10 Strategies to drive traffic to your Shopify store
Whether you are a seasoned online merchant or are just launching your first e-commerce business, you definitely want to know how to increase Shopify traffic.
If you’ve struggled with driving visitors to your online store, you are not alone. Littledata.io polled about 3.5K Shopify store owners in February 2022 and discovered that the average conversion rate for Shopify stores was 1.5%. In other words, for every 100 prospective visitors that come to you, fewer than two people make purchases.
What does it mean to you as a Shopify vendor? Only that you need to buckle down and seriously work on attracting more visitors and converting them into paying customers.
Luckily, there are a lot of channels that can drive traffic to your Shopify store. Do you need to use all of them? Not necessarily. Everything depends on your marketing budget and business specifics.
In this article, we’ve collected ten proven strategies to help you find out how to get traffic to Shopify and which channels work better for your store.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- Traffic source types
- Use Facebook Adds
- Reach your audience with Instagram Ads
- Try Promoted Pins
- Expand your rich with Google Ads
- Optimize your Shopify store for search engines
- Exploit the potential of affiliate marketing
- Benefit from influencer marketing
- Start a customer loyalty program
- Get included in gift guides
- Become a sponsor of a podcast
But before digging into the details, let’s define the main traffic sources to have a better understanding of how to drive traffic to your Shopify website:
Shopify traffic source types
Search: Paid and organic
Many online shoppers prefer looking for goods using search engines like Google, Bing, or Baidu, instead of going to particular online stores directly. So, your products should show up in one of two ways: through ads you paid for, or through the search engine’s algorithms (organically).
Referral traffic is about visitors driven to your online store through other sites (not search engines). Usually, this traffic comes from a third party linking to your website directly.
This is the traffic generated by your email marketing campaigns. The volume of email traffic is a clear indicator of how engaging and effective your emails are since it means recipients took the time to follow your link and leave their inbox to visit your store.
Social media traffic is the traffic coming to your website from all kinds of social media platforms and networks. A great way to measure social media ROI is to track how much social traffic comes from each platform and how it converts.
Direct traffic means that users know your URL and type it right into their browser. It happens when shoppers have already visited your website and their browser search bar remembered the URL.
Branded traffic comes from shoppers who have specified your brand or product name in the search queries. For example, “Bvlgari,” “Bvlgari Ring,” “Bvlgari Jewelry.” Usually, these shoppers are already familiar with company products. So, they are more likely to make a purchase.
Let’s inspect paid ads as one of the most straightforward ways to increase your Shopify website traffic. According to the research conducted by Sixads, Facebook ads, Google ads, Instagram ads, and Pinterest ads are among the top ten most effective traffic generation sources for e-commerce.
1. Use Facebook ads
With over 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook remains the number one platform among the most powerful social media giants. It provides almost unlimited opportunities to reach new potential customers and drive them to your Shopify store. Its advertising platform lets you target users based on their interests, behavior, location, and many other criteria.
Image source: Hootsuite 2022 Digital Trends Report
Apart from that, with Facebook Dynamic Ads, you’ll be able to re-engage customers who have already visited your website by showing them ads featuring the items they’ve already looked through or added to their carts on your website.
Whenever your store visitor expresses an interest in your products, Facebook will dynamically create an ad for this user and automatically deliver it on your smartphone, tablet and desktop.
How do Facebook Ads work?
Facebook ads are targeted to users based on their location, demographic, and other parameters specified in their profiles. After designing an ad, you need to set your budget and bid for a single click or thousand impressions.
But before creating an ad, you need to:
- Set your business goal. For example, driving more traffic to your Shopify store.
- Clearly understand your target audience - the users you want to reach.
- Determine a daily or lifetime budget for your ad.
Tip: Make sure you have a Facebook pixel so you can properly track all users interacting with your business.
2. Reach your audience with Instagram ads
Like Facebook ads, Instagram ads show up throughout the app, including user feeds, Stories, Reels, and the Explore Tab. They look similar to noncommercial content, but always have a “sponsored” label indicating that they are an ad. They also may have more features than a normal post, such as links or CTA buttons.
According to Hootsuite, Instagram ad reach grew by over 6% from October 2021 to January 2022.
Image source: Hootsuite 2022 Digital Trends Report
Also, the latest stats show that 81% of online shoppers use Instagram to look for brands, products, and services. This number is significant for businesses that want to benefit from Instagram’s ads and drive more customers to their websites.
*Tip: Ensure you are using an Instagram Business account. This type of account unlocks more options to interact with your audience through Instagram ads. *
How does it work?
Since Instagram and Facebook are connected, it’s much easier to reach your potential customers based on Facebook data.
With the platform, you’ll be able to create ads as static posts, carousels, collections, videos, reels, and stories. Such a variety of formats lets any brand produce ad content that perfectly resonates with their audiences, driving engagement and sales.
3. Boost Shopify site traffic with Promoted Pins
Pinterest is a premier visual discovery engine that helps users get inspiration and stock up with fresh ideas for any activities (tattoos, designing clothes, home gardening, etc.) It’s also a great place for online shoppers to find new brands and products.
Being extremely popular among niche groups like home decoration, renovating, or DIY crafts, the platform is ideal for small businesses playing on these markets.
But this doesn’t mean that other brands or businesses won’t benefit from Promoted Pin campaigns. However, getting noticed by the right people may require more precise targeting or a more creative approach.
Besides, as reported by Pinterest, 97% of the most popular searches on the platform are unbranded. What does it mean to Shopify merchants? Only that Pinners are ready to discover new products, which makes Pinterest a very fertile ground for advertising. For instance, between October 2021 and January 2022, Pinterest ads reached 225.7 million people.
Image source: Hootsuite 2022 Digital Trends Report
How do Promoted Pins work?
Like many other PPC (pay-per-click) ad networks, Promoted Pins run on an auction system. You need to select a Promoted Pin, set a goal you want to reach, and enter targeting parameters. Then the betting system comes into play. Advertisers place bids to show their ads to the target audience, and the highest bid wins the placement.
4. Expand your reach with Google Ads
Unlike social networks with their targeted ads, Google lets you advertise products and services directly to users actively searching for them. People from all over the world use Google to search 8.5 billion times per day. And, of course, each search query is a potential chance to show your brand to more users. Thus, when set up right, Google ads become an ideal tool to generate leads and boost sales.
How does Google Ads work?
You are not the only Shopify entrepreneur who wants to place your ads on top of Google searches. So how does Google determine which ads to show? The answer won’t be much of a surprise - it’s auctions. Google Ads decides which ads to display with a fast auction that takes place every time someone searches on Google or visits any website that shows ads.
There are three key factors that determine ads display:
- Your bid amount: Your bid tells Google Ads the maximum amount you are ready to pay per click. However, your actual bids usually appear to be less. You can also change your bids at any time.
- Your ad’s quality: Google Ads evaluates how relevant and helpful your ad is for people who will see it. Learn more about how Google counts your Quality Score here.
- The potential impact of your ad extensions: When setting up an ad, you can specify your phone number, physical address, or additional links to specific website pages. All these additional pieces of information are called extensions or add-ons. They make your ads more useful and user-friendly and can positively affect your ad visibility.
Tip: A deep understanding of how Google ads work will help you build high-performing campaigns to drive massive traffic to your online store and get more conversions. So, getting certified is a great way to enrich and structure your knowledge.
5. Optimize your Shopify store for search engines
If you are out of budget for pay-per-click advertising or just prefer getting your Shopify store in front of your potential customers without spending too much money, pay careful attention to your website’s search engine optimization as one of the most powerful sources of free Shopify traffic.
There are a lot of tactics and specific tools that can help you get to the first lines of SERP:
- Switch to a paid Shopify plan if you haven’t done it yet. Otherwise, Google won’t index your pages at all.
- Choose a custom domain name. Default Shopify domain names containing myshopify in the URL, usually get fewer clicks. That’s why we recommend creating a custom domain name for your website. You can also connect any custom domain from a third-party provider to your store.
- Optimize your website structure. Ensure your Shopify website structure is simple and scalable, and any page is no more than three clicks away from your home page. Luckily, with Shopify, you won’t have to build the website’s structure from scratch.
- Conduct in-depth keyword research. The foremost is to understand what your customers need and what they are searching for. And here you’ll need to run keyword research. Fortunately, there are a great variety of tools to help you find and analyze keywords for your product titles, descriptions, and other website content: SEMRush, Ahrefs, Wordtracker, and many others.
- One-page optimization. To maintain your Shopify store pages “healthy” status, pay attention to such parameters as titles, meta descriptions, page URLs, and Alt text for product images. The programs like Screaming Frog or WebsiteAuditor can help you audit your pages to detect and improve any errors.
Of course, this is not a complete list of tactics you can do to improve your Google rankings. Learn more about Shopify SEO.
6. Start an affiliate program
If you don’t know how to set up an affiliate program on Shopify, the following information will be of much help.
In 2022, the power of affiliate marketing for e-commerce businesses doesn’t require any proof. Statista predicts that the partner marketing industry in the US will grow to $8.2 billion this year. According to Backlinko, affiliate marketing has already become the top acquisition channel for 40% of US merchants.
Here’s how it works. You set up an affiliate program and invite affiliates to join. There are several different affiliate types out there.
For every sale that your affiliates refer, they will earn a commission. This helps to drive free traffic to your site, and you only pay when someone converts.
You get to decide the commission structure, and if you want to, you can set up special landing pages for affiliates.
Tip: You can also turn your customers into affiliates with a referral program. When they sign up to join your program, they will be given a referral link to share with their friends and family.
Why is affiliate marketing so beneficial for e-commerce?
First, a properly run affiliate program minimizes the risk of budget waste. A classic affiliate marketing model assumes that you pay your affiliates for conversions, but not for leads. And this makes it a perfect model for any e-commerce business, even on a tight budget.
Second, since hiring sales and marketing staff can be expensive, having an army of high-quality affiliate partners will help you meet your business goals with minimum investment.
In addition, affiliate and referral marketing enables you to easily expand your reach across the internet. As soon as the partners you work with l promote your Shopify store via their websites, blogs, forums, and social media, your brand will now have many touchpoints and exposure online.
Image source: raewelness.co
Want to launch the best affiliate programs for Shopify but don’t know where to start? Take a look at a detailed guide on e-commerce affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing for e-commerce: what to pay attention to
Tip: If you are new to affiliate marketing, you may feel frustrated when launching your first affiliate or referral program. This is where the best affiliate software for Shopify comes into play. Instead of using dozens of micro tools, it’s better to concentrate on other marketing activities and let a specially developed turnkey solution do the affiliate tracking for you.
Never used Tapfiliate? Try all the features: 👉get a 14-day free trial here
- Stay in touch with your affiliates. Make sure your affiliate partners are aware of your upcoming product launches and know which products you’re promoting on social media. Ask what marketing materials they need from you to make conversions easier. You can set a monthly meeting so that you talk with them regularly.
- Concentrate on products with high AOV (average order value). Boost your revenue by letting your affiliates know which products bring in the highest AOV and motivate them to focus on those items.
- Benefit from seasonal shopping rush. Schedule seasonal promotions in advance and share your shopping promo calendar with your brand ambassadors. This way, they will stay on top of your holiday specials to make the most out of them.
Need more tips on how to get traffic to your Shopify store? Keep on reading!
7. Benefit from influencer marketing
Influencer marketing provides Shopify brands with a great opportunity to reach new, highly engaged audiences with minimum effort. So, having partnered with relevant influencers, whose audience aligns with your brand philosophy, you get an army of new potential customers and increase your brand awareness.
Where to look for ideal brand advocates? The first answer that immediately comes to mind — is on Instagram. A survey found that over 90% of marketers and agencies planned on using Instagram to promote their brands in 2021.
How to choose influencers to partner with? If you are a small local brand or a drop shipper, consider working with micro and nano influencers whose target audience is within your delivery zone geographically. The “one of us” strategy perfectly works here, as users trust those bloggers who live similar lives and have the same problems as their fans.
Image Source: @skincarestandard
Besides, relatable opinion leaders are more likely to answer comments and partnership requests. This way, they build customer loyalty on the one hand and always stay in touch with their advertisers on the other. Many narrow niche brands already appreciate the benefits of these collaborations, and the trend promises to gain even more traction.
Here are two basic questions to ask yourself before hiring an Instagram influencer:
- Are they a good fit for my brand/business? Could the person we’re going to partner with be our actual customer?
- What are their engagement rates? Quantity is not equal to quality. And very often, the number of followers is less important than the engagement rate. Preferably, an influencer’s engagement rate is 2-3%, with a decent amount of “live” comments on each of their posts.
8. Start a customer loyalty program
Do you remember Pareto’s 20⁄80 principle? For merchants, it may sound like “20% of customers are responsible for 80% of a business’s revenue.” It’s easier to persuade a customer who already knows your brand to buy again and/or buy more from you. That’s what loyalty programs were invented for.
If your Shopify website provides exclusive discounts and bonuses, customers are more likely to keep that in mind and come back. So, marketers use loyalty programs to stimulate repeat purchasing and increase average order value (AOV) by driving direct and branded traffic to your store.
Image Source: Sephora Beauty Insider Program
If you consider creating a customer loyalty program, follow these steps:
- Study your current customers - their purchasing habits and their level of satisfaction. This information will help you understand what you can offer as program rewards.
- Set measurable goals and determine how you are going to track the program’s success.
- Choose rewards: store credits, gift cards or small gifts, exclusive discounts and deals, or tiered rewards.
- Monitor, measure, and adjust the program to the actual business and customer needs.
Learn more about Loyalty Program types and how your Shopify store can benefit from them.
9. Get included in gift guides
Do you think that anyone even reads gift guides? The answer is yes! And you can add your brand or products to these guides to start driving additional traffic to your Shopify store.
Dozens of websites create various guides for many occasions, so they are always open to new product ideas. For example, if you search for “Gift ideas for dad,” you’ll get a bunch of pages with popular gift listicles.
Image Source: Google Search
To drive traffic to your Shopify store with gift guides:
- Type in Google search window “Gift guides”, “Gift ideas” or any other appropriate keywords.
- Browse through the search results and choose the ones that suit your business specifics.
- Contact the authors of your chosen publications and ask them to consider your products.
Tip: Reach out to editors with ready-made product gift ideas wrapped in catchy texts and supported by detailed explanations of why you’ve chosen these items.
10. Become a sponsor of a podcast
If you’ve ever listened to any podcasts, you may have heard some information about sponsors that give away coupon codes to listeners.
According to shared data, almost 60% of US consumers listen to podcasts. Insiderintelligence.com predicts that podcasting will become a $94.88 billion industry by 2028. Very impressive numbers! With thousands of podcast hosts with millions of subscribers, today, podcasting is a super powerful traffic channel for your Shopify store.
Why become a podcast sponsor? The benefits are quite clear:
- No need to spend time and resources on creating and hosting your own podcast.
- If the podcast is chosen correctly, it comes with a built-in audience who are potentially interested in your products.
- Clear expectations for conversion rates and end goals.
Source: eCommerce MasterPlan
Tip: Look for popular podcasts that your audience may be interested in. If you find something worthy, reach out to the creators with a partnership email, even if there is no sponsorship information on their website or on their social media pages. Podcasters are always open to new sponsors.
Now, with all of these tactics at hand, you can create a really winning strategy to drive more traffic to your Shopify store. Try different tools and approaches and constantly measure your results to find the ideal combination of paid and free traffic sources for Shopify that work better for your specific case.