Launching your Shopify website is a big undertaking, and when it's done you probably feel like celebrating. But not so fast! Your work is only part way complete. Now that you've got your newly-launched Shopify store, your shop is to figure out how to get traffic to it.
If you're coming hot off a Kickstarter campaign or breaking ties with Etsy you might have some brand recognition, but even in these circumstances it's now entirely up to you to market your online shop, which means everything from collecting email addresses to managing SEO is now up to you.
I've broken down a few easy marketing activities by category to help you get a handle on where to begin the daunting task of getting traffic to a newly-launched Shopify store. You don't have to do ALL the things, and this certainly isn't a comprehensive list of marketing tactics for e-commerce, but it will get you started and probably even drive a few sales.
1. Make sure your product page titles and meta descriptions include important keywords. Use the product name and also include a short description of the product that includes the keywords people might use to search for it in Google.
2. Optimize your homepage for the most important product names and descriptions (these are your keywords!). Include keywords that set you apart from your competitors. This makes it easier to find your shop if someone happens to search on those certain keywords. Your keywords belong on your shop's page title and meta description, as well as your main headline (H1).
3. Create a Facebook ads account and generate and install your tracking pixel. You can use the Facebook tracking pixel to create custom audiences for your Facebook ads that include people who visited your site and visited certain pages or performed certain actions.
4. Create a Facebook ad and target it to fans of your competitors. If you have competitors who are big enough to comprise a Facebook "Interest" category, use that interest to target people who have potential interest in your product.
5. If you haven't already, set up your email list now and start collecting email addresses by offering a discount or free shipping. Even though it's early times, you want to make sure you're capturing as much customer information as possible from every website visit.
6. Use any email addresses you collected before you launched your online shop. Before you launched, did you sell somewhere else previously? Don't neglect to use the email addresses you might have collected from previous online orders or while tabling at craft fairs and add them to your email list. Send those customers a one-time shop announcement.
7. Don't want to add old email addresses to your email list? Market to them on Facebook. It's a little-known fact that you can pop an email list into Facebook to create a custom audience. If the email addresses you have on your list (you need to have around 100 to be able to generate a custom audience) match the email addresses people use on Facebook, you can market to people in their feeds.
8. It's never too early to launch a giveaway. Giveaways are a great way of generating traffic to a newly launched website and to introduce your products to the world. You can use an app like Gleam or Rafflecopter to manage the giveaway for you.
9. Team up with another shop to do a joint giveaway. Don't go it alone! Find a shop or business owner who is trying to reach a similar audience and host a joint giveaway, where you both give away products in a package deal. This way you can piggyback on their audience and they can piggyback on yours. Don't feel like you have enough of an audience to make this fair yet? Offer to pay for the giveaway software and/or social media promotions.
10. Find your winning hashtags. Look at the hashtags your competitors are using and then use the related hashtags feature to continue to drill down on hashtags that people in your target audience use to describe their lifestyle and your products.
11. Schedule content using Later. Don't think of your Instagram as a behind-the-scenes peek at what you're doing each day. Instead, curate a batch of fantastic looking images and create an awesome grid layout using the Later app. You can then schedule your Instagram content out weeks in advance so you're posting regularly each day.
12. Follow influencers who follow your competitors. Check out your competitors and similar products on Instagram and follow the people who follow them. Some people argue that this tactic doesn't lead to website traffic or sales, but you can use it to find influencers, bloggers and journalists — and it's an easy way of getting on their radar.
13. Use PinGroupie to find group boards. I recommend finding and joining group boards with 1,000+ contributors and NOT focusing on boards designed to help you promote your products. Instead, find boards that are useful to people in your target audience.
14. Apply for Pinterest Buyable Pins. Pinterest users can now purchase products from within the Pinterest app using Pinterest Buyable Pins. Shopify users can apply to sell on Pinterest using Buyable Pins. Not everyone is getting approved, but it doesn't hurt to try!
15. Use SimilarWeb to find out where competitors get their web traffic. Generate your own PR list by spying on where your competitors (if their websites get enough traffic) are getting their traffic. Plug a URL into SimilarWeb to see where the site generates referral traffic from. This will tell you where your competitors have gotten press. You can then plug THOSE sites back in to SimilarWeb to find similar websites.
16. Set up Google alerts for your product categories, competitors and shop name. Keep tabs on what journalists, bloggers and media outlets are covering your industry by setting up Google Alerts for important industry and competitor keywords. Don't forget to include your own shop name so you know when you get a press mention!
17. Do some local PR. This probably won't work if you're in L.A., Chicago or NYC, but try hitting up some of your local news outlets by pitching them your "local entrepreneur" story. You'd be surprised how often this actually works. (Check out how Shopify entrepreneur Debbie at The Willary landed a feature on a Denver-based morning show!)
18. Sign up for HARO. Sign up for the free PR monitoring service Help A Reporter Out (HARO) and use it to try to get some free press around your newly-launched brand.
19. Use your Shopify AdWords credit. After you pay your first month's subcription to Shopify, you may find that you're eligible for a Google AdWords credit worth around $75 (varies by country). Whoo-hoo! Don't let that money just sit in your account. Spend it strategically!
20. Launch a hyper-specific keyword campaign. Use your AdWords credit to promote your most successful product using exact match keywords, and limit your campaign to the geographic area you ship to. Remember, you have some free money to spend here, so don't be afraid to bid on keywords that are important to you even if they have a higher cost per click. Use Google Keyword Planner to determine the best keywords baed on suggested bid, competition and search volume.
Do you have to do all these things at once? Certainly not!
To get started, break out these activities by category. Start with tactics that won't take you a ton of time, then break projects into multiple steps and start attacking those next. Keep in mind it takes months, sometimes years, to generate steady, consistent traffic to any website. Yours is no different. But taking these steps now will ensure your Shopify store will have a steady stream of traffic and sales six months to a year from now — and beyond!