Shopify Marketing Guide: A 30-minute marketing plan for Shopify stores
Sales & Marketing

Shopify Marketing Guide: A 30-minute marketing plan for Shopify stores

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You're busy, and marketing is complicated. SEO, ads, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, blogging, etc. You're unsure where to start, or maybe you tried it all, but nothing works.

You're overwhelmed and trying to figure out what to do next.

But you know what? You're not alone.

Many Shopify stores have these questions 🤔
  • How do I do marketing on Shopify?
  • How do I write a marketing plan for Shopify?
  • How do I attract buyers on Shopify?
  • How do I make a marketing sales funnel on Shopify
  • How do I increase my marketing on Shopify?
  • How do I increase conversion rates on Shopify
  • How do I build an email list on Shopify?

The questions are endless, and so is the overwhelm.

So, let's fix. In this guide we'll create a marketing plan for your Shopify store in 30 minutes!

If you want to skip around, below is a detailed table of contents for this guide.


Let's dive in!

Create a marketing plan for your Shopify store in 30 minutes ⏲️

In the next 30 minutes we will:

  • Simplify marketing to make it easy to understand
  • Create a simple Shopify marketing plan to follow
  • Give you a simple framework to test & expand as you're ready

How to use this 30-minute Shopify marketing plan guide 📝

It'll take about 10 minutes to read this guide. So that gives you about 20 minutes to write your marketing plan.

As you go through this guide, treat it as a fast rough first draft where you write the first things that come to mind.

Why this approach? Because every part of your marketing plan is connected, and things will get clearer once you go through it the first time.

Then you can iterate and refine it as you tie things together. And remember: Your marketing plan will never be done, it's an evolving document. The goal is progress, not perfection.

Your marketing plan will never be done, it's an evolving document. The goal is progress, not perfection.

Marketing plans are intimidating. That's why we're forcing ourselves to do the first draft in 30 minutes. So, please challenge yourself to keep moving and avoid getting stuck on any step. You can always come back later.

Let's dive in!

What is marketing? 🤔

First, let's simplify marketing.

Marketing is a 3 stage process:

  1. Attract your target customers (prospects)
  2. Make the sale (leads)
  3. Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)

That's it. Everything anybody ever said about marketing, every tool, and every tactic fits into one of those stages. SEO, Instagram, TikTok, ads, direct mail, blogging, etc. are just marketing tactics to do the 3 things above.

Marketing strategy is how everything comes together, and your marketing plan is how you execute your marketing strategy. So that's what we'll cover next.

What is a Shopify marketing plan? 📈

A Shopify marketing plan is a marketing strategy customized to your store's needs by defining the specific tactics you should use to execute the 3 stages: attract target customers, make sales, and drive referrals. It shows you where to focus so you can ignore distractions and do the most impactful things to grow your business.

Each of the 3 stages (attract target customers, make sales, and drive referrals) is made up of 3 steps each, making 9 steps in total.

Next, we'll create a marketing plan for your Shopify business by defining each of the 9 steps.

The 9 steps in a Shopify marketing plan

Here are the 9 steps that will make up your Shopify marketing plan:

Attract your target customers (prospects)
  1. Define your target market
  2. Define your message
  3. Define your channels
Make the sale (leads)
  1. How you capture leads
  2. How you nurture leads
  3. How you convert leads
Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)
  1. How you thrill customers
  2. How customers buy more
  3. How customers tell others

Each step of your Shopify marketing plan plays an important role, making the next step more effective by moving prospects to purchase, buy more, and refer others.

For example, you will only capture quality leads by defining the right target market and picking the right channels. Then, you need to capture and nurture quality leads to make sales.

So take the time to do each step right. It's worth it.

How to make a Shopify marketing plan for your store 🛒

Next, we'll step through each of these so you can build your Shopify marketing plan.

You can write it in a document or use a template to make it easier. I like the marketing plan template from the 1-Page Marketing Plan book, which I highly recommend (this guide is inspired by it).

Let's get started!

Attract your target customers (prospects)

First, we must understand who we should target, what we should tell them, and how to reach them.

Define your target market
  • Question: Who is your ideal customer?
  • What to do: Identify and focus on your ideal customers to ensure your marketing efforts are directed toward those most likely to buy your product or service.
  • Recommendation: Think about demographics like gender, age, location, and psychographics like interests and lifestyle to get specific about who is most likely to buy your product. Go more narrow than you think you should. You can always expand later.

A well-defined target market makes everything else easier, so be clear about who you're targeting and understand their needs.

Define your message
  • Question: Why should people buy from you?
  • What to do: Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) that sets you apart from competitors and communicates the value of your offering. This is how you stand out in a crowded market, attract your ideal customers, and ultimately drive sales and growth for your business.
  • Recommendation: A few steps to help: 1) Consider your target market's preferences, pain points, and needs. 2) Analyze your competition to identify the gaps. 3) Combine steps #1 and #2 to create a clear, concise USP that communicates why to buy from you.

This part can be hard, but it's important. If you can't see why people should buy from you and what sets you apart, neither can your customers.

This is especially important when selling online. For example, if you're the only grocery store in a small town, then it's obvious why people should buy from you. But if you're selling online, you compete with millions of other stores. So you can only succeed by clearly communicating why your target market should buy from you.

Define your channels
  • Question: What are the most effective channels to reach your target audience?
  • What to do: Select the best channel to reach your target market, such as online ads, direct mail, or social media. Consider cost, talent, and any existing advantages (e.g. if you already have a big Instagram following, use that).
  • Recommendation: This varies by business and demographics, but often Shopify stores have the most success with Instagram. But if your demographic is much younger (e.g. students), then TikTok may be a better fit, so do your research.

The two most important things about choosing the right channel are:

  1. Is your target market there?
  2. Can you effectively reach them?

For example, if your target market is mostly on TikTok, but you're not good at making TikTok videos, you should choose another channel.

Bonus points if there's a channel you already have an audience on or enjoy creating content for, even if it has less of your target market. There is no perfect answer here, so double down on your strengths to give yourself an advantage wherever possible.

Through this process, we attract the right prospects who want what we offer so we can turn them into leads.

Make the sale (leads)

In the last step, we reached our prospects through our key channel, e.g. Instagram. But now we need a way to communicate with our leads to build a relationship (so they know, like and trust us) to make the sale.

IMPORTANT: Email marketing is the best way for most Shopify stores, so we'll use email in these examples.

How you capture leads
  • Question: How do you capture email addresses from your channels?
  • What to do: Implement lead generation strategies to collect contact information from leads (potential customers) for follow-up and relationship-building.
  • Recommendation: At a minimum, you should have an email pop-up on your website. If you're using Instagram, use POPSMASH to get your followers on your email list with a giveaway or quiz. If you're using a different channel, look for ways to get prospects onto your email list. If you don't do email marketing yet, then start with Shopify Email or Klaviyo.

Getting prospects from the channel (e.g. Instagram) onto your email list is how you start loading up your pipeline to start driving sales.

Bonus points if you can use a Shopify quiz app to capture data on customer buying preferences with a product quiz. Then after customers opt-in you can include recommended products that match those preferences in your future email marketing campaigns, in on-site upsells and more to help drive conversions.

How you nurture leads
  • Question: How do you get your email subscribers to know, like, and trust you?
  • What to do: Create an automated email sequence to engage with your email subscribers with valuable content and showcase the best of what you offer. This will nurture the relationship to build trust, eventually turning them into customers.
  • Recommendation: First, create a solid welcome email with a limited-time introductory discount. The content of your welcome email and follow-on sequence depends on your industry but will tie back to why people chose you and the unique value you can provide.

This part is challenging and takes time, but your email list will become a significant source of your Shopify store's revenue. Start by creating a great welcome email, then build from there.

How you convert leads
  • Question: How do you convert sales from your email list?
  • What to do: This is how you gently but effectively drive sales. Develop a sales process that efficiently turns email subscribers and other leads into paying customers, addressing objections and providing excellent customer service.
  • Recommendation: Balance promotional emails with valuable, engaging content to drive conversions without inducing subscriber fatigue from constant sales pitches. Limited-time offers, discounts, and bonuses can also help conversions.

This part of your marketing plan greatly depends on your product, customer preferences, business nature, and more. So, test and experiment over time to see what works best.

Make them happy enough to buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)

Congrats, you made the sale! But here is where the real work begins. Nailing this last stage is how to build a long-term sustainable business.

Why? Because happy customers are the best source of revenue through repeat purchases, upsells, referrals, and good reviews that accelerate your growth. So next, let's talk about how to do it right!

How you thrill customers
  • Question: How do you exceed customer expectations?
  • What to do: Exceed customer expectations by offering high-quality products and services, ensuring they become loyal and repeat customers.
  • Recommendation: The best way to get new customers is to thrill existing customers. Go above and beyond, especially with customer support, to make your customers love you and tell others.

No matter how good your marketing is, if you product or service isn't good, it won't matter. Your product isn't just what you sell, it's the whole experience: buying, product quality, shipping speed, customer support, etc. It's hard to do it all well, but that's why you'll stand out when you do it right. They better it is, the less you have to spend on marketing.

How customers buy more
  • Question: Why would customers want to buy more from you?
  • What to do: Encourage repeat purchases and upsells by creating additional value for your customers and strengthening relationships.
  • Recommendation: After making the initial buying experience amazing, continue to nurture the relationship, add value, and offer incentives through your email marketing. For example, follow up the initial purchase with a discount, use upsells/cross-sells, give personalized recommendations, etc.

Happy customers are one of the best sources of future sales. This will increase customer lifetime value, drive repeat purchases and foster long-term customer loyalty for your brand.

How customers tell others
  • Question: Why will customers tell others? How?
  • What to do: Foster word-of-mouth marketing by actively seeking and nurturing referrals from satisfied customers.
  • Recommendation: Loyalty programs, bring-a-friend discounts, sharing purchases/recommendations, and more are ways to encourage customers to refer others. Get creative and make it easy for your customers to spread the word.

In the earlier steps, you worked hard to nurture the relationship and thrill customers when they buy from you. Now you want to harvest that loyalty and goodwill to get even more customers because happy customers love telling others!

From funnel to flywheel

After walking through the 9 steps above, think back to the 3 simple stages:

  1. Attract your target customers (prospects)
  2. Make the sale (leads)
  3. Make them happy so they buy more & tell others (customers & referrals)

In the beginning, it's on you to manually move customers through the funnel. It's heavy lifting because you're doing it all.

But as you make sales and deliver exceptional experiences, those happy customers will tell others. The result? Selling gets easier.

Every step of the funnel gains momentum through raving customers, social proof, great reviews, word of mouth, etc.

And as you nail the core parts of your funnel, you can start testing and layering on new channels, targeting new segments, trying new messages, etc.

Test & expand, rinse & repeat 🧪

What we walked through above was a perfect-world scenario. We just assumed that Instagram and email marketing would work for your business. But every business is different, so the only way to know is to test and iterate: test your target market, messaging (USP), channels, lead capture, lead nurture, offers, and referrals. Test everything.

When you find what works, you need to double, then triple down on it before doing anything else. Focus on what works.

Why? Because growing online is hard, especially when you're first starting. Getting customers is hard. Growing your Instagram is hard. Growing email subscribers is hard. It's all hard. So, the only way to do it well is to focus in order to make any channel work.

Then when you're ready you're ready, you can start layering on new target markets, messages, channels, etc., and start again. do you know what works?

This could be a whole other guide, but at a minimum, you should track traffic and events by adding your store to Google Analytics and Search Console. Google Analytics can be complicated, so here's Shopify's guide on Google Analytics. But the most important thing is to set it up to start capturing the data, then you can do more later.

Then you should have most of what you need between Shopify's built-in analytics and Google Analytics.

Now, go forth and sell!💰

I'm proud of you for making it this far, and I hope you're proud of yourself. This is challenging and can feel overwhelming, but you did it.

So what did we cover? Together we:

  • Simplified marketing into 1) attracting your target customers, 2) making the sale, and 3) making customers happy enough to buy more and tell others.
  • Walked through the 9 steps to create a marketing plan for your Shopify store
  • Covered how you can test and expand your marketing plan

This isn't the perfect marketing plan for your Shopify store, and we made a lot of assumptions. But we went through the process, you now understand how a marketing plan pulls the sales funnel together, and you have a first draft you can iterate on.

Your marketing plan is never done. It will continue to evolve as the market evolves and you seek to grow.

Also, remember to always leverage your strengths. Consider your unique strengths and talents to give yourself an advantage, and get creative.

I wish you nothing but success and happiness. Now go forth and sell!

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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