Your fancy new Shopify store is ready for the world to see.
It’s a testament to the effort you’ve put in to create a really good brand and populate your listings full of items you know your audience will love.
Now all you need are those virtual eyeballs, and your sales engine will kick into high gear.
Because of their highly effective targeting capabilities, Facebook and Google Ads offer quick ways to drive relevant traffic to your ecommerce store.
But, here is the problem, you don’t have enough funds to run paid advertising.
Because launching a full-fledged Shopify store can cost you anywhere from $700-$3000+, you’re unlikely to have much left in your wallet for social and pay-per-click ads.
On top of that, any kind of “yellow page advertising” is associated with being desperate, impersonal, and one-size fits all. Any experienced store owner knows that this won’t fly with potential visitors.
Soon you realize that promoting an online storefront isn’t straightforward and you start looking for realistic ways to get free Shopify traffic.
How do you, in a situation with fewer resources than big ecommerce players, drive traffic to your store, and consequently, increase sales?
Here’s the thing: it will take effort, time and some patience to get things going, but it’s 100% possible to generate free Shopify traffic that gives traction to your products and brand.
Listed below in no particular order are some of the best ways to start driving more traffic to your store right now.
Here we go, guys. I hope these tips truly help most of you out.
1. Work With Micro-Influencers On Instagram
Micro-influencers are “everyday people” who have a following within the range of 10,000 to 50,000 followers and a level of trustworthiness that’s even hard for celebrities to match.
They pay respect to their followers by hosting giveaways, sharing promos, and replying to comments.
Take steps to develop a long-term relationship with key micro-influencers on Instagram so they post about your store and help you generate free Shopify traffic.
The following visual highlights the many other benefits of micro-influencers:
Of course, you’d need to work with a micro-influencer who aligns well with your brand.
For example, if you sell sports goods, then find a sportsman or sportswoman on Instagram. If you sell food items, look for a food enthusiast or part-time chef. If you sell makeup, don’t work with an education influencer. You get the idea. Below are a couple of tips to help you connect with the right influencer.
One of the simplest ways to find micro-influencers relevant to your niche is by doing hashtag research. For example, researching the hashtag #surfboard will present you with a list of influencers associated with that hashtag.
Look for influencers who've got a follower count between 10,000 and 50,000. Write down their names, Instagram handles, and blog addresses to ensure you have a list ready at hand when it comes time for outreach.
Look Among Your Followers
It’s possible that your ideal micro-influencer is already following you on Instagram. You can find him or her by checking out the follower profiles which seem to align with your brand. The key is to analyze their username.
For example, if you’re selling travel gear or backpack items, you might want to analyze followers with “travel” or “backpacker” in their username.
Send a Free Sample to the Chosen Influencer
Once you've finalized a micro-influencer, one of the proven ways to get them to share your store’s URL with their followers is to send them a pack of free samples.
For example, if you sold surfboards and wanted to work with a watersports influencer, you would send him/her a message explaining your brand’s story and offer a free product in return for a mention on their Instagram page. Here’s a template you could use:
Hi [influencer name],
It’s [your name]. I’m a big fan of your Instagram feed. Your posts always contain nuggets of wisdom, and I look forward to reading them every Monday, Wednesday, Friday (kudos for keeping it consistent!).
On another note, you might be intrigued to know that I’ve recently created an online store around (your niche). I’m particularly delighted with (the product you’re planning to send) and wonder if you’ll accept if I parcel along a sample. If you find it useful, perhaps you’ll consider spreading the word to your audience?
Please let me know if there’s a postal address for me to parcel the sample to, and if you have any questions.
2. Guest Post On Relevant Blogs
Guest posting (aka. guest blogging) means publishing blog content on another website with your name in the author bio.
The site accepting your contribution typically gives you a link which results in free website traffic (you get traffic whenever someone clicks on that link).
In addition, you gain authority in your niche by appearing on well-known websites.
You can start by visiting your favorite websites within your niche and see if they’re open to accepting guest contributions.
If you get a positive response, reach out and ask if you can publish a guest post on their site.
For more options, search for other blogs within your niche that accept contributions from guest authors. You can do this by entering the following search strings in Google:
- [Your niche] sites that accept guest posts
- [Your niche] write for us
- [Your niche] submit your post
- [Your niche] guest post guidelines
For instance, if your cheap Shopify store sells products within the fashion industry, you can search “fashion sites that accept guest posts” or “fashion write for us” to get a list of relevant blogs.
Reach out to the editors or owners of these blogs and aim to publish a guest post or two. By doing this on a regular basis, you’ll gradually build your authority and your free Shopify traffic along with it.
3. Build an Email List
Not only are email lists a great way to build a database of potential customers, but they’re also a brilliant way to drive free traffic to your Shopify store.
You can, for example, send emails about new arrivals, ongoing discounts, and free shipping to encourage everyone on your list to visit your website, including existing customers who’ve bought from you in the past.
To get started, select one of the many email apps for Shopify available to host your subscribers and automate the messages sent. I recommend the following ones:
- Upsell by Email
All of these apps are free to use for up to a specific number of subscribers and emails.
After you’ve chosen and signed up for one of the email marketing tools listed above, you’ll need a decent list to send emails to. Start building one by placing opt-in forms (popularly known as newsletter sign-up boxes) on your website and social media pages.
Once you’ve populated your list, the next step is to send engaging emails that drive subscribers back to your store. Make sure to work on:
1) The subject line
It makes the first impression to let the recipient decide if it's even worth the time to go through the email. Below are some do’s and don’ts of writing email subject lines:
- Be as transparent and direct as possible about what’s inside the email
- Speak directly to the subscriber by addressing them with “you” and “your”
- Use power words like “special,” “exclusive,” and “limited” as persuasion triggers to encourage recipients to click through
Whether it is a special offer, discount, or gift, you will want to ensure the reason for which you’re sending the email is easy to comprehend. That means it’s important to:
- Place the reason first and foremost in the copy
- Keep sentences short and direct
- Follow a logical structure (convey one idea per paragraph)
For the maximum impact, use graphics and other visually enticing components as they’re known to keep visitors engaged.
Now that the subscribers understand what’s being offered, they need a clear way to take action with a link or button. I suggest integrating a button as most online buyers are familiar with it.
For the button’s color, make sure to pick something that resonates with your brand. Here are a few additional tips to consider:
- Place the button in a visible location
- Use ample white space around the button so that people know where to click
- Don’t make it complex with animations and multiple colors
Here’s an example of a well-done ecommerce email:
It follows all the best practices for the subject line (uses “your”), copy (keeps the sentence short and direct), and call-to-action (is smartly placed below the text).
When used with a proper approach, email marketing has the ability to generate free Shopify traffic for every store owner in the world.
Use email marketing to send welcome emails, thank high-value customers, share relevant promotions, and run surveys. All of these tactics will bring an influx of visitors to your website.
4. Host A Giveaway
Who doesn’t love giveaways?
Not only can they help generate free Shopify traffic but can also help grow your email list, create buzz, and delight existing customers by keeping them engaged with your business.
To host a successful giveaway, you’d first need a giveaway app. I recommend Instant Giveaway because they offer a free plan to Shopify users.
Another great option is Woobox. It comes with a free plan that allows you to run unlimited giveaways and accommodate up to 100 participants per month.
The other things you’ll need for the giveaway are:
1) A goal
What is the objective behind the giveaway?
Do you want to drive loads of visitors to a specific landing page? Or maybe you want to increase your overall traffic so you can get a higher page rank in Google?
Make sure your giveaway goal ties back to your overall goal of driving visits to your site.
2) A fantastic prize
If you want visitors to participate, your giveaway must have intriguing, relevant prizes. These could be:
- Free products
- Limited edition versions of your product
- Free tickets to an event you’re going to host offline
- Sponsored trip
3) A marketing plan
It’s crucial that you integrate marketing into your giveaway campaign.
Marketing can involve sharing the giveaway on Twitter and Facebook to encourage entries while also increasing the visibility of your promotion and store.
Another channel to endorse your giveaway is through influencers.
Take some of the Instagram influencers you identified earlier and talk to them about working together to promote your giveaway.
Based on the type of influencer partnership, you could ask them to share the giveaway with their audience, or provide prizes on your behalf (if you manufacture any products).
Knowing how to generate free Shopify traffic for your store isn’t complicated.
It also doesn’t require months of relentless research or spending thousands of dollars on paid advertising.
What it does require is the eagerness to nurture visitors’ interest and invest in the long-term.
With the four major strategies laid out in this article, you’ll start to generate an exponential amount of free Shopify traffic over time.
I leave you with an important video. Until next time!