21 minute read

You’ve come so far! You’ve picked the product you want to sell, found an awesome business name and a great supplier, and finished setting up your Shopify store.

But now what?

It’s time to grow your new eCommerce store through marketing and networking!

Your first sale might come to you with little to no effort. The second one might, too.

But if you really want to quit your day job and run this store full time, you’re going to need to bring in targeted traffic with an interest in purchasing – easier said than done.

Of the many ways to market your new store, this how-to guide is going to focus on 3:

  1. Social Media Marketing
  2. Email Marketing
  3. Content Marketing

Social Media

With so many social media sites out there, which should you be using?

The answer is definitely not “all of them”. That would be far too time-consuming and difficult to manage for a small one man startup, even with tools like Buffer or HootSuite.

So how do you choose? The answer: It depends on your audience.

People who buy the latest and greatest tech gadgets may be on Twitter, but not Instagram. People who buy fitness products may be on Instagram, but not Twitter. (Note: I have no idea if this is true, it’s just an example – you need to know your audience.)

*To find out your target market, I highly recommend you create a buyer persona.

Regardless of which sites you think your customers will be using, I highly recommend creating a Facebook account. Facebook has the highest number of user’s and engagement by far.

When creating your social profiles, keep them consistent. Use the same branding methods and logos.

Shopify Instagram Marketing Shopify Facebook Marketing Shopify Twitter Marketing

Notice how Shopify does this – the logo is the same across profiles, but the header image is completely different. However, they still use the same styles of images which convey what they do.


Facebook Logo

Facebook is huge because over 70% of the entire U.S. adult population is using it. That makes prime web real estate for marketing to your target audience.

If you’re audience isn’t on Facebook, you probably need to pick a new product.

First, go ahead and follow HubSpot’s guide to creating a Facebook Business Page.

If you want an easy way to create profile pictures, banners, ads, and headers for all your social media pages, check out Canva. It’s a free image editor/creation tool, and it’s awesome.

Setting Up Facebook Pixels

Facebook “Pixels” are short snippets of code you place on your website to track the results of your paid advertising campaigns.

They used to be a major headache to install, but Shopify recently made it very easy. Check out this video on how to do it (the first 1:40 is showing how to install it, the rest is showing how to get rid of old code if you’ve previously installed it):

Using Facebook Paid Ads to Grow Your Store

Paid advertising is the main way to grow your fan base on Facebook and increase traffic to your website, especially when you’re first starting out.

To create your first ad, head over to the business page manager. Select your new business page, and it will take you to your new dashboard.

Facebook Business Page Manager

Click on “Ads Manager” in the menu on the left hand side. It will take you to this screen:

Facebook Ads Manager

Now click the “+ Create Campaign” button.

Facebook Ad Campaign

Facebook gives you tons of options to choose from. For now, ignore all but the “Send People to Your Website” or “Boost Your Posts” options.

A boosted post is simply a post already on your Facebook business page that everyone can see, which you want to be seen by more people. It can still send people to your website if it contains a link to your website.

The send people to your website option allows you to create a “hidden” post. Basically, only the people you are advertising to will see it – it won’t show up directly on your Facebook business page. This is useful if you want to promote offers to new customers, but not to existing ones (such as 10% off your first order, etc.).

Once you choose your goal, name your campaign. This will show up under the “Campaign Name” column in the ads manager pictured above. Your customers won’t see this – it’s strictly for your own organizational purposes. I normally name mine based on the offer (i.e. “50% Off Shirt Sale 5/1/16-5/8/16).

The next step is to create your target audience. This is the most important step of your entire campaign, and will determine it’s success or failure more than any other variable.

Targeting can be extremely complicated, and I’m not going to write an entire guide for sake of saving time and space. Besides, Digital Marketer already has an amazing Ultimate Guide to Facebook Marketing.

Once you have a very clearly defined audience (you should spend most of your time defining your audience), the next step is choosing where your ad will be seen, aka placements.

Facebook Ad Placements Selection

I recommend leaving this alone for now. See how well each placement fares after a few days of testing (I’ll cover how to to test for later), then you can start removing low performers.

Finally, we have the budget. The minimum budget I recommend is $5 per day.

You can leave the rest of the settings alone. Just name your ad set (similar to campaign name, this is for behind the scenes organization purposes). I just name after the audience (i.e. “20-30 year olds that like video games”).

Once you’re done here you can move on to creating the ad itself.

Leave the format as a single image.

Creating the Ad Image

In the previous section I linked to a website called Canva. They have a free Facebook ad template you can use to create your first ad.

Facebook Ad Template

Just click the Facebook Ad all the way on the left. If you need some inspiration for designs, head over to AdEspresso. Scroll all the way to the bottom and click the examples link.

AdEspresso Facebook Ad Examples

Search for your product.

Tshirt Ad Examples

Scroll down to see your results.

Facebook Shirt Ad Example

Try to look for ads that have a large amount of likes, comments, and shares (i.e. engagement) relative to the rest. These are the top performers, and the ones you should try to mirror.

Some Tips For Creating Good Ads:

  • Keep the image under 20% text – this is one of Facebook’s rules, and is unavoidable. Upload your image to Facebook’s Grid Tool to ensure it meets this requirement.
  • Keep the ad copy short, sweet, and engaging. Say things like “Free Shipping”, “20% Off”, or “BOGO”. Make the offer apparent, and give them a strong reason to click. Also, remind them to share and comment, if you have enough space.
  • Try to use a Call-to-Action (CTA). This is the text telling them to click. Some of the best performing ads have “buttons” on them saying “Shop Now” or something similar to get them to click. For example, take a look at Netflix’s Ad. The big red “Join Free for a Month” button is their CTA.Facebook Ad CTA Example

If you need more inspiration, check out Hubspot’s Example’s of Facebook Ads that Work.

Once you’ve created your ad and uploaded it, it’s time to finish up some final settings. Enter the website URL you want to lead viewers to (this should be a product page or a collection, depending on your ad).

You’ll then need to enter a headline and body text for the ad. To learn how to write a good headline that gets clicks, read AdEspresso’s headline guide.

For the call to action (optional) setting, you’ll likely want to choose “Shop Now”, but it really depends on your offer.

Finally, expand the advanced options setting (it’s really not that advanced). The news feed link description is the text within the post.

Facebook Ad Example

The text in the red box is the news feed link description, the yellow box is the headline, and the green box is the text.

The display link is the “juice.clubw.com” under it all – you only need to worry about this if your landing page link is long and unsightly. (A landing page is the page on your website you’ll be sending visitors to when they click on the ad.)

URL parameters are there to help you keep track of which links are getting clicks. For example, if you enter something like “key1=value1”, your URL will change to “www.yoururl.com/key1=value1”. It just adds that text on the end so you know which link they clicked in both your FB pixel as well as Google Analytics.

Note: If you don’t have Google Analytics installed, I highly recommend you get it. Shopify has a guide to setting it up.

For pixel tracking, make sure you’ve installed your FB pixel as I mentioned before, then choose your generic pixel for now. Once you have a better understanding of FB pixels, you can start to track specific conversions to help you understand your audience better, but that’s a bit more complex.

Congratulations, you’ve created your first Facebook ad!

Now just let it run for at least 3 days (this is roughly how long it takes FB to optimize your ad to the best possible audience). After 3 days, take a look at your ads performance.

Facebook Ads Manager Results

Go back to the Ad’s Manager page from your business manager. Look at the reach and the clicks to have a better understanding of how your ad is performing. A good benchmark is somewhere around a 0.5-3% click rate, depending on the placement. 1% is a good goal for news feed ads, while .5% is good for banner ads and 3% is good for multi-product ads.

That’s all for Facebook paid ads! If you have any questions feel free to reach out.

General Facebook Tips

As far as non-paid FB use goes; you’ll want to be posting at least once a day at a minimum. Twice a day might work better for you. Use a tool like Buffer to schedule your posts to make it easier for you.

You’ll want to share slightly longer posts (up to 300 characters) as opposed to Twitter’s 140 character limit. Visual is almost always better, so try to use images a lot. Quotes also seem to get tons of shares if you can find good ones that resonate with your audience.

Also, always engage with your audience. If they comment, comment back. If they message you, message them back. Share user-generated content whenever it’s available. This goes for all social media.

HubSpot has a few essential tips for engaging users on your FB page. You should also check out this FitSmallBusiness post on How To Sell On Facebook if you’re really interested in ramping up.

Everything Else

Social Media Marketing
You may be wondering; What about Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Music.ly, and every other social media site with potential customers waiting to be corralled into my store?

Pick one or two social media sites besides Facebook to become active on, at most. Until you hire a social media manager, you’re not going to have time to grow more than 2-3 (remember we’re including FB) social media pages. It takes a lot of time and effort to make them successful.

If you’re unsure which social media platforms to use, check out Buffer’s guide to choosing your social network.

I am going to take a look at the 3 biggest social media platforms for marketers next to Facebook: Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.


Twitter Logo

Twitter is a place for quick little snippets of content with a half-life of about 14 minutes. That means you will need to post a lot to be noticed; likely anywhere from 5-10 posts a day at a minimum. (Again, use Buffer or Hootsuite to schedule posts!)

You can also use a tool like Archie to automate some of the repetitive tasks (like commenting on industry specific posts, liking those posts, retweeting, following, unfollowing, etc.).

Social Media Examiner has an excellent guide on how to use Twitter for business marketing.

To grow your Twitter following, one of the best ways is the follow/unfollow method.

Paid Twitter Advertising

I won’t go in-depth in Twitter advertising because I am not an expert on it (yet!) like I am with Facebook Ads. For help creating a Twitter ad campaign, check out this guide.


Instagram Logo

Instagram is an amazing platform for any business that is highly visual. It seems to work really well for those selling supplements and workout plans (Hello, Europa Sports!), just as an example.

If you think you’d enjoy taking pictures of your products being used, your behind-the-scenes work, or anything else related to your business, it’s definitely worth a try.

HootSuite has a nice beginner’s guide to using Instagram for business.

Paid Instagram Advertising

Social Media Examiner has a great guide to paid Instagram marketing.


Pinterest Logo

Pinterest is the last social media platform I will cover. Basically, it is a bulletin board for everything on the internet. “Pins” (similar to other social media site’s “posts”) are basically snippets of a website or images that have been “pinned” to this online bulletin board for anyone to view.

Pinterest is great for marketers because pins, unlike posts, have an incredibly long half-life (i.e. the time they are seen and engaged with) measured in weeks and months rather than mere minutes or hours.

Check out this guide to getting started on Pinterest, if you think Pinterest is right for your business..

Paid Advertising on Pinterest

Check out this guide to getting started with “promoted pins” (similar to boosted posts on FB).

If you’re interested in using any of the other social media platforms for your business, check out the blog at social media examiner. They have guides to every social media site out there that are worth creating an account on.

Email Marketing

Email Marketing

Email is likely to be your #1 marketing machine. It is practically free and has higher conversion rates (meaning more people click on an email and buy) than any form of paid advertising.

If you’re not using email marketing, your missing out on your biggest customer base.

Throughout your time advertising and selling, you should slowly begin to build a solid list of emails.

If you set up the settings correctly on your Shopify store (as I covered in the previous article), you should automatically be capturing your customer’s email address at checkout.

I highly recommend you subscribe to an email marketing platform like MailChimp, Aweber, or Active Campaign in order to keep track of your email list and send marketing emails.

MailChimp LogoAweber LogoActive Campaign Logo

MailChimp is the easiest to get started, but Active Campaign has the most functionality once you get used to using it and have a large email list to market to. Which you pick depends on whether you want ease of use or the best for the job.

KissMetrics has a great beginner’s guide to email marketing. I recommend you read through it so you have a better understanding of the importance of email marketing, as well as how to get started using it.

You can use Canva, just as you did for social media, to create great images and ads to place in your emails.


The Anatomy of Content Marketing Infographic

Social media and email may get customers to your store, but content will keep them there. Content will also keep them coming back, which means more recurring sales. If you don’t have content, you can just scrap the other methods.

Don’t get me wrong – you will probably still get sales if you don’t have content, and you might even get some repeat customers. However, the only way you’re going to stand out from competitors is through your content. Once people find a competitor who gives them content when you don’t, they’ll leave in a heartbeat.

What kind of content?

That depends on your audience and your product.

This guide is an example of content. We’ve produced it in the hopes of getting more traffic and more newsletter subscribers, as well as to help our visitors.

Content could come in the form of:

  • Blog Posts
    • How-to guides
    • Industry news
    • New product releases
    • New website features
    • Product reviews
    • List articles
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Memes
    • Memes (funny images with text over them) are great because they make people laugh and laughs = shares
    • They are better for social media than your blog
    • Use the Meme Creator to easily make great memes
Content Marketing Funny MemeThis list is definitely not extensive – there are so many types of content out there it would be almost impossible to list them all.

With so many types, how do you choose which content to use?

Use the buyer persona you created at the beginning of this guide. It will help you decide what types of content your audience will resonate with.

I also recommend creating a content calendar. A content calendar is basically a schedule of the when, where, how, why, and what of your content.

Content Examples:

If you’re selling sports supplements, you may want to write content about the benefits of the supplements, or compare supplements, or health and fitness tips, recipes, etc. For example, one of our clients, Steel Wall Supplements, created a blog post about the top 6 shoulder exercises for strength.

Blog Post Example

If you’re selling drones/quadcopters, you might stream live video of your drone flying around, capturing amazing scenery. 

If you’re selling washers and driers, write content about how to properly wash your clothes, or different wash cycles that most people don’t know about, or how-to guides to repairing them.

Don’t be afraid to get creative. Whatever your selling, there is probably plenty of content to back it up. Unless you’re selling socks or something like that. But even then…

If you need help coming up with content, check out QuickSprout’s list of 15 types of content that get results and why.

I hope this guide has helped you begin to understand the basics of eCommerce marketing!

There are far too many tactics to even count when it comes to marketing. All I’ve done in this article is try to give you the big ones, and get you started in the right direction. Successful marketing is hard work, and takes long hours. However, if you keep at it, and always remember you’re dealing with actual people on the other end of that screen, you’ll do just fine.

What are your best marketing tactics? I’d love to hear what you’ve done to grow sales on your store. Leave me a comment below to let me know.

If you enjoyed this article, please be sure to share it with other entrepreneurs or people looking to begin an eCommerce store.

This article is one of a series on the Ultimate Guide to Opening an eCommerce Store in 2016. The other parts of the article are:

Step 1: Finding a Product to Sell

Step 2: Choosing a Perfect Business Name

Step 3: Finding a Supplier to Dropship Your Products

Step 4: Creating Your Shopify Store

Step 5: Marketing Your New Store (You are here!)

Step 6: Selling on Multiple Channels

Bill Widmer
Bill is a content marketer and eCommerce lover. From video games, to vitamins, to imported products, he's sold them all. Find out more at www.billwidmer.com!