Buy, Borrow or Barter – 3 B’s of Ecommerce traffic generation game


Anyone who starts an Ecommerce bushiness must be prepared to organize their entire live around traffic generation game.  It is a daunting task. It can be time-consuming and quite costly. Most importantly, you will undoubdetly fail if you do not have a strategic approach to this game.

 Find channels that bring you the most traffic

Most successful eCommerce companies find the channels that bring them the most traffic and focus most attention on these channels.

While most companies are running away from Facebook as the main generator of traffic, there are quite a few examples of Facebook being the main generator of customers.  Lolly Wolly Doodle built a thriving $11M/year eCommerce business by having her products appear in the Facebook news feeds. The buying process was incredibly simple – as simple as entering the comment.

If you are in the Business to Business lead generation game, there is no better platform for you thanLinkedIn. We researched 100+ B2B companies that are least likely to engage in social media. (e.g. a traditional manufacturing company). We saw some very interesting trends: Most of the companies have entered the Digital Media Arena.

Engage and Retain Customers 

Julep turned Facebook into a powerful sales generating machine. Their secret of explosive growth: tune into the conversations that are already happening on Facebook.  Listen first, and then engage.

You need to understand your customers’ needs and concerns before you can engage them into an even deeper discussion.

“We’re not telling customers what they want,” Jane Park, Julep “We’re responding to what they want”.

How to find the optimal ecommerce channel

There are millions of blogs out there that will teach you techniques for finding the right channel.  With my 15+ years of playing the field, I still find it very overwhelming.   I see a number of companies going for all channels at once and then giving up.

If you are at the early stage of launching an Ecommerce business, you choosing one approach first.  While there are quite a few permutations of strategy out there, you can really boil them down to three core approaches:

Buy Traffic 

By buying traffic, we mean paid advertising opportunities. Do not ever purchase visitors from the sites that promise your quick results with massive visitors.

Google pay per click advertising used to be a lot more accessible. Higher competition results in higher prices. You should also test how well Facebook advertising would work for you. In some cases we have seen “fake” clicks coming from click farms abroad.

No matter what option you choose, make sure that you have a well-designed landing page to match your advertising campaign. Otherwise, you risk alienating customers. We talked about important steps for executing a campaign in our 3 critical questions to ask blog.

Borrow Traffic

I think of this as borrowing attention of users for a short periodontal of time.

It typically comes via  organic, unpaid traffics generated via Social Media, organic SEO, organic PR, and organic link building.  The challenge with this approach is that it takes the longest to ramp up.  You will need to make sure that you establish an SEO optimized editorial calendar and create a basic social media action plan.  However, once the system is in place, it is fairly easy to maintain.

Barter for Traffic

Bartering is all about strategic partnerships. You can work with either brick and mortar brands to carry your products; connect with bigger online marketplaces or adjacent brands selling complementary products.






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