How to attract new customers for your ecommerce business

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Tactics to help you streamline and grow your business.

While it certainly pays big dividends to focus on retaining your customer base and increase brand loyalty, attracting new customers is a key part of developing your business.

But how exactly are you supposed to find new customers? What eCommerce marketing strategies should you implement? Is it easy to grow your customer base?

In this article, we examine eight ways to attract new customers for your online store, so that you can continue to increase your sales and grow your business.

1. Develop buyer personas on real data to reach new customers

In order to attract new customers, you need to know precisely who you’re targeting.

Buyer personas can provide enormous value and insight for your retail business.

Not only are you better able to tailor content and marketing strategies, but they help your team develop a much deeper understanding of customer needs and how to solve them.

Buyer personas help you to attract the customers that you are seeking – those prospects that are more likely to convert and will benefit the most from your products.

So, what exactly goes into a buyer persona?

  • Standard demographics
  • Needs
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Traits or qualities that trigger purchasing or interest
  • Empathy maps

All of these elements can help you to streamline and strengthen your ecommerce marketing strategies, making them much more targeted and personalized.

Standard demographics are factors such as age, gender, location and job title.

Customer needs are what shoppers want, need or expect in the products that they are looking for. For example, someone who reads science fiction at home is going to have different needs to someone who reads romance novels on the go.

Pain points are the problems or issues that your target demographic is experiencing prior to purchasing your products. They are headaches and frustrations that need fixing. 

Goals are what your customers would like to achieve as a result of purchasing your product. If you sell art supplies, perhaps the goal is to paint a picture to give to a friend or to support an independent artist’s business.

Empathy maps really help get into the mindset of your target demographic. They cover what they see, think, feel and do prior to completing a purchase with your business.

As a result of covering all this data, you’ll be much better equipped to deliver superior marketing campaigns that lead to customer acquisition and increase your sales.

You’ll want to create three to five buyer personas, depending on the size of your business and the products you sell – big enough to cover the majority of your customers but small enough to remain specific and granular.

How do you gather customer data?

  • Market research (firsthand conversations, interviews, groups, online surveys)
  • Demographic data from Google Analytics
  • Demographic data from social media analytics
  • Generalized trends extracted from your customer databases
  • Third-party market research and demographic data

Ultimately, the most effective way to gather real and actionable data is through face-to-face interviews with a percentage of your customers.

Of course, this is difficult for most online retailers due to the lack of contact you have with your customer base. However, it’s likely to set you leaps and bounds over your competition.

By developing a much deeper understanding of your target demographic, you’re much more likely to attract new customers and increase your sales figures.

2. Find the niche areas where your customers hang out online

As the old age saying goes, go where your customers are.

Using the data that you’ve gathered from your buyer personas, you should be able to confidently identify social media platforms and other websites that your target audience uses and engages with.

You can also take part in social listening and active social discussions to further pinpoint online hangout areas for your customers and prospective customers.

Determine keywords and hashtags that you audience uses to search for additional content surrounding your topic, expertise or products.

Go beyond the main social media platforms. Look at websites and community forums such as Reddit, Quora, Mumsnet, other news sites and topical forums.

Once you’ve located online hang out areas for your customer base, you’ll want to create a specific campaign for each social channel that you decide to use.

Each site is unique and therefore each of your eCommerce marketing strategies should be modified and personalized where possible. Keep in mind that what works for one platform may not work for another. Play to the strengths of each website.

3. Create an inbound content marketing strategy

One of the most effective ways to target potential customers and get them visiting your website is through an inbound content marketing strategy.

As you’ll likely already know, search engines are extremely powerful tools that millions of people use on a daily basis – searching for information and answers to their questions.

A content marketing strategy focuses on creating inbound content that uses a mix of relevant long-tail, short-tail and LSI keywords with high monthly search volumes in order to achieve a page one ranking, increase clickthrough rates and generate website traffic.

Many eCommerce retailers achieve this through the use of a blog.

Such content should focus on addressing relevant topics that your prospective customers are likely to search online. Consider their needs, problems and goals – can you create content that supports this?

For instance, if you sell gardening supplies you might want to create a blog that discusses gardening tips, how to grow fruits and vegetables, nature and agriculture. You could also highlight relevant products within the articles to encourage more sales.

To create a successful content marketing strategy, you’ll need access to a keyword tool.

While you could make use of Google Trends, you will need more data than can be gleaned from this free tool. Try out Ahrefs or SEMrush. These tools can give you monthly search volumes for all countries and provide keyword suggestions as well.

4. Engage in paid advertising to attract new customers

Paid search is a digital marketing tactic where search engines enable advertisers to show their ads on the first page of the search engines, often as the first few search results.

The process works on a pay-per-click (PPC) basis. In other words, you will only pay when someone clicks on your advert. This makes it more cost-effective and also more measurable than traditional forms of advertising.

When using paid search, there are four keyword match types that affect when your ads are shown:

  • Exact match – your ads will only be shown when someone searches for the exact term your targeting, excluding spelling mistakes
  • Phrase match – ads are shown if the exact phrase Is searched but there are words before or after the keyword phrase
  • Broad match – ads are shown if the phrase is searched for in any order or synonyms are used in place (e.g. “women’s bag” ad would show if “ladies’ bag” was searched)
  • Modified broad match – triggers an ad if the phrase is shown in any order, without synonyms

To save on costly mistakes, make sure that you think about the best keyword matches for your advertisement and create a negative keyword list before you run it.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the default match type used is broad match. This can be ineffective as ads can be displayed with hundreds or thousands of different and irrelevant variations – meaning that you blow through your budget quickly.

Another paid advertising technique available to you is paid social.

Paid social advertising shows your ads on social media platforms and these can be made up of text, images, videos or carousels. They are generally targeted to an audience based on selected demographics, such as age, location, job title and interests.

Many social media ads work on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, although there are other goals you can achieve (e.g. growing your social media audience or increasing reach) with different methods of payment.

5. Run a contest or giveaway to grow your customer base

One of the most effective ways to alert new potential customers to your business is through hosting a contest or giveaway on social media.

Competitions are great for boosting online engagement, inspiring your audience to reach out and engage with your brand. They’re also a nifty way to grow your email list in exchange for the promise of a reward.

It does have to be said that competitions by themselves are unlikely to generate new customers for your business – the real work starts after it has ended.

Segment your competition entrants in an email marketing campaign and send out personalized emails thanking them for their participation.

Within the email, offer a substantial discount, free shipping or another incentive with their first purchase from your business. At the very least, this will encourage online shoppers to browse your website.

6. Engage in influencer marketing to gain new customers

Influencers are people with the power to sway the purchasing decisions of others. They are generally found on a social media platform with a highly engaged following.

Influencer marketing is a great way to boost brand awareness, increase sales and gain new customers. In fact, 94% of marketers use the tactic because it drives 11x more ROI than traditional digital marketing channels.

Engaging with the right influencers can have enormously positive effects for your brand.

You should target those with a large enough following with good engagement who clearly demonstrate they are a great fit for your business and have a like-minded audience.

For example, if you sell ethically made jewelry then your best fit is likely to be ethical bloggers with the same values as your business – not fast fashion influencers who have followers that prioritize price over quality and longevity.

Work on developing organic relationships with influencers first, rather than going straight into paid advertising. This way you can test the waters and see how he or she responds and engages with your brand naturally.

Comment on their blog and social media posts. Consider sharing his or her content on your own social media profiles to show that you have an interest in what they’re doing.

Developing your relationships with influencers should make them much more beneficial to your business for the long-term – rather than a purely financial transaction in exchange for a one-off social media post.

Ultimately, the best influencers are those that act as mini brand ambassadors and are happy to promote your brand because they genuinely support and like your business and products.

Of course, this doesn’t mean to say that there won’t be money involved somewhere down the line, but if you want your eCommerce marketing strategy to be effective, you need to target influencers who have followers that will also be interested in your products.

Grow your website traffic to attract new customers

The most effective way to attract new customers is to get them onto your website, whether it’s from content marketing, influencer marketing or a competition.

Once you’ve achieved a steady stream of website traffic, you’ll need to focus on elements such as optimising your online store and making sure your products are popular to encourage potential customers to follow through with their purchases.