Before we begin, if you haven’t opened a store on Shopify yet — do it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. To help, here’s a quick Shopify cheat sheet.
5 Tips on the Shopify Cheat Sheet
When it comes to gaining traction for a Shopify e-commerce business, many appreciate the need to build a community, or tribe if you will.
- Make friends on Facebook
- Share product photos on Instagram
- Offer useful tips on Twitter
- Network on LinkedIn
- Get busy on YouTube
- Be an inspiration on Pinterest
PS: For sustainable results make it fun and show your new followers how valuable you are as a friend.
2 Gather Product Reviews & Feedback
I bet you’re wondering how this is possible since you haven’t sold a single product.
Simple; Get others who have used the product to leave feedback about their experience. Gather as many reviews and feedback as you can and post it everywhere with a backlink to your product page.
And when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere! On your Facebook page, forums, website, etc.
Any time you feel the need to defend your product, refer to a positive review of the product. If the product is new on the market, give out some free samples and ask for honest reviews from your beta users.
Trust me, these reviews must be honest because prospective buyers can smell paid reviews a mile away.
3 Digital Marketing
Digital marketing is one of the fastest ways to make your first sale, but it never comes cheap.
Before you start doling out the $$$, prepare your business for free visibility by getting on Google Places.
Google Places is like a “digital yellow pages” and even though you haven’t sold anything yet, being seen on Google Places is a guaranteed way of getting free visibility.
Your digital marketing budget should cover:
- Facebook and Instagram ads
- Comparison shopping engines
- Search engine optimization
- Influencer marketing
- Promoted posts
The main focus is tapping into existing audiences who are looking for the products that you offer.
There are so many websites that can be used as a sales funnel for your business, the key is to identify the ones that fit with your budget and will give you a return on your investment.
What this means is that spending $100 to make $99 in sales is bad for business. The trick is to keep marketing costs low, in comparison to the leads and conversions received.
4 Go Offline
The costs and results from taking your Shopify business offline will vary. However, it can be the most rewarding strategy if your business model is dependent on your local community.
You can try some of the offline activities below to get your first sales and grow your customer base.
- Trade shows and offline sales events.
- Traditional sales methods like radio advertising, print ads, flyer distribution etc.
- Host an event to encourage online sales.
- Outdoor banners and billboard advertisements (this one can be quite expensive and is only recommended if your products are high-end and expensive).
5 Everything Else
Get friends and family to tell their friends and family, to tell their brothers, girlfriends, wife’s sister… You get the picture!
You must be persistent and try everything to make that first sale.
- Join forums and get your business in front of the right audience.
- Crowdfund your Shopify business on a popular crowdfunding platform. You may not get any money, but you will get attention and a sale or two.
- Create a Craigslist listing and tap into the popularity of this free marketplace.
- Give out FREE promotional codes and attract new and repeat customers — make sure you don’t go overboard here.
- Get bloggers involved with an affiliate marketing system. This can be an amazing sales channel for your Shopify store.
After all is said and done, sometimes hard work and persistence are what it’ll take to make that first sale.
A Shopify cheat sheet for some things not to do (in e-commerce, in general).
- Installing lots of apps might make your store look unprofessional and decrease trust.
- Running lots of promotional campaigns might prevent people from purchasing anything that isn’t on sale. Or worse still, lose trust in your pricing completely.
- Trying to compete with larger stores might leave you competing on price. It might also turn you into ‘one of them.’
- Partnerships with other companies can be great unless of course, that company doesn’t share your ethos. In those situations, people may lose trust in your company for the recommendation.
Spend some of your time figuring out who your target market is and what they want. Then make sure that all your decisions are based around these people.
Trying everything can work, but what kind of business or customers will you be left with at the end of it? Most — if not all of the best companies get this right and they try to avoid diluting what they are already great at.
Amazon is big, Google is innovative, Apple is ‘the brand’.
What will your store be known for?