And eCommerce store owners need to be doing all 3!

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been online for years or you’ve just launched, or if you sell on a little Etsy store or you’re making a motza on your own eCommerce website.

The fact remains: traffic = sales.

Without anyone visiting your online store, you ain’t gonna make money.

Read on for a clear description of the ONLY 3 ways to get traffic.

Did you know there are only three ways to get traffic

Communicating with customers is essential

We communicate with our customers and potential customers in a variety of ways in order to build our brand and attract more customers.

Sometimes our content is designed to attract new people to our website, such as paid advertising.

Sometimes our content is designed to educate, such as blog articles.

And sometimes our content is designed to convert, such as product descriptions on our website.

The winning strategy

There are three primary strategies for attracting visitors to your website: Paid, Owned and Earned.

Paid is obvious. This is Advertising bought and placed by the business.

Owned means you are marketing via channels controlled by the business.

Earned means other people are talking about or sharing content or information about your brand.

Using a mix of all three is the winning strategy.

I see too many businesses throwing all their eggs in one basket when it comes to getting traffic to their site. For example, posting like a demon on Instagram and not doing anything else.

Sound familiar?

Let me describe your options in more detail and give you some examples.


When we think of using paid advertising to generate traffic to our website, typically our thoughts jump to running ads on Google or Social Media.

Right now, my clients are having best success with paid ads on Facebook as well as Google Shopping.

BUT, this is not the extent of the paid ads you can run. Other examples of paid ads include:

  • expos, trade shows and markets (and the website listing you typically get with your booking),
  • paying bloggers and influencers to write or post about your products on social media,
  • print, outdoor and TV advertising (these I don’t typically recommend)

Benefits of Paid advertising

Paying for advertising is targeted and allows you to reach a large audience.

Advertising via channels like Facebook, Instagram and Google can be flexible and cost effective, and (my favourite) they are highly measurable.

Challenges of Paid advertising

The biggest difficulty for small businesses is that it can be difficult and costly to break through the ‘noise’ in the marketplace. IE get noticed amongst the competition.

Also, response rates tend to decline over time and this type of marketing often has a low perceived credibility amongst customers.


Continuously working on creating and building up our own marketing assets is incredibly important.

Examples of this kind of marketing include:

  • content on your own website (including your online store and your blog)
  • Search Engine Optimisation (if you do this within your business – if not, shift this to the ‘Paid’ section!)
  • content you share via your own branded social media channels
  • your email newsletter / marketing emails sent to your list
  • product packaging that sits on retailer shelves
  • any lead magnets, brochures or catalogues you produce

Benefits of Owned marketing assets

You have 100% control over all your own marketing materials. That means, full control over the way you present your brand, your offers and your messaging.

Strategies like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and email marketing can be extremely cost effective and produce high returns on investment.

Challenges of Owned marketing assets

The biggest challenge with creating and distributing your own marketing content is that it requires consistent ongoing work to be effective. These are not ‘get rich quick’ or ‘set and forget’ kinds of marketing activities.


While most eCommerce businesses tend to naturally focus on the Paid and Owned marketing, not as many work hard at the Earned traffic.

What is Earned traffic? Well, it’s what happens when people totally love your stuff and they share it via word of mouth, traditional media or social media.

Examples include:

  • mentions, shares, re-posts, comments or other social media engagement
  • customer reviews and testimonials
  • media mentions or editorial coverage

Benefits of Earned marketing

Earning unsolicited recommendations is hands down the #1 most influential kind of marketing. Why?

Word of mouth has been proven to have the highest credibility of any kind of message about your brand.

Additionally, any kind of earned marketing will reinforce the paid advertising you are doing and improve your overall results.

Did you know there are only 3 ways to get traffic?Challenges of Earned marketing

Unfortunately, there are downsides to this strategy.

Firstly, you have very little control over it, aside from simply asking customers to provide a review or recommendation.

Secondly, you cannot scale (increase) the amount of traffic you get to your website from reviews or recommendations.

So whilst I do want you to work on your Earned marketing, please do not rely on this as your only method of getting traffic to your website!

Download my free marketing planning guide + action plan template

Now that you know ‘what’ your marketing and advertising activities you should be doing in order to get traffic to your website, you may want some help with the ‘how’.

The first step is always getting organised. Put your activities in a plan so you don’t forget anything!

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