highly curated content, businesses can create a defined version of their brand, foster trust and authority, improve conversion rates, close gaps in the conversion process, increase social media engagement, etc.
12. Launch Exciting Contests
Source: Business 2 Community
Contests are a way to create a loyal following with huge customer engagement prospects. There is a spike in customers’ interest during such events, which helps drive online traffic.
It also gives ample opportunities to create brand awareness in the customer’s minds, positively impacting the market. The response from consumers helps businesses gather data in the form of feedback that can improve their brand value with real-time improvements.
13. Engage In Influencer Marketing
Imagine your product being recommended by someone idolized and followed by millions! The impact will be more significant, and customers are more likely to buy them.
This is the primary benefit of influencer marketing. Partnering with people with large followers on social media to market your products can help increase sales.
This strategy drives purchase decisions and builds credibility and trust with increased brand awareness.
14. Create Video Content
This, by far, is the most relied-on content for established and new businesses alike.
An audio-visual representation of your product in a very concise manner, video content is an excellent marketing strategy. Attention-grabbing content makes an impact on the minds of your customers.
15. Retarget Your Existing Customer Base
Based on the site activity of your existing customers, you can engage or ‘retarget’ your pool of customers based on their buying behavior.
Retargeting strategies can be around cart abandonment, incomplete cart, or simply engaging consumers with new products similar to their previous purchases.
Retargeting increases brand awareness, helps you gain insights into customer behavior, improves cost-effectiveness, and generates more sales.
16. Create Your Podcasts
If you ever dream of connecting to your audience on an intellectual level, implement podcasts as a part of your business strategy.
A highly convenient method of engaging with your consumers, it is a space where you can provide personalized content with no restrictions whatsoever.
The topics can vary from highly intense subjects to mediocre routines. Podcasts need not be salesy.
Through podcasts, businesses can attempt to take a personal interest in the lives of their consumers and talk about their likes and dislikes.
17. Implement Newsletters As A Part Of Your Business Strategy
Newsletters are a way to connect with your customers and boost your content strategy.
A newsletter provides enormous chances to connect with existing and new customers with consistent customer engagement.
Newsletters are a low-risk and high-reward strategy businesses can use to communicate, engage, and benefit their customers through continuous, periodic engagement.
18. Conduct Polls And Surveys
Although a traditional way of collecting information, polls, and surveys provide a way to open up a conversation with customers, these can be done before a new product launch or after a launch to get feedback.
It is a great way to ensure customer satisfaction with little or no-observer monitoring.
19. Make Use Of Rich Snippets
Rich snippets provide a peek into the listings on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), usually while using paid search and pay-per-click ads.
It increases the overall visual appeal and increases the Click-through rate (CTR).
For instance, a 5-star rating below the product URL is a classic use of rich snippets. It has a psychological impact on the buying behavior of a customer and prompts an action based on the info available.
20. Engage In Partnership With Referring Customers
One of the most cost-effective and quicker ways to benefit a business is engaging in a productive partnership with existing customers.
Referral from such customers will help businesses meet new potential clients, increase brand awareness, and have higher chances of conversions.
Offering customers a small discount on future purchases is one way of using a pre-existing relationship to foster new ones.
21. Tune Your Marketing Campaigns For Specific Regions
Since different regions are characterized by distinct values, cultures, and purchasing habits, campaigns targeting specific regions always help businesses that serve more than one region.
For example, setting up a marketing campaign during Diwali for the Indian Subcontinent can benefit businesses since the festival has a cultural meaning to the region.
22. Leverage Whatsapp And Sms For Business
If you want to engage potential customers quickly and in real-time, using WhatsApp for Business or SMS services to send a short message is a marketing strategy used by businesses globally.
It is a convenient two-way communication, has a global reach, is secure, and saves time with quick feedback. With short text messages and high-quality images, businesses can use this medium to convey their selling point very concisely.
1. What Percent Of My Ecommerce Traffic Should Be From Free Sources?
It’s hard to put an exact number on this since every business is different. You can go all-in for paid strategies if your budget and strategy allow it.
But the conversion generated by organic traffic in recent years has been high simply because people find you naturally. This also means you have the answer to their problems.
2. What Is SEO Traffic KPI?
The SEO Traffic KPI is the number of visits your website receives due to organic or paid search traffic. By combining web visit metrics with goal-completion metrics, you can get a complete picture of your website’s SEO performance.
3. What Types Of Traffic Are There?
There are four primary types of website traffic.
1. Direct traffic.
2. Referral traffic.
3. Organic traffic.
4. Social traffic
4. How Much Can SEO Increase Traffic?
Websites that invest in SEO get more than 50% of the total traffic across the Internet. And they typically get over 90% of that traffic if they rank on the first page of the search engine.
5. What Is SEM Traffic?
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is an umbrella term that includes paid and unpaid, PPC, or organic traffic. SEM is the wider search channel that encompasses both organic and paid.
It comprises those activities that aim to improve how easily your website can be found through a search engine. However, the general opinion is that SEO relates to organic search, and SEM is paid.
In the end, it’s the strategy that works. The best combination of Free and Paid marketing channels is what will get your online store the traffic it needs.
Successful eCommerce sites must drive traffic and convert traffic to profitable business efficiently and consistently.
Let us know if you have any additional tips and tricks that have worked for you.
Further Reading on Growing Your Ecommerce Business
Step 1: The Ecommerce Mindset: How To Build A Sustainable Business
Step 2: 7 Stages Of E-Commerce Product Strategy – A Complete Guide
Step 3: Product Launch Strategy For Ecommerce Business (Step By Step)