7 E-Commerce Lead Generation Ideas You Can Try Today
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7 E-Commerce Lead Generation Ideas You Can Try Today

E-Commerce Lead Generation Ideas WordPress

Want to know the biggest focus for marketers right now? Is it building a huge social following, or driving brand awareness through the roof, or delivering an exceptional customer experience?

No—their number one priority is to generate leads. So much so that 53 percent of marketers say they allocate more than half of their total budgets to lead generation.

When we think about the concept of generating leads, we tend to imagine one business selling to another. In the B2B game, lead gen is all about capturing email addresses and phone numbers, and nurturing prospects over a period of weeks or months until they’re ready to commit to a product demo or pitch.

E-commerce lead gen is nothing like that. Forget the slow burn of B2B—in the world of online retail, the lead generation process might begin with a social ad, then end a minute later with a purchase.

But while the timelines are very different, the basic principle of lead generation is just the same. You’re still identifying potential customers and giving them a reason to buy from you.

That’s an important point, because if you’re going to smash your revenue goals, you can’t just wait for shoppers to come to you. With that in mind, today I’m going to tell you about 7 killer e-commerce lead generation ideas you can start using straightaway.

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Table of Contents

1. Answer Questions Through Content

2. Optimize Content for Search

3. Run Contextual Ads

4. Run Search Ads (& Use Extensions)

5. Build (& Grow) Your Email List

6. Give Visitors a Reason to Keep Clicking

7. Seek Out Beneficial Partners

1. Answer Questions Through Content

You likely know your product inside and out, so you might think it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Chances are, your customers—existing and potential—don’t feel the same. In fact, they probably have a lot of questions about it. And they’re not going to hand over their hard-earned money until you’ve answered them.

For instance, say you sell women’s footwear. Your audience might want to know:

  • What to wear with a certain style of boot
  • How a certain product fits (is it tight or loose? Should they buy half a size up or down?)
  • What footwear trends they should be looking out for

And potentially dozens of other things, too. You should be answering these questions through blog content and in your FAQ section.

However, there’s a problem. As I’ve already pointed out, you know your product like the back of your hand, whereas your audience might not. Things that seem obvious to you might be anything but to them. So there’s no point trying to come up with questions yourself.

Fortunately, tools like Answer the Public can do all the work for you. When you enter a query—like “chunky boots”—Answer the Public uses search engine autocomplete data to visualize all the useful phrases and questions people are asking around your keyword:

If I’m a brand that sells chunky boots, all that data is an absolute goldmine. Any one of those “how to” queries could be converted into a blog post. As you can see, smart brands are already using this tactic to inform their own blogging strategy:

2. Optimize Content for Search

You could have the best content writers in the world—the equivalent of Ernest Hemingway with a HubSpot certification—but it won’t make a blind bit of difference if you don’t optimize your content for search, because nobody will ever find it.

Follow my advice in the previous section and you’ll already be creating optimized blog and FAQ content. But that doesn’t mean your work here is done.

Think about it. It’s all well and good bringing in e-commerce leads toward the top of the funnel. But if you want people landing on your site when they’re already poised to convert, your category and product pages need to be optimized too.

That probably sounds like an obvious point. Yet I’ve seen so many examples of category pages that are nothing more than an endless list of products.

Optimizing category and product pages isn’t rocket science. It’s just a case of identifying the right keyword, then incorporating it within your:

  • Title tag
  • H1 tag
  • Page copy

Your target keyword should also appear in your meta description. Although not a direct ranking factor, meta descriptions are effectively a 155-character advert to convince searchers that your page is worth clicking through to, so it definitely makes sense to incorporate your target keyword within those characters.

Let’s take a look at this in action with a search for the phrase “winter dresses.” When I carried out the search, the top spot was held by John Lewis. As we can see, they’ve included the term “winter dresses” in both the page title and meta description:

Now, let’s dig around on the page itself to figure out what else they’re doing. Right at the top of the page, we can see they’ve included the term again as an H1 tag:

What’s more, they’ve got a paragraph of copy at the bottom of the page that targets both the main keyword, and various other terms related to that keyword:

Now, I’m not saying these are the only reasons John Lewis ranks #1 for “winter dresses”. A quick search on Ahrefs shows this page has a handful of backlinks pointing at it, while John Lewis also has an extremely strong Domain Rating:

But e-commerce is a competitive world. What’s more, a single spot in the search rankings could be the difference between thousands of organic visitors and practically zero. Why wouldn’t you give yourself every chance of outranking your rivals by better-optimizing your content?

3. Run Contextual Ads

For years, retargeting ad campaigns have been a key tactic for e-commerce brands.

You know the ones. On a whim, you click an Instagram advert for a pair of Ray-Bans, then for the next two weeks, those same sunglasses follow you around the internet until you finally cave in and buy.

But things are changing.

Retargeting campaigns are fueled by a snippet of code called a third-party cookie. When a shopper visits your site, you can place a tracking code on their computer. Now, when they click through to a different site, that cookie tracks it and sends you the information. That’s what enables retargeting to happen.

However, these campaigns will soon be a thing of the past. Google has announced it’ll phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers by 2022, while Firefox and Safari have already blocked them.

So where does this leave e-commerce brands? How can you keep generating leads without third-party cookies? One solution is contextual advertising.

They might have a fancy name, but contextual ads are nothing new. Advertisers used them a lot in the past, then moved away from them when retargeting took off—and now they’re back.

Contextual ads are pretty simple. It essentially involves showing ads that are relevant to the other content on the site you’re browsing. In other words, if you’re reading an article about summer holiday destinations, you might be shown an advert for flights to Barbados.

Sure, they might not be as purposeful and data-driven as retargeting ads. But while every other brand scratches their heads about how to cope with the death of third-party cookies, you can launch a contextual campaign and generate a bunch of e-commerce leads.

4. Run Search Ads (& Use Extensions)

Of course, contextual ads aren’t the only form of online advertising you should be running. Search ads are a must-have too. Adverts on social media are interruptive. You’re scrolling down your Instagram feed, then you see an advert. If you like it, you might click.

On the other hand, search ads are driven by our own behavior. I want a new shirt, so I Google “men’s shirts”, then I’m served a bunch of relevant ads (plus some organic listings, once I scroll far enough down the page).

In other words, search ads are tailored to what I’m thinking about—and searching for—right now. That’s why Google Ads have an average click-through rate of 3.17 percent, three-and-a-half times higher than Facebook Ads.

Search ads work especially well when combined with extensions, like this example from Nike:

Those extensions give your audience more information about the types of products you sell. They also give you an opportunity to link to high-converting landing pages, such as ones displaying special offers or limited-edition products.

5. Build (& Grow) Your Email List

In the world of B2B, marketers have a lot of information about their leads.

Beyond the basics (like name, location, company, and job title), they might know about a lead’s pain points, short and long-term goals, and the length of their decision-making process.

In e-commerce, you don’t need all of that—an email address will suffice. Once you’ve captured a lead’s email, you can send relevant content and offers straight to their inbox, and reactivate customers who’ve abandoned their baskets.

How do you capture those all-important email addresses in the first place? Well, there are lots of ways. But one of the most effective is through popups.

We helped Scandinavian e-commerce brand Horze collect more than 383,000 qualified leads (AKA email addresses) with popups that compelled shoppers to sign up for the company’s email newsletter.

At an average on-page conversion rate of 7.2 percent, that was a pretty impressive result.

6. Give Visitors a Reason to Keep Clicking

You might only get one chance to convert a browser into a lead, and then into a paying customer. Once they bounce off your site, they may never return, so it’s in your interest to keep them clicking.

Keeping people on your site longer is all about targeting them with engaging calls to action (CTAs) that lead to your most exciting content, compelling products, or attractive offers.

ASOS do this really well. Scroll down their homepage and you’ll see multiple CTA banners directing you to browse various brands and trends:

7. Seek Out Beneficial Partnerships

One of the biggest challenges of e-commerce lead generation is figuring out how to get in front of new audiences. Search ads, paid social, content marketing, and SEO can all help you do that.

Another effective strategy is to do cross-promotion with a complementary brand that has a similar audience to yours. Straight away, this strategy can help you reach out to thousands of new customers, and you don’t need to spend a single cent on advertising.

Brand partnerships can work in lots of different ways, but typically they involve you and your partner collaborating on a project and promoting it to your own audiences while referencing each other’s brands where relevant.

This approach is becoming increasingly popular, with 54 percent of business leaders reporting that partnerships now make up more than one-fifth of total company revenue.

A great example of this in action is Nike’s linkup with streetwear brand Stüssy.

Why does this partnership work? Because the two brands have complementary audiences.

A quick look at Facebook Audience Insights shows us there’s a lot of crossover between people who like “Nike sneakers” and people who like “Stüssy”. On a simple level, we can see they’re both popular with young men, particularly in the 18-24 category:

Nike sneakers

Stüssy

Beyond that, Facebook tells us both audiences are predominantly single and university-educated, and that they’re more likely to work in sales than any other profession.

But there are also key differences. For instance, we can see Stüssy’s audience loves contemporary streetwear and culture sites like Hypebeast and Highsnobiety. Teaming up with Stüssy gives Nike an easy way to tap into this potentially valuable, fashion-conscious audience.

On the other hand (or should that be foot?), it’s not hard to imagine why working with the world’s biggest-selling sportswear brand would be beneficial for Stüssy.

Want More Conversion Optimization Tips?

We’ve put together 12 CRO resources to help you drive more leads and revenue.

Whether you’re looking for satisfaction guarantee examples or product page examples, we’ve got something for you.

You’ll also get immediate access to 23+ other bonus resources, categorized in Notion for your convenience.

Download Swipe File Now →

Conclusion

This article isn’t meant to be a checklist of tactics to adopt, because not all of these ideas will be relevant to every brand.

If you’re in a sector dominated by huge names, you might have to accept that organic search just isn’t right for you and focus instead on bringing in e-commerce leads through ads.

On the other hand, if click costs in your sector are sky-high, it makes sense for you to focus on other channels, like brand partnerships and content marketing.

What’s your number one tip for generating e-commerce leads? Let me know in the comments.

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