Lead generation for e-commerce belongs to the same species as lead generation for the automotive or financial industry and every other sector of the 21st century.

However, e-commerce is leaner and more agile than any other industry.

At the point when we think about a conventional deals channel, we think about a salesperson sending emails, calling and arranging meetings with a lead. For a lead generation in e-commerce, this process is much less labour-intensive.

Online shop owners do everything possible to avoid having to lead their leads through very long sales funnel. The chances are that your products, your prices, your shop and your entire mindset are designed to generate sales without detours.

First, pass leads on to the sales team? With the best will not! Instead, let’s take them straight to the checkout page.

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at why lead generation is unique in eCommerce. You will also learn ten tips for generating leads and sales that will help you make your online shop to the next level.

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What is lead generation for e-commerce?

In e-commerce, lead generation, also often referred to as new customer acquisition, is anything but traditional. Let’s start with the obvious: the “E” in e-commerce means there is probably no physical location to visit. Also, considering whether to buy something in a traditional physical store is often a lengthy and more complicated process than the decision to purchase something online.

Let’s take buying a car as an example. Due to the high costs and the possibility of arranging a test drive, customers prefer to visit a car dealership. In contrast, buying items such as clothing online has quickly become the norm. This is because the cost is low and it is often easy to return or exchange items.

In e-commerce, lead generation can start with an advertisement on Facebook and end 90 seconds later on a checkout page.

What is the lead?

Before we start with tips for generating leads, we should first work out a definition of the term “lead”.

With your industry, a lead is someone who has shown interest in your brand, product, or service. We also like to speak about interested parties or potential customers. There are many different actions by which a person can be considered a lead.

For example, a lead in the automotive industry could have used a virtual showroom and designed his dream vehicle in it.
In contrast, lead generation in the financial sector could consist of a potential customer interacting with an online loan calculator.
Traditionally, people who have personally visited a car dealership or bank branch could also be viewed as leads.
There are some similarities between lead generation for e-commerce and more traditional businesses:

 The first step is awareness: It doesn’t matter what industry you work in: a lead has to know who you are before he can become a lead. Brand awareness is the starting point for everything that follows. Search engines, advertising and word of mouth should initiate this process.

 Leads have to be convinced :Whether you sell advice or kitchen appliances – there is a transition phase between customer and lead. Sometimes this transition happens in seconds, inspired by something like a discount code, and sometimes it can take weeks of discussion and adjusted budgets. Either way, the following formula applies: lead + Eureka moment = customer.

 Content accelerates this process: Content can play a crucial role in generating and developing leads. Do you want to create more traffic for your website or your shop? In general, the more content you can offer, whether it’s blog posts, social media posts, YouTube videos or something else, the better the chances that someone will discover your business. When it comes to attracting leads and turning them into real customers, there is no better way than translating your expertise into an easy-to-understand format and sharing it.

And yes, there are indeed some similarities between traditional and e-commerce leads, but they are relatively manageable.

Just think how unlikely it would be for a dealership to win a newsletter subscriber, send out a discount code of ten per cent and sign a sales contract on the same day. But that’s precisely how it works in e-commerce, where lead generation and customer acquisition move at high digital speed.

Who is your lead?

No two leads are the same. At the very least, however, they should have certain similarities that indicate whether or not they are a good lead for your business. For example, an interior design shop could receive ten newsletter subscriptions in one day. These registrations are divided as follows:

Eight are people between the ages of 30 and 50 who are doing home renovations.
One of them is a student who is completing a project for the university.
One of them is looking for ideas for a house but has not yet bought it.
The 8 s signups are leads that could buy from this provider. The student may never make a purchase. And the person looking for ideas might buy in the future, but not now. Of those ten people, nine are real leads who could potentially buy a product from the company. The student is more of a dud.

So who is your lead? Your lead is someone interested in buying something from your company. The development of a customer persona which the common properties that highlight your customers are a great way to identify your leads. Describing the average age and gender of a customer, their reasons for buying a product, and their general demographics can help you qualify leads.

Now let’s look at ten tactics and different types of lead generation in e-commerce and how you can convert your leads into paying customers.

Lead generation for online shops – the ten best tips

1. Create content with added value

Among the primary reasons people search the internet is because they can access a wealth of information with little effort. You can use this to your advantage: Research what people want to know about your product or your company and create your content around these topics.

How do you what your customers are looking for? By researching forums, competitor websites, and using tools like Answer the Public. Once you’ve identified the questions you want to answer, you can create an FAQ page or start a blog and create articles on each question topic.

You might be wondering what the absolute value of this investment of time in creating content is. Creating great content that your prospects will want to read means that more people are likely to discover your website and therefore buy from you. Being the best-informed provider in your industry also creates trust – an essential factor that we’ll talk about in more detail later.

Content doesn’t just mean articles. Content spans a wide range of formats such as e-books, videos, podcasts, and infographics. The possibilities are endless. And when the search demand is there, you can recreate the same content in different formats to promote your business.

2. Take advantage of cookies

advantage of cookies

This tip is especially valuable for those who work in e-commerce. Take advantage of your visitors’ cookies.

In the end, every visitor to your website can be seen as a lead. You can target visitors on Facebook, Instagram and AdWords based on the cookies they receive when they visit your site. We also speak of retargeting or remarketing. Make sure, however, that you have a privacy and cookie policy in place and that you are following the guidelines and laws that apply to your market ( e.g. the GDPR ).

You can use these cookies to address people who have already visited your shop – people who, by definition, have already shown interest in your product. If you retarget someone on Facebook again, you might be just a few clicks away from a sale.

But cookies aren’t perfect either. Most people block cookies, and they expire. However, they are still a valuable lead generation tool that you can use to take advantage of the fast sales cycles in e-commerce.

3. Lead generation via social media

If visitors are leads because they’ve shown an interest in your brand, the same can be said of your social media followers. In these cases, the gap between a lead and a sale is much smaller than, for example, the difference between a potential homeowner and a home. Social media is a tool that e-commerce can use in ways that traditional industries simply cannot.

So someone who follows you on your social networks is often only a few clicks away from a purchase. Traditional lead generation involves filling out forms, downloading content, and so on. A click on the “Follow” button saves a large part of this effort. So try to get more followers. There are many Shopify plugins that you can use to increase your presence on social media.

Of course, your company may not be featured on many social media platforms. But you’re not alone in that – some big brands aren’t either. This requires a smart approach and a focus on only the platforms that your target audience regularly uses.

As a result, adding your social media links to your newsletters and email campaigns is a great way to get followers.

When it comes to lead generation through social media, you should make it as easy as possible for people to go back to your shop and make a buy. Stages like Facebook and Twitter give you the ability to do just that.

And don’t forget: all of your followers are just a few clicks away from a conversion. You’re at least as close to purchase as more traditional leads who might only have downloaded a white paper. However, you have a trump card in hand here, as you also have a direct communication channel with you.

4. Lead generation through discounts and deals

Leads are especially valuable for your shop because they ultimately invest in your business. That’s why it’s a good idea to return the favour and give something useful back to your prospects. One effective way of doing this is by offering discounts to those willing to leave their email address. For an email address, you can supply a portion discount rate, totally free shipping, or a cost-free bonus on their next purchase.

Popups might not be popular, but free things are. Surprising a visitor with a gift is a great way to attract customers. There are numerous Shopify apps that you can use to trigger such emails for a lead generation about discounts and special offers, including Product Upsell, Justuno Conversion Suite and Pop-Up Window.

5. Save your email addresses

save email forms

In the example above, the goal was solely to get an email address. This is another reminder of how different lead generation is in e-commerce compared to more traditional methods.

For example, with enterprise software, lead generation tactics would never start and end with an email address. If you need to pass your leads on to the sales team, it could look something like this:

Lead generation with email forms

On the other hand, industries, when it comes to lead generation in e-commerce, it is not necessary to learn the life story of a visitor. An email address is sufficient. This enables you to get your offers, products and content straight to their inbox.

Sending an email right away is also essential for reactivating customers who abandoned their purchase before closing. People who abandoned their cart are considered leads because they have already flirted with your product. If you have their email address, you may be able to take them over the finish line and go shopping with a small reminder. However, you must always ensure that your campaigns for collecting email addresses comply with legal guidelines (e.g. the GDPR ).

There are now several solutions for email marketing, making this channel relatively cheap and often even free. You don’t pay per click here as you would with ads on social networks or search ads. And since the recipients left you their email address, they’re at least showing some willingness to engage with your brand. This way they won’t mistake you for a spammer either.

Some eCommerce marketers get annoyed that their email ends up in the “Ads” folder on Gmail. Don’t let it bother you. Emails that land in the advertising folder are unlikely to harass your leads. It is also not the case that Gmail hides such promotional emails. They have filed away. So the promotional folder won’t ruin your lead generation email campaigns.

6. Take care of SEO

With lead generation in e-commerce, you don’t need to hold the hand of a lead during a sales process lasting several weeks. However, you have to bring them to your shop first. After all, lead generation tactics like offering discounts and collecting email addresses won’t work if your shop has no visitors. SEO can be vital in generating traffic that turns into leads and hopefully, sales.

A significant benefit of lead generation in e-commerce is that you don’t have to write white papers or host webinars, which are often required to generate leads in other industries. But what you should keep an eye on is lead generation through SEO. Your product descriptions, metadata, and blog posts should all be treated as lead magnets. There is a lot of helpful content on the topic of SEO and how you can use it to optimize your shop.

7. Design for lead generation

There are a few simple design steps you can use to aid your lead generation efforts in the B2C space.

First of all, you should include calls to action (also called call-to-action or CTA). Such CTAs is anything that encourages your visitors to do something – in other words, anything that inspires them to take action. So use this—many of them.

There’s a reason that almost any section you add to a Shopify store can be easily enhanced with a CTA button.

Let’s take a look at HubSpot, a well-known marketing platform provider that has published an entire book on lead generation. HubSpot even wrote an e-book about writing a lead generation e-book. In other words, they know a thing or two about lead generation. No wonder that Hubspot’s homepage is also filled with strategically placed CTAs:

As a little exercise, take a look at your favourite online stores and what type of CTAs they use. You will find a lot of active verbs and just a few adjectives there. Make it short and meaningful to grab your visitors’ interest and get them to click.

In addition to the CTAs, another excellent tool for lead generation is the so-called “exit intent layer”. These are the popups that appear whenever someone leaves your shop. There are many different options for this type of lead generation. Sometimes companies will use it as a last chance to deliver content to visitors.

But you can also incorporate lead generation activities disguised as games. In the example below, a popup floats in from the side of the screen when a visitor is about to leave the shop.

That looks like fun. All you have to your email address! Once you’ve done this, the wheel will be activated, after which you can redeem your prize. For example, the visitor gets a 10 per cent discount, and you get an email address for your marketing. 

8. Optimize for mobile devices

Surfing on mobile websites has skyrocketed and continues to grow in the past five years. If you plan to increase lead generation in your online shop, you should optimize your site for mobile use. This means that you need to make sure that all of your buttons are clickable across all screen sizes, that the content is easy to read, and that the scrolling works properly.

If you want to test whether your website is optimized well enough, you can first go through Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Also, you could give real users access to your trial version. Invite five to ten people over and ask them to do simple tasks on their phones. Make sure going through the buying process is one of these tasks to make sure the process goes smoothly on both the phone and desktop.

9. Be trustworthy

Earlier, we talked about how to lead people from the lead to the customer phase. In e-commerce, in particular, one tactic has proven to be particularly useful: design to build trust . how does it look in action? There are a few simple things you can do:

Include shipping information.

If your store isn’t correctly called Amazon, visitors might have shipping questions. Insecurity about an order (how long it will last, how much it will cost, and so on) is an obstacle for a lead to become a paying customer. So give your potential customers everything they need. Include a “Send” link in your navigation and footer, and create a whole page with answers to questions that may arise on the way to converting.

Enter contact details 

Actually, of course, but so necessary! Even if a prospect asks no questions, and your shop is designed to be appealing and informative at the same time, you should still allow people to get in touch with you. If you give them direct access to your inbox, they will know that there is a person behind the shop who takes care of their needs. (Also, of course, someone who contacts you becomes a lead immediately!)

Include detailed product information. Another barrier is removed when you make sure there are no questions about your products. Product descriptions make an excellent contribution to your SEO. But they are also valuable for giving potential customers a good feeling that makes the purchase attractive.

10. Establish partnerships

Working with similar brands, influencers, or affiliates can help increase lead generation in an audience that you were previously unable to reach. However, choosing the right companies to partner with can be difficult. After all, you want to make sure the connection doesn’t hurt your brand.

Partnerships can work in many different ways. Usually, however, you and your partner will be working on a project together and promoting it equally to your respective audiences.

GoPro and Red Bull have z. B. has had a great partnership since 2016, in which the Red Bull ambassadors use GoPro equipment to take pictures of their brave actions. These activities motivated, like-minded Red Bull consumers to buy GoPro gear to film their stunts and vice versa.

Conclusion: lead generation in e-commerce

So now we know why lead generation is so unique and so valuable to e-commerce. We also got to know some concrete steps with which we can optimize our lead generation. Before you start generating lots of leads, however, here are a few essential tips:

Lead generation in e-commerce is different from lead generation in other industries – and that’s good for us! When you get a prospect’s email, you’re just a few clicks away from a sale. Gaining a social media follower does the same thing. E-commerce is moving very fastly.
You can adjust your lead generation tactics to take advantage of the short sales cycles in e-commerce. Instead of asking for a visitor’s email address, name, company, industry, country, etc., their email address is sufficient for you. You can also offer offers for different stages or situations, e.g. B. when a visitor comes to your website or when they abandon their purchase.
SEO and page design is essential, even if that seems obvious. If you make sure that visitors can find your website and have it peppered with plenty of clickable CTAs, your lead generation is sure to improve.