5. Traffic & analytics​

Let’s now run our traffic and test it.

This part of the course is all about your traffic and analytics. This topic should require its own course for each little part that we're going to go over here. Traffic and analytics is a HUGE exercise and really important for growing your store. The good news is that now that we’ve completed the previous sections, it makes all the traffic you send to your page much much more effective and more likely to convert. I'm going to go over as much as I can about traffic. If you want to learn more then stay tuned to my emails and subscribe to my Youtube channel were I teach more about running profitable campaigns for your store.

Without further ado, let's get into it!

The power of digital traffic is in the audience

The real power of digital marketing is that you can CHOOSE who you target with your ads. Platforms are getting better and better at figuring out who your target market but you still need to point Facebook and Google in the right direction. The work you completed in understanding your customers is so insanely powerful when it comes to generating traffic.

You now know:

  • Where your customers hang out
  • Where they go when they want to solve their problem (do they ask Google? Do they go to a forum?)
  • What language they use when talking about your products (perfect for writing ad copy and choosing keywords on Google)
  • What their main problems, fears and frustrations are (great for writing ad copy as well)

This research now helps inform your whole traffic strategy. Whether that’s paid or organic traffic. It’s going to differ between each store but you’re going to need to think about your customers, where they hang out, and how you can reach them.

Traffic is not some secret and mysterious black box that you need to crack. It's just a tool that you can use to communicate and send a message to potential customers. They’re out there on these platforms and the platforms just allow you to pay them so that you can talk to them. You could honestly go into some Facebook groups about your niche and start messaging users with the same message. It wont be automated and will take time but you could easily get some first sales doing this.

 

What I want to emphasize is that you've done the hard part already. You have completed the step that most media buyers skip. They run straight to Facebook and Google before defining who they’re actually trying to reach. It’s like starting a retail store in your country and just throwing a dart at the map and hoping for the best. It would make SO MUCH MORE SENSE to think about where your customers walk every day and set up your retail store right where they’re walking past, every day.

Check out the image to the left. A surf school. Would you set up a surf school tent in the middle of the Grand Canyon? Or would you set it up on a surf beach where a lot of tourists go for their summer vacation? You would set it up on the beach, of course! Do the same with your store. 

Where can you get your ads and your brand in front of your target audience?

The beauty of digital marketing is that you have control over where you show your brand. You can also measure how all your hard work is paying off (or whether you need to optimize your strategy).

Set up your store right where your customers are!

 

Don’t limit yourself to trying to just ‘crack’ one traffic channel

 

Don’t limit yourself to just one traffic source because that’s what you see everyone else doing. Stop and think for yourself about your own store, your own customers and where they hang out. I know several stores that have tried Google and Facebook Ads but found that Pinterest was, by far, the biggest profitable sales generator for their store. Their products are very visually appealing and their target demographic are on Pinterest every single day, all day. Me? The number of times I have opened Pinterest, I can count on my left hand. It’s not where I hang out – does that mean it’s not a good platform? Of course not. Many businesses have failed because the owner thought that their target audience was the same as themselves. Your customers are NOT you. This is why a buyer persona is so important because it stops you from thinking ‘what would I buy?’ and makes you think ‘What would THEY buy?’.

Don’t limit yourself to one traffic source. You can start with one, but branch out once you’ve broken even on that first traffic source. If it’s your first time working with any of these marketing platforms, you have a big long road of learning ahead of you. Don’t shy away from that or try to cut corners here. Learn this stuff as much as you can because it will make you a lot of sales in the long-term. Even if you know you will outsource the media buying once you reach a certain size, you need to know that your agency is doing a great job. Learning this stuff also gives you massive power and the ability to inject creativity into your overall strategy.

Your traffic source journey

 

You might start with Facebook but then find Google kills it, or you might start with Bing ads and then get a massive amount of organic traffic 6 months later once your blog articles start to rank. You always want to keep testing and keep an eye on your analytics so you can see where the sales are coming from and then maximise what’s working. One of my big clients (i.e. $10 million+ per year in sales) started by selling on bargain websites (like Groupon). Once they validated their product to market fit, they then transitioned their traffic source to Google Shopping and Facebook Ads. This took them from low 6 figures to 8 figures in a bit over 12 months of work. Three of my clients started in some local markets before transitioning to an online store. A client started on eBay, and another started on Etsy. My store started on Google Shopping and we then built up SEO to be even more profitable than Shopping. You need to find what works for you!

Recommended Traffic sources to start

 

Here are the traffic sources that I recommend exploring for your product page to start with. I’ve included a video or two that helps you get started. Like I said, I can’t create a full course on each of these platforms here because each one requires weeks/months of learning. I’ve added a video that points you in the right direction for your learning. There are many, many more sources of traffic than just these but I don’t want this part of the course to go on for 100+ pages. I recommend starting with these and then going from there.

There’s no one right way to get traffic. It depends on your business. Why? Because it depends on YOUR CUSTOMERS. Who are they, where do they hang out? Here are some good ideas but you need to work out what works for you:

Google Ads & Google Shopping

 

One of my favourite ways to start generating traffic for a new store. Why? Because it’s ‘intent-based’ marketing.. This means that we can target people that are searching for our products. They’ve already put up their hand and told us that they have the problem that we can solve. We just need to get our products in front of them and show them that we can solve them. The other massive benefit of Google & Shopping Ads is that we’re getting cold traffic onto our store and converting through our cart. If you have your Facebook Pixel installed then this is going to fill up that pixel with some incredibly valuable data on our customers. This is going to make it much easier to jump over to Facebook and start our first campaigns there and use the data from the pixel to create lookalike audiences right off the bat. It’s like a shortcut that saves you 1 month of testing that you would usually need to complete with a new Facebook ads account. 

Google Shopping vs Google Search

Bing Ads

 

Bing Ads is like the little brother of Google Ads. It’s basically just the same search platform but owned by Microsoft and used by a slightly different demographic audience. 90% of people go to Google but many still use Bing because that’s what they’ve always used. It's also the default search engine on Microsoft Explorer and the people that still use that terrible web browser use it because it’s there. This means that, depending on your target audience, you might have incredible results on Bing because your target audience are all using it. Also, we see that generally Bing Ads perform more profitably and cheaper than Google Ads, but they don’t have nearly the same volume of traffic. They’re generally always a good option to set up because you can easily export your Google campaigns straight over to Bing Ads in under 20 minutes and then BOOM you have a full strategy set up and ready to go.

Other Search Engines

 

There are hundreds of other search engines apart from Bing and Google with varying volumes of traffic. Think about your target audience and how they would search the web? One of our clients has customers that are particularly interested in being environmentally friendly and conscious. We found that using the Ecosia search engine (a search engine that plants trees after you search) was a fantastic way to get in front of their customers.

Facebook & Instagram Ads

 

Facebook and Instagram ads are both a great source of Ecommerce traffic when you set up your funnel properly. You can target customers at all stages of the buying funnel (TOFU, MOFU, BOFU) and use a diverse range of creatives to move them through towards converting. This section requires it's own huge course as there's so much you can do with Facebook Ads for your Ecommerce store. The key here is testing out 3 parts of an effective Facebook Ads funnel:

  • Your audience targeting
  • Your creative
  • Your offer 
Dialling these in takes a couple of weeks of testing. It's going to be different for every single store. Your business has its own ‘fingerprint', it's own identity. You can't just copy the full funnel and creatives of another store, even in your niche, and expect it to work. 

Organic & SEO

 

Organic traffic or SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is where you optimize your website so you show up on Google's search results, but not with paid ads. Keep in mind that there’s never such a thing as ‘free traffic’. You will always need to pay for it in one way or another. The good thing about organic traffic is that it has HUGE potential and is largely untapped by most Ecommerce stores. Often new stores will focus on paid traffic and invest in SEO later once they have proven their store converts.

Most of the stores I’ve worked with have done this. But it is possible to invest in SEO first but this takes time and a lot of upfront expenditure to do this. Even if you’re not able to invest in this right now, I recommend making sure you have optimized your website itself for SEO, even if you are not running an in-depth content strategy.

Organic Search Results Screenshot

Organic Results might not be at the top of Google's search results but they get a lot of clicks and can be much more cost effective than paid traffic!

 

Coupon Websites

 

Coupon websites are a great way to quickly test out your product.  These are websites like Groupon that allow you to post a discount for a sale and generate a tonne of traffic. Be very careful because the discounts you offer will reduce your profit margins. Also, the type of customers you attract might not be the ones you really want. Sometimes they can be the type of customers that frequently request a charge-back on their purchases and create customer service problems out of nowhere.

Groupon Screenshot

I’ve seen this work well for some stores, especially for getting the initial traction and branding but it can cause a lot of pain. Think about it, who are the people that frequent bargain websites? They can be more inclined to be of the penny-pinching variety that will nickle and dime your store. You might get a few chargebacks and you’ll need to have your customer service prepared to deal with the higher rates of problems that this crowd can bring.
It can definitely work in your favor but keep this in mind going into it! I would not recommend it as a long-term strategy unless your specific demographic are frequently on the coupon websites. If so, go nuts!

Youtube

 

Youtube is similar to SEO in that it is all about creating great content. This is a huge opportunity for brands but also requires an intricate strategy to pull off. It takes consistent work over time but can pay off in the long run. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
You have probably seen my Youtube channel. It took a lot of work at the start but as I started building my audience and the Youtube Algorithm was able to clearly identify my target audience, my channel has been growing steadily and is a fantastic source of traffic.
Why can Youtube be incredible for your Ecommerce store? Because you are adding value first, and requesting a purchase later. Customers are used to brands asking for the sale up front. By creating valuable content in your niche you build trust and authority which is key for creating fanatical customers that love your brand and tell all their friends.

Running Youtube Ads for Ecommerce (done within the Google Ads platform) is also another huge potential traffic source but requires great creatives and a good keyword and channel targeting strategy with time for optimization. This is a more advanced source of traffic and I recommend starting with other sources before diving into this.

Forums

 

During your research in the first section you should have come across some forums where your customers hang out. If you haven’t started already, start engaging with these people!

Become a member and start answering questions and adding value. Don’t rush in and try to sell straight away. Just build up a reputation for being someone that’s also a fanatic about the niche and also helps people by getting them the best products around (with your store). 

This is an ongoing and long term strategy that requires you to be amongst the niche. If you’re not passionate about the niche (at all) then I’d steer clear of this. It’s going to be tough to be truly authentic with your content in the forum if you don’t actually care about the people in there.

Blogs and Influencers

 

Another fantastic strategy that some people will dabble in but they will stick to just Instagram influencers. I would test out instagram influencers but that should just be one part of the strategy. You can also find the big blogs in your niche and send the owners an email to find out how you can work together with your own brand. Maybe that’s getting some banners on their blog, maybe you get a guest post, maybe they review your products. 

The key here is that they are already an authority in the space and their audience trusts them. You can use that authority to get profitable conversions on your store by the exact people that need your products. Thinking outside the box is key here and the path to massive profits. 

When you engage with blogs and influencers, you’re no longer playing in the huge market of Facebook or Google – so you can find some insanely good deals for your ecommerce store. Other store owners aren’t usually doing this strategy so you are the first in here. Not only that, but a lot of influencers are just happy to have an advertiser to work with. They get paid, they’re happy, and you can get an incredibly cheap deal for incredibly targeted traffic. It’s a win win!

Gardening Blog

Advertising on blogs in your niche is a fantastic strategy to get your brand in front of your specific target audience

Instagram Influencer

Instagram has a heap of influencers you can use to get your product in front of people that love your niche.

Analytics

 

Ok, let’s now jump into the analytics. This is crucial because while we can have great traffic to our store, we need to know how well it’s converting. We need to know if we’re actually making money here.

Analytics are important because they allow you to know if you are doing things right. You’ll know if a traffic source is working, what you can optimize within that traffic source, and even if you need to ditch a traffic source altogether.

You want to always have a finger on the pulse of your marketing performance. This means knowing the metrics for each platform, how much you’re spending, and how it’s performing. The best stores I work with always know their profit margin and their breakeven ROAS. This allows them to confidently make decisions regarding their marketing and business. There are too many smooth talking marketing agencies out there and they can only swindle you if you don’t know your goals and metrics!

Watch this video on key metrics for your Ecommerce store:

Know your profit margin and other metrics

 

Knowing your profit margin is incredibly important for growing and scaling your store, but very few ecom store owners actually know and track it. It's very easy to calculate, and once you know it, you can tell what's actually working for your business. What products bring the most profit for your bank account, what marketing strategies are killing it, and even more – what you should be focusing on to scale your store as quickly as possible. This is where the science of growing a business comes in and it's no longer JUST the gut. You can point to the exact strategies that are generating CLEAR and MEASURABLE results and then double down there. This is how you make leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.

Watch these videos on Calculating Your Profit Margin, Calculating Your Average Order Value and Calculating Customer Lifetime Value.

Calculating Your Profit Margin

Calculate Your Average Order Value

Calculate Your Customer Lifetime Value

Google Analytics

 

Google Analytics is a fantastic platform to house your analytics, especially if you are just starting and are cost-conscious. It’s free and is one of the best tools out there. It will show you all the demographic information you need as well as give you an overview of where all the converting traffic came from. Of course, within each platform (like Google and Facebook Ads) you’ll have much more granular data which will be important for making the decisions within that platform. For overall, Google Analytics works great.
Let’s get Google Analytics setup on your Shopify store!

How to Set Up Google Analytics

How to Audit & Understand Your Google Analytics Data

Hotjar

 

Hotjar is a tool that I use on my store and all the stores I work with. It gives you some incredible data that Google Analytics doesn’t. It creates heatmaps of your traffic and even screen recording videos. What’s this? Well, it will analyse how each individual person interacts with your website and then create a screen recording of how that person used your website. Yep, it’s pretty much like you’re looking over their shoulder and watching them interact with your product page. This is incredible because you’ll be able to Tell a story from what you see. You’re no longer limited to just reading metrics and numbers but you can spot particular behaviours that the customer has and make changes based on that.

 

Here’s a heatmap generated by Hotjar that shows that people really love clicking through to the HydroPot bundle. Maybe we should include this as a separate product rather than a variation?

Hotjar Screen Recording

Here's a screen recording showing someone using the website (generated by Hotjar).

Click Here To Sign Up for Hot Jar

The free version is enough for your new store and to get some valuable insights.

I only recommend the paid version if you're generating A LOT of traffic to your store already and want to create more than 3 heatmaps.  The free is enough to get some valuable insights! 

Here’s a video on setting it up on your Shopify store: