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Your Ecommerce Store Should Be Using Social Media for Lead Generation
07/12/21 — 0 min read

Why Social Media is a Lead Gen Goldmine for Ecommerce 

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For an ecommerce business, building an email list should be a top priority, regardless of revenue, units sold, or any other KPI you’re measuring. 

If you’re an ecommerce shop on the hunt for new ways to generate leads, this post is for you.

For many, the key to quick list building is offering prospects valuable, educational content in exchange for their contact information. Businesses who operate on social media, no matter which platform, are on the fast-track to engaging with these important prospects through simple lead generation tactics. 

What is Lead Generation?

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According to Hubspot, lead generation is the process of attracting and converting a stranger or prospect into someone who has indicated interest in your company's product or service (i.e. turning them into a “lead”). Using social media, brands can implement powerful strategies to attract these prospects, engage with them in the right manner, provide valuable information, and eventually convert them into customers. 

The benefits of using social media for ecommerce include:

  • Expand your online reach
  • Reach your audience where they spend most of their time 
  • Build two-way engagement in a natural, organic way
  • Increase traffic to your website

The customer journey consists of several stages. The first stage, known as the ‘top of the funnel,’ is when a prospect is actively seeking information about a company or product. This is an important opportunity for a business to build awareness around their products and eventually win the sale. Getting a potential customer’s email is also a small step further into your funnel.

In this post, we’ll be highlighting top-of-funnel strategies for businesses to implement on social media to boost their lead generation. 

Let’s get into it — starting with why social media is so important.

Social Media Delivers New and Repeat Customers

As a retailer, your goal is to consistently get more sales, right? There are several marketing channels that can help you achieve this, but social media is the only one that can deliver both new and repeat customers consistently if you know how to play.

Although you may be thinking, “Why do I need to use social media to build an email list? What about the customer emails I’ve collected on my site?” Merchant sites like Shopify do allow sellers to collect and access customer data, including emails, directly from their site. Meanwhile, Amazon has a strict policy that does not permit sellers to obtain customer’s email addresses, so building an email list via Amazon is not an option at this point. 

However, Amazon sellers can access a resource like Masschat, our automated Facebook chat bot, to build their email list using Facebook ads. The process is simple— sellers can link Masschat to their Facebook page and run targeted ads to a specific niche. Learn all about the process here.

According to an eMarketer poll, 59% of marketers agree that social media marketing is one of the most effective channels to use for lead generation. It’s an incredibly powerful marketing tool, particularly for business-to-consumer (B2C) ecommerce companies. You can interact with prospects, showcase your brand’s personality, and build valuable relationships. 

It’s also important to define what a lead is to your business—this can vary by industry, product, and audience, so let’s keep it simple by defining a quality lead as someone who will share useful information and show clear signs of intent to interact with your business.

Lead Generation Tactics (for “Top of Funnel” Prospects) 

Reminder: Top of the funnel means those who are just interacting with your business, whether online, in-person, or elsewhere. Since we’re talking social media in this post, this means they’ve liked your Facebook page, followed you on Instagram, and have engaged with various posts. They’re educating themselves on your brand by watching your behavior and content online. Let’s give them something to talk about! 

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1. Create enticing lead magnet offers 

If you’re thinking, “What’s a lead magnet?” then we’ll keep this short and sweet. A lead magnet is an incentive of some kind that encourages prospects to provide their contact info in exchange for the content. This can be anything from a free webinar, eBook, exclusive video, etc. 

The right lead magnet can (and will) compel people to share their information with you. Ask yourself: What knowledge does my business have that we can provide to others? What about that knowledge is valuable? Those two questions should lead you to the perfect lead magnet content to offer. 

Say you’re an ecommerce store selling non-toxic home goods, like hand-poured candles, essential oils, diffusers, etc. Create a free PDF with essential oil blends and tips on how customers can remove harmful fragrances from their homes. Offering this type of content to that particular audience is a guaranteed way to generate leads.

2. Discount codes, incentives, and offers 

It’s the oldest trick in the book (since digital marketing was born, at least!) Brands offer prospects a discount code to shop in exchange for a newsletter sign-up. Discount codes and other incentives encourage leads to visit your site and ideally make a purchase.

Whether you’re offering first-time buyers a unique code or sending repeat customers a ‘For next time’ discount, this is a tried and true strategy to generate leads and nurture those relationships with existing customers. 

3. Host a social media contest 

A social media contest includes prompting participants to follow a specific set of rules to enter to win a prize (your product!) As a form of entry, you can collect the email address of each user, along with any other information you request. 

Contests usually have requirements including liking or sharing the business page running the contest, tagging friends, commenting on photos, etc. All of these actions will help to organically grow your social media presence, which is an added bonus! 

The numbers tell their own story— 34% of new fans and followers are generated through social media contests. 

The goal of a social contest is to impress users from the jump, in order to continue pulling them into the sales funnel. Offering a discount code in this situation won’t cut it. Your best bet is to offer a free product with the intent that the winner will love it, will purchase more, and share it with their family and friends.

4. Paid ads 

For ecommerce businesses that don’t have large ad budgets, we’ve found the sweet spot. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer ‘Lead Generation’ ads, where you can collect leads using targeted marketing from within the platform. Users don’t have to click on an ad, go to a landing page, and then fill out a form. This is much more streamlined — Users simply click the button on the ad and enter their information. 

This is an effective and affordable way to run ads and build an email list without time constraints and cost.  

Once you’ve got your lead’s contact info, now the fun begins! But first, how often should you reach out? How many emails should you send? What should you say? Read on! 

How Often Should You Send Emails for Email Marketing?

It’s important to determine your email cadence based on testing various frequencies, the content you send, and most importantly, analyzing the data your email service provides. Best practices, however, ran the gamut from every day to once a month. We’ll let you be the judge! 

Studies show most people unsubscribe from a list because they’re receiving too many emails. It’s not shocking; most of us have unsubscribed from a company that spams us daily with the same content. Nobody wants to spend more time than necessary clearing junk from their email. 

On the flip side, sending too few emails presents its own set of issues— including loss of engagement from prospects who are actually interested in hearing from you. You didn’t do all this hard work to build your list just to blow it on Phase 2 of email marketing! 

Over 60% of surveyed consumers stated they want to receive promotional emails at least weekly from the brands they’re interacting with. While 60% is high, that same data shows that 15% of consumers prefer to receive the same emails once a month.

The solution here is simple — provide options for subscribers. 

When prospects opt-in to receive your emails, be sure to have frequency options clearly available. List the frequency of your various email lists on the opt-in form so customers can select how often they want to hear from you. 

Promotional Email Strategies to Increase Sales 

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We already know all about the extremely high ROI of email marketing. However, there’s much more to it than simply just sending an email. The content of a promotional email can literally make or break a sale. These strategies can help build interest around what you’re selling, and ultimately, bring home the bacon.

1. Limited Time Offers 

Playing on their emotions and driving a sense of urgency is a classic marketing tactic to boost sales. Using language like “3 Hour Flash Sale til it’s gone forever!” or “Today Only: 30% off!” lights a fire under shoppers to make a purchase, even if they were initially on the fence. 

2. Exclusive Offers 

Make them feel special! “As a subscriber, you’re receiving this exclusive deal 24 hours before the rest of the world” is a surefire way to get sales. Offer the right incentives, and your subscribers will be customers in no time.

3. Product Launch & New Arrivals 

Even if a prospect loves your brand, chances are good they aren’t on your website every day. Email is the perfect channel to update your audience on the latest happenings at your store, whether that’s a brand new product or the latest batch of new arrivals for the season. 

Closing & Summary

Using social media for lead generation is essential for most businesses to thrive. For ecommerce retailers, it opens the door for additional interaction with customers and creates an opportunity for prospects to get an inside look at your business. With that insider knowledge and connection, leads convert to happy customers more frequently via social media than any other marketing channel.

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