Now that you understand the lifecycle of your customer, it’s time to start planting those seeds and growing relationships so you can develop a community of loyal customers. It’s those people who help ensure your Shopify store is successful long-term and see you through the ups and downs of the market.
The Complete Shopify Lifecycle Marketing Playbook
Before you can harvest the benefits of a loyal customer base, you must attract people to your ecommerce store. This is where lifecycle marketing verges away from our gardening metaphor. You can’t, after all, take a trip to the local farm store, buy bags of seeds weighed out on a scale and come back to drop them all into the ground.
Instead, you need to engage in traffic and lead generation work to bring those seedling customers to you.
Traffic generation is anything you do to bring people to your virtual storefront. If your Shopify store was a small business with a physical location, traffic generation efforts might include local advertising, competitive signage and interesting window displays. For online retailers, traffic generation typically involves efforts such as search engine optimization, online advertising and social media marketing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Product Descriptions
Search engine optimization, or SEO, refers to everything you do on and off your store’s pages to show up higher in organic search results.
This is critical because the bulk of the clicks go to links that show up on the first search results page for a query—that’s typically the top 10. And more than 50% of the clicks go to the top three results.
Shopify SEO can get a bit technical, but one of the most important things you can do to help your pages show up well in search engine results pages (SERPs) has to do with product descriptions.
Product descriptions refer to the content that describes your products and helps the reader envision themselves using those items. There’s a tendency among Shopify store owners and other ecommerce businesses to take a shortcut when it comes to product descriptions. That short cut usually looks like this: Copy and paste the description from the manufacturer. Or, write a single description and use it on as many products as possible, simply changing out specifics such as color or size.
Here’s a secret about Google and the other search engines: they don’t like duplicate content. They’re especially intolerant of what’s called “external duplication” content, which occurs when you publish text on your pages that came from outside pages (such as a manufacturer). This is true even though many manufacturers provide content marketing descriptions specifically for resellers to use!
Search engines don’t consider this type of duplicate content to be especially high-value to the user. So, if the search engine discovers duplicate content on your site, it’s less likely to rank your pages high for relevant search terms.
Tips for Writing Unique Product Descriptions
Writing unique marketing copy for each of your new product pages helps boost your SEO. Here are a few tips for doing so.
- Choose the right length. How long your PD should be depends on the complexity of the product. You might only need 50-100 words to adequately describe and market a basic product such as socks or a smartphone charger. But a more complex product, such as a small kitchen appliance or electronic components, could require 300 words or more. The goal is to provide the information people need to make a buying decision without added unnecessary fluff.
- Integrate keywords. Start with keyword research. What phrases do people use when looking for that type of product online? Integrate those phrases into your product description. Ensure the primary keyword is in the first and last sentence of your PD if possible.
- Provide details. Search engine AI is robust, and these programs can tell if your page is highly relevant to someone’s search. By providing as many details about the product as you can, you increase the chance that your page is deemed highly relevant. That helps you show up higher in search results.
- Use feature/benefit writing. Marketing copy isn’t solely for the search engines. Ensure the copy is user-friendly to the eventual human reader. The best way to do this is to engage in feature/benefit writing. This involves describing a feature and coupling it with a benefit for the user to help them understand how your product will fit into their lifestyle or help them achieve something.
Other Shopify Store SEO Tips
Here are some additional SEO efforts you can engage in on top of writing unique product descriptions:
- Create unique page titles and meta descriptions for all pages. These are the titles and blurbs that show up in the search engine with your link. This is where you persuade users that your link is the one they want to click. CTAs within this content can be especially helpful.
- Optimize images. You can add alt text to all images on your pages. This helps with accessibility, but it also provides additional areas for content strategy and keywords.
- Create interlinking. Link to product pages from your home page. Link to relevant upsell and cross sell products within your pages. High-quality internal links can boost SEO—but do ensure your navigation makes sense. Peppering pages with internal links just for the heck of it can hurt SEO.
You can also pay to drive traffic to your ecommerce website. In most cases, businesses should assume they’ll need to engage in both SEO and paid advertising to drive traffic to their sites. This is known as multichannel marketing—relying on multiple channels to drive results instead of sticking with a single option. In today’s competitive market, multichannel is a must.
Online advertising refers to a wide variety of ad types. Here are some of the most popular to consider for your Shopify store.
- Search engine marketing. This is when you pay to show up in the search results. You can bid on keywords to have your ads show up on top of the organic search results or on other areas of the page.
- Display or banner advertising. This is when you pay to show up on another website. You can arrange ads directly with a website or use a PPC ad network (easier and more common). With PPC, or pay-per-click, ads you bid on keywords and ad placement. Ads automatically show up according to bids and programmatic technology. You only pay when someone clicks the ad.
- Social media advertising. You can also pay to show up to more people on social media sites. You can purchase Facebook ads for sidebars or pay to boost your post (convert a regular post into an advertisement). Since organic reach on social media is fairly low, this is a good idea if you want to expand your reach on these channels.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is different from social media advertising. Marketing is the work you do on these channels that you don’t pay to boost—the organic posts you make and the way you engage with others.
This type of marketing strategy can drive people to your Shopify store if you’re able to capture user interest and develop a following. For example, if you sell funny t-shirts in your Shopify store, you could cultivate an Instagram or Facebook page that shares funny memes. Slip some links to your funny t-shirts into your feed on a regular basis to drive traffic to your site.
What’s the Best Traffic Generation Tool for You?
Unique product descriptions aren’t optional—you definitely need them—and online advertising is also almost compulsory for Shopify stores that want to succeed. But exactly how you drive traffic and what formula works best is something you’ll have to figure out for your store and customers. Everyone’s target audience is unique, and you’ll need to test various efforts to find out what works well for you.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of people who come to your ecommerce site that take a desired action. That action isn’t necessarily a purchase, especially this early in the customer lifecycle or sales funnel. At this stage, a conversion might just mean converting a visitor into a window shopper.
For example, when someone arrives on your page from a search engine link, they immediately have two options:
- Bounce, which means leaving your site before engaging meaningfully with your content
- Stick around and read more of the page
If someone decides to stick around and read more of the page, they’re presented with further options. Those might include:
- Click away from your site after reading because they’re not interested
- Clicking through to another page or product to learn more
- Signing up to become a newsletter subscriber
- Clicking a buy button to add something to their cart
For every choice a customer makes that keeps them on your site, they’re presented with another set of choices. If someone clicks a buy button, for example, they’re presented with the choice: Do they make the purchase or abandon the cart?
Conversion rate optimization refers to the work you do that helps increase the rate at which people make decisions on your pages that move them further along the customer lifecycle.
Here are some options you might consider to help boost conversion rates.
Opt-in forms serve a variety of purposes, but ultimately, they’re the invite to your Shopify party. They let potential customers know that you have valuable information for them about products or promotions. But because you value people’s privacy and time, you only want to send them the information they actually want—which is why you need them to opt-in.
Pro tip: Unsolicited emails and retargeted marketing when someone has specifically said no thank you to such activity are examples of unethical marketing, and they can drive consumers away. It’s also illegal in some situations, so opt-in forms do more than enhance conversion rates. They help you stay on the right side of laws and regulations.
Does your local grocery store sell fully cooked, hot rotisserie chickens for less than you can buy a frozen chicken in the meat department? Those delicious cooked chickens are lead magnets: The store probably breaks even or even takes a hit on the chicken sales, but it knows that people who come in to buy a chicken for dinner are going to pick up other items while they’re there.
Online lead magnets serve the same purpose. They get people to your site or persuade them to sign up for your email list and newsletter. And that gives you more opportunity to sell to them.
Some lead magnets you might try in your Shopify store include:
- Sweepstakes or giveaways. For example, everyone who signs up for your newsletter or makes a purchase during a specific month might be entered for a prize drawing.
- Deals and coupons. Free shipping, BOGO offers or even 10-15% off coupon codes can get people to click through and consider your products.
- Freebies and downloads. Offer a downloadable guide for anyone who signs up for your newsletter. An example would be a Shopify store that sells cell phone accessories offering a downloadable buying guide to the top 10 smartphone accessories for the year.
Improved Website Design
Customer experience is essential for every business. Around two-thirds of businesses compete solely on customer experience today—that means competitors are able to offer the same products and pricing, so customers and website visitors decide where to shop based on the experiences they have.
If your Shopify store is hard to navigate or the design is just unpleasant to engage with, customers can likely find the same products elsewhere with a better experience. Spend time tweaking your shop to ensure it’s easy to navigate, brand appropriate and easy on the eyes.
Improved Site Speed
Page load speed can make or break your bottom line, and it certainly plays a huge role in conversion rates. Close to half of all consumers expect pages to load in 2 seconds or less. And for every second beyond that, you could lose 7% of possible conversions!
Take some time to improve your site speed to keep traffic from bouncing immediately upon arriving. You didn’t pay for ads or SEO efforts just to have people leave your site because it’s too slow.
Strong SEO, advertising, and social media marketing are just some of the ways you can drive people to your site. And once you get them on your pages, conversion rate optimization makes it more likely they’ll stick around.
In the next article, we’ll cover some specific tips for turning those window shoppers into purchasers. In case you missed the garden references, we’ll sure we’re doing all we can to ensure our plants bear fruit and veggies. So, let’s tend to those crops.