Branding

Your 2017 Marketing Strategy For Your Shopify Store13 min read

Before you can achieve your 2017 marketing goals, you’ll need a roadmap and a strategy to get there. As you develop your 2017 marketing strategy for your Shopify store, it’s important to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.

We’ve put together a basic outline of information you’ll need to develop your 2017 marketing strategy. By following our outline, you’ll learn how to:

Set realistic goals for your Shopify store

Set an appropriate budget for marketing

Develop a brand message

Reach your target audience and broaden your reach

As the new year rolls in, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your current marketing strategy and make changes for the coming year. Let’s take a look at how you can develop your roadmap to marketing success in 2017.

 

 

Start By Setting Goals

 

Goals are crucial in business. Without them, you’re moving without direction. Goals help you define your own success, and they’re necessary for you to grow a brand.

 

Begin your 2017 marketing strategy by listing your goals for the upcoming year. Your specific goals will depend on your target audience, your size, and your niche, but many businesses share a common list of goals at the beginning of each year:

 

Increase sales

 

Reach new audiences

 

Improve presence online

 

Release new products or services

 

Increase profit and revenue

 

Expand into new markets and niches

 

Develop a stronger sense of brand loyalty

 

Improve brand awareness

 

 

These goals should by no means serve as specifics for your brand, but they should give you a decent idea of where your business is going. As you develop goals, prioritize those you wish to accomplish first, and relegate less important goals to be completed after.

 

 

Set clear objectives for each of your goals. Our list is fairly vague, as to provide a basic idea of eCommerce marketing goals. Consider making your goals more specific – if you want a larger internet presence for example, list exactly how much you want to grow online before the end of the year. Specific objectives give you a clearer idea of where you’re going, making them easier to achieve than broad goals.

 

 

Your goals should adhere to the SMART rules of goal setting, meaning they should be:

 

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Realistic

Time-Bound

 

 

Use the above five guidelines to develop your marketing goal plan for 2017. Once you’ve identified the direction you’d like to move in with your brand, you can begin planning your marketing strategy.

 

 

Create a Realistic Budget For Marketing

 

Let’s face it: marketing can be expensive. However, the internet’s growing gig economy and the ever-growing presence of freelance digital marketers has made effective marketing more affordable than ever.

 

 

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Before you hire a marketing consultant, ask yourself the following questions to help you get a better idea of your marketing budget:

 

What’s your industry? What are other businesses in your niche spending on marketing? Which channels do they use? What do you need to spend on marketing to compete with other brands?

What is your store’s average yearly revenue? How much of your revenue do you want to set aside for marketing?

How much of your marketing strategy do you need to outsource? Can you do any of the marketing yourself, or will you need to hire out the entire project? Can you get one or two people to help, or will you need an entire team?

What do you want to achieve? An excellent marketing strategy can earn you fast success, but can also be expensive to implement. Will you need to spend more than you’re expecting to achieve above and beyond results?

 

Your answers to the above questions will largely define how you should set your budget for your 2017 marketing strategy. If you want to grow quickly and steadily, you might expect to spend more on marketing than planned. Take a look at your needs, your wants, and your revenue to create a realistic expectation of what to spend on marketing int 2017.

 

 

Re-evaluate Your Brand Message

 

To market your Shopify store successfully, you need a strong brand message. In 2017, look back at your brand message and find ways you can share it better with your audience.

 

 

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Mission Statement

 

An effective brand message has a strong mission statement. What are you trying to achieve with your brand? Your actions as a brand should reflect your company’s mission statement.

 

 

Brand Promise

 

In addition to a strong mission statement, you should also offer a strong brand promise to your customer. Why should they trust your brand over another? What can you guarantee with each order you deliver?

 

 

Your brand promise is crucial. It shows your audience you’re committed to their wellbeing. Your store should reflect your brand promise, and make it clear to your shoppers.

 

 

Unique Selling Propositions

 

While your mission statement and brand promise are important to your customer, your unique selling propositions are what set your brand apart. Are you offering something your customer can find elsewhere on the web?

 

 

Customers come to your store over others because of your unique selling proposition. Either you sell products they can’t find anywhere else, or you sell similar products at lower prices, with faster shipping, or you offer better customer service. If you can’t offer any of these, why should customers choose your brand over another?

 

 

Tone & Voice

 

Finally, the way you deliver your brand message plays a key role in how your customer sees your brand. The tone and voice you use in your product descriptions, blogs, and social media messages says a lot about you as a brand.

 

 

Brands appealing to a young audience will use far different language and imagery than a brand targeting seniors. Pay attention to the tone and voice of your brand. Some small changes in how you deliver your brand message may help you better connect with your target audience.

 

 

 

As you revise and re-define your brand message, consider how changes to your brand will impact everyone. Consider the three following perspectives:

 

 

  • Customer Perspective: How does your brand message resonate with your customers? What does your brand offer your customer?
  • Market Perspective: What does your brand offer differently than your competitors? Why should the market choose your brand over another?

 

  • Internal Perspective: How are you treating your internal team? Are different ideas being taken into account? Are you listening to your team’s ideas and criticisms? Do they think you’re making the right decisions?

 

 

When your brand message can appeal to all three perspectives, it’s connecting with the people it’s supposed to connect with.

 

 

Defining Your Target Audience

 

Now that you’ve defined your brand message, who are you sharing your message with? Which groups of people are most likely to listen to your message?

 

 

As your brand evolves, so does your target audience. Take the opportunity to re-define your target audience in 2017. The more accurately you define your target audience, the more effectively you can market to them throughout the year.

 

 

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To create a customer persona, brainstorm the details of your average customer. Picture any individual at random, visiting your online store. What do you know about them?

 

 

Some key ways to define your target audience’s demographic include listing their average:

 

Age

Occupation

Location

Family status

Gender

Interests & hobbies

Values

Political views

Lifestyle

Behavior

Income level

Education level

 

 

Once you’ve gathered this information, consider creating in-depth customer personas for your audience. Write down the answers to each of these questions, and develop a simple backstory for your customer. Why are they visiting your store? How can you solve their problem?

 

 

The Buyer’s Journey

 

Part of creating a buyer persona is understanding the buyer’s journey. Before a customer lands on your Shopify store’s homepage, something gave them a reason to go there.

 

 

Maybe the buyer found your link on another website, or they saw a YouTuber review your product and decided to see what the hype is about.

 

 

Consider your most prevalent streams of traffic. Why are buyers coming from certain specific sources more often than others?

 

 

When you understand where your buyers are coming from and why they’re deciding to visit your store, you can picture your average buyer’s journey.  Most online shoppers go through three specific stages of their journey before they buy a product:

 

 

  • Awareness: How does your customer become aware of the need for your product? What issues are they having? What are their pain points, and how can you help resolve their issues?
  • Consideration: What options does your customer have to resolve their issues? Will your brand be their first consideration, and if not, how can you put yourself in that position?

 

  • Decision: What does your customer think about before making a decision? What concerns do they have before they commit to a purchase? How can you help reaffirm their decision to shop with your brand?

 

 

The best way to appeal to your customer is to see every issue from their perspective. This allows you to offer better solutions than your competitors, and create loyal, trusting customers from your marketing efforts.

 

 

Consider Marketing Channels and Key Strategies

 

Once you’ve set goals for your brand, identified your brand message, and created a better understanding of your buyer demographic, you can begin to craft the next steps of your 2017 marketing strategy.

 

 

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The best marketing channels and strategies for your brand will largely depend on your audience. Which marketing channels are most likely to appeal to your audience?

 

 

Depending on your niche, the best marketing channels for your brand might be obvious. Brands selling products targeted at Millennials will naturally use digital marketing methods as much or more so than traditional marketing, but brands with a more diverse range of customers may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

 

 

To better understand which marketing channels will work best for your Shopify store, consider the following:

 

 

  • Which marketing channels and strategies have you used in the past? Which worked well, and which didn’t? How can you make your effective marketing strategies better?

 

  • Do you know which marketing strategies are working for your competitors? Have you completed a competitor analysis?

 

  • Are there marketing tactics you’ve never tried that may show results? Do you have room in your budget to try new marketing strategies and experiment until you find some that work for you?

 

 

Your previous marketing efforts may have worked well for you in the past, but there’s always room for improvement. Let’s take a look at the types of marketing channels and strategies we typically see Shopify store owners use, and they can potentially benefit your brand.

 

 

Traditional Marketing

 

Traditional marketing dates back many decades and still plays a prominent role in marketing today. While the internet dominates many facets of marketing, traditional marketing still plays a crucial role in growth for many businesses.

 

 

It’s easy to believe everyone is on the internet. This day in age, it’s hard to believe anyone isn’t. However, millions of people do not turn to the web for information on new products and brands, even if they shop online.

 

 

Unless your budget is tight and the vast majority of your target audience spends time online, traditional marketing should make up some portion of your marketing efforts.

 

 

The most popular traditional marketing channels include:

 

 

Print ads (newspapers, magazines, etc.)

Radio and Television ads

Live speaking events and conventions

Cold-calls

Direct mail

Billboards

 

 

Whether or not traditional marketing tactics are worth it to your brand will depend on your niche. Brands with a physical store might consider using billboards, print ads, or direct mail to direct customers to their store, but these may not be necessary for your store.

 

 

Digital Marketing

 

Digital marketing has grown dramatically in recent years. Many eCommerce stores are reliant on it, and for an increasing number of brands, it’s the only channel of marketing they pursue.

 

 

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What is digital marketing? Digital marketing is an umbrella term which refers to a number of marketing tactics used on the web to promote online business. The following are facets of digital marketing:

 

 

Social media marketing

Content marketing

Email marketing

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

 

Social Media Marketing

 

Brands with a presence online can make great use of social media marketing. Depending on your audience, an excellent social media marketing plan can mean huge success for your brand.

 

 

According to MarketingSherpa, online adults between the ages of 18 and 34 are the most likely to follow a brand using social media. If your target audience falls within this range, strongly consider focusing many of your marketing efforts on social media.

 

 

Social media marketing happens on numerous platforms. These generally include:

 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn

Pinterest

 

 

Where you direct your social media marketing efforts will largely depend on your audience’s demographic. To learn more about the average demographics of key social networking platforms, take a look at Pew Research Center’s recent data.

 

Content Marketing

 

Content marketing and social media marketing go hand in hand. Effective content marketing appeals to readers on your website as well as readers on social media.

 

 

Shareable, actionable content will help your marketing efforts more than bland, irrelevant posts. Identify topics you and your audience really care about, and write interesting content readers will want to share.

 

 

As you outline your content marketing strategy, consider using the following types of content to promote your brand:

 

 

Inspired content creation (use proven ideas from others to create unique, interesting blog posts of your own).

Multimedia content (infographics, slideshows, photographs, videos, etc.)

Guest posts from relevant bloggers in your niche

User-generated content from your audience

Email newsletters

 

 

Ultimately, you want your content to resonate with your reader. You want to answer their questions and help identify your brand as a trustworthy source of information in their mind.

 



As shoppers begin to trust you for your content, they’ll feel more comfortable buying products from you. Excellent content can also help you build your email list, giving you a larger database of leads to market to in the future.

 

 

Email Marketing

 

Digital marketing largely began with email marketing. Brands asked customers to sign up for updates, and they sent them coupons and advertisements highlighting their brand.

 

 

To this day, email marketing plays a huge role in establishing a customer base online. According to Kissmetrics, there are over 2.9 billion email accounts currently on the web – that’s more than three times the number of Facebook and Twitter accounts combined.

 

 

Email marketing goes hand in hand with content marketing. Many of your content marketing efforts should focus on establishing email leads as well as informing readers. With the right email marketing efforts, you can achieve significant growth in a relatively short period of time.

 

Final Thoughts

 

Achieve your New Year’s marketing resolutions by outlining your 2017 marketing strategy now. With a plan and the right knowledge, you can make 2017 your brand’s biggest year yet.

 

To learn, read the full article.

 

 

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.