The Best eCommerce Lead Generation Tips and Tactics

The 2020 pandemic opened our eyes to the power of eCommerce. It wasn’t that businesses were not aware of its potential; it was simply that many had yet to take the plunge and dive into the eCommerce world. Lockdowns, closed stores, and transport restrictions forced a wide variety of businesses to go online. While the market for eCommerce had been growing, 2020 saw a leap in growth as those previously averse to shopping online recognized its convenience.

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Different Marketing Approach

What also became apparent to those moving from bricks-and-mortar into eCommerce is that the marketing approach differs. We will be talking about that in more detail as well as looking at why lead generation is essential to your eCommerce business and some of the most successful eCommerce lead generation strategies you should consider employing.
We’ll start by looking and what we mean by a ‘lead’ so let’s get down to business.

What is Lead Generation in the eCommerce Industry?

Lead Generation – capitalized – has become something of a buzzword in eCommerce and marketing circles. Before we explain the concept, a few statistics that should help you understand just how important having an eCommerce outlet is to any business:

These are just some of the simply colossal numbers that back up the case for eCommerce.
So, let’s look at what we mean by a ‘lead’.
What is Lead Generation in the eCommerce Industry?

What is a Lead?

A ‘Lead’ is a person or business that shows an interest in your products or services. They could register this interest by visiting your website, your social media pages, or by responding to or even opening an email or marketing message from you.
However, there are great leads, good leads, and leads that really are just wasting your time. Step back to the pre-internet days and think about how brands marketed their products or services: TV and radio ads; ads in newspapers and magazines; billboards and other outdoor advertising spaces, and mail-drops.
These are all still in use, but the latter – the mail-drop – has been somewhat refined in the age of ‘direct marketing’. Rather than simply sending 5,000 advertising leaflets to a block of addresses, direct mail companies now use data gathering, customer lists, and other sources of information to streamline and target their mail drops.
What is a Lead?

How Pre-Internet Marketing Relates to eCommerce Lead Generation?

How does this relate to eCommerce lead generation? Quite simply, just as sending mail selling – for example – lawnmowers to someone living in a high-rise is a waste of time and money, so is continuing with a similar pointless customer in the eCommerce world.
We’ll come back to this shortly, but to summarize, part of finding the qualified leads – those you are most likely to convert into a customer – is about targeting your audience, and in eCommerce, you have vastly increased ability to do so as we shall see. So, now we know what a lead is – and can tell the good lead from the bad – we need to explain the concept of Lead Generation. It’s quite simple, but it does take some work to get right so let’s have a look.

What is Lead Generation?

A simple definition of Lead Generation could be this: the act of encouraging an individual or a business to view your products and get them interested, and hopefully convert them into a customer or client. With a high street store, you make sure the shop front and window display are attractive, noticeable, and relevant. You also advertise deals, and do all you can to make the passer-by – or the reader of an advert – visit your store.
What’s the difference with an eCommerce outlet? First, if you have no physical store and operate solely in the digital world, you need to rethink your marketing and your approach to gathering leads.
Lead Generation

Why is Lead Generation in the eCommerce Industry Different?

We talked earlier about how a high-street store generates leads: adverts, shopfronts, billboards, and so on. A store will also spread its reputation by word of mouth. One shopper has a look, likes what they see, and tells others. This is also true of online businesses, but the eCommerce customer is looking for a different experience.
For example, imagine you are the customer. What do you expect from an online retailer? The right product at the right price is obviously attractive, as is quality customer service. In a bricks-and-mortar shop you expect to be greeted and treated with respect; the same is true with an online store, but perhaps to a greater extent.
With the rise of social media – which will get a further mention later on – has come an expectation in the eCommerce customer of excellent service, the best products as well as cost savings and further incentives to keep them online – and online at your store.
We will be going through the successful routines and methods of eCommerce marketing and lead generation soon, but first, we wanted to look at why you need to be constantly looking for new and relevant leads for your eCommerce.

Why Is Lead Generation Vital to Your Business?

No store – physical or eCommerce – is going to magically become a success. You may have found an excellent niche, but there will be others offering the same or very similar products and services. This is why your marketing and in particular lead generation strategies have to be perfected.
Bear in mind that lead generation does not consist of just one process. Instead, it is a variety of solutions that run in tandem, each bringing in potential leads. Let’s remind you of the ultimate aim of eCommerce lead generation strategies.

Better ROI

Improvements in return on investment (ROI) come with well-designed and implemented eCommerce lead generation strategies. Conversely, a badly thought-out strategy can easily lose you money. Go back to the example with direct mail, in which mail drops are sent out to a block of addresses. No actual thought has gone into this, and the chances are a lot of the addresses receiving the mail will not find it relevant.
The same is true of an eCommerce marketing strategy. You cannot simply pick names and send them an email, an SMS message, or another form of communication. Once again, this will hit a good proportion of people or businesses who have no interest in your product or service. That’s wasted time, effort, and money.
Better ROI

Know Your Customers

The trick lies in looking in detail at your target audience, who they are, and what they are buying. You also need to look beyond the existing customer base to similar profiles. Data gathering is the key to improving your marketing, your lead generation, and your ROI, and we have a passage dedicated to the subject at the end of this section.
To summarize, a good and effective lead generation strategy will enable you to target customers who are most likely to be interested in your product, thus streamlining your marketing.
Know Your Customers

Increase in Brand Awareness

The beauty of having an online footprint means you have access to a massive range of potential customers, especially when it comes to social media. Social trust – being seen as trustworthy and reliable thanks to ongoing positive comments on social media networks – is one of the most important aspects of building brand awareness and bringing in more eCommerce leads. We talked about word of mouth earlier; this is the online equivalent.
A customer shops with you and is happy with the buyer’s journey. They then comment on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and any one of many social media platforms. Their followers check you out, and you have a new set of leads to grab hold of. This is one of the most powerful reasons for building an effective lead generation strategy and needs careful and constant attention. Brand awareness is vital if you are to stake your claim in a busy market.

Boost Brand Loyalty

There is a saying that it is more difficult to keep the customers you have than to find new ones. This is partly true as in addition to improving your brand awareness you also need to keep your customers loyal. Your lead generation strategy goes some way to helping here as you can extend your social media strategy to build a community of loyal customers on – for example – your Facebook page.
Offer them deals for commenting, perhaps, or other incentives to visit your eCommerce store, product pages, and your blog regularly. Keeping your customers loyal also involves you being on top of what the competition is doing. If they bring in new offers, you need to counter that so that your customers stay with you. You should also look at loyalty schemes, such as offering a free item for every six bought or other such arrangements, that are exclusive to customers who sign up for the loyalty program. Here’s a statistic for you: 75% of consumers look for a good loyalty scheme when choosing a brand.

Data Gathering

Our final point in this section refers to data gathering which we have already mentioned. You need to gather as much information about your customers as possible not only contact details. This can be done by asking them to sign up for your subscription and loyalty programs. You also need to run the regular analysis of your customer’s behavior: what do they buy often; do they buy certain products together; do they spend more when you have particular offers in place?
Also use information gathered to determine the most likely age, sex, location, or even profession who are buying your goods. This way you can target your audience more specifically and streamline the entire process of generating eCommerce leads.
Now, it’s time to look at the actual methods and strategies you need to use to generate leads.
Data Gathering

Lead Generation Strategies

We’ve reached the part you’re most interested in – how to implement an eCommerce lead generation plan – and you’ll see there are quite a few areas of eCommerce that you need to think about. The following are all part of an ideal strategy. Some may not apply to certain businesses but in general, you’ll find each of these makes up a portion of the marketing campaign of an effective and successful business.
Let’s start with one area that many people thought had gone out of fashion – good old Search Engine Optimization!

Optimize for Conversions and SEO

The search for leads begins with SEO. Unless your eCommerce website – including homepage, product pages, blog, product descriptions, sales copy, and landing pages – is fully optimized for search engines you are going to lose out to the competition. Here’s a fact for you: Google averages 40,000 searches every second. You need to be visible on Google, and you need your SEO to put you there. This is one area in which you should invest in the services of an expert. It really is that vital that you get on the front page and generate more leads.
Furthermore, you need to be optimized for mobile searches. The smartphone is rapidly becoming the most popular method of searching for products or services, and local optimization is also a must. Talk to an expert in SEO and they will have a look at your site and give you an assessment of what needs to be improved.

We’ll be honest here and say that unless your eCommerce website, blog, and social media pages have been set up by professionals relatively recently there is likely to be a lot of work that needs doing. We can’t stress enough how important it is that you get your optimization right.

A final point on this: everything needs to be optimized for conversion. Make sure you give website visitors all the information they need, and that everything is to hand without complex navigation requirements. Ensure that your site is the one the visitor will stick with.

Post Regular and Relevant Content

Content is king. It may sound like a jaded cliché, but fresh, relevant, and informative content on your blog, social media pages, and in newsletters is more important than ever. You want to hook your potential leads with interesting trending news, for example. Include pieces about new products and services, but don’t limit your content to sales-oriented pitches.
The modern consumer wants something more. They want to be informed and educated. If you can explain your products or processes in an authoritative manner that is easy to read and understand, you cement your brand’s reputation as an authority in the field. This leads to greater social trust and consumers who will return to your pages for fresh content.
You may not be a great writer – most people are not – so look at platforms such as Upwork and Fiverr for freelance writers and engage an expert to write for you. It’s surprisingly affordable, and certainly worth the money for quality content that will bring consumers back to you regularly.

Email Marketing

Email marketing remains an effective method of targeting and nurture leads. Simple and to-the-point marketing messages will give your leads a reason to visit your store. You could be offering news of an exclusive product launch, targeting potential customers who you have researched, or inviting existing members of a loyalty scheme to buy a discounted or limited-edition product.

These are just a few ideas for you, but it remains the case that email is among the easiest methods of communication with leads. Make sure your emails are personalized: 73% of consumers are more likely to respond to a personalized email than a generic one.

One final tip: don’t overdo it. Nobody likes to be bombarded with emails every day. Your customers will have opted into receiving your marketing emails, so keep it regular but not too often or they will opt out.

Identify Your Customer Buyer Patterns

We’ve talked about this already so just a quick reminder here. Your site analytics are important to you. By understanding how a customer reacts to pages, where they spend the longest, what they buy and so forth you can further tailor your marketing campaign towards leads that meet the criteria of your existing customers. This is also important data for when you want to expand your product range as you will be able to see what sells, and what doesn’t. Use your Google Analytics and get to grips with who your ideal customer is.

Host Giveaway Contests

This is a great way of not only generating leads to becoming customers but also rewarding your existing customers and enhancing your brand loyalty. Everyone likes a competition, so now and then you could offer a one-off gift to someone who answers a question relevant to your business, or to the product. Or you may run a regular contest that will become known by way of your social media platforms. Keep it relevant, make it simple, and choose the prize in a way that will engender future business – for example, a discount on the next two purchases. Check your competitors for some ideas, and also other eCommerce stores.
Host Giveaway Contests

Run Remarketing Campaigns

Retargeting is one of the best strategies for quality lead generation and nurturing. It can help fill in some of the gaps in the lead generation cycle, but you will still need to adapt your strategy as you go. Retargeting is used for reaching people who have interacted with your site but didn’t buy anything. They could have simply surfed your site, created a wishlist, or gone as far as to add items to their cart. The goal is to bring interested visitors back to buy. Bear in mind that lead generation is a long process, not a single campaign.

Introduce Live Chat

The modern consumer – as we have seen – likes to enjoy a personalized online retail experience, and what could be more so than including a live chat function on your website or store? There are many apps and add-ons that enable this and there is significant evidence that consumers respond better to live real-time chat.
You can have the consumer make first contact if they want further information, or you can use live chat to grab a consumer at the point they are ready or considering converting. For example, a customer has hovered on one product page for a while. Your chat notifies you of this, and you jump and ask if there’s anything you can do to help.
This is also a helpful tool for eCommerce lead nurturing. You can ask them why they are visiting your site, what improvements you can make, and so on. Use the live chat to give the consumer that feeling they are important to you.
Live Chat

Simplify Your Checkout Process

Simplify your checkout process and you help eliminate one of the biggest problems with converting leads into customers – cart abandonment. More than 70% of carts across all areas of eCommerce are abandoned. The most popular reasons are added costs that crop up at the check-out and a complex check-out that requires them to give away more information and spend more time than they are willing to. Keep it simple, offer an ‘express’ version, and your leads will be more likely to buy.
Simplify Your Checkout Process

Improve Your Call-to-Action Scripts

Calls to action (CTA) are the ultimate encouragement that should be structured to convince more leads to go ahead and buy. They should be a part of your landing pages and also appear in product descriptions. The purpose is to remind the customer that they really want the product and that you are the store they need to buy it from.
Improve Your Call-to-Action Scripts

Something for Nothing

Our final point is this: everyone likes something for nothing. Give away a free sample if new visitors sign up to your mailing list. Or offer them a discount or entry into a competition for doing so. The important part of this is getting that information for your analytics. We can’t stress that information and data about your customers are the core of creating a successful eCommerce lead generation strategy.


The above list is by no means comprehensive but does include the most popular methods of building a lead generation routine and feeding the top of your sales funnel. The most important aspects are good strategy for search engines, educational content, and data gathering, each of which can help you target your marketing campaign to the most precise degree possible. We recommend you spend some time researching the methods used by other eCommerce businesses as that will give you more ideas about the way forward.
Good luck increasing your eCommerce lead generation and improving your conversion rate optimization!

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