The Best Way To Attract Customers To Your Online Business Or Ecommerce Store

Marketing your online business and attracting customers to your ecommerce store or sales page is much harder than marketing a blog or any other type of website. Why? It’s because no one really cares about your business. Nobody really wants to know what you have to sell and no one likes being led to a sales page. Even if you think you’re offering the most magnificent products ever, by default people are going to ignore you unless they know who you are.

Photo by RBarney.com

People Hate Sales Pages On Social Media

Marketing your business on social media is all the rage right now but simply posting your online store URL on Twitter or Facebook is not going to get you customers. For one thing, most people are extremely suspicious of any type of sales page they encounter. Anything that even resembles a product page is just going to get passed on.

For example, whenever I click on my stumbleupon button or a twitter link and am taken to page full of products, I get pissed off and immediately leave. 99.9% of the time, I’m using social media to do research, to read about what others are up to or to just relax. My marketing and BS sensors are on full alert and I hate being led to a random store or ecommerce site.

Similarly, I hate it when I’m on the forums and I notice that someone has randomly dropped a link to their ecommerce website. Simply blasting your website URL to uninterested parties is not going to work because no one is paying attention!

You Need To Create A Connection

The other thing you need to realize is that customers don’t necessarily shop at your store because of your products per se. They are shopping at your store because you have created a connection somehow. They want to buy from you because of the personality your store projects.

The best way to illustrate this point is to tell a story about an experience I had at a company I used to work for. At the time, I was a hardware engineer designing circuit boards and I had to select a device to use in my design from 2 competing manufacturers.

Company #1 was the leader in their field. They produced devices that were technologically superior to every one else. Feature wise, their product was the device of choice among developers. Company #2 was not as well known but had a decent product. However from a technical standpoint, their product was not as powerful as Company #1 but adequate for most applications.

In any case, it should have been a no brainer to go with Company #1, but ultimately I went with Company #2 and a lesser known product. Why? It’s because Company #2 projected this aura of really caring for their customers and providing superior customer support.

Because Company #1 was already the leader, they didn’t dedicate as many resources in trying to help me integrate their device into my design. Finding literature and documentation was more difficult as well because I had to manually request access to each document, a process which often took several days.

Meanwhile, Company #2 had a very open philosophy with their documentation and it really showed on their website. All of their content was freely available and as a result I got to know their products better and felt more comfortable using their devices. Whenever I had any questions, they immediately sent an engineer over to help even for the most minor of problems. Over time, I even became friends with the sales guy and FAE.

I continued to use Company #2′s devices throughout my entire stint at my job and never even considered switching, ever. I was a loyal customer for life.

The key takeaway here is that the superior product isn’t always the one that sells and the decision to buy is not always about the product itself. If you can establish some sort of connection to your customers through your website or customer service, then you will have the upper hand. In fact, that is one of the main ways that a small niche store or boutique can take on a larger business. The key is to make people want to buy from you and no one else. And to do that you need to make your store standout. Company #2 snagged me as a customer because their emphasis on good customer service was plastered all over their website.

The Secret To Marketing A Niche Online Store

So what is the secret to marketing your store? **Drum roll** The secret to marketing your online store is to keep your customer engaged with your website by showing them your personality. The secret is to keep your customer so interested in what you have to say that they don’t even realize that you are selling to them. And to accomplish this feat, you need to have engaging content.

In fact, I would argue that you shouldn’t think of your online store as a store at all. You should think of your ecommerce site as a content site that happens to sell products. Similar to a blog, if you have good content, the word will eventually spread, people will link to your website and you’ll get tons of organic traffic without having to spend much on advertising.

For our store, my wife and I engage customers by providing useful craft tutorials and other projects that can be created with our products for free. 70% of our web traffic comes directly through our content pages and a good portion of this traffic eventually goes on to purchase from us. I would say that initially, many of our customers don’t even visit our website to shop. Instead, they read about some of our cool DIY wedding projects and want to make it themselves. In the future, we also plan on adding video tutorials to our store as well.

Bottom line, the more you can engage with customers, the more you’ll be able to sell. Instead of a direct sales pitch, show them that you are a real person and that you are passionate and care about your products.

If you want to see a great example of this, take a look at what Jessica Kim does with her ecommerce site at Babbaco.com. To understand what I mean, take a few minutes and check out her blog and watch a few videos. In order to be successful, simply listing your products online is just not going to cut it especially when you are just a small niche store with no reputation. Strive to make your business stand out! Let customers know what you are good at and pound that idea home.

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30 thoughts on “The Best Way To Attract Customers To Your Online Business Or Ecommerce Store”

  1. Wow, that sounds like an awful lot of work, can’t you just sell me some scheme that brings in a ton of customers right now without me having to do anything?
    Just kidding, of course this is a long process with tons of trial and error on the flying improvising and learning. Thanks for sharing your experiences with the newbies.

    1. @Tyler
      If I had such a scheme, I might keep that information to myself:P

  2. PN says:

    Thank you for sharing, Steve!

    Indeed, a customer may not buy from your because of superior product or lowest pricing. I’ve experienced that first hand a few weeks ago when a customer of mine was so impressed with the patience that we showed in answering her questions that she ended up placing our largest order so far!

    Good customer service really does make a big difference even when you’re selling a product!

  3. I wonder if this is something that can be realistically be done alone. When its just you and your business, is it possible to be an expert in everything?

    I remember over the holidays I definitely made repeat customers when I took the time to make sure they got their packages, especially when I saw that there was failed delivery attempts. Just sending them a quick email letting them know that USPS came by just in case they missed the delivery attempt slip, which they did often times made a difference.

    1. @Carla
      You don’t have to be an expert in everything. You just have to be an authority and make your store stand out. Customer service is just one way of doing this. While it’s difficult to post content when you are a one man show, it can definitely be done. Jessica from Babbaco was a one woman show and yet she pumps out interesting videos on a regular basis.

  4. I don’t think videos will “Attract Customers To Your Online Business Or Ecommerce Store”. As you mentioned, “It’s because no one really cares about your business. Nobody really wants to know what you have to sell and no one likes being led to a sales page. Even if you think you’re offering the most magnificent products ever, by default people are going to ignore you unless they know who you are”.

    I believe its a combination of customer nurturing and customers service. also, targeting the right customer helps convert as well. its tough, there is so much distraction from various media campaigns and you have to wonder, how is to much or how much is not enough?

  5. Steve,
    First of all, you are hilarious! Second, I love your blog and found it just in time! I have been creating, adjusting and developing my online store for almost a year. No big whoop! I started it, but had to put the project on hold, now I’m back, full force and I totally agree with what you are saying about how to get customers to your online store. It is so much about building relationships. So, that is what I am doing now. I already have relationships because I have been promoting my personal training blog for the last couple years, but I am now ready to really make this work. Your advice and insight are just what I need!

  6. Hi, my name is Jonathan I’m 20 years old I’m from Camden SC, I am a broker for this company call Zam Zuu and I been trying to find a way to get traffic to my site because I have a E-commerce shop online site 700 stores and you get payed to shop when you sign-up small process and I need some great advice on how to drive customers to my site maybe business people any great advice you can get me I will listen.

  7. Nico says:

    I agree.

    In South Africa we have a company by the name of “Clientele Life”
    Clientele life has the slogan of
    “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care !”

    Nobody wants to hear about you clever ideas, untill you actually show them and help them implement that idea in their own situation.

  8. Very interesting post I enjoy your website keep up the amazing posts.

  9. I absolutely agree with these pointers. I own a few successful ecommerce sites. In addition to these pointers, having a chat feature or a phone number also helps if you can list any or both of them on the e-commerce site.

  10. Hi there, I desire to subscribe for this web site to take most recent updates, therefore where can i do it please help out.

  11. Angelg says:

    and I bet company #2 really misses you :)

  12. Focus on listening to your customers. Take heed of what they say even if it means that you have to change direction – it is better to do so in the long run. There are many companies who create other products or services to enhance their existing products, just to be within the reach of their customers. The longer you retain and satisfy your customers, the longer your business will prosper and thrive.

  13. Steve says:

    >>So what is the secret to marketing your store? **Drum roll** The secret to marketing your online store is to keep your customer engaged with your website by showing them your personality.<<

    Umm, no, lol. That's what you do AFTER you get customers to your store. The marketing part gets them there, and that's the part you left out….how to actually get them there. Can't show your personality to customers if there aren't any, and they aren't going to magically arrive just because you show personality on your site.

  14. Hi Steve, It is great to learn from you concerning online store. I am impressed, thanks a lot.

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