When the sales aren’t coming in as you hoped, it’s only natural to feel like you’re stuck in a rut, paying for an eCommerce website that isn’t giving any return. This is what we call the Shopify store hole, a phenomenon many online store owners are unfortunately all too familiar with.
Now, you can climb out of that hole and rise above the competition—but you have to think outside the box and apply innovative Shopify marketing strategies that make your eCommerce business stand out.
Sure, you can’t neglect the basics like getting a custom domain, building a blog, and optimizing marketing and sales channels, but those alone won’t cut it in today’s hyper-competitive digital landscape.
That’s where this ultimate Shopify marketing checklist comes in. Read on to learn proven strategies that will help you reach your target audience, capture their attention and convert them into loyal customers who keep coming back for more.
1. Conversion rate optimization (CRO)
You’ve likely checked off the main web optimization pointers as part of your Shopify store launch checklist, but it’s possible you may still need to fine-tune your online store to push people closer to making a purchase. This is known as CRO.
A/B testing plays a crucial role here, where you test two versions of the same webpage to identify the better-performing option. Make sure you clearly understand the changes you want to make on your pages, and then test different hypotheses on different pages to see which one works best.
Here are a few CRO strategies to help you get started:
Build excitement with coupon codes and real-time purchases
In his YouTube video, Andrew Ethan Zeng revealed that updating the sales banner on his Shopify store's homepage to link directly to the sale worked wonders to drive sales. “Conversions skyrocketed, and hundreds of orders came through that single banner alone,” he said.
Now, imagine what a similar strategy could do for your business.
Use welcome banners and popups to share coupon codes and promotions to help build excitement and drive potential customers to your products as soon as they land on your homepage. These banners not only serve as a catchy design element on your eCommerce website but can also help drum up demand.
Look at how Adidas uses two banners to incentivize buying and get inspired:
To take things up a notch, you can also consider showcasing real-time purchases being made by other customers. This creates a sense of urgency and serves as social proof, inspiring instant action from potential buyers.
Implement shoppable videos
Shoppable videos come with embedded links that allow viewers to buy directly from the videos. These elements combine visual storytelling with commerce to provide shoppers with an immersive experience that:
Increases product awareness and sales
Improves engagement and conversion rates
Streamlines the customer's eCommerce journey
You can use Videowise to create interactive shoppable video experiences on your Shopify store. Work with the team to embed highly customizable and responsive video widgets that auto-adapt to any device or screen resolution, ensuring your videos look great on-site while increasing your conversion rate.
Take it from Kevin Lee, co-founder at Immi, a ramen brand that earned over $57k from video shoppers at a 6% conversion rate with Videowise:
"Videowise has been really helpful in educating prospective customers about our product and has significantly increased the dwell time of traffic to our website, which has a multitude of benefits across SEO & increasing the chance of a conversion. We're big fans of how intuitive and simple to use the VideoWise interface is and would recommend any brand to try using VideoWise on your own site."
Book a demo with Videowise to get started with shoppable videos.
Display social proof
Let your old and new customers advocate for you by displaying customer reviews, testimonials, and user-generated content (UGC). This can be as easy as mentioning who your customers are (think: adding brand logos to your page) or displaying customer reviews and ratings on your product pages.
If you want to go all out, consider setting up a dedicated ‘Reviews’ page showing testimonials and images to win trust — like teeth whitening kit maker, Snow.
Image Source Snow
Looks pretty convincing, doesn’t it?
Add a chatbot and live chat feature
A chatbot is like a digital salesman with 24/7 availability that can drastically increase the chances of someone making a purchase. It not only directs shoppers to their desired product but also instantly answers any questions they may have before placing an order.
But if you want to truly transform your customers’ shopping experiences, consider offering a live chat feature with the chatbot to add that coveted personalized human touch.
Sephora's Live Beauty Help is a game-changer in audience engagement, combining the power of a chatbot with the expertise of live beauty advisors.
Image Source Sephora
Not only will the chatbot provide answers to your basic questions, but you'll also have the opportunity to connect with real beauty advisors who are ready to offer personalized advice and recommendations.
2. Search engine optimization (SEO)
When marketing your Shopify store, no other digital marketing strategy is as cost-effective and impactful as SEO.
Think about it: SEO increases your eCommerce platform's organic traffic, so more customers with stronger buying intent will browse your products. And, unlike social media advertising or Google Ads, the traffic won’t suddenly stop after your ad budget runs out.
Now, let’s see what you must do to rank your Shopify store higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Do data-driven keyword research
Conducting and implementing keyword research optimizes your product pages for the search terms your target audience is actually using. This makes it easier to attract ready-to-buy shoppers, leading to guaranteed sales, and informs Google what your store is all about.
Here’s the thing: you don’t have to be a Shopify SEO expert to nail keyword research. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Check out the ‘People also search for’ and ‘People also asked’ boxes on Google
Browse Google’s auto-fill suggestions
Conduct competitor research to discover what your targeted users are searching for
Use a keyboard research tool to identify the top-performing keywords in your niche.
Note that some keywords will be easier to rank than others.
Your job is to identify the ones that present the best opportunities to gain more organic visibility for your store. Paying attention to crucial keyboard metrics like search volume, cost-per-click (CPC), and keyword difficulty is also helpful to optimize your product and category pages to show more transactional intent.
Optimize your web pages
This point is all about applying the mandatory Shopify SEO tips to help rank your Shopify store.
Here’s what you need to do:
Create a site hierarchy with categories and sub-categories. This makes it easier for Google to crawl every page and for customers to navigate your site.
Keep page titles within 50-60 characters, taking care to include your main keywords toward the beginning of the page title.
Avoid manually adding an H1 tag anywhere on your page. This is because Shopify page titles are the default H1 tag, plus SEO best practices state to have only one H1 tag on your pages.
Write punchy meta descriptions that are under 155 characters.
Create dynamic and engaging product pages with high-quality images, videos, and other impactful media formats. Add alt images to ensure your media appears in image/video results.
Add schema markup to get rich snippets. Here’s what it should look like for an eCommerce website like yours:
Optimize site speed by compressing images, choosing a fast Shopify store theme, and removing redundant/obsolete apps.
Write short URLs that include the targeted keyword. No filler words like the/or/and.
Create a strong content marketing strategy
Content marketing and SEO thrive on each other. Once you improve your content marketing activities, you’ll automatically improve your website’s chances to rank higher in the SERP while shaping your overall brand image on digital platforms.
Create original content like blog posts/articles, industry reports and ebooks, infographics, and videos that add to your overall user experience. To get started, think:
about the questions customers may ask when researching your product category. For example, here’s what dog shoemaker RIFRUF’s blog looks like this:
how customers can get more value out of your products. This can include creating how-to or tips and tricks guides or explainer videos.
Another important aspect of content marketing is its distribution. Decide between social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram), video platforms (YouTube, TikTok), podcasts (Spotify, Apple Podcasts), and email—or build a presence on them all.
Also, invest in the right set of tools, especially analytics tools like Google Analytics and Google Search Console, to better understand shopper behavior and make the required improvements.
Build links to your eCommerce store
Search engines use backlinks to determine how the wider community looks at your site and content. Think of it as an endorsement of sorts that adds to your brand’s credibility and trustworthiness.
Here are a few tips to earn more links to your store:
Supplier/manufacturer links: If you sell products created or supplied by established companies, reach out to them to link to your store.
Industry/influencer voices: Collaborate with industry leaders and influencers to get more links and content.
Mentions: Use tools like mention.com to find which pages have mentioned your brand without linking. Then, send an email asking them to link to your site.
Guest posts: Write high-quality guest posts for relevant sites.
Broken links: If you find broken links for products and services similar to those you offer, email the site owner displaying the broken link and have them link to your site instead.
3. Social media marketing
Paul Graham from Y COMBINATOR famously said, “You can’t wait for customers to come to you. You have to figure out where they are, go there, and drag them back to your store.“
Considering over 4.26 billion people were using social media worldwide in 2021, having a social media presence is a no-brainer to build engaged audiences. Besides generating traffic, social media is also great for increasing sales. Studies found global sales through social media platforms to be nearly US$1 trillion in 2022 and are forecasted to reach as high as US$2.9 trillion in 2026.
Clearly, there’s a huge opportunity to reach a wider audience and increase sales.
Here’s a Shopify launch checklist for social media marketing to get you started:
Finalize your social media content mix
Defining your content mix—recurring post types and formats—makes it easy to produce engaging content for your audience that’s both varied and consistent. Otherwise, you'll find yourself scrambling for posts to publish every day.
Within your content mix, try to include ideas you can be produced and scheduled to go out regularly, such as:
Educational content (e.g., how-to blogs or fun stats)
Inspirational content (e.g., quote graphics or photos from around the world)
Tips and tricks
Behind the scenes
A good rule of thumb is to have five-six content archetypes, where you balance between quick posts and elaborate posts that take more time to produce, such as a product demonstration video.
For inspiration, you can also borrow ideas from brands doing well on social media. While using shots of your product and user-generated content works well, you can also try out more innovative ideas, like creating bite-sized video clips or an Ask Me Anything (AMA) series.
Wilton Cakes, a brand that offers cake decorating supplies, got renowned home baker Rachel Fujihara to do a five-part tutorial video making a three-layer, Halloween-themed cake using—you guessed it—supplies from Wilton Cakes.
This not only helped Wilton Cakes reach out to Rachel’s audience of cake enthusiasts, who are likely to be interested in its products but also created valuable and relevant content for its current followers.
Pick channels for your social media strategy
From Facebook to Instagram to Pinterest, there’s no shortage of social media networks to build a presence for your online business. But, you must remember to make a presence on only those channels you can maintain and play to the strengths of each channel.
Instagram is great to build a following using visual content. You can post images, videos, and stories or go live to showcase your brand’s personality.
Facebook comes packed with several useful features like a Facebook shop, customer reviews, and messaging features to maximize engagement. You can also try paid Facebook ads to deliver targeted content to your ideal customers.
TikTok is unique in that it lets you create authentic content that resonates with the younger audience. If you’re targeting the 12-to-29-year-old demographic, you’ll find it a valuable marketing tool to build brand awareness and encourage sales.
Shopify business SendAFriend founder Tyler Macke is all praises for this platform, helping the brand earn $5 million in sales in just two years. In an episode of Shopify Masters, Macke said, "One of the ideas we had early on was to implement TikTok-style content and do our media buying strategy. That was one of the first things we saw great success with."
UGC-style videos like this one were a key driver in the brand's TikTok success:
You can also consider giving Pinterest marketing a shot. From Promoted Pins to Buyable Pins, the platform offers a ton of tools to boost eCommerce sales.
Here are a few ideas to help you make the most of social media marketing:
Have shoppable Instagram posts to directly tag products in Instagram stories, reels, and live broadcasts
Connect your Shopify store to the Facebook Marketplace
Leverage influencer marketing
Use the Facebook ad library to find out what advertising creatives your competitor uses
Build a community around your brand using interactive social media features like polls and questions
Plan your social media content
Once you understand your goals, target audience, and the social media channels you‘ll be using, focus on creating a framework to manage and schedule your social media calendar.
While the content archetypes you finalized before can serve as a starting point, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Another good tip is to maintain a backlog of ideas and develop them until they’re ready to be scheduled.
As for scheduling content, start with a few weekly posts and work your way to a higher frequency. Pay attention to when your audience is most active on your targeted platforms and schedule posts accordingly. The key here is focusing your attention where it’ll make the most impact.
Also, automate your social media scheduling to free up your team's time. This allows them to focus on other, more important tasks, such as creating real-time posts or engaging with the audience, to build a loyal following. Trello or Asana is great for planning your content, while Buffer or Hootsuite can help automate scheduling.
Measure and track results
You won’t know whether your social media marketing efforts are being off without tracking performance, and you may miss out on valuable insights to take your campaigns to the next level.
Invest in social media tools like Sprout Social that allow you to measure performance across channels. Even the Shopify app store has a bunch of social media marketing tools that generate engagement and trend reports and social media listening reports and offer powerful CRM integrations to build and maintain customer profiles.
4. Email marketing
Shopify has built-in email marketing called Shopify Email that allows you to create, send, and manage email marketing in the same system you run your store.
In addition, you get access to a range of useful features like pre-made templates, personalization and segmentation, and automation and testing that are useful to execute and scale your email marketing efforts.
Assuming you’ve already captured subscribers to build your email list, here are other critical things to keep in mind:
Create and send impactful, on-brand emails
Segment your email subscribers
Shopify Email makes sending custom emails to specific audience groups super easy, where all you have to do is set up different customer segments.
Made specifically for merchants selling online, Shopify Email lets you capture detailed information about your subscribers based on their shopping behavior. You can segment subscribers based on location, tags, product and purchase history, and several other attributes.
But it gets even better: with Shopify Email, you can group customers who have purchased similar products or have the potential for high-value spending. Add support for predictive customer journeys to this, and you’re all set to take your email marketing plan to another level.
Create and send impactful, on-brand emails
Your email newsletters should reflect your Shopify store, from colors to visuals to tone, to provide subscribers with a seamless experience that leads to conversions—just like Manitobah Mukluks.
The brand uses white and red for its eCommerce platform, with unique product images to create a striking visual impact…
Image Source: Manitobah Mukluks
…which is also the color scheme and design for its welcome emails.
Manitobah Mukluks creates a link between its brand and its email marketing campaign, providing customers with a continuous experience.
Next, you need to master the art of effective email copywriting.
Write a persuasive email copy that speaks directly to your target audience to boost sales. This includes personalizing your copy (e.g., mentioning the subscriber name, or writing in the second person) while highlighting the immediate value of your products.
While at it, be sure to add high-quality visuals that complement your message and include prominent and clear CTAs to inspire immediate action.
Set up automated workflows
Automated email marketing is all about creating campaigns that are triggered at precisely the right moment, maximizing your impact, and leading to more sales.
As a Shopify merchant, you must set up several automated campaigns right away before emailing your subscribers. To get started, invest in a marketing automation tool with an easy-to-use workflow builder and pre-made templates for different automated workflow campaigns. This includes:
Confirmation email campaigns, which are either single or double opt-in, to build an email list that’s free of spam emails
Welcome email campaigns to entice new subscribers to make a purchase
Cart abandonment email campaigns to change the abandoners’ minds and restore your revenue
Re-engagement email campaigns to re-target your once-loyal customers, offering special discount codes to win their business
Upselling email campaigns to increase your customer’s average order value (AOV) by promoting premium versions of the products they’ve already chosen
Transactional email campaigns comprising post-purchase emails like order/shipping confirmation, product review emails, and repeat purchase discounts
After setting up these automated workflows, you can focus on growing your online business and building long-term customer relationships.
A/B test your emails
A/B testing involves creating variations of your initial email to uncover the winning combination.
You can test every element of your email, from the copy to the subject line to the color and placement of CTAs, to discover what appeals to your subscribers the most. Other popular elements Shopify merchants test include different levels of personalization, headline, preview text, visuals, and CTA copy.
Note that you can only test one element at a time. Otherwise, you won’t know which difference caused the change in results.
The beauty of A/B testing is it’s never-ending, helping you grow and improve, and incredibly versatile. Besides email, you can also use this technique to optimize Shopify shop’s landing pages to generate more leads.
Drive sales with an omnichannel marketing strategy
The key to eCommerce success is building your business around your customers, and our Shopify checklist will help you prioritize their needs to maximize results.
You can pick one (or multiple) marketing channels and start implementing them in your marketing strategy, but considering the growing competition, it’s better to adopt an omnichannel approach for your online store to create a seamless experience for your customers.
For example, after you launch your Shopify store, you can use social media marketing and SEO to drive traffic, and then convert visitors by delivering streamlined shopping experiences through email marketing. To further enhance customer experience, consider adding stoppable videos to your allow customers to buy on the go.
Book a demo to learn how Videowise can help you create engaging shoppable videos.
Rana Bano is a one-part B2B content writer and one-part content strategist. She uses these parts to help SaaS brands tell their story, aiming to encourage user engagement and drive traffic.