If you’re at the early stages of developing your Shopify store, you’re likely doing everything yourself. From product selection and image editing to marketing strategy and packing – your hands are full. Marketing alone can quickly become too much to handle!
One way to get through this would be to hire a couple of marketing professionals. However, that’s usually too expensive for many Shopify store owners, at least at the beginning. This is where marketing automation steps in.
Automating your marketing can be a life-saver! Why spend hours trying to set up Facebook ads when you can leave it to automated workflows? Think of all the extra time you’d have in your day to develop ideas on how to scale your Shopify store.
No idea where to start? You’re in the right place! In this article, we discuss what can be achieved with marketing automation and provide useful tips to drive more sales to your Shopify store.
1. Start with a marketing strategy
You may be tempted to dive into such lists as “Best Shopify Apps to Increase Sales” right away, but hold your horses. Even though you’ll find many great tools there, first you need to know where you need help the most. In other words, you need to start with the strategy, not with the means to implement it. Actually, Shopify's app store has more than 5,300 apps so it's very easy to get lost.
According to Scott Brenneman, an Associate Director at Merkle, first, you have to figure out what you want to achieve. Second, you need to know how you will measure your results. And third, you can identify the technology you need.
A. Prioritize what you want to achieve
Do you want to attract more new customers, or you’re more interested in increasing repeat customers? Maybe you get a lot of traffic but barely make any sales? You need to know what you want to achieve first. So, take a look at your marketing funnel and see where it’s leaking.
If you’re not familiar with the funnel, it’s a great way to visualize your store’s customer journey. By optimizing it, you can make sure your online store’s visitors become buyers.
The marketing funnel consists of 5 different stages:
- Awareness. This is the initial stage when your target audience becomes aware you exist.
- Consideration. At this stage, interested shoppers compare you with your competitors.
- Conversion. Your store’s visitors take the desired action, such as signing up for a newsletter, buying something.
- Loyalty. At this stage, you nurture repeat purchases.
- Advocacy. The last stage of the funnel. It’s where your happy customers become your fans and start spreading good words about you..
Naturally, every Shopify store owner is interested in the third step of the funnel - conversion. However, to get there, in most cases, you need to move your potential customers through awareness and consideration first.
What do we mean by that?
Retargeting ads won’t work, whether you set them manually or use automation tools if you have no people considering to buy your products in the first place. You’re also likely to burn your money on automated ads for brand awareness if people are already checking you out but don’t convert for some reason.
So, figure out which parts of the marketing funnel need your attention the most and set your goals accordingly.
Do you want to increase your brand awareness? One of your goals could be increasing customer engagement on your social media channels. Or maybe you want to increase your repeat purchases? In such a case, you could consider building your Shopify brand loyalty across different channels.
B. Decide how you’ll measure your results
Once you have your marketing goals figured out, you need to decide how you’ll measure them. In other words, you need to work on your KPIs (key performance indicators). Different stages in a marketing funnel call for separate KPIs.
If your goal is to build your brand awareness, your primary KPI could be your online store visitors. Other metrics you can measure are media mentions, social media followers, inbound links.
Want to convert leads into sales? Then you should measure the number of new customers. Some of the supporting metrics include cost per acquisition and conversion rate.
If you want to work on your customer loyalty, your main KPI should be your recurring revenue. Other metrics you could add are the churn rate and engagement rate.
C. Figure out the technology you’ll need
After you’ve written down what you want to achieve and how you’ll measure your results, you can start thinking about the means to achieve your goals. As you’ve probably figured, this is where marketing automation steps in. With your strategy in mind, now you’ll have a clearer idea of what kind of tools may help you to automate your efforts to fill in gaps in your funnel.
Now, let’s take a look at how marketing automation for your Shopify store can make your life easier and drive more sales!
2. Make your social media advertising easy
Image source: wikimedia.org
If you’ve ever opened Facebook Ads Manager, you’ve probably felt a little desperate. You need to spend a lot of time reading articles, watch tutorial after tutorial to be able to run even the most basic ads with some level of success.
Of course, you can always simply boost your existing Facebook posts right on your feed. Still, this way, your targeting is very limited, so are your potential results. And you want to increase sales, right?
The good news is, you can increase your sales with Facebook ads without having to deal with Facebook Ads Manager. With automated social media ads, you can get your campaigns up and running in just a few minutes.
What can you automate?
- Your ad creative (uploading photos and writing ad copy).
Facebook Retargeting (Consideration) Ad automation works great for retargeting already interested users. Advanced tools can track and analyze your Shopify store’s visitors and target them with automated ads when the time’s right. This type of advertising works well if you want to convert your potential customers in the consideration stage of the funnel. All they need may be a little push, for example, a discount for the product they checked but decided not to buy it for one reason or another.
Brand awareness ads (Awareness) You can also automate your social media ads when you want to attract cold audiences. These are the people who don’t know you exist but could be interested in your products or services. Ad automation tools like sixads will choose the right audiences for your ads. If you don’t have a Facebook pixel created, it can be done for you, too!
3. Surprise your store’s visitors with interactive automation
The beauty of marketing automation is that it can also serve your online store’s visitors directly.
For example, with calconic you can build and add interactive calculators to your website. You can create calculators for pretty much any type of product or service! From wedding photography pricing to recommended daily feeding for your dog, you can get a custom calculator for all kinds of Shopify stores.
Not only will your customers be able to calculate whatever they need to decide to buy from you or not, but you’ll also be able to generate leads.
4. Personalize your email marketing campaigns
If you’re not working on your email marketing yet, give it a serious thought. Even if you have a big following on social media, you can never know how the algorithms will change on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or even Tik Tok.
That’s why it’s a good idea to invest in building your own marketing channel, such as email. No one can take your newsletter subscribers from you unless you’re not delivering them what they signed up for.
And email marketing is more than just sending newsletters. You can create complex, personalized campaigns to move your target audience through the sales funnel or upsell your current customers.
The best way to do it is to automate your email campaigns.
What can you automate?
Set trigger emails
Trigger emails are emails that you send out automatically based on your subscribers’ actions. The most used types of such emails include welcome emails, cart abandonment emails, and special events.
A. Welcome emails
Welcome emails are an essential part of your customer onboarding. The way you greet them sets the tone and expectations for your further emails, so make sure you think those emails through. Not sure where to start? Check these welcome email templates.
B. Cart abandonment emails
You can set up automated emails that are sent to users who have added your products to their carts but, for some reason, didn’t make a purchase.
It’s a very effective type of trigger email. Think of all the cases when your potential customers are really interested in your Shopify store but don’t have enough time to find their credit card info to finish the payment, or something else interrupts them. A reminder that you saved their cart can do wonders for all the sales you’re potentially losing.
C. Special event emails
You can also use email marketing automation to nurture your relationship with your existing customers. You could send such emails to celebrate the anniversary of your customers being subscribed to your email list or to celebrate their birthdays. It gives a nice personal touch, plus you can also slip in a discount to bring people back to your store.
5. Keep your customers happy with chatbots
Marketing automation can also help you take some pressure off your customer service tasks. Enter chatbots! Image source: pixabay.com
There are plenty of chatbot use cases available. For example, chatbots can help your customers solve their non-complex issues instantly. You can answer repetitive questions, such as pricing. Chatbots can also help you to handle transactions, collect customer feedback, help customers find information on your store, and much more. Happy customers mean paying customers!
Chatbots can also help you automate your marketing tasks too. For instance, you can ping your store’s visitors with personalized recommendations based on their behavior on your website. You can also use chatbots to grow your email list, share promotions.
6. Test everything
Whether you’re running automated ads on social media or sending out triggered email campaigns, make sure you’re basing your decisions on data, not your intuition. Test your campaigns! Test different images for the same ad on Facebook, test different subject lines in your welcome emails, test your targeting. Only this way you’ll be able to see what really works for your target audience. Testing will make your automated marketing much more efficient.
The nice thing about testing is that you can also apply your findings across different channels. For example, if you run retargeting ads on Facebook and notice that one type of headline attracts more clicks than the other, you can use it as a subject line in your abandoned email campaigns, too.
And don’t stop there! The results from your automated campaigns may also give you an idea of what messaging your customers prefer. Use this information to improve your product descriptions on your Shopify store itself to increase conversions.
Wrapping it up
Marketing automation can help you save loads of time and increase sales. There are many cool tools out there to help you run your Shopify store more efficiently. However, the key thing to remember from this article is that all this amazing technology needs to help your marketing strategy and marketing specialists, not to replace them.
Before you start installing five different tools at once, first evaluate your current situation. Examine your marketing funnel and see where are your weakest links. Once you find what needs to be improved so you’d get more sales, write down your marketing strategy and map out the tactics to implement it. Decide on how you’ll measure your results and present the ROI to your customers.
Only then you’ll be able to choose your marketing automation tools wisely because they will support your plan, instead of being there just for fun. Of course, this will take a bit of time at first. But once you have a solid strategy in place, your sakes won’t be random. You will see a steady increase in conversions and be able to scale up your Shopify store for real!
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