Shopify Marketing 101: What it is and how it works + the apps and tips you need to make sales

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Shopify Marketing 101: A guide on where to start when launching your Shopify store.

If you have products that you want to sell online, you should sell them on Shopify. 

Why? 

Because it’s the easiest, cheapest, and most efficient way to set up a store and build a business. Where marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, or Etsy simply give you an account from which to sell, Shopify lets you create and grow a brand, with the ability to scale from small retailer to household name without any technical expertise. 

Sounds good, right? It is.

In this post, we’ll tell how to get started with Shopify and which apps and integrations you need to win and maintain sales. We’ll also throw in a few tips for utilizing Shopify Marketing in your store. But first, we should probably fill you in on exactly what Shopify is.  

What is Shopify?

In its own words, “Shopify is a complete commerce platform that lets you start, grow, and manage a business.”

It’s a place where anyone — without any experience in web design, development, or coding — can build and customize an online store to sell products online. 

Unlike online marketplaces, Shopify lets you sell products on your own domain, on your own terms. They provide the platform and you run with it. 

Sounds good. So how does Shopify work?

Very easily. In fact, ease of use is the biggest reason Shopify is trusted by more than half a million merchants worldwide. 

For a monthly plan (Shopify pricing starts from $29/month for a basic store, with a 14-day free trial to test the waters), you get access to the Shopify platform which includes hundreds of mobile-responsive templates, colors, logos, fonts, and videos for you to fully customize the look and feel of your store. You also get a user-friendly admin panel from which to run your empire — managing everything from product inventory and orders to taxes and shipping. 

And features don’t stop there. Hundreds of apps and integrations can added to your store to improve the customer experience (we’ll cover some of the best shortly). 

Shopify is completely cloud-based, meaning upgrades are taken care of automatically and web servers are maintained for you. This allows you to run your business from any computer, anywhere you have an internet connection. 

How do I get started with Shopify?

Go to Shopify.com and start from there. 

Once you’ve chosen a name and entered your details, Shopify will guide you through the process of setting up your store. 

If you need help, there are step-by-step instructions in the Shopify Help Center. WebsiteSetup has also put together this excellent guide, covering everything you need to know.

In addition to those resources, Shopify has a dedicated support team who’ll assist you in overcoming any and every problem.

I’ve got my store up and running. Now how do I get sales? 

The key question! 

Simply creating a store and listing your products is no guarantee of them selling.

Fortunately, Shopify’s partner apps help you get, maintain and increase sales. We’ll get to the pick of them soon. But first you should start with the basics: 

  • Set up Google Analytics. It’s free and crucial in helping you identify your target audience. It will also allow you to monitor the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns. Check out Shopify’s guide to setting up Analytics on your store
  • Write a blog. A blog helps build awareness and establish authority — both of which can lead to sales. Studies show that companies that blog receive more traffic and rank higher in search engines.
  • Set up social media accounts. Posting regularly on social media is a great way to build relationships with your audience. Use social as a service tool to chat with customers, as well as a place to share content.
  • Use keywords in your content. Targeting the right keywords will help your store appear in search results for searches related to what you sell. Enter keywords related to your product into a tool such as Google Keyword Planner or SEMRush to find words and phrases to add to page titles, headers, product titles and descriptions, and image alt text. 

8 Shopify apps to increase sales

Okay, onto those recommended Shopify integrations and apps.

1. Plug in SEO  

(Free/$20 a month for premium plan)

Despite the rise of social media, search still drives more traffic. Plug in SEO lets you take advantage of that fact by helping you stay on top of your SEO for your Shopify Marketing. The app scans your store for any issues that might prevent traffic. It also checks all headings, descriptions, and page structures to ensure they’re properly optimized. Use it to help maintain a good search presence.   

2. Okendo 

(From $99 a month)

Okendo lets you send automated emails to collect reviews and display them prominently for your Shopify Marketing

In Shopify Marketing, customer reviews are one of the most effective ways of turning visitors into customers. 95% of shoppers read reviews before making a purchase and 92% of shoppers say reviews influence their purchase decision. Okendo topped the list of our best testimonial apps for Shopify. 

The app lets you send automated emails to collect reviews and display them prominently on your store to grab attention. It also sends reviews to Google search results, Google Shopping, and social media to influence customers across multiple channels

If the cost is an issue, Product Reviews by Shopify is a solid free alternative. 

3. Sales Pop 

(Free)

Sales Pop lets you create sense of urgency to convinces visitors to act for your Shopify Marketing

Shop Pop is designed to let you create sense of urgency to convinces visitors to act. You can create social proof with pop-up sales notifications, use checkout notifications to prevent cart abandonment, and set up upsell notifications to suggest frequently bought together items. All in the name of increasing sales for your Shopify Marketing.

In the early days when traffic is modest, a tool like Sales Pop will help you get more from the visitors you have. 

4. Socialphotos 

(From $10 a month)

If you have a product that’s Instagram-worthy, Socialphotos lets customers do your Shopify Marketing for you. Whenever customers upload photos of them using your product, the app collates them into a gallery that you can show off on your website. This gives your products more publicity while acting as social proof for visitors. Plus, you’ll be making existing customers happy, thus building an army of loyal fans. 

5. Smile.io 

(Free/premium plans from $49 a month)

Acquiring new customers costs five times more than retaining existing ones, so once you have a customer on board you should do everything you can to keep them. Smile.io’s Rewards & Loyalty app lets you create a loyalty program that rewards customers for repeat purchases and referrals.  

6. Facebook Chat 

(Free)

Facebook Chat integrates Facebook Messenger for your Shopify Marketing

People who receive good social media customer service will spend 21% more money on a company’s products. Facebook Chat integrates Facebook Messenger into your Shopify store so that you can chat to customers on a platform they’re comfortable using. You can customize everything from the design to the position of the widget and view customer chat history for more personal conversations. Use it to address customer queries and solve problems in real-time, on and off your store.

7. Social Sharing Buttons 

(Free)

Shopify Marketing with Social Sharing Buttons make it easy for people to share your products and content across social media

The benefit of Social Sharing Buttons is simple: it makes it easy for people to share your products and content across social media. The app integrates with over 20 social accounts, as well as popular messaging apps so that you can spread the word far and wide. Buttons can be customized to match the aesthetic of your site and added to every page. Use this for your Shopify Marketing to get more eyes on your store and increase sales by growing brand awareness.

8. Happy Email 

(Free)

Studies show that welcome emails have 320% more revenue attributed to them than other promotional emails, which makes Happy Email a very useful tool to add to your Shopify store. 

The app lets you create custom welcome emails for new customers that can be automatically sent after a purchase is made. Emails can be personalized for each customer and automated based on your brand info so that each message resonates with the recipient. It’s a great app for building relationships, increasing customer loyalty, and getting the most of your Shopify Marketing.

Any other tips?

With those Shopify integrations up and running, you’re in a good place to start winning sales, but there are a few other ways to successfully market your business. Here are some quick and easy tips to try:

 

  • Add your store URL to all of your personal social media profiles to reach people in your network.
  • Share your store on your personal social media accounts and ask friends and followers to share it. 
  • Give customers an incentive to buy by offering discount codes. You can use this tactic as a way to collect email addresses. Monki does this by offering subscribers 10% off their first order. 

  • Be active where your audience is. If your audience hangs out in Facebook groups, join them. Share your insights and build relationships. If they’re on Reddit, go there. If its Quora… you get the idea. 
  • Run ads on Facebook. Use your Google Analytics demographics info, combined with data from your Facebook page, to create ads for your target audience. You don’t need to spend a lot of money doing this — $10-$20 is fine. Test the waters. If it works, up the spend. If not, try another tactic. Be sure to continually tweak your ads to improve performance, and A/B campaigns to see which deliver the best results. 
  • Find influencers. Who do people look up to in your niche? Which bloggers and vloggers do people turn to for recommendations? Reach out to them — see if they’ll share your products. You may need to sweeten the deal with free goods or discounts on products, but the extra exposure makes it worthwhile. 
  • Submit guest blog posts. We mentioned blogging earlier, but what we didn’t say is that guest blogging can be even more lucrative than blogging on your own website. Submitting a blog post to a respected site in your industry gives you the chance to show your expertise and exposes you to a whole new audience that may never have heard of you.
  • Create resources to give away in exchange for email addresses. Things like ‘How to’ guides, style guides, industry studies, and video tutorials are all great for establishing your brand and winning new customers.  
  • Run contests. Give away products or discount codes on social media for people that share your posts or like your page.
  • Create a growth plan. For your business to move to the next level you need a marketing strategy in place. Creating a long-term growth plan gives you the building blocks to grow.  
  • Sponsor an industry event to gain extra exposure.
  • Test, measure, and improve. Continually test everything you do, from launching new products to running marketing campaigns. Use analytics to measure performance and strengthen your store. 

If you want to delve deeper into how to successfully market your store, check out our post on what the biggest Shopify stores do to stand out

Wrap up

Shopify is easy-to-use, robust, and endlessly scalable. You can use it to sell any kind of product, anywhere in the world and build your brand as well as your business. Take advantage of the free trial to test the waters and create your store. Once you’re happy, use the recommended integrations, apps, and Shopify Marketing tips in this post to keep customers happy and sales flowing.

Want to talk more about growing your Shopify store.  Learn more about our growth marketing agency and how we’ve grown 3 stores from idea to 7 figures.

Jim Huffman

Founder & CEO GrowthHit. Startup mentor at Techstars, General Assembly, and Sephora Accelerator. Author of The Growth Marketer’s Playbook #1
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