It’s all too familiar a story. You’ve created a beautiful online store and you’re carrying products that you know people will love but the only problem is, no one is coming to your store. Why is that? There could be several reasons but one of them is probably because you’re not doing a good enough job of actively driving visitors to your site. Today, I will tell you 6 practical and proven methods, that you can use, to drive traffic to your online store.

Tip 1: Send free samples to Instagram influencers

Instagram is quickly becoming one of the most effective marketing channels for ecommerce merchants. In fact, a recent study found that Instagram provides brands with 25% more engagement than any other social platform. Additionally, using instagram is a great way to drive traffic and awareness to your store – especially if you know how to target influencers. So, how do you do that? Well, a great place to start is by using the free online program Websta. Let’s say we want to start a business selling hair products online. We’ll do a quick search for “hairstylist”. As you can see we’re able to pull the following list of popular related hashtags as well as users who have the word “hairstylist” in their usernames or bios. The idea here is to search through the results and try to uncover accounts with large followings – try to aim for accounts with 20 000+ followers. Take a look at their profile pages, paying special attention to ones that include an email address. This will typically indicate that they are open to product placements, partnerships and advertising opportunities. Additionally, if a web address is included, you can easily navigate to their site and look for a contact page to find an email or mailing address. Keep in mind not every Instagram user with a lot of followers is willing to feature products from users. Take a look at their past activity to see if it’s something they’re regularly doing and if it is don’t hesitate to reach out and see if they might be willing to accept samples.

Tip 2: Reach out to Bloggers and Press

A great way to drive traffic to your store is by getting featured on a blog or mentioned in the press. Now, you don’t have to target the biggest and most successful people. In fact, your chances of getting featured are better if you aim for people with small to medium audiences, because they’re not constantly bombarded with pitches. Keep in mind that the loyalty of the audience matters almost as much as size. To find bloggers and influencers in your industry, simply head over to Google. As an example, we searched “Hairstyle Blog” and as you can see there are several blogs dedicated to hairstyle. Take your time looking through the results to see which blogs post regularly on hair products and feature product reviews. Another great place to look for influential bloggers is on youtube. Try searching for different keywords like “hair advice”, “hair tips” and “hair care”. Then see whether the makers of these videos are regularly posting hair product features or reviews. Just like with Instagram, you should reach out to see if they are willing to accept a sample of your product. Another tried and true method for getting traffic is landing your business in the press. A good starting point is to target local news sites, community papers and smaller publications specific to your industry. Pay particular attention to journalists that have written about products similar to yours or your competitors in the past. A great online tool you can use to find local journalists or writers who cover your area of interest is followerwonk. Followerwonk allows your to search for keywords in people’s twitter profiles. Let’s say we’re trying to find a local journalist in Toronto, we could do a quick search for “Toronto Journalist” and look through the results. You can also narrow your results by adding keywords specific to your industry. Often times, you can find their email right in their twitter bio, so you can easily send them an email. We suggest that you keep your email short and compelling, and focus on telling a unique story. Highlight what makes you different and position yourself as a local success story.

Tip 3: Post your store on Reddit

The whole internet hangs out on reddit and in addition to its front page which aggregates the most popular content on the web, it also has thousands of category specific subreddits. In fact, you can find a subreddit on nearly any subject. To find relevant subreddits, use reddit’s search feature and type in your keywords of choice. Let’s stick with the hair products scenario and do a quick search for “hair advice”. As you can see a number of different subreddits can be found from search. As we said, there are a lot of niche subreddits out there. Once you’ve located a subreddit or two specific to your industry, look for ways to contribute content without coming off as spammy or salesy. That might mean submitting a blog post you just wrote or a link to a video tutorial you’ve just created. In other words, try and give and not just take and the community will be much more accepting. Also, it’s important to note that each subreddit has specific rules and are displayed in the sidebar on the right . Some subreddits don’t allow promotional material – so posting what’s basically an ad for your store is not allowed.

Tip 4: Get friends and family to share

Are you at the age yet when all of your Facebook friends are posting pictures of their babies? Isn’t it annoying? Many people are sick of looking at baby photos, but you can probably get away with sharing your online store. People don’t launch businesses too frequently, so it’ll probably be quite unique within your circle of friends. We suggest you reach out to your friends and family in a targeted way with personalized messages. Don’t focus on getting them to buy your products but instead ask them to share your store with their networks. You’ll have a higher success rate than reaching out to strangers, and if enough of them share, you might get some sufficient momentum. Additionally, you can talk about your store in a status update, but try not to post too frequently to avoid irritating your friends. A good rule of thumb is update your personal page only once a day with a business related post.

Tip 5: Pro-Actively Engaging on Twitter

A great way to get on people’s radars is by actively engaging with them on twitter. Here’s what you can do: First, you can generate some follow-backs by following select people on twitter whom you determine may be interested in your store. To do this, we’ll head back to Followerwonk. Simply log in through your twitter account, and search for relevant keywords in people’s twitter bios and profiles. You can then follow the users who you believe would be interested in your store. Additionally, you may want to try searching twitter for keywords related to your product offerings and then look for chances to help people or add value in a way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch. Remember to remind your followers every so often about your product offerings, and you’ll be well on your way to building an audience of interested people who will be curious to check out your store.

Tip 6: Write a Blog Post

Our final suggested tactic for getting traffic goes back to reaching out and connecting to people with audiences – bloggers in particular. But instead of targeting them by sending a sample of your product, – you do it by writing a blog post about them, and sending it to them in an email or on twitter. You’re going to be looking for the influencers in your industry anyway. So write up the top people you find and turn that into an easy blog post featuring the most popular instagram users, bloggers, vloggers and twitter accounts. For example, You could write a top 10 list of the most important hairstyle bloggers you should be following or top 15 twitter accounts you should be following to discover new hairstyles. In the blog post, list them and come up with a short blurb describing what they’re all about. Next, tweet the post to them or send them an email . Try not to be too obvious that you’re just trying to get their attention. As long as your post is thoughtful, they’ll be flattered and if they send it out to their network, all the better.

Try putting these 6 traffic driving methods into practice with your business and be sure to keep us posted with your progress. If you’re looking for more information on starting and running your own business, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter

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