18 Cost-Effective Methods to Attract Customers to Your Online Store

How to attract customers to online store

The number of customers determines the success of a business project. Therefore companies striving for stable sales and profit growth are constantly looking for ways to attract them. If the environment is highly competitive, you need to learn about effective ways to have your customers’ attention. In this article, we gathered some proven methods to attract customers and stand out of competitors.

3 common types of customer attracting methods

Despite the diversity of ways to drive visitors to your online store or marketplace, the process of getting shoppers to your site can be divided into 3 common methods: 

1) Active way to attract customers

The use of these methods imples the active work of the sales team. Their task is to find new buyers. The solution to this problem is the same for all companies:

  • Building a customer base (usually the sellers themselves do this);
  • Drafting of a commercial proposal;
  • Direct calls (or personal visits);
  • Mailing with commercial offers and promos.

To work with a customer in a “smooth way”, sales reps should improve their knowledge about the product and pass certain exams (to confirm their product knowledge and ability to handle objections). They attend special training, participate in motivation programs, etc.

2) Passive ways to attract customers

“Passive” doesn’t mean “indifferent”. Well, the sales team is involved, but in this case, various forms of advertising and digital marketing take place. 

Today digital marketing is considered to be much more effective than traditional advertising. Targeted ads and promos using the power of SEO and other ways are much more effective than advertising on a billboard.

3) Combined ways to attract customers

Most often, the maximum efficiency is achieved with the competent use of the above methods: the  sales team involvement and the use of digital marketing tools in the right proportion. Just like a sales’ rep needs to have a business card, a company should have a website to promote its business. 

It’s quite natural that all the ways work differently in terms of efficiency. 

3 steps to choose the most effective way to attract customers

Stage 1. Draw a plan

Planning  is the first and most important step in attracting customers. When drawing a plan you have to choose the particular methods. To do that, focus first on prediction analysis:

  • What is the expected number of customers?
  • What would be the sales amount?
  • What is your desired income?

To make this data a reality, you need to establish the required number of regular customers, determine the interests and needs of your target audience.

It is necessary to connect the offered product or service with a potential buyer. In other words, you need to define why the customer should buy your product: whether to solve some problem or improve something like living conditions. A common mistake here is to target everyone. If, when choosing the ways to attract customers, you focus on a specific consumer, then the planning process will run easier and with better results.

Stage 2. Inform the client

After drawing a plan, the next question you should ask yourself is how to convey the information about your product to a potential customer. 

First, decide what exactly you want to communicate. Customers do not care at all about how good your company is. The main drivers are the benefits that they can receive using your product and/or service. You can arrange a call center or apply a chatbot on your site.

Stage 3. Calculation of profitability

With a plan in place and the right tools to attract customers, it’s time to calculate their ROI. You will need the following data:

  • number of regular customers;
  • number of potential customers;
  • monthly sales.

The starting point for your calculation should be the desired monthly income of the company. If you know these indicators, then it will not be difficult to calculate the number of customers that you need to attract during the day, and how much you need to earn for that date. Now you should establish how much the company can spend and choose the most appropriate methods of attracting customers. 

Effective ways to attract customers

Method 1. Give something for free

When you offer a useful supplement to your product for free, you attract the attention of those who know nothing about you at all, and those who know but didn’t purchase any of your goods. Such “gifts” are pleasant to customers and beneficial to you. 

Method 2. Communication with customers

These methods allow increasing the loyalty and interest in the offered products. Although they do not guarantee fast traffic. Communication can be established in the following ways:

1. Thematic group or a blog

Remember the main rule: don’t use a group or blog as an advertising space. Fill this place with an interesting and high-quality content, answer the visitors’ questions. Your essential goal is to get more group members or blog subscribers. The higher is the number of participants or subscribers, the greater is the traffic to your site. 

Of course, the traffic is unlikely to be the same as with the conventional advertising, but it will have a significant quality advantage: the site visitors are more loyal if you show product expertise and customer care in your posts.

2. Thematic forums

All forum visitors want to chat and get answers to their questions. If you are ready to help such people answering the issues, then it will work for you. However, it takes a lot of time and effort. One of our clients has successfully implemented a forum and gathered +5,000 members who ask his team daily about all the critical issues. Do you think they won’t buy anything if the online store owner is always connected and caring? When other visitors see the social proof of your goods, they definitely are eager to buy from you than from anybody else!

3. Mailing

Mailing can be your Plan B supplementing your blog posts. You have an opportunity to connect a mailing list to your online store or marketplace and send out a newsletter to inform about new promos or a piece of useful content. 

Method 3. Get a reason to talk

Quality service and a good attitude towards customers can be used as a topic for discussion. Start talking about the quality of your product, then transmit this information using word of mouth or social networks/affiliate and referral programs, you will see a positive effect in sales and your company overall image.

Method 4. Build relationships

Building the right relationships with potential customers is just as important as selling a product. You need to focus on long-term cooperation and providing value. 

Method 5. Show your expertise

Be proactive and run a blog or a podcast, take part in conferences. 

Method 6. Host a competition 

Think about hosting a contest or a quiz on our website. This method is quite relevant and a large number of users respond to it.

Method 7. Organize an online social event

You can engage more potential customers who are united by an idea. During the pandemic, it is still possible if you connect YouTube channel and launch an online conference or show.

The Samospas company founded by Ilya Malikov is engaged in production of equipment for firefighting. The problem to attract customers lies not in the quality or the cost of equipment but in lack of customer awareness as people don’t know what they can do in case of the fire to safely quit a burning building. 

To increase the awareness, Ilya arranges online events where journalists are invited to show the value of the product to a wide audience. This is a good example of how you can advertise your business with quality video content.

Michelle Hayward is the founder and CEO of PositiveHire, a technology company that helps ethnic minority women with science backgrounds find the best employer to pursue their careers. By holding virtual meetings twice a year, Michelle was able to attract at least 300-500 new users from each event, without advertising costs. She focused on a specific niche with a recurring problem. Black, Hispanic, and Native American women strive for leadership positions, but very few programs are tailored to their specific needs and address the challenges they face.

Tip: Identify a small segment or niche in the market with a specific issue. Then focus on finding and presenting the solution at the virtual event. It will take about 6 months to plan, collect data and conduct the event. Pay particular attention to tracking metrics, building partnerships, and building long-term relationships with attendees after the summit.

Method 8. Show an example

You can easily attract like-minded people by arranging corporate events or attending classes and posting this information on your blog or in social media. Your followers would like to see your company as their friend.

Method 9. Run a corporate blog

A blog on your site will share some valuable insights, how-to guides and other useful information you cannot incorporate in your product descriptions. 

Method 10. Mobile advertising

It is an innovation. A peculiarity of this method is that the messages are sent directly to the user’s mobile phone. You can use one of the following tools for that:

  • advertising in mobile versions (or PWA) of your site;
  • banners;
  • ads in mobile apps.

Method 11. Virtual assistant or a chatbot

A chatbot helps to:

  • achieve a greater coverage of users and quotes treated;
  • increase customer retention rate;
  • popularize your site among the youngsters;
  • reduce HR cost;
  • increase customer loyalty;
  • increase sales.

Method 12. YouTube Channel

The YouTube search engine ranks second in the world providing unlimited free targeted traffic to business owners. 

Advantages:

  • users prefer video content;
  • increased impact on user as it involves watching and listening;
  • people trust video content more than printed articles;
  • better promotion as YouTube belongs to Google;
  • the customer base is formed directly from the video;
  • low competition if you find your niche;
  • broadcasts;
  • video is more engaging and targeted.

Method 13. Press release

A press release is a simple text document with illustrations and photos. It may contain company news, comments on an event or a statement on a specific issue. The main function of a press release is providing information. This is one of the ways to attract customers in the media. By distributing a press release, you can draw the attention of not only potential buyers but investors. In addition, this method allows you to popularize the company and tell more about it. 

Method 14. Advertising on the Web

The essence of the method is the ability to place graphic or text banners. The cost will depend on the number of impressions. 

Method 15. Popups

Popups have lots of advantages:

  • original design;
  • targeted influence;
  • high efficiency.

They won’t give you instant results, but will bring you tangible profits in future. 

Method 17. Affiliate program

In an affiliate program you pay for the partner’s work only if his ‘recommendation’ was effective (the customer made a purchase or placed an order). Affiliate programs are considered as most profitable as they do not require lots of investment, but use the principle ‘sold-paid’.

Method 18. Gamification

The US coffee company Starbucks uses a mobile app to make the shopping experience easier. When paying for an order, you can use bonuses. In addition, if you visit the site in the first part of the day, and then in the afternoon, you can claim a free cold drink the same day. This is how Starbucks ensures repeat customers. In addition, Starbucks partners with Lyft. People who use their app are now earning points that can be used to pay for their coffee shop order. You implement a similar strategy in your CS-Cart shop.

Closing

No matter what method you use. When redeveloping your platform for better customer attraction, rely on a technology partner that has expertise and save money by offering a cost-effective solution. 

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