To have an e-commerce business means that you have to deal with everything that it involves, including lead generation. Lead generation for e-commerce is different than a lead generation for other business models. Most online stores don’t have their own warehouses and sales teams but, what they do have are shipping process automation and checkout pages.
The process evolved over the years and in e-commerce, the main goal became to gain the attention of people that have purchasing power. (You don’t have to chase the buyer anymore because the buyer chases you.) Capturing the attention of buyers can be a demanding and expensive task.
Thankfully, there are a few cost-effective tactics that can help you bring quality leads to your online store. In this post, we’re going to see 8 different practical strategies you can implement immediately in your lead generation strategy.
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1. Define Target Personas
In e-commerce, there’s nothing worse than optimizing for the wrong type of customers. Knowing who buys, or who will buy your products is pivotal in helping you maximize your advertising ROI and lead generation success.
There are lots of ways to define your target audience. You can research people but, the best way to determine your ideal customers is to establish the following information about them:
- Their location – Where do they live?
- Age – Do they have an approximate age?
- Do they have specific interests?
- What is their level of education?
- Their income range, can they buy the product?
- Are they family people, in relationships or single?
- Do they speak only one or more languages?
- Their buying motivation – What will make them buy?
- Obstacles – Can something turn them away from the products?
The main purpose of these questions is to understand your prospects and nurture them more proficiently. After you’ve identified your target customer, it’s time to define the customer’s journey.
HBR defines customer journey as:
“a diagram that illustrates the steps your customer(s) go through in engaging with your company, whether it is a product, an online experience, retail experience, or a service, or any combination.”
The data that you’ve already gathered about your target customers can help you figure out their journey. Here’s how:
Monitor How Users Behave on Your E-commerce Site
It’s vital to know how users interact with your e-commerce site. Check whether they’re first-time visitors, returning visitors or buyers. See if you can spot common trends in their behavior, especially page events and sections that make them leave the site and not convert at all.
A comprehensive history of users’ sessions can help you develop ideas on how to map out the customer journey.
Optimize the Experience for Different Platforms
Even the buyers that are ready and eager to buy the product have to go through several touchpoints with your brand to make the purchase. As a result, it is vital to adopt the users’ experience to each and every platform.
For example, people may find your online store via referral. Or, they may encounter your tweet and your Instagram post. Then, they click the link to see more. To map out a customer journey, it’s very important to understand why the users jump from one platform to another before they buy from you.
Construct the Funnel for the Needs of Your Target Customers
Before people decide to buy from your online store, they’ll want you to form a relationship with them. This means that you need to have a grasp on customer psychology as well as being able to provide value at each stage of the customer’s journey.
Only after you’ve mapped your target customer’s journey can you start creating the content that will help you acquire more leads and customers. An efficient content marketing strategy will pull targeted traffic to your e-commerce website. As a result, you’ll get more leads, boost your conversion rate, grow your social media accounts and increase your sales.
Some of the main types that you can use to attract visitors to your e-commerce site are:
- Infographics – A visual representation of information about product usage to help the users understand the product easily.
- Memes – Especially popular with millennials and younger generations. Videos and images with humorous content can yield a lot of engagement for your social media accounts.
- Blog Posts – No content strategy is complete without blog posts and articles. It’s extremely useful to describe a product and its different uses for consumers. Blogs also allow you to offer advice and connect with your audience.
- Videos – A video of your product and how to use it can keep users on your website longer. Video content is an attractive and pleasant way to convey your business message to your visitors.
- Product Reviews – It’s extremely important for potential buyers to know what previous buyers think of your products. If past customers left a positive review, expect that to motivate more visitors to convert.
- Email Newsletters – You can send emails to subscribers that tell them about new products, product packages, discounts and events that will encourage them to buy from your website.
2. Exit Intent Popups
Let’s assume that users already browse through your online store and put some products in their cart. But, for some reason, the users click the ‘X’ on their browser tab and leave your page without buying anything. To prevent this from happening, you might want to use exit-intent popups.
An Exit Intent Popup is a popup that is triggered to appear right before the users leave the site. This works by trailing the mouse position and velocity of movements. When the user makes a movement towards the top of the screen to close the browser tab, the popup window will be displayed.
The Exit Intent Popup is a cost-effective lead generation solution that doesn’t impede the customer’s experience while he/she browses product pages. It allows the users freedom and reminds them that there is more if they decide to leave your website.
The best ways to use Exit Intent Popup to generate leads for your online store are:
- Offer Something Different – Consumers left your e-store for a reason. Perhaps they didn’t like what you offered them. So, it doesn’t make any sense to show them the same products in your popup. You can offer discounts, coupons, a package of more related products or something unique that they didn’t know about before.
- Build Your Email List – You can use Exit Intent Popups to collect users’ email addresses. By leaving their email, they’re subscribing to receive amazing product offers. With this, you’ll get them back to your site and convert them into customers.
- Recommend Other Products – Help the consumers find the right product and increase your online sales. When they want to leave, ask them to check out your best-selling product or the latest product in a given category.
3. Email Marketing
Most people that visit your e-commerce website are new users that may never come back. However, you can do something that will bring these users back by building an email subscribers list that will help you gain and maintain traffic on the website that you’ve worked hard to achieve.
You can use email marketing to drive recurring traffic by giving users a motive to return with discounts, useful content, brand new products, etc.
Growing Your Email List
In order to grow your email list, you have to make the subscription process effortless for the users. To do this successfully, you’ll need a well thought out opt-in form on your website. The best places to use opt-in forms on your e-commerce site are:
- Your sidebar
- In your About page
- Inside your blog posts
- Your website footer
- The Checkout page
To grow your email list, you’ll need the right mixture of opt-in forms and quality content. Growing your email list requires 3 important steps:
- The Right Incentive – This is the first step towards building an email list. You’ll have to offer something to users if you want them to give their email addresses to you. This can be an exclusive deal or discount, a contest, or, you can offer them free content – something that users can absorb and use promptly.
- A Landing Page – Once you’ve decided on your lead magnets, it’s time to create the landing page. This will be a page that is entirely concentrated on getting people to leave their email address. The page should contain a convincing headline, customer testimonials, content about your incentive, the benefits of joining your email list and the opt-in form.
- Bringing Traffic – To make people subscribe, you’ll have to bring them to your landing page. The most cost-effective ways to bring traffic to your landing pages are social media engagement, email marketing, and CTAs in your blog posts.
Segmenting Your List
Every subscriber from your email list is not always the right customer for you. If you sell products from different groups, it’s very likely that you have subscribers with different interests. For this reason, you’ll have to segment your email list based on criteria such as:
- Types of Customers – You can have different buyers for your online store, including potential buyers, new buyers, loyal customers and visitors that don’t buy often.
- Interests – By not sending emails with the product to people that are not interested in them, you’ll increase your open & click-through rates and diminish the unsubscribe rate too.
- Location and Behavior – You need to segment your list for customers that bought the product in-store (if you have one) and online. With this, you can inform the buyers that live near the store that a certain product is available only there, and avoid sending that note to people that can’t reach the store.
Email marketing can be a powerful source of leads for every e-commerce business. Build your email list so that it will continue to drive new and repeated traffic to your e-commerce site. With email marketing, there are no limitations to the segmentation and communication process. So, start growing your email list and providing value to visitors so you can convert them into customers.
It is imperative to generate more organic traffic for your online from search engines like Google, Bing or Yahoo. When you search a particular product on Google, you’ll be taken to a SERP that includes organic results:
Your SEO strategy should be about your e-commerce appearing in the organic search results. The better your page ranks on Google, the more traffic. To step up the SEO game for your e-commerce business, do the following:
- Find Relevant Keywords – Identify the search phrases that your customers use on Google. Focus on the product instead of product usage tips. For instance, if people want to buy a blue sports jacket, they won’t search for “How to wear a blue sports jacket.” Instead, they’ll search for “Blue Sports Jacket.” You can also use Google and Amazon suggest to find the relevant keywords that consumers search for.
- Choosing the Right Keywords – Your focus needs to be on the keywords that matter the most. You must pick keywords that have a high search volume and the lowest competition. The lower the competition for the keyword, the better your chances to be ranked on the first Google results page.
- Improve Website Structure – The organization of your pages can influence your search rankings and the UX of the e-commerce site. The easier it is for users to find a particular product, the better for them and for your rankings. Every page from your online store must be a click away.
After you’re done with your keywords and website structure, you’ll need to work on the rest of your website. When you optimize your site, think Google first. If you want to convince more people that you’re the most relevant search result, you have to convince Google first.
Former MOZ co-founder, Rand Fishkin, points out to the following best URL structuring practices for a better search ranking:
- A URL needs to be easy to digest for humans and for Google.
- Keyword usage in URL matters for better search results.
- A shorter URL is better than a longer one.
- The URL and the page title should be the same, or as close as possible.
- Stop words like “and”, “of” & “the” should not be overused in an URL.
- Don’t use keyword stuffing.
As a search engine, Google uses content to determine the keywords that you want to rank for. With a short product description, you don’t give Google too much material to work with, and that can result in a low search ranking.
That’s why longer product descriptions will work better for your e-commerce lead generation strategy. They’ll help you rank higher and bring more traffic to your product pages.
If you have a wide range of products, you can use a longer description for the most important products. The more relevant words, the more accurate the ranking on Google.
5. Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a useful and valuable offer that entices customers and motivates them to leave their contact information such as email, phone number or social media account info. This information can later be used to create an ongoing relationship with the users.
The best types of lead magnets that you can incorporate into your e-commerce site are:
- Coupons – With coupons, you’ll be giving discounts for different products. The best thing about coupons is that visitors see an immediate value and calculate how much money they’re going to save. People don’t ignore coupons and tend to use every discount that they can get.
- Free Shipping – This is another variation of discount. Free shipping can convert a lot of potential leads to loyal customers because shipping costs are money that buyers would rather keep in their pockets. To not overspend on shipping costs yourself, make sure to set a minimum spending amount that customers must reach before offering them free shipping.
- Buying Guides – Help consumers to narrow down their choice by offering them a product buying guide. A buying guide will provide them with tips for finding the product that is most affordable and best suited to them. When encountering a buying guide, consumers know that that would make the job of buying easier for them, so, they leave their email address as a result.
- Free Samples – Everyone wants a free sample. Even when the buyers are in a physical store, they’ll want to try out the product first before they buy it. If you can, offer a free sample of your product. This is particularly important if you’re brand new to the marketplace and you want to create awareness.
6. Landing Pages
E-commerce landing pages can play a crucial role in bringing traffic to your site and generating more leads. That’s why your website’s landing page experience should be as pleasant and as effortless as possible for users.
A well-designed landing page will promote more leads, more conversions, more sales and ultimately, more profit. Here are 4 tips that can help you optimize landing pages to drive more conversions to your online store:
- Create Captivating Headlines – The headline is one of the first things that a visitor will see. The typography should be big, bold and easy to read. If you need help to find the right headline, you can use CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer or Buffer’s Headline Formulas.
- Use Only Eye-Catching Imagery – A captivating headline must go with an attractive image. This can emotionally affect your target customer and make them take an action towards subscribing to your newsletter or taking that discount coupon. An image does replace a thousand words.
- Use White Space – Make sure that you leave enough white (negative) space between copy, opt-in forms, and imagery. This will help you build page hierarchy and bring the attention of customers towards certain elements on the page.
- Be Concise – Don’t overload the consumer with excessive information. If you need to address something about the product, use bullet points in the form of icons with a concise text. With this, everything that you wanted the customer to know will become easier to read and scannable.
7. Live Chat
In e-commerce, just like in every other online business, it’s crucial to convert visitors into customers. If you have a physical store, it is a lot easier to turn people into buyers by greeting them at the door, offering them expert advice on a particular product, tips on style, etc.
But in the online world, it’s a lot harder to provide customers with a personal touch. One way to make their online experience more personal is to use live chat software to deliver timely communication with website visitors.
To effectively use a live chat for your online store, first, you’ll have to discover the hours/time of day that brings the most traffic to your website. You’ll have to experiment with the chatting times and frequency.
Also, you must take note of the chats. See what visitors are asking. Do they want to learn more about the product, or something different? Whatever it might be, you should keep track of the chats to find out what your customers expect or need.
The most cost-effective ways to use live chat to convert more leads into customers are:
- Chat Greetings – Imagine if you want to buy a kitchen appliance. You enter the store, but you don’t know if you should buy toaster A or toaster B. But luckily for you, the website manager observed your behavior closely via live chat software and pinged you to see if you needed any help. You can also set up automatic greetings that can ask the visitor if he/she needs help after 5-10 minutes of browsing the website.
- Customer Service – Personalization is one of the most powerful lead generation weapons. It’s really easy to add personalization when you use live chat. Most of the live chat solutions will show the email address, location of the visitor, the pages that he/she visited before and the length of visits. You can use this information to offer customers help when choosing a product.
8. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a powerful and cost-effective lead generation tactic. It helps you build brand awareness as well as generate and convert more leads for your online store. Here are the 3 major benefits of content marketing for online stores:
- Lead Generation – An effective content marketing strategy can help you generate more leads and turn them into customers. Using content marketing, you can provide useful information on your blog, social media accounts, and even on your product pages.
- Educate Customers – You can use content to educate potential customers about the advantages of buying your products and product features. You can create how-to videos, guides, product care guides, product comparisons, etc.
- Building Relationships – Quality and useful content strengthen the customer experience. This is vital if you want to build a relationship with potential customers.
To make content marketing more effective, do the following:
- Utilize User-Generated Content as Social Proof – Reviews and customer testimonials act as social proof for other customers. This can help you convince other buyers to buy. You can also ask customers to take a picture of the product that they bought and post it on social media.
- Use Product Videos – Show your best products in action with a video. You can create demos or explanatory videos. When they see the video, buyers will recognize the product benefits. You can include how-to videos on your product pages, landing pages and in your social media posts.
- Create Visual Content for Social Media – Visual content is the most engaging form of content on social media. Eye-catching visuals are essential if you want to capture the attention of potential customers online. You can post photos or graphics that promote new products and showcase the products in action or short videos that can engage your followers.
So far, you’ve probably realized that lead generation for an e-commerce business is different than other business models out there. To receive the email address from a potential buyer means that you’re only a couple of steps away from turning him/her into a customer.
Alter the tactics mentioned above to capitalize on that short sales cycle. You can offer deals at any stage of the buyer’s journey, such as when a visitor first arrives on your website or when he/she wants to abandon the shopping cart. More targeted deals can lead to more sales, customer loyalty, acquisition, and conversions.
Remember that lead generation for e-commerce requires work, dedication, and focus. Use the tips provided in the article, not just because they’re cost-effective, but, because you can grow your business and increase the number of customers. Lead generation is an investment, so it is extremely important to be persistent and to concentrate on your efforts if you want to continue to generate more leads for your online store.