Social Media Tactics to Help Drive Traffic to Your Ecommerce Site

Ahh social media. It’s your best friend and your worst enemy. I’ll admit I had a few years where I refused to be a part of it, but it slowly crept into my life aPhoto-1nd before you know it I was checking my Facebook page at least 5 times a day! But I wasn’t checking in for the latest gossip about The Bachelorette, or stalking my ex boyfriend’s pages. No, I was actually using Facebook and other social media outlets for news and information. Today, more then ever, people are using social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more to promote their businesses, and I knew that’s what I had to do to be successful and reach the right people.

So marketing on social media must be a piece of cake right? Wrong. Attracting consumers to your site through social media is easier said than done. To be successful in the world of social media, you need more than just tactics…you need a well thought out marketing strategy.


Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you begin the adventure into the wild world of social media.

What Am I Trying to Accomplish?

Start thinking about the various goals you are setting for yourself and be specific! How many followers are you striving to reach? How many conversions do you want? Traffic? Audience Growth? It all matters and ironing out a concrete goal plan is key to making this all work.

What Do Your Customers Want?

You may think you know what they want, but it is amazing the insight you will get when you just ask! Using social media is a great way to ask customers on a personal level; “Hey what is it you like about us?” “What can we do to make things easier?” The feedback here is priceless information to better your business.

What’s my ROI?

Ok, so if you aren’t getting a return on your investment then you are doing something wrong. Or maybe you had some reach but its not what you expected. That’s ok. Try another campaign, change up your strategy, audience, creative…it’s all about the results and the more you experiment the better your financial results will be.

It’s All About the Dataanalytic

Customer behaviour such as where your social media traffic is coming from and which types of content receive the most views is crucial in leveraging data. You can discover best practices this way, and if one thing doesn’t work, try new factors the next time and don’t forget to reference your history often. Some social mediums have a dashboard with this information similar to Google Analytics. Get the Google Analytics Dashboard Extension for Magento Here!

Sharing is Caring

Most people don’t visit social media sites with the intent of shopping. I know I don’t, yet somehow I wind up joining seminars, buying books, and linked out to Amazon on nearly every visit! This type of marketing is about building relationships first and actual sales are second. Establishing trust is the best way to engage with your target customer. Statistics reveal that people will typically interact with 5 pieces of content before even making a purchase.

So once your plan is in place, its time to start using some tactics to make the most of your social media presence, promotions, and marketing.

Social Media Tactics

Paid Advertising

Paid options can help to dramatically increase your sales. You can push people to website for specials, social page for likes, even sign people up for a newsletter. You don’t have to have a large budget either, its more about your message, demographics overall campaign.


In the beginning I was confused on what this # sign even was. What they do is help your content become easily discovered and expand the reach of your posts. They are great for interaction but make sure to avoid over using them, and stick to just one or two per post or else you might be labeled as a #hashtagaddict.


Let’s face it, when booking a hotel, or choosing a restaurant or new purchase, we all look to reviews from other people! The same goes on social media, so take your success stories and brag a

Feeds and Buttons

Make sure to promote your social pages on all that you do. Buttons are a great way to share on your website, and feeds like twitter are another fun way to engage with people in the social world on your site.

No Sales Pitches

Sales pitches are a great way to lose customers. We aren’t selling encyclopedias door to door here! A better method is to share content in your posts, stories, news, tips and tricks or anything that engages the consumer. I use the word engage a lot because that’s the key to all of this.


Nothing draws the eye more than a compelling product image. This gives your customers a chance to share with others and repost. Using platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are perfect for this. You can also encourage people to post images of your product in use! I had my friends all share photos of my clothing line and I got more comments and likes then I have ever had. Boom!


No not Tinder that’s a different blog for a different day! You can build relationships many ways in social media especially by being attentive to messages and comments and making sure to respond to everyone. It may seem time consuming but will make a difference in a sale. Another fun way to interact is by joining similar interest groups. You can keep up on the industry, check competition and chat with like minds.


Using high-conversion keywords in your posts can increase their visibility and you can then reach people beyond your followers. Just do some keyword research to find the terms consumers are searching to find content related to your industry, business, and products/services, and integrate them into your posts.


Posting content on a regular basis is critical to improve customer engagement and drive more traffic to your eCommerce website. Frequency can vary based on your market, but consistency is key to show your audience that you’re interested in constantly sharing valuable content. To make this process easier and save time, use a marketing automation tool such as so you can schedule posts in advance.

Blog It

blog-it-2If you have a great blog (like this one),you will certainly want to share it with your online social groups. Again, a great way to keep things relevant and allow your followers to share and stay in the know with all you are doing.

Keep it Simple!

No one likes information overload. Keeping it short and sweet you’re your updates attract more engagement on social media than longer posts. If you can tease with engaging headline, your followers are more apt to read it and then share the content if its brief and compelling.

As you can see, there are tons of ways to drive more traffic to your site using social media. I once thought it was a simple process, but it is much more complex but can be so much fun too with the right mindset. Good luck and try not to get distracted by the Farmville or Candy Crush invites!

Check out Extendware’s Social Media!




The Magento Tools You Need to Succeed at Any Level

Stop Reinventing the Wheel

Only an idiot keeps trying to reinvent the wheel – so why would you venture out on your own to make your own mistakes trying to find the right tools for your Magento store?


Many others – including us – have already made all those mistakes for you. All you have to do is just listen to the hard-won “wisdom” we all have learned the hard way.

TestAt Extendware, we are out here – every single day – learning what works and what doesn’t work with Magento and the Magento eco-system. We’re testing various CRM Systems, Customer Service Tools, Magento extensions and plugins, Magento hosting solutions, you name it, we’ve likely tried it.

We know it feels better to always try out something on your own, hoping you’ll stumble on some great new tool that others haven’t found yet. Maybe you’ll find the next ConvertKit before anyone else does, but more likely you’ll end up wasting time and money on something that doesn’t fit your company or goals…(we’re looking at you, ZenDesk)

Trust us, we’ve been there…and now, after years of testing different tools, we’ve settled on a few products and services that we believe are best for our customers and we use them on a daily basis for everything we do.

Best of Breed Magneto Resources

One of the first things that we wish we had when we started working on Magento was a list of “Best of Breed” tools and utilities to help us optimize our Magento installation and make our store “just work better.” Now that we’ve been through years of figuring these things out, we wanted to share what we’ve learned in multiple blog posts and collect all of that information into one resource for our community.

We’ve put together our own Extendware Resources Page where we list out exactly what tools we use, why we use them, and someweb other tips and tricks to help with your Magento store configuration and implementations.  We have tested and relied upon every recommendation on our Resources page for at least 6 months or more. Many of the resources listed there are crucial to running our business (or were crucial to developing Extendware to where it is today).

We hope this resource helps you cut down on searching for the right tools and brings you success faster than you would have otherwise. As always, send us any suggestions or ideas to [email protected], we love to hear from you.

That’s it for today, Extendware Community! Thanks for tuning in. Have an profitable and resourceful week!

Drive Magento Marketing Strategy by Adding in Cost Data to Each Item

Magento includes a large library of attributes you can enable within your store. One field that many stores fail to unlock is Cost of Goods Sold. In Magento, Cost of Goods Sold is called “Cost” and it lives in the Prices section of each of your products.

Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) is the amount of money spent on raw materials to create product, or the amount of money used to purchase a product from a wholesaler. COGS is important because it helps stores calculate Gross Margin by product.

Revenue – Cost of Goods Sold = Gross Margin

Gross Margin (also called Gross Profit) is an important driver of store strategy and should be well understood for each product. Gross-MarginBecause Gross Margin represents cash available after paying a supplier, it’s good to use as a primary consideration when managing marketing expenses. Products that have high Gross Margins, such as electronics, are better suited for pricier marketing campaigns, while low Gross Margin items may be a better fit for scalable marketing such as email campaigns.

In some cases, increasing marketing spend on low-margin items may actually make sense. By combining sales volume with Gross Margin data, you may learn that a low-Gross Margin item is generating a healthy amount of cash thanks to a large number of orders. For instance, selling one bracelet may generate six dollars of Gross Margin, but selling 500 bracelets may generate $3,000 of Gross Margin. While it may seem intuitive that you would spend more cash to market high sales-volume products, knowing the exact Gross Margin for an item will help you understand how much of a product’s Gross Margin can comfortably be allocated to marketing. It will also help you track the return on your advertising spend by product. Keep in mind, marketing is just one of many operating expenses. You’ll want to consider other expenses as well when you budget for advertising spend.

Tips for Using Gross Margin to Dictate Strategy

  • Place items that have a healthy Gross Margin and that convert well in the prime real-estate positions of your store.
  • Bundle low-margin items with high-margin items to justify the time and effort spent on merchandising and shipping costs. Or where appropriate, only sell your low-margin products in packs of three or five.
  • Raise advertising spend for items that generate high amounts of Gross Profit, but be sure to analyze the effects of increased spend on sales volume to understand the return on this spend.
  • Negotiate with your vendors to reduce Cost of Goods Sold. Consider switching out expensive materials for options that don’t compromise quality.

Ready to get started? Here are the steps for enabling Cost attributes to appear on each product:

Step 1: Log in to your account and go to Catalog > Attributes > Manage Attributes.


Step 2: Under Attribute Label search for ‘Cost’ and click on the row.


Step 3: Scroll down to Apply To and change the setting to be ‘All Product Types.’


Step 4: Save your work and go to Catalog > Manage Products.


Step 5: Click on a product and go into the Prices tab. Enter the Cost for each product and save your work.


All done! I hope that helps with your Cost Attributes and Gross Margin calculations. Anything that can give you a better idea of exactly how you’re making money is a step in the right direction. Until next time!

Sheryl Davis is a digital marketer at Glew, an E-Commerce analytics software provider, where she focuses on helping online stores understand and act on their data. Each week she publishes practical strategies for ways to rock E-Commerce.


Abandoned Cart Extension Overview

Extendware’s Magento Abandoned Cart Email extension allows you to capture additional sales by emailing customers who have abandoned their shopping cart without making a purchase. You can send an unlimited number of follow-up emails to the potential customer and even attach an automatically generated coupon to the follow-up email in order to incentivize a new purchase. This extension pays for itself within just a few orders. 

Magento Collection Filter by Visible Products

If you are working on a custom project you might want to create a custom block and only show products that are visible. To do this is actually very simple in Magento. All you need to do is use the following code:

Don’t spend time re-inventing the wheel. Have a look at our Magento Admin Product Grid extension. For example, did you know you can use Magento product grid extension to more easily mark products visible or not visible directly in the grid?

Quick Extension OverviewEditable-Product-Grid-(for-web)

Extendware’s Magento Admin Product Grid extension allows you to easily filter and edit your products within the product grid. You can add / remove columns, change the ordering of columns, filter by new attributes or categories, and much more. Editable Product Grid turns your Product Grid into a powerful editing tool.

Stopping Spam in Magento

Spam is very annoying. Unfortunately, running a popular platform like Magento will make your store vulnerable to spam as bots exist that target Magento store. The biggest problem with spam is that it requires you to filter reviewed, support emails, etc, which wastes your time. Fortunately, we have a couple Magento extensions that can reduce spam in your store. There are two basic strategies:

Adding a CAPTCHA to forms

This is the most common strategy to stop automated bots from submitting forms. Our Magento captcha extension is the best solution to this. You can add either a Google reCAPTCHA or an Open Captcha to your contact form. You can also disable it for logged in users so it is less annoying to users.

Creating honey pots to block bad bots

The other strategy is to entice bots to submit data to hidden forms and identify them as a result. Once identified, they can be blocked from your site. Our Magento bot blocker extension accomplishes this for you. In addition, it will rewrite existing forms to make it difficult for automated bots to understand how to submit them. Bot blocker also has the added advantage of preventing bad bots from scraping your site for information as they will be banned once identified.

Quick Extension Overview

Stop spam bots and other bad bots that spam your store and increase your server load by repeatedly crawling your store with Extendware’s Bot Blocker extension. Automated and easy to use solution to block bad bots, free up server resources, and reduce the spam that is sent to your store.

Update Product Inventory Programmatically in Magento

Using our Magento product grid extension or Magento bulk product editing extension can make it easy to update product information. However, sometimes you need ultimate flexibility that is only possible with a script. If you need to update product inventory programmatically you can use the following:

In this script you will need to set the $productId and $qty to the appropriate value. This script will only update the qty if the product inventory is managed. In addition, it will set the Stock Availability based on the qty status.

Need a more full featured store? Have a look at our Magento extensions.

Quick Admin Product Grid Overview

Extendware’s Magento Admin Product Grid extension allows you to easily filter and edit your products within the product grid. You can add / remove columns, change the ordering of columns, filter by new attributes or categories, and much more. Editable Product Grid turns your Product Grid into a powerful editing tool.

Quick Bulk Product Updating Overview

Effectively manage your products by using Bulk Product Updating. Easily bulk assign categories, product links, change product prices, and more. The Extendware Magento Bulk Product Updating extension will simplify and speed up your product management admin duties so you can get back to what you do best, selling.

Debugging Blank White Screen in Magento

We have seen blank screen issue a few times in Magento. It seems to be a problem that is fairly common. There are a few ways to debug this and a few potential causes. The absolute first thing you must do is view your PHP information and ensure that that display_errors and error_log is defined.

How to view PHP configuration

To view your PHP configuration you can upload a file named phpinfo.php with the following data and then view the file in your browser:

Once logging and display errors is enabled, then the reason for the error will should log in your PHP error log and then you can take steps to resolve it.

What if there are no error logs?

Magento has its own error handler located at [Magento root]/app/code/core/Mage/Core/Functions.php defined by the function mageCoreErrorHandler(). Sometimes this custom error handler will fail to output the error. The most likely cause of this is when the script runs out of memory.

To ensure there is sufficient memory look at your PHP information for the max_memory field and ensure it is set to at least 256MB. Whatever its current settings try to raise it and test.

Some other potential resolutions including:

    • Deleting the cache- execute rm -rf [Magento root]/var/cache/ to delete the cache
    • Ensure file permissions are correct
    • Ensure the short_open_tag is enabled just in case your theme uses this

If you ever experience issues with extensions you should look at the Magento extension conflict extension which can help resolve rewrite conflicts.

Quick Extension Overview

Extension conflict enables store owners and developers to quickly see if there are any potential conflicts in the store and it can also provide the steps to resolve the conflict. In addition to rewrite conflicts it will display information about the store such as observers and PHP information.

How to Put Magento in Maintenance Mode

What is Magento Maintenance Mode?

Ideally, maintenance mode is a way to display a nice message to users about your site while maintenance is being conducted. It should allow you and administrators to continue to access the store so you can test features and performance before going live.

What do I need to put my Magento store in Maintenance Mode?

To put Magento into maintenance you will want our Magento Maintenance Mode extension. With this extension you can:

  • Show a friendly message to users indicating the site is in maintenance
  • Ensure that the admin area of the store still works and anyone logged into the admin can view the frontend
  • Whitelist IP addresses using advance rules so particular IP addresses can still view the frontend
  • Show a warning on the frontend to remind you that the store is in offline mode.

How do I put my Store in Maintenance Mode?

The process is simple. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Go to Extendware -> Manage Extensions -> Maintenance Mode -> Configuration in your store backend.
  2. Under the General fieldset set the Status to Enabled. Your store will now be in maintenance mode

Remember, you will need maintenance mode extension in order to accomplish this task.

Quick Extension Overview

Easily put the frontend of your store in maintenance mode while you are working on your store. Logged in administrators and anyone on your IP whitelist can easily access the frontend of the store even when in Magento Maintenance Mode.

How to Change Favicon in Magento

I would guess that 30% of stores leave the default Magento favicon. Changing this is quite important as many stores are using the default icon which means your store has nothing to differentiate itself. Follow this guide to change your favicon.

What is a favicon?

You might asking what a favicon is. It is the image that is displayed in the browser tab when accessing your site and it is also displayed when a user bookmarks your site. Here is the favicon of Extendware:

Favicon Browser Tab

Notice the small yellow graphic in the top left corner of the browser tab? That is the favicon.

How to change the favicon

Changing the favicon is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Click System -> Configuration in the backend of your store
  2. In the left hand menu click Design
  3. Click the HTML Head fieldset and you will see a form like the following:

To change the favicon simply click the “Browse” button for the Favicon Icon field and upload a new image. The new image must be 16px by 16px or 32px by 32px.

How to Disable Magento extensions

It is common when improving your Magento store that you will install new Magento extensions and sometimes you will need to troubleshoot an issue. The best way to do this is to disable extensions and see if they contribute to a particular issue. If you disable an extension and the issue disappears, then it could be the extension contributes to the issue.

How NOT to disable a Magento extension

There are many resources online that will tell you to go to System -> Configuration -> Advanced in order to disable a Magento extension. This will NOT disable the extensions! The only thing this can do is disable the extensions output. The extension will still be running in the background and could be causing issues with your store. In fact, disabling its output could cause even more issues.

How to disable a Magento extension the right way

To disable it correctly is quite simple. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Go to System -> Cache Management in your backend
  2. Select all caches and set their status to disabled. This ensures that when you disable an extension the cache will not interfere and if you need to re-enable it quickly you will be able to do it.
  3. Open the extensions xml file in [Magento root]/app/etc/modules and you will see xml in the file like the following:

    Change the true to false and it should be disabled.

The really easy way to disable a Magento extension

Are you the proud user of an Extendware Magento extension? Then we provide you a very easy way to disable extensions in your store that will handle the cache, dependencies, and more when disabling. All you need to do is go to Extendware -> Manage Extensions -> Overview, find the extension and click it, and on the next page change its Status to Disabled and save.