Marketing ideas, tactics & top tips for growing your Shopify sales in 2021
Once you’ve built your Shopify store, it’s time to direct people to it. Having pooled the expertise of our digital marketing team, here are some tactics on how to market your Shopify site and drive more sales.
The pandemic has put rocket boosters under e-commerce in 2020 and 2021, driving unprecedented growth in online shopping.
But simply having a Shopify site doesn’t guarantee sales, especially in a competitive digital landscape. Getting high-intent, converting customers to visit your e-commerce site can be a challenge.
Let’s take a look at the sales funnel and a typical path to purchase. At different parts, different marketing channels come into play.
Here are our top Shopify marketing tactics you can use to maximise footfall through your virtual shop door at each stage and drive more sales.
You need to make sure that your potential customers know you exist and are aware of what products and services you provide — PR, organic and paid social media and video advertising all play key roles in generating this early-stage brand awareness.
Use PR to reach your audiences where they already are
What types of online and offline news content do your target customers consume? This might include local publications, hobbyist magazines, lifestyle outlets or even industry trade websites.
If you have a new product launch, some company achievements, recent staff hires or perhaps some expansion plans, consider using these sorts of newsworthy ‘hooks’ to secure press coverage in those publications your audience reads. Your hook may be based on some interesting data and insights you’ve found which tie into current trends and topics.
Your news item should be as objective and informative as possible; if it sounds like an advertisement, it’s far less likely to be published. Couple this with some high-resolution photos and send everything — with a polite introduction message — to the journalists managing the publications you want to appear in. If you don’t see your story land, don’t be afraid of a friendly chase-up message a week or so down the line.
Positive news coverage in the publications your customers read can do wonders for early-stage brand awareness. Consistency is key; repeated exposure builds further trust and recognition.
Online press coverage also has the potential to provide your Shopify website with technical benefits. Securing followed links to your website within online news coverage signals to Google that your website is a quality resource — and it will be more likely to be rewarded with better rankings in search results.
Utilise video in your paid media campaigns
If you’re running campaigns to reach a large audience, video advertising is a cheap, effective way of generating brand awareness at the top of your sales funnel.
Video is a popular, easy-to-consume, cost-effective and highly-trackable format for a range of platforms — YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Video ads at this level should introduce your products or services to an interest-based or lookalike audience, and explain the problem that they solve.
This marketing format also allows you to create an audience of people who have watched your video to feed into tactics further down the funnel.
Not all video is the same, of course — you should consider vertical and horizontal formats to cater for popular channels and formats, including TikTok and Instagram stories.
But don’t just stop at one video! Consider using YouTube video ad sequencing to tell a story about your brand and products, drip feeding a series of ads to users who are engaging with content on Youtube. According to Think With Google, advertisers using video ad sequencing reported a 60% higher brand uplift compared to advertisers who just used one video ad.
Utilise your blog and create a content marketing strategy
Customers can spend hours, days or even weeks deciding on where to purchase what they need. If you’re appearing time and again for the Google searches your customers are making, you’ll become an authoritative, trusted source of information that can drive more traffic to your site.
Appearing higher up on Google for the searches your customers are performing is clearly beneficial — it positions you as an industry authority, elevating your brand awareness and ultimately driving more Shopify sales down the line. After all, if you’ve got Google’s seal of approval, what’s not to trust?
To achieve this, consider creating comprehensive blogs or in-depth guides on your Shopify site. What are your target consumers wanting to learn about your products or services? What information are they seeking? Create content that your customers are consuming.
Content marketing is multi-purpose. It positions you as a source of trust, but also provides content for social media, where snippets and insights can be shared, driving even further traffic to the site. Additionally, high-performing content can attract links over time from external sites, which can help improve your ability to rank higher in search results.
It also plays a role in other aspects of the sales funnel. Informative content and good search visibility is more likely to instil trust when customers are at the decision and adoption stage. Interesting, insight-packed content is also more likely to be shared, even playing a part in advocacy!
Optimise your product and collections pages to appear in search results
The more Google real estate your brand or business occupies for the searches your target customers are performing, the more likely they are to discover you, decide you sell what they need and — eventually — part with their cash.
So, as well as creating informative content about your products or services in the form of blogs or guides, make sure the product and collections pages on your Shopify site are fully optimised for search.
Unless you are a household name, customers may not use a specific product or brand name to find you. What words and language do your customers use when searching for your products or services?
Create an ‘abandonment’ email workflow to engage with users who have been browsing your products
When we visit a bricks-and-mortar store, we often have a leisurely look around. We pick up items to inspect, add them to our basket, and continue our perusal. Online users shop in much the same way, engaging with multiple items, adding them to their cart and, sometimes, darting off to do something else before they have clicked ‘buy now’.
Using an email marketing automation tool like Klaviyo, you can create an intuitive email workflow that enables you to re-engage with those site visitors who have abandoned their basket, or those users who didn’t quite make it that far and left after merely viewing a particular item.
Abandoned cart emails have a high average open rate of over 40% and, according to the Klaviyo benchmarking report, an average revenue per recipient of almost £5.
These emails can be a great opportunity to find out whether the recipient has any misgivings or questions about the product they were considering, much in the way a sales assistant might in a physical store! But unlike the helpful sales assistant, your email workflow could offer a discount code or coupon to encourage those hesitant shoppers over the line to purchase.
Utilise Facebook’s Commerce Manager
While it may seem like duplication to set up a Facebook and Instagram shop, this will help shorten the path to purchase and help connect customers to the item for them. Already launched in the USA, soon Facebook and Instagram users will be able to purchase items without leaving either app.
There’s no manual updating needed — Shopify’s integration will update your Commerce Manager in line with changing stock levels and new items. Having this set up will also allow you to tag social posts containing links to products. This is beneficial for both your organic and paid social content.
So, you've got the attention of your target consumers. What can we do to nudge them over the sales line and maximise the chance of a sale? You might want to draw on some strategic PPC tactics.
Once you’ve built audiences of those who have visited and engaged with your store in the past — this includes your Facebook and Instagram shop — consider retargeting them with dynamic advertising. This presents them with items they have already viewed or added to cart.
Run these ads at a higher frequency than your awareness ads (which should naturally happen, as the audience will be smaller) to re-engage with those who already know about your product or service, helping drive that all-important sale.
Apply structured data to your product and collections pages
All in all, Shopify handles structured data fairly well straight out of the box. This includes a number of Shopify themes including product markup, but if yours doesn't, we’d strongly recommend applying it.
This markup provides Google with key information about your products such as price, shipping, availability, and user reviews that can appear in search results. This makes your product’s search result more enticing for users to click on than your competitor. Product markup can also be applied to collections pages, which we’d also recommend.
Use Google Shopping... strategically!
Google Shopping represents one of the most effective ways to get your products in front of an engaged audience, and Google, recognising the huge number of retailers who are choosing to use Shopify as their e-commerce platform of choice, have helpfully made it super easy for Shopify users to get started.
By simply linking your Shopify store to a Google Merchant Centre account, and then linking this to a Google Ads account, you have everything you need to get started — you can discover all the detail in our PPC marketing tactics for Shopify blog post.
However, just because you can advertise all of your products on Google Shopping, doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Google Shopping, like most forms of advertising, comes with a cost, and you don’t want to get to a point where you are seeing a negative return on ad spend.
When using Google Shopping, split your products into categories by asking yourself these questions:
Which products are your bestsellers?
Which products have the highest profit margin?
On which products are you the most price-competitive compared to other retailers in the market?
These are probably the top three categories that you should start with. Google Shopping is highly flexible — you can add or remove products at any point — so don’t just set it and forget it!
Keep a close eye on which products users are engaging with and which are not making enough of an impact.
So, you've successfully managed to drive a conversion — but things don't stop there. Use the information you've already got to maximise this and turn your leads into loyal, repeat customers through some nifty PPC, email and social media tactics.
Make use of tailored ads
You know these people have already bought into your brand, and bought from your store before. This information can be harnessed to tailor your message within your ads, making it more persuasive, bespoke and likely to lead to a repeat conversion.
This could mean using dynamic advertising to cross-promote products to your existing customers. Consider providing post-sale value with hints and tips based on the product or service they purchased from you.
You may also want to create product sets within Facebook Commerce Manager to run ads that highlight specific products, for example new items and new collections.
Build a post-purchase email workflow
Hooray! A customer has bought one of your products. That’s the end goal right? Think again! A well thought out post-purchase email workflow can deliver so many advantages to your brand.
Firstly, it has the power to deliver personalised and sincere customer service, thanking the recipient for their business and possibly setting expectations for delivery. This ensures you leave a good impression and increases the likelihood of repeat purchase behaviour.
Secondly —and more crucially to your business growth — it is through this workflow that you can re-engage with the customer, opening up an opportunity to cross-sell other relevant products based on their first purchase.
Timing is everything with post-purchase workflows. Don’t send the second email too early! In fact, the Klaviyo product cross-sell flow is set to go out 14 days after an order is fulfilled.
You can also use the post-purchase email workflow to request reviews of their purchase, and to submit or share user generated content, showing different ways to use/wear the product they bought, or inspire future purchases.
Use Google Ads’ Customer Match to reach and re-engage customers
Once you have a solid bank of customer email addresses, you can upload these to your Google Ads account (and social ad accounts) to create a custom audience of previous customers.
You can then use this information to bid more aggressively for your past customers in your paid search and shopping campaigns, working on the assumption that these customers would be more likely to engage with your brand again if they saw one of your ads in the results.
This audience can also be targeted with display ads if you want to highlight any new products or a particular promotion, or you could use it to create a ‘similar audience’ which you can use to find new customers on YouTube or the display network.
This is a great example of how you can feed back into the top of the sales funnel, expanding your customer base even further!
Make your consumers part of your tribe. If you go about things strategically with email and social media, you can amplify your Shopify sales by having your loyal customers be an additional marketing mouthpiece.
Treat your existing customers
Who doesn’t love a little treat on their birthday? By encouraging customers to provide their birthday — either at checkout or in the creation of an online profile — you can use the Klaviyo birthday workflow to send an email on or around their special day offering a discount or free gift.
The more information you have about your subscribers, the more personalised these emails can be, featuring gifts or content that you know they are likely to love based on their previous purchases or other information you have managed to cultivate.
Don’t worry if you haven’t collected their birthday — you can still use this workflow to send an annual treat to them on the anniversary of their first purchase.
Make the most of user-generated content (UGC)
Not only does UGC save time on content creation and drive high engagement with your community, but it can also be used across your website product or service pages and marketing materials. Don’t forget to ask for permission first, of course!
Prompt customers to share their photos and videos by asking for them on your organic social posts and in your email campaigns — a branded hashtag helps to monitor your efforts and grow advocacy via word of mouth.
Repost this content on your social media to show how customers are raving about your products or services - bonus points for using their words, too! UGC is hugely authentic — 51% of consumers are more likely to engage with and/or purchase from a brand if it has shared their social posts in its marketing.
Reward your existing customers with a loyalty program
One highly-effective way to encourage advocacy and repeat purchases is to introduce a loyalty program, rewarding your customers for various actions or interactions with your brand.
For example, this could involve your customers earning points, credits or freebies when they recommend a friend, share some user-generated content, follow you on social media or simply buy from you again. There are numerous platforms that can integrate with Shopify to help you do this, including LoyaltyLion, Growave and Smile.
Looking for a helping hand boosting your Shopify sales?
Almost all businesses — no matter their size, age or current success level — can benefit from some strategic marketing for driving traffic to their Shopify website and boosting sales.
Whether you’re a new business owner just starting out or an established company exploring your D2C options, there’s always room to grow your Shopify sales.
Johnny joined our Content and PR team in 2016. Johnny’s role involves creating and implementing PR and content marketing strategies to enhance clients’ brand perception, showcase their success and increase their industry authority.