How to Create a Shopify Marketing Strategy: The Ultimate Guide

Shopify marketing strategies aren't simple to develop by any means, but with a little nudge towards the right tactics and tools you can get on the right track significantly faster.

And luckily for you, that's exactly what we'll help you do in this post.

We'll discuss what's involved in a profit-generating Shopify marketing strategy, and then get into the specifics about some of the tactics you should implement in your own approach.

What’s the First Step in a Shopify Marketing Strategy?

As you probably know, a marketing strategy is critical to pretty much every business.

But when it comes to creating those strategies, there's one question we get asked more than any other:

"Where do you even start?"

Before you get into the thick of it, any marketing strategy worth its salt starts with a strong foundation.

This foundation should consist of careful planning, market research, and goalposts that push you towards your objectives at top speed.

Remember, the point of a foundation is so the structure on top can stand strong.

Rush the foundation of your Shopify strategy, though, and your store might have trouble withstanding changes to the market.

So let's talk about how to build that foundation the right way.

How to Build The Foundation For A Strong Shopify Marketing Strategy

Before you can branch outwards, you’ll need to decide on one thing:

What is your business?

That might seem like a strange question, but it’s an essential one because everything that comes afterward rides on it. In fact, to answer the question, it’d be easier to break it down into a few parts:

  • What do you sell?
  • What’s your unique selling point? How does it differ from the competition?
  • What’s your brand message?
  • What values does your business stand for?

Here’s a quick example of how a merchant could effectively answer these questions:

  • What do you sell?

Luxury watches and jewelry designed primarily for men.

  • What’s your unique selling point? How does it differ from the competition?

Our watches are domestically-made while still maintaining extra affordable prices. We make them even more accessible by offering financing plans on all merchandise.

  • What’s your brand message?

No one should have to settle for low-quality just because they don’t have a large budget.

  • What values does your business stand for?

Customer satisfaction comes first. We strive to ensure every customer walks away with an excellent experience.

With a simple set of answers like this, we have everything we need to inform our approach going forward.

And if you've been following along, it's time for you to answer those questions for your store. Once you've done that it’s time to define the next part of the plan.

Define Your Key Metrics (or KPIs)

Shopify Marketing is a complex beast, and as such, the immediate goal isn’t always “more sales.” In fact, much of the time you'll want to stray away from coming across as too "salesy."

Email signup forms are a great example of this. While the end result might be a sale, the first step towards that is just an email from a potential customer.

So, if emails were a cornerstone of your marketing strategy, you'd want to include "number of email signups" in your list of goals to strive towards. The metrics we use to measure progress towards those goals are called "Key Performance Indicators," or KPIs for short.

During this step, it’s your job to determine which metrics and goals are essential to your business’ success. 

As you track your KPIs, you’ll start to have a much better idea of whether your business is moving in the right direction.

As we just mentioned, email subscriber signups are an integral piece of ecommerce marketing. And as such, they're an example of a great KPI for practically every online business.We’ll get more into the specifics of email marketing later though.

If you want to get a store ranked on Google and rake in organic traffic, monthly visitors are likely to be another vital KPI to track.

Then there are the all-important stats like revenue, gross profit, etc.After you've defined your KPIs, it's time for the next step:Learning from the competition


Performing Competitor Analysis to Strengthen Your Shopify Marketing Strategy

A great marketing strategy isn’t just about your business; it’s about how your business differentiates itself — or draws inspiration from — competitors.

As you’re defining your operation, you should take notes from competitors and use them to strengthen your own approach.

Here’s a great list of questions to ask:

  • Who are the competitors that match your business the closest? 

While the industry giants are certainly competitors to draw inspiration from, it’s helpful to know who you’re competing against directly. Amazon probably has a hand in your industry, but they will not be your “direct” competitor per se.

  • What do the top players in your industry do well? How can you emulate those tactics?
  • What do your competitors commonly get wrong? How can you improve on those approaches?

As you go down the list, you’ll likely notice trends in the industry that you can either emulate or push against. Either way, it’s all critical information that you can use to help form your own approach.

Determine Your Primary Marketing Channels

The beginning phase is also the time to determine which channels to focus your marketing efforts on.

The ideal channels will be different for every industry and business, which is why the competitor analysis step is a great way to get an idea of the best places to start.

Are players in your space using social media apps like Instagram or Facebook often? Or do they tend to focus on Youtube, blogs, and email?

Take Allbirds for example. If you’re in the footwear space, you might want to take some notes from their Instagram page:

example of allbirds social media marketing

The list of possible marketing channels goes on, but here are some of the most common ones.

  • Blogs & Content Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Social Media (IG, Facebook, LinkedIn)
  • Youtube
  • Direct-Response
  • Cold-Calling
  • Search Engine Marketing
  • Word of Mouth Marketing
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Offline Advertising

Organize Your Team Around Your Shopify Marketing Strategy

One of the last steps in building your foundation is to organize and define your team.

If you run a one-person operation, this step isn’t as relevant - though it might help to do some planning for how you want your team to grow in the future.

Organizing your team isn’t as difficult as it might sound, it helps to start with these questions:

What actions need to be taken for your business to run smoothly?

Here’s where you’ll take a top-down look at every regular action that needs to get done for your business to run. Once you’ve got the list, it’s time to delegate them accordingly, which brings us to the next step.

What actions should each team member take on for the business to operate efficiently?

Out of all these actions, where does it make sense to place responsibility for each?

To do this efficiently, it helps to group your tasks into similar categories. (Marketing, Customer Satisfaction, Inventory, etc.)

Grouping your tasks helps to delegate tasks in the most efficient way.

Customer support reps probably shouldn’t also be doing your copywriting, for instance.

In most cases, a copywriter shouldn’t also be responsible for your inventory.

At what point do you need to bring on more help?

Now is also a good time to have team members define the workload they’re comfortable with.

That way, you’ll have a clear idea of when you’ll need to bring on more members to the team.

Implementing the Right Tactics & Tools For a Killer Shopify Marketing Strategy

Now that the foundation of your Shopify marketing strategy is out of the way, it’s time to build out the structure that stands on top of it.

And when it comes to marketing strategies, the “structure” consists of the tactics, strategies, and tools you’ll use to advance those KPIs we set in the previous section.

And luckily, we’ve already gone through a large part of this step: competitor analysis.

One of the best ways to decide the best channels, tactics, and strategies for your business is to use the competition as a starting point.

Again, that’s not to say you should copy & paste their approach — instead, you should look to emulate what works and improve the weak points to craft an approach that works for your operation.

And to boost our strategy even further, we can even pull inspiration from stores in other industries too.

To make this all a bit simpler, let’s run through a quick example.

Say you wanted to start (or revamp) a men’s grooming store.

Here are a few great examples we might pull inspiration from to define our own tactics going forward:

BadassBeardCare — Email Marketing

BadassBeardCare is an excellent example of well-defined branding and identity.

And when you first hop onto their site, you’ll notice one idea that could be easily adapted to most stores:

10% off promotion marketing strategy example

An email signup form.

While email signups might seem like not much, building your own list of subscribers is pure marketing gold.

After all, email marketing is an industry worth over $7.5 billion, and it’s only charted to continue growing. 

But email lists are far from the only way to drive a profit, so let’s look at the next store example for more ideas.

The Beard Club — Blogging & Upselling

Beard Club home page

The Beard Club is another great example to draw from; let’s take a look at some of the things they do right.

With the first tactic being one of our favorites: Upselling!

upselling example for Shopify marketing strategies

Upselling is a hyper useful tactic for practically any business.

So useful, in fact, that we wrote a whole guide on upselling tactics.

Stores in any industry can (and should) take advantage of upselling; take a look at Tushy, another store that uses ReConvert to maximize profit from every cart.

tushy upselling example

But to bring us back on track, upselling isn’t all that Beard Club does well— they’ve also built a killer blog:

Beard Club content marketing & blog example

Blogs and content marketing are also excellent ways to build long-term customers and a following that generates consistent business. 

We even wrote a quick post on our favorite blogs that Shopify merchants can draw inspiration from.

State Street Beard Company — Customer Service

Running a successful marketing campaign isn’t always about crafting the best messages or offers.

It’s also about taking care of your customers.

A business that always ensures everyone walks away satisfied is a business that gets returning customers.

State Street Beard Company has a great tactic for this: Using a live chatbot to help improve customer service

chat bot example

Well-functioning customer support sections go a long way in establishing trust with your customers.

And established trust is one of the most essential factors for long-standing brands.

If you'd like to implement a similar chatbot, Shopify has plenty of great apps that take the hassle of coding out of the picture.

And these are just some of the many examples out there for great Shopify store marketing.

We highly recommend you take some time to look through your own potential competitors and decide what tactics would fit well with your store.

And after you’ve implemented these into your plan, it’s time for the next aspect of a Shopify marketing plan: Optimization

3 Free Shopify Store Analytics Tools

1: Shopify Analytics Suite

Shopify analytics page

First up is relevant for every store on the platform, no matter the industry —  it’s Shopify’s own analytics suite.

Right from the default sidebar, you can click on the “Analytics” tab to get a top-down view of your store. 

From profit margins and orders to the number of visitors, the Shopify Analytics Suite comes with much of what you’ll need without even having to leave the platform.

2: Google Search Console

Google Search Console home page

For those looking to bring in customers through organic search results, Google Search Console is a must-have tool. 

It gives vital information on your site’s visitors, organic traffic, and various other SEO-relevant metrics.

3: Facebook Pixel

Facebook pixel home page

And for stores using Facebook (or Instagram) advertising as a marketing channel, adding the Facebook Pixel to Shopify is another necessity.

Facebook Pixel provides data on how visitors interact with your ad campaigns and website to help inform your ad campaigns.

Creating a Shopify Marketing Strategy Doesn't Have to be Difficult

And there’s the rundown on developing your own Shopify marketing strategy.

From the foundations and planning to the tactics and tools to help you smash through your goals.

Think we missed anything or have any questions though? Leave a comment below, we’d love to hear from you!

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