Editor’s Note: Meet Armando Roggio at Ignite 2015, our conference on Sept. 16 and 17 in Dallas, where he’ll co-present three sessions: “How to Build an Ecommerce Brand (and Reduce Reliance on Paid Traffic),” “Content Marketing Essentials: Attracting and Engaging Shoppers, for Higher Conversions,” and “Ecommerce Opportunities for Brick-and-mortar Merchants.”
Unique site visits — the number of individuals that frequent a website — are a proxy of sorts for an online business’s new customer acquisition. If month-to-month a site has more unique visitors, it stands to reason that it should also be getting new customers.
Online businesses typically have just two ways to increase sales. They can sell more to existing customers, which is the more lucrative way to grow in most cases. Or, those businesses can acquire new customers. If your business is focusing on the latter, you’re likely going to want more site traffic.
Getting traffic means giving folks a reason to visit.
1. Be a Publisher
For an ecommerce business, the product is likely the most important content your company can publish, but it should by no means be the only content. In fact, pretty much every online business that wants to increase site traffic needs to be in the content publishing — i.e., content marketing — business, too.
Content marketing is the act of creating, publishing, and distributing content — be it an article, a graphic, or a video — with the purpose of acquiring, engaging, and retaining customers. Content marketing is among the most important forms of marketing in 2015.
In fact, earlier this year, Smart Insights asked marketers what they believed were the most commercially important digital marketing trends in 2015. Some 29.6 percent of respondents chose content marketing. In comparison, 14.6 percent of those surveyed believed Big Data was the most important and 12.8 percent thought that marketing automation was the leading digital marketing trend. Search engine optimization, which is where too many small businesses start and end their marketing, was the most important trend to just 4.3 percent of the seasoned marketers surveyed.
If you want to increase site traffic, publish content regularly.
2. Create a YouTube Channel
Although publishing videos on YouTube is arguably a form of content marketing, it certainly merits its own number on this list.
Here is an example. An executive at a brick-and-click retailer expressed some concern recently that the company’s YouTube channel, which had about 160 videos at the time, had generated just 7,500 video views in the past quarter. That didn’t seem like much, but digging into the data, the company found that those 7,500 video views represented about 377 hours of video watching.
Put another way, this meant that the retailer’s potential customers had watched nearly 16 days worth of the store’s branded content, much of which was related directly to the products the store sells.
What’s more, the YouTube channel has generated a few thousand clicks to the store’s website.
3. Buy Advertising
While it is certainly true that advertising has changed in recent years, it is still an effective way to drive a significant amount of site traffic.
On a recent campaign, a retailer in the northwestern U.S. spent $100 on Facebook to promote an online contest, which ultimately resulted in more than 3,000 registrations (folks who joined the retailer’s email list) and $1,800 in immediate sales.
- Digital ads on reputable websites;
- Google and Bing pay-per-click ads;
- Ads on Pandora;
- Ads on YouTube;
- Ads on Hulu;
- Promotions on Facebook, Pinterest (there is a wait list), and Twitter.
4. Improve Product Detail Pages
An ecommerce site’s product detail pages really have a dual task. On the one hand, they need to be sales closers and deal makers. These pages should provide the proper content in the right layout to encourage conversions.
Product detail pages also need to be search engine friendly. I mentioned earlier that relatively few marketers considered SEO to be the most important digital marketing trend this year, especially as compared to content marketing, Big Data, and marketing automation. But this does not mean that you should not do your best to make product detail pages useful for human customers and easily digestible, if you will, for bots.
Improve your product detail pages, with compelling descriptions, detailed specifications, videos, helpful product images and graphics, reviews, and similar.
More about Driving Site Traffic
In “5 Ways to Get More Site Traffic,” my article from July 2013, I addressed the very same topics as this one, but my suggestions have changed a little.
Back in 2013, the five suggestions for boosting website traffic were:
- “Offer Something Useful, Free”;
- “Buy Pay-per-click Advertising”;
- “Host a Social Contest”;
- “Buy Traditional advertising”;
- “Create Entertaining content.”
Advertising was on both lists. Certainly, where and how you advertise may be different, but the idea is the same. Advertising may be one of the most direct ways to boost traffic.
Content marketing was also on both lists. In 2013, “Offer Something Useful, Free” and “Create Entertaining Content” both had to do with content and here the idea of being a publisher and having a YouTube channel are also aimed at created traffic with useful or entertaining content.