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How to promote a Shopify store from day one

How to promote a Shopify store from day one Alexandra Monica Cote Partner post
· 22 min read · E-commerce · Jun 27, 2024
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Imagine this: You've just launched your Shopify store and you're eager to attract a flood of customers in the first few months. But here's the puzzle:

  • What's the secret to keeping a steady stream of visitors—and buyers—coming to your store?

  • Which advertising methods will work best for your business and audience?

With countless Shopify promotion strategies swirling around, it can be a real challenge to find the strategies that will get you in front of the right crowd.

We're about to reveal the top tips for effectively marketing your Shopify store along with some insider secrets to supercharge your promotional efforts. Get ready to discover how to craft messages and value propositions that will truly resonate with your ideal buyers!

Paid ads are a highly effective way to promote your e-commerce store and products quickly. Not only do they provide instant exposure to your target audience but they can also be easily scaled.

Platforms like Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads offer advanced targeting options to help you reach a larger audience. Additionally, these platforms provide cost efficiency by allowing businesses to set their budgets and pay only for user interactions, opportunities for increased engagement through interactive ad formats, and direct audience interaction for stronger customer relationships. They also enhance brand awareness with consistent visibility and offer detailed analytics to measure ad performance.

Here are two Facebook Ad variations from Tropeaka using Shopify as their selling platform. These two different ads focus on specific products allowing the brand to test out which ad is more effective based on the product offering and messaging [i.e. ad text].

Facebook ads from Tropeaka

Retargeting is a quick way to remind users who have previously engaged with your content about your brand and products. It helps to convert interested prospects who need a nudge to complete their purchase. It's also an effective method if:

  • Potential customers add items to their cart but leave without completing the purchase

  • You have opportunities to upsell or cross-sell to previous customers 

  • The decision to purchase usually takes longer for the types of products you’re selling

Every Shopify store owner dreams of creating a viral post to get the attention they deserve. 

When a post goes viral, it garners free exposure as users share and spread the content organically. This reduces the need for paid advertising and can significantly lower marketing costs.

In 2010, Old Spice launched the "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign featuring actor Isaiah Mustafa. The humorous and charismatic ad was designed to appeal to both men and women, promoting Old Spice body wash in a unique way.

The initial commercial garnered over 62 million views on YouTube. In the first six months following the campaign, the company also experienced a 125% increase in sales.

Going viral is easier said than done but with some testing and research, you can find the right recipe for viral success. Here are our tips for giving this a try:

  • Experiment with various post formats to see what your audience likes and engages with most often

  • Understand your audience’s preferences, interests, and behaviors to tailor your content and messaging effectively

  • Develop a content series focused on storytelling to create anticipation and encourage users to follow your series

  • Find something new that your competitors haven’t thought of. Sometimes it’s as easy as following a trend or creating a good meme

  • Focus on producing content that is visually appealing, informative, and interactive to capture and maintain your audience’s attention

  • Identify the best times to send or post your content to maximize visibility and engagement based on your audience’s online activity patterns

  • Create content that resonates with your audience by being authentic and addressing their needs, experiences, and emotions

  • Design your content to be easily shareable to encourage your audience to spread your message and increase your reach organically

Giveaways are a great way to reach a larger audience, increase brand awareness, and give your engagement a boost without spending a penny on ads.

Use these to increase engagement and generate buzz around your Shopify store's offering. Think of a compelling prize, such as a gift voucher or new product, and encourage users to participate by sharing, liking, or commenting on your posts.

Petal & Pup is a clothing brand and Shopify user that regularly uses its Instagram to run giveaways that engage followers. This New Year’s campaign aimed to increase interaction and grow the brand’s audience through simple actions such as follows, likes, and shares in return for worthwhile gifts.

Petal & Pup giveaway sample on Instagram

How to start

You don’t need to try all of the social media techniques above from day one. Instead, make a plan to identify what you want to achieve. Is it more traffic, increased sales, brand awareness, customer engagement, or something else?

Your immediate goals will guide your next steps. If you’ve just launched, you can raise brand awareness through ads or viral posts. Once you want to engage your current followers, it’s worth considering setting up a giveaway or special event.

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to engage customers and drive sales for your Shopify store and here’s why: 

  • Email offers a direct and consistent channel to connect with your customers 

  • It is one of the most effective ways to send informative and engaging content that adds value

  • You can personalize communication, which strengthens relationships and fosters customer loyalty

To connect with customers via email, you can send individual e-commerce email campaigns and use email automation. Here’s how.

Email campaigns

You can use email campaigns for almost any scenario—whether you want to share a sales campaign, engage and retain your customers, build up your brand, or nurture leads. These are best for broad, time-sensitive promotions and announcements that require immediate attention. 

Some types of email campaigns you could run for your Shopify store include:

  • Seasonal sales: To promote your offers to boost sales and increase customer engagement by sharing promotions, discounts, and incentives

  • Product announcement campaigns: To keep customers informed about new or upcoming products and updates and generate excitement and anticipation

  • Re-engagement campaigns: To reconnect with inactive subscribers or customers and rekindle their interest in your brand

  • Product how-tos: To educate customers on how to effectively use your products or services, ensuring they get the most value from their purchase

  • Lead nurturing campaigns: To guide potential customers through the sales funnel by providing targeted, relevant content and information that aligns with their interests and needs

Email automation

Email automation excels in delivering personalized, timely messages with minimal ongoing effort, making it ideal for nurturing leads and maintaining customer relationships. Here are some ideas for using email automation for e-commerce:

  • Use welcome emails to include a special offer, helpful information about navigating your site, and encouragement to engage with your community.

  • One of the main reasons to use email automation to grow your Shopify store is to leverage abandoned carts. Take this opportunity to remind customers about those items they were looking at and encourage them to complete their purchase.

  • Personalized product recommendations are perfect if you want to use the data and behavioral insights you have to recommend relevant products to each customer. Product recommendation newsletters will help you increase engagement and encourage repeat purchases. The format is simple: You only get to showcase a couple of your best products so you can keep your list focused on the products at hand.

  • Use email automation to suggest complementary or upgraded products to customers based on their purchase history or browsing behavior. Cross-selling/upselling workflows can boost sales and encourage customers to explore additional products.

How to start

With the MailerLite-Shopify integration you can automatically sync your Shopify customers with your MailerLite subscribers. 

Once installed, you can choose a MailerLite group to which your Shopify customers will be added. Additionally, you'll get access to extra e-commerce features like abandoned cart emails and more.

The Shopify platform comes with built-in search engine optimization (SEO) features.

The tool automatically handles technical SEO aspects like canonical tags to prevent duplicate content and generate your website’s sitemap.xml, robots.txt files, and title tags.

To fully optimize your product pages, landing pages, and blog posts, you’ll want to look into on-page and off-page SEO as well. The latter refers to activities performed outside of your Shopify website (e.g. building backlinks, promoting branded searches, and boosting shares on social media). 

Meanwhile, on-page SEO allows you to target relevant keywords, enhance the user experience, and provide value so that search engines rank your pages high in the SERPs (Search Engine Result Pages). For a product page, that includes:

  • Proper use of long-tail keywords

  • Optimized product titles

  • Relevant product descriptions

  • Image optimization

  • URL structure

  • Internal linking

  • Implementing schema markup

  • Mobile optimization

  • Faster page loading speeds

  • Canonical tags

  • Breadcrumb navigation

Google Search Ads primarily target users based on their search queries. They’re particularly effective when you need to target users with high intent who are actively searching for specific products, services, or information. 

They also offer precise targeting, measurable ROI, and budget control, making them ideal for businesses looking to capture ready-to-act customers. Use Google Search Ads for high-intent searches, local targeting, lead generation, e-commerce, and brand awareness.

Google Shopping Ads is a great tool for e-commerce businesses looking to drive sales through visually appealing, product-specific ads that appear in high-visibility placements. They excel in scenarios where detailed product information and high purchase intent are crucial. Use these ads for e-commerce product sales, new product launches, seasonal promotions, price-sensitive searches, increasing online visibility, driving local store traffic, and maximizing ROAS.

Example of Google shopping vs. Google search ads

Google Ads also allows you to place banner ads on a vast network of websites, reaching users as they browse the web, use apps, or watch videos on YouTube. 

Here’s an example of NuNorm, a natural male makeup brand, using Google’s Display network to showcase its banner ads on the Men’s Health website.

Google diplay ad example from NuNorm

Google Display Network ads help with building brand awareness, engaging with specific audience segments, re-engaging past website visitors, and driving traffic to your Shopify store. They’re visually engaging, cost-effective, and have extensive reach and advanced targeting capabilities. Use them to increase visibility, promote new products, support search campaigns, engage interest-based audiences, and drive app downloads or website traffic.

SMS is another marketing strategy you can use to promote your online store and gain high-quality leads and sales.

Due to the high open rates (a staggering 98 percent) and direct nature of text messages, SMS marketing is particularly effective for promoting sales campaigns and special events. You can send out targeted SMS messages to notify customers of sales, discounts, or exclusive events. 

Like email, you can enhance engagement by using customer data to personalize your SMS messages. This will make them more relevant to each customer's interests and needs, helping you ultimately increase your conversion rates.

Remember: SMS marketing requires the correct type of opt-in consent to comply with legal regulations, ensure ethical marketing practices, and build trust with consumers. Various laws and regulations, such as the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in the United States and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, mandate that businesses obtain explicit consent from individuals before sending them marketing messages. Non-compliance can result in significant fines and legal penalties.

How to start

Got a limited-time offer? Text messages are perfect for creating a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

Need to make sure people get a message at the right time? Use SMS marketing to avoid sending messages too late or too early in the day.

Some SMS marketing tools for use cases like these include Emotive, Postscript, and Recart.

Influencer marketing is a popular way to promote your Shopify store because it leverages the trust and credibility that influencers have built with their audiences. It also helps you reach a highly targeted audience that’s already interested in your niche. That’s because influencers typically have a well-defined follower base with specific interests, making it easier to connect with potential customers who are more likely to purchase your products.

Gymshark strategically partners with fitness influencers and athletes who have substantial followings on social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. One key element of Gymshark's strategy is selecting influencers who embody the brand's values of fitness, health, and community. 

See the example of @uchemba_ below promoting Gymshark leggings and a hoodie. She also sweetens the deal with an exclusive 10% discount code.

Influencer maketing example from @echemba_

How to start

Use your preferred social platforms to make a list of 100-150 of your ideal micro-influencers. Tools like BuzzSumo, NinjaOutreach, and Influencity can help you identify and analyze potential influencers.

Affiliates can help extend the reach of your brand, products, and promotions to new audiences, potentially leading to increased visibility and customer acquisition. An affiliate program is highly cost-effective because you only pay commissions on actual sales or conversions generated by affiliates.

Through the promotional efforts of affiliates, your Shopify business can gain increased visibility and exposure within various online communities and platforms. Plus, it’s a good option if you want to introduce your products to new markets or niches.

How to start

Choose an affiliate marketing platform compatible with Shopify, such as Partnero, ReferralCandy, or LeadDyno. These integrate seamlessly with your store, providing tools to manage affiliates, track sales, and generate reports. Once integrated, set up your program by defining the commission structure, payment terms, and marketing materials.

In other words, enabling your brand advocates to market your Shopify store through a loyalty program. Referral marketing is a surefire way to both delight and reward your current customers and grow your reach through the people your target buyers trust the most.

PUPSENTIALS opt for a retailer referral program and use Shopify Collective to team up with retailers who want to sell their products:

Pupsential's Shopify collective page

How to start

There are various ways of running a referral program. The first starting point should always be your most loyal customers. Once you’ve got a good picture of who is allowed to refer you, it’s time to decide on the incentives you want to offer to both the referrer (your brand fans) and the referred customers. This could be discounts, store credit, or other rewards like free products.

Note: It’s a good idea to create a dedicated page on your store’s website for both affiliate and referral programs. You can use this to share more details about the program, promotional materials, and other resources to help people promote your Shopify store.

Do you have other brands you love? Is there another store that sells complementary products to yours? If the answer is yes, there could be an opportunity to partner up on an exclusive offer.

Tommy Hilfiger recently partnered up with Patta to create a unique fusion of both brands' distinctive styles, appealing to a broader and more diverse audience.

Partnership example between Tommy Hilfiger and Patta

How to start

All of these partnership opportunities start with you looking for businesses that share a similar target audience but aren't direct competitors. Once identified, propose mutually beneficial collaborations such as co-branded marketing campaigns, joint giveaways, freebies, or bundled products.

Even with a killer social media strategy, it’s always nice to get some press coverage! Media coverage can expose your product to a wide audience that might not be reachable through your existing marketing channels. Being featured in reputable publications can significantly boost brand recognition and awareness, helping potential customers remember and recognize your product.

When Warby Parker paired up with Chloë Sevigny for a new sunglasses collection, they reached out to journalists from different magazines such as Vogue and Interview Magazine to promote the launch. This is a familiar technique that the brand uses for most of their bigger launches.

How to start

You’ll first need to find a unique angle to the story you want to tie to your brand. This could be an innovative product, a personal story behind the business, a noteworthy achievement, or a social cause you support.

Next, prepare your press kit. Write a professional press release that outlines the key details of your story. Include a catchy headline, an engaging lead paragraph, and all essential product/contact information. 

Identify the target publications and journalists you want to work with, create a custom pitch, leverage any existing relationships, and always follow up.

Not everything has to happen online, especially when you’re selling physical products.

And there’s lots to try: trade shows, local markets, flyers, freebies, billboards, coupons, or even launching a physical pop-up store or showroom. It’s all a matter of how much time and resources you have. 

Glossier launched a two-month pop-up in London called "Realms of You," inspired by their popular "You" fragrance. This immersive experience included ASMR elements and live performances, guiding visitors through a personalized journey exploring the scent.

How to start

With a low budget, you can try out placing some of your products in other shops your target buyers often check out. Raise the bar and you can attend some of the biggest trade shows or launch your temporary showroom for people to see your product live.

With countless Shopify promotion strategies swirling around, it can be a real challenge to find the strategies that will get you in front of the right crowd. Email and ad platforms, for instance, offer advanced targeting options to help you reach a larger audience. Additionally, these platforms provide cost efficiency by allowing businesses to set their own budgets and achieve a better return on investment. They also offer opportunities for increased engagement through interactive ad formats and direct audience interaction, fostering stronger customer relationships. 

Most of these marketing tactics will help you enhance brand awareness by providing consistent visibility and detailed analytics to measure ad performance. By combining social media, ads, and other tactics like email marketing and SEO, you can create a comprehensive marketing strategy that maximizes your reach and engagement.

How are you going to kickstart your marketing strategy to promote your Shopify store? Let us know in the comments below!

Alexandra Monica Cote
Alexandra Monica Cote

Alexandra Cote is a SaaS growth marketer who's worked with dozens of brands in the MarTech, HR tech, and productivity space. She's also a strong supporter of staying happy at work and choosing a healthy career path.