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For the last several years — and especially since 2020 — the world has seen an increased interest in online shopping. We were already virtually-oriented, but in 2021 alone, the number of ecommerce sites more than doubled, landing consumers with more than 26 million ecommerce sites to choose from — or get overwhelmed by.
But more choices for consumers means more competition for ecommerce businesses, turning an already jam packed marketplace into a virtual free for all. It’s never been easier to launch an ecommerce brand, but making a success of it is a different matter entirely. The more competition in the virtual realm, the more important it is to make your business stand out from the crowd.
Though there are plenty of ecommerce platforms to choose from, the undisputed king of the hill is Shopify, with more than two million daily users shopping across more than four and a half million stores in 175 countries. For most ecommerce brands, Shopify is the go-to solution for a launching platform. But with a great ecommerce platform comes the aforementioned competition — and the drive for fantastic Shopify marketing.
If you’re one of the millions who use Shopify for your ecommerce site, knowing the ins and outs of marketing is vital. Here are the top five strategies for making the most of your Shopify marketing in 2023.
1. Branding Campaigns
Whether you’re a newbie at the Shopify game or your business has been around since the platform was founded in 2006, a branding campaign can be a boon for your business. The goal of a branding campaign is to increase awareness of a brand, making the values, promises, and benefits of the brand immediately accessible to the public. It’s a great way to gain new customers and stir the interest of those who have purchased in the past.
Branding campaigns are different from the more usual marketing campaigns because they’re centered on telling the story of the brand, not just marketing a product. They invite the consumer to invest in the brand as a whole, creating a connection that lasts beyond a simple purchase.
Branding campaigns are also often organized around re-branding; that is, updating the look of a brand, such as launching a new logo design. Whether the brand design is handled by a design professional, through design, or via crowdsourcing, it’s an excellent opportunity to craft both your brand’s story and its image, and capture the attention of your target audience. Logos in particular are important, because they’re the “face” of the brand; make sure your logo design means something, and then tell your audience what that meaning is and how it impacts them.
How to do it:
- Center your marketing on the personality of the brand.
- Consider a brand redesign that reflects the goals and promises of your company.
- Highlight updates to the brand on your Shopify site and on social media.
Everyone knows that social media is the most popular way to connect with others — more than half the world’s population uses at least one social media platform (that’s almost five billion people!) with an average of more than two hours per day.
Since that’s where your audience is spending their time anyway, why not make the most of it and take your Shopify marketing to them? Make sure not only to create a profile for your business, but to maintain it. Some of the most common complaints I’ve seen about companies is the lack of response when customers reach out through social media comments.
Bonus tip: When crafting content for your social media marketing, don’t make it all about the advertisements. Remember that creating an appealing brand personality is what keeps consumers invested and invites them to return to your shop again and again. Be entertaining, educational, and engaging with your social media posts.
How to do it:
- Craft engaging content.
- Post regularly.
- Use links to your shop and individual products to drive sales.
- Respond to all comments, questions, and complaints, always keeping it positive, respectful, and friendly.
Further Reading: 10 Ways to Leverage Social Media in eCommerce
3. Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most direct ways to reach consumers, outside of seeing them face to face. Since we’re talking about ecommerce platforms, email is likely the go-to for reaching your audience as individuals.
There are dozens of email marketing tools available, but Shopify actually gives its users the ability to create email marketing campaigns directly from the platform.
Entrepreneurs may tend to think of this type of marketing as being event-specific, used for times such as when there’s a sale going on — more on that next. But with meticulous tracking and use of customer insights, email marketing can be more than just a blanket approach. Use it to show your appreciation of your customers as individuals, including your understanding of what they’re interested in. Did a repeat customer put an item in their cart but not actually check out? Send them a reminder. Did a new visitor like a certain product? Let them know when it’s on sale. Has it been a while since a consumer checked out your shop? Send them a coupon and invite them to come back.
Personalization has been proven to be an important component of engagement in email marketing, with 70 percent of millennials state that they don’t like to be sent irrelevant information, and 91% of consumers who receive offers and recommendations that are pertinent to them are more inclined to purchase from brands.
How to do it:
- Use attention-getting subject lines that include a call to action.
- Make emails individualized by using the recipient’s name and acknowledging their interests within your shop.
- Don’t overdo it — “too many emails” is the top reason why consumers unsubscribe from brand emails.
- Keep information relevant and up to date.
4. Marketing Automation
Marketing automation is another key feature of the Shopify platform that dovetails nicely with the above-mentioned email marketing strategy. As mentioned, personalization is important, but there are also times when you just need to make sure that all your bases are covered, and that no stone is left unturned — no potential customer falls through the cracks in your marketing.
That’s where marketing automation comes in.
It isn’t just about notifications on sales and new products, either. Marketing automation is also about covering the back end of the selling process, giving your customers every opportunity to have a say in how your business is handled and customer service is developed. One of the most useful ways to make a customer feel seen, heard, and important is to make sure they’re invited to give their opinion, such as through a survey or other invitation for feedback. After a first visit to your shop, after a purchasing experience, after a return is processed, after your site is updated — whatever the case, soliciting their opinion tells your customer that they’re important to your brand.
And that feedback can go a long way to fine-tuning your brand in the future.
As with email marketing, mentioned before, two things that should be included in your marketing automation are:
- A call to action. Tell your customers what’s new, why they should be excited about it, and create FOMO (fear of missing out) by setting a time limit.
- An incentive. Make it clear to your reader why they should take action now. A sale that’s expiring? A coupon just for them? A survey with a reward? Whatever it is, stir them to click the link and do something about it rather than simply skim through the email and delete it.
How to do it:
- Use Shopify’s marketing automation feature to send out emails for certain triggers, which you can set to your specifics.
- Follow up on feedback and surveys.
- Include at least one CTA, if not more, and incentivize the message. Keep it brief, use images and colors that catch the eye, and make the main point stand out.
- Keep up on statistics of click throughs from email links to make this marketing strategy as useful as possible.
5. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been on the rise across a number of platforms. Some of the most popular and effective campaigns involve what are effectively paid sponsorships with well-known social media users on sites like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. The value of influencer marketing lies in two factors:
- The size of the following that the influencer already has. Mega influencers usually have a million or more followers; macro influencers range between about 40,000 and a million; and micro-influencers can have as few as a thousand followers, but are often on the way up in popularity. The more followers an influencer has, the more it will likely cost to secure their endorsement.
- The lifestyle of the influencer. Influencer marketing is effective because it’s less like an advertisement and more like a recommendation from someone we know; celebrities can be influencers, but the title is more commonly attached to people who are “just like us.” Word of mouth is one of the most effective ways to market something, and influencers can spread the word far more easily than most of us.
Influencer marketing ranges from simply giving away a free product or credit to your store in exchange for a mention, use, or promotion, to paying the individual to mention, use, or promote your product or store in social media posts. What it costs you will usually be determined by whether your influencer of choice is a mega, macro, or micro influencer. The key is not only to gain exposure, but to gain an endorsement; ideally, your brand will fit well with the influencer you work with, making their endorsement seem more natural and enthusiastic, rather than a cold exchange of money for services.
How to do it:
- Use tools like Shopify Collabs, Shopify’s influencer-search site, to connect with influencers who suit the values and audience of your brand, and that match the level of influence you’re looking for.
- Talk with the influencer beforehand to ensure that they’re compatible with your brand and can provide what you’re looking for in an organic way.
- Set guidelines for the content and any specific keywords you want them to say.
- Cross-promote on your branded social media profiles.
Marketing Your Shopify Success Story
More ecommerce vendors are turning to Shopify than ever before, and there’s a plethora of reasons for that. Not just that entrepreneurs want to reach as many people as possible, and Shopify streamlines the process — but also because Shopify itself is accessible, effective, and a worthwhile tool for building, launching, maintaining, and growing a new ecommerce venture.
Marketing strategies come and go, just as the audience for any shop will ebb and flow over time. Ultimately, the best way to ensure that your Shopify marketing stays ahead of the trend is to keep an eye on any new tools that become available. Like everything in the virtual world, Shopify is constantly changing and updating to provide for the needs of its users. As the owners of businesses that use Shopify, we too have the responsibility to provide for needs — the growing needs of our customers, and the ever-changing needs of our businesses.
How each of these marketing strategies is implemented within your business is up to you as an individual. But remember what I mentioned near the beginning of these outlines — it isn’t about simply marketing a product or service, but about marketing your brand as a whole. Each of these strategies can be utilized to contribute to your brand’s story, gaining you customers who will be more than just a one-time consumer – with a focus on brand personality in your marketing, you’ll invite and reward life-long investment from your audience.
Janil Jean is a top management executive at Logo Design, who loves to write about graphic design, digital marketing, branding, storytelling, startups and small business management. Through her work, she has spearheaded projects, formulated organizational development strategies, and policies for the companies she’s worked with. She has been featured in Business2Community, Business News Daily, QSR Magazine, AllBusiness.com, and SmartBrief. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.
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