Extra income. Very few of us would say no. And extra income you can earn from home? Even better! The pandemic has turned most of us into reluctant home-bodies; we have time to spare. Lockdowns have encouraged small online eCommerce businesses to pop up at a snowballing rate.
That snowball effect means one thing to virtual shop owners – more competition. Unless you hold the steel-coated patent for an incredible, unique product, other online stores and websites are bound to sell the same items as you – and often at lower prices.
And how many of us know the ins and outs of search engine optimization, the latest Etsy policy changes, analytics tools and the hundreds of eCommerce roadmaps that might or might not make your little shop the next big thing? Setting up and maintaining an Internet store is far from simple.
In comparison, opening a physical store is a walk in the park. Especially if you’re a born sales Wiz. All you need is for your clientele to walk along the High Street, admire your tempting window display and step through the door; where they’ll be welcomed by your charming smile and enthralled by your knowledgeable advice. You know you can win them over and make a sale.
It’s a bit different when you sell online. Although the principles are the same.
This article is all about virtual footfall. The equivalent of ending lockdown restrictions and sending multitudes of shoppers to your High Street door. There are slow ways, fast ways, ways to get people to your shop that are actually searching for what you are selling rather than “just looking, thank you”, and ways to just get anyone in the door and count on a small percentage making a purchase.
Virtual store visitors – web traffic – is the goal of every marketing department. To get more people to view your products, you need to know how. Or hire someone who does.
Slow and Sure Strategies for More Traffic
We have all heard of SEO – search engine optimization. When your potential customer types the name of a product you sell into the Google search bar (93.47% of Internet searches across the globe were done via Google in January 2021), your business should be in the top results.
While it used to be enough to use a few keywords to bring your page high on the search engine ranking pages (SERPs), too many of your competitors have tricks up their sleeves to make keywords an all-in-one solution today. If you want your store to be visible, you need to achieve the following:
- Regularly updated unique, interesting, relevant and quality content
- Backlinks to your store’s web address from other quality sites
- The right mix of relevant and popular keywords and key phrases
- A rapidly-loading and beautifully designed website that keeps visitors engaged
- A responsive site that works smoothly on any mobile device
- A reputation for knowledge about your product(s) – authority
This means you need a website. Even if you only plan to sell on a large online marketplace platform such as Amazon or Etsy, you can only expect to shoot ahead of your competition if you build up your reputation via Google. Google doesn’t rank shops enclosed inside the protective walls of a marketplace. So if you haven’t got a website to back up your store, now is the time to start designing one.
SEO is the most rewarding way to get more traffic to your store. By posting a regular blog or reviewing the products you sell, people interested in what you have to say become engaged. All of your other strategies – social media accounts, an online marketplace store, selected influencers and partner websites – need to include links to your website and vice versa. Your website – not your store – is your commerce HQ.
However, search engine optimization is an extremely slow process. It takes time to build up a reputation. You must constantly analyze and adjust your strategies to meet the changing trends and behaviours of your public. It takes hard work and commitment, but pays off for those willing to invest time and money in SEO. While you can learn much about this topic online, hiring an expert to get you started can save months of research and lots of costly mistakes. As long as people use Google to search for products (and there’s nothing around that can replace it at the moment), you need to prioritise Google SEO throughout your store’s lifetime.
Rapid and Reliable Strategies for More Traffic
When it comes to getting traffic to your new or existing store quickly, there’s only one sure-fire way. You buy it.
You can only buy web traffic for a website. You won’t be able to pay a traffic provider to send thousands of people to your shop if it’s only hosted on a marketplace platform. However, as a website is essential for the long-term strategies, we’ll assume you already have one or are ready to begin designing one.
You have probably heard about paid traffic, and not all of that information will have been positive. The fact is, scams are found in every corner of the Internet and, unfortunately, web traffic providers are not always reputable. We’ll talk about a couple of good ones in a minute.
The positive of buying website traffic is that it provides thousands – tens to hundreds of thousands – of visitors in the blink of an eye. So even if just a small percentage of these actually buy something, chances are extremely high you will make a healthy return on your paid traffic investment. To truly beat the odds (and avoid the scams), you need to ensure the following:
- 100% human traffic – only humans make purchases
- Your website can deal with a sudden influx of visitors
- Your business can deal with a sudden influx of sales
- You still can’t ignore SEO, a social media presence and top content
- If you use Google Adsense, you need Adsense-safe traffic
- Your website is engaging
- The visitors come from groups that are interested in what you sell
- The visitors come from locations that you actually ship to
Reputable website traffic providers get their own visitors (millions every day) from carefully-managed sites that cost a lot of money to maintain. This means that you will rarely pay under $0.0015 per visitor. The exception to the rule is bot traffic. While only human traffic converts (buys products), bot traffic can help if you run a pay-per-click site or want your website to rank higher on the SERPs – the more popular a site, the higher it ranks. If you just want lots of visitors at the cheapest possible price, try a bot traffic tool like the one developed by diaboliclabs. This is a great way to generate a lot of activity on your site without producing sales.
When conversions count, buy 100% human traffic from a reliable, transparent source such as Web traffic geeks. You’ll find them at their .org address, too. With this supplier, you are guaranteed human traffic. What’s more, you get to select anywhere between 10,000 and 300,000 visitors; these will arrive at your site either on a single day or over a timespan determined by you of up to 30 days. You decide what niches (target groups) these visitors come from and what parts of the world they reside in.
OK, the conversion rate of paid traffic isn’t the highest – if your store manages a 6% conversion rate your paid traffic might only hit 0.6%. But the power of paid traffic is in the numbers. What marketing strategy absolutely guarantees visitor numbers? Paid website traffic.
You Always Need a Website
No matter which platform you use to sell or resell items, missing out the all-important website will significantly reduce brand awareness and ultimately sales. An Amazon store is not enough. Browse your competition – most of them will manage their own website(s).
And if you’re hiring a professional marketer or agency, make sure they have experience in various fields. Search engine optimisation for Google is very different to internal search algorithms on online marketplaces. If you rank high on Google but your product doesn’t top the pages of your selected marketplace, you won’t achieve the traffic volumes you need to make great sales.
Some marketing agencies now specialise in a single platform. Take etsy Geeks, for example. This team of experts is based in the Netherlands (they speak great English, too). The self-proclaimed geeks represent a pioneering service which decided long ago to concentrate all of its marketing expertise on a single growing, unique platform. They know exactly how to rank your Etsy store in the Etsy SERP top ten – not a mean feat when you consider the high personalisation features that are causing many of Etsy’s short and long-term sellers to lose out – unnecessarily – on sales.
With your own website, Google experts and online marketplace experts, you’ll soon see your traffic and conversions grow. Nothing can replace expertise and experience when it comes to making your online presence visible. The cost is always justified when you find the right combination of experience and price.
Strategy Combinations Work
Relying on a single traffic-enhancing strategy is a mistake. There are too many channels and methods out there and none – not even SEO – can perform as well alone as it can in combination. Every seller should be blogging about the topics that surround the products they distribute. Every seller needs to build up a rapport with one or more influencers that will tell their followers to visit your shop. Every seller must integrate SEO, social media, and paid traffic to get visitor numbers as high as they can be. Because, as with physical stores, the higher the footfall the greater the chance of top sales.
No professional marketer will place her or his eggs in a single basket – but understanding how many baskets are out there and how many eggs to put in each one to increase your return on investment requires in-depth knowledge and plenty of experience. By all means delve into marketing theory, but until you know this expanding and rapidly changing topic inside out, your shop’s future could be at stake.