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In ecommerce, everything ultimately boils down to leads. Keeping a constant flow of high quality traffic can make or break our ecommerce store, but ordinary traffic is not enough. Most of the time, the quality of leads is more important than the quantity. This is because quality leads are more likely to convert and end up as loyal customers.
What is an ecommerce lead?
An ecommerce lead is any potential customer that has arrived at your store and has the intention of completing a purchase. Whenever a customer interacts with one of your marketing channels, they are driven to your ecommerce store and become leads. A marketing channel is the actual source of any lead that arrives at your store.
A central part of any ecommerce lead generation strategy is improving the quality of your leads for the highest likelihood of conversion. Because leads can sometimes be expensive or hard to come by, we are required to focus on customers that are most likely to complete their purchase. And since there is no limitation to the value of any one customer, we must work to improve their experience and eventually remarket or attempt to earn their loyalty. So naturally, conversion rate optimization is an important aspect of any lead generation strategy.
Challenges of acquiring quality leads in ecommerce:
- High Competition: Competition is especially high when vying for customers in ecommerce. As a result, businesses are required to have a well defined segment or niche and an effective marketing strategy.
- Targeting Customers: Finding your dedicated customer base is essential for success in ecommerce. One of the greatest challenges brands face is narrowing down the purchasing habits of your target demographic.
- Building Trust: Trust is a prominent issue in ecommerce, especially when you are just starting out. Building a reputable brand can provide some much needed assurance in an industry with so much uncertainty.
- High Ad Cost: Ad costs are directly linked to competitive bidding and as a result affects a businesses ability to keep up with rising costs. Budget constraints may confine a business dependent on paid ads.
- High Cart Abandonment: High levels of cart abandonment is a common issue in ecommerce. Identifying the root cause for these high levels is a challenge in itself but is crucial for success.
- Nurturing Leads: Many businesses fail to adequately support customers during their shopping sessions. This issue is most likely attributed to a lack of control and is seen as an issue with customer service or personalization.
- Lead Quality: It is often difficult for ecommerce stores to consistently generate high quality leads. The issue is that low value leads often draw unnecessary effort and strain a businesses resources.
Suggested Reading: Is Ecommerce Worth It?
Lead Generation in Ecommerce
1. SEO & Keyword Optimization
Every organic visitor is attributed to a keyword and a very common mistake made by ecommerce websites is mistargetting keywords for search intent. By doing a brief analysis of what keywords you are currently ranking for you can determine which pages are underperforming and why. All organic traffic is rooted to a keyword, and random keywords are a sign of incorrect implementation.
- Strategic keywords in title tags, meta descriptions, header tags and URL’s
- Implement Keywords in content for your target audience
- Utilize structured data markup
- Build high value backlinks to build authority
- Localize seo for specific geographical locations
- Create page priority by signaling with internal links
2. Content marketing for lead generation
Content marketing is a popular lead generation method in ecommerce. Blogging in particular is a great place to include targeted keywords that passively generate leads over longer periods. If done correctly, each unique page will accumulate traffic over time and stack with other pages for a multiplier effect. Quality content is the only advantage in content creation but it is still pointless without correct keyword implementation. Articles can also be repurposed across multiple channels for maximum reach, in a process called syndication.
- Blog posts
- Downloadable resources
- Host webinars or podcasts
- Gated content
- Email marketing campaigns
- Presentations or image carousels
- Review and testimonial content
3. Social media and influencer marketing
Social media serves as a potent lead-generation tool for e-commerce businesses. Its inherent interactivity provides a perfect avenue for engaging with leads directly. With the integration of e-commerce features in social media platforms, an omnichannel approach becomes seamless, enabling lead conversion without disrupting user sessions. To enhance this process, savvy businesses employ lead generation software. This technology optimizes data collection and customer insights, ensuring a targeted approach to conversions. Leveraging the synergy of social media's interactivity and lead generation software's precision, e-commerce entities can ascend search engine rankings, solidifying their presence on page one and fortifying their ability to generate and convert leads effortlessly.
Tips for social media leads:
- Find the best fitting platforms
- Interact and publish frequently to scale presence
- Utilize paid social media ads for an extra boost
- Collaborate with influencers to reach their dedicated followers
- Encourage and display UGC for engagement
- Find the best performing content formats for your social platforms
4. Pay-Per-Click ads
PPC ads are another powerful method for generating ecommerce leads, with almost limitless reach. They place your ads directly in your target customer’s feed and circumvent the whole struggle for impressions. The only downside is the cost of PPC ads, which excludes many brands from using them. PPC ads have limitless reach that is only restricted by your budget, so naturally, there is an element of optimization required to reduce unnecessary spending.
Improving PPC ads:
- Narrow down your customer demographic
- Identify the most relevant and lowest cost keywords
- Craft compelling ad copy and landing pages
- Retarget customers that have have been exposed to your brand
- Actively monitor and test alternatives
- Regularly revise your ads with a PPC audit checklist
5. Email marketing
Email marketing has been around for a while and many fail to appreciate its full potential. Surprising figures suggest that email marketing has the highest conversion rates across all of ecommerce. It is such a surprise to many people because email marketing is almost free to use. With a well built email campaign you can drive leads back to your store and remain active with shoppers who have expressed their intent to buy. To boost the potential of your email marketing strategy, consider setting up a newsletter and capturing contact details. A great place to use this previous strategy is in exit intent notifications.
Suggested Reading: Email Marketing Mistakes
6. Conversion Rate Optimization
Conversion rate optimization is a staple for any serious ecommerce store. Every lead generated is an opportunity but only part of the process. We also need to look for ways to convert and retain leads for the most value. The real challenge is prioritizing our issues into an order of importance, below is a list of a few elements that may be more serious.
Potential CRO issues:
- Bottlenecks in customer journey
- A/b test and create variants
- Reducing friction and load times
- Cultivate trust and credibility
- Exit-intent, cart abandonment recovery
Website Optimization Tips:
- Responsive design and mobile optimization: A particularly difficult obstacle for shoppers to overlook is an unresponsive site and a negative experience on mobile. By working on these two aspects you can instantly improve your chances of converting valuable leads. Mobile traffic in ecommerce accounts for a major chunk of all traffic and many businesses neglect mobile usability, which can be risky. No lead generation guide is complete without mobile optimization.
- Streamline navigation and page load times: One of the first hurdles we as website managers face is unnecessary friction in the customers shopping experience. This may present issues for visiting shoppers and could ultimately cause poor conversion rates. Finding novel ways to improve navigation and page speed can be a practical way to increase conversion opportunities.
- Create Compelling CTA’s: Any ecommerce lead generation strategy requires steps to convert traffic, with the most effective being persuasive calls to action. These CTA’s represent the “how” we convert leads.
- Landing page content: Crafting persuasive copy and compelling headlines is a strong start to any lead generation strategy. The perfect mix of humor, style and clarity will take you far. Remember to represent your brand values in your messaging. No preliminary design should remain without a/b testing your idea first.
- Trust Building: One of the first challenges we face as an ecommerce business is building a trustworthy reputation. We are always questioned by customers due to a lack of understanding about our business. As a part of a greater challenge trust can make it much easier for your marketing to take effect and improve your persuasion over customers.
Suggested Reading: Conversion Optimization Checklist
7. Discount and Rewards
Another effective approach towards lead generation for ecommerce businesses is leveraging rewards and discounts. Customers are always shopping around looking for the best deals and businesses that leverage FOMO or valuable discounts tend to stand out. It is highly encouraged to build rewards into your lead generation strategy as they are a strong motivator for returning shoppers.
Suggested Reading: Complete Guide to Loyalty Programs
8. Recommendations, Referrals & Social Sharing
Referrals can be a great source of high quality leads because they originate from trusted friends and family. When recommendations are paired with rewards they have an even higher conversion potential. By making referrals a central component to your ecommerce lead generation strategy, you can generate a consistent leads from indirect source. While referrals cannot be a main source of ecommerce leads, they are certainly valuable.
9. Tracking, measuring, analyzing
Customer data and channel performance is a source of great value for ecommerce businesses. By tracking how your marketing strategy is performing, you can better allocate your effort towards the best performing channels. A part of evaluating results includes testing different approaches in hopes of finding the right lead generation strategy and perfecting your strategy.
Tips for tracking channels:
- Monitor web analytics
- Keeping track of KPI’s
- Identify best performing channels
- Optimize your best channels for reach
- Capture leads with CRM’s
- Iterate strategies
Every ecommerce business faces the same set of challenges as any other. The very first of those challenges is generating leads, that is also what ultimately makes or breaks a business. These 9 ecommerce lead generations tips will set you on the right path to success and give you a great chance of scaling your business into the global market.