Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

10 Ways to Get More Customers for Your Online Store

In this post we’re going to look at some tactics. Everyone running an online store should form a long-term strategy for growth and it’s important to recognize the difference between strategy and tactics. You should define objectives, strategy and tactics in that order – for example, say I run a store for pet clothes:

  • Objective: Reach 1000 pet owners in the database
  • Strategy: Doggy Got Style!
  • Tactics: Summer Doggy Swimsuit Sale, Stylish Dogs of Instagram series of blog posts, World’s Most Stylish Dogs weekly newsletter, nominate-your-dog Stylish Dog Award (with prize), Dress-Your-Dog mobile app.

Tactics are actions you take to execute a strategy. But what are some common tactics you can use as part of a “big picture” strategy? Here’s 10 tactics on getting more customers for your online store.

Hold a Sale
Discounting is not a long-term strategy but it can be highly effective in driving new customers to your store. Figure out your customer acquisition cost and from that, how much of a discount (on a limited amount of quantity/product) you can afford to offer in order to acquire new customers – then announce to the world via Twitter and your blog! Just be careful of attracting deal-hunters, since these customers may not be of long-term value to your business.

Run a Competition
Competitions can be a fun way to spread the word about your store but remember to keep the competition purposeful to your brand. Don’t run a “cute pets” competition if you’re selling womens lingerie! You can extract maximum exposure from competitions by building in a voting mechanic – in order to win or be shortlisted, participants have to get their friends to vote.

Give Free Samples
The more you can do to lower the barrier for a customer to experience your products, the better. This might not make economic sense depending on your product, but it’s worth trying if the cost to offer a free sample is low.

Partner Up
Partnering with a non-competitive but audience-complementary partner can be a highly effective way of acquiring new customers. This can be something as simple as a traffic exchange – partnering with a highly-trafficked site in your customer’s domain, putting up a banner to drive traffic to your shop, and paying the partner either a cut of the cart revenue or a flat fee for every customer acquired via the partner banner.

Write Targeted Blog Content
It’s no quick-fix, but writing authoritative, interesting content in your online shop’s contextual domain will pay huge dividends over the long term. Targeted content will help boost your site’s SEO bringing in new customers organically, and will also encourage your existing visitors to share your content more. Every online shop should have blog content as part of its marketing strategy!

Offer a New Product / Service
It sounds obvious, but a super effective way to capture a whole new customer segment is to offer a whole new product or service! This doesn’t even need to be complicated, it could simply be a repositioning, repackaging or even repricing of an existing product. On that last point, here’s one of my favourite examples of casual price discrimination

Advertise
It’s one of the most basic forms of driving people to a product or service, but don’t forget about it! Experiment with Google Ads since you can fine-tune your targeting and choose how much you want to spend.

Participate in Social Media
In the age of social media, effective marketing is not just about getting people to come to you – it’s about participating in the channels that your customers are participating in whether that’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any of the other dozens of popular services. Pick the channels that are right for your business and participate authentically – remember that social media is not there to simply drive people to your store, it’s also there to help you create stories about your business that people can share with others.

Incentivise First Purchase
Sweeten the deal for first-time purchasers and you’ll increase the amount of conversion from visitor to customer. Some online stores offer a small discount for first time purchases, the key is to make it tangible and obvious what the customer will get if they purchase right now.

Referrals
The best and arguably most valuable method of customer acquisition is when existing customers refer a friend. When this method works really well, all the marketing is done by your existing customers meaning you can focus on running your online store instead of spending time bringing people to it. Referrals can happen organically via Word of Mouth marketing (focus on great products, great prices and excellent customer service – these alone will get you very far) but you can also implement a referral marketing program.

The simplest way to do this if you’re already running an online store is with referral marketing software – this will help to automate the process by which existing customers are encouraged and rewarded to tell their friends about your online store. ReferralCandy is a fully-automated, plug and play solution for referral marketing and at the time of writing works seamlessly with over 16 different e-commerce platforms including Amazon, Bigcommerce, Etsy, Magento, Shopify and Volusion.

Jon Yongfook

4 comments

  • thank you for the information. I am very interested in doing the blogging for our website and FaceBook page, I’m just not sure how to do this. I can research no problem. I’m in touch with what is going on with the relevant auctions and auction houses and my husband is an expert and full of knowledge, among other things…

    Putting things into words. This is my issue. How does anyone start blogging? I realize not all bloggers have a masters in English or Journalism, right?

    I am looking forward to downloading the app.

    thanks,
    Denise

  • If you’re not a household name, you can improve your site’s “trustworthiness” by having a clean and professional design (yes, first impressions count). Security badges, store ratings and a mailing address on your contact page can also help.

    You must also avoid things that scare off your customers like expired SSL certificate warning messages (even the largest sites can fall victim to this).

  • I think we really tend to forget this sometimes “Listen to your customers. Ask questions. Then tailor your products and services to what they really need.”.