Marketing for ecommerce has lots of little puzzle pieces that all need to fit together to make a nice cohesive picture.
Getting your Shopify store noticed by the right people, and then getting those people to take action, will depend on things like your website layout, product pages, to your ad strategy and email marketing.
It’s about understanding how to get relevant traffic, but more than that, it’s about delivering targeted experiences to your audience across a variety of channels.
We know, putting that puzzle together can be a little overwhelming, but like anything else, once you break it down in stages, and tasks for each of those stages it becomes a lot easier.
So let’s get started with the basics: the legwork you need to do in order to create the most successful marketing strategy, and after that we’ll go over a few tactics you can start using to get more subscribers and increase those conversions.
What we'll cover:
- What is Shopify marketing?
- Ecommerce marketing basics for Shopify
- 13 Shopify marketing tactics for ecommerce growth
- Track your Shopify merchants ROI
- Shopify marketing FAQ
What is Shopify marketing?
Shopify marketing is every action you take and dollar you invest in getting relevant traffic to your website, converting them into first-time buyers, and subsequently nurture those into loyal subscribers that increase your sales overtime. From SEO to Facebook Ads, content marketing, email marketing, pop-ups triggered by exit intent or abandoned carts… you want to create a well-balanced strategy that is repeatable (and that can easily scale up). Your strategy should be centered around your audience, hence, depending on your customers and community, it will vary.
Ecommerce marketing basics for Shopify
To design that ideal consumer experience there are a few things you need to define first. Let’s break down that foundation:
Understand your audience
Who’s your ideal customer? And why do they want to shop your products? These are questions you need to answer from the very beginning, and go beyond what’s on the surface. If you’re selling watches, you’re not really selling the ability to look at the time, but rather, status, or sustainability, or trendiness. What gets your community to buy from your store?
After you’ve determined the real benefit of your products, you’ll have a much better idea of who your audience is. Then comes understanding their behavior, shopping habits, and interests. Define your customer journeys, where they’re coming from, what pages they’re visiting, how long they’re staying, when they are dropping off. These are all data points that will help you create that perfect experience.
Identify your Shopify marketing channels
Then you need to take a hard look at channel effectiveness. Where are most of your subscribers signing up from? For ecommerce, social media marketing and email marketing tend to be the most successful marketing channels, but you still need to nail the perfect mix of both, plus there are other options you might want to invest in depending on your audience, like SEO, Google Ads, and organic content.
To determine the best marketing channels for your Shopify business you should look at ROI. Not just traffic volume, but *relevant* traffic, and not just number of subscribers, but subscribers that fit your niche, and lastly your bottom line. Which channel is driving the most sales.
With Privy Analytics you can easily see how your traffic is converting into subsribers and purchases overtime.
Define your Shopify marketing goals
After you’ve got your audience nailed down and the ideal mix of channels to market to them, you have to set ambitious (yet realistic) goals.
Start with the big ones, like a percentage increase in sales, and then drill down into more specific goals that align with it.
For example, if your goal is to increase sales by 20% this quarter, you’ll want to increase your email subscribers and sales from email marketing campaigns. Those are three separate goals that can look a little bit like this:
Objective: Increase sales by 20%
Goal #1: Grow subscribers from social media by 15%
Goal #2: Win back 50% of abandoned carts with email messaging
Test different brand messaging
Even after all that planning and investigative work, nothing beats testing.
With your audience and objectives in mind, it’s time to find the best way to tell your brand story. Your brand story needs to be at the center of all your communications. From an order confirmation email to the About Us section in your website, everything your audience consumes should reflect that.
- The long brand story: This is your founder letter. Or the About Us on your website, where you pour your heart and soul out to your community. It’s the reason you started this business. The need you saw needed filling and the why. Bonus points if you include it in their first purchase for a nice personalized touch.
- The short brand story: This is a one paragraph version of the long one. It retains the essence, but it’s concise. This is the one you’ll use for things like abandoned cart emails or order confirmations.
- The brand headline: And this one is just one sentence. It might be the hardest one to nail, and probably the one that will benefit from the most testing. The challenge is to boil down every emotional component of your long brand story, into a single phrase that captures your purpose. It goes everywhere. On your homepage, social media bios, and ad creatives. From this sentence is where you’ll pull the reason behind every single piece of marketing you create.
Track your Shopify marketing campaign performance
Finally, armed with deep knowledge about your target audience, the channels they like to hang out in and a killer brand story it’s time to see if it’s working.
You should always track your Shopify marketing campaign performance, another area where Privy can help. You need to look at traffic, subscribers, email open and click rates, website behavior, and how it’s all impacting sales.
With Privy you can see campaign performance from multiple channels in a single dashboard and easily spot trends, see what channels are performing the best and which ones need a little boost (or budget adjustments.) By tracking results, you’ll be able to see what areas need help.
It’s not always about investing more or less resources in any specific channel, but rather knowing how to read those numbers to see what needs fixing. If you’re getting lots of traffic, but few subscribers, it means you’re doing something right, maybe you have successful social media campaigns to drive people to your website, but you’re also doing something wrong. Either the experience on your website isn’t the right one for your audience, or you’re attracting the wrong audience.
13 Shopify marketing tactics for ecommerce growth
Good news, we’ve got a few marketing tricks up our sleeves that are guaranteed to help you get those metrics where they need to be.
There are lots of ecommerce marketing strategies at your disposal, that when you put them together with a little automation, you’ve got a well oiled marketing machine that constantly delivers value throughout the customer journey and moves your audience down the funnel turning them into repeat customers. Here we go:
#1: Use targeted marketing campaigns based on customer segment
The first thing you gotta do is divide your customers into groups (segments). Your groups can get really specific, but you can start super simple with two groups:
- People who have made a purchase
- People who have not made a purchase
Even this basic segmenting will help you craft much more relevant campaigns for each. And once you’ve got your segments, you can start adapting all of your marketing efforts to them.
For the subscribers who have made a purchase, you should consider sending them:
- Winback emails: if they haven’t bought anything in the last three months, a little “hey! We miss you!” on their inbox could be just the push (or reminder) they need to come back.
- Complete the Look emails: This one is super targeted, since you’re recommending they purchase another product based on what they’ve already shopped for. It’s like the “other items you might like” section, but more personalized and in email format.
- VIP Emails: VIP customers deserve VIP treatment. Their loyalty should be rewarded. You should be sending them special offers, access to loyalty programs, letting them know about new products before anyone else (or announce you’re low in stock and they get first pick), and even just a thank you, so they know you appreciate them.
And for the subscribers, who haven’t purchased yet, you need to take a different approach, mixing incentives to shop with free value. Non-customer subscribers are higher in the funnel than people who’ve already made a purchase. Your marketing should reflect that with more top-of-mind focused content (blog posts, testimonials), discounts, and incentives like free shipping on your first order.
#2 Grow your email list with popups
Popups are the best way to turn traffic into contacts in your email list.
If you’ve got well-designed, targeted popups with an enticing offer, depending on where your customers are on your site, they won’t feel like an unwelcome disruption, rather an organic part of the experience.
Like this one:
If you don’t have any popups yet, we recommend you start right now. With these two must-haves:
Targeting first-time visitors, after they’ve spent about 5 seconds scrolling through your site.
If you’re offering a discount, make sure it’s right on your thank you message after they’ve filled out their info (not just waiting for them in their inbox). So that they don’t have to leave your website to start shopping.
(you can use Privy to set you your welcome popup today).
This one targets visitors who haven’t made a purchase yet and helps you get back some of that $$ hanging out in people’s shopping carts.
The offer here needs to be even more enticing than your welcome one, a higher discount, since you’re not trying to get a new subscriber, rather you’re working hard to seal the deal! A free gift with purchase or free shipping can also work.
#3 Send newsletters to build brand awareness
Email newsletters are a surefire way to stay relevant in your customers’ eyes.
This is the time you take to stop focusing so much on selling, but rather giving away entertainment, educational content, engaging stories, and sneaky product placements with links to get people on your site.
Email newsletters accomplish several things, from the most basic which is staying top of mind — your subscribers will remember, if nothing else, your brand look and feel and start associating it with positive feelings — to increasing brand loyalty.
To do this right, go back to your brand story and what your audience is all about. The more authentic and personal, the better.
#4 Increase engagement with email marketing
We found that on average, every new subscriber captured with Privy = $33 in sales. And the most effective way to turn subscribers into customers is email marketing.
There's a lot that goes into building out a successful email marketing program, but with automation, you can build out programs that drive sales for your store 24/7 (yes, even in your sleep).
With email marketing you can design a customer journey and automate based on triggers like previous purchases, content consumed, website behavior, cart abandonment, and engagement with previous emails. For an effective email marketing strategy for your Shopify store we recommend to start with these 4 principles:
- Focus on email list growth: Remember that welcome offer popup? Your new best friend when it comes to capturing relevant traffic.
- Set up a frequent email cadence: If you’re delivering value and letting your subscribers know about products they want, they’ll be excited to hear from you. And they’ll probably need to hear from you more than once to take the plunge and make a purchase. Set up a regular email cadence to establish your brand.
- Consistency is key: 6 emails one month, but zero the next is bad form. Not only because you’re not delivering on the expectations you’ve set, but also because you’re failing to build consumer habits of interaction with you.
Consistency also includes the type of info you send. You don’t want to be sending out wildly different emails, that’s just a recipe for confusion. Find your voice, the offers that work, and the stories your customers like. Rinse and repeat.
- Stay cool: Remember, you own your emails.
Get creative and find ways to stand out. Think about the emails in your inbox right now, which ones do you read religiously? They probably provide some sort of entertainment, whether it’s the tone, the amazing pictures, or the incredible offers, you read them for a reason. Aim to be that brand that customers can’t wait to take 5 minutes off of their day to consume and enjoy.
#5 Save carts with cart saver campaigns
Abandoned cart emails rock, but couple them with a well-timed popup before your potential customers leave your site and now we’re really talking. Cart savers can help you reduce abandonment by 10%!
Emails are your second chance to win back that customer, but popups capitalize on high intent moment more than anything else.
Plus, you can also use cart savers to get new subscribers, or start a special nurture campaign for customers with items in their cart, like these examples:
This takes 30 minutes to set up and = constant revenue. ROI doesn’t get much better than that.
Try it out! Set up advanced cart savers with Privy.
#6 Boost sales with promotional coupons
Coupons are all about the “insider” perk. Your email list get special deals, because they’ve subscribed to your brand and are part of your community.
That's why a popup offer with a coupon/discount almost never fails. Whether you promote yours through a welcome discount popup, spin to win campaign, or cart saver, you have tons of options to grow your list offering coupons.
Some tips on coupons:
- Use unique coupon codes: We recommend unique codes instead of master coupons since they’re specific to each subscriber, so you can set deadlines for urgency like “offer expires in 1 hour” and they can’t be shared with coupon aggregators.
- Send out coupon reminder emails: Lots of people get hooked with a coupon, subscribe to your list, but don’t follow through. Understandable, we’re all busy people! That’s why a reminder email as part of your welcome email nurture is so necessary. You can easily set these up in Privy, and be sure that once somebody uses their code, they’ll be taken off the email series.
- On-site coupon reminders: So you’ve captured new subscribers with a sweet coupon hook, they haven’t yet used. You sent them an email reminder, but that didn’t do the trick either. Well, next time they’re on your site, you can hit them with a popup reminder like this one:
#7 Upsell and cross-sell related products
Six words: Dynamic content blocks on your emails.
You can create automated (yet highly targeted) cross-sell and up-sell emails by using dynamic product blocks, which will advertise similar products or additional goods to go with what your customers have already bought.
As far as emails go, it’s one of the most targeted strategies, since you’re ensuring the right eyeballs are looking at the right products.
#8 Focus on repeat customers
Converting traffic into subscribers is huge, but converting customers into loyal repeat buyers is the name of the game.
To unlock the power of repeat customers, first you have to get them.
- Offer new upgraded versions of your products
- Encourage subscription (if you have one)
- Offer special deals on products according to past purchases
- Reward repeat customers with inside scoops: first peek into new releases, exclusive discounts, low stock notices before anyone else, etc.
On step 4: make sure they know they’re getting first dibs, don’t be coy! Let them know they’re getting exclusivity, and that the rest of your list will get the same (or less cool version of it) later.
#9 Celebrate your customers in your marketing campaigns
Real people, real stories, actual use cases: that’s what sells. Plus, it increases shareability and loyalty.
If you regularly feature happy customers in your marketing campaigns, you’re hyping them up as well as increasing your credibility. Testimonials work.
You can use product reviews, direct quotes, comments on social, Instagram stories, that grateful email a customer sent you after they received their package with a special note from you… Possibilities here are endless.
#10 Build FOMO with waitlists for new product launches
Fear. Of. Missing. Out.
A foolproof weapon in every marketer’s arsenal. Nobody likes to be left out, or miss out on a great deal.
The best FOMO tactics for Shopify growth do two things: create urgency, while at the same time boosting that “insider” feeling within your community of subscribers. Here are a few ways to do it:
- Waitlist for new products: You can build a whole campaign around new product launches. First, focus on building the hype with sneak peaks and behind the scenes footage, then offer subscribers the exclusive chance to sign up for the wait list so they get first dibs.
- Set a free shipping threshold: I will literally spend $30 more if it means I get free shipping. It’s a great way to increase purchase $$ and generate FOMO. To set your free shipping threshold, we like to keep it simple: 15% higher than your average order value. When customers see they’re close to getting free shipping, the choice between having one more item and not paying for shipping is a no-brainer!
#11 Try Facebook advertising
Facebook Ads is a terrific way to expand your customer base to similar people that don’t know you yet. With Facebook Business Manager you can create highly targeted campaigns according to shopping behavior, demographics, interests, and engagement with similar brands and products.
Facebook Advertising tends to be pretty top-of-funnel, so you’ll need a great hook: like a quiz or a discount to get their emails, and start a nurture campaign to turn them into shoppers.
The most important part of your Facebook advertising strategy: what happens after.
Be ready with an email series, specially designed for your ad campaign, that acknowledges how they found you, the reward for signing up, and tells them more about you, your brand, and your products.
#12 Connect with influencers
To find the right influencers, it makes sense to start looking among your customers.
Ask them for their social handles somewhere along their customer journey, because truly, the best influencers are those who already know and love your brand.
Influencer marketing works, but it’s tough to get just right. It needs to be authentic, but it’s still a service we recommend paying for (although gifting your products is easier on your budget).
The right influencers will align with your brand and have an overlapping audience. Reach out to them personally, use their posts to create timely messages, and highlight the real benefit of your products.
#13 Use customer reviews as marketing material
Ecommerce stores have lots of pros against brick and mortar, but they’ve got one big con: proof.
Your customers can’t touch your products, they’re just pictures on a website (even if they’re great pictures accompanied by outstanding copy).
Reviews get you that missing piece: social proof, making your product into something real.
When requesting reviews, make it as personal as possible. The request should come from you, the founder. 9 out of 10 times it will get you more answers than a generic feedback request.
The best time to ask for reviews is right after unboxing, so keep track of your deliveries, so you can send those emails at the right time.
You should aim to be in the 10% range in terms of responses. And if you’re getting less than 5% of people to respond, you need to rethink your strategy.
Your reviews should live on your product pages, so you can drive more conversions! But, you should include more than just the 5-star ones. Honesty and details convert more. Only showing the glowing reviews could actually hurt you, generating distrust.
Also, use them in your marketing campaigns! Ads, email, social… User-generated content, words straight from your customers’ mouths is bar-none the best marketing.
And if you’re a cheeky brand, you could even use the negative reviews to your advantage, solidifying your niche, and saying yup, we’re not for everybody.
Track your Shopify marketing ROI
We just went over a whole bunch of tactics that can help you grow your online store. But, you might not want to use all of these, some of them might not work for your audience, and others might be nice-to-haves for later on.
The key is to test as much as you can until you find that perfect balance between your resources, budget, and target audience. You’re really measuring what’s cost-effective.
With Privy for Shopify, you can measure exactly how much money you’re making from your ecommerce marketing efforts, and pull your product listings directly into your emails to maximize your ROI.
Keep what works, repeat what really works, and get rid of what doesn’t.