I've been compiling some quick hacks anyone can do to growth their business (or even just to make their first sale). I've used most of these tactics for my own store and found a range of success. I thought I'd share this with everyone! I hope it helps!
A lot of these are specific to Ecommerce businesses, but most can also be applied to any business really. These are all the tips I have for now, but I'm always working on more. If you like these tips and want more, let me know – I'll make sure to keep adding to them and sharing with the community.
1) The 'About' page is the 2nd most visited page on your site
Your customers want to know who you are and what you stand for. So make sure your About page is high quality. It should say who you are, why you do what you do, what your brand's mission is, how long you've been in business, and how you approach customer service. Consumer these days are hyper informed, and transparency is very important these days. They want to do business with a brand that aligns with their own principles.
2) Subscribe on your competitors' email lists for daily inspiration
We all have competitors in our spaces. If not direct, definitely indirect. Go onto their sites and subscribe to their newsletters (with a personal email address) and keep tabs on what they are up to. This way you'll be aware when they do flash sales, launch new products, or run promotions. If your competitor is a big store, you better believe they know what they are doing with their email lists. Every email they send is sent with a goal and objective in mind. It's then your job to study this and apply it to your own store.
3) Order a pizza for your best customer
Feel like doing something nice for a great customer? I've tried this before for a customer who netted me about $400 in profit. I called up Dominos and ordered an extra large cheese pizza (cost like $15) to his house. I knew he was home because he had called up my customer service number asking some questions and I asked him if he was home. After he got the pizza he called me back and thanked me for the "best customer service he has ever had". A couple months later I found out he told several of his friends and they all ended up buying my product too, which came out to be another $580 in profit. And all it took was ordering a $15 pizza for someone when they called me for support. The potential word of mouth referrals you can get from this is amazing. Especially considering we're now always online and documenting our day through social channels. A good deed has way more potential to get shared. Protip: Ordering cheese is the best way to go because no one has an issue with it. I turned this into a free Shopify app called Scout that will alert you about your best customers daily, weekly and monthly
4) People only wait 3 secs for a page load. Decrease your image sizes
Amazon found that they lose $1.6 billion per year if their website is 1 second slower. The average consumer only waits 3 seconds for a page to load on desktop and 5 seconds on mobile. Imagine if your store took longer than 5 seconds to load, you've just lost a potential buyer. Large images are the largest factor in slow load times. Most people don't know there is a way to save images to be web friendly or you can convert them online using free tools. It maintains quality and keeps picture sizes low.
5) Start a Twitter chat with someone who is using one of your keywords
Start a twitter chat with someone who mentioned needing or wanting a product you sell. Easy. Do this at least once a day and listen to your potential customers problems. This is called research and customer development. You can use
https://twitter.com/search-advanced to search for your keywords, and Twitter will show you a list of all the relevant posts. Even if it doesn't lead to a sale, you've done customer research and learned what's important.
6) Make an Infographic – they get shared more
People love reading infographics because they pack a lot of interesting facts in one engaging post. It's hard to make one, just Google "how to make an infographic". Canva is a good tool for this.
7) Calling customers leads to 32% increase in repurchases
When someone buys from you, call them to say thank you. And then call them a few weeks later to see how they're liking your product. This will significantly increase repurchases. People want to do business with those they trust, and calling builds that trust.
8) Calling abandoned cart buyers can result in 60% carts recovered
If someone has filled out all their personal info but instead of clicking "buy" they close the window – they were intent to buy at one point. 68% of carts get abandoned so this is a huge problem for any store store. Just pick up the phone and call that person (make phone number fields at least optional if not mandatory). When you call them you build trust and a relationship – answer their questions, it's a hot lead! Recovery rates also depend on what type of product you sell, the most expensive, or the more niche, the better this tactic works. If you're using a platform like Shopify, they give you information about this, especially if you're using an app like Scout on Shopify.
9) 70% of buyers consult reviews before purchasing
you know you do this too. This is why getting reviews on your online store is crucial. Without reviews your store doesn't look trustworthy. When you're getting started and calling each and every customer of yours, simply ask them to leave a review – this is going to pay off bigger than you think.
10) Create videos and publish them to your website
Google indexes videos around the internet. So if you have videos and name them properly for keywords people are searching for, your site will have an advantage in search results. Also, YouTube is the 2nd most popular search engine and the fastest growing, so having relevant videos there would be a good idea.
11) Build Slideshares of your content
Slideshare is like the YouTube for slideshows and powerpoints. So putting your content in a presentation type format could help your audience discover your content and the be fits of your products. The more places your content can live online, the more likely a buyer is going to stumble on it during their search.
12) 63% of your visitors are more likely to buy if you have reviews
Reviews provide the social proof your audience is looking for before trusting you with their cash. Business is built on trust. Now that retail is moving online, the trust that was there with physical store is no longer is there. Now, we have to build trust through other means, and product and company reviews are key for that. There are tones o Shopify apps that will help you do this.
13) Spread Value on Reddit
Reddit is a massive traffic source. The caveat is you need to be a true redditor and not a promoter. If other redditors sense a promoter they will downvote you and you will lose credibility. Spend some time posting truly helpful links to the community and then politely and naturally post helpful links in comments when people ask for it. Other redditors will check your history to see what other posts you've made so as long as you have a history of non-promotion and helpfulness your post will be welcome.
14) Create and publish memes
Memes have the potential to go viral. A clever meme is going to make it very easy for your audience to tag their friends in it. Posting memes on social media is probably the best way to do this. There are several free sites where you can generate memes really quickly using popular meme images.
15) Use Egobait. Write something amazing about an influencer in the hopes of developing a favorable business relationship
Everyone loves being told they make great content and they are helpful. Find relevant influencers in your industry and send them a friendly and "ego stroking" email (handwritten letter if possible). Naturally bring up the product you sell and without asking for anything in return tell them you would like to gift them your product. More often then not they will make a post about your letter and product because. Why? Because influencers are always under pressure to post new original content and your letter will be exactly that opportunity for them.
16) Make contributions to Wikipedia and build credibility
This tip is an incredible way to build massive authority for your site so Google ranks it higher in search results. It takes some time but it can be worth massive traffic. Create a Wikipedia account and start fixing errors on pages. Could be grammar or spelling mistakes. Even more importantly, start contributing to existing articles in topics you're familiar with – add value to Wikipedia's knowledge base. When you've contributed enough times you will have built up credit which will allow you to edit reference sources on posts that are within your industry. Start writing blog posts that support Wikipedia articles and source your store's blog as the reference. Google's algorithms are going to think "wow this site must know what it's talking about if Wikipedia is linking to it, let me raise its ranking"
17) Post for sale on Craigslist and Kijiji
Posting on Kijiji and Craigslist is a great way to hack showing up first on search results. How it works: when someone searches for your product Kijiji and Craigslist have enough authority with Google to show up first. When they click on the link on the marketplace site, your product should show up on the first page on their site. The key to making sales online is to be everywhere you customers are. So that means being discoverable everywhere possible, all channels. Protip: of you buy sponsored posts on these classified sites it shows you first – definitely do this if you know there is a market for your product and if your audience is cost sensitive and looks for deals.
18) Record tutorials on YouTube
YouTube is the fastest growing search engine. It's also the second most popular search engine. If you don't have one, create a YouTube channel and post tutorial videos of your product. Do an "unpacking" video, show a tutorial of how to use it properly, answer Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s in video format as well! Anything you can think of in video form, do it, post it on YouTube and embed them where you can in your store. This will help your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and help make your store look more trustworthy.
19) Push your customers to leave reviews
Positive reviews do your store many favors. 1. The social proof goes a long way to push a considering buyer to make their purchase. 70% of customers consult reviews before making a final purchase. 2. The content on your site helps your search engine optimization and leads to Google ranking you higher. 3. It builds trust and credibility for your business.
20) Change the names of your images to keyword phrases
Change the name of your image files to the keyword phrases your customers are using to search for your product or service. Leaving the image named "IMG07382" and only changing the alt tag is not enough. This will boost your SEO and will rank your images higher in image search results. Again, what makes Google so powerful is that it does a really good job at showing searchers what they are searching for, so the more you help Google find the right thing for its users the higher it will rank you.
21) Answer people's questions on Quora
Quora has built up some great web authority. A lot of people looking for answers to their problems or questions go to Quora Answer questions people have specific to your niche and you'll drive a few visits every so often to your site. It's very easy to do and has great reach. When you find an appropriate question related to your product or service link a blog to the answer rather than just the product link. It's also a great place to do research on what questions people have so you can get ideas for new unique blog posts for our own blog (then link them back as answers to the Quota questions).
22) Product images should have white backgrounds
This is a tip less about traffic and more focused on converting buyers to purchase. White background images look more professional and keep the look of your product pages consistent. There are too many online stores out there with inconsistent looking photos with different angle and even different settings. I would not trust these amateur looking product pages. You need to feature the product only. The white background images will make your store look much more professional and trustworthy. Pixc is good for this.
23) Use the same dimensions for your product images
Another important product photo tip is about dimensions. Please make sure our photos are the same dimension or aspect ratio (height:width). This makes your product pages look a lot more professional – square photos are even better (white backgrounds obviously). Professionalism is very important and the consistency of our photos speaks volumes to your audience when they are decided whether to trust you with their money or not. You can use Pixc for resizing your images, Pixc is also a Shopify app that's very easy to use.
24) Popups can massively increase your email list – Experiment with them to see what works for your store
I know one blog run my a close friend who gets 90% of his email subscribers from the popup. They're annoying, but they're effective. Pop ups or "lightboxes" show up on a customers screen after a little while of their scrolling. If somebody has already spent a minute on your website they're probably engaged with your content. Show them a pop up asking for their email address to send them a discount code. Email subscribers are important because you can push out new offers and even use those emails for retargeting in ads. Once you have enough you can even host webinars and live Q&A tutorials. Build a following, it gives you a lot more free marketing options!
25) Create a shipping and returns page
If you call up a customer who abandoned their cart and ask them if they have any questions, I'll bet you the most frequent question they will ask is about shipping. People who are buying online want instant gratification (it's why same day shipping is so attractive). If you can't guarantee same day shipping it's important to be upfront about how long shipping will take so that at least there is a tangible number and expectation you can set. Your customer just wants to know when they can expect their package. Make it clear! Many customers who are shopping online will sometimes look for a reason NOT to buy, and not having a clear shipping timeline is enough for them to abandon. It's hard getting people to open their wallets and pull out their credit cards. Don't give them a reason not to.
26) Skype with your best customers and record the video
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Reviews are crucial to building trust and developing a relationship with potential buyers. Reviews are a must for online sales. No one will trust you with their money without social proof these days. Videos are also another important content medium. Google appreciates websites with videos so it's also good for your search ranking. Put those together and you have video reviews. It's not hard, call your best customer each month (or each week if you have enough sales) and ask their permission to screen record an interview. Add it to your YouTube channel and also embed them onto a dedicated website page.
27) Put shipping details directly on the product pages
But if it's actually pretty fast, you need to tell them. In addition to having a page just on Shipping on your site, add the shipping expectations on the product page itself. It's going to be on your customers mind so answer their question before they either need to ask you about it, or assume it's slow and go elsewhere.
28) Check for typos on your website. Looking unprofessional is the worst
If I'm on an online store and I find a website with typos, I immediately discredit the site as amateurish. One of the most important things when you're running your online store is trust. Looking trustworthy, building trust, growing trust, maintaining trust! Typos are the fastest and easiest way to lose that trust. Zero typos and grammar mistakes mean you have zero visitors in your site questioning your credibility. People want to buy from professionals, not amateurs.
29) Create unboxing videos and link them on your product pages
Unboxing videos are clips of you opening the box or package with your product. It helps your customer understand exactly what they're getting. This tip helps you two fold. 1. Search engine optimization. By creating new content that is original and unique to your site, you help Google rank you higher. Create your YouTube channel and make videos – even add the unboxing video to your video Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page. 2. It makes clear what your customer will be getting in the mail. When they see your package on screen it will help them visualize themselves receiving your package in the mail. Show the process of opening the shipping box, an inner package box if you have it, take out any individual pieces. If you have access to a good microphone go ahead and talk about the process, otherwise you could just overlay some brand friendly music over the video. I use the OverheadPro phone stand to make my videos. You don't need expensive equipment to do this.
30) Write a personal email to each customer
If you're doing less than 20 orders per day this shouldn't be hard. Call if you can! What should you say? Personally thank them for their order, ask them if there is anything they need help with, and leave it open for them to reach out at anytime. It's important that you thank them for supporting a small business. Reaching out to customers personally is also a great way to build a relationship and get feedback about your product. If you get a good response make sure you ask for a review (remember how we talked about its importance?) or a referral to their friends.
31) Create video Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)s for your most common questions
Customers buying online have almost unlimited questions. Because they can't touch the product, don't have a live person in front of them and have to consciously pay for something and put trust in a store they've never physically seen. They want their questions answered. Questions about shipping times, returns, who pays for returns, warranty, how to clean/install/assemble/fix etc etc etc. Long story short, you must have an Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) page. And in-line with our ongoing emphasis of having video content, record your answers to questions in video form on YouTube and also embed them into your FAQ page. This will help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and also help your customers put a face to your business.
32) Buy misspells of your domain
This is an overlooked strategy but buying misspellings of your domain name can lead to significant new visits. If you get 10 visits per month from a misspelled domain, having 10 equals 100 new visits per month. Now if you know your conversion rate 100 extra visits can mean an extra couples sales.
33) Run a promo on a deals site
You can offer sites like Groupon or other deals sites a promotion for their customers. These sites are always looking for merchants to work with. Additionally, a better idea for you if you want to stay more targeted is to reach out to blogs or other service websites that would share the same audience as you. Offer a deal exclusively for their audience and they will be happy to share it with. It's a perk for their audience for being a subscriber of their site and it makes them look good too.
34) Translate your store content to more languages
I can't understate the value of this tip. You already know that English is not the first language for the majority of the worlds population. So check out some of these stats: 72.1% of consumers spend most or all of their time on websites in their native language 72.4% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a site with info in their language 56.2% consumers said the ability to obtain information in their own language is more important than price. Here are the top 10 languages ordered by online sales: 1. English 2. Chinese 3. Japanese 4. German 5. Russian 6. Portuguese 7. French 8. Italian 9. Spanish 10. Arabic You can use a free tool like Google Translator to get started and then hire a real translator to polish it up.
35) List on price comparison engines for more traffic
List your products on price comparison websites. Many of them are free to list, out your product up there for two reasons: 1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Your product and links back to your store will help Google rank your results higher because now Google will think other popular sites like your product. 2. Because your competitors are probably already also doing it. If you don't even show up for the fight, you've lost by default. Your audience is checking out price comparison sites and you aren't even listed it's like you don't even exist. If someone is on a price comparison site looking for the product you sell, they are highly interested buyers and they will pay attention to you when making their purchasing decision.
36) Add sharing buttons to your pages and encourage visitors to share
The second most weighted metric for Google ranking is supposedly Facebook shares. Make your product pages easy to share. There are tones of page sharing plugins you can put in your blog and in your product pages. These plugins allow your audience to share on their social channels with one click and makes it easier for you to gain viral traffic to those pages. You probably won't get tones of shares, but even a few shares will mean potentially hundreds more impressions on your sharer's friends.
37) Subscribe to 'HARO' for daily free Public Relations (PR) leads
Everyone do this right now. HARO stands for "Help A Reporter Out" There are tens of thousands of journalists on HARO looking for quotes, sources and experts for their content. When you sign up and select which industry, niche, or general area you know enough about, you will get an email when a reporter is looking for your expertise. For example. Let's say you run a cake decorating supply online store. If a journalist is looking for quotes for a piece they are writing about the rise in wedding cake prices, you would be alerted to reach out and give a statement. If they select you, you and your store will be featured in the article. This is a great tip because it's free and can potentially drive tones of traffic. If the articles are for online posting (which they probably will be) it will be great for your SEO if you can get them to backlink back to your store URL.
38) Send free samples to Instagram influencers
Find social media influencers in your niche and send them free samples of your product. Make sure you thank them for the content they continue to put out and offer to help them with their goals before you ask for something in return! It's not just about customer relationship development, but also developing relationships with leaders in your industry.
39) Use someone's product and let them tell your story
If you're using any apps to help you run your store (like cart abandon recovery apps, product review apps, translation apps, retargeting apps, themes, shipping apps, the list could go on forever) reach out to them for a feature. Simply write a blog post for them already with yourself as a case study. Talk about why you started your store, what your store is and what it's about, how you met challenges, and how their app resolved those challenges for you. App marketers are always looking for new original content, so serve it up for them on a silver platter. They will probably post it on their blog or newsletter and now some of their audience will be directed to your store.
40) Sponsor a 'Thank You' page on another site
This may not be the cheapest traffic source but it could work for the right type of store. If there is a well aligned complimentary or supplementary store or service to your own niche site, consider sponsoring their "thank you" page. This page is the confirmation page customers see when they make a purchase. If they make a purchase on the store you've sponsored, your information with a link to your site would show and potentially link them to you. Another way to get a similar outcome would be to batch your product offering on the other site and recruit the site to be your affiliate and sell your goods through their store.
41) Automate the sharing of your social media posts
Consistency of sharing relevant and brand friendly content is 80% of a good social media strategy. Invest some time upfront to find a few dozen articles, infographics, memes, videos, etc that fit your brand messaging and your marketing strategy.
42) When you're starting, promote the fact you're local
Write which city you're from on your Instagram bio, Twitter bio and Facebook Page. When you're starting out it's easier to start building traction and sales in your locale because your city is more likely to support you. It will be easier for you to get customers to care if they think you're around the block. Once you start growing you can take the city off, but having it early makes your brand more relatable.
43) List your products on Etsy, be more discoverable
The more places your brand and products show up online the better. These days customers don't just search one place for something. They might find your product on your store but then search for similar stuff on Etsy or Amazon too. The more places you show up the more the customer will develop a relationship and recognition of your brand and buy from you. Shopify is just one channels, but be on all channels, event Facebook Marfketplace, Ebay, Amazon, etc.
44) There's no marketing strategy without keyword research
You absolutely need to know how your audience is using search to find solutions to problems. You need to find the patterns of search keywords so that you can build your content strategy around this.
45) Add Alt tags to your images so Google knows what it's of
It's crazy how many people don't do this. Google "how and why you should use Alt Tags".
46) Meta tags tell search engines what your site is about. Optimize it.
Same as above, Google "how to use Meta Tags" and you'll see why this is so important for Google to index you.
47) Edit titles and descriptions of your store and product pages
Again, you need to help Google index you better. The more you help Google rank you, the better Google will actually rank you 🙂 Funny how that works, eh?
48) Treat customers like assets, not like transactions
Can't stress this enough. If the only think you do today is call a customer and say "thank you" – you're doing a good job. You will learn what your customer wants. It's 7x cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one.
49) Use Snip.ly to drive traffic back to your store when you share someone else's content
With Snip.ly you share that link through your social media accounts, Snip.ly will add a Call To Action to your own page. A big button at the bottom left of the page pushing your audience back to your own store. If you've done the previous tip and are posting links regularly, this is a great hack to get some traffic back to your site through one of your shares.
50) Don't be afraid to try new hacks
The name of the game is experimentation. Something might work for me, but not for you. Something might work for you and not for me. The idea is as long as you keep trying new things and figuring things out, you're loving the process. And loving the process is 80% to success. I know it's super cliche, but it's SO true. It was experiments like this that drove me to achieving 10k per month for my online store. I know it's not a HUGE number like some of these "gurus" will promise you, but I'm happy with it because my margins are like 50% and so I can maintain myself because of it. And I only work like 2 hours per day.