Setting up an online store for your business is easier than ever thanks to user-friendly software like Shopify. This Canadian-based company reported that its customers contributed $307 billion to the global economy in 2020.
If you are one of the many retailers who contributed to Shopify’s 2020 success and have bigger goals for 2021, use these marketing tips to promote your business online. Are you new to Shopify? Digital marketing can help you build your brand and improve your chances of success.
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What is Shopify marketing?
Shopify marketing involves using digital marketing and promotional strategies to drive people to your website and convert them into customers.
You can use these strategies as part of a comprehensive marketing plan to build brand awareness, encourage people to click on your website, and tempt them to purchase once they’re on the site.
Shopify marketing lets you manage relationships with existing customers, improving your chances of successfully retaining them. For best results, use various digital marketing tools to attract and retain shoppers.
How do you get sales on Shopify?
As soon as you post your first product to your store, you can make a sale. Many retailers make their first sales to personal connections. Your friends, family, and acquaintances probably know about your store and shop with you. But for long-term success, you need customers who aren’t in your personal orbit. Digital marketing can help you reach and convert more shoppers.
Nobody will buy your products unless they know your website exists. When you’re just starting out, building brand awareness should be your first goal. When you’re setting up your website, make sure you’re using search engine optimization (SEO). Building keywords and phrases into your product descriptions and your landing pages will help people find you online.
To find out if your site is optimized, Google the name of your store and see where you pop up. If you’re on the first page of the search results, you’re in good shape. If not, look through your website to see where you can improve the copy.
If your store has a steady stream of customers, you can still use digital marketing and promotions to find new ones and keep your current customers coming back.
To start marketing your Shopify store online, here are some strategies you can use and how to implement them.
Now that your online shop is ready to go, set up your social media pages and connect them to your website. Make it easy for people to click your posts and buy what they’re looking for. Once you’re happy with your social media pages and your website, start promoting your ecommerce site through the following platforms.
1. Google ads
There are different ways you can use Google ads for Shopify marketing. First, you can promote your site in search results making it appear at the top of relevant searches. When someone searches the internet for your products, your ad will pop up before the organic results. Users will know that it’s an ad, but it is a good tool for brand awareness and visibility.
Google Ads uses bid pricing to determine where your site will appear in promoted search results. You’ll have to bid more to land the number one result. If you don’t have a large ad budget, promoted posts are still worth the money, because you will appear on the first page of search results.
You can also use Google Ads display campaigns to create banner ads that appear on websites. You can choose from different sizes, setting your ad to run across the top of the page or in a sidebar. Whichever size you choose, be sure to make the ad mobile-friendly. Many of your customers are likely browsing with their phones, and your ad should be responsive.
Netflix recently created this ad for its series Halston, a biographical series on the fashion designer. The banner ad displays at the top of the homepage for Vogue magazine. Visitors to the website would likely be interested in the series.
Google Ads lets you target your audience by location, interest, and other metrics including search history. Your ad will be placed on websites with an audience that matches your target market. Create an ad that is eye-catching yet simple. Don’t include a lot of copy but just a short sentence to communicate the benefits of your product to shoppers.
2. SMS marketing
One of the fastest-growing digital marketing strategies is SMS — also known as text messages. According to a 2020 Learn Hub article by Lauren Pope, 48.7 million people opted into SMS communications from various companies by the end of the year. In 2020, MarketingProfs estimated that text messages generate six times more customer engagement than emails.
To stay compliant with Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) regulations, make sure your customers have opted in and give them clear instructions for opting out. When they have opted in, set up automated messages to be sent at regular intervals.
SMS messages should be short and contain links to your website. Each message should be 160 characters or fewer. SMS ads are good for sending out time-sensitive information like sales, customer appreciation events, new inventory alerts, and other relevant information.
This example from Bloomingdale’s shows how you can use SMS to drive clients to your shop. Bloomingdale’s creates a sense of urgency by opening the message with the words, “Ends today!” Anyone receiving the message knows that they can only use this discount for a limited time.
To make marketing via SMS easy, Shopify offers an app you can use to create and distribute SMS messages. And, there are tutorials available to walk you through the process.
3. Automated messages
Constant Contact easily integrates with Shopify and offers tools you can use to set up automated messages. Automated messages can be sent through SMS or email. Use them regularly to communicate with your customers. Some common automated messages include the following.
When someone signs up for your email or SMS list, send them an automated message welcoming them to your shop. Since people receive these emails immediately after opting in to your list, they usually have a high open-rate. Use this message to show your brand personality to customers.
In general, an automated welcome email should thank subscribers for signing up. It should also tell your customers what to expect. Include a small introduction to your shop and its products. People who have never shopped with you may sign up for your mailing list for coupons and other promotions.
This welcome email from Topshop is simple and to the point. It welcomes members in large text and outlines what to expect from future messages. It also serves as an incentive with a 10% discount just for signing up.
It happens all the time. Someone is perusing your Shopify store adding items to their cart when they leave the site without checking out. In this instance, automating an abandoned cart message that is sent to their email when they leave your site could help you get them back.
You can automate these emails to be sent within a set amount of time, like an hour after someone abandons their cart. They usually say “did you forget something?” or similar language. There are many reasons someone may have left their cart. They may have changed their mind and decided not to buy the product, but they might have been distracted or left your website to look up something else.
Even though you thanked people who signed up for your emails, you should thank them again when they buy a product. Following up with people regularly keeps you in their minds. You can also set up automated messages to send a month or two after their purchase to see if they are happy and give you feedback.
4. Email marketing
We’ve covered automated emails, but you should regularly keep in touch with people on your email list in between store visits. Creating regular email campaigns builds a rapport with your customers. Many of them sign up for your email list for the sole purpose of receiving coupons, getting notified of upcoming sales, and other relevant news.
Break your list down into multiple categories and tailor your messages to various segments. For example, you can create a segment for your most frequent shoppers and send them messages thanking them for their business and offering exclusive perks. One-time shoppers might respond better to a reminder email telling them that you miss them and offering a coupon encouraging them to return to your shop.
As a small store, offering discounts every day might not be a cost-effective marketing strategy for Shopify. But you can use your email list to advertise seasonal sales and promote discounted items. Keep track of anniversary dates or birthdays and use your email list to send emails to customers on their special days with a one-time coupon or discount code.
You can also use your email list to distribute content, including your blog and video posts.
5. Content marketing
If you’re using Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media tools to promote your Shopify store, you are regularly creating content. You can add to this by running a blog or an online magazine connected to your website, making a YouTube channel, or posting other helpful tips and tricks on your social media pages.
For example, if you are using Shopify to sell custom-designed furniture, post blogs or videos that offer interior decorating tips. You can add a blog to your company website that serves as a catalog with professional photos showing how different pieces can be arranged in different rooms.
TIP: To help generate buzz with your content, create a custom hashtag and use it in all of your social posts. Include other relevant hashtags that are more well-known to help people find your posts and consequently, your store.
6. User-generated content
Many businesses rely on word-of-mouth advertising, which is cost-effective and helps solidify your reputation for quality. Encourage your customers to post your products on their social media pages and tag you in the post. By doing so, your store becomes visible to your customers’ followers.
One way to encourage people to post and tag your products is to run a contest or a promotion. People like free stuff. Host a contest offering a prize to people who post about you and tag your business on Instagram or other social media platforms. You can create a branded hashtag for the promotion and use it to track entrants and pick a winner.
Offering a desirable prize encourages your followers to create creative and appealing posts, which helps enhance your visibility. You can always pick a random winner, but helping people get creative is a fun way to generate interest and encourage participation.
7. Shoppable Instagram posts
Social media should be a key piece of your digital marketing strategy. According to a 2021 article published by the Business of Apps, 54% of survey respondents indicated that they had bought something after seeing it in an Instagram post.
Instagram makes it easy to make shoppable posts. Since the company merged with Facebook, you can use your company Facebook profile to set up a catalog on Instagram. Once you have loaded your catalog, you can start adding product tags and stickers to your posts. These tags take your followers to your website when they click on the product.
Skincare company Bliss sells its products in many stores. The company regularly tags shops like Target in posts encouraging people to buy.
You can also set up a link in your bio that directs people to your Shopify store and include “Link in Bio” in all of your posts.
8. Shoppable Pins
Pinterest is another social media platform that is built for shopping. Pinterest reported 478 active users in 2021. The site is unique in that people look to this platform for inspiration. They can follow their friends and their favorite brands, but many people use the site to create mood boards and look for different products.
Creating shoppable pins and using related hashtags to promote them is an effective way to land your posts in users’ search results. Like Instagram, you can use Pinterest to create an online catalog and tag products.
With shoppable pins, you can include information like pricing directly on the pin, and users can click on the pin to be redirected to your site. Pinterest syncs with your website, so any price changes or inventory issues can be updated as soon as you change your website.
This shoppable pin by furniture retailer Floyd redirects users to the catalog page for the table. When users hover over the pin, Pinterest can match it with suggested boards. This feature helps people visualize how they will use your products.
9. Implement a loyalty program
Creating a loyalty program encourages customers to come back and spend more money at your store. Shopify has tools that you can use to create and implement loyalty programs. You can brand your loyalty program as rewards or user points and set up your desired parameters.
When setting up your loyalty program, decide how to structure it. You might decide to set up different tiers based on how much people spend with better rewards for people in higher tiers. You could do something as simple as an online punch card offering a free gift or discount after someone reaches a set number of purchases.
For best participation, customers should see your loyalty program as valuable. Start by surveying customers to see what types of incentives they would prefer. You can start with your most frequent customers, as they are already loyal to your brand. Ask them what it is that keeps them coming back and use the answers to craft messaging around your program.
10. Connect with influencers
In the past decade, social media savvy personalities have used platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to build large audiences. There are influencers in most industries from fashion to environmentalism. Whatever you sell through Shopify, there is probably an influencer to help promote your brand and put it in front of new shoppers.
You can start with a search to find the influencers in your industry. Once you’ve figured out who they are, contact them to set up a partnership. Social media personalities with large followings will probably expect you to pay them for a collaboration.
In general, people with more followers are more expensive than people with smaller followings. Partnering with those who have fewer than 100,000 followers is usually more affordable for small businesses. Starting small also lets you test out different people and different media to see what works.
Getting familiar with the marketing tools listed above should give you a good idea of where to start your promotional strategies. Different strategies are more appropriate when you’re starting out, while others tend to work better when you’re more established.
Instead of using all of the tools and platforms and trying to see what fits, start with a goal. Write out a list of what you want to accomplish to determine how to market your Shopify store.
Depending on whether you want to find new customers or retain existing ones, here’s some advice on where to focus your efforts:
Finding new customers
Now that you’re building brand awareness and have snagged a few customers, it’s time to find more. Google ads and other social media ads are good tools for finding new customers. Use Google Ads to place your Shopify store at the top of SERPs (search engine results pages).
Promoted posts on Instagram and Facebook are an affordable way to get your page into people’s social media feeds. You can set your budget for these ads based on the number of clicks, so you don’t have to spend more than your allocated marketing budget. Use promoted posts to target customers in your demographic and develop creative ads with your most successful products.
You can also use shoppable organic social media posts, which not only build brand awareness but also make it easy to convert browsers into buyers.
Retaining existing customers
Finding new customers is an important factor in launching your store and maintaining revenues, but keeping customers is essential to your bottom line. According to a 2021 article in Small Biz Genius, a five percent increase in customer retention can improve your profits by 25%-95%.
Automate a thank you email for everyone who buys something from your store, along with a follow-up about a month later asking for a review. Send regular messages to your list with information about sales, special events, industry trends, and other topics of interest.
These messages keep you top of mind and open the door to quality customer service.
Content marketing helps you maintain your relationship with existing customers. Use social media platforms to highlight customers using your products in real-time. Create posts promoting new merchandise for seasonal changes. Highlight your company’s values through social media by bringing awareness to causes you support.
Regularly sending links to these channels through your email list keeps communication going. You should post to social media and engage with your community daily, while email newsletters and videos can be created less frequently. Send regular emails to your list, and measure open rates to see which topics are most successful.
Customer loyalty programs
Offering a loyalty program not only rewards frequent shoppers, but it also gives them access to something exclusive.
Your loyalty program can be as simple as an online punch card with rewards earned after a set number of purchases (like earning a small item for free after 10 purchases) or a tiered system based on how much they spend. Shoppers who spend more can get better rewards, like higher discounts or early access to sales.
TIP: Not sure what to offer? Send a survey out to your current customers asking what they’d like to see in a loyalty program.
When you’ve set your goals, you can start deciding how to promote your Shopify store.
Look through these tools and figure out which ones you are already using. See where you can improve your current digital marketing strategies. Make sure your website is optimized for SEO, and enhance it by posting regular content to your social media pages.
Boost your visibility by using Google Ads and promoted posts on Facebook and Instagram. When you start achieving success with your Shopify store, you can develop engagement strategies to retain existing customers. Using marketing strategies for new and existing customers can help you successfully convert and retain them, helping your Shopify store thrive.
For more advice and insights on marketing your retail business, check out The Download.