You’ve probably felt it: the pressure to watch your e-commerce sales climb one day, only to dip the next.
The unpredictable nature of sales can be frustrating. But let me tell you something—gaining new customers isn’t just about pouring money into ads.
In fact, there are numerous effective strategies that can help you attract customers without burning a hole in your pocket. This article will guide you through six of the best. Stick with me, and we’ll explore practical ways to boost your customer acquisition and make your e-commerce journey more predictable and profitable.
I’ll even show you tons of real-world examples.
1. Build an Email List & Send Promotional Emails
When a visitor lands on your website, they’ve already moved past the awareness stage. If they don’t immediately become a customer, the next best thing you can do is to capture their email. This sets the stage for email marketing.
Let’s break down email marketing into its core components.
The most straightforward method is to have a pop-up or a sign-up form on your site. But for this to work effectively, consider the following:
Offer an Incentive: Think about what could make a visitor provide their email willingly. A discount on their next purchase? Maybe free shipping? An attractive incentive can make a significant difference.
Communicate Clear Value: Beyond just offering a tangible incentive, let them know what they’re signing up for. Are you offering expert advice that they won’t find elsewhere? Maybe they’ll get early access to your newest products or exclusive content that’s reserved for subscribers only. Paint a clear picture of the value they’ll receive once they hit that ‘subscribe’ button.
Remember, the goal isn’t just to grow your email list but to create a list of potential customers who genuinely see value in what you offer. With such a list, sending them promotional emails becomes not just another marketing chore but an exciting opportunity to connect and convert.
Here are some examples. The first is from Olipop.
This one is from Vahdam…
And here’s another one from Jolie…
The lesson is simple. Give people a reason to sign up for your email list!
Other ideas to create an incentive are…
- Interactive quizzes
- Contests and Giveaways
- QR Codes in physical locations
- Product waitlist
Okay… but how do you manage the technical aspects behind this? Creating a page with a pop-up… collecting emails… delivering your incentive… etc.?
You can do all of this — and a whole lot more — with ClickFunnels!
First, get a free trial and then choose your funnel!
Add and remove the pages you want…
Customize your pages…
And then setup your emails with our drag-and-drop email editor…
We give you everything you need to build and manage your online business!
Now, the second part is sending emails to your list.
Here are some types of emails you can send to turn email subscribers into customers…
- Product launch
- Sales & promotional emails…
- Abandon Cart emails…
- Educational emails with a soft pitch for your product…
Build your email list. Send those people emails consistently. This is by far one of the best ways to grow your e-commerce business and acquire new customers.
2. Run Referral Programs
If you’ve ever wondered how to turn your existing customers into a powerhouse marketing team for your brand, then referral programs might just be your answer.
But what exactly is a referral program?
At its core, a referral program incentivizes your current customers to introduce your products or services to their friends, family, or colleagues. In return for their efforts, they might receive discounts, cash rewards, or other benefits that you deem fit.
They’re effective because…
- Cost-Effective: Instead of spending extra time and money on acquiring a new customer through traditional methods, your current customer base acts as your marketing channel. Essentially, you’re leveraging the power of word-of-mouth at a fraction of the cost.
- Trust Factor: Let’s face it – people are more likely to trust a recommendation from someone they know than an advertisement they see online. If a friend suggests a product, the trust factor is already established. You don’t need to convince them with fancy articles or ads; the recommendation does the heavy lifting for you.
Here are some tips for creating your referral program…
- Understand Your Audience: Categorize your current customer base. Who are your most loyal customers? What are their buying behaviors? Find out what would motivate them to refer a friend? Discounts? Loyalty points? Free products?
- Build your offer: Ensure both the referrer and referee receive a benefit. This can be in the form of discounts, credit, or free products.
- Implement simple sharing options like a unique referral link, easy-to-share on social platforms, or through messaging apps.
And remember: the best time to ask for a referral is shortly after a purchase — since the customer’s experience is fresh.
Don’t just create the program and forget it, share it with your customers via emails or social media. Create an automated email sequence that promotes your referral program shortly after someone becomes a new customer. You need to promote it for it to work.
Here’s an example from MeUndies…
And Good Pair Days…
Some other things to consider…
1. Make It Simple to Share:
- Ease of Use: Ensure the referral process is as streamlined as possible. Whether it’s a unique link, a code, or a simple button, the easier you make it for customers to share, the more likely they are to do so.
- Multiple Platforms: Allow sharing across various platforms. Some people prefer sharing through email, others via social media, and some might just want to send a direct link via messaging apps. Cater to all these preferences.
2. Clearly Define Rewards for Both Parties:
- Transparency: Specify what the referrer and the referee will get. Whether it’s a discount, a free product, or loyalty points, being transparent about the rewards ensures trust and encourages more shares.
- Double-sided Incentives: Offering rewards to both the person referring and the one being referred can significantly boost participation. It feels like a win-win situation for both, which can encourage more genuine referrals.
3. Regularly Review and Update Your Program:
- Feedback Loop: Keep an ear out for feedback from your customers. They might offer insights into how you can make the program even better.
- Adaptability: The market, products, and customer preferences change. Periodically reviewing your referral program to ensure it remains relevant and appealing is essential. For instance, if you introduce a new product, consider promoting it within the referral program for a limited time.
Referral programs harness the natural inclination of people to share good finds with their friends. The beauty is, when done right, everyone wins: your original customer gets a reward, their friend discovers a new product, and you gain a new loyal customer. It’s a strategy built on trust and mutual benefit, and that’s why it works wonders.
3. Influencer Marketing
Imagine having someone with thousands or even millions of dedicated followers introduce your brand to their audience. That’s the power of influencer marketing. But what is it?
Influencer marketing is a modern-day strategy where brands collaborate with individuals who have a strong and engaged following on social media or other digital platforms. These individuals, termed as influencers’, use their influence to promote products, services, or even ideas, leveraging their credibility and reach to introduce the brand to a wider or more targeted audience.
Now, you might wonder, why is this strategy becoming increasingly popular among ecommerce businesses? Let’s dive deeper to understand its potential benefits.
Tapping into Ready-Made Audiences:
One of the primary advantages of collaborating with influencers is access to their audience. Influencers, by the very nature of their title, have spent time cultivating a community of engaged followers. When you partner with an influencer, you’re not just reaching out to random people; you’re reaching an audience that trusts and values the influencer’s opinions.
It’s not just about exposure; it’s about credibility. When an influencer promotes a product or service, their endorsement often carries weight. Think about it: if someone you admire and trust recommends a product, you’re not just aware of it; you’re more inclined to give it a shot. This effect is even more potent when an influencer genuinely believes in and vouches for your product.
Special Offers for Enhanced Appeal:
Want to make your influencer collaboration even more impactful? Consider giving influencers an exclusive offer or discount code for their audience. Not only does this incentivize purchases, but it also makes the audience feel special. They’re not just buying a product; they’re availing an offer curated just for them, courtesy of their favorite influencer.
In essence, influencer marketing isn’t just about showcasing your products; it’s about weaving your brand into narratives and lifestyles that people already admire and resonate with. When done right, it doesn’t feel like marketing at all – it feels like a recommendation from a trusted friend. And in the world of e-commerce, that can be gold.
How do you get started?
Create a landing page to attract inbound interest…
To create such landing pages you can use ClickFunnels!
You can choose a template and then customize it to fit your brand…
Apart from inbound internet, you can find influencers with a little research on social media platforms. Look for hashtags relevant to your product. For example, searching for ‘healthy breakfast cereal’ will surface influencers promoting healthy recipes or products.
You can then reach out to those influencers with an offer (make sure their engagement seems authentic and it’s not coming from bots!)…
You can even offer a free product if the influencer is nano (1-10K)…
Or a commission basis deal — they get a share when someone buys using their link or code.
The final structure would be a pay-per-post campaign — this usually works for mega influencers with 100K+ followers. But if you want to reduce risk, steer clear of this and try to work on commission basis or in exchange for free products.
4. Grow a Social Media Presence
Having a presence on social media isn’t just a ‘nice-to-have’ feature; it’s a necessity. Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and others have become daily touchpoints for millions of users.
These aren’t just spaces for casual browsing; they’re where your potential customers are actively spending time and engaging with content. As an ecommerce business, being a part of that conversation is crucial.
Choosing Your Platform:
First things first, you don’t need to be everywhere. Spreading yourself too thin can dilute your efforts and reduce effectiveness. The key is to identify where your potential customers hang out the most. Are they the younger crowd looping videos on TikTok or professionals networking on LinkedIn? Choose platforms that align with your target audience and your brand’s identity.
|Social Media Platform
|Best Suited For
|– Fashion & Apparel
– Beauty & Cosmetics
– Lifestyle Brands
– Art & Design
|– Visual storytelling
– Engagement through Stories, Reels
– Shoppable posts
|– General E-commerce
– Home & Garden
– Gadgets & Electronics
– Local Businesses
|– Broad demographic reach
– Dynamic retargeting ads
– Facebook Shop
|– DIY & Crafts
– Home Decor
– Wedding & Events
– Recipes & Food Brands
|– Inspirational content
– Shopping Pins for direct purchase
– Visual discovery through boards
|– Fashion & Apparel
– Entertainment & Media
– Beauty & Cosmetics
– Food & Beverage
|– Short, engaging video content
– Viral challenges and trends
– Influencer partnerships
|– B2B E-commerce
– Software & Tech Solutions
– Office Supplies
|– Professional networking
– Targeted B2B ads
– Thought leadership content
|– News & Media Outlets
– Tech & Gadgets
– Books & Publications
|– Real-time engagement
– Hashtag trends
– Customer service opportunities
Crafting Your Social Media Strategy:
When it comes to content, remember why people are on these platforms in the first place:
Entertainment: Whether it’s a quirky product showcase on TikTok or a humorous take on your brand’s behind-the-scenes on Instagram, entertaining content often gets shared, leading to organic growth.
Information: Keep your audience updated. Are you launching a new product? Is there a sale around the corner? Use social media to communicate and keep your audience in the loop.
Education: How-to guides, product usage demonstrations, or even industry insights can position your brand as an expert in your field. When people want advice or knowledge, they’ll think of you.
But let’s get a little more specific. Here are some ideas for different types of content you can post (with examples!)…
Behind-the-scenes content — Providing a glimpse into the inner workings of your brand, behind-the-scenes content humanizes your business and builds a deeper connection with your audience. Imagine sharing a time-lapse video of your product being crafted, or offering a candid snapshot of a team brainstorming session. It’s a way to say, “Here’s a peek into our world, into the passion and effort that goes into every product you receive.”
Launch posts — Every time you unveil a new product or service, it’s an event in itself. Launch posts build anticipation and excitement. A teaser, perhaps a silhouette or a shadowed image of the new product, paired with an enticing caption like “Something big is on the horizon,” can keep your audience eagerly checking back for the grand reveal.
How-to videos — Instructional content, especially video, can significantly elevate a user’s experience with your product. Whether it’s showcasing multiple ways to use a versatile product or providing a step-by-step guide on its application, how-to videos offer both value and engagement. They not only inform but also position your brand as a helpful guide in the customer’s journey.
Flash sales announcements — Flash sales are all about urgency and excitement. They’re quick, they offer hefty discounts, and they generate buzz. A vibrant, attention-grabbing post proclaiming “50% off for the next 3 hours!” can cause a surge in website traffic and sales, as customers rush to snag their favorite items before the clock runs out.
Interactive polls — Engaging your audience is key to fostering a sense of community around your brand. Interactive polls, whether they’re about potential new product colors or asking for feedback on a recent release, invite participation. For instance, a simple question like “Which upcoming shade excites you more: Midnight Black or Ocean Blue?” can generate excitement and valuable insights simultaneously.
Giveaways — Everyone loves getting something for free. Organizing giveaways where participants can win some of your products in exchange for engaging actions, like tagging friends or sharing a post, not only boosts your brand visibility but also enhances community goodwill. A well-timed giveaway, especially with a captivating image of the prize, can garner significant attention and engagement.
A well-thought-out social media presence isn’t just about posting content but engaging with your community. Respond to comments, participate in trends, and listen to feedback. The more you engage, the more you’ll understand your audience, allowing you to tailor your approach and, in turn, boost your e-commerce customer acquisition.
5. Run Paid Ad Campaigns
Paid ads, whether through Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other platforms, offer a swift entry into the marketplace. Unlike organic growth strategies, which often require time to cultivate and bear fruit, paid ads can give your products and brand almost immediate visibility. Imagine this: within hours of setting up a campaign, your product could be in front of thousands, if not millions, depending on your budget and target audience.
However, speed comes at a cost. While it’s undoubtedly faster, running paid ad campaigns isn’t always the most cost-effective method in the long run. This isn’t to say it’s not profitable, but profitability hinges on various factors, such as the accuracy of your target audience, the quality of your ad creatives, and the overall strategy. In essence, while paid ads can drive quick results, it’s essential to monitor and optimize them continuously to ensure you’re getting a good return on investment.
So how do you do it effectively?
First, run an ad and send people to a dedicated landing page built for that ad…
For example, the ad above goes to this landing page…
Notice the consistent experience from the ad to the landing page? That’s super important.
(To create landing pages, you can use ClickFunnels. There are so many templates to choose from and you can customize them to suit your branding.)
But don’t just stick to ads promoting your product, screaming ‘buy me now’ you should also invest into…
- Ads that have a low-risk factor — such as product trials
- Retargeting ads: For people who abandoned the cart. They’re somewhat interested to buy but not fully convinced or forgot to complete the purchase.
- Ads that target people who’ve visited your website but need more convincing — social proof works best here…
In the ever-competitive world of e-commerce, paid ad campaigns can be your ticket to standing out and capturing the attention of potential customers swiftly. However, it’s crucial to approach them with a blend of enthusiasm and caution, balancing the desire for quick results with the necessity for sustainable profitability.
6. Create Relevant Content & Optimize it for Search Engines
For e-commerce brands eyeing organic, cost-effective traffic without incessantly pouring funds into ads, content creation is a game-changer. From in-depth articles that solve problems to engaging videos that entertain, content serves multiple purposes. But why is it pivotal for e-commerce businesses to focus on search-engine-optimized content?
Imagine this: a potential customer, curious about a problem that your product solves, takes to Google to find answers. By creating content that answers these queries, your brand has the opportunity to not only provide valuable information but also introduce these potential customers to your products. Essentially, by aligning your content with search intent, you’re paving a non-intrusive path that gently nudges readers toward a purchase.
For example, if I search for specialty coffee, here’s the process I go through…
Then I’d maybe click on the link and land on the blog from Kanfuela…
And that’s how I discovered this brand…
Don’t just restrict yourself to written content. You can also create videos.
For example, Ryan Reynold’s videos about Aviation Gin has MILLIONs of views. This helps customers build connections to the brand.
Here are some critical tips…
- Master One Medium First: Diving headfirst into both written and video content can be overwhelming and counterproductive. Choose one based on your audience’s preference and your strengths. Once you’ve perfected that, expand into the other.
- Not Always About Your Product: While it might be tempting to make every piece of content a product pitch, resist. Think from the customer’s perspective. What are they searching for? What information do they need? By addressing their queries and pain points without constantly pushing your product, you build trust.
- Make Content Work Double-Time: Every piece of content you produce should serve a dual purpose – inform/entertain and guide. Incorporate strategic elements like popups for newsletter signups or interlinked product pages within your articles. This ensures that visitors don’t just consume and leave; they engage, dive deeper into your brand, and are presented with opportunities to become customers.
By coupling quality content with savvy SEO practices, e-commerce brands can carve a niche in the digital space, drawing in audiences actively searching for what they offer. It’s not just about making a sale; it’s about establishing authority, building trust, and creating a loyal customer base through value-driven content.
While the strategies mentioned offer proven pathways to success, the real magic lies in tailoring them to your brand’s unique story and your audience’s specific needs.
Remember, persistence is key.
Continuously learn, adapt, and innovate. Your e-commerce journey is filled with limitless possibilities, and with the right strategies in place, there’s no ceiling to what you can achieve. Here’s to your success and the countless customers eager to discover your brand. Forge ahead with confidence!