Last week, we talked about setting up your Shopify store for the first time. It’s a great way to ride the current wave of eCommerce. Once you’re set up, though, the next logical step is to learn how to market your Shopify store so you can generate traffic and earn sales revenue!
The Basic Goals of Marketing
Before we go into specifics on how you can market your Shopify store, we need to cover some basic marketing knowledge.
First, there are several objectives of marketing, but we’re going to focus on three for the purposes of this article:
- Generating traffic
- Increasing conversion rate (the number of people who buy your products after landing on your pages)
- Maximizing customer satisfaction
The reason we will focus on these three objectives is because they roughly line up with the concept of a marketing funnel. A marketing funnel is the process by which you spread word of your products, pique buyer interest, convince people to buy, and then convince one-time customers to become repeat customers.
At this point, it’s important to specify the difference between marketing and promotion. Marketing is about crafting an overall experience for customers. It includes finding a good target audience, and then meeting their needs by creating the right products or services. It also includes communicating with customers via branding and promotions.
Promotions are the part of marketing where you convince people to buy your product through a variety of means. This includes sales, advertising, public relations, discounts, and more.
We’ll focus primarily on promotion for the rest of the post, but take two big pieces of general marketing advice to heart first:
- Know your audience and what they want.
- Create products and services that meet their needs.
These are two simple statements, but doing them in practice is difficult. It takes trial and error. Get it right, though, and everything else you read about in the following sections will be much easier!
How to Generate Traffic
In order to sell products on your Shopify store, you need to first drive traffic to it. You can do this in a number of different ways.
Passive Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Store
First, you want to make sure you are following search engine optimization (SEO) best practices. By being very deliberate about SEO, you can increase your chances of ranking well in Google. If you manage to rank high in the Google results, that can bring a lot of traffic and sales that will last for a long time.
Next, you want to make sure you are writing good product descriptions. This is another subject that is complex enough for a post in its own right, but here are a handful of simple rules to follow:
- Write skimmable product descriptions.
- Stay away from cliches and superlatives.
- Use social proof / testimonials.
- Write long descriptions (1000 words or more).
- Pack your descriptions with relevant keywords.
- Check your grammar and spelling.
Using Content Marketing & Social Media to Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Store
After you make sure your store itself looks good and is optimized for traffic, it’s time to give people a reason to care about your brand. One of the best ways to do that is by content marketing. You can do this by writing blog posts, recording podcasts, or starting a YouTube channel. You have a lot of options. The main idea is just to give your customers something worth paying attention to that’s relevant to your business.
In addition to content marketing, it also helps to have a social media presence. You can start conversations with people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks. By building real relationships, you can get your first handful of customers.
Next, you might want to step it up by running ads on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google. Each of these sites allows you to target super specific groups of people based on their interests. If you take the time to post good images and write strong copy, your advertisements can bring traffic to your store that scales based on how much you pay to advertise.
Lastly, consider influencer marketing as well. Find people who have a large and engaged audience in your niche. Reach out to them and send samples asking for an honest review. This works in a variety of industries from cosmetics to board games to fiction novels.
Other Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Shopify Store
You can also generate traffic by doing something exciting! A few options include:
- Running contests or giveaways
- Putting your products on sale
- Issuing time-limited discounts
- Staging events and contacting the local press
How to Increase Conversion Rate
Traffic doesn’t mean much unless you can get people to actually buy your products, though. That’s why it’s important to increase your conversion rate as much as possible. In order to do that effectively, establish a baseline by taking the number of sales you’ve made and dividing it by the amount of visitors you’ve had in a given time.
Increase Your Conversion Rate with Technical Best Practices
One of the most reliable ways to improve your conversion rate is by making your store mobile-friendly. As many as 51% of internet users use their phones to make purchases. If your store is not mobile-friendly, then you’re going to lose out on sales.
Another reliable way to increase your store’s conversion rate is to make sure it loads quickly. It’s said that every 1 second delay in page response time can reduce conversions by 7%. You ideally want your website to load in 3 seconds or less.
Next, another way to improve your store’s conversion rate is to improve the search feature. The easier it is to search for items in your store, the more sales you will receive as a result.
Increase Your Conversion Rate by Improving the Customer Experience
If you really want to improve your conversion rate, though, you can’t just focus on technical fixes like reducing loading time. Your store needs to look polished from start to finish.
The easiest way to add some pizazz to your site, and increase conversions, is to take great product photos. Quality product photos both make your products more enticing, and they make people more certain about what they’re buying, which reduces returns later.
We mentioned it before and it bears repeating: good product descriptions are essential. Writing better product descriptions brings more than just traffic – it brings in money, too.
Product reviews are also very important. As many as 95% of customers read product reviews before they make a purchase, so you want to make sure your pages have some. Try asking some of your initial customers to leave reviews if you don’t have any yet.
Think about your return policy as well. A full 79% of customers will not purchase from online stores that charge return shipping fees. Most customers expect a 30-day return window, but you can easily offer a 60-day return window to exceed their expectations without having to handle that many more returns. In general, be generous with your return policy because it will convince more people to buy.
One way to improve customer experience and really drive sales is to recommend products to customers based on their browsing or sales history. Well-tailored recommendations are impressive and offer compelling calls to action for customers who are on the fence about whether to buy.
Finally, there are tons of apps which you can install on your Shopify store. Many of them are tailor-made to help stores convert would-be customers. Read this article to learn about eight that we recommend!
How to Maximize Customer Satisfaction
Once you receive an initial rush of traffic and sales, customer retention becomes really important. It’s much easier to retain customers than to convince people to buy for the very first time. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to maximize customer satisfaction.
Fortunately, customer retention is relatively simple. The tough part is consistently executing the advice that follows.
In order to maximize customer satisfaction, and therefore, retention, you must proactively ask for feedback. This can be done by having one-on-one conversations or by sending surveys. The important thing here is just to ask people what you can do better.
Sometimes, they’ll tell you without you asking, though. Read reviews that people leave you and see if you can take that advice and run with it. You can also glean information about your weaknesses by asking people why they’re returning your products too. (Are the descriptions unclear? Do they break in shipping?)
Once you know what people would like to see improved, work on improving your product, customer service, or website as appropriate.
Lastly, keep in touch with your existing customers. You can do this by smart use of email marketing (such as sending discounts at good times) or by fostering one-on-one relationships. Either way, you want to stay in touch so you can inform them about the new, exciting things that you are doing.
Marketing your Shopify store for the first time is an involved process, but one with a ton of opportunity. Focus on creating great products and services for a well-defined audience. Then you can focus on traffic, improving your conversion rate, and bringing customers back for more. Many of the tips in this article should help point you in the right direction!