Digital Marketing Blog


5 Unexpected But Proven Ways To Drive Traffic

When asked what their top priority is, most of our customers say it's to drive traffic to their webshop. 

Working out exactly how to do that without wasting money is a constant and ongoing journey for most marketers and of course there are no guarantees. 

Which is why we thought it might be helpful to share some of our own insights, and outline 5 unexpected but proven ways to drive traffic. 

#1 Buy Pain Keywords, Instead Of Product Related Keywords 

#2 Experiment With Podcast Advertising

#3 Curate an Inspirational Commerce Piece 

#4 Start a Referral Program 

#5 Rethink Your Email Strategy 

#1 Buy Pain Keywords, Instead Of Product Related Keywords 

Search engine marketing is probably the first place most eCommerce websites look to for driving traffic. Even if the market you are working on is competitive and pricey, investing in Google Ads is still one of the fastest ways to drive traffic to your site.

In order to find new queries to tap into, you could consider researching for product related keywords in favor of pain related keywords. 

This is how it works, let's say your online store sells pillows. Instead of investing in keywords like, memory foam pillows, consider using a phrase like, how to relieve neck pain, instead. 

Not only is competition not as high for pain keywords but more than that, you're directly answering a potential customer's problem.  


Here's IKEA's take on something similar, but they took it a step further by renaming products on their actual shop pages to reflect the pain point phrases they targeted.

Action Points

To do this successfully you need to: 

  • Research your customers' specific pain points (what problem has your product solved exactly?).
  • Once you've narrowed down a potential pain point, use Google’s Keyword Planner to find new related keywords.
  • Assess the competition for keywords. You can do this yourself of course with some light detective work on Google, but you can just as easily use a tool like SEM Rush or Moz. 
  • Optimize the landing page to correspond to the pain point you're answering. Don't keyword stuff the page but rather write content or a product description that makes sense for the question you are answering. 
  • Once you've narrowed down your pain keywords or phrases, set up a separate test campaign or ad group and follow up on the performance. Identify those that drive you relevant traffic (for commerce sites, the conversion rate usually gives a good indication) and consider adding these keywords to your campaign structure. 

#2 Experiment With Podcast Advertising

Maybe you're not into podcasts (though why that would be, I have no idea). 

But a lot of now-major brands and start-ups used podcasts as a cheaper alternative to build brand awareness through advertising. Brands like Mailchimp, Blue Apron, Zip Recruiter or Casper mattresses - who grew into a $750 million dollar company in just four years

The reason this kind of advertising is effective is many fold. But I think at the heart of it, it's a question of context.

Where and when do people listen to podcasts?

Usually during a commute, either in the car or on the train with some headphones on, maybe when cleaning the house. Regardless, it's a time when listeners are paying attention, even indirectly, and it's intimate. 

Besides, brands build relationships with the podcast listeners over time and use discount incentives to drive traffic to their service.

2018-11-15 15_32_15-Blue Apron_ Fresh Ingredients, Original Recipes, Delivered to You

Like this Blue Apron collaboration with the podcast This American Life. Listeners were told to check out to redeem an offer of three free meals upon signing up for the service. 

Lastly, depending on the podcast you go for, the more "niche" it is, the cheaper it is. You don't have to go all out by spending cash on advertising with a major podcast. 

For the sake of argument, let's say you're still an eCommerce store specializing in pillows. A podcast like Sleep With Me, which covers battling common sleep problems might be a perfect fit. After all, the audience is people who are literally desperate for a good night's sleep. People who might benefit from your product.

Action Points 

  • Ask yourself, what podcasts do I listen to? Would it suit my business to advertise with them? Then reach out and ask for estimates.
  • If you'd prefer someone find the right podcast for you, check out services like MidRoll that match businesses with relevant podcasts.





Having to scroll down an endless grid of products isn't inspiring, which is why shoppable content in mediums like Instagram or Pinterest has exploded in popularity and why catalogs endure.

Chances are that you've already got a piece of inspirational content on hand to work with. Whether that's product images from a photo shoot, a catalog or even customer generated pictures shared to social media. 

You can turn that into an inspirational commerce piece in a few ways.

You can do what Nordic retailer Kid Interior did and make the products in your Instagram account shoppable (see video below).


kidinterior instagram


Or you can make your catalogs shoppable so readers can buy directly from the content itself. 




Inspirational commerce works because the customer sees the product in a context that makes sense. 

Kid Interior understand that people want their homes to be cozy, but not everyone is a born interior decorator, so by curating their content and making it instantly buyable, Kid Interior does the work for their customers. 


Action Points 

  • Think about where your webshop visitors are coming from. Are they just coming to your site directly? Or do they find their way to your site through other marketing channels? 
  • Create inspirational content, rather than just a plain product shot. Think about the environment you show your products off in and make it as appealing as possible.
  • Make that inspirational content shoppable across channels - so for example, set up your Instagram Business Account so you can drive traffic directly to your site from the inspirational posts you publish (here's a how to guide). Make your catalogs shoppable by either adding links to your webshop over products or automate the process with iPaper's enrichment automation feature.


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#4 Start a Referral Program

Starting a referral program is an easy way to use your current customers to drive traffic to your eCommerce site.

One of the most successful examples of this tactic comes from storage solution Dropbox who offered 16 GB extra space for every referred person. 

dropboxreseizeUsing this tactic Dropbox grew by 4 million users in just 15 months and drove a ton of traffic to their site and it's something you should consider too. 

Here's why it's smart.

  1. Your customer will likely know others in your target demographic and have a better idea of who would benefit from buying from you.
  2. People are 70% more likely to buy something recommended by a friend or family member.
  3. Yes, you have to offer an offer or a discount on a future purchase in order to get the referral but you're also cutting the cost of marketing by other means.
  4. By offering a discount, your encouraging the referrer to become a repeat customer and it's 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one.

Action Points 

There are a few ways to approach the referral program;

  • You can ask your customer to refer a friend in an aftercare or follow-up email (after a purchase has gone through).

  • You can outline the referral program in an site overlay that appears after your customer's order has gone through.

  • You can create a pop up in your catalog to advertise your referral program.  

#5 Rethink Your Email Strategy 

email sign up resize

Without a doubt, investing in your email lists is vital for driving traffic to your site.

But I think marketers don't always want to admit how hard it is to foster a healthy, happy email list. If we're honest with ourselves and each other, a lot of email lists are dead and don't push the kind of traffic or sales that we want.

So how do you give your email list a jolt of electricity?

Well, I can tell you what we did. 

When GDPR began to loom on the horizon earlier this year, we sent an email out to our rather sizable email list. 

We asked our readers to opt in or out of the email list. 

Those that opted in, really wanted our mails (yay!). Those that didn't were obviously removed.

Those that forgot to respond, that didn't open the opt-in email or for one reason or another didn't specifically say they wanted to be on the list? 

We removed them anyway. 

We went from having thousands of email follows, to less than a thousand. 

On the surface, this might look bad, but in reality we had created an "elite" list of email subscribers. These were followers who were genuinely interested in what we had to say.

We made it our goal to take more time to create well researched and relevant content for marketers using catalogs in eCommerce.

That meant fewer but better blogs. 

It meant we cut down on the number of emails we sent to our list to max two per month. 

But as a result our open rates jumped to as high as 50%, and our click rates did too. /p>

Why did we do this? Because to succeed, we didn’t need everyone on our list, we needed the right people.

And with this new, more realistic goal, of creating less but better content we're back to building our email list. Through pop ups on the blogs themselves and via downloadable eBooks but also from simple word-of-mouth. 

Action Points 

  • Define who you are, and what you can provide your customers. There are great newsletters out there, and the best one's understand who their audience is.
  • Match the language in your emails to the language you use on your site, embrace the persona.
  • Match the look and feel of your emails to your site too, so you extend the customer's shopping experience and their overall experience of your brand.
  • Provide value. Don't just think about what they can do for you (i.e - spend money) think about what you can do for them.

# Related Reads

 5 Ways To Spice Up Your Email Sign Ups

INTERVIEW: How Dansk Cater Use Mouth-Watering Content To Grow Their B2B Community


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About the author

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna Árnadóttir

Nanna is a storytelling wizard with over ten years experience working as a journalist and copywriter. Wielding magic with her words, her goal is to educate and delight you with fresh blogs and sage wisdom.

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