Advertise your Shopify Store
To all of my friends out there who have a Shopify store and want to start advertising to drive more customers. This article is for you. I created a video tutorial (which I'll post at the bottom) and I'm writing this blog post because I feel there is a need that hasn't been addressed. Specifically, there are thousands of resources to share how to create a shopify store, which is awesome. Shopify is a great platform for Ecommerce businesses and has a plethora of amazing tools to drive growth. Additionally, there are thousands, if not millions, of resources on how to advertise businesses, digitally. However, I see a gap where there aren't too many resources that break down top digital advertising strategies for Shopify stores and the amazing integrations Shopify has to key advertising platforms (i.e. Google Analytics, AdWords, Google Shopping, Facebook Ads) to maximize your success and make advertising as easy as possible.
With that, let me get started on where to begin to answer your question of how do you promote your shopify store. At the bottom of the article I include a free link to my Shopify training course, which will give you the content for two months free.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Connect with Google Analytics
Before you invest a dime into advertising your Shopify store, I strongly encourage you to create your Google Analytics account which is the key to our success. Google Analytics is a free platform and Shopify has amazing integrations with he platform where you can:
- Track where all of your traffic came from
- Track what all of your traffic is doing on your site (pages visited, time spent, etc.)
- Lastly, and most critical, how much money your customers are spending on your site. Within my how-to tutorial I break down the steps required to make sure tracking is setup and buttons you need to check to make sure Ecommerce revenue data is flowing to Google Analytics. To take it a step further, we can setup your tracking so revenue data will flow directly into Google AdWords so you can see how much revenue you're getting for every keyword you're bidding on, campaign you're promoting, etc.
See the screenshot below of Google Analytics for one of my sites. For every advertising campaign I can see how many people are going to my site, and how many checkouts I'm getting.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Google Search
I'm a big fan of Google Search ads for business owners looking to advertise their shopify store, as I wrote about many times over, as it's one of the only forms of advertising we're you're reaching users based on intent. Intent to purchase the products that you offer.
I would highly recommend to launch a Google search campaign, but be extremely focused on how you advertise. Google Search works only when you're extremely specific in what you advertise, otherwise you can spend a lot of money. The reason is you only want to reach users who are looking for the exact products you're selling, or close to it. Let me give you an example, if you're selling posters, don't advertise on "posters", rather be specific on the posters you sell. For example, instead of advertising on keywords such as "posters" or "wall art", advertise on Van Gogh posters, or even more specific one of his works such as "starry nights". See example, below.
Make this highly targeted approach work and start making you money before you expand to other, more broad keywords.
For even more information, here are top 10 tips for promoting your shopify store on Google search:
- Match Type: As mentioned above, be very specific in the keywords that you're bidding on. Additionally, start off with exact match search queries. This guarantees that you will only serve an ad, when someone enters in a search query that matches your keyword, exactly. If you start off with broad match, you'll likely map to searches that aren't as relevant.
- Network: Start off by just advertising on Google.com. Avoid at all costs advertising on the display network (for your search ads), and I would avoid opting in to the search networks, at least to start. First prove out the performance then expand.
- Landing Pages: Drive users to the exact product, that matches the keywords that you're bidding on. The idea is to make the shopping experience as frictionless as possible. If you drop them off at the homepage, you may lose them as they may not navigate to the product that matches to their search query.
- Search Ad Copy: Within your search ads, make sure you have ads that are relevant to each keyword you're bidding on, and that is relevant to the shopify product you're promoting. This makes your ad super relevant and highly clickable, and likely strong conversion rates.
- Search Ad Copy Continued: If you have any promotions, include this within your search ad copy. The goal is to incentivize users to click, then ultimately buy. For example, if you offer 10% off, list that within your ad.
- Search Ads Bidding: I recommend to start off with "maximize clicks" bidding setting, which will drive the absolute most amount of clicks, within your budget. I would do this for the exact match keywords your bidding on. I would avoid this when using broad match keywords as broad match can map out to irrelevant searches.
- Search Ads Budgets: I highly recommend to start off small, then scale once you get performance from your Shopify store. Best to keep a close eye on performance, then scale up once you identify keywords that are driving sales for your store.
- Conversion Tracking: This is critical, make sure you have conversion tracking setup so you can see how your search ads are driving sales. Within my training video I include an overview of how to setup your conversion tracking.
- Geotargeting: When you setup your search campaigns, make sure you're targeting only the locations where you deliver products to. Additionally, within the campaign settings, set it up to only reach users who are in your location, vs. those who have an interest in your area.
- Monitor Performance: Monitor performance daily to start. The reason is you want to make sure that your ads are serving throughout the day and not spend all of the budget within the first few hours of the day.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Google Remarketing
This is a key tactic. Remarketing is a way to serve a banner ad to people who previously visited your shopify store. This form of advertising works extremely well as you're only reaching people who are already considering the products you offer. The beauty is with Shopify's integration with Google Analytics, and the Google Analytics integration to AdWords, we can target people who have previously visited your site. Within the how to video I offer, I break down the steps to implement this.
Think of this campaign as a great way to "close the sale" of folks visiting your site. Additionally, I really like launching a remarketing campaign via the Google Display Network as you only pay if someone clicks your ad. If they don't click, you don't pay a dime. Additionally, I often see sales from this channel from people who didn't even click the ad, but was exposed to the branding of the creating. In these instances, you don't pay a dime, you received free branding and users navigated to your site.
For even more information, here are top tips for promoting your shopify store through Google Remarketing.
- Display Ads: When advertising, use Google's responsive ads. This is a great format where you upload several images, headlines and descriptions and Google will automatically and dynamically create remarketing ads that will look great across devices and for any ad slot available.
- Automatic Targeting: When setting up your remarketing campaign for your Shopify store, it's important to remove any "automated targeting" within your Google Remarketing campaign settings. If this is enabled, your ads can serve to people who have not yet been to your site.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Google Shopping
Google Shopping is an awesome platform which has a direct integration with Shopify where you can advertise your Shopify products. See the screenshot below, of what Google Shopping looks like.
I like advertising on Google Shopping , you have the ability to showcase your products with images, product name and description and price to users before they even click. Given you only pay per click, any traffic you pay for is qualified as they already know a lot of what you have to offer and they won't click unless they are interested.
The hardest part of setting up a Google Shopping campaign is creating a product feed with a bunch of attributes Google requires (name, description, price, images, etc.), However, Shopify does all of this work for you. In my video tutorials I share the app you can download within your Shopify store to create the product feed, link it to a Google Merchant account (required for Google Shopping) then sync it with AdWords. It sounds confusing, but it really isn't, it just takes watching someone how to do it. Which is why I created a video tutorial breaking this down.
Here is my top tip when promoting your Shopify store through Google Shopping.
- Review your Search Query Report: Depending on the quality of your product feed, you may map to irrelevant searches within Google Shopping. A way around this is to review your search query report for Google Shopping. Review this list and identify any search queries your products are mapping to that may not be relevant. If this happens, simply add in relevant negative keywords to your campaigns.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Privy
Privy is a pretty cool platform where you can have popups launch on your site to do a variety of actions, including:
Reduce shopping cart abandoners (see below). If someone is on your checkout page and is about to leave, you can have a pop-up to offer these potential customers with a discount if they enter their email. See screenshot below. By doing this, not only will you reduce the rate at which people add items to their cart but don't buy, you'll also create a nice email database of customers you can reach out to cross sell, upset, etc.
You can even have campaigns that don't necessarily trigger on the checkout page, rather anyone who has spent X minutes on the site, have a banner pop-up to ask for their email so you an keep them in the know of future promotions.
Here's a link for anyone who is interested.
Below are my top tips for Shopify store owners that are looking to drive more sales out of the Privy platform.
- Exit Intent Pop-Up. Use exit intent pop-ups with an enticing discount. Once a user has an item in their cart and is about to leave, you can have a pop-up asking them to buy with a timely discount. This tactic is proven to increase your conversion rate for your Shopify store.
- Welcome Offers. If you have a promotion, you can have a pop-up promoting the offer. However, I strongly recommend to ask for the users email, before you give them the Shopify coupon code. The reason is you want to give them something in return, vs. giving away free discounts.
- Exclusive Sales. This is one of my favorite techniques that I'm currently testing. If you have a sale section of your site, instead of having it be seen by all, put it in a hidden area of the site. Then have a pop-up promoting the "exclusive" sale site, but only grant access if users give you their email address. By doing this, you make the sale items much more exclusive and valuable, vs. items you're desperately trying to get rid of.
As mentioned earlier, please use the link above if you're interested in signing up for Privy. I would personally highly recommend this, and even wrote a nice blog post on why I recommend Privy.
Advertise your Shopify Store - Facebook Ads
Facebook is a highly effective form of digital advertising. I would almost rank this higher than Google, based on performance I'm seeing from promoting Shopify stores with Facebook ads.
For anyone with a Shopify store, I highly recommend to launch several Facebook ad campaigns. wrote a pretty in-depth article on top Facebook advertising strategies.
For Facebook, I would recommend the following tips when promoting your Shopify store through Facebook ads.
- Facebook Remarketing. Similar to Google, I would recommend to create a remarketing campaign to reach past site visitors on Facebook, as you are through Google and it's display network.
- Facebook Shopify Cart Abandonment Campaign. This strategy is really effective, if you have a good amount of Shopify store visitors. By leveraging the Facebook pixel, you can create an audience of users who added an item to their cart. By doing so, you can then have ads that specifically only reach users who have added items to their cart. Within your Facebook ads promote a discount to help close the sale.
- Facebook Look-a-Like Audience of your Shopify Customers. One of the biggest strengths Facebook has over Google, from an advertising perspective, is the ability to create very successful look-a-like audiences. What this means is you can create a look-a-like audience of your existing customer base, and advertise to them. Facebook will then find users who are very similar to your current customers, which is usually really effective.
- Facebook Campaign from an Email List. If you have an email list of past customers from your Shopify store, you can upload this list within Facebook and target these users. This highly effective when you want to promote an upcoming sale or new inventory to your "loyalists", your current customers.
- Facebook Ads for your Shopify Store. I'm going to break down several tips when creating Facebook Ads.
- Always include images of people, whenever possible. For whatever reason, images of people using your product, typically outperforms images of the product itself.
- Include social proof within your ads. If you have reviews or testimonials of your Shopify products, call that out within the ad. What usually works well is including a quoted testimonial within the ad text of the Facebook ad.
- Test multiple ads per ad set. The ideal scenario is to test two image ads and two video ads. For whatever reason, one or two ads will outperform the others, in terms of engagement and sales.
- Include a good offer. Don't just have a generic ad, hoping users will click and buy from your Shopify store. Put together a compelling offer that you think would convince users who see your ad to purchase from your Shopify store. Remember that if the offer isn't good enough for you to consider purchasing, it would likely be the same for everyone who is viewing your ad.
- Facebook Campaign Objective. Make sure you have a campaign objective as driving sales, verse likes or clicks. If that is your business objective, Facebook ads should align accordingly. This way it's optimizing to find customers, vs. just site visitors.
- UTM Tracking. Setup UTM tracking within your Facebook ads, so you can see how engaged this audience is on your website through Google Analytics. You'll be able to see how much time they spend on site, pages per visit, and compare that to other advertising efforts in market.
Shopify Case Study:
About a year ago I partnered with a small boutique store in Laguna Beach, California. They have a brick and mortar location, but wanted to promote their ecommerce store, which was on the Shopify platform.
Currently, we're experiencing some good success, and I'll walk you through the process taken, just to set expectations and give you ideas on what may work well for your business, but understand each business is completely unique.
Shopify Case Study: Step 1 - Google Analytics
First, I setup Google Analytics tracking (to identify the source of each visitor and understand what they were doing on the site). This is highly critical, so we could see which platforms produced sales, cart additions, and how long each user has been on their site.
Shopify Case Study: Step 2 - Remarketing
To start, we launched a remarketing campaign with Google Ads. The benefit is we only pay if someone clicks our ad, and goes back to our site. Also, I connected Google Ads to Google Analytics, so I can see what each user did on their site, and how many sales we drove.
The biggest shocker is we landed a big fat 0. That's right, we spent a couple hundred and didn't drive sales. Crazy, right? Now, their products are designer and the average order cost around $400, but we still didn't get a sale. Normally, this strategy works really well, but we wouldn't force it, so we cut the spend, immediately.
Shopify Case Study: Step 2 - Google Search
Next we launched Google Search ads, that were very specific to each of the designers our boutique carried. With this, we had some success. We got engaged users (who spent a lot of time on site), shopping cart additions, and some orders. However, it wasn't a real game changer. We got a few sales, but not enough to continue to push the effort.
We even tested advertising on Bing, but this didn't work for us.
Full disclosure, usually this strategy works, but I'm sharing the approach we took and am very transparent to what worked and didn't, so you can see the progression we took.
Shopify Case Study: Step 3 - Facebook Ads
While Facebook ads work for most of my Shopify clients, we didn't get much traction from our site. I believe it comes down to the cost per product is really high and isn't something a user would randomly buy after seeing an ad on their news feed.
We tried many different strategies, but couldn't get this to work for them. The only ad format that had some success was a lead generation form, which generated email addresses which we imported to mailchimp, relatively efficiently.
Shopify Case Study: Step 4 - Google Shopping
Bingo! This was a good win. Through Shopify, as outlined in my course below, you can create a product feed to advertise on Google Shopping. Google Shopping worked really well as we showed for relevant searches, showed our price point, and image. This is important as if the user isn't interested in the product, they won't click, and we won't pay for the click.
We launched this and it has been continuing to drive consistent sales. This is a recommendation for any Shopify owner.
Shopify Case Study: Step 5 - Privy
To improve the site conversion rates, we tested a platform called, Privy. This platform specializes in shopping cart abandonment, and email collection pop-ups.
I wrote an unsolicited Privy review, which highlight the success we're seeing. What we found that Privy helped increase our conversion rates and did an amazing job at collecting email addresses. Higher conversion rates, and email collection, made our advertising work that much harder.
Shopify Case Study: Step 6 - Smart Shopping
You may think, interesting, what's smart shopping. It's as it's name implies, a marketing campaign that's fueled by automation and machine learning. What Google does is take your product feed, and shows ads (with images), across the Google Display Network, YouTube and Shopping, to users Google believes will buy.
This isn't performing as well as Google Shopping, but we are still seeing some orders, enough to keep on.
Shopify Case Study: Step 7 - Google Shopping with Automated Bidding
This is our latest strategy. Instead setting the cost per click we wanted to pay, we used Google's automated bidding strategy, called Return on Ad Spend. This allowed us to enter how much revenue we wanted to make, against the and spend we're spending. For example, if we put 200%, this would mean Google would try to deliver $200 in sales from $100 in ad spend.
After a few weeks, this ended up doing really well and further progressed the performance of our advertising.
Shopify Case Study: Conclusion
I wrote out this case study as it's important to always test new strategies. Some of my main strategies that work for more Shopify stores (Facebook Ads, Google Search, Remarketing), just didn't work for this client. With that, I didn't want to force it, I would rather learn, then move on to the next strategy. In this case, we did well in finding a winner with Google Shopping with automated bidding. Additionally, our testing will continue, as we're going to test Facebook Messenger ads.
For any of you that made it this far and wants to learn how I setup some of these strategies from Shopify - click below to view my course.
Shopify Advertising Course
For those who want even more direction, I created a course on SkillShare to learn how to use many of the above advertising strategies. Even better, through the link below, you can get two free months of access for free.
Shopify Advertising Course
Within the Shopify course, I cover the following topics, while sharing my screen.
- Google Analytics for Shopify. How to setup Google Analytics and set this up so you're tracking revenue from Shopify. This key, as you can then link Google Analytics to Google Ads, to inform which ads are driving actual conversions.
- Google Search Campaign. Step by step process on how to create a campaign to advertise your Shopify products on Google Search. This covers best practices to drive the most success for your Shjopify store.
- Google Remarketing for Shopify. This is a critical and typically successful strategy. With Google Remarketing you can advertise to users who have previously been to your site, to get them back and convert.
-Google Shopping Campaign. For Shopify stores, this is one of the best marketing strategies, as you can showcase your products within Google Shopping. This will showcase your product image and price, to users who are searching for products that you sell, on Google. The best part about this, and all Google advertising, is you only pay per click.
- Privy. Lastly, I share my recommendation to increase your conversion rates through the Privy platform, to help low shopping cart abandonment rates.
Within this course I share my screen on how I setup marketing for a specific Shopify store. This is a great course which you can follow and do for yourself, while you play my videos. It's super tactical and for the DIY marketer.
As a reminder, through the above link, you'll be able to access the content for two months free!