Want to drive more traffic to your Shopify store without breaking the bank? Here are 4 methods that really work.
How would you like to drive over 1,000 visitors to your e-commerce store, every day?
Here’s the good news: You can do this without needing to spend a single cent on acquiring traffic.
Now, that’s not to say PPC ads and Facebook ads aren’t both massively effective for your online business. But they require time, money, and effort. However, even if you’re a startup with $0 to spend on marketing, you can still drive traffic to your online store. How?
By using the most these 4 most effective free traffic sources:
Your blog is possibly the single most important website traffic sources in your arsenal. Here’s why:
Organic search traffic from search engines like Google is some of the highest-converting traffic you can possibly get. It's far better than banner ads or social media marketing. But there's one caveat...
Ranking your store on search engines requires backlinks from other websites.
And getting backlinks to product or category pages can be really hard. Or time consuming, if you're writing guest posts. Getting links to high-quality blog posts or infographics, however, is much easier.
Plus, even if you do rank your product pages on Google, you’re still limited to the keywords around your products. Once you rank for them, you hit a ceiling. Quality content can help drive even more free traffic and leads to your site. For example, if you had a leather shoe store, you could rank for something like “How to care for leather shoes” using your blog.
Now for the million dollar question: How do you create quality content?
Here are some great tips to get you started by Andrianes Pinantoan:
Input a topic or a website, and this tool will show you which are the best-performing articles according to social shares.
Let’s say your e-commerce store sells hair extensions and one of your competitors is Luxy Hair.
Simply go to Buzzsumo, search for luxyhair.com, and you’ll be able to see which content on their website has been shared widely.
As seen in the above screenshot, this How To article got an impressive 5.6k shares on Pinterest.
Now, you shouldn’t be copying your competitor’s content or paraphrasing their entire article.
But definitely use this as inspiration for your brainstorming sessions. By understanding what types of articles get the most shares, you’ll find it easier to generate blog topics that are well-received by your audience.
This one’s pretty straight-forward: Set up an automated email campaign so that the minute someone subscribes to your newsletter, your email provider delivers a thank you note to their inbox. In this thank-you note, ask this person what type of content is the most relevant to them.
If you’re a fashion e-commerce store, your options could be:
You get the idea!
Headlines are super important.
You can have the most informative, well-written blog article out there, but if it doesn’t come with a compelling headline, no one’s going to click through and read it.
Take this article by Team Canva, for example:
According to Andrianes, it was a flop. There was no way of telling why it didn’t perform well, and the only thing left to do was to change the headline and try again.
So that’s exactly what Team Canva did. They reposted the article with the headline Why Everyone From Beethoven, Goethe, Dickens, Darwin To Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too.
It was an instant success, and this one article ended up getting Canva 70,000 shares!
Moral of the story?
You won’t be able to get your headline right every time, even if you’re a seasoned content writer.
But by testing out different headlines, you can get maximum mileage out of your article and get more free traffic.
Next on the list of free traffic sources for your website? Social media marketing. It’s no secret that e-commerce store owners spend tons of time perfecting their Instagram feed these days.
You google “how to take good Instagram pictures” and carefully arrange your flatlays.
You use three different filter apps and apply your filters painstakingly.
And you wait till the optimal timing before posting every day.
Now, here’s one additional step you can take:
In all of your Instagram captions (and all of your social media captions, really), include a Call To Action that directs people back to your website.
The rationale behind this is simple: Getting more Likes and Followers on your social media channels is great, but what’s crucial to your revenue is converting these Followers into actual customers.
Next on our list of free traffic sources is your subscriber list.
A lot of e-commerce store owners are obsessed with getting more “exposure” for their brand and getting seen by more people.
But the reality is It’s actually a lot more productive to focus on marketing to customers who have already bought from you.
Let’s say you set up a remarketing campaign to target people who have abandoned their carts in the past 24 hours.
You’re essentially reaching out to a highly qualified audience, the “hottest” of your leads.
It takes way less effort to convert them to a paying customer, as opposed to someone who has never interacted with your brand before.
Check out these stats:
But don’t just stop at setting up remarketing emails.
While these are a quick and easy way to capture your low-hanging fruit, you should also engage the rest of your subscriber list, especially those who are inactive.
Here are some ideas from Carly Stec from Hubspot:
Carly absolutely loves Piperlime’s email approach:
A fun, light-hearted email like this one will get your subscribers chuckling... and hitting that button to be redirected to your website.
In the email shown below, Earbits utilizes the same break-up style approach as Piperlime. But here’s where they do things differently: They include a little “mix-tape” their subscribers can click on and listen to.
This actually makes a lot of sense for Earbits, because they’re a music discovery site.
But e-commerce stores can follow in the same vein and jazz up their emails with sound clips, GIFs, or other types of media to get their readers’ attention.
When all else fails… go ahead and bribe your subscribers.
Here’s how Crocs does it:
The beauty of using this strategy is it’s unexpectedly versatile.
Let’s say you’re an e-commerce store that sells skincare products, like Belmondo. Here’s a cost-effective way to bribe (or shall we say, incentivize) your customers to revisit your store:
Offer them free samples (get your suppliers to give you some!) with every purchase.
You don’t need to fork out a single cent and your customers are happy because they got free stuff.
How’s that for a win-win?
In a nutshell, Quora is a place where anyone can ask questions and have them answered by industry experts.
If you’re trying to get quality traffic, Quora is one of the best free traffic sources.
Instagram is full of casual browsers, and they may or may not be at the stage of the buyer’s journey where they’re willing to commit to a purchase.
Quora, on the other hand, is crawling with people who are looking for a solution to their problem.
As such, they’re better prospects, and it’s likely that you’ll be able to convert traffic from Quora into paying customers more easily.
First, let’s address the question: How do you market your brand on Quora, and use Quora to drive traffic to your store?
Start by filtering out the questions that aren’t popular and focus only on the questions that have the potential to drive traffic to your site.
Let’s say you’re an e-commerce store that sells knives.
You could answer questions under the topic “Knives”, which has 30.4k followers.
But why would you want to do that when you can take a crack at questions under the topic “Food”, which has 16.2 million followers?
Of course, choosing a more generic topic has its disadvantages too: You’ll need to look through the questions more carefully to find the ones that are relevant to your products.
But you do get a lot more potential with 16.2 million followers as opposed to 30.4k followers - so it’s worth the extra effort!
Once you’ve decided which topic you want to focus on, navigate to the “Topic FAQ”, which shows you the top questions being asked at the moment. Scroll down the list of questions and look for questions which have been answered by plenty of people.
Then click through on the question, and you’ll be able to see the number of people following it.
Once you write and post your answer, these people will be notified - either via email, via a notification, or some other way.
Source: Imran Esmail from EscapeYourDeskJob.com.
Here’s how Imran puts it: “Personal stories of tragedy, struggle and personal perseverance do exceptionally well on Quora. You don’t want your Quora answer to read like a Wikipedia page. Pepper it with examples and personal anecdotes (the more emotional, the better!) and incorporate humor and wit if possible.”
Think about how people are consuming content. On their desktops? Not usually. On their laptops? Yes, but less frequently. On their mobile phones? All the time.
Your Quora answer should be optimized for people who are reading it on the go.
What does this mean? Steer clear of chunky paragraphs and use pictures to sustain your readers’ interest. Here’s a great example:
This last tip from Imran is arguably the most valuable piece of advice for e-commerce store owners hoping to drive free traffic back to their websites. Basically, you want to provide enough details so that you have a robust enough answer (which brings you views and upvotes).
But not too many details that your readers have no incentive to click through to your website.
For example, let’s say you’re answering the question: What are the top three things a newbie cook should know?
Your three points can be:
Go ahead and elaborate on the first two points. When you come to the last point, talk about the importance of buying the right kitchen equipment. Then link to a product comparison article on your website which lays out the pros and cons of the top three knife brands (including your own!) in the market.
Guest posts are articles you write on someone else's blog. Aside from link building, which can improve your rankings and search traffic, guest posts can drive direct traffic to your site. You're essentially "borrowing" that site's traffic, assuming you include a strong call to action within the post that leads back to your blog.
Affiliate marketers are known for guest posting a lot. It's one of their favorite link building tactics.
But your can use this strategy as one of your best website traffic sources if you do it right. I recommend reading this guide to learn more.
A final word on using free traffic sources to drive customers to your store. While this free traffic sources list is by no means a definite guide, it should be enough to keep you busy for the next few months. You’ll be able to see results pretty fast with some of the techniques mentioned here.
But for the other techniques, like beefing up your blog articles and answering questions on Quora, it’ll take some time before you get any traction.
The key is to commit to a schedule that’s manageable for you (perhaps writing one blog article and three Quora answers per week?) and stick with it. Within three months, you should start to see an uptick in traffic.
Within six months, you should experience an uptick in sales due to your growing traffic.
And as you build your online business, all the graphs that you’re keeping an eye on will only get more and more exponential. And the best part is that you don't have to spend money on Facebook ads!
Surges in traffic are usually a good thing for Shopify stores, but what if your store isn’t equipped to manage it?
Bold Store Locator Map, powered by Shop Circle, lets your customers know how to find your products with an interactive store locator map, geolocation, and real-time directions.
And best of all, it’s built with high-growth merchants in mind and is ready to scale alongside your booming brand.
Check out: Help your customers find your products with Bold Store Locator Map. as well as: Why Store Locator was the solution for Slawsa from Shark Tank.
If you’d like to test out our store locator tool on your Shopify store, you can try it for free here!
Shop Circle is the first operator of e-commerce tools, providing cutting-edge solutions that help modern brands grow and scale.