How to drive traffic to your Shopify store without running ads

Most things in life are rather manageable, but at the same time, they are not.

In the online business game, if you want to drive sales to an eCommerce store you must drive traffic. As long as you drive traffic, you should keep your sales coming.

A very simple, yet a very complex solution.

Building traffic might be the most talked-about topic in the history of marketing, and it was about time for me to give you my 2 output on how you can drive an enormous amount of traffic to your Shopify store without running ads.

Allow people to discover you.

Search engine optimization a.k.a. SEO is one of the foundations of modern marketing.

While a lot of people complain about the fact that a search engine’s algorithm is messing with their business, I find the boredom of such algorithms rather exciting.

Things are simple; if you’re not on page 1 of Google, almost no one will find you.

SEO is an ever-evolving art. Algorithms may change faster than George Foreman changing spouses (5 marriages; really, George?), and they may consist of factors that may never have been official, but do you want to be on page 2 of Google?

I don’t think so.

I’m not trying by any means to educate you on SEO in this post, but I’ll make sure to give you a headstart. If you’re interested in studying more about this art, you should start reading the following blogs:

From what we know, SEO consists of 2 parts:

On-site SEO

As its name implies, this has to with optimizing elements embedded in your eCommerce store. That means your content and HTML source code, that search engines will crawl to rank you accordingly in their results.

These elements are:

Keyword-related elements on a Shopify store could be:

In a few words, after you conduct keyword research and obtain the keywords you want to rank for, you must optimize all the aforementioned elements (product titles, etc.) for search engines to rank you higher.

Non-keyword-related elements are other elements that contribute to the on-site SEO status of your eCommerce store.

These could be:

Off-site SEO

Off-site SEO has to do with everything that influences your store’s search engine performance, that’s outside of your website.

This aspect of SEO is mostly link-based, which indicates that it is affected by how other websites link to your eCommerce store.

Apart from the number of websites linking back to your store, there are other circumstances such as:

But apart from link-based elements, other things influencing your store off-site SEO.

Blogging, vlogging, guest blogging, guest vlogging, social media marketing, influencer marketing; these are all great ways to improve your search ranking position.

Guest appearances are a very attractive way to leverage the existing audience of someone else to establish your business. My favorite example comes from the “Billy!” brand.

If you love YouTube, you probably know Casey Neistat, and if you like Casey then you probably know his wife, Candice Pool.

Well, Candice built a fashion brand with some friends. They don’t produce any digital content, but they have a very strong asset; Casey’s 10 million Youtube subscribers.

I think that this amount of exposure is more than enough to drive some traffic, don’t you think?

I will probably write a full guide on content marketing for eCommerce businesses! If you’ve signed up for our newsletters, you’ll get it in an email hopefully soon.

Tame the social media beast

Almost everybody owns a social media account.

There’s no reason to mention the fact that brands, and all businesses in general, have taken over this field.

Are those brands good at it?

Most of them, not. The main difficulty comes down to quality, consistency, aesthetic and the denial of the fact that people use each platform for a different reason.

Even the demographics among the social platforms available are different.

Since our focus is on eCommerce social media marketing- which means we need visually-oriented platforms and the typical American uses three of the eight main platforms, we are going to see how you can use Pinterest and Instagram to drive traffic and hopefully a large number of sales.

We will not speak about using Facebook, because it kinda sucks these days 😛

I mean, Facebook is no longer used to discover products that much.

The best thing that Facebook has to offer to you right now, are groups about marketing your business.

Actually, I will make a full article about how you can drive sales on your Shopify store from Facebook, but I’m not going to talk about it in this one.

Instagram

The Instagram hype is crazy these days, don’t you think?

Everyone is looking for ways to increase their following, even if there is no particular motive to do so.

I get it; social validation might get you laid, or even bring some cash on the side by brazenly promoting protein bars. But this is just a makeshift solution, and you’re a person of business.

I’m not here to talk about the social impact of Instagram on our lives, but whatever that is we all understand that Instagram can create sales.

Although the platform works as a place to discover products, the way that people do so is kinda backward to the way they do it in other platforms. Instagram is human-centered.

That means that users find products that their favorite personalities on the platform present to their following.

You have an eCommerce store and you need to drive traffic from Instagram. How you do it?

Simple, right? Yes; but no.

The best way to achieve the desired result is to work the steps in reverse.

You sequentially want to drive sales from your Instagram account. There are 2 ways to do so:

To add the ability to add buyable products in your profile, you have to attach your account to your Shopify store. The following video shows you how to do it:

It’s very simple.

Now, to make people click the link on your profile, you have to get them to trust you. And to make that achievable is to make your followers engage with your content, for you to engage with them.

This is very essential when you’re just starting: Both sides should be involved in the engagement.

To attract engagement, your content should be top-notch. You’ll need:

Design, framing, colors, and concept are crucial to how people will regard you and your brand.

Yes, a lot of people don’t know much about those things; but if you ask a person that doesn’t have a clue, to compare a Lamborghini with a Ford Ka, I’m sure everyone will say that the Lamborghini is a better car.

Also, try to be as consistent as possible. Decide how many times per week you’re going to post, and stick with it.

But what about attaining the Holy Grail of Instagram?

Followers.

Before I tell you how to get those valuable followers, I have to let you know of a tiny secret:

The number of your followers means nothing if it’s not consisted of the right people; it’s just a vanity metric that inexperienced companies look at, to throw some cash into someone with low ROI.

Let’s say you’re selling women DIY jewelry. You have an Instagram account with 100K people. 90% of them are men of 40-60 yrs old.

Wouldn’t you have better chances to drive sales, if you had an account of 10K with 90% women between 18-24 yrs old?

Targeting is important.

Now let’s cut to the chase: Growing your account.

Hack #1: Grabbing some clout!

Now and then Instagram changes the way they serve content to their users, resulting in different growth strategies to emerge all the time.

Instagram rewards organic discovery, and detests/ punishes bots (R.I.P. Instagress).

That’s the reason that the only growth tactic still working is shoutouts.

Getting a shoutout from a bigger account can bring you a good stream of new followers. That means that if you have the patience to make the research, you can find accounts that you’d like to get a shoutout from.

Imagine selling sneakers and getting a shoutout from this account

Remember that targeting is important. Don’t get blind from just the follower count of the account.

You might deploy a strategy to get a shoutout from a certain account, but you have to keep in mind that these pages are a business for someone. That means that most of these pages require only one thing: MONEY, baby!

If you have the right amount of cash, the right type of content, and 10-15 huge (and relevant) pages, you might be able to get even 100K followers in 48 hours (that doesn’t mean that these followers will stick around for a long time, but still.)

Check out this fella in the video giving a better explanation about how this works:

Hack #2: Becoming a local.

Targeting the right demographic is vital but, unless you are an international business, you have to target followers based on their location, as well.

As I said, Instagram detests automation bots; but what if you use a tool to help you segment Instagram users to find potential customers? Nothing, probably.

Content discovery on Instagram happens through hashtags (duh!).

I’m not going to teach you how to research your hashtags, mainly because we will need a dedicated article about that, but you have to make sure to find the hashtags that your potential clients use.

Make a list of those hashtags.

Now let’s do some magic.

Recently I was making a research about Instagram marketing for tattoo artists- my gf is a tattoo artist when I bumped into Combin.

“Another Instagram automation tool”, I thought.

But there’s an extremely useful feature in there; The tool allows you to search for hashtags in combination with a location.

That means that you’re able to find people who posted with a certain hashtag on a certain location. I don’t know about Combin’s automation features, but that kind of search is really powerful for finding prospects and engaging manually with them.

Hack #3: Building your own world.

Remember those huge accounts that I told you that you to find and pay to get shoutouts?

How about building your own?

I mean, not by yourself; but think about it.

You can find other people that might be benefited from that kind of account and share accountability about it with them.

Content production is not an issue here, as most of these pages curate content from other accounts. If you curate great and relevant content, growing an audience can be much easier.

Plus, giving shoutouts to the creators you’ll curate will result in them giving you a shoutout as well, on their Instagram stories- more organic reach for you.

Creating such an account allows you to own a place to curate the content from your main account.

This is what Kemar_flashes does with his page, ignorant_tattoos:

How awesome is that?

So, let’s recap. To drive traffic from Instagram to your Shopify store, you should:

Pinterest

My gf hates Pinterest; she can’t stand it.

On the other hand, I like it. For me, and 200 other million people, it is a great search engine to discover content or products.

200 million monthly active users are a LOT of people. I mean, this is a great place to get discovered. You can drive traffic back to your eCommerce store.

As I said, Pinterest is a search engine; and as in every search engine, the first results grab the most traffic. You should aim for #1 position.

The platform ranks content using its algorithm.

Yes, keywords here are as important as in trying to rank for a regular web search engine. But instead of e.g. the traditional linking factors, Pinterest’s algorithm is triggered by saves, sends and comments.

But how in the world will someone be able to rank that high?

This is how the thing works:

In other words, keywords put you in the game and engagement puts you at the top.

You have to remember that Pinterest is a very visual-oriented platform. That means that if the visuals you use for your pins suck, it’s unlikely to receive engagement.

“OK, got it! Keywords and great visuals. Now what?”

Now you have to find the keywords you want to rank for and create your content.

⚡ Pro Tip: For Pinterest, it’s better to find your keywords first and craft the content afterward, than the other way around. This platform uses its network effect, so when you try to sell your business in it, it’s better to craft your content based on how the platform “breaths”.

Recently I found out a great way to do keyword research for Pinterest. Are you ready?

By now, you probably have collected a nice amount of long-tail keywords that you’re going to use when creating your content. But Pinterest is not only about the title. There’s also the description section of your pins.

This is a “bonus life” for you. You have the opportunity to reinforce your pins with more relevant keywords. Here’s how to do it:

That’s how it’s done. Remember that it always takes some time for content to rank (whether it’s on Google or Pinterest), so don’t get disappointed.

Keep in mind:

BTW, you can also make your pin buyable (in a similar manner as in Instagram). If you want to set this up, you can follow the instructions from the following video:

List building.

In other words, you can reward your users for bringing you email subscribers, by sharing your campaign.

The more people share about your campaign, the more traffic you’ll get to your campaign’s page. But is this enough?

No. You have to get people to browse your store.

That’s when nurturing campaigns come into play.

Grabbing their email address is just a way to get permission to talk to them about something they might be interested in. In other words, it’s a conversation starter.

You are going to want a solid email auto-responder that can help you dominate your email marketing.

We highly recommend our Agency Partner: Klaviyo

Klaviyo well allow you to create abandoned cart flows, welcome and newsletter flows and tons more. They have great templates that will allow you to get started. It is also free to start, which is perfect for a brand new dropshipping business.

A few lines above I mentioned nurturing leads.

Email, in comparison to a search engine, is an owned asset of yours. There are no ranking factors in this realm (if your emails end up in the junk folder, it’s another story).

Apart from that, there are plenty of uses for email campaigns:

You can also combine some of the options given above.

E.g. If you know that a specific user is a male, you can email them on the week of Valentine’s day with sales on female clothing apparel.

The bottom line is that email marketing can bring people back to your store, and this is the kind of traffic you need the most.

Returning customers are the cradle of a successful eCommerce store. Without a good retention rate, you will never truly grow.

I will say it once again; email all the way.

Get chatty.

Messenger bots became uber-popular during 2018.

We use Manychat as our Agency Partner.

It works pretty well; within a few months, we’ve established a new distribution channel for us.

But do messenger bots work for eCommerce as well?

Are you kidding me? These things were made to drive sales and traffic.

Similar to the case of email marketing, Messenger bots offer a great opening for your store to retain customers or to complete abandoned purchases.

Let’s go through some of the things you can achieve by using Messenger bots with your Shopify store:

In a few words, with Messenger bots, you can do whatever you did with email up until the now, but with a higher open rate and click-through rate.

Pure magic!

The only downside of chatbots is that you have to invest time to build your Messenger subscriber list from scratch.

Build a Team of Affiliates

Imagine being able to have hundreds of people simply referring you to their friends, family members or website audiences. Well don’t look any further! Affiliatly is a top of the line affiliate program and integrates with Shopify!

You can simply create a program that anyone can signup for, assign a commission structure based on your own payment desire and have it automatically pay each affiliate when they earn passed a certain threshold!

That is an amazing way to earn free traffic and sales for absolutely free!

Before you go.

That was a lot to take in right? Well, just know that you don’t need to rush and do all of this at one time. Some of these things can take a lot of time so don’t think you have to have it all in place ASAP.

My advice is to take it piece by piece, work through your social media platforms first, then through your Email setup. Once you have that in place start picking away at all the other possibilities.