A successful e-commerce marketer generates leads via the exact audience most interested in what your company sells.

Finding leads is about much more than merely driving traffic to your website, although that is a part of generating leads.

Generating leads involves a multi-faceted approach that reaches every potential customer on their turf.

By the year 2021, experts project retail e-commerce sales will hit $4.8 billion. Now is the time to focus on building your lead generation strategies and beefing up your efforts.

Lead generation for e-commerce is different than that for physical stores because there isn’t a location to visit.

Many strategies do adapt well to online marketing, though. Here are eight tried and true methods for driving leads and increasing revenue.

1. Build a Social Following

Spend time engaging with others on social media and build a following. Make sure any content you post is relevant to your target audience.

Those who engage with your social content will be in the exact demographic of people who buy your products.

Choose the social media sites where your typical customers hang out, such as Pinterest to reach mainly women and Instagram to reach millennials.

Build your brand on those sites, share posts from others and talk to your fans until your followers increase.

2. Work With Influencers

Working with influencers grew in popularity in recent years, with about 86 per cent of marketers now using influencer marketing in some way.

Influencers have their own followers, and if they are trusted, those followers consider any offer influencers bring to them.

Keep in mind that because their followers trust them, most influencers won’t recommend just any brand. You’ll need to develop a relationship with the social media star, let them test your product and then approach them about a partnership.

3. Speak to the Right Generation

Your brand message needs to speak to the generation you’re trying to reach. If you want to reach Baby Boomers, a message about going out with your friends for a late-night meeting probably isn’t going to resonate.

You have an opportunity with your online store to draw in your target audience. For example, Gen Z prefers a streamlined, uncluttered storefront and social share buttons in an easy-to-find location. Apply that knowledge to the way you design your site.

4. Add an Opt-In for Your Mailing List

One of the critical elements on your website landing pages should be a subscription button for your mailing list. Give site visitors a reason to convert into leads by offering them something of value for signing up for emails.

For e-commerce, a discount coupon works exceptionally well toward encouraging people to sign up, such as 15 per cent off your first order or a free shipping offer.

Although coupon offers work well, you can also offer updates on new arrivals or a style guide in exchange for visitors becoming leads.

5. Grab Visitors Before They Leave

If you don’t offer visitors something just before they leave your page, you’re missing out on valuable conversions. Exit pop-ups figure out when someone is about to leave your page by the place the cursor points, which is typically outside the browser window near the close button. A cursor moving into that area triggers the pop-up.

The box that pops up says something such as “Wait! We have a special offer for you.” Think about what is most likely to generate leads at this point of the process and make an offer.

6. Use Urgency

Have you ever been on the fence about buying a product when the business sends you an offer to save if you buy in the next hour?

A time-limited offer creates a sense of urgency in the user who is already considering making a purchase and may drive them from browsing to buying. Of course, a ticking clock offer won’t work with every site visitor. Aim this technique at those already considering making a purchase.

Make sure you only offer the discount once, and then it goes away. You can offer other discounts, but if you offer 30 per cent off every time the person visits your site, then there isn’t much urgency at all. The user may also find you untrustworthy if you say they can get a discount for only the next hour, and then you offer it a second time.

7. Optimize CTAs

Your calls to action (CTAs) drive users to either make a purchase or walk away. Many different elements go into a successful CTA button.

Keep in mind the colour of the button and how it contrasts with the rest of the page (it should stand out in sharp relief) if the wording is personalized to meet your readers’ needs and the location of the button — how easy is it to find?

Try out different placement, wording and surrounding text by conducting split testing. See which version converts best with your site visitors and make adjustments as needed until your conversion rates improve.

8. Add a Live Chat

Around 63 per cent of consumers surveyed stated they were more likely to go back to a website offering live chat. The instant interaction of live chat converts browsers into customers. When consumers visit a brick-and-mortar store, a sales associate answers any questions they have and gives them one-on-one interaction.

Live chat is the online version of in-person salespeople. The user has a question about sizing, shipping costs or delivery time, so they ask a live chat agent and get a quick answer. You’ve just removed one of their arguments against ordering from your store and improved the chances they’ll complete the purchase.

Online Lead Generation

Generating leads online is a bit different than gaining more foot traffic in real life. You’ll need an approach that looks at SEO and what drives traffic to your site, but you’ll also need focus on social media and the interaction with those who land on your page.

Plan for great content and instant communication when someone visits your site. A mix of all these methods results in higher lead generation and more success for your online store.


headshot - How to create a lead-generating e-commerce siteLexie Lu is a writer and graphic designer.

She enjoys covering topics related to UX design, web design, social media and branding.

Feel free to subscribe to her design blog, Design Roast, or follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.

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