Getting Started With Ecommerce Part 2- Driving Traffic and Validation

My eCommerce Experience Part 2

This is part two of my multi-part series on my getting started with eCommerce journey for the purpose of generating passive income while creating impact. Be sure to read part one to understand the full picture.

Last time we started our store and picked our products, this week we’re going to focus on driving traffic to our eCommerce store. This article is an application of $100 validation test which is based loosely on the $100 Startup book by Chris Guillebeau.

Driving traffic to your website:

You have your store ready and a few products on sale but nobody’s going to magically come out to your store unless you get the word out. Successful entrepreneurs use every avenue to get their word out and one of the fastest ways to get the word out is through running micro Pay Per Click campaigns. For this store, I have a 14 days runway to validate my store (thanks to Shopify’s 14 days trial) hopefully within this runway I can make as much of the initial investment and pay for future expenses.

It is recommended that multiple channels be used to get the word out and here’s list of ways to get your word out taken from my $100 validation trial article

  • Facebook – You have to ask a lot of people and join a lot of groups to get the word out
    • If you own a Facebook page or have connections with page administrators, you can ask niche groups to make announcements with your link.
  • Reddit – make sure you find the right subreddit to post
  • Twitter – you have to post a lot
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Offline posters (put them around bus loops and bulletin boards)
  • Pay Per Click (PPC)

I know some people want to get away without using PPC but i have to emphasize that free forms of advertising can only take you so far. With PPC you can reach whole niches and have access to analytics that you may never be able to get with free marketing. I am a bigger advocate for using Pay Per Click (PPC) ads as they can be done a lot quicker and it isn’t as annoying as making unsolicited posts on forums and discussion groups and risk being banned and tarnishing your brand.

There are many forms of ads online but in this article we will be discussing about two common forms that are used for customer discovery: Facebook PPC ads and Google (search and display ads)

Facebook ads

Facebook is a great platform for customer discovery. Their ad delivery platform is based on a person’s interest and it presents ads in a manner that is similar to how TV ads work: interruptive nature. The picture below shows how a user is just browsing through his newsfeed when Facebook serves a couple ads.

Facebook ads

Unlike TV ads or billboards, these ads are often targeted and catered based on the viewer’s interests. Facebook has a huge database of everyone’s interests based on what they’ve liked. We all have done it ourselves, whether it is liking a brand or liking an activity or non-profit cause. Our activities on Facebook provide their algorithm with what ads we should be served. For myself I get a lot of entrepreneurship ads because I’ve liked a lot of business magazines (Venture Beat, The Economist etc…) and digital marketing tools and for someone who loves animals, they may get ads from eco-tourism companies.

As mentioned earlier, most people on Facebook are served ads when they’re thinking about something else (like looking at their friend’s baby pictures) and are being interrupted with the ads. The click through rate is usually low but when serving in huge volume, you can expect to get a lot of clicks.

Google search ads + Display ads

Unlike Facebook, Google does not have as much data on user interests but they have access to what users are searching for online and they make the most of it by offering marketers opportunities to serve ads on their search engine result page (SERP).

search ads

SERP page and search ad

Google also offers display ads through their huge advertising network, where they can serve the audience display ads shortly after based on the previous keyword searches. This could explain why after searching up vacation on Google, you start seeing ads from different travel agencies on different websites you visit.

The mindset of users on google is very direct, when users are on Google looking for something, they are focused on the particular item they are looking for. Say if they are looking for go cart tracks, they wont bother with go cart equipment as all they care about is the nearest track (However you can use the search pixel to give them ads on your go cart equipment with display ads). Users on Facebook on the other hand are known to be more open to discovering more contents, when shown ads that are not directly relevant to what they’re thinking of at the moment, they are more likely to click on them.


Our test:

For our ecommerce store experiment, we went with a strictly Facebook method as preliminary keyword research on Google has shown that people weren’t searching up the necklaces we are offering. While doing our research on Facebook, we found a sizeable number of people (400,000 people in the US) in the sub niche we’re targeting on Facebook. Setting up a budget of $5 a day and 14 days we’re looking forward to see how engaged our niche is with our products.

If you haven’t used Facebook advertising before, it’s not too difficult to get started with it. Simply go to www.facebook.com/ads and they’ll get you started with it. If you need to get ads designed, you can refer to my article on tech tools to see why I use Canva to create my ads.

It is also important to use UTM (Urchin Traffic Monitor) tags to collect metrics especially if you are running multiple ads in multiple niches. (If you are not familiar with how UTM works, give a shout in the comments below. I will be writing a short tutorial on using UTM codes in the future) While Facebook does tell you how many clicked on the ad and the pixels will tell you how many bought someone, this information is not shared with Google Analytics and adding in UTM data will make it available helping you fine tune your analytics.

Next week, we will share our results. so stayed tuned.


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