So you’ve set up your ecommerce store, you’ve found excellent products, and now you’re sitting back and enjoying the profits.
Only you’re not, because no one is visiting your site. Just like with brick and mortar stores, ecommerce stores need to attract new customers in order to make a profit and maintain growth.
But how do you attract customers to your store? Luckily, attracting new customers to your ecommerce store isn’t that hard, especially if you happen to have a handy guide for how to do so.
This article covers 10 tactics on how to attract new customers for ecommerce by increasing the number of visitors to your site, covering on-site content, email, social media, and more.
How to attract new customers to your business: 10 tactics to try
1. Personalize your ecommerce homepage
For many new customers, your home page will be one of the first places they visit after they “enter” your store. Because of this, it’s vital that it leaves a good first impression. The best impression can be made by appealing directly to a customer’s needs.
A great example of this is Amazon, whose home page displays products based on a customer’s shopping history and relevant holidays or events. Something similar can be done on your site by implementing a machine learning extension that displays dynamic content.
Unfortunately, this requires access to information about a customer. For first-time visitors to your site, you probably won’t have information on what products they’ve looked at previously. However, this doesn’t mean you have no data.
Customers can end up on your homepage through a number of different avenues. It’s possible a customer has navigated to your homepage by clicking on a personalized email you sent.
They could also have been directed through a specific social campaign. All of these ecommerce best practices provide you with data that allows you to implement a personalized shopping experience.
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2. Increase your ecommerce site's search visibility
Increasing search visibility means optimizing your site’s SEO for long tail search traffic. This means optimizing content to match long tail keywords and phrases that new customers are interested in.
For example, if you’re a clothing store, you would create an ecommerce content strategy that matches and answers questions asked by those interested in clothing. You would likely tailor (excuse the pun) that content to specific audiences (e.g., men’s shoes, women’s coats, etc.).
If we take bed linens as an example and perform a Google search for “how to care for your linens,” multiple vendors appear in the search results.
These vendors have taken the time to increase their search visibility by appealing to long tail keywords and phrases. You can read more on this in tip nine below.
Increasing search visibility does not happen overnight. As almost any respectable ecommerce SEO strategist will tell you, building authority on the web is a time-consuming process; one that you’ll also likely have to invest money into.
This being said, there are some simple methods for improving your site’s authority and search ranking quickly. This includes improving your site’s speed and reliability. That’s right – if you speed up load times, your online ranking could improve as a result.
In a study of those who migrated to Nexcess cloud solutions in 2018, we found that the main reason for migrating was reliability. A reliable site means faster, guaranteed load times and a better first impression for new customers.
3. Use high-quality images and product descriptions
Images and product descriptions are the crux of an ecommerce store. The better a product looks, the more likely a new customer is to purchase it, correct?
The ability to see a product in detail and understand what exactly is being sold gives buyers a power previously reserved exclusively for brick and mortar shoppers. More than 70 percent of potential customers place the ability to zoom in on images as one of the highest priority factors when deciding whether to make a purchase.
If you’re a smaller store with limited available funds, we recommend investing in a cheap lightbox and learning some basic lighting skills.
The ability to take photos that demonstrate your product in a positive light can do wonders for a store’s sales and ability to attract new customers. Compare the images below: which product would you be more likely to purchase?
Not only do high-quality images help you to attract new customers, but they also allow you to foster trust. According to research, customers believe that ecommerce stores that invest in better images and content are more trustworthy, and therefore are more likely to make a purchase from them.
4. Use email lists (sparingly)
Well designed and delivered email campaigns are a powerful tool for attracting new buyers to your store. They offer you the chance to send new customers personalized product recommendations that leverage unique selling points. The problem is, where do you get a list of names and emails from?
There are a few tried and tested techniques for gaining email lists, but there are also techniques that appear like spam to new customers. We recommend that you start to:
- Use sign-up forms on your site and integrate with other marketing campaigns
- Leverage events as locations for gaining sign-ups
- Organize a giveaway in which you collect information
What you should not do, never, ever, ever… is purchase an email list. Purchased lists are the fastest way to the spam box and never having your emails read (even by new customers with a genuine interest in your products).
Once you’ve got a list (no matter how small), it’s time to start using your emails to draw in new customers and encourage them to make a purchase. Some of the most effective email campaigns:
- Are cart abandonment emails (40 percent click-through rate according to HubSpot)
- Link to landing pages (23 percent order rate according to Omnisend)
- Welcome new customers (320 percent revenue increase on promotional emails)
- Include coupon codes (the reason 85 percent of email subscribers sign up in the first place according to Adestra)
Remember, too many emails and those new customers are likely to unsubscribe. 78 percent of consumers unsubscribe from an email list if they receive too many.
5. Run an ecommerce sales promotion
Emails with coupon codes receive 2.5x higher transaction rates than those without. If this isn’t a reason for giving promotions a go, we don’t know what is. Yet a truly effective sale is about more than just creating and sending coupons.
When running a sales promotion, introducing limits can help to generate an air of exclusivity. If you decide to integrate social media and promotions, Facebook has a great tool that allows you to attach coupon codes and discounts to an ad, while also introducing limits.
Implementing coupon codes on Facebook will let you set the discount amount, any details, where people can redeem the discount, and how many discounts are available.
It will also let users save your coupon code and use it in the future – in case they’re still undecided on whether to make a purchase or not.
6. Implement PPC advertising driving to your ecommerce site
PPC is pay-per-click advertising. It is where you pay for each click your advert receives – and so for each new potential customer to your site.
For high purchase intent searches, paid advertising nets 65 percent of all clicks, making it one of the best techniques for attracting new customers.
The most common PPC advertising is search engine advertising, such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads. AdWords and Bing Ads let you bid on specific keywords with advertising campaigns and content you create.
They also allow you to easily compare the results of these campaigns to see which performs best and which can be improved.
Many PPC experts state that good PPC campaigns are the product of continuous testing. These tests can include:
- Targeted keywords
It’s important to note that these attributes can change as your target audience does — in line with industry and social developments. It’s important to keep an eye on what your industry’s “atmosphere” is and then build PPC campaigns around this.
Of course, no business should base their visibility on paid advertising alone. PPC should be part of a more complex strategy that encompasses a range of different techniques outlined in this article.
A properly implemented PPC advertising campaign should be based on what you’ve already found successful and help to build out further success.
7. Take advantage of social media
Social media includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other online social platforms. It’s a great way to attract new customers both through organic and paid strategies.
In the last few years, content consumption on Facebook has increased by 57 percent, with it estimated that roughly 75 percent of online users are either on Facebook or Twitter.
With such a huge user base, social media provides ecommerce stores with a perfect way to reach out to new customers and make themselves known. This can either be done through social media paid ads, or through engaging organic posting.
If you choose to predominantly use organic social media, one of the best ways to engage with audiences is through the images you choose. According to Ofcom, images are the biggest contributor to social media content success.
Of course, there is one contribution bigger than images made by a company internally: images made by customers. To make the most out of organic social media, we highly recommend getting involved in and promoting user-generated content.
8. User-generated content
Once you’ve taken advantage of social media and built up a loyal customer base, you can start to employ user-generated content in your marketing strategy.
…And employ it you will. The benefits of UGC start almost immediately. As we talked about previously, 92 percent of people lean towards trusting another person’s recommendation over content created by a brand.
UGC will give your brand an edge, with data showing that customers that engage with user-generated content are 97 percent more likely to convert than those who don’t.
In addition to nurturing customer trust, user-generated content is a great way to increase the amount of content you’re capable of creating in a short time span. Some of the content types you can share include:
- Blog articles
A great way to encourage user-generated content is by using branded hashtags. This allows for users on social networks to tag you in content they create. A good branded hashtag appeals to your users’ ideals and isn’t just your company name.
9. Create a blog
Creating a blog ties in with tip two in this list: increasing search visibility. It’s an integral piece of a successful content-first strategy.
Blog content can provide a versatile content-core with answers to new customer questions, along with information they can’t find elsewhere.
Sole Bicycles offer an interesting take on the blog, and one that appeals specifically to their customer base. Each of their articles provides a series of pictures and information on exploring a city on two wheels. They have articles on Omaha, Seattle, Miami, Boise, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and more.
Not only does this digital content strategy allow them to rank on Google searches for relevant searches, it also allows them to provide content that appeals to new customers — content that positions their product as unique and valuable.
Sole Bicycles’ blogging strategy also allows them to share user-generated content. This again feeds into an integrated and successful content strategy.
Here are a few strategies for coming up with blog content ideas.
10. Incentivize customer purchases
This ties in with the sales promotion tip five above, but can be expanded to mean so much more. Think what new customers want from your site… and then give it to them. Incentivization can take on several different forms: discounts, free shipping, free gifts, and more.
These techniques allow you to draw in new customers for first-time purchases and can improve retention and customer loyalty for the future.
This means that while you may be accepting a lower profit for the first item they purchase, they will go on to purchase many of your products at full price.
And you may not even have to accept a lower profit. Several surveys have shown that when free shipping is offered, customers are more likely to spend more on the same product – simply because of the incentivization.
Bonus tips for attracting customers to your ecommerce site
While we discussed some helpful tips for drawing potential customers to an ecommerce store, that's not the end of the discussion. Here are some additional strategies to attract new customers to give you more inspiration.
Optimize your ecommerce site's UX/UI
The user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) of your ecommerce store play a significant role in how potential customers interact with it.
If users find your store too difficult to navigate, they will likely leave without making a purchase. Following ecommerce UX best practices and investing in UI optimization is essential for creating an enjoyable shopping experience for customers.
To accomplish this, the first step is ensuring your store is optimized for mobile devices. Many customers now shop on their phones or tablets, and providing them with a seamless experience is essential.
Try to limit the number of clicks needed to complete an action, use clear visuals and videos if possible, and keep loading times short.
Next, create content that explains how different features work on your website. Users who do not understand how to use something are likely to leave without buying anything. Therefore, providing educational content is key to improving ecommerce user experience and reducing drop-off rates.
Finally, test user experiences regularly with potential customers or experienced usability experts. This can help you identify any issues quickly so they can be addressed before they become a problem.
Study current customer data and expand on what works
Analyzing customer data is a great way to understand why customers are coming to your ecommerce store and what they’re buying. This allows you to extrapolate on what works and build upon it.
Start by looking at the type of content that has driven people to your site in the past. Are there any patterns? Is this content successful in drawing more customers? If so, consider creating more of it or expanding on it.
It would help if you also analyzed customer shopping behavior to answer questions such as:
- Which items tend to be popular?
- How long do customers spend on each page?
- Where do they go after they leave your store?
Knowing these answers can help create an optimized user experience that encourages more purchases.
Become an industry thought leader
Another great way to draw more customers to your ecommerce store is to become an industry thought leader. You can create content that demonstrates your expertise in the field, such as blog posts, videos, and podcasts.
By sharing valuable insights into the industry and demonstrating that you know what you're talking about, people will be more likely to trust your store and shop there.
This content also helps build a strong brand identity and creates an emotional connection with potential customers.
In addition, consider engaging with influencers in the industry who have large followers of potential customers. Ask them to promote your products or review them on their channels. This can help spread word-of-mouth quickly and bring more customers to your store.
Finally, ecommerce link building is an effective way to attract new customers to your online store. Backlinks are when other websites link to yours, providing an excellent boost for SEO rankings.
Start by reaching out to industry bloggers and websites interested in linking to your site. Offer them content or product samples in exchange for their endorsement. You can also create guest posts on relevant blogs and include a link back to your store in the post.
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Now you know the marketing ideas to attract new customers. Use these tips and tactics to attract new customers to your online store.
If you’re a growing online store, you need a powerful and reliable host to ensure your store is always fast, secure, and available to customers.
That’s where fully managed WooCommerce hosting from Nexcess comes in. Get started with a hosting plan and find out why 500,000+ ecommerce store owners around the world trust their sites and stores with Nexcess.
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This blog was originally published in February 2019. It has since been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.