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7 traffic generation methods for your e-commerce site

November 06, 2013 CK Wong Category : , , , , , ,

Web traffic is important for your e-commerce website

We have attended Asia E-Commerce Conference recently as media partner and posted some live updates via our Facebook page including this one on traffic generation methods by Marcelo Wesseler from Singapore Post Ltd. Our audience on Facebook wanted to know more about this, hence we are going to elaborate a little bit more on this topic.

Methods of driving traffic to website varies depending on the nature and objective of the website. For example, the goal of e-commerce website (conversion: place order) is different from say, a content website (conversion: subscription). E-commerce websites can leverage on affiliates while content website like blogs rely on link building, and so on.

Here of course, we are going to focus on the objective, execution and measurement of traffic generation methods for your e-commerce website.

Related article: 25 ways to increase your online sales

What are your marketing objectives?

Before you start, you need to understand what is your marketing objective before diving into specific marketing channel. For e-commerce business, there are basically 4 distinctive marketing objectives:

  1. Brand awareness: Especially if you are new in the market and your objective is to get people to recognize your brand.
  2. Lead generation: In general, getting new traffic or potential customers visiting your e-commerce website.
  3. Conversion: Converting the leads, visitors to place order in your e-commerce website and become your customer.
  4. Retention: Getting your existing customers to make repeat purchase in your website and hopefully becoming your loyal customers.

Once you have figured out your objectives, start working on the marketing channels that bring the best result to your business, as conditioned in the table below:

Main objective of each marketing channels

Do take note that the table above shows the strength of each channel, it doesn't mean that PPC wouldn't help at all for branding, or Facebook couldn't be used for retention.

Next up, how to work on each marketing channels and measure the performance?

PPC (Pay per Click)

PPC is also known as paid search, or search engine marketing. Generally, it means Google AdWords as Google is dominating search engine market share in many countries.

PPC is especially effective with planned purchase or product that requires research, for example gadgets. For SMBs, you can start with small budget, work on long tail keywords and optimize for conversions.

Key KPIs: Cost per Click (CPC), Click-through Rate (CTR), Conversion Rate (CVR)

SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

For a start, make sure your e-commerce website is search engine optimized, if you are not sure, try using a SEO site checkup tool to get an overview picture.

You can then get some ideas from our previous article on 11 practical link building ideas for e-commerce stores to build up your SEO.

On a slightly more advanced level, identify the opportunities by using a SEO management tool to further improve your SEO and execute PPC campaigns.

Key KPIs: Average Search Ranking (in SERP), Conversion Rate


Do bear in mind that the click-throughs for display banner ads are generally very low at 0.1% in average. Yes, that is 1 out of 1,000 of users that see your banner ads will click on your banner ad.

Well, at least you can gauge on the impressions served by the display ads hopefully people will start recognizing your brand.

It could be more effective with retargeting banners as they are only being served to the users that visited your website before, so at least they know who you are.

Key KPIs: Impressions (for brand reach), Assisted Conversions, Conversion Rate (especially for retargeting) 


This needs no introduction as many already have some basic understandings on how to execute Facebook marketing and advertising campaign.

Something that might be new to many is you can also perform retargeting (similar with display banner ads above) on Facebook via FBX.

We think that it is no longer effective if you just focus on growing your Facebook fans, whereas it is more important for you to reach your fans and optimize the conversion rate via Promoted Page Post.

Key KPIs: Impressions (for brand reach), Click-through Rate, Conversion Rate

Email / CRM

Email is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools to drive conversions, since your leads or customers already know you beforehand.

The challenge is how to make them come back for more? What is your email open rate? The average email open rate for e-commerce industry is 22.2% (click rate at 2.9%) so are you better or worse off?

Key KPIs: Open Rate, Click-through Rate, Conversion Rate


We are not talking about setting up your own affiliate program here and recruit affiliates.

Instead, you can join an existing affiliate program (as an advertiser) who is strong in your local market with good pool of publishers. It can potentially bring you loads of traffic so it's good for you to work on specific landing pages for better conversions.

Key KPIs: Conversion Rate, Cost per Conversion


Offline marketing campaigns can be print media, outdoor media, broadcast media, direct mail, co-marketing with partners and so on.

Many marketers would claim that it is for "branding campaign" and non-measurable. In fact, you can measure it! For example, you can send potential visitors to a special landing page, or apply URL tagging, or at least measure the spike of your traffic on that given day to estimate the reach size.

Key KPIs: Spike in Lead (new visitors), Assisted Conversion


What say you?