Your eCommerce site is up and running. You’ve tested the checkout process to make sure it works. You’ve announced you’re open on all social media channels and told your friends and family all about it.
Great! But… Now what?
After all, you’re making money, but it’s hard to make money if you cannot build processes that consistently, reliably generate leads that create that income.
There are hundreds of ways to generate eCommerce leads, but some are MUCH better than others. Below we’ll help point you in the better direction with some high-level tactics to dive deeper into your eCommerce business.
What is lead generation in eCommerce?
eCommerce lead generation is the process of getting a target audience, or ideal lead, to your eCommerce website and turning them into potential customers. You can do this by leveraging strategies and marketing campaigns for organic traffic, paid advertising, social media, and email marketing, to name a few. Let's dive in!
6 eCommerce Lead Generation Strategies
1. Identify your audience and go where they are
You don’t want website visitors who have no interest in buying from you. It might make your traffic spike, but it’s not going to be what generates good-quality leads.
What you really want is to get the attention of your ideal lead and get them to come to your website. They will be the best bet for becoming your customers, but the tricky part is finding those specific people.
Hubspot has a lot of content on how to find your target audience, and this blog post is likely a good place to start for you, but every good eCommerce lead generation strategy is based on knowing your audience first. That comes down to a decent amount of research.
Even if you’re starting from scratch, you likely have a good idea of who your audience is. If you’re not sure, you can start in a couple of places:
- Look at the social media audiences of your competitors. (Think TikTok, Youtube comments, Instagram, etc.)
- Use Google Analytics to see who’s coming to your website
Make notes of what you find. Is it mostly men? Women? A lot of non-binary, maybe? What are their ages? Where do they live?
You’ll likely find some commonalities, which can give you a better idea of where they hang out.
For example, a younger crowd is likely hanging out on TikTok or watching Youtube shorts, while an older crowd is likely on Instagram, Facebook, or online forums.
You can build a following in those channels to get more leads to your online store or run PPC campaigns (we’ll get into that a bit later).
2. Incentivize Your Signup Forms
Your website is incomplete if you don’t have sign-up forms ready to add leads to your email and SMS list. You need those setup and running and working in your corner.
Why? Because as you start gaining traffic, you want to have a way to turn that traffic into leads that you can nurture into paying customers.
Your best way to do that is to get people on your email and SMS lists.
You can do this all in one fell swoop with this fast and easy tactic:
- Build a two-step opt-in form (email to SMS sign-up)
- Create an incentive for the sign-up form
The example in the image above from Pura Vida shows them using this simple process. You can put these leads into funnels and segment them based on interests and other things to turn them into repeat customers.
With Sendlane, you can utilize our built-in pop-ups to collect emails and SMS contacts. To add a layer of flexibility, you can also utilize the Justuno integration to help personalize the experience on your eCommerce website.
3. Build a Following On Social Media
As far as eCommerce lead generation tips go, social media is playing the long game. Still, investing time and energy in social media tends, and content marketing has a good payout down the lane, which is why so many people do it.
While you could go out there and try to build an audience on every imaginable channel, you should stick to the few that have the best payoff. This is where the target audience research you did before comes in handy.
Since you know your audience and where they’re likely hanging out online, you figure out just a few channels that will best serve you and your audience.
Today, you don’t have to spend as much time creating content for each channel you're building out. If you’re making video content for Instagram, you could recycle that same content into various clips and post on YouTube Shorts, TikTok, or even Pinterest.
You don’t need to be everywhere, just the social media channels with the best ROI for your eCommerce store. But you can create content for one channel and repost it to other channels rather than creating a ton of unique content for every channel you're building up.
You can see examples of this online with Sendlane customer Art of Sucre! They post content on many channels, but a lot of what they post on TikTok, they repurpose into various content on other channels like YouTube and Instagram.
For eCommerce sites, channels like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest could be great places to start. But do your research and see if other platforms would serve you better.
4. Budget for paid advertising
If you need something faster than building audiences naturally over a long period, PPC campaigns are the best place to start. With PPC ads, you can dial in on the audience you want to see your ads.
Again, your audience research will come in handy here.
Most eCommerce businesses start with ads on places like Instagram and Facebook, but your audience may do better with ads on other platforms like Reddit, Pinterest, or blogs like Bones Coffee does.
But PPC ads aren’t enough to turn traffic into qualified leads. You should also pair them with specific landing pages to help convert visitors to paid customers.
In doing so, you create the route and the direction your customers need to go. It takes them from interest to adding to their cart to making a purchase, all while layering in other tactics like generating eCommerce leads through incentivized opt-in forms.
5. Utilize Remarketing Campaigns
eCommerce Remarketing is where you target people who have recently been on your website or purchased from you with personalized ads to get them back to your website to make a purchase.
You likely run into these all the time after you’ve visited an online store, and then later, while on Facebook or Instagram, you see an ad from that store like, “Hey, here’s that thing you viewed a little bit ago.”
You can show these targeted ads to customers by placing a tracking pixel on your website that tags them so that you can show them those ads later. It’s a great lead generation tactic for any eCommerce business, but you want the right tools to make it easier.
But ads aren’t the only way to use remarketing as a lead generation tactic; you can use email and SMS to do that as well. One way to do that is with back-in-stock notifications! Where a customer can opt-in to receive stock notifications regarding specific products.
When the product is back-in-stock, an automation will trigger a sequence of emails and SMS to help bring them back.
We have a whole blog post deep diving into remarketing for your eCommerce business, so be sure to check it out.
6. Make the Checkout Process as Simple as Possible
If you really take these lead generation strategies seriously, then this is another one you want to take your time with. A long, drawn-out checkout process can kill an online business.
The more seamless you make your checkout, customers will likely see it through. But keeping it “easy” is a lot easier said than done.
So, what can you do? Some research on your end will give you plenty of ideas, but here are some tips to get started:
- Allow guest checkouts. If you require everyone to make an account on your website, it will create too many steps that will deter people from checking out.
- Allow smart filling of forms. This makes it lightning fast to fill out information like name and address.
- Offer multiple payment options. Think major credit cards and Paypal and Apple Pay for easier checkout processes.
- Make sure mobile checkout works. People tend to buy more things through their mobile devices than on a desktop, so making sure your mobile checkout is fast and easy is key.
Most importantly, keep testing to see what changes impact your bottom line.
TL;DR: eCommerce Lead Generation
Here's the rundown of the tactics we've discussed in this article:
- Hone in on your ideal lead & where they are active most
- Create incentivized opt-in forms to collect email & SMS consent
- Create awareness on social media platforms & repurpose your content
- Budget for paid campaigns to remarket to existing customers and capture new leads
- Streamline your checkout to minimize pain points
Experiment with new campaigns, test different variables, and find what works for your business... then run with it!