by Ker Zheng
So you've just set up your WeChat mini-program store. So what?
Driving traffic to a WeChat mini-program store is HARD, especially if your brand is new to the market and your target customers have no idea who you are.
Why is driving traffic to a WeChat mini-program store so hard?
1. WeChat stores are static in that they cannot push content nor marketing promotions to customers.
2. WeChat is still a closed, private network in which users cannot see the posts, comments or profiles of users they are not connected to
3. WeChat has limited PPC advertising options for brands and retailers because it doesn't request that users submit their interests, hobbies or other habits upon signing up. Therefore WeChat ads are less targeted and have higher spending thresholds (>50,000 RMB)
But, not to fear.
We break down some of the ways you can drive traffic to your WeChat store.
1. Create great content for your official account
Your official account is your official brand page on WeChat and will enable you to build a long-term relationship with customers. Only official accounts can gain followers - WeChat stores themselves cannot. Create useful and interesting content so that users will be prompted to share with friends and family.
2. KOL marketing
This will speed up your online follower growth. Hire KOLs and influencers who have pre-existing fan bases and can raise brand awareness. KOLs often charge on a per-post and their fees can vary. Make sure that the KOLs you hire have a fan base that is in line with your target customer base.
3. Convert offline traffic into online followers
If you're a brand with offline retail traffic, you can leverage that traffic into WeChat followers. Launching events or pop-up stores can be one idea. If you have established stores overseas with Chinese tourists visiting your stores, WeChat can be a good way to keep in touch with them. You can place QR codes on products you sell or hand out fliers with your QR code on them.
4. Leverage your existing online presence
If you already have an online desktop or mobile store, you can post a QR code to divert traffic to your WeChat account. You can also do this for other social media sites such as Weibo or Little Red Book.
5. Design creative social commerce campaigns
Let your current customers do the marketing for you. Use promotions and giveaways to encourage new users to become followers. Set up group-buying discounts and bonuses for customers who can convert their friends/family into loyal customers. Market through organized WeChat groups to gain new users. We will dig more into social commerce marketing in another article.
6. Buy WeChat ads
This option is not for small brands. Minimum ad spend for WeChat Moments ads is 50,000 RMB and up. Unlike Facebook, WeChat does not ask its users to submit their interests, join public groups, or ask about any of their other preferences. This makes WeChat advertising difficult to use and a low ROI option for those who want to target specific user segments.
What to Do?
If you're an existing brand with some brand recognition, a sizable marketing budget, and existing customers, you're already on the right path. You have more marketing options and can use different channels to pull in customers.
If you're a new brand with little to no knowledge of WeChat, it'll be a long-term battle as options 3, 4, and 6 are out of the question. Managing content on your official account (no. 1) is the first step, and then you have to decide on KOL marketing and/or social commerce tactics to drive new user traffic.
Since social commerce can be difficult to grasp for those who are new to WeChat, we recommmend using KOL marketing and hiring an agency to toy around with different social commerce campaigns.
Should I Drive Traffic to my Official Account or WeChat Store?
For those who are in the early stages of building your brand, we recommend that you focus on growing your official account followers first.
Official accounts bind your followers and enable you to push content to them over the long run. This way, you can build a long-term relationship with them.
You can tie a WeChat store to a button on your Official Account so that users who read your content can be prompted to make purchases. You can also place a link at the bottom of your articles that direct users to your stores.
If you're operating a mini-program store and looking to drive sales, you can share your store's QR code through your campaigns so that users will be taken directly to the store.
Sometimes, brands that employ KOLs direct users to their WeChat stores by placing QR codes at the end of the KOL's article.
Those that are using offline retail channels are more focused on converting their offline traffic into online followers first, so that they can push content and marketing promotions to them later on.
1. Driving traffic to a WeChat store is still hard. PPC advertising options are limited and WeChat is a more private network than Facebook, making it difficult to reach new users.
2. For new brands, KOL marketing and social commerce tactics will be key in driving user traffic and engagement. Once you get bigger, you can expand to other marketing and sales channels. Those with an existing China presence can leverage their existing online/offline presence to drive traffic to their WeChat official accounts or stores.
3. Those who are new to the market should focus on brand-building and attracting official account followers first. Official accounts enable brands to retain new users and push content to them over the long run, whereas WeChat stores do not have this function.