I talk to a lot of eCommerce entrepreneurs every month. You can usually find me on discovery calls with prospects, at networking events and mastermind groups or just mingling with like-minded individuals in the eCommerce space here in Utah.
In many of my discussions, one of the most common threads is around how difficult it is to scale from $20,000 – $30,000 per month in revenue to upwards of $80,000 – $100,000 per month. Not only do you have to think about marketing and customer acquisition differently to get to that level, but you’ll also run into a slew of new operational issues that you’ll have to tackle and solve. In short, going from side hustle to full-time, fully-fledged eCommerce entrepreneur is hard. It will literally take everything you’ve got mentally, physically and spiritually. So buckle up!
Let’s talk about the marketing side of scaling your Shopify store. I would say that most people who hit the $20-30k per month mark are typically putting about 15-25% towards their bottom line (net income or profit). Smart entrepreneurs use that money to not only fund new inventory but also to fund new marketing initiatives. The smartest entrepreneurs, allocate most of that, if not all, toward marketing and driving new customer acquisition.
That being said, where are they putting that money? Which channels are they investing in? Before we dive into that question, I think it’s important to note that just doing more of the same ie, what you’ve been doing to get to $20-30k, isn’t going to get you to the next level. In this post, you’ll read about seven things you absolutely have to consider and put some time and effort into in order to take your eCommerce store to the next level. Let’s go.
Growing Your Email List
One of the very first things you’ll need to look at is how to grow your email list faster. I see a lot of well-established websites failing to collect emails through pop-ups on their website. This is marketing 101. So how do you grow your list faster?
- Implement some form of email capture on your website.
- Test the offer. Some of the tests that we run for clients here at Stryde are as follows:
- Initial purchase discount.
- Buy one get one promo code.
- Get access to exclusive products and be the first to know about sales
- Enter to win a product giveaway or a store gift card.
- Test creative.
One of the easiest and most affordable tools we’ve found to run all of these tests is Opt-In Monster. You can split-test creative, copy and the offer to find a winning combination to continue to drive opt-in rates higher and higher. I’d highly recommend checking them out.
Lastly, you shouldn’t collect email addresses just to collect them. You should have an extremely dialed in email marketing/nurturing program. If your list isn’t hearing from you at least once or twice per month, they will cool down and eventually unsubscribe or start marking you as spam.
Building An Army of Affiliates
If you’ve been in eCommerce for more than a few months, you probably know what influencers are. For the most part, I don’t believe in influencer marketing anymore. It’s incredibly difficult to track and most influencers don’t provide any value. What I do believe in is affiliates… and yes, affiliates can be influencers.
If you really want to scale your customer acquisition, you need to enlist affiliates to push your product in exchange for a commission on sales generated by them and their audience. You might also call these folks, brand ambassadors. What you are looking for are individuals, bloggers, journalists, etc. who have an engaged audience and will push the heck out of your products on a regular basis. This is where the magic happens.
Most companies I speak with pay their affiliates between 10-15% of revenue generated. You can track this a few different ways. First, through unique promo codes. The affiliate will promote the product and provide a promo code to use as a value add to their audience. Second, through trackable links. By using an affiliate software, you can track link clicks and conversions. We at Stryde, really love Referral Candy to handle both of these.
Scaling Your SEO
eCommerce SEO can be super tricky. Not only do you need to figure out how to build/attract legitimate backlinks to your website, but you need to combat the ever-changing SERPs.
One of the most frustrating things for our team at Stryde is when we see a client’s rankings decrease and when we look at the SERP to find out why, we learn that search intent has changed. What we’re finding is that the results no longer include product pages, but are filled with top of the funnel, educational content. Shifts like these take a lot of time and effort to pivot, create and optimize new content and promote to acquire links and social signals. It’s seriously a beast!
To properly scale your SEO, you’ll need a process in place for the following:
- Performing keyword research and optimizing pages (could be a few dozen or thousands).
- Monitoring keyword rankings and adjustments to SERPs. We use SEMRush for this.
- Making content and optimization updates to your pages on a regular basis.
- Monitoring competitor backlinks, which pages their getting links to and what they are using for the anchor text. We use Ahrefs for this.
- Finding ways to secure the same or similar links that your competitors are generating and finding new ways to get links they are not.
Nurturing Potential Customers Through Deeper Content
One of the biggest areas where eCommerce companies are leaving money on the table is in producing content assets that educate and nurture potential customers and handhold them as they make purchase decisions. To do this, you really need to understand the entire customer journey: who are these people, what do they value, how do they research, how do they make purchase decisions, etc. From there, it’s as simple as building out robust content pieces or blog posts to educate and introduce your product to them. BOOM!
Let’s look at an example of how this works:
One of my friends owns a company called Phone Soap. They sell UV light smartphone sanitizers. When they look at their potential customer’s journey, they see a few things:
- These people are concerned that their phones are dirty and disgusting from daily use, a family member being sick, etc. and want to find a way to safely clean their phone.
- They are using Google to research how dirty their phone really is.
- They are using Google to find out what the best way is to clean and sanitize their phone is.
By creating, promoting and ranking these assets, their potential customers come in at the top of the funnel, are educated and introduced to the brand and their product offering. If the potential customer doesn’t convert, they can layer in retargeting campaigns and cart abandonment strategies to convert the customer later.
Decreasing Site & Cart Abandonment
Another area where most eCommerce businesses are leaving money on the table is by ignoring site abandonment issues. Are potential customers looking at your products, but then leaving to never return? What about adding them to the shopping cart, but never starting to check out. Or worse, starting checkout, but not completing? All of these are lost opportunities to capture revenue.
Two easy ways to start recovering that revenue is through customized abandoned cart emails and exit pop-ups. We use both methods at Stryde and they work quite well.
For abandoned cart emails, you should set up a series of emails that trigger around 5-6 hours after abandoning a cart. They should then drip out over the space of a few days. These emails should offer customers a discount code or some other promotion to get them to come back and seal the deal. Shopify is set up to send an initial, non-customizable email. We’d recommend deploying Klaviyo as your email marketing solution, which handles this task easily.
For exit intent pops, these are mean to help convert potential customers who don’t even reach the checkout process. These can be set up in Opt-In Monster and trigger a pop up when their technology detects that the user is going to exit the window or return to Google. These can include discount codes to entice them to complete their order.
Improving Site Mobility
When was the last time you dug into Google Analytics to see where your traffic is coming from? For most of our clients and our own brands, mobile traffic is usually the top driver, by far. Most Shopify themes are fairly mobile-friendly, but still, leave a lot to be desired.
Take some time on a regular basis to open your website on your phone or tablet. Some of the things you’ll want to look at are as follows:
- How quickly do you get to the point with your content? More than a single flick of the thumb?
- How easy is it to click on a drop-down in the navigation?
- How easy or quickly can someone add a product to a cart and check out?
By doing this yourself, you can find glaring issues that can be passed along to a developer to correct. Don’t have a good developer, we like Hey Carson for small fixes like this.
Improving Website Conversion Rates (Mobile & Desktop)
Lastly, and probably the hardest is figuring out how to improve your overall conversion rates. Even improving your conversion rate by half a percentage point could mean big gains in revenue. To start running conversion rate optimization tests on your website, you can use Google Optimize and start testing different elements of your product pages, shopping cart, and checkout pages. Some of the things you might consider testing include:
- Page Headlines
- Product Images (type and placement)
- Product Descriptions
- Review Placement
- Add To Cart Buttons (text and color)
- One-Click Purchase
As you can clearly see, you’ve got a lot of work to do and a long road ahead of you. I hope this post has given you some good ideas and a bit of a roadmap of how to scale your Shopify store. If you’re looking for help scaling your Shopify site, we are a trusted Shopify Partner. Please reach out here for a custom quote and please feel free to ask any questions or provide other ideas to our readers in the comments below.