You have just created your new website/online store and is ready to start making money. But you quickly realized that no one is coming. This means no traffic and it definitely means no sale.
One of the most important things you need to do right now is to drive traffic to your website. Being a new entrepreneur, you may not be familiar with online marketing and how to effectively drive traffic to your website.
In this post, I will share the various types of online marketing you can use to drive traffic to your online store as well as my own recommendations on which one you should start with as a newbie. The different online marketing methods below are sorted based on my most recommended methods that you can start instantly, down to the one that you should start later. Let’s begin!
Method 1: Social Media Posting (FREE Organic Traffic!)
If you do not have a social media account for your online store yet, I strongly recommend you to create it. I would recommend you to at least create accounts on these 4 social media platforms:-
- Facebook (create a Facebook Page)
Once you have these social media accounts created, you can start sharing posts on them. Post content that is mainly related to your online store niche, or your products. i.e. post pets’ related news, tips, and products if your online store niche is pet products.
This is a great way of generating an online presence and followers on your social media account. It will start to drive traffic from these social media to your online store. Best of all, this is FREE traffic!
However, posting to so many different social media accounts and managing them is not easy. I personally use a social auto poster plugin called Social Rabbit. It allows you to schedule and automates all your social media postings. With this plugin, it will bring you a stream of traffic from social media – all on autopilot!
Method 2: Search Ads (Paid Traffic)
When we want to search for some information on products that we are planning to purchase online, we all go to Google (or Bing). This is why a search ad is one of the most important online marketing strategies you need to utilize especially for new online stores.
With search ad, your aim is to show your ad to someone when they are actively searching for whatever you have to offer. i.e. if I am searching for a new cat bed, and your ad showed up telling me you are selling cat beds, there is a high chance that I will click on your ad and purchase it from your store.
What makes search ad different compared to other types of online marketing is that it is intent-based. It means you are targeting real people that are looking for products you are selling. This makes it one of my most recommended paid traffic, especially for new online stores when you don’t have any traffic from organic search yet (I’ll talk more about organic search in a while).
Method 3: Post Your Online Store to Reddit (FREE Organic Traffic!)
If you haven’t heard of Reddit yet, then you missed out on a lot of buzz on the internet. Reddit is where almost everyone hangs out on the internet. This makes it a very good way to spread the word about your new online store.
You can find people talking about almost any topic in Reddit. You can capitalize on that by being active in topics or subtopics that is related to what you are selling. Then, drop links to your products that are relevant to the topic. This way, you will be able to drive genuine traffic to your online store.
However, do proceed with caution as you do not want to appear too spammy especially when it is not relevant to the topic discussed. This would be a little time consuming as you may need to be active on Reddit. However, if this is done right, it can bring tons of free traffic to your store.
Your friends and family can be a very good source of word-of-mouth marketing. Your friends and family can be very supportive when they know you are launching your own online business.
I have tried and seen many getting their initial traffic and sales momentum through the help from their friends and family. You can see them posting on their own social media, sharing with their own friends, etc. Word-of-mouth marketing has always been a very effective marketing method.
You can also offer them some incentives to help spread the word (i.e. send their pet a lovely new toy). They will be happy to share with their pet lover friends.
Method 5: Social Ads (Paid Traffic)
My next recommendation is social ads. This means running ads on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
Although you are already doing social media posting (refer to my first recommendation above), you may realize that your posting didn’t reach the kind of traffic volume you anticipate. This is again very true when you’ve just started.
Thus, you need some kind of boosting to boost your presence on these platforms. This is where paid ads come into play. You need to spend a little bit to start building up your followers and presence on social media.
Most of the social media platforms allow you to buy traffic (that’s how they make money). The good news is, they have very robust targeting to allow you to reach the right people that may be interested in what you are selling.
However, with so many different social media platform out there, the learning curve in setting up and run social ads is rather steep. This is why social ads aren’t one of my top recommendations for a newbie. If you want to try it out though, I’d recommend starting with Facebook and Instagram. You can set up your social ads on Facebook and run it across Facebook and Instagram in one go.
One thing to note when it comes to social ads is that it is a social platform and your ads need to sound more social rather than trying to sell. Here’s a great guide on paid social ads and strategies to use for each of the social media platforms.
Method 6: Referral Program (FREE + Paid Traffic)
A referral program is a good way to leverage other people’s resources to drive not just traffic but also sales to your online store. This is because a referral will be running their own marketing, driving traffic to your online store. The referral only earns when someone purchases something on your store. A win-win situation for both you and the referral.
I categorize this as free traffic because traffic is free for you (although it may not be free for the referral). It can also be considered as paid traffic because you need to pay the referral when sales happen. I believe you are more than happy to pay if the traffic they brought in translates to sales, right?
However, this isn’t my top recommendation because getting good referrals and managing them is not an easy feat. Keeping the good ones will also be difficult if your store isn’t converting well. My suggestion is to explore this only when your store has a fairly good conversion rate.
Method 7: SEO/Content Marketing (FREE Organic Traffic!)
This is actually the most important long-term online marketing channel that will guarantee you free quality traffic. This means, people will come to your store through search but this time, you are not paying for it (unlike search ads where you need to pay for every visitor).
This method might be difficult for a newbie because it requires a lot of effort and time before you even start seeing a tiny bit of traffic coming into your online store. Let’s see what are the hard work involved:-
- keyword research (understand what keywords bring in good traffic that will be converted to sales)
- great content writing (write great pieces of content based on the keywords from your research)
- competitor analysis (analyze and try to outdo your competitor to achieve better ranking)
- constantly analyzing and updating your strategy as you compete with your competitor, trying to outdo each other
Many newbies start focusing on SEO and content marketing right off the bat because they were told that this is the most important thing to focus on. I do agree that this is the most important thing to focus on, but not when you’ve just launched your new online store.
Let me tell you why it is not a good idea to start when you’ve just launched:-
- you need to write great content to get ranked properly on a search engine before you can see traffic coming in
- you need to do a lot of research on keywords and content writing that is related to the products you are selling
- it is the most expensive online marketing channel in terms of time and money spent (if you hire an SEO agency to help you) where you only see results after at least 2-3 months’ time
- most importantly, when your products aren’t selling because of no demand and you plan to switch to sell something else, you’ve just wasted tons of time and money doing SEO that will no longer be relevant
But it doesn’t mean that you should not do SEO. As I mentioned, this is the most important long-term marketing that you need to do. My suggestion is, do this only when you see that your products are selling, and you are sure that this is the niche you want to continue.
Once you confirmed that the product niche is working for you and you want to scale it up, then you can start to invest in SEO and content marketing. When your SEO and content marketing is bringing you enough free traffic, you can start to scale down on your other paid traffic too.
So which method should you use to drive traffic to your website?
I have shared a total of 7 online marketing methods and here’s a personal recommendation on which one you should focus on. It all depends on where you are at the moment and you can gradually work on more marketing methods as you progress.
When you’ve just launched your new online store
- Social Media Posting
- Search Ads
- Friends & Family
During this period, you’ll want to focus more on free traffic to test out your store. However, search ads have the ability to give you very targeted people who are already searching for what you are selling online. This gives a very good idea of whether your products can sell.
When you start to get some traffic
- Social Ads (this is to expand your marketing to drive even more traffic and sales)
During this period, you would have a rough idea of whether your products can sell and optimize your store based on the learning you have gathered from the initial online marketing methods. If you see good potential in your store, you can start running some social ads targeting similar demographics of people that you see responding well to your initial marketing.
When your store is converting traffic to sales
- Referral Program
- SEO/Content Marketing
At this point, you can see some good conversion rate on your store after some optimization. You are now ready to give yourself a traffic boost and scale up your business. You can do so by leveraging other people’s marketing skill (referral program) as well as the search engine’s organic traffic (SEO/content marketing). This is a long-term play which will guarantee long-term traffic and sales for you.
There you have it, my 7 recommended methods to drive traffic to your website. This is the blueprint I follow for my own online stores. Do comment below to let me know if you have other online marketing strategies that work for you.