12 Digital marketing strategies to grow your online store (+ 3 bonus tips)
Whether you’ve just opened up shop or you’re expanding your ecommerce empire, one of the biggest ongoing challenges you’ll face is finding a way to increase traffic to your online store. Your high-quality products and stellar customer experiences are a good start, but if you want customers to find you, you’ll need to find a way to stand out in the crowd of competing businesses vying for their attention. In this post, we’ll take you through a collection of digital marketing strategies that will help you attract and retain a customer base that’s both engaged and loyal, so you can get ahead of the competition.
1. Add something to your website once per week
Search engine algorithms are complicated beasts, but they’ve got a simple goal at heart: to find the most current and relevant content in response to each search query. (Google can tell you more about it.) You can boost your rankings in the results by regularly adding fresh content to your ecommerce site in the form of blog posts or customer product reviews.
2. Take the information to your customers
It’s rare for customers to visit an online store every single day, so if you’ve got news to share about product launches or special deals, don’t be shy. It’s easy to keep your customers up-to-date using tools like MailChimp to send targeted campaigns based on customer profiling and order histories from your ecommerce platform.
3. Encourage window shoppers to step inside
Don’t miss an opportunity to turn a website visitor into a customer. Use timed pop-ups, like those offered by Just Uno, to ask shoppers if they’d like to sign up for your newsletter, and reward those who say “yes” with a discount code to use on their first purchase.
4. Be social every day
Like search engines, social media platforms also use algorithms, effectively curating their users’ feeds, so you need to post regularly if you want your customers to see your content. For that reason, it’s better to start small and just choose one or two platforms you can commit to, rather than spreading yourself thin on too many sites. The optimal posting frequency for each platform seems to be:
- Facebook: 1–2 posts per day
- Instagram: 1–2 posts per day
- Twitter: 3–5 posts per day
- Pinterest: 3–5 posts per day
- LinkedIn: 1 post per day.
That sounds like a lot, but you won’t need to write it all—share the love by sharing content from your partners and fans. Use social media tools to tweak the frequency and scheduling of your posts until you’re happy with the level of engagement and conversion.
5. Promote your social posts
The concept of paying to “boost” your social media posts was introduced along with feed algorithms. It’s a cheap and simple way to increase your total reach, but you’ll need to choose and adjust your target audience wisely if you want to convert those interactions into sales. If you’ve already got a solid fan base, they’re often your best audience to target first, as they’ll respond positively and share your post further.
6. Help your fans find you with social buttons
Customers will only interact with you on social media if they know where to find you, and every other touch point is an opportunity to help them with that. Display social media buttons prominently in the headers or footers of
- your online store
- your blog
- the templates for all emails sent by your ecommerce software
- all marketing communications.
You can further extend the reach of your content on all platforms by making sure your blog and product pages have social media sharing buttons, which encourage users to share your content without leaving your site.
7. Capture their imagination with images
You’ll get more attention by including photos in your Facebook posts, and limiting your text to a catchy headline and a link. The effect is significant—up to 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs. Use photos in your comments as well, where they claim more real-estate and really stand out.
8. Use infographics to educate and inspire
Everyone seems to be time-poor and suffering from a serious case of information overload these days, so deliver the details in a memorable and easy-to-digest format. You can make your own infographics using cloud software like Easel.ly, or hire a professional to design one for you. You’ll want to choose a topic that has broad appeal across your industry or vertical, so your post will get shared far and wide.
9. Move beyond static images
Around 80% of consumers would prefer to watch a video about a product than to read about it. Give them what they want by producing your own short videos or sharing your customers’ video reviews. They don’t need to be Hollywood quality—some of the best videos are filmed on iPhones—and you can even live-stream your message using Facebook or Twitter.
10. Go pro with video animation
A simple, home-made video is all you need to communicate with your customers. But if you really want to stand out against your competitors, you’ll want a custom animated video from a professional producer like Ad On Digital. Or have a go at making one yourself. Short, snappy animations are widely shared on all social media platforms, especially if they’re humorous or witty, so they’re a popular way to get your message out quickly.
11. Run a live Q&A session
Webinars are an effective way to educate groups of customers in real time, wherever they are. Systems like Cisco WebEx or GoToWebinar are just two of many platforms that have been specifically designed with all the tools you need, like screen-sharing and chat functionality. But if you’re looking to achieve a similar effect without the setup cost, try hosting your Q&A as discussion threads in a Facebook event, or get your customers to ask questions on Twitter and answer them in a streaming video session. (You might also hear the term “ask me anything”, which is exactly what your customers will do.)
12. Make the most of your affiliate network
Online shoppers are always looking for the best deal on the perfect product and there are going to be times when you can’t give them that. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out altogether. By referring your customers to other online stores through comparison shopping tools and affiliate networks like ClixGalore and Commission Monster, you’ll earn a small commission on the traffic you generate. And if you sign up as a merchant, you’ll benefit by receiving traffic from other referring sites.
13. Reward your loyal customers
Loyalty programs do more than just create an incentive for customers to make another purchase: they also make them feel appreciated. Look for a tool that automatically assigns points for purchases that can be redeemed as credit towards future purchases, like Loyalty Program. Alternatively, join a national rewards platform like Rewards Central, which offers points or vouchers to new and existing customers who read about your products, visit your site, or answer surveys.
14. Zoom out to show the bigger picture
While a lot of digital marketing is centred around your products and services, it’s also an opportunity to provide a useful and memorable service that shows your customers you understand their bigger pictures. For example, if you sell luggage, you could encourage customers to post and tag you in holiday photos that show off your products, or set up a Pinterest board featuring the hottest new destinations and travel accessories. (You can even tie it into your affiliate marketing program.)
15. Keep it fun
Find ways to turn customer education into a fun game with rewards for those who persist. Try hiding some easter eggs on your website to encourage your visitors to view a few more pages. Or you could generate Pinterest interest with a treasure hunt: start on your blog with a link to your first pin, which contains clues to the next treasure hunt image. Don’t keep them hunting for too long, and make sure your treasure encourages them to call in again.
One step at a time
That’s a lot of digital marketing to work through, but you don’t have to do everything at once. Begin with the platforms you’re familiar with and those that integrate with your ecommerce software, so you won’t need to learn a whole new system to get started. Then gradually add in the other strategies that interest you. Every business is unique, so you’ll need to monitor your online store traffic to see which strategies are working the hardest to help you grow.
Neto is a leading ecommerce platform designed to help your business grow across multiple channels. It offers a wide range of add-on integrations to digital marketing platforms, including several of the ones we’ve mentioned above, and inbuilt analytics to help you track your campaign success. Oh, and we’ve also got a few ideas on the best ways to reach your ecommerce customers and give them an offline experience to remember.