Boosting Online Sales with Referral Traffic

Content Corner

Referral traffic originates from sources outside of organic search. By actively cultivating referral traffic, you can significantly boost the volume of visitors your store or website receives. This traffic can come from various channels, including links embedded within featured articles, blog posts, social media, product comparison sites, and reviews. Investing in advertising efforts, such as Facebook and Google ads or retargeting campaigns like Criteo can also contribute to building referral traffic. What makes referral traffic especially beneficial is its capacity to introduce potential customers from new domains to your site, thereby yielding added SEO advantages. Whether it's through inbound links or social interactions, both of which are positive signals to search engines, referral traffic bolsters your site's online presence.

For example, consider an IT retailer that boasts a dedicated community of loyal shoppers and garners additional external traffic via search engines. A portion of their traffic comes from external referrals. The retailer strategically employs Google and Facebook ads that showcase products and link directly to their website. They've found that free referral traffic is more cost-effective than affiliate referral traffic, which includes referrals from comparison websites like PC Part Picker and Static Ice. These comparison platforms attract customers who are well-informed about their product needs and are actively seeking the best market prices. Furthermore, the reseller taps into other free sources like social media platforms, leveraging them to disseminate product links and exclusive deals, further enhancing their referral traffic. In totality, this is a well balanced approach that maximises the retailers outreach, brings customers in from other websites and improves their online footprint/SEO overall.

An example of Scorptec utilising social media to market a prize draw, bringing customers to a deal on their website.

External referral traffic can significantly benefit online sales in several ways:

Diversified Traffic Sources: Relying solely on one traffic source, such as search engines, can be risky. External referral traffic diversifies your traffic sources, reducing your dependence on a single channel and making your online sales more resilient.

Increased Exposure: When other websites, blogs, or social media platforms refer traffic to your store, it exposes your products or services to a broader audience. This exposure can lead to more people discovering your website and potentially making a purchase.

An example of Mwave advertising product bundles with specific sale pricing. This kind of high perceived value deal is effective in capturing and converting external traffic.

Targeted Traffic: Depending on the source of the referral, you can receive targeted traffic that is more likely to convert into sales. For example, if a tech blog refers traffic to your store, visitors are likely interested in IT hardware, making them more qualified leads.

Product and price comparison websites are a great source of qualified leads. Here's an example from PC Part Picker, a website used to directly compare individual product pricing per retailer. These customers are often already looking for a certain product and are on the last mile of their purchase - finding a good price or retailer local to them.

New Customers: Referral traffic can introduce your brand to new customers who may not have otherwise discovered your store. These new customers can become repeat buyers and contribute to your long-term sales growth.

Credibility and Trust: Referrals from reputable sources can enhance your brand's credibility and trustworthiness. When a trusted website or influencer recommends your products or services, potential customers are more likely to trust your brand and make a purchase.

Review websites often have direct links to the product on relevant retailers. Here's an example of a SteelSeries product review that links directly to Mwave.

Improved SEO: High-quality referral traffic can indirectly benefit your website's search engine optimization (SEO). When reputable websites link to your site, it can boost your site's authority and rankings in search engine results pages, potentially attracting more organic traffic.

Social Proof: Social media platforms and review websites can provide social proof through likes, shares, and positive reviews. This social proof can influence potential customers and encourage them to make a purchase.

Social proof is ideal for encouraging interest in new products. Brands often utilise influencers to reach broader communities and garner more interest in products. Here is an example of Corsair using this strategy to market two new products.

By incorporating external referral traffic into your online marketing strategy, you can increase your online sales and grow your business. When other websites, social media platforms and ads refer visitors to your website, it exposes your products or services to a wider audience, increasing brand awareness and giving you more opportunities for exposure and subsequent purchase. This referral traffic often brings in potential customers who are already interested in your niche or offerings, making them more likely to convert.

Electronic Direct Mail (EDM) blast outs are a low cost, high return solution for getting good deals infront of potential customers. Building an EDM mail list can be a challenge, but retailers often send these out to registered accounts on their website to great effect.

To leverage external referral traffic effectively, it's essential to:

  • Identify and target websites or platforms that align with your target audience.
  • Create high-quality, engaging content or offer deals that encourage referrals.
  • Monitor and analyze referral traffic to understand which sources are most effective, this sets a baseline for future investment.
  • Continuously optimise your website to convert referral traffic into sales; this includes offering first time discounts, abandoned cart deals and season sale offers.

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