As a direct to consumer brand you know that targeted traffic is the name of the game. If people aren’t coming to your website, you aren’t making sales. Period. This is why advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google, and display is so effective!
But what about attracting people to your Shopify store without spending money on advertising? You know that other brands have figured this out, so how do you do this?
I believe in hustle and systematizing scalable solutions that optimize for ROI. If you agree with this, then making sure you have an ongoing organic traffic strategy is arguably one of the greatest things you can do.
I reached out to my Shopify expert friends on Twitter and I got you the secrets to the organic traffic universe, and I’m going to share them all with you right now. This is valuable information and if even one of these ideas helps you, I will be so happy.
Here are 11 highly effective ways to drive organic traffic that most Shopify brands aren’t leveraging.
p.s. Want to know some super simple ways to increase Shopify revenue? Check out this post next.
1. Make Sure Your Meta Data on Product Pages Is Structured Correctly
When people want to find a specific product, they turn to search engines like Google. They type in what they are looking for and the search engine shows them the best result.
The thing though, is that search engines are only as smart as the data you give them. The meta data you include on your product pages is the same thing as you describing your product to Google. If you don’t explain it well, Google won’t recommend it well.
— Stuart (@stuart_abc) February 19, 2020
Make sure that your title, image, tags, price, and all other available data, is structured cleanly and accurately. This will increase your visibility in search and drive more traffic to your Shopify store.
2. Create a Facebook Group
I’ve seen a lot of brands start to create Facebook groups as a way to create a community of people with strong loyalty to each other and to the brand.
-Like you said- community. But be creative with it. Facebook groups are great *if* your customers are on Facebook. @meetblume has a “close friends” list on Instagram, instead. I love it.
-Encouraging customers to review on 3rd party review sites
— Kristen LaFrance (@kdlafrance) February 19, 2020
Here are a few of the reasons having your own community is valuable:
- Get feedback on new products and content.
- Get to know your customers a lot better.
- Enable your customers to meet each other and form relationships.
- Promote your content and products to a highly engaged customer group.
How much time you spend on your community is up to you, but I promise you that you will get 10x out of whatever you put into it. Being this interactive with your community is going to spark ideas that you never even thought of, and it may become one of your favorite pages to refresh on the internet.
3. Post On Pinterest
Did you know that 250 million people use Pinterest every month? This is a gold mine for Shopify brands.
Organic Pinterest can be a goldmine and completely underutilized.
— Helen Even Chen (@helenevenchen) February 19, 2020
If you already have a bunch of photos of your product, especially high quality user generated content, you should create a Pinterest page and regularly update it with these images. This may take your team 30 minutes a week, which is basically nothing, but it is going to index you on Pinterest (basically the visual search engine for online shoppers).
Pinterest is a visual search engine, you target search queries with great content your audience is looking for. Conceptually similar to SEO, targeted to mostly female audience.
— Helen Even Chen (@helenevenchen) February 20, 2020
There are a lot of more advanced Pinterest strategies that you can look up, but if you aren’t doing anything with Pinterest right now then do your bank account a favor and schedule a time once a week to post new photos.
^^^^^ THIS: Pinterest is surprisingly good for organic female traffic.
— TJ Gamble | eCommerceAholic (@ecommerceaholic) February 20, 2020
4. Partner With Other Brands
You probably don’t know this about me, but I have spent years working with rappers and internet celebrities (I’ve been on stage with Wiz Khalifa, I helped run Lil Wayne’s digital media, and I have known Gary Vaynerchuk since way back when all he did was sell wine online).
Do you know the number one way rappers and YouTube stars grow their audiences? Collaborations.
You’ve seen this plenty of times, you just might not have registered it as a strategy that is applicable to you. Rap songs that feature other artists and YouTube videos where the guest is another YouTuber. By combining two brands into one piece of content you are able to cross pollinate audiences.
If you are a Shopify brand this is 100% something you should be thinking about, and for some reason not many seem to be. Why? Maybe it’s weird, maybe you feel like you are secretly competing with everyone and you don’t want to collaborate, maybe you think the customers won’t like it.
Oh I have so many ideas. LET’S GO:
-Creative partnerships (Barkbox + Glossier is hands down my favorite, followed by Hoka/Merrell + OV)
-Content. More. Content. Write about more than your products.
*bonus: Do keyword research for topics that *align* with your products.
— Kristen LaFrance (@kdlafrance) February 19, 2020
Whatever the reason, I encourage you to grab a whiteboard and a coworker and write down what types of products or brand qualities you would be interested in aligning yourself with (you can check out these examples for inspiration). What other growing DTC brands reach the same audience you are looking for but your products are complimentary and non-competitive? Make a list and then reach out to these brands to explore partnerships. I would suggest coming up with a couple of ideas for your initial conversation, but give the other team a chance to be included in the brainstorm as well.
5. Turn Off Branded Bidding on Google Search Ads
This one might sound silly, but it’s something you should definitely test. If you are currently bidding on keywords for your own brand you should experiment with turning them off and seeing if your traffic from these searches goes down.
Turn off branded bidding on Google Search Ads 😂
— Scott Wright (@scright) February 19, 2020
If it doesn’t, then you just saved yourself some valuable money!
6. Post Stories to Instagram Every Day
Content can be hard, but it is the core of almost any organic traffic strategy. The bare minimum is to make sure you are leveraging every possible content distribution platform out there, and Instagram is one of the biggest.
Post to stories from your organic Instagram EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Stories is the best way to get exposure organically on IG. Always repost customer stories and use “swipe up” links to your website.
If you’re not posting stories daily, you’re sleeping on a gold mine.
— Savannah Sanchez (@social_savannah) February 19, 2020
Depending on how good you are at creating content, either create a large amount of content all at once and then use it over time, or create new content every day (this may be more difficult for some). Post your behind the scenes content as stories on Instagram. Do this consistently and you will become a part of a lot more customer’s every day routine.
7. Leverage Trends on Social Media
You need to be smart about this one, because jumping on the wrong trend can be bad. Jumping on the right trend and nailing it though? That can be a cheap and effective way to drive a lot of traffic.
– Use a multi-layered approach for blogging: domain knowledge + product info
– Newsjacking with content on Twitter, Instagram. Hop on popular culture trends, jokes, holidays etc
– Posting on sites with built-in SEO (i.e. Reddit, Quora etc)
– Leveraging customers as evangelists
— Kushaan Shah (@kushaanshah) February 19, 2020
When there are holidays, or big news events, social media platforms start showing their users more content in these categories because their algorithms have detected that these topics are getting more engagement than others. By creating your own content, or post, that relates to this trend, the social media algorithm is going to show your post to more people and you will have a chance at tapping into the core trend followers and receiving a huge boost in engagement.
8. Create YouTube Videos
Here’s the thing, creating video content is hard. Here’s the other thing, YouTube is the search engine of the future and you need to be there.
Produce video content! You don’t need to be a professional videographer to create quality videos. These days phones can shoot pretty decent videos. Plan out the content and goal of the video beforehand and post on YouTube/social media.
— Kelly Vaughn 🐞 (@kvlly) February 19, 2020
When you want to learn how to do something, where do you go? YouTube. When you want to see how a product works or looks on a real person, where do you go? YouTube. If you’re not on YouTube what do your customers find when they search YouTube? Your competitors.
blog posts should be part of multichannel content plan with video hosted on YouTube. number 2 for search behind google… so for pure organic you want some video content no matter what the message is…
— e.r.d.l.e. 🍍 (@gooderdle) February 19, 2020
You can’t be discovered on YouTube if you aren’t creating videos for YouTube. Get a camera, get a light, get a microphone, and potentially even get a backdrop. Learn to make YouTube videos and it is going to pay you back big time.
Here are some videos you should be creating:
- Educational videos related to your product and your customer’s pain point.
- Unboxing videos.
- Videos of your product being used.
In-depth product reviews/unboxing/hands-on content for products with polarized reviews.
— Andrew Sumitani (@AndrewSumitani) February 19, 2020
Look up some of your favorite brands on YouTube and see what kind of content they are making. Make a list of the different types of content and put together a plan for you to make a few videos of each type. Get the equipment you need and shoot your videos. See which types perform the best for you and double down on those.
9. Make Great Descriptions for Collection and Product Pages
There is nothing worse than trying to find a product you need, finding a store that sells it, and then the product description doesn’t explain any of the information you are looking for.
Take the time to write detailed and attention grabbing descriptions for your products. If you have a lot of products this can be a lot of work, I totally understand, but this is your opportunity to pitch your product to a browsing customer. This is your chance to show personality, to show intelligence, and to build trust.
Be more intentional on collection pages. I have a client that does a great job of having 500+ word descriptions about each product category underneath the collection grid
— Austin Hutchison (@austinhutchison) February 19, 2020
If you’re not in love with your product and collection descriptions, block out 2 hours on your calendar and see how many descriptions you can update. Go check out product pages for other brands for inspiration.
10. Create Affiliate Offers with Credit Card Companies
This is kind of organic and kind of not organic, but I’m going to include it anyways since it’s something most people might not be thinking about.
not really “organic”, but affiliate is the most underutilized channel IMHO. Credit card offers are very powerful for brand discovery, but allow you to have a VERY targeted offer for a particular type of a customer, and do some competitive conquesting.
— Phillip Jackson (@philwinkle) February 19, 2020
Work with credit card companies in order to provide exclusive incentives for their customers to shop at your Shopify store.
Hard agree here. And puh-lease stop only pushing referrals immediately after purchase. Wait until they have your product in hand and have used it. Then hit them with that request and teach them about the value they get from sharing. #nomoregive20get20
— Val Geisler 💌 (@lovevalgeisler) February 19, 2020
I’m not actually sure how you get listed with these credit card companies, so if someone reading this knows, please ping me and I will update this post!
11. Create Educational Blog Posts on Topics Related To Your Brand and Customers
I left this one for last since you probably already know it, but are you already doing it?
Creating educational blog posts on topics related to your brand and customers is the #1 thing you should be doing if you aren’t already doing it. It can feel daunting to write a blog post, but here’s the secret: Writing about topics you know a lot about is actually really easy.
Blog regularly on topics that are engaging to your target audience. It’s a great opportunity to plug your products (without overdoing it), but most importantly the content should be educational or lifestyle-focused (depending on target audience) to be effective organically.
— Kelly Vaughn 🐞 (@kvlly) February 19, 2020
This blog post I’m writing right now is a great example. I am CEO of Octane AI and Octane AI is a conversational marketing platform for Shopify and Shopify Plus brands (some of our customers are earning $100k in extra revenue every month, grab a demo here and we’ll show you how they are doing it), so I’m writing this post about high value tips Shopify operators would want to know. You might have found this post from social media, or from searching on Google, but now you’re here (and it’s great to meet you!). This is what you should be doing for your brand too.
Going back to basics: so few merchants produce good organic content. Writing lots of legit valuable articles, a few big hits like in-depth buyer’s guides, and bolstering it all with video.
It’s a time-consuming long-term strategy so most skip it to instead focus on PPC.
— Kurt Elster 🛒 (@kurtinc) February 19, 2020
👏 Evergreen content 👏 Podcasts, articles, or videos that don’t go out of style.
Ex: I was annoyed my new candle didn’t burn evenly, so I googled how to avoid it 👉 Landed on @HomesickCandles‘ blog post on how to burn a candle evenly.
Left the site after ordering 3 candles 🙃
— Katie Krische (@katiekrische) February 19, 2020
Make a list of topics related to your brand that you believe your customers would be interested. What are the types of things they search for? What type of content do they need? Create this.
Depends on context: is the brand new/established? Is the product new and has search volume/new with no search volume?
New, no search volume = very longtail SEO content around problems that can be solved by/with the product + backlink building for the exact product
— Victoria Wood (@VickyWood) February 20, 2020
I hope you found these tips helpful! I’m excited to see you continue to grow your business. If you have any additional ideas for this post please let me know by reaching out to me on Twitter @MattPRD.
This article originally appeared in the OctaneAI blog and has been published here with permission.