So you’ve launched your new eCommerce store.
You’ve even shared about your new venture on social media every 6 minutes for the last 30 days. (Your friends have all muted you, but no matter! Who needs “friends” like that anyway?)
You launch the site. 🎉 Days go by. You nervously check your analytics data. Alas, cobwebs and tumbleweed. You start to melt into a spiral of Imposter Syndrome--no, wait--hysteria. “HOW WILL I EVER MAKE ALL MY MONEY BACK?”
Dry those panic tears, dear merchant. You is beautiful. You is savvy. You is capable. With a little careful strategy and patience, you can start drawing in qualified traffic and turning it into a beautiful bounty of devoted shoppers.
Traffic Generation Tactics
No matter how killer your eComm shop is, it’s kind of irrelevant unless people can like...find it. Here are 6 ways to get the market buzzing about your online store.
Tako uses guest blogging to cultivate and strengthen relationships with our partners and the clients we share. Perhaps you’ve seen our CEO, Grace, lingering about on the ReCharge Payments blog? Or podcast?
The concept of guest posting is pretty simple: research and reach out to well-known (or otherwise compelling) blogs and other publications in your industry, pitching your writing prowess and/or experience, and offer to prepare content for them--for freeeee. If they accept, they get relevant, high-quality content for their readers and you get credit as the author, with one or more links pointing back to your website.
First, do some solid research and make a list of websites you will pitch, along with the contact details of their owners or editors. There are many ways to go about this, but the easiest is to just use a search engine like Google.
Head on over and type the following in the search box:
Formula — intitle: write for us + [your niche]
Example — intitle: write for us + wellness
You may be tempted to snatch up your shiny new list and make a beeline for your email composer, but haste makes waste (of your time), so let’s take things slow. If you want to leverage guest posting to its full advantage, first consider the following:
- The actual value of the blog or site. Just because someone’s blog and/or social channels look prestigious does not mean they are valuable. (Read that again.) The true measure of significance to you lies in their audience.
First of all, is there good engagement, or do their posts look like they’re being dropped into a swirling void, never to be seen again? (If they have commenting turned on for their blog posts, are people engaging? Does the blogger respond? Is their social media sphere active? Is the writer promoting any guest posts that they’ve done?) Secondly, if the engagement levels do look healthy, who is engaging? Is it actually the audience you’re trying to reach? If the answer is “no” or “maybe,” scratch that blog off the list.
- Make yourself known. If you’re aiming for top dog bloggers or other “influencers,” you can bet your bottom dollar they’ve received 100 pitches just like yours before they’ve had their first cup of coffee.
Yes, you’re a stellar writer and plan to bring loads of value in your post. You may even have a more unique angle than all those other n00bs vying for the guest spot. Even still, you’re more likely to be successful with this tactic if you’ve already made an appearance in the blog’s community. Follow them on all the things. Like, comment, and share. (Thoughtfully...let’s avoid creepy stalker vibes, shall we?) Send the owner of the site a quick email or DM when you like something particularly well (long before you’re going to be hitting them up to let you post). You gain more insight about the blog, the people behind it, and the community--plus it’s more likely you’ll be recognizable when it comes time for outreach.
This, ladies and gents, is what we call The Long Game...and it works.
- Your pitch. Once you’ve laid the groundwork, it’s time to send out that request! If you’re having trouble finding the right contact info for the person you want to reach, try using a service like Hunter. Your pitch should include:
- A brief introduction of you, your business, and your main value proposition (that’s key -- why are their readers going to really want to read this post?)
- Some kind of personal detail you might’ve gleaned from their posts (“I saw that your fur-baby had to take a trip to the ER vet. 😿 I hope everything is OK with her!”) (Just be, like, genuine about it...no one likes a weird creep.)
- A nod to one or more posts on their site, including a specific quote or idea that resonated with you strongly, and why it mattered*
- A strong post proposal:
“I did some digging and found that your audience is [a few key points about the demographic] and that’s very similar to mine, which [a few key points about your audience]. Considering those similarities--and the kind of content you post--I think I can offer a high-value post for your readers that'll be mutually beneficial for us! Here are some topics I think would work well:
- Topic 1
- Topic 2
- Topic 3”
- Examples of your work
*Editor’s note: I actually cannot stress this enough. As Tako’s Content Manager, I flip through a pretty steady flow of guest post pitches and literally everyone says “I sAw ThIs PoSt [hyperlink]” but no one tells me why it mattered. Anyone with eyeballs can see we’re writing about eCommerce here, Beth. The question is why do you care what we’re doing??
- Have a game plan. So, you landed the guest post with your dream blog and totally hit the nail on the head with content. The analytics trend upward as those eyeballs start filing in. Well done! But then a month passes and--wait--where is everyone going??
Putting out fire content may do well to coax people into your shop for a minute, but if there’s anything we know about the Digital Age, it’s that it’s freakishly good at shortening our attention spans.
Once you draw those new visitors to your site, make sure you have a clever plan to bring them back. Use pop-ups (we know, we know...just hear us out), lead magnets, super savvy email marketing--whatever makes sense for your brand--to keep them coming back for more.
Influencer marketing has become an extremely popular way to build traffic, but being that it’s a relatively new tactic, it’s kind of the Wild West. (Read: very few rules...which can be, shall we say...chaotic. 😬) It’s also kind of very expensive, if you go after seasoned influencers with zillions of followers.
Micro-influencers won’t typically require you to sell your firstborn for an Instagram Story, but their audiences are large enough to make a dent in your traffic--if you pick the right ones. (We’ll provide some resources for this in a minute.)
Glad you asked. Micro-influencers have a number of advantages over “macro” or “mega” ones. It’s a common misconception for many newbies in the influencer marketing/social media game that bigger is better. Bigger following, more eyeballs. You’re casting a bigger net. Bigger nets get more fish, right?
Ehhhhhh. Not quite:
- An influencer might have 1,000,000 followers, but 350,000 of them might be bots. Bots have no use for face scrubs, organic dog food, or anything else you might be selling.
- Especially now, consumers crave authenticity. For the same reason Millennials and Gen Z (who hold most of the buying power in the U.S.) don’t trust celebrity endorsement, they’re also wary of “celebrity influencers.” Micro-influencers cultivate a greater perception of authenticity because 1) they don’t feel as unreachable as the Kardashians of the internet, and 2) they are more likely to actually engage with their community.
- You may pay as much (or more) for one piece of single-channel content with a macro-influencer as you will for several pieces with one or more micro-influencers.
As with anything in life, diversifying your “assets” can be incredibly helpful here. Sprinkling your budget over a few smaller, highly engaged, true-to-your-niche influencers who will produce one or two pieces of content and then promote it on more than one channel is likely to be more effective than an Instagram Story from Paris Hilton.
It also gives you an opportunity to hit all the little nooks and crannies of your industry. If you’re selling a wellness product, like a subscription probiotic, you may want to reach wellness-enthused moms-on-the-go and fitness-loving Gen Zs. That’s two different influencers. See where we’re going here? 👀
OK, I’m Convinced. What Now?
Finding the right influencers can be exceptionally tricky. (Wild West, remember?) But there’s some great advice out there. Bookmark these resources:
How to Do a “Fake Follower” Check (Root out the bots!)
Social Media Advertising
For advertisers, discovering social media was like getting a cheat code for cracking the modern consumer. So much so, in fact, that the projected market volume for social media ads in 2025 is almost $82B, with the lion’s share dedicated to mobile ads.
(Ahem...seems like a good time to remind you that a website optimized for mobile is perhaps one of the very best gifts you will ever give yourself. We can help you do that.)
Before you hop on the social media ad gravy train, it’s important to note that you’ll need to:
- Have an intimate understanding of your target audience
- Be willing to allocate an adequate budget for advertising
Facebook is still far and away the most popular social media platform, with 3 billion monthly active users. Given the platform’s...er...proclivity for storing user data, Facebook Ads (created and managed via the Facebook Business Suite) allows you to easily target audience segments on a more granular level than you can using other ad platforms.
Other popular platforms for social media ads include Facebook-owned Instagram (you can even create ads in the Facebook Business Suite and push them directly to Insta--convenient!), Twitter, LinkedIn, and--for those who also have some kind of local presence, like a retail shop--Nextdoor.
Social media ads are sort of a passive tool in that your chosen audience will just be scrolling the ‘gram one day and--boom! Your ad appears. That means the bulk of your clicks will probably come from people saying, “Wow, I did not know I needed this chic copper avocado peeler, but *add to cart*.”
By contrast, Google Ads--if properly leveraged--works the other way ‘round, feeding your ads to people who are actively searching for products like yours.
(Alas, no chic copper avocado peelers. Free business idea; you’re welcome.)
Although there are myriad reasons Google Ads can be beneficial for business, it’s basically the IRS website for ads--particularly for newcomers. It can be difficult to navigate and understand, and that UX/UI shortcoming has the internet all a-tingle with “here’s what you’re doing wrong” help articles. Even extremely successful serial entrepreneurs cop to making relatively rudimentary mistakes on the platform.
Still, if you can manage to do it right, the ROI can be fantastic. And, bonus points, a Google Ads account allows you to also advertise with their child company--and second largest search engine in the world--YouTube.
If you want to try your hand at Google Ads, here’s how.
Content marketing involves creating interesting, informative, and engaging content that attracts visitors to your Shopify store. “Content” is literally anything eye-catching that establishes you as the “It Company” for whatever product or service you’re selling--and positions you as a thought leader in your niche. That could be:
- A blog, jam-packed with high quality, informative posts related to your niche (hi, hello, it us.)
- A well-produced mini video series demonstrating how to use your products, or showcasing their benefits
- A podcast covering topics you know are of interest to your target audience
- “Lead magnets” that provide particularly tantalizing content in exchange for something--usually an email address
(We originally did this with our extremely cool DIY Shopify Guide, which was very successful.)
Blogs are arguably the lowest-cost option--especially if you are a skilled writer and don’t need to source someone to produce your content for you. If you do need to outsource, we seriously recommend not skimping on budget for the right writer--a fantastic communicator with industry knowledge and some experience with SEO, who can effectively write in your brand’s voice.
When you write on topics related to your business, those posts automatically endow your site with more pages to be indexed by search engines--provided that you’re following a keen keyword strategy.
The most common way to get started with content marketing is to identify keywords that your target audience searches the most in Google and Bing. Tools like KWFinder and UberSuggest dole out valuable info, like how many people are searching for a particular keyword per month or how easy it is to rank for a keyword. You can even “short list” keywords, earmarking them for reference when it’s time to start crafting your content!
Word to the wise: when laying out your keyword strategy, don’t just think product--think expertise, too. Say you sell iron supplements. The same audience that would be interested in keywords like “iron supplement” might also be intrigued by others, which are indirectly related to your product, such as “anemia.”
Search engine optimization, or SEO, is the process of optimizing your website to rank high in search engines. Since 68% of all online experiences begin with a search engine, you should prioritize making it real easy for people to find your store using engines like Google and Bing.
Case in point: a study by Backlink shows that the #1 spot in search engine result pages gets approximately 32% of the clicks for a particular search term.
SEO--like any tactic that hinges on the finicky, shapeshifting algorithms of the Almighty Internet--can be a difficult beast to tame. Here’s how to get started.
Go Forth and Conquer!
Did this feel like a heckuva lot more than 6 tips? 😵💫 We feel you. Deep breaths; take it one step at a time. Not all tactics will work for every store--and some merchants will need to blend two or more to create a robust traffic-lassoing strategy.
Some DON’Ts to keep in mind:
- Don’t try everything at once. Throwing a whole pot of spaghetti at the wall is not the move if you want to know what works--and what doesn’t.
- Don’t be afraid of a little trial and error. Chances are very good that--whatever you try--it’s not going to be a home run the first time. That doesn’t mean you’re destined for failure; you may just need to fine-tune.
- Don’t go balls-to-the-wall, spending all your precious time and money from the get-go. Especially in an arena as heavily saturated as eCommerce, it takes time to rise to the top. Start small and have patience.
- Know your audience--like, actually know them--and learn to speak their language. The most immaculate strategy won’t do squat if you’re marketing to people who don’t actually want to buy your stuff, and using the wrong approach with those that do want to buy your stuff isn’t any better.
- Do your research. There are a lot of conflicting opinions on exactly hOw To GeT mOrE cUsToMeRs. Triangulate resources and blend that information with your knowledge of your audience before jumping to conclusions.
- Think outside the box. These 6 tips--and the plethora of others you’ll find with a quick Google search--are like templates. They’re pliant. Know the rules, then innovatively bend and shift them to work for you.
Good luck out there!