You have a fantastic product, an awesome new site, and the right team in place. The next — and arguably most important — step is figuring out how to promote your Shopify store. With almost 300,000 stores on Shopify alone, there’s a good chance that if you’re not promoting your Shopify store, you’re losing potential customers.
Promoting your Shopify store is an ongoing, evolving effort that takes time and testing to figure out the best way to reach customers. The best way to promote your Shopify store is by taking advantage of various marketing channels and analyzing which is the most successful. Then, prioritize which channels are the most successful.
1. Grow A Quality Email List & Segment Strategically
Email is the ultimate outreach tool, allowing Shopify store owners a direct line to the groups of people who are already interested in your business (i.e. they have signed up to your newsletter, purchased a product, or attended an event).
The first step in building a solid email marketing campaign is to grow a quality email list. You can strengthen your email list by:
- Including a form field for email on your landing pages.
- Creating a website pop-up for opt-ins, giveaways, and rewards when someone enters or exits your site, using Shopify apps like Pop-Up Window.
Once you’ve developed a strong email list, your next step is to segment it into different audiences based on user interests or their stage in the buyer funnel. For example, someone who exited the buying process right before hitting ‘checkout’ knows more about your products than someone who requested to learn more on a landing page. The person who abandoned their cart might just need an extra nudge to complete their checkout with an email that includes a discount. But the landing page visitor probably needs a more robust email highlighting the benefits of your products, sharing testimonials, and showing them product options.
Popular ways to segment emails include:
- How they opted in for email / Position in the funnel
- Products purchased
- Website behavior
When you’re ready to send your emails, Shopify has email marketing capabilities that let users quickly build emails and analyze performance metrics. Once you’ve created and sent an email, you can track open and conversion rates.
2. Create an Organic and Paid Social Media Strategy
Social media is a fantastic place to connect with potential customers. Most brands are active on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube to promote their Shopify stores. Because consistent posting and interacting with followers is key to an engaged audience, we recommend focusing on one to two platforms to get started. You can add in more channels when you have the team bandwidth to expand.
- Organic Social Media
For new businesses, it’s not always reasonable to pay for ads on social media right off the bat. For others, it’s about balancing the paid reach with organic. Organic social is any social media activity without a paid promotion.
While organic growth is a long-term play, it’s a great way to showcase your products, tell your brand story, show off social proof, and support paid efforts. Many ecommerce stores find success posting contests, customer testimonials, and user-generated content.
Make sure to take advantage of hashtags when crafting your social media posts. Using hashtags can increase engagement, boost your brand awareness, and help your target audience find you.
To find popular hashtags, consider:
- Checking out your competition’s posts to see what hashtags they are using.
- Using tools like Hashtagify, RiteTag, and best-hashtags.com to find and analyze hashtags.
- Looking at the platforms themselves for ideas. On Instagram, you can type a topic into the search bar and then hit ‘tags.’ This will show you other trending hashtags for this topic. On Twitter, you can hit the ‘explore’ tab and then hit ‘trending’ to see popular hashtags, personalized based on your location and interests.
If you need some inspiration for your organic social media presence, check out these ideas to keep your social media game engaging.
- Paid Ads
If you have an advertising budget, running social media ads is one of the best ways to drive traffic to a Shopify store.
Paid social posts are prioritized before organic posts and can be placed in front of a highly targeted audience. You can decide to target your audience based on key indicators such as location, age, and interests.
Most platforms allow for ad creation and we recommend starting with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It’s important to think strategically about which platform to spend your budget on.
- Facebook: Although Facebook’s audience tends to be older, it is one of the biggest platforms with the most advanced targeting options and campaign functions. Your Facebook ads can include CTA buttons and forms and are trackable, thanks to Facebook’s analytics. Additionally, Facebook and Instagram are connected, so you can easily create and run both ads from the Facebook platform.
- Instagram: Many ecommerce businesses are drawn to Instagram because it’s visual nature. It’s a great platform to show your product in action and works best for brands with strong lifestyle branding (fashion, beauty, travel, etc.).
- Twitter: Because of the user count, Twitter is a great platform to get exposure. It’s important to keep in mind that 42% of the adults who use Twitter are aged 18–29. If your target audience isn’t in this demographic, it might not be the best fit.
- YouTube: If your company has the ability to create and test video ads, then YouTube can be quite profitable. YouTube is used by 81% of adults in the US, meaning that your audience is undeniably on the site.
Pro-tip: When creating your ads, consider user-generated content. We’ve found that it makes for high-performing ads.
Statista estimates that by 2025, 108 million Americans will make purchases through social networks. Brands should take advantage of social commerce growth by connecting Shopify with Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok to create shops within the platform.
You can follow Meta’s step-by-step guide to creating a Facebook and Instagram Shop and TikTok’s for setting up Store Manager. These ecommerce stores easily integrate with Shopify and serve as another virtual storefront for your products. Through these shops, you can advertise products, offer discounts, and have customers check out right on the platform.
3. Build Relationships with Influential People
An influencer is anyone who builds trust around your brand and can influence members of your target audience. They have a highly engaged following so partnering with these creators allows your brand to benefit purely by association.
In 2020, two million professionals earned a living solely from publishing content on social media platforms. The creator economy has seen unprecedented growth and only continues to expand with new platforms and trends. What does this mean for you? There are millions of creators out there interested in helping your brands reach your goals.
How to build an authentic & successful influencer marketing campaign:
- Expand Who You Consider Influential
Influencers don’t have to be the people with the largest following – we’ve moved beyond this. We are now in the era where the ideal influencer will vary for each brand based on things like your industry, the maturity of your brand, and of course budget.
For instance, if you are a beauty brand in a crowded space, working with a group of influential skin and beauty experts could add an element of expertise and trust to your brand, compared to working with beauty influencers alone.
Partner with someone who can inspire others to buy your product. This could be
- A brand ambassador
- An expert in the industry
- A past customer
See more ideas for who to invite to be an influencer here.
- Define the Working Relationship
Once you have crafted a list of potential influencers, it’s time to iron out the details of your partnership. Factors that will influence your choices are the platform, compensation, and scope of the partnership.
- Channels: Platforms like TikTok, Pinterest, Instagram, and YouTube see a lot of success for influencers, and we recommend brands experiment with different platforms. Not only will diversifying channels help you reach a wider audience, but it also allows brands to keep up with evolving features and preferences of social media platforms.
- Compensation: Brands compensate influencers in a variety of different ways. Think about if you would want to offer a one-time payment or performance-based payments. And will you pay in product or with money? Not sure which option is best? We break down the different ways you can compensate influencers in this blog. You can also calculate the right amount to pay an influencer by using our budget calculator.
- Partnership Length: Think about how long you would like to work with an influencer. If your brand is open to it, we have seen positive results from long-term relationships. Keep in mind that social media changes rapidly, and relationships should be reevaluated.
- How You Measure Success
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to measuring ROI for influencer marketing. The impact of influencer marketing is multi-pronged and highly dependent on your goals, as well as the stage of your business.
There are four key ways to measure the success of your campaign, and they depend on the stage of your business.
- Visibility Metrics. Did your target audience see the influencer’s posts? Did you see an increase in web traffic to indicate brand recognition?
- Engagement Metrics. Did your target audience interact with the influencer’s posts? Likes, comments, and shares mean the content is making an impact. You can look at repeated high engagement as an indicator of potential future purchases.
- Direct Sales. Are your customers using the influencer’s promo code or tracking link? This will help you track conversions. If an influencer grants you permission, you can also dig into analytics with influencer whitelisting.
- Content. Do you have high-performing content? Influencer-generated content with high engagement can be repurposed on other channels and impact your entire marketing funnel. By using this content, you save the money you would otherwise spend on traditional marketing and campaigns.
Influencers can help you connect with a wider audience and there are plenty of resources out there to help you on your influencer marketing journey. We created a guide full of templates for Shopify brands getting started with influencer marketing.
Additionally, if you’re interested in taking the manual work out of finding and communicating with influencers, some brands opt to work with an influencer marketing platform.
4. Create a Referral Network
Referral marketing is a cost-effective way to promote your Shopify store because your existing customers do the promotion for you. Asking current customers to refer friends and family is effective because people tend to trust recommendations over ads.
Referral programs typically involve offering a reward or benefit for both parties in exchange for spreading the word about your Shopify store. This could mean offering recipients a discount code, coupon, free items, or points toward a purchase. Take Dropbox, for example, which offers users free storage space for every person they invite to join. They notoriously experienced 3,900% growth in just 15 months.
If you’re interested in referral marketing, Shopify has plenty of apps that will support you, like Bloop Rewards and Referrals and Referral Candy. Or if you want to run referral marketing with influencers, Aspire can do this for you.
5. Use PPC Ads to Drive Traffic to your Store
Pay-per-click (PPC) ads, via Google or other search engines, can get your Shopify store to appear at the top of search results.
PPC is popular because it puts your brand ahead of organic search results, and you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Since people only see your ad when they’ve searched for your chosen keyword, they’re more likely to convert. In the below example, the word ‘ad’ next to each URL lets you know that those brands paid for their spot in the search results.
People who see your ad are looking for what you provide. That makes them a great investment when it comes to your ad budget.
- Determine Where to Advertise
To get started with PPC, you need to choose where to advertise. While Google Ads is the largest platform, there are other options to consider.
- Microsoft Advertising is Amazon’s ad platform that works with Bing and Yahoo! for ad placement.
- AdRoll targets people who have shown interest in your product or service and places ads on websites they visit.
- Find Your Keywords
Next, conduct keyword research and select high-relevance keywords to target. There are great tools like Google Keyword Planner to help with this process. The goal is to determine keywords that have a high search volume but low difficulty for ranking. The volume tells you how many people are searching that term, and a lower difficulty means you’ll likely pay less per click.
- Create Your Ad and Bid on Placement
Once you’ve selected your keywords, create ad copy based on the keywords you have selected. Your ad will have a minimum of three components: a headline, a description, and a URL. If you want to take a deep dive into creating the best ads, Google Ads has a lot of great resources.
When someone searches for your keyword or related words, search engines collect all the ads that are targeting that keyword and enter them into an auction. Unlike auctions you may be familiar with, the winning ad doesn’t go to the highest bidder because search engines consider other factors. For example, the Google Ad auction shows ads based on their Ad Rank score, which consists of the bid amount, ad and landing page quality, competition, and more.
- Integrate Ads With Shopify
Google Ads are great for Shopify stores because Shopify has several features that allow you to sell products and track ads.
Shopify integrates with Google’s Merchant Center to build a product feed based on data from your Shopify store. You can also set up paid campaigns based on this and let the search engine determine how best to reach your customers.
Another useful integration is Google Ads’ conversion tracking that allows you to track the actions people take on your Shopify site after clicking on your ad.
6. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines
Search engine optimization (SEO) helps your site appear worthy to search engines, which in turn makes it more likely your site will rank and appear at the top of search results. This is especially important considering that 71% of clicks happen on page one of Google’s search results.
- Register Your Site
The first step for SEO is to register your site with the major search engines. This alerts the search algorithms to crawl your site so you can show up in search results.
Google Search Console provides insights about how you rank on Google and what problems need to be fixed in order to rank higher. While Bing is not used as often as Google, it’s still smart to register with Bing Webmaster. It can help you understand SEO opportunities that will help with your ranking on all search engines.
- Conduct Keyword Research
Keyword research involves finding terms that get plenty of traffic but aren’t so saturated that your site will have a tough time ranking for them.
Similar to PPC ads, SEO relies on keyword difficulty and search volume. The higher the difficulty, the more competitive the term is. The higher the search volume, the more people are searching that term. The trick is to find the balance: a keyword or search term that is searched fairly often with a low keyword difficulty. As we previously mentioned, using SEO tools like Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, and Semrush can help you narrow your search.
Pro-tip: Consider using long-tail keywords. These are keywords that have low search volume and competition. They also tend to be longer in length and are much more specific than head keywords. While there is a lower search volume for these keywords, people’s search intent is more specific, and it should lead to higher conversions.
For example, a head keyword might be ‘influencer marketing,’ which gets a lot of traffic and would be very tricky to rank for since there is a lot of competition. But your long-tail keyword might be ‘how much does influencer marketing cost,’ which has less competition and shows the searcher is interested in a more specific topic. It’s important to note that finding the right keyword takes time, and results don’t happen overnight.
- Integrate Relevant Keywords onto Your Site
Now that you have relevant keywords for your site, you will want to go through your content and add them wherever it feels natural in the context of your site, as well as a few key places that search engines look at.
- Title tags: An element of your site’s code that identifies the title of a website, and it’s the first place search engines scan.
- Meta descriptions: Another tag that appears as the text below the title tag in search results. It’s recommended to keep this description relatively short, so make sure to work in your keywords in about 150 characters or less. There are plenty of resources for how to edit both your title tags and meta descriptions.
- Alt-text: This is the text you add to your images to make them accessible to more users. You can learn how to edit alt text on your Shopify site here.
- Other text: Keywords should be included anywhere a visitor to your site has text to read. Add them wherever sounds natural and avoid “stuffing” keywords. Headers, sub-headers, and body content are prime locations for keywords.
- Check Site Speed
In May 2021, Google announced that it would factor in page speed when ranking search results. Page speed directly impacts your bounce rate, how long someone stays on your site, but it can also help your page rank higher in search results. To assess how your site compares to others, Shopify has a speed report, and Google has PageSpeed Insights. If you need to increase your page speed, your images are a good place to start. Shopify has apps like TinyIMG SEO & Image Optimizer to compress images.
- Revamp Your Blog
A robust blog is a great way to increase ranking potential while establishing yourself as a knowledgeable and trustworthy company. Plus, the more pages on your website with optimized content, the more likely your site is to rank.
Blogs are a great opportunity to link to credible sources and other pages on your Shopify site. This helps your site appear more credible to search engines. The more credible your site is, the higher it will rank. Great content marketing also generates backlinks, or links from other reputable websites to yours. Search engines place a lot of value on these links because they indicate your content is high quality and trustworthy. If you don’t have a blog, Shopify has great resources for creating one.
7. Run Multi-Channel Promotions
E-commerce brands often drive traffic to their Shopify stores by offering exclusive promotions. You can get more eyes on your promotion by running multi-channel marketing campaigns.
Take advantage of all these marketing channels like emails, organic social media, paid ads, and referral marketing to drive as much traffic as possible to your Shopify store. If you’re interested in running a sale, Shopify has plenty of sales apps to quickly bulk discount products in your online store.
Think Outside the Box of Traditional Digital Marketing Tactics
While the tools above are widely known as the most effective ways to promote your Shopify store, it helps to get creative and experiment with different methods.
Some other methods to promote your Shopify store include:
- Including your Shopify site URL in your email signature and encouraging team members to do the same.
- Trying out direct mail with QR codes.
- Encouraging people to visit your online store during promotional events.
If you’re interested in promoting your Shopify store with influencer marketing, book a demo to learn how Aspire’s Shopify tools can help your brand.