Most Shopify merchants invest in paid Facebook Ads, Google Ads or Instagram influencers to bring traffic to their online stores. So how to get sales without paying for traffic? Let’s find out in this blog!
If you’re starting an online store with Shopify, free traffic is a big deal. It means you can get your product in front of customers without paying a dime! In this blog, HappyPoints will explain methods to help your store get sales without paying for ads.
#1. Engage with online communities
Facebook groups are one of the best places to engage with your audience and drive traffic to your store. Facebook groups provide a space to communicate about shared interests with others, you can create a group for anything. While you can’t directly advertise to Facebook groups, you can still use them to your advantage.
To start driving traffic, join relevant Facebook groups and start posting quality content, engage with other members and ask for feedback about your products or store. Once you start building a relationship with other group members, they will organically become free traffic. Also, once you build a stronger reputation, message the group administrator to see if you can share a unique discount code with the group. This is the perfect way to bring free and quality traffic to your store.
Pinterest is the second community to get free traffic. This platform has long noted that it’s not a social network, it’s a discovery tool. According to Sprout Social, 90% of Pinterest users said that Pinterest helps them decide what to purchase. To take advantage of this market, create a board and start pinning! Your pins on Pinterest never expire, and so your posts always appear in searches. On Pinterest, when someone follows you, they follow all your boards too. This means they’ll see pins from your boards in their feed. This will evoke their desire towards your products, and they can’t help not visiting your store. And when you add pins to the boards, your pins show up to your followers as well. Pins are the perfect way to start growing organic free traffic to your store.
Another community to tap into is Reddit. With over 150,000 communities, you can probably approach your target audience there. You can find a community on Reddit for anything, this makes it a perfect place to find high-quality traffic. Let’s dig deeper into how you can use Reddit for free traffic!
Post and share your products in subreddit relevance to your niche
Imagine you own an online cosmetics store and you want to share your products with the community. On the first page, you wander through numerous subreddits dedicated to skincare, cosmetics and beauty products. A subreddit is a dedicated forum on Reddit for one specific topic and you decide to post on a relevant one.
Note that you can get banned on Reddit for advertising, so be careful and be creative.
Post a picture of you using one of your facemasks and write a few sentences about how much you love it. This is completely rational, as you have ordered some samples and you are really happy with the quality.
When another user asks you where to get them, someone will share a link from Amazon, but you can reply with a link to your store and say you find them there with a little cheaper price.
And Boom! You get sales and customer emails. This strategy works and doesn’t cost you a single penny. Sometimes, the best things in life are FREE!
Remember, obvious advertising is not allowed. However, you are free to share your love and interest in your products. Afterward, share a link in the comments in case anyone shows interest in checking it out.
Community engagement is effective in generating free traffic to your website but it still has drawbacks. Make sure you drive your customers to the right place. If not, they’ll absolutely bounce out from your site. Your bounce rate is up, and your conversion rate is down. Bear in mind, you need to be aware of increasing your conversion rate, always!
#2. Grow your Instagram account
There is no denying Instagram is a powerful way to get free traffic (Neil Patel). Whether you have the budget for advertising or not, your Shopify store could benefit from an Instagram account. Instagram has over 1 billion monthly active users. Years ago, photographers use Instagram to showcase their work. Now, everyone can use this platform, from mommy bloggers to cats. It has become a place to connect with any community. So how to get free traffic from Instagram? Let’s find out!
Common mistakes of Instagram users
People create an Instagram account, post a few times, don’t engage with anyone, and wonder why they don’t get any sales. To win Instagram, you need two things: lots of followers and lots of quality content.
Quality and quantity of Instagram content
Having followers and lots of content builds social proof. If a customer stumbles upon your page, they’ll be much more inclined to click the link to your store if they see lots of engagements. Of course, there’s no shortcut to tons of followers.
When it comes to posting great content, you want to focus on quality and quantity. How to do it?
Let’s see, quality content comes from 80/20 rule (Cooler insights). Make sure 80% of your posts are simple, beautiful, inspiring and helpful to your audience. Then use 20% of your posts to promote your products and your brand.
What about quantity? Well, it’s just simply posting multiple times a week. You need to make a simple, repeatable content schedule to follow. The following example will help you imagine:
- Day 1: Use a free stock photo from Burst to share a relevant picture to your product or service.
- Day 2: Create a simple graphic or an inspiring quote via Canva or Piktochart or any visual support platform.
- Day 3: Post content from an influencer in your niche.
- Day 4: It’s showtime! Let’s promote your product!
Repeat this circle and see what happens next.
This Canadian manufacturer of retro backpacks and accessories focuses their content on showing the spirit of travel. Their posts feature travel destinations, the feelings throughout the trip – exactly what their products helps people do. This is a wise strategy to tell the audience how products act a life companion, without literally promoting backpacks and accessories.
Hashtag using in Instagram
The second thing of getting free traffic from Instagram is engaging with your community: using #hashtag.
To connect with your community, look up for relevant hashtags on Instagram. Start by leaving meaningful comments on posts with that hashtag. The Instagram users who posted that content will visit your profile and check you out.
One last tip to grow your Instagram page on a budget. If you’re worried about paying for your monthly Shopify account fee while growing your Instagram, then start your Instagram account before opening your store.
#3. Work with Influencer marketing
This is another strategy to drive free traffic to your store. But how to get influencers to work with you for free? The answer is affiliate marketing. There’s no doubt that influencer marketing is an effective way to make sales in 2019. 86% of companies use influencer marketing last year, and this number is projected to grow. If you want to boost traffic to your store, influencer marketing is one of the best ways to do it.
Most of the time, brands pay an influencer to post an advertisement on their Instagram stories or feed. While this can be effective, there’s an alternative that costs you nothing.
Remember that influencers are running their own businesses too. They want to make money. Keeping that in mind is extremely important when it comes to affiliate marketing opportunities. To get an influencer to work with you, you need to do something for them in return. If it’s not straight payment, it will need to be potential income opportunities. In an affiliate partnership, you set up with an influencer so that they make a percentage of the sales they bring in. You need to work with each influencer to determine what percentage works for them and still brings in revenue for you. Although you might make slightly less revenue, you won’t pay for advertising until you make sales.
Influencer marketing is effective for a number of reasons
First, influencers are interested in this partnership because of the potential for making lots of money rather than a one-time payout for a sponsored post.
Secondly, an affiliate partnership incentivises sales. When you pay an influencer for a single post, they post advertisement then forget it. But in affiliate partnership, they are inclined to effectively market and sell your products. That’s because they only profit if you do! Do invest time to research to find the current influencers in your niche.
Micro-influencers is highly recommended. They are influencers with less than 50,000 subscribers or followers. That’s still a huge base of traffic, and they likely have a close relationship with their audience.
A common mistake that Shopify merchants make is trying to approach huge influencers. They may have more followers, but they will be less likely to work with a new company. Also, they won’t have a personal connection with their audience. Products shared by micro-influencers come off as more genuine than bigger ones (Forbes 2018).
#4. Use SEO to increase the store’s discoverability
Let’s move to the last strategy that helps drive free traffic to your store: SEO (Search engine optimisation). SEO is something that all online entrepreneurs should do. The better you are at it, the more potential customers you can attract. Studies suggest that up to 95% of all traffic online come from page 1 of search engines.
When customers search for your products online, you want your store to be on the top results for that search. For example, when you search for “high heels” on Google, you are taken to the results page, you’ll find 10 organic results. SEO in eCommerce is all about ensuring your product pages appear among those ten organic search results. There are many more pages to explore, but the higher the page number you appear on, the lower traffic you’ll get.
Years ago, a study found that only 4.8% of searchers make it to the second page of search results and only 1.1% for the 3rd page.
Your rank on the 1st page really matters. It’s said that the top result grabs 32.5% of traffic on average, 17.6% for the 2nd one. The sixth? You’re looking at less than 5% of traffic on average.
Therefore, if you rank 1st on Google, you’re the winner! SEO is a great option but also a long-term strategy. You will need lots of energy and labour for it. However, store owners can still get lots of benefits if they deploy a simple strategy. Try the basics first, then you can bring your store to the next level. Start with 3 cornerstones including in-depth keyword research, site structure, and product page optimisation.
With these methods, you should now be able to drive more free traffic to your website. More traffic to your store means more opportunities to get more sales. Once you’ve increased your traffic, consider optimising your website as the next step. Make sure your customers always feel happy when navigating your store unless you will lose a great deal of revenue.