Covid-19 has undoubtedly affected the e-commerce industry. For one thing, people have shifted towards shopping online to avoid leaving their homes as much as possible. As a result, many online store owners have doubled their ad spend in hopes to reach new customers.
But what if you don’t want to spend more money on your ads than you already do? Especially if you want to put some money aside during these uncertain times. Luckily, there’s something you can do.
In this blog post, we’re exploring five alternative ways to attract traffic to your Shopify store for free! Let’s dig in.
1. Work with micro-influencers
Influencer marketing is one of the most effective ways to grow your brand awareness. While it will probably be extremely tough to reach huge influencers who boast millions of followers, there’s another option – working with micro-influencers.
Some experts from Social Media Today say that it’s even more beneficial to work with micro-influencers. Even if such influencers most likely have a small following (say, 1,000 followers), it will probably be a very dedicated one. Plus, the content micro-influencers create is usually authentic, trustworthy, and therefore attracts quite a bit of engagement.
While it’s not for free per se, you can send your free products to micro-influencers in exchange for them featuring your stuff. Think of it this way: for one amazing bracelet or whatever item you’re selling you give away, you could potentially get tens if not hundreds new purchases from the amazed followers!
Use a campaign-specific hashtag that the influencers you’ll be working with could use while featuring your products in their content.
Or create a discount code that includes the influencer’s name. This way, when their followers will use it on your website to buy goods from you, you will be able to measure the success of your influencer campaign.
2. Use free traffic apps
Free traffic apps on Shopify can help you drive more potential customers to your online store.
How do free traffic apps work?
Such apps usually work like a traditional ad-exchange. To receive free traffic, you’d need to allow other shop’s products to appear on your store. In return, your products will be shown across other e-commerce websites in the network, and this always leads to more customers coming to your store.
An ad exchange is a way for online stores to benefit from other stores’ traffic by displaying partner products on their websites. This is a mockup of what it would look like on your store if you were using a free traffic app sixads (one of the many on Shopify’s app store):
What are the advantages of free traffic apps?
For one thing, they’re free. For another, traffic apps can help you get your ads in front of the right people.
Online shoppers who will see your product ads on other online stores will already have a higher interest in purchasing your products – they were already looking into buying something. Plus, on apps like sixads, your products will be placed next to similar category items. This means your product ads will be relevant to the people seeing them.
3. Polish your organic social media presence
Even though organic social media reach is nothing like it used to be back in the sweet 2016, it doesn’t mean you should overlook it. You can, and you should use social media marketing to build a relationship with your potential and existing customers – talking about retention here!
The traffic you will get from organic posts will come from people who chose to follow you, which means they’re interested in what you have to offer.
Finally, a well-thought presence on social media makes your brand look trustworthy. It’s common for people who saw your ads to check your social media to see if you’re a real brand – the one from which they should buy things.
Marketing through social media benefits your business in multiple ways:
- It helps to keep your customers informed about your business, changes, and deals.
- It gives your customers more opportunities to interact with your business.
- It helps to maintain relationships with your customers, this way engaging repeat purchases.
Each of these points can help you to increase traffic on your website. You can accomplish this by keeping customers informed and happy, posting links to your website, and showing them that you care.
Start with one social media channel first and adapt the content created to other platforms as you go. This way, you won’t be too overwhelmed. For example, begin with looking for ways to grow your Instagram account. Why Instagram? As much as 68 % of Instagram users engage with brands regularly. It’s a great channel to build a relationship with your target audience and work on your customer loyalty.
4. Make sure you have social proof
Social proof is essential for online businesses to thrive – people need validation, such as genuine user reviews, to trust your online store to buy from you.
Over 70% of consumers take customer feedback seriously! Positive reviews encourage them to trust businesses more, they see those reviews as valuable, and they will recommend businesses to their friends. So, you should try to find ways to encourage your existing customers to leave positive experiences about your brand on your social media.
For example, after customers make a purchase, send them an email or message confirming the purchase, thanking them, and asking them for a review. To encourage them, you can also offer your customers a small discount for their next purchase. Also, don’t forget to embed their comments on your website and abandoned cart emails to make full use of your social proof.
Use customer reviews and referrals throughout the buyer journey to boost trust and conversions. Loox, the most downloaded product reviews and referrals app on Shopify, helps Shopify brands leverage UGC and word of mouth. They automate the entire review collection and referral process to ensure that you are continually maximizing the power of your happy customers. They live and breathe social proof- so to get more tips on this traffic-driving strategy check out Loox’s piece: 10 Social Proof Strategies to Skyrocket Your Shopify Conversion Rate. And if you need some social proof as to why reviews and referrals are so important note this: Research reveals 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family above all other forms of advertising. Plus, nearly 95% also read online reviews before making a purchase.
5. Use cross-promotion
One of the ways to gain more traffic is to cross-promote your website. This means that you take advantage of your different channels to showcase your other channels so that all of them will grow. It’s pretty basic but, surprisingly, quite a few store owners tend to miss out on this tactic!
When you have multiple channels, you can expose your customers to more of your content. As you see in the graph, you gain more revenue as you include more channels in your marketing.
Here are a few easy ways you can cross-promote your channels.
- Include links to your website at the end of your social media posts.
- Allow customers to subscribe to your email newsletter through your website.
- Add icons at the end of your emails that send people to your social media pages.
Simple actions like these allow you to increase your traffic by bringing your followers and subscribers to your other channels. Also, it will help you to keep your brand’s messaging consistent.
Having implemented our tips above, don’t forget to make sure you’re doing your best best to convert the traffic you’re driving to your online store. Not sure how to do it? Read this guide on how to improve your conversion rates. There you will find both long term solutions like content marketing optimization and quick fixes such as using chatbots and setting up selling on social media.
These five ways work well for store owners that want to increase their traffic without spending money. Even though some of the ideas seem pretty obvious, surprisingly, quite a few Shopify store owners tend to overlook them. So, make sure you have the basic marketing channels covered first! And, in the future, once the economy bounces back, you can always build on what you’ve started by investing more in your marketing efforts. Either way, you have a starting point to increase traffic without spending money!
This guest was written by Julija Televiciute, a freelance copywriter at sixads, an app that provides ad exchange and ad automation services for online stores. Specialized in copywriting, social media, and dog memes, she helps businesses get creative with ideas for content that creates value and sells. Want to know more ways to drive traffic to your online store? Find more tips on ecommerce on their Facebook page.