All topics

How do I get more visitors to my Shopify store? | eCommerce Marketing 101

Discover a better way to run online ads Tell me more

“How do I get traffic?”, “How do I make people come to my store?” and “How can I get my first 100 visitors?” are some of the most popular questions asked by online store owners across the web.

When you are hit with the fact that creating a good store and listing awesome products is not enough to make a sale, you turn to the Internet for answers and…well, don’t find any that actually work. Various articles offer you to send marketing emails (To whom? Where do I get the email addresses?), promote products on your social media pages (Mine has 2 followers and both are me), and improve the quality of product images (For whom? No one’s coming to the store anyway).

We learned that, while all these tips are good in due time, they aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to getting your first 100 visitors – so we came up with our own list. To make it more useful for you, we included reasons for each activity and added links to apps and services that can do a part of the work for you.

Before you begin

1. Check if your store works

What? If you want people to buy from you, you need to provide them with an opportunity to do so. This means that:

  • your store needs to be published;
  • it shouldn’t require a password to view the products;
  • there should be at least one product in your store available for purchase;
  • there should be a way to access your products from your store’s home page;
  • each product you offer should have a product image, basic description, and retail price;
  • at least one product should be marked as “In stock”;
  • you should have a functional checkout;
  • if you have any pop-up windows, they shouldn’t prevent a customer from making a purchase.

Why? None of your customer-hunting efforts will pay off if you don’t take the time to ensure at least a neutral customer experience, i.e. “everything worked just as I expected it to”,

How? It’s fairly easy to check all that – just try to buy something from your store, both from a desktop and a mobile device. See if the products are accessible, make sure that the payment system works, and, of course, take the time to correct any issues you’ve discovered along the way.

Helpful app ShopCheck Audit & Benchmark
⭐ 4.8 (4 reviews) 💲 free plan available


2. Define your target audience

What? Your target audience is a group of people who are more likely to become your customers. Examples of defined target audiences can range from “women” to “females aged 18-25 who are interested in sports and live in Canada”

Why? To look for customers, you need to know where you can find them and how to talk to them. The better you understand your core target audience, the easier it will be for you to carry out all the steps listed below.

How? Sit down and write all the info about your potential customers as you see it. Try to outline as many points from the list below as possible:

  • Demographics (Age / Gender / Marital status / Income level / Education / Occupation etc.)
  • Locations you are willing to deliver to (Cities / States / Countries)
  • Language they speak
  • Interests and hobbies – you can take inspiration from this list

Note that you will need to revisit this list later and make amendments based on the actual customer data.

Helpful app Shopify Audiences
⭐ 3.7 (3 reviews) 💲 free

Help people discover your business

There are 2 major ways in which your business can be discovered. One is when your potential customers search for your products. Another is when you reach out to people with an offer you think they will love.

First, let’s focus on making your store appear in relevant searches

3. Work on basic Search Engine Optimization

What?  Search Engine Optimization, a.k.a. SEO, is basically improving your store so that it’s easier for people to find it on search engines when they look for the products you offer.

Why? When done right, SEO can keep bringing you customers from web searches without any additional effort. People probably won’t be searching for your brand just yet, but they will definitely be looking for your products.

How? Search Engine Optimization can be done in a few steps:

    1. Come up with keywords
      Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How would they be looking for something you offer? What words do they use? Is it “buy t-shirt large” or “tees with fun quotes”?
      Helpful app
      SPO SEO Product Optimizer
      ⭐ 4.8 (59 reviews) 💲 free plan available
    2. Include the keywords on your store pages
      Make sure that your store’s title and description – two pieces of text that show up on search – clearly describe what you offer and feature the most prominent keywords you discovered. Include relevant keywords to product descriptions.
      Helpful app SearchPie: SEO Booster & Speed
      ⭐ 4.9 (2,892 reviews) 💲 free plan available
    3. Add alternative text to your product images
      Alternative text is what shows up in the place of the image if the latter fails to load. It also helps people discover your product images as they are searching for a specific thing online. Be sure to add an accurate description of each image and include relevant keywords in it.
      Helpful app  Smart SEO
      ⭐ 4.9 (1,114 reviews) 💲 free plan available
    4. Make sure your store is properly structured
      If you have product collections, make sure that they are easy to navigate and are named according to their content. Your store has a better chance of being discovered if your t-shirt collection is named “T-shirts”, not “Collection 1”
      Helpful app Sitemapper Sitemap Generator
      ⭐ 4.5 (338 reviews) 💲 $4,99/month
    5. Make sure that your pages load fast
      Click around your store on desktop and mobile devices. See how quickly the pages load. If it takes a while, you may want to add more “lightweight” product images, review the list of connected plugins or remove pop-up windows.
      Note: these are just the basic thing you can do. SEO is an ongoing process that gets easier as you better understand the needs of your audience. You can find a detailed guide on Shopify store SEO here.
      Helpful app Page Speed Optimizer
      ⭐ 4.9 (1,256 reviews) 💲 free plan available

4. Create Social media pages

What? “Classic” search engines like Google or Bing aren’t the only place where people look for information. Your potential customers can use Facebook and Instagram to look for products, check out YouTube or TikTok videos for product reviews, and check Trustpilot to see if other people are happy with their service. This means that you should invest some time to make sure that your business is properly represented on social media.

Why? Creating business pages across popular platforms has 2 major purposes: it helps you get discovered by people who are interested in your products and adds trust for those who found your store online and want to see if your business is legitimate and has positive reviews. A great bonus here would be the possibility to communicate with your potential customers via social media messengers – we’ll discuss this under “Add contact options”. …oh, and did I mention that it’s all free?

How? Note that it’s not mandatory to create pages on EVERY social media site you know – each of them is a time-consuming channel of product info distribution, customer acquisition, and communication. Set your priorities based on what social media your target audience uses. You may want to start with these:

  • Facebook page – you will need it to run ads across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, so take the time to create it using this manual.
    ☝️Facebook is the favorite social platform for men aged 25-34 and women aged 35-44
  • Instagram business profile – it can be featured in Instagram ads and offers a variety of cool perks like audience insights and the possibility to sell directly via Instagram. Here’s a manual on how you can get started.
    ☝️Almost 1/5 of all Instagram users worldwide are women aged 25-34
  • Twitter profile – apart from being a news and meme source, Twitter happens to be a great product discovery platform, that, if you play it right, can get you loads of free exposure and even the possibility to set up a Twitter shop. See what Twitter can do for your business.
    ☝️42% of US men and women aged 18-29 use Twitter
  • Trustpilot – while not a social media site per se, Trustpilot gets visited by more than 50M people every month because it has reviews for almost every business you can think of. If your business doesn’t have a profile on Trustpilot yet, create one to know what people are saying about your store and get discovered by customers.

Build trust

By now, you have made sure that your store is capable of making a sale. You also know who your potential customer is. What’s more, you have set up a few channels in which brand-new customers can discover your business. Now it’s high time that you have competition and need to stand out.

There are a few different ways you can go from here, but I would suggest that you now focus on building trust. Here are a few ideas:

5. Add contact options

What?  Email address, physical address, business phone number, links to social media and review sites – to appear transparent and trustworthy, your store needs to have at least 2 of these available for customers

Why? Everyone likes good customer service – or, at least, the possibility of getting one. If a potential customer doesn’t find a way to ask questions or get some crucial info that’s missing on your website, there are two equally terrible outcomes. Most will leave your store and never return again, while those who hold an especially strong grudge against the lack of communication will most likely leave a negative review. We don’t want any of that, do we?

How? There are a few things you can do to make your business look more trustworthy in terms of contact info:

  • Add a Contact Us page to your store. Make sure that it features a valid contact email. Alternatively, you can add a contact form.
  • If you created social media pages, leave links to them in your store – they can be featured in your store footer, on product pages, or any other place you find appropriate.
  • Leave a link to your online store and contact email on all the social media pages.
  • Consider adding a live chat to your store – this way a store visitor can ask a question right away. This, however, also suggests that you need to allocate additional resources for support via chat.
    Helpful app Avada Helpdesk
    ⭐ 5/5 (397 reviews) 💲 free
  • Integrate Messenger to communicate with your potential customers from Facebook and Instagram right from Shopify Inbox.
    Helpful app Messenger channel
    ⭐ 4.3/5 (25 reviews) 💲 free
Adwisely isn’t just a blog—we’re a team of experts who can run efficient ads for your online store Level up your ads

6. Create useful & relevant content

What?  Blog articles, tweets, forum posts, and videos about your products help your potential customers learn more about the value your product brings, see it in everyday situations, and make a more educated choice in favor of your products.

Why? People don’t always know what exactly they want – but they do know what problem they need to solve. As they search for the solution, they have a good chance of stumbling upon a piece of content from someone who knows the most about your products – you.

How? You can write useful content yourself – trust me, no one will do it better than you do – or outsource content creation to a specialist.

7. Get detailed customer reviews

What?  Detailed review that includes your product features, pros, cons, and user experience can be used in a variety of marketing activities like Facebook posts with customer testimonials, paid ads, etc. – and it’s imperative that you get a few as soon as possible.

Why? Ever since the popularisation of image editing software, a cautious consumer cannot trust product images. The same goes for product descriptions. This is why, when your potential customers are making a decision on whether or not to buy from you, they will look for reviews of other customers just like them.

How? You may ask me “I don’t have any customers. Where do I get reviews?” – and that’s a very good question. This is where you can get creative, and, depending on how much you are ready to invest, try one of these ideas.

  • Ask your friends and family to test your product and write a review about it on Trustpilot and/or Facebook. Don’t push them to write 5-star reviews only – an honest 4- or 4.5-star review normally appears more trustworthy.
    Note: I highly discourage you from writing the reviews by yourself – not only it is unethical, but it also is extremely obvious that “fake” reviews are written by the store owner. We want to build trust, not embarrass ourselves. If you feel that you have absolutely no other options than to write a review yourself, make sure that you stay truthful and don’t oversell the product.
  • Find a micro-influencer – those are people on social media who have gathered a significant following on social media – and reach out to them with a cooperation offer. You may need to either pay for the product to get the review posted or send a free product sample for it to get reviewed – either way your product, along with a review on it, will be brought in front of an audience of potential customers.
    Helpful app linkr Influencer Marketing
    ⭐ 4.2/5 (45 reviews) 💲 starts at $49/month
  • If you already have a few orders, offer a small discount for the next order in exchange for a product review. This will kill two birds with one stone – you will get a review AND a higher chance of a repeat order.

Actively promote your products

So, now we have set up all the traps and prepared the bait, it’s time to actively go customer-hunting. Here’s how you can reach your potential customers:

8. Get referrals from non-competing businesses

What?  Now that you know your target audience, you can think of other things your potential customers may need and ask an established store that sells complementary (yet non-competing) products to promote your products to their user base.

At this stage calling this “co-promotion” would be a stretch since you don’t really have anyone to promote their store to in return. What you can do, however, is set up a referral program and agree to share a small part of the revenue from every customer they help you get.

How? Here are few steps you can start with:

  • Figure out what you can offer. Is, say, 5% revenue sharing feasible for your business? Can you offer free product samples? Free shipping? Free repair or replacement services?
  • Search for businesses that offer complementary products or services for your target audience. For example, if you sell shoes, search for clothes or accessories stores. Selling camping gear? Consider teaming up with a local Tourist Information office.
  • Message each business you find acceptable and offer cooperation. Who knows – some of them may even agree to promote your business for free.

Helpful app Referral Candy & Affiliate
⭐ 4,9/5 (1,939 reviews) 💲 starts at $59/month

9. Work with communities and groups by interests

What?  No matter what you sell, there’s probably at least one community online that is interested in it. Facebook groups, forums, Discord and Slack communities, and message boards have done a big chunk of work for you – they have accumulated a group of people who share an interest in your product. It’s now up to you to make use of this group

How? First of all, remember that blatant promotion is never okay. Posting a link to your product is not just lazy – it’s disrespectful. To show the community, that you offer much more than merely exchange their money for your products, you can:

  • Research relevant online communities and join them
  • If there are any discussions or questions that you are competent enough to answer, do so
  • If you have useful content you can share – remember, we created some earlier? – do so if it is allowed by the community rules.
  • Contact the community admins and ask them about the possibilities of promotion. Some will be free, and some will require payment but you need to know all the options since the audience of the communities you choose is just a few steps away from becoming your customers.
  • Feeling bold enough? Create your own community. this will take a while, but the promotion opportunities for you will be close to endless – that is, as long as you bring value to community members.

Helpful app Community Builder
⭐ 5/5 (2 reviews) 💲 $4,99/month

10. Run traffic ads

What? Prospecting or Traffic ads are shown to a broad audience of people who have never been to your store before (and, at this point, it’s pretty much everyone), but are interested in the products you offer. You can show them single products, product collections, or even videos with your product. The ads aren’t free – you pay a small amount of money every time someone clicks on the ad

How? Just like with content writing, you can either do everything by yourself or get a trusted ad partner.

  • Choose the online ad platform you’d like to start with. In the beginning, it’s best to focus on one platform only – or pick a large platform (e.g. Meta) that helps you run ads on.
  • Allocate advertising budget. Traffic ads aren’t particularly expensive, however, you must expect to spend at least $10/day or $300/month.
  • Create an ad. Here you can find a tutorial on how it’s done on Facebook.
  • Automate your ads. If you don’t have time to create and monitor online ads, you can use one of the apps on the Shopify app store to do the job for you.

Helpful app Adwisely | Social & Google ads
⭐ 4,1/5 (386 reviews) 💲 starts at $99/month

What’s next?

Once you get a stable flow of visitors, you will need to make sure that they don’t just come and go – that’s why next time we will learn how to turn traffic into sales.