Tips to Generate Leads for E-Commerce–how is this done?
I once sold life insurance policies. During our training, our mentor emphasized the need for a lead. One of our activities was to list down all the people we know who may want an insurance policy and start selling from that list.
Whether or not the lead bought an insurance policy, our goal was to ask this lead for the names and contact information of ten more people who may be interested in insurance. So for the first ten persons, we should be able to generate 100 leads.
Which I did. That was how we were taught to find leads.
And how many insurance policies did I sell?
Doodley squat. Zero.
It is hard to tell someone that he has to pay monthly or on a regular basis for a lump cash that he will never enjoy.
I managed to sell more of my services online than what I attempted to sell in the physical world, and I will share with you some tips today how to generate leads for your e-commerce business.
A lead is a person—a prospect who may be interested in buying what you are selling. If we think of a sales funnel, the most common lead generation methodologies outside the internet marketing industry are:
- Call a person
- Setting up meetings
- Distribute flyers
- Hang tarpaulins
- Participate in events
This type of lead generation technique is labor-intensive. In e-commerce, lead generation is less cumbersome than in the physical world.
In e-commerce, you can generate leads through several means like social media ads, email subscription, and many more. And since your business is online, you can take this lead into a sales funnel and eventually make that sale.
The only thing that matters now is how you will fulfill the order. If you are selling physical stuff, you have to package and label and ship the item.
If you are in the dropshipping business, you have to contact your supplier to fulfill the order. If you are selling digital goods, the sales funnel cycle is completed immediately.
Before we move on, here are some of my other blog posts you may be interested in reading. They open in a new tab so just tap them and read them after this one.
Who is your lead?
The identity of your lead is crucial to your success. In e-commerce, you have to create content for your leads, not for everyone.
No two leads are exactly alike, but suffice it to say that both of these leads are experiencing a problem—a problem that you are going to solve.
Let us say that you are selling a block foundation for low decks. In this case, your lead has the following characteristics:
- 18 years old and above
- Has a lawn or backyard
- Loves to do DIY
- Browsing for home improvement ideas
- Needs project templates for decks
- People in the construction company
Let us say that you managed to get ten sign-ups—one is a student, five are DIYers, and four are in the construction company.
It is likely that the student is a dud, and that the nine other people are more likely to buy your product than the student.
As you can see, your lead is someone who is really interested in buying your product. The student may be interested, but it is not likely for a student who lives in a dorm to build a deck.
To get the right leads, you have to create a personality of your target market. List down this lead’s characteristics, such as his possible salary per year, interests, and problems.
Once you have this lead’s persona, you will create your marketing campaign for this person. This is how you identify who your lead is.
8 Tips to Generate Leads for E-Commerce
Now let us jump into the eight ways to generate leads for your e-commerce business. These techniques apply not just to an online store, but also to a dropshipping, drop-servicing, or service-based businesses.
1. Use social media ads
Social media advertising is the way to go to generate leads quickly. All social media networks allow you to advertise.
The wonderful thing about paid ads is that you can choose your demographic. As you create your ad, the platform will allow you to choose who you want to show your ads to.
For example, you can choose:
- Men and women
- 18 to 45 years old
- Only in the US
- Must be interested in mountain biking
There is a lot that you can do in narrowing down your audience. If you do this right, the social media platform is going to show your ads to the exact person that you created, which makes your ad more effective.
2. Offer discounts and freebies
If used properly, discounts and free items are powerful tools to convert a lead into a paying customer. Customers love discounts, and there are even those who make a hobby out of it.
There was once this show called Extreme Couponing. I found out that there were a lot of people whose day job was to cut coupons from magazines. They spend hours doing this, and they save thousands of dollars in grocery shopping.
Customers love discounts because they feel like you are helping them get more value for their money. One of the best approaches to using discounts as a lead magnet is to get a customer’s email address.
In exchange for the coupon code, the customer must supply a working email address. Free stuff works in the same way—give free items to customers who have met some purchase conditions or if they supply their email address.
Here is an article I wrote about coupons and discounts: 11 Ways to Increase Online Sales Through Discounts
3. Post on social media regularly
If you do not want to spend on social media, then, by all means, post regularly. Build your social media following on various platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.
If the product you are selling requires some tutorials, like a power tool, one of the best social media platforms to use is YouTube. YouTube is a great platform to demonstrate your products. I have seen many tutorials on YouTube, and at the end, the YouTubers provide a list of their favorite tools.
This technique applies to affiliate marketers, too, not just to dropshippers or to e-commerce operators. It takes a while to build social media following. But if people do follow you, it just means that they are interested in what you have to say.
To make it easier to post on various social media channels, you can use free tools like Hootsuite. This tool allows you to post your blog on different social media channels automatically. You can also upload several posts at the same time, but schedule them for release accordingly.
4. Create great blog content
Your blog post is an asset. In the dropshipping community and e-commerce industry, I have observed a lot of people who do not blog. They rely on social media ads to get leads. Social media is great, but a blog is an asset that you cannot forego.
The blog post you publish is there forever, for Google and other search engines to server to people looking for information.
To get leads, you need to write blog content that helps people—content that solves a problem. Naturally, a person who finds himself on your blog is going to explore your site.
There is no scientific evidence that you have to blog a certain number of posts per week. While more content generally means better, consistent content works just fine. If you have no time to write your blog content, you have to hire an experienced but affordable copywriter to do it for you.
5. Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet is an item that you give away in exchange for the lead’s email address. Most of the time, the lead magnet that online entrepreneurs use is an eBook. It is usually a “secret” about something, and it is always free.
A lead magnet must be something of perceived value. Just because you can write an eBook does not mean people will be interested. The eBook you offer must address a customer issue. Here are some examples of lead magnets:
- Access to digital tools
- Case studies
- Discounts and coupons
- Exclusive deals
The lead magnet must solve a real problem, and it must be a real win for a lead if he takes it. The lead magnet must also be easy to use and digest, like a case study or a PDF checklist.
6. Do your SEO right
Every time I do some research on Google about SEO, only two websites pop up all the time—Neil Patel and SEJ.
Because of SEO. They are experts on that field and they walk the talk.
If you do your SEO correctly, you have better chances of ranking up in search engines. And if this happens, people who are searching online are more likely to click the link to your content than if you were on page 2.
SEO is not a quick fix. It is a strategy that you will stick to for the long term. For all your blogs and social media post, you must have SEO baked into them. SEO is an investment that you will never regret.
7. Fix your web design
Bad web design will not generate leads. Your web design must be carefully thought of, and you need to view it from a customer’s perspective.
Here are some of my thoughts about web design:
- Can a customer easily find what he is looking for?
- Is your website optimized for mobile?
- Are the colors appropriate for your business?
- While a lot of people suggest pop-ups, I personally hate this. Instead, use sliders that are not obtrusive. A person comes to your website and expects a great experience; they do not come to be bombarded with ads.
Your web design must also incorporate the appropriate flow of information. Your landing page must have a combination of different items offered on your site.
Make sure you have a section for your hero, for your product collections, and for your blog. All of these must be squeezed into one landing page, as it gives the lead a great view of what your blog is about.
8. Create relationships
Build relationships not only with your leads but with other people whose industry are related to yours. You can do a blogger outreach or do guest posting.
In guest posting, you write a blog and publish it in another blog. In exchange for the free article coming from you, you can put your links in that article. If a person finds that blog, there is a chance he will click that link and then go to your website.
Be careful when guest posting. If possible, only guest post in high-traffic blogs. Also, make sure that the blogger you are working with will approve a do-follow backlink to your site.
Generating leads on e-commerce is different from how you do it in the physical world. The issue with e-commerce is that it is a tad difficult to create the persona that we talked about earlier. In the physical world, all you have to do is to talk to someone you know, and you will be pointed to a lead.
Ecommerce, on the other hand, offers you a lead generation process that will increase your conversion rate even while you are sleeping. The assets that you create are there to stay.
The e-commerce platform also allows you to create various sales funnels for different types of leads. You do not have to do all the nine techniques all at once.
Focus on three at a time, get your gears rolling, and then move on to the others. Make sure you use SEO the right way. Never ever buy leads. They do not work.