Low-Cost Marketing Tips to Drive Traffic to Your E-Commerce Store


Samantha Mehra

August 27, 2020

Getting your e-commerce store set up is one thing, but getting more eyes on it is another.

For new budget-conscious business owners on the block, spreading the word about products or services to a target audience ultimately increases sales and improves customer retention (and ups those average order values, too).

But many new small- to medium-sized businesses are often taxed for time and may not have the resources in place to build a large marketing branch for their brand.

Luckily there exist some basic marketing tools and tactics that can help drive awareness, and fast. Let’s look at some basic marketing tactics that can aid in boosting brand awareness and traffic to your burgeoning e-commerce business (with tips from the experts!).

Get effective with a consistent email marketing strategy.

For new online businesses, customer email-gathering is key. Being able to promote yourselves to a consistent audience via a personalized e-mail address is a good starting point for building loyalty and encouraging conversions.

To begin building your subscription list, make sure you’ve set up a ‘subscribe’ CTA button on your website that links to an e-marketing platform (a user-friendly solution like, say, MailChimp) so you can easily gather the contact information of consumers who want to hear about you and your exciting company news in future.

Once established, be consistent with the timing, language, and focus of your emails so your subscription list learns more about you and your messages (and the deals and offers that interest your growing fan base!). Tip: A content calendar with a reasonable work-back schedule will help you stay on time and on target.

What are the benefits of an email list as a marketing tool? Plenty. Beth Caulfeild Dean, a Senior Marketing Manager with Avison Young in Toronto, notes the plusses of implementing a successful e-marketing strategy to keep customers coming back.

“Email marketing is a terrific gateway to reach both a targeted and diverse range of contacts. Not only does it provide the highest customer acquisition and retention rates, it allows for a personal and customizable conversation with your contacts that is measurable,” she says. “To ensure your emails are as effective as possible, focus on who you are targeting and what action you want them to take. Create a plan to ensure consistent communication, keeping in focus your desired outcomes, and don’t be afraid to adjust your approach as you start to measure results.”

The key to web traffic? Keywords.

Every paid ad, blog article, landing page, social post, or product page related to your business is an online jewel waiting to be discovered by your future customers. Because we live in a query-based online search culture, leveraging keywords to help you get found is vital.

And it doesn't have to be difficult: there exist tools that aid in selecting appropriate, effective keywords that help you compete in a crowded marketplace. Using Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, or other providers, you can build lists of competitive simple and long-tail keywords (the latter of which help you compete even better), and point you to examples of web pages that are ranking high in search engine results (as well as those working wonders for your competitors).

Once you have your handy keyword laundry list built, make sure to sprinkle them strategically in headlines, subheadlines, section headers, and metadata - the richer the better.

Tip: Setting up a brand-adjacent blog and with keyword-rich supporting pages, and syndicating on other high-traffic websites can help boost your ranking and provide more opportunities to get down and dirty with keywords and their variations.

Get the conversation going with social media.

Having a consistent social media program in place is a no-brainer for today’s retail business. No need to employ all of them: Choose the ones that your target audience uses the most, and ones that best suit your product or service.

Alison Garwood-Jones, a digital strategist, artist, and small business-owner (Pen Jar Productions) seasoned in using social media to market her work, shares two best practices that drive awareness for the illustration arm of her business:

Her first suggestion is to think local. “Use hashtags and keywords that help folks in your area find you. For me, the #TorontoIllustrators hashtag has garnered more leads and gigs than any other I have tried,” Garwood-Jones says. “I know because I've asked flat out, "How did you find me?" And they all say, "I Googled 'Toronto Illustrators'." I also use this hashtag on Instagram, and it has led to gigs.”

Your second best bet? Go niche. “Small businesses should opt for long tail keyword phrases if they want to be found and hired for their specific skills. After I got my first gig as a conference Sharpie Artist in 2015, I learned that people were referring to this job as "graphic visualizer" or "graphic facilitator," two phrases I'd never heard.

Keeping in mind that SEO plays a part in social media, Garwood-Jones has some quick tips to boost this element of your game. “I quickly incorporated these keywords into my SEO for blog posts and videos that showcased my work at conferences. Then I used to find out which social platforms were generating the engagement and links related to these two keyword phrases. In my case, it was LinkedIn. So, of course, I added Graphic Visualizer to my Experience and then my Skills sections of LinkedIn.”

Don’t ignore timely issues like COVID. Allow them to guide your messaging.

No matter the channel, keeping your audience top of mind is always the main tactic when marketing – but it matters even more right now, especially as your audiences have changed, (and whether or not you are catering to a B2B or B2C crowd).

Customers have experienced challenges on professional and personal levels – whether this is job loss, incurred debt, general anxiety about the goings on in the world, increased scrutiny on spending, and more. For businesses, many have the monumental challenge of surviving social distancing, having to lay off or furlough employees, cut spending, and manage frustrated customers – they also may have to find ways to move into the e-commerce space.

The point: Right now, there is a seismic shift in your audiences challenges, needs, and pain points. Because your audience is the most important part of your marketing messaging, this is a time when you can be very helpful to your audience.

Some tactics to consider:

  • Keep your audience’s most pressing needs and ethics in mind: Constant daily research into the news of the day will be an important aspect of your marketing journey: Never write blindly.
  • Make a list of the reasons that your product or service especially helpful right now.
  • Avoid talking about yourself too much - focus on the audience and their pressing needs.

The most important part of your messaging right now, whatever the channel, is to help your current and potential customers out. Use this time to promote legitimate incentives and risk reversals that benefit your audience: Rebates, discounts, free services, and other beneficial (and truthful) opportunities that can serve to support today’s online shopper.

Want more marketing tips and industry intel to boost your brand? Subscribe to the Talking Shop blog below and get them delivered right to your inbox.

This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not an exhaustive review of this topic. The content is not financial or investment advice. No professional relationship of any kind is formed between you and PayBright. While we have obtained or compiled this information from sources we believe to be reliable, we cannot and do not guarantee its accuracy. We recommend that you consult your personal finance professional before taking any action related to this information. PayBright is a provider of Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) solutions. BNPL providers offer plans with a variety of terms and conditions, including interest rates, fees, and penalties, and have different standards for qualifying for loans. Laws and regulations governing BNPL providers vary by jurisdiction. We recommend that you compare and contrast plans, read the fine print, and conduct detailed research into any BNPL provider before using their services.

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Samantha Mehra

Senior Content Manager

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