Shopify Marketing From Scratch

May 16, 2019

How to get traffic to your Shopify store (with a little help from Plug in Useful)

It’s all very well to have an amazing concept for an online store but let’s be honest: if you only build it, they probably won’t come. Once you have a growing audience of shoppers, you can think about setting up an amazing ambassador program, optimizing up/cross-sells and firing off customized recommendation emails, but how do you get those all-important first customers through the door? We’re going to guide you through a few of the most important, relatively inexpensive, basic marketing activities you can kick off in the early day of your Shopify store:

  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media
  • Content Creation
  • Influencer Marketing


Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimisation is, fundamentally, improving your chance of being discovered on search engines. Yes, we probably mean mostly Google, but the same basic principles will improve your discoverability on all platforms. Our flagship product, Plug in SEO, is focussed on making SEO easier for Shopify merchants big and small. But there’s plenty you can do to improve your search visibility, with or without extra tools.

How to get started

Research your keywords

Work out what search terms your potential customers might type into that search box to look for your products. Enlist the help of a keyword research tool to find suggestions and measure the volume of searches. It’s a solid plan to also check out how your competitors are writing about their products and see you what you can borrow.

Optimize your content

Write engaging, interesting copy for your product, collection and other business pages, including your most important and relevant keywords. Aim for more quality, rather than more quantity. Every page should have just one H1 header, ideally including your main keywords.

Build your backlinks

What’s on the page matters, but so does what’s off it. Find influencers (more on that later), social channels (also more later!), directories, collaborators, friends, and family to link back to your store and build its wider reputation online. Again, quality outweighs quantity.

What to read next


Email marketing

Email Marketing

We’re sure you’re receiving plenty of email marketing blasts already, so you know how this works. Why are we all doing it? Because it just works. Once they’re hooked, their your’s. It’s not always easy to grow an email marketing list from scratch, but it’s worth it in the long term. (While you’re here, we’d better ask you to sign up for our Shopify ecommerce newsletter too! You can find the signup down at the bottom of this blog post.)

How to get started

Choose a mass email provider

MailChimp was a long term Shopify merchant favorite, but a recent data dispute has led to MailChimp and Shopify breaking up. Services like Klaviyo and Omnisend have emerged as the new normal, but you can check out a fuller rundown here: Shopify MailChimp alternatives.

Get an effective email collecting app/popup

Apps like Privy and MailMunch will help you present your store visitors with an option to sign up for your mailing list at exactly the opportune moment, with exactly the right special incentive.

Keep your list warm with regular emails

It’s great to collect emails, but it’s equally important to keep them in the loop and keep your list fresh and up-to-date. Strike while the iron is hot: send out a nice welcome email (or drip campaign) and keep the regular newsletters flowing.

Another way to keep your list warm is to send out regular transactional emails (if you are selling products or services) and promotion emails. Here is where you can find inspiration for coming up with promotional email templates that convert.

What to read next


Social Media

You know what we mean: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…the list goes on. For your specific commerce niche, where do you customers spend time online? Establish yourself in exactly those same spaces. It makes sense when you’re starting out to not spread yourself too thin, so choose two or three channels where you can dedicate the time and effort to really engage.

How to get started

Understand your audience

Where exactly are those potential customers? For gadgets, they might be chatting on Reddit. For wedding dresses, they might be collecting on Pinterest. Maybe there’s a facebook group for exactly your niche, where you can share a little of your professional expertise as well as enticing in potential customers.

Create interesting/interactive content

When you’ve prioritized your potential social channels, create an outline strategy of what you want to post and what goals you want to achieve with each action. Make your content interactive and sharable (we’re not going to say “viral”, because you can’t really make that happen every time). Ask questions your audience what they really think of your store and incentivize them to help out a little with your marketing efforts.

Distribute value to your potential shoppers

It’s great to distribute your seasonal promotions and special celebratory events, but also consider the wider value you can provide to your customers. Think of your social channels as a customer support channel and a repository for helpful content, ebooks and everything else we’ll discuss in our next section!

What to read next






Content Creation

Creating valuable content that supports your store and the products you sell. Examples? You sell bike accessories and you create a handy guide for preparing your bike for winter. You sell scarves and make a handy guide to the freshest ways to accessorize one’s date outfit. Put your wonderful products into context and let customers know how to get the most out of them. Tell the story of your products and your business to demonstrate why your store is the best place to pick up that bike accessory and/or scarf.

How to get started

Keyword research for your niche/products

Hopefully, you’ve already kicked off some keyword research as part of your SEO efforts. You’re probably thinking you have a few leftover, which seem super relevant but perhaps an awkward fit to jam into a neat product description. Perhaps their wider trends about the production of your product or the wider culture around your niche. Keep a long list going and prioritize based on (of course) search volume, but also what you see qualitatively from social discussion and industry news sources.

Create a content plan and calendar

Regularly updating your blog and longer-form content is great for your customers and important for your SEO too. Keep your site content fresh and give your readers the latest insights, putting your products into the context of their lives.

Commit to your schedule and crank out those posts

It goes without saying: it’s good to have a nice plan, but you need to stick to it. Measure your results and iterate on your strategy month-to-month.


What to read next

Influencer marketing


Finding influential people who can promote your store and your products. Now, there are many ways to go about influencer marketing and it’s become a proper fully fledged business over the years. 

How to get started

Start out small

If you’re starting small, you can’t throw a million dollars at a huge celebrity to shout about your Shopify store, but there are still options out there. Who do you know who has an existing audience? Friends, family, colleagues, ex-colleagues, school friends? Make a list of the people you know (and people they know) and start your initial outreach.

Give them free stuff

Of course, this is still an expense. But perhaps it’s easier to fund than shelling out hundreds of dollars in cash. Find some folks with an existing audience who fit to your product range and reach out about sending them some samples, in exchange for coverage.

Co-create great content

Advertorial content can bring value to both sides of the influencer equation: something for their Instagram feed and a nice spread for your Shopify blog too! Don’t underestimate the value of boosting the reach of an up-and-coming influencer through your own marketing efforts.


What to read next

How can Plug in Useful help grow your Shopify store’s audience?

If you’re ready to tackle step 1, upping your SEO game, check out Plug in SEO, an awesome alternative to SEO Booster. The free version will review your current setup and suggest DIY fixes. Need some help? Plug in SEO Plus has loads of added functionality and our Blimpon fix packages can take care of all the hard technical work for you.

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