Useful Traffic Building Strategies
This week, we’ll be starting in on the big, hairy, and rather prickly subject of traffic building. Driving traffic is one of the most difficult challenges for any web operator to overcome. It is not an easy endeavor, but the operators that approach the challenge methodically, consistently and patiently, stand a better chance of putting themselves on the “internet map” than those who don’t work at it or those who are impatient. The pointers presented here work together, there is no single “best strategy” that works for every one. You’ll have to use this post and look for others to build your own game plan but this is a starting point. So here are some pointers we think will be helpful to IncomeShops store owners on driving more visitors to your store.
Create Engaging & Meaningful Content
We deliberately started with content because it is probably the most important traffic building strategy you can use. We’ll expand on it throughout the series, but suffice to say, that If you’re fortunate enough to find that you’re driving organic traffic without engaging content, “chalk it up” to either luck or serendipity. Here are some of the key strategies we recommend:
- Plan – Writing content for your store site should not be a haphazard endeavor. You should be careful to plan your content. Make a list of all the articles you want to post and categorise them before you start. For example, you may have Product Reviews, Educational Posts (e.g. for a jewelry store, you may have educational articles such as “How to buy a Diamond”, or “What is a carat anyway, and why do I care?” etc.), Tips on usage and care of the kind of products you carry, and List posts (e.g. Top 10 Best Choices for Engagement Rings! Top 5 Gifts for Her etc.). Pin the list to your refrigerator and look at it often.
- Engage - Capture your reader with attention-grabbing headlines. This goes without saying. Make sure your honesty doesn’t get subordinated, e.g. “Aliens Invade Jewellery Store” may grab attention, but it won’t build trust if the story isn’t true.
- Use your brand voice – Write upbeat articles in a supportive and positive tone but stay true to your “brand voice”. Are you presenting a warm, inspiring, friendly voice or are you more authoritative, academic, or clinical? Sometimes you’ll want to use a professional voice (e.g. if you ever do a whitepaper or academic post); other times, like with social media posts, you may want to use a more casual or relaxed voice. For educational posts, you may want to use a more authoritative yet open and friendly tone. Whatever you decide, make sure you’re consistent, and make sure it resonates with the kind of audience you are trying to reach. You will send a “mixed message” if you are conflating tones across the same type of article. A whimsical voice may work when reviewing fishing tackle, but may not be a good idea when writing an article on arming yourself for protection with high-powered rifles.
- Educate & Inform – Your chances of building a loyal and repeat following increase if you focus on educating and informing more than selling. There are many approaches to selling that you can use but with ecommerce, educating first is a wise choice. Your visitors will keep coming back if they believe you’re informative, and not just “a peddler”.
- Trending – pay attention to what is trending in your niche. This is a great way to be on top of the current sentiments of your visitors. You should be fully engaged with all the places you believe your customers congregate. If you sell hunting equipment, make sure you join and sign up to all the hunting blogs you can find. Attend trade shows, business meetings and engage your audience with your own meaningful opinions and insights.
Enhance With Multimedia
Most IncomeShops stores for some reason do not use the multimedia features available in the system near often enough. We’re not sure why this is, but we encourage usage as it is a very good way to create engaging content on your site and exposure for your store.
- Videos. Posting third party content always comes with a risk. However, if you apply careful screening and pay attention to the legalities, there are lots of video content sources available. According to this article, the 7th Court of Appeals in the US ruled that there are no legal issues regarding copyright infringement to embed a video on your site. This should be carefully thought through and not over used, but smart store owners will find content that helps their visitors from whatever legal sources they can leverage.
- Podcasts – If audio is your thing, and you have the time and are committed, starting a Podcast that appeals to your customer segment is a terrific way to go. The folks at LifeHacker have a great article here on starting your own PodCast if you’re interested. These can posted to iTunes and linked to you’re your store.
- Google Plus and Facebook Fan Pages – if you do not have a Facebook or Google Plus fan page, get them. It is a “no brainer”. Then get everyone you know to come visit and “friend” you or join your circle. Make sure you use it to communicate with your readers and post notifications whenever you blog or post a new article, or any other noteworthy content.
- Twitter. Tweeting is a terrific way to communicate in small bite-sized posts. Every time you update your store with new products, or post new offers, you should be tweeting.
- Pinterest. Pinning images from other sites to your store articles will help you attract followers on Pinterest. If you do this regularly, and with some smart placement strategies, you should be able to drive more traffic to your site. While we can’t promise a delivery date, we are looking at enhancing IncomeShops to better leverage Pinterest’s unique social networking features.
- Forums & Blogs –you should be sure to join forums and blogs that allow you to post links to your site. It is especially important to post respectfully in these environments. Anyone hosting a forum wants contributors that post informative content, and won’t appreciate it if you’re only there for free advertising. You should also be very aware of where these hangouts are for your niche, as forums and blogs are a great way to determine what is important to your buyers In your particular niche. Digg and Reddit are two popular online destinations worth evaluating. While these are more general (with sub forums for virtually every interest) finding popular blogs and forums that server your niche wherever they may be on the internet is a must.
Stay in Touch
- Have an Email List. IncomeShops store owners are encouraged to sign up with MailChimp and keep an email list. This is a big deal. First of all, it’s free for up to a certain number of contacts. Secondly, email marketing is proven to be one of the most effective traffic building tactics you can use. Having regular, consistent and informative emails that go to your customers is an important way to keep in touch.
- Keep your customers informed. Virtually every store owner gets a daily feed of a “truckload” of offers from retailers. Are you posting any of these to your store? Are you highlighting the best ones on your home page? Are you tweeting links and offer details to your followers? “20% Off Diamonds now available at [your store name. com] - Hurry!! Offer ends Nov 21!!” is not a lot of effort to at least try to reach an audience.
The ideas presented here will hopefully trigger some of your own unique and new ideas. Because there is no “magic bullet” in the world of traffic building, your creativity is the most important thing. In this article, we’ve only just scratched the surface, we’re hoping you’ll have even better and bigger ideas. While traffic building requires consistent effort, clear objectives, and determination, we honestly believe that by applying your own creative strategies, monitoring what works, and being open to new ideas, you’ll be well on your way to increasing traffic. Over the next few months, we’ll be posting more traffic building tips, so check back here often. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.
The IncomeShops Team