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Shopify is one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the world, currently powering more than 1.7 million businesses worldwide.
A big part of the platform’s success comes down to its intuitive user interface, affordable pricing, and great merchant support from the platform itself and thousands of Shopify app developers.
Undoubtedly, Shopify is a great platform for anyone looking to build a successful ecommerce business. But, it is not a cheat code that’ll automatically create a lucrative online business for you.
You still need a proper marketing strategy and tools to support your vision, unless you want to join the long list of online store owners that don’t generate any revenue, let alone profits.
To help you turn your dream of running a successful ecommerce business into reality, we’ve gathered 9 easy-to-follow marketing strategies that’ll help you promote your Shopify store effectively.
Let’s jump right in.
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1. Engage your audience on social media
With billions of active monthly users, social media platforms are one of the best places to start promoting your Shopify store.
You can use social media to promote your brand for free (organically) or use their built-in paid advertising options.
Most brands choose both, as organic social media while being free and having high conversion rates takes time and energy to develop, and with the right strategy, social media ads can provide a good return on ad spend.
Let’s go over the paid methods first. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other key social media platforms offer various ad formats that you can use. For example, you can promote your Shopify store on Instagram stories, newsfeed, and the explore tab. You can also run Shopify ads on the Instagram “Shop” tab, where you’ll target audiences with higher buyer intent.
Social media platforms also offer various audience targeting options. This is great as it allows you to run highly targeted campaigns – that get high conversion rates – aimed at your ideal buyers. For example, you can ensure your ads show up to a specific demographic with particular interests and behaviors using Facebook’s detailed targeting options – say, dog owners, who live in a given neighborhood.
Naturally, it’s not enough that you pick the right targeting and ad formats. To make your social media campaigns successful, you need to ensure your ads are captivating and engaging.
Here are some tips that’ll help you achieve that:
- Use quality, engaging visuals
- Try out the different social media ad formats
- Ensure your video ads are short and engaging. Capture the viewer’s attention within the first 4 seconds.
- Create mobile-optimized ads
- A/B test your ads
- Monitor your metrics and adjust your campaign accordingly
To learn more about using paid social media to grow your ecommerce sales, consider reading this guide on smart ways to optimize your social commerce strategy and this article exploring some of the most effective Facebook ecommerce ads.
Although not as effective as paid social, organic social media campaigns can also generate decent results. More importantly, they can help you build an engaged audience that’ll follow, interact, and buy from your brand no matter if you’re currently investing in ads or not.
For example, you could host social media contests or challenges involving your followers. This is very popular, especially on platforms like TikTok. For example, Crocs did one of these challenges with the hashtag #ThousandDollarCrocs back in 2019. The campaign was a major success, helping the company build brand awareness and a vast TikTok following.
In addition, you could host a “Tag to Win” or “Like to Win” giveaway on Instagram. Instagram voting contests are also pretty effective at building brand awareness and increasing engagement rates.
You can also promote your store on other social media channels, including Messenger and WhatsApp using tools like Delightchat. This app will not only help you sell more of your products directly where your audience’s most engaged, but also help you manage all your customer support inquiries in one place.
To learn more about running giveaway campaigns, read our post on how to run an Instagram giveaway. And if you’re looking for more social media tips, consider reading this guide on using social media for ecommerce growth from NapoleonCat.
2. Run email marketing campaigns
Email is not only the most popular online marketing medium out there, but it’s also one of the highest converting ones. According to this 2021 data from Growcode, email is the second-best acquisition channel for ecommerce store owners – only slightly behind referral marketing.
How do you get started, though? It’s actually pretty simple. First, you need a robust email marketing software solution. Admittedly, Shopify has an inbuilt email campaign software to get you started. However, you will likely get better functionality and overall campaign results with a dedicated email marketing platform.
For instance, GetResponse’s Email Automation for Shopify provides all the tools you need to set up automated email campaigns for your ecommerce customers.
It allows you to collect email signups via targeted popups and forms.
It also lets you import customer data (including previous orders) to help you run personalized email marketing campaigns and segment your audience.
Not to mention the fact that it lets you win back lost customers with beautifully-designed cart abandonment emails.
Naturally, GetResponse is just one of many marketing apps you can use to run your ecommerce email campaigns. We thoroughly reviewed the top ones in this article – Top Email Marketing Software for Shopify.
Once you get the right tool, it’s all about building an engaged audience (e.g. using popups or giveaways) and creating effective email marketing campaigns. The good news is that list building and email campaigns for Shopify stores are not all that different from regular ecommerce email campaigns. Therefore, you just need to follow the same best practices we covered in our comprehensive ecommerce email marketing guide.
In this guide, you’ll find all the necessary tips, strategies, and ecommerce campaign examples you’ll need to get started promoting your Shopify business with emails.
3. Partner up with influencers
There’s a reason 75 percent of business owners have a budget dedicated to influencer marketing – it’s extremely effective at accelerating brand awareness and boosting sales on social media.
But does engaging with influencers always pay off? Not quite.
First off, you need to make sure you find the right influencers for your business – people who align with your brand’s values and whom your target audience knows and engages with.
To find the right influencers, you can use tools like HypeAuditor, Upfluence, or Buzzsumo. You can also look directly at TikTok’s own creator marketplace, if you’re planning on working via this social media platform.
When looking into influencer marketing for ecommerce, you’ll come across the different types of influencers. You have nano and micro-influencers with less than 15,0000 followers and macro and mega influencers with over 500,000 followers.
Each influencer category has its pros and cons. For example, smaller influencers are more affordable while major ones are expensive. On the other hand, bigger influencers can help you reach a wider audience. But the interesting thing is that micro-influencers usually have higher engagement rates than bigger influencers.
Ideally, you should build a campaign combining both micro and mega influencers. But, of course, that’ll ultimately depend on your campaign goals and budget. For example, macro-influencers are your best bet if you have a vast budget and you just want to build brand awareness. Meanwhile, micro-influencers are very effective when you want to spark a conversation about your brand.
Once you identify the right influencers, reach out to them with a personalized message or email. Here’s a template for inspiration from Ninjaoutreach.
After securing good influencers, collaborate with them to create compelling content. Keep in mind that influencers are probably better at content creation than you. However, they may not know your brand and or audience as well as you do. So while you’ll want to give them a lot of creative freedom, it’s best if you start off with a creative brief.
Speaking of results, you must know what metrics to track when running an influencer marketing campaign. Unless you’re interested in brand awareness alone, likes and impressions are not the metrics to look at. Instead, use UTM parameters. These are short text codes attached to URLs. Let your influencers use these URLs in their posts. That way, you’ll be able to track and attribute store visits and conversions to specific influencers.
And if you’re focused on sales, consider assigning each influencer with a unique promo code they can use when referring people to your store. This way, you’ll know exactly which influencer drives you the highest number of sales. Plus, if they get a commission from each sale they’ll have more motivation to promote your brand effectively.
4. Invest in paid ads
Paid advertising is another incredible technique to generate more sales. Like social media ads, search engines and other publishers also provide various ad formats. For example, search ads can ensure your online store appears at the top of the Google search results for specific keywords typed in by your audience.
This is a great way to target keywords with higher buyer intent. Unfortunately, these campaigns can also get very expensive. For example, you may find yourself bidding for the same target keywords as Alibaba, Amazon, and other ecommerce giants.
Google shopping ads is another ad format you don’t want to overlook. These ads will help you target potential customers who are already shopping for the products you have. The ads also appear at the top, above the organic results. That means your Shopify store and products will gain more visibility.
You could also use display ads. With this ad format, your store’s ads will show up on other websites your target audience visits.
One of the best things about paid media is it allows you to run remarketing campaigns. This is critical in reaching the dozens of potential customers who typically abandon your online store without making a purchase.
Like any other campaign, you’ll need a proper strategy to get the best results from your ecommerce paid media campaigns.
For example, you must use high-quality images to make your Google Shopping ads stand out. You also need to add negative keywords to stop your ads from being triggered by irrelevant search queries. Defining your target audience is critical too. That ensures your ads only show up to people who can purchase your products. Paid ads should also link back to optimized landing pages.
With the help of a powerful paid ads creator, you should be able to create optimized ads that will generate more clicks and conversions.
5. Bring customers back to your website with web push notifications
Only about 8 percent of site visitors make a purchase on their first trip to a website. That means bringing back previous site visitors should be a priority. One of the most effective ways to do that is through web push notifications. This is a technique used by many ecommerce businesses, including Fashion Nova, one of the biggest Shopify stores out there.
To get started with web push notifications, you must first get the prospect’s consent. This consent is usually acquired through a small prompt just below the search bar (or as a popup) when a user visits your site for the first time.
Once they consent, the user will receive push notifications from your website when they are online. These notifications will appear on the web browser if the user is on a desktop or in the notification bar on a mobile device.
The beauty of web push notifications is they allow you to reach potential customers wherever they are online. You can use them to alert prospects when you introduce new products or restock your items. You can also push notifications to target potential buyers with the items they looked at while on your site. You can even use them to send discounts, offer free shipping, and run other promotions.
Another interesting thing about web push notifications is they can help you bypass the ad blocker issue. Unlike paid ads which prospects can block with ad blockers, web push notifications will show up as long as the user has consented and is connected to the internet. Not to mention the obvious financial savings you’ll make using web push notifications as opposed to paid media.
Here are some tips on how to successfully use web push notifications to promote your Shopify store:
- Make sure to get the prospects’ consent
- Write a compelling copy to convince site visitors to sign up for the push notifications
- Pace your push notifications correctly to avoid spammy behavior
- Track and adjust your campaign appropriately
The GetResponse push notification tool can help you get started with web push notifications. Our tool lets you create branded push notifications that your prospects will easily recognize and interact with. It also allows you to deploy specific push notifications based on pre-set triggers in your marketing automation workflows.
6. Create a referral marketing program
Another easy way to promote your Shopify store is through a referral program. Through these programs, you can utilize existing customers to acquire new clients. A referral campaign also presents an opportunity to reward loyal customers as they help you spread the word about your online store.
Make sure the reward system is double-sided to get the best results from a referral marketing program—give both the referrer and referee a discount. This reward system incentives your customer base to refer more clients. The new clients will also have an incentive to make their first order.
Clothing retailer Taylor Stitch uses that type of referral program. Customers are rewarded $20 in credit (for their Common Club loyalty program) when they invite a friend who places an order of over $100. The friend also gets 20% off their first order.
Besides the double-sided reward, make sure your referral program is simple and easy to use. Give your existing customers a unique discount code or link to distribute among their social circles. To create these programs, you can use Shopify apps like Referral Candy.
And if you want to know more, you can also explore their referral marketing guide for online stores.
7. Optimize your store for the search engines
About 40 percent of shoppers search for products on search engines like Google. Hence, optimizing your site for search engines is a great way to drive more traffic to your Shopify store.
Luckily, Shopify comes packed with amazing SEO features right out of the box. It autogenerates your website’s sitemap, for example. Unfortunately, these inbuilt features can only get you so far. Also, all Shopify merchants enjoy those features, so you’ll need an extra trick up your sleeves to get ahead of the competition.
Search engine optimization is quite an extensive topic, but there are a few basic strategies that you could get started with. The first is keyword research and optimization. Basically, you want to identify the keywords your potential customers use when searching for products. Then, add those keywords to various strategic parts of your Shopify store for increased discoverability.
For example, you can add the target keywords on product titles, descriptions, and URLs. You must also add keywords in the title tag and meta description. This is not just useful for SEO. Good title tags and meta descriptions can increase your click-through rate.
You can use free keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner to identify target keywords. You could also pay for premium tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush. User-generated content like product reviews can also give you keyword ideas.
Site speed is also critical. Optimize your Shopify store to ensure it loads quickly. This enhances the user experience and improves your rankings on search engine results pages. You can optimize site speed by using smaller, optimized images and removing sliders and unnecessary applications.
Finally, build links to your online store. Quality backlinks will establish trust and authority for your Shopify store. Securing backlinks from reputable websites in your industry can also help you rank higher within your niche.
Start by reaching out to suppliers and manufacturers to secure backlinks. That should be easy since you already have a relationship with them.
You can also contact influencers and reputable thought leaders in your industry, asking for backlinks. Another trick is to scan the web for websites that mention your brand but don’t link to it. Get in touch with the editor with a personalized message requesting a backlink. Here’s a template for inspiration.
You should also consider content marketing. Valuable content can drive more qualified traffic to your website. This content can also help you secure more backlinks. Think about the issues your target market usually struggles with and create informative content offering solutions.
Take the case of Made.com as an example. The ecommerce website owners understand their customers too well. They know their target audience’s pain points and interests and have utilized the “IDEAS” section of their website to provide solutions. They have content for all critical topics ranging from furniture buying and care guides to interior design ideas and inspirations.
You should know that search engine optimization takes time to generate results. So, work on SEO as a long-term strategy while utilizing the other tactics shared in this post. And if you’re looking for additional guidelines, check out the SEO checklist from Shopify.
8. Partner up with similar brands and media sites
Brand partnerships are a great way to tap into new audiences that mirror your ideal customer base. It’s a pretty straightforward technique. First, identify a brand that complements your own. Of course, they shouldn’t be selling competing products. Next, collaborate with the brand for various campaigns.
For example, you can collaborate on a social media campaign to host a joint contest or giveaway. Bulletproof, one of Shopify’s most successful stores, uses this strategy.
You can also create a series of joint marketing emails and distribute them to both your email lists.
To learn more about partnerships, consider this post from Adroll where they discuss the importance of brand partnerships for D2C brands.
9. Go offline
Online marketing is highly effective, but by no means is it your only option. You can generate tons of sales with an effective offline campaign. For example, tradeshows and other events can spread the word about your store. Just find relevant events whose audience is similar to your ideal customers, then go set up your booth.
Besides customer acquisition, local events also present networking opportunities with other brands. You may be able to secure great partnerships with other participants. Local events also build brand reputation. Plus, you may secure backlinks from local news sites, blogs, etc.
Posters, banners, and even branded merchandise can also be effective for promoting your Shopify store. Partner with brick and mortar stores to distribute the banners and posters. Besides publishing your store’s URL on banners, you can add a QR code leading to your store. That makes it even easier for prospective customers to get to your Shopify website.
According to the marketing rule of seven, prospects have to interact with a brand around seven times before purchasing a product. So, while all nine marketing strategies covered are effective in their own right, you must employ several of them to get the best results.
Luckily, you can get started with most of these tactics for free or with a limited budget. For example, you can launch social media campaigns for just $200 per month. Meanwhile, SEO and brand partnerships are more or less free.
If you want to use email marketing — which you should — you can get started with the GetResponse Email Automation for Shopify for free. You will also gain access to some of our other tools, including marketing automation, live chats, paid ads creator, web push notifications, and more. Did I mention you don’t have to give us your credit card details to access these premium tools?