Have you grown your business through a Shopify eCommerce store? If you had the foresight to build an ability to sell online, you’re likely doing much better this year than if you hadn’t. Ecommerce allows many customers to reach you and purchase goods no matter the (social) distance between you.
So if you have a Shopify store, are you gaining new business at the rate you projected? Perhaps you haven’t maximized its potential. How do you maximize the potential of your Shopify eCommerce store?
Glad you asked. Here are seven Shopify maximization tips to support your Shopify marketing strategy.
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) results are the key to getting prospective customers to your website. You want to aim for the first page and as high up in the rankings as possible, just know that it can take time to improve your SEO ranking.
Your competitor may be #1 right now, but why not you? Here’s how to maximize your Shopify store for ranking:
Spread keywords around your Shopify eCommerce store like seeds and watch your rankings grow over time. First, do your research to find out the keywords you want to rank for.
Scout competitor sites to see what they rank for currently. Remember though, that your goal isn't to copy whatever your competitors are doing. You want to examine what they are doing to look for opportunities and gaps in their SEO strategy. Gaps that you can take advantage of to outrank them.
Look for both short and long-tail keywords. Both play an important role in your search engine rankings. Use a keyword research tool to find other related keywords.
Have you collected data on your target audience? You can (and should!) find out what their search terms might be. If you run a focus group or interact with customers on social media, you can get many ideas from the discussion. Notice the phrases and terms that come up over and over when customers talk about products and services like yours. Remember you're looking for keywords that your customers would use to search, not internal company jargon or industry terms.
Here's an example from one of our clients. They sell fall protection equipment for people like roofers, construction companies and other workers who work at dangerous heights. One of the products they sell looks like this and is officially called a temper anchor:
What we found, however, is that due to the hinged shape, many customers referred to this product as a "butterfly anchor". That's what a good percentage of them were searching for online, much to the surprise of our client.
Lesson learned: Never assume your prospective customers are using the keywords you would use. You are not your customer. You have to research your target audience first to learn the words and phrases they use.
Take the keywords once you have a good list, and carefully work them into your website content. Don’t write content that sounds unnatural; if it does, you may be placing too many keywords. A good content writer can help with this issue.
Your keywords need to be used in titles, descriptions, blog posts, articles, and more. But don't overdo it, or Google may penalize you for "keyword stuffing." Write for your customers first and foremost.
In summary, do your keyword research first, then work on optimizing your content accordingly. As you update your Shopify site, continue to hunt for new keywords and place them strategically on your site.
We recommend measuring your keyword rankings at least once per quarter if not monthly to see where you need to improve.
We’re talking optimization here with attention to a few simple things.
Navigation: Create a simple, easy to access navigation system with few layers. One or two clicks from your home page work well. Not only will customers find your products more easily, but the search engine will find them more quickly.
Trust Pages: In your structure, include pages that build trust with your customers. The About page and the Contact Us page help customers get to know you and ensure they have confidence they can interact with you easily if there is a problem or question. Include keywords on these pages if it works well.
Useful Search: Another structural feature that helps with customer interactions is the search bar. If you have a very small shop you may not need a search, but once you have more than a couple of product pages, be sure to add a search bar. It should be very visible across the top of your website.
Conversion studies show that visitors who use a search feature are some of the most motivated customers ready to buy. So make sure they can find your products with a good search bar!
On-Page SEO: When optimizing your site for search engines, don’t forget about your individual pages. Check your usage of your target keywords on all pages, from the homepage to collections and to individual product detail pages. Include images in your SEO efforts by using alt text that can be found by search engines, increasing the potential for a higher rank. (Alt text also helps improve your website accessibility for visitors who use a screen reader, but that's a blog topic for another day.)
Holiday sales by mobile device are approaching 50% of all holiday seasonal sales. This alone should convince you to build for mobile.
Ecommerce experts (including Polished Geek) recommend using a mobile-friendly theme and utilizing a fully responsive design. It will be faster for mobile customers and more user-friendly for all of your customers.
Customers want to engage with you, and you want to build trust and loyalty. How can this all be accomplished on your Shopify store?
Can you provide a small free gift to the customer if they sign up for your email list?
Maybe a coupon or a guide to fall fashion, best grilling tips, or whatever best relates to your feature products? Find incentives that speak to your audience. No one wants to just hand over their email address unless there is something in it for them on the other end.
When customers have a question, they want an immediate answer. Live Chat helps keep customers on the site and creates customer satisfaction.
Depending on the size of your business and availability of staff to manage chat inquiries, you may want to use a dedicated product like Intercom or Drift, or just Facebook Messenger.
Whatever you use as your live chat tool, be sure that someone will be readily available during business hours to answer incoming questions. The only thing worse than not having a live chat feature is having one that frustrates customers with slow or no answers on the other end.
You have confidence in your products, so don't be afraid to ask for reviews. Customers like seeing their reviews on the site and that can help drive loyalty and repeat purchases.
Potential purchasers want to know about others’ experiences in order to feel confident in shelling out their hard-earned cash.
Customer engagement off of your eCommerce website means paying attention to content marketing. During your target audience research, find out how your customers search for you or your products and what types of habits they have, especially when it comes to social media.
Use this information to publish content in the form of blog posts, articles, social media posts including images, videos, and even podcasts that are relevant to reaching your audience.
Your content should be well executed. Good writing, quality images, and focused content that pulls the reader in can help build your brand. Remember that everything you post helps form an impression of your business.
In the case of social media, mix in some content that asks the readers for their input. Always use keywords in your content in addition to hashtags to connect prospects to your brand and products.
Be consistent in the message your content provides about your brand. Develop a brand "voice" and make sure that your content and social media posts reflect your brand personality.
Try to produce content on a regular schedule. It's better to post regularly once a month than to post a blizzard of updates within a week or two and then go silent for months. A content planning calendar can help you pace your content strategy and build a pipeline of ideas for the next 3 - 6 months.
Don’t hard sell. You can include links to your Shopify landing pages, but don’t overdo it. A ratio of 1:10 or even 1:20 of promotional posts to other useful content is what you should aim for.
Whoever your prospective customer is, they still want to make the decision to buy freely, without high-pressure sales tactics. So don't overload your content marketing with sales-y promotion.
If a shopper visits your store site, they want a pleasant and easy experience. Don’t frustrate them with unnecessary information and images, or slow, difficult to navigate pages.
Make browsing and purchasing easier for your customers by implementing:
When a customer has made it all the way to checkout, one more experience remains. Keep it simple and clear.
You don’t want customers thinking, “What am I supposed to do here?” Don’t put any roadblocks in their way.
If you work with a Shopify marketing agency, they may recommend allowing customers to buy from the product page without requiring a visit to the cart for checkout. Purchase previews and immediate checkout with Paypal or Google Pay are great ways to facilitate this.
Your Shopify store will benefit greatly from strategic digital marketing. We’ve already discussed the use of content to engage the customer. It should be a part of your digital marketing strategy to get customers to your site and to convert their visits to sales.
Content components of digital marketing include:
One less-obvious part of your digital marketing campaign is to create backlinks to your site from suppliers, partners, social media influencers, and other trustworthy sources that are willing to place a link to your site.
Don’t ignore link building for the flashier forms of marketing. It's one of the biggest search engine trust factors.
While we won’t cover them here, various apps and tools help you with your site’s SEO and organic ranking. Others can help you increase sales once customers are on your site. We'll cover some of our favorite Shopify marketing and SEO apps in an upcoming blog post.
Research all apps carefully before you add them to your store. Don't fall for the next shiny object, as implementing too many apps will bog down your page speed.
There’s a world of data out there to be collected. Analytics can tell you what’s working and what’s not. Google Analytics and other web analytics services provide invaluable information to help you figure out why results are strong or poor in certain marketing channels or certain types of content.
Keep up with the reports on your analytics on a regular basis. We recommend reviewing them at least quarterly, although monthly is even better. Using web analytics can help you make adjustments in your strategy and on your Shopify site as needed.
Like your business, an eCommerce site needs to grow and evolve over time, in response to changing customer interests, search engine algorithm updates, business goals, not to mention the actions of your competitors.
Proper website management helps ensure you continue to get the most out of your Shopify store. If you find that you just can't keep up with the ever-changing world of digital marketing and eCommerce, consider hiring a dedicated web management team to relieve that stress and pressure.
Imagine how much more you could get done for your business and your customers if you had the personal attention of a full eCommerce marketing and web maintenance team supporting you every day, month after month.
If you'd like to learn more about how Polished Geek can help you manage your online business, improve your SEO rankings, and nail those revenue projections, schedule a free consultation with us or use the form below to reach out. Do what you do best, and let us handle the rest.