When you first set up your Shopify store, you often have big visions for your company’s future. Especially over the past few years, ecommerce has experienced huge growth overall, so you are excited and ready to get your products out there in front of customers. But what you may not realize — or at least know how to tackle — is how to market your ecommerce business and Shopify store. Whether your Shopify store is brand new or has been around for a few years, making sure people know it’s there is the number one thing you need to do to get new sales. Without a marketing strategy and effective marketing tactics, it’s unlikely your business will grow. So, how do you do that? How can you make sure your Shopify website gets traffic and sales so your business dreams can succeed? Let’s take a look at marketing and promoting an ecommerce store on Shopify.
What is Shopify Marketing?
You may already know this, especially if you already have an ecommerce site with Shopify. However, if you are researching platforms for a new ecommerce store, Shopify is a popular option. Shopify is an ecommerce platform where, regardless of technical web design and development experience, anyone can build and customize an online store and sell products online. Shopify is the platform, but you get to sell your products on your own domain and on your own terms. Shopify is cloud-based, so upgrades and web servers are taken care of for you. All this is what makes it appealing to so many business owners.
But, unlike some other ecommerce platforms, Shopify doesn’t have you simply listed in some database where customers can browse all of the products Shopify has (think Amazon or Etsy). Shopify allows you to sell your products on your own site, which is great for you for many reasons. However, because Shopify allows you to have a store on your own domain, you are solely responsible for marketing your store.
5 Benefits of Shopify Stores
Shopify is a great way for business owners to begin selling their products online. Ecommerce can be complicated and challenging for so many people without the technical skills to make a website, but Shopify makes it easy. There are many reasons that people choose one platform over another. Some of the key benefits for you as a business owner when using Shopify over another ecommerce platform include:
- More design control over your store’s appearance, which means you can make it look just how you want, without the restrictions that some ecommerce platforms have.
- Ability to design and control your own store, so you can set the terms you want, change out products as needed, and truly own your store.
- Full control of your brand, so you can showcase your stuff in alignment with what you envision your brand to look like.
- Ease of use and inexpensive for set-up, and easy changes to the store or products in the future — which means you can do it yourself if you want to!
- Not being featured next to direct competitors. You have all your products in one store without another similar product popping up next to it.
How To Succeed With Shopify
When you want to take advantage of these five benefits, you need to know how to succeed to really get the most out of your store. The best way to succeed with Shopify is to employ good marketing tactics. A good Shopify marketing plan should include a few key areas to ensure you get in front of as many customers as possible.
SEO: Search engine optimization helps drive organic search traffic to your ecommerce store. These are the people searching on Google, Bing, or another search engine for words related to your products. Organic search traffic is one of the best ways to get new customers because they are already aware they want or need what you have to offer. There are a few key ways you can improve your SEO and get more of these customers, and we’ll take a look at that in the next section on promoting your ecommerce site.
Social Media: Social media is a good way to connect with your customers in a place they already visit most days. Facebook and Instagram also offer the ability to link back to your site, which will bring in more customers and potentially more sales. This is also a great way to dip your toes in the influencer marketing world. You can give tips (for example, back-to-school fashion if you sell children’s clothes or selecting the right shoe type if you sell running shoes), or you can promote a new product. You can also answer questions or provide customer services to people who reach out to you.
Paid Search & Social: With paid search, you can pay for people who click on your ads for certain keywords or shopping ads. On paid social, you can target people who like things that may be related to your products or retarget people who have bought from you in the past. These paid marketing tactics are a great way to engage with certain customer types and attract sales from them.
Add-Ons: Within Shopify’s marketplace, you can find thousands of add-ons for your site. These add-ons are designed to make your life easier. Some of the most popular add-ons help you with shipping and processing your orders. While some add-ons will cost you some money, there are a ton of great free add-ons and apps that can help with SEO, Facebook and Instagram integrations, or even upselling your products to customers.
How To Promote Ecommerce Website
When it comes to promoting your ecommerce site, each of the previously mentioned tactics is a great way to get started. A good marketing game plan is a mix of several different channels (search, advertising, emails, SMS, Facebook and Instagram, web, and even old-fashioned direct mail pieces). By having a good mix of marketing materials across platforms, you can get in front of customers of all ages and demographics.
Promoting an ecommerce site first starts with good content. Search engine optimization, Facebook and Instagram, content marketing, email marketing, and even advertising is all you need content to get started. That content should include keywords, which will lead your target audience to you. Keywords (for SEO) and hashtags (for Facebook and Instagram, sometimes similar to your keyword list) are the ways people look for you even if they have never heard of you before. Using the right keywords in your content can make your website, products, blog posts, Facebook and Instagram posts, and even videos more visible online to the people who are most likely to make a purchase!
How To Improve Your Shopify Online Store
When you want to improve your Shopify store so you can better promote your products, there are a few marketing tactics to consider. Content and keywords are the first components you should focus on, but there are a few other simple ways to improve a Shopify store as well.. Some of these items may take more time and effort than others, but when done right, your Shopify online store can improve the customer experience for your customers, ensuring they make that first purchase and want to keep coming back for more.
Existing Content: For many ecommerce sites, content refers mainly to the product descriptions and landing pages that you already have developed. However, content can also include blogs or videos you have created that are relevant to what you have to offer. To improve your content strategies, you can start by identifying keywords and optimizing your existing content (before you begin to create new content for your site). Keywords are the words that people use to find what they want on search engines, like Google or Bing. “Running shoe” can be a keyword, but so can “blue womens running shoes size 8.” You want to make sure your website, like the product description, is optimized for the keyword without overusing it (that’s called keyword stuffing and can be bad). You also want to make sure keywords are in the meta title and description of the page, in addition to the actual page content.
New Content: You can also develop a plan to create new content for your site. If you don’t have a blog, this could be a good opportunity to create one. You don’t have to post every day, but even a new blog post once per month that offers useful information to your customers that is relevant to the products you sell can help more people find you online. Someone may be searching for tips, how-to, or other information that you can offer, and you can also link to your products in that post. Blog content is great to be repurposed on Facebook and Instagram, as well, so you’d be killing two birds with one stone when you have a site blog. You can also create guest posts to send to other blogs in your industry that will link back to your site and bring more people to you through authentic marketing strategies.
Cart Abandonment & Email Marketing: Customer retention is key because while finding new customers is great, if you can keep the ones you have coming back for more over and over again, you don’t need to worry as much if you have a slower new customer month. If you feel you have a high level of cart abandonment, you’re not alone. More than half of all carts are abandoned across the internet. But if you have no strategy in place to recover those sales from an abandoned cart, consider implementing a cart abandonment plan with emails or text messages to customers to remind them they have a full cart. With a cart abandonment, or cart recovery, to put a positive spin on it, email or text can let people know you still have that product available for them. You can sweeten the deal by giving them a discount code or free shipping (and encourage them to add more to their cart with a minimum order limit for those codes).
Upsell to Existing Customers: Upselling can bring people to your site to buy more and expand your customer base. An improvement you can make to your Shopify store to encourage upselling is to feature the “also bought with” or “people also considered” section to each product. When you do this, people will see other complementary products and add more items to their cart. While upselling doesn’t necessarily get new customers, it can cause a rise in sales from a current customer once they are on the site, and it’s an easy improvement to make to the customer experience.
Make It Mobile Friendly: Just like so much in our lives, our shopping habits have moved to our phones for the most part. Many people now use their phones for just about everything — with 60% of internet usage coming from mobile devices. This means it’s so important for your online store to be mobile friendly. Shopify has a responsive checkout, which allows users to convert on their device too. Without a mobile friendly experience, they may exit the site without making a purchase (maybe before they even add anything to the cart in the first place).
10 Tips for Shopify Digital Marketing
Now that you know what Shopify marketing can do and how you can improve your store for promotions and sales, here are additional tips for digital marketing for your Shopify ecommerce website. These tips will help you grow your business and increase sales with both new and existing customers. Selecting a few of these to get started is one of the best ways to ensure your store is being marketed and your products are being promoted to your customers in a way that encourages future sales.
- Promote your store on your personal social media, too: If you have a business Facebook page or Instagram account, you’ll be sharing content and products to those pages. But you can also share these posts and products to your own pages as well. You can even include your online Shopify URL in the bio section of your personal page to let your friends and family know about it. Never underestimate the word-of-mouth strategy and its impact on sales. This can be a marketing campaign, in and of itself.
- Give customers incentives to purchase: You can email or text discount codes to existing customers, post a special deal on your Facebook page, Instagram account, or have a pop-up banner that announces a sale or other incentive to customers on your website. This can boost sales and is an effective strategy to consider. Running ads about sales is another great way to entice new customers to visit your online Shopify website.
- Get more email address sign-ups: If you include a section on your website for people to put in their email address for updates, discounts, and more, then they are more likely to give you their email, and you can use that for future marketing efforts, including marketing campaigns.
Pro tip: You can do this with cell phone numbers as well if you utilize SMS marketing services. If you do send texts to your customers, make sure that your website is mobile friendly before you hit send so they can buy with their credit card straight from that link on their phone.
- Use social media ads: With Facebook and Instagram advertising, you don’t need a large budget to boost online sales, start selling products, and deploy this campaign strategy. A small budget with the right targeting can get you in front of a ton of new people who can become customers for life. They just haven’t found you yet. For Instagram and Facebook ads, create appealing visuals promoting any deals, discounts, sales, or special/seasonal items you have available, and pair it with short but attractive copy to get their attention.
- Work with small/local influencers: When you find smaller or local influencers who can help share your brand on their channels, this can lead to new traffic and generate sales from their followers, not to mention help build brand awareness. It also means new content for you in the form of the content they create. When you work with an influencer, you often have to give some free products or offer exclusive sales to them in exchange for their promotion, so choosing a product that you want to increase sales of is a great way to get that product out there in the world. This strategy can be a fantastic fit for many online ecommerce brands.
- Utilize user-generated content: You don’t have to do it all yourself! You can use user-generated content to generate sales, including photos you’re tagged in on social media (with permission) or reviews of your products, to create new website or social content and promotions. This content can be repurposed in many different places, and customers love to see what other people think. For most, people are more trustworthy than a brand, so user-generated content helps to play into this mindset. This is an effective strategy that is simple to execute.
- Have a loyalty program: Customer loyalty is everything and often leads to repeat customers. A loyalty program encourages past customers to come back and helps with your customer retention rates and sales. A loyalty program also incentivizes the customer to stay engaged with your brands sales, new releases, etc. A loyalty program is often an underestimated tool. Every loyalty program looks different for every company, but consider some of these tactics:
- Points for every $1 or $10 spent at your store and with a certain number of points, a discount code is given to be redeemed on the customer’s next purchase.
- Buy 6 or 10 (or so on) of an item, get one free.
- Spend $100, get free shipping or a free item or a gift card for future purchases.
- Run a contest on social media: Everyone loves free stuff! By running a contest, you can get people to share and engage with your post, increasing your reach and getting the attention of new potential customers. This can also increase loyalty and is a cost effective strategy to boost sales. You don’t have to give away anything big either when using tactics like this. A small free item is enough to encourage people to like, comment, share, tag, or however else you choose to get people engaged.
- Donate: If you donate some of your proceeds to a local charity, or if you donate your time in the name of your company, people will associate you with that good will. People want to feel like the brands they shop at are doing good for the community, environment, or world, so that can be a good way to increase brand awareness and the conversations around your store. It doesn’t have to be every sale — you could have a certain day or month where proceeds go to a certain cause. Generosity is an authentic way that can generate sales.
- Work with a Shopify marketing agency: An ecommerce marketing agency that specializes in Shopify stores can help you get the most out of the platform and improve your store so that any marketing efforts can convert into sales. A Shopify marketing agency can help with everything from the store itself to social media, advertising, and SEO to promote the store and generate sales.
How To Grow Shopify Store with Ecommerce Marketing Agency
When you’re ready to take your marketing to the next level, an ecommerce marketing agency can help with effective marketing tools to effectively generate sales and drive more visitors. Agencies with experience in ecommerce marketing, specifically with Shopify websites, can make sure everything is set up correctly behind the scenes before taking any additional steps. This way, you know you won’t be wasting any time marketing product pages that won’t convert. Here are three steps to consider when hiring a Shopify marketing agency to help your business grow:
- Do your research. There are a lot of agencies out there. Start by researching which ones have helped Shopify websites before, and find out if they have case studies or examples of their work on their websites. This can help you get a list of agencies you may want to interview.
- Determine your budget. Marketing agencies often have different levels or tiers of support packages they can offer you. If you have a smaller budget, you may get less dedicated time each month or have fewer campaigns they can run for you. With a larger budget, you may be able to hand over most or all of your marketing to experts.
- Find the right fit. Working with an agency that you trust to be transparent and trustworthy is the key to your Shopify marketing success. When you work with someone that understands your business and your goals, success will follow. Sometimes that agency is not the most affordable option out there — but you should be looking for the best value, not the lowest price. You don’t need to rush your decision. Finding the right ecommerce marketing agency who uses the right marketing tools and strategy is an investment in your business’s future, so work hard to make the one you feel most comfortable with.
At ELK, we want to see you succeed. Our teams can help with optimizing and improving your Shopify store so that customers on social media and Google can find what they are looking for in you. The ELK team will take a structured approach with refined strategy to show organic traffic growth within the first 120 days and can help you envision what the rest of your Shopify marketing strategy should look like. Contact us today to learn how we can help businesses just like yours retain current customers and attract new ones with innovative marketing strategies.