Creating a high-traffic e-commerce strategy is like diversifying an investiment portfolio. You must try to attract customers from a number of different online angles.
Here are some relatively simple and inexpensive ways you can increase online traffic to your e-commerce business and capture more customers -- and more profits!
1. Use Relevant Keywords in Website Content
Search engines account for approximately 35 percent of referral traffic to e-commerce websites. Think of 3 to 5 words that customers use to search for your product. Keywords often include the product category, brand name, and model. Make sure that these keywords appear in your product description and your meta tags to raise your search ranking and increase search engine referral traffic.
MBS Tip: MBS Systems inSite makes it easy to add keywords to your website. Talk with your Client Representative to learn more!
2. Start a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) Campaign
Advertise your business on major search engines and social networks. Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Facebook all offer pay-per-click programs that display your ad to potentially interested users. Google Adwords is the largest pay-per-click network, so start there.
3. Create Interesting, Educational Website Content
In addition to Web content that promotes your product or service, create educational articles that provide real value to readers, even if there is no immediate connection to driving a sale. This online strategy can be used for almost any business. For example, if you are in the mortgage business, consider creating a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page that answers common mortgage questions. If you own a landscaping business, provide a few useful tips for lawn care and maintenance.
Educational content creates goodwill with potential customers, and it is likely to be linked to by other websites, which will help your overall online presence. Be sure to include your keywords in the title and body of the text.
MBS Tip: We offer lots of free educational resources you can distribute to students. For instance, check out the flyers we created regarding buying and selling textbooks in our June Marketing Plan! Simply click each image to download.
4. Enable Customer Reviews
Consider dedicating a portion of each product page to user-generated reviews. Allowing customers to interact with the site means it is updated more often and listed higher on organic searches. To optimize your reviews for Google, make sure your programming does not put reviews in iFrame HTML coding, as Google cannot index that information.
MBS Tip: MBS Systems inSite allows you to easily integrate this feature into your website. Talk with your Client Representative to learn more!
5. Write a Blog
Ask company managers to write about industry topics, new products, and their expertise. A good blog will create referral traffic when the link is posted on social media or other blogging sites. Make sure to include a comments field to promote user-generated content.
MBS Tip: Take a look at how other college stores are using their blogs to communicate with customers to spark ideas for your own site. Some great examples include Tiger Bookstore, University Bookstore, Wildcat Store, University Store, OTC Bookstore and The Skidmore Shop.
6. Rewrite Product Descriptions
E-commerce sites that sell products should write creative product descriptions. Do not use generic, cookie-cutter copy. If possible, every product should have a description that is unique, creative, and engaging. Search engines pick up new, original content and rank it higher on search results. Well-written product descriptions set you apart from your online competition.
7. Use Pinterest
Pinterest is among the top five social media sites for retailers. An e-commerce business can start an account and develop bulletin-style boards that post links to their own products and images or to articles that promote the company's brand image. Pinterest drives traffic directly from the site and is ranked highly on search engines.
MBS Tip: Not sure what to share on Pinterest? Follow us for easy repin ideas!
8. Create an App
Investing in the development of an iPhone, iPad, and Android app increases traffic by making your site accessible when customers are away from home. The technology company Conductor reported that e-commerce business from mobile phones increased 300 percent between 2009 and 2010. Your customers can create an account and buy products whenever they have a few minutes to shop.
MBS Tip: Put your store in the palm of students' hands with our On The Go app. Watch a demo then talk to your MBS Representative for more information.
9. Optimize Your Images
Image searches are more popular than ever. Optimize each image that you put on your website. Name it with 2 to 3 keywords, place it in a keyword-rich product description, and include descriptive alt text, a kind of description that was developed for the visually impaired.
For a thorough explanation of how to do this, read How to Optimize Website Images for SEO.
10. Make Product Videos
Create informative videos of your products and post them to your site and a YouTube channel. E-commerce sites like Zappos.com have garnered high traffic with this practice. YouTube is owned by Google, so these videos rank highly on video searches.
For more on this topic, read our informative four-part series on video basics for your website, starting with Part 1 Web Video: The Pros and Cons for Your Business.
What other strategies do you use to drive traffic to your site? Share your tips and tricks in the comments section below!