Shopify Store Launch Success Guide (Part Four)
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We're excited to share Part Four of our 4-Part Shopify Store Launch Guide!
If you followed our initial Shopify Store Launch Success Guide Introduction post, then you've picked a date for your Shopify store launch. And if you've followed our Shopify Store Launch Success Guide Part One techniques you've begun working on the 4-Core Topics. If you haven't done those steps yet, then go back and work on them now. If you followed Part two of our guide, then you've worked hard on your pre-launch contest strategies to build your email list and social following. If you followed Part Three of our guide your launch day was a fun party and you made customers really happy!
Now it's time to lock in your early momentum and use it to scale to exciting heights!
13-24 Days After Launch: Part four of our guide assumes that you are 13-24 days after your site launch. It's time to keep the momentum going, fix what is broken, refine what is working to make it work even better, and begin planning for your first full year!
After almost two full weeks of having your site be "open to the public" you should start to feel comfortable with how the site works. You'll begin to get in a routine related to looking at the site dashboard and reports - and seeing what is happening on your site. You'll also begin to feel more comfortable with how to make changes to the site as needed. Let's talk about a few things you'll want to begin digging deeper into:
Learning From Google Analytics
Your Google Analytics should be set up. As with many things, you can set up a GA account and have it collect a bare minimum of information, or you can spend the time to set things up in a more detailed way - to capture more information. Over time you'll want to do that, but for now, as long as it's up and working, you're off to a good start! A few fun areas of the GA tool:
Real-Time Traffic Overview: This tells you in real-time what is happening on your site. Mine looks like this right now:
Audience Overview: This is a fun section that let's you know the basic statistics of your site for a given date range. How many users, how many sessions they've done in total (one user can visit the site more than 1-time, so the sessions will be a larger number than the visits). It also shows how many pageviews your site has gotten, and other helpful information. Mine (set to a daily view) looks like this right now:
You'll notice my trend line goes flat at 1PM because it's not 1PM yet. So, as the day progresses that chart changes to reflect the reality.
Acquisition Overview: This helpful section shows you where your visitors are coming from. This is incredibly important because it gives you clues about where to invest your time and money - what's working well - and what's not. Mine (set to a 30-days prior view) looks like this:
We can see that email marketing is the largest driver of our traffic, followed by social, and then organic search.
You'll also realize these reports can be "drilled-down" into, so you can see additional information. For example, when you click on the "Social Media" category in the traffic report above, you get to see the individual social media sites and how they are helping you. Mine looks like this (set to a 30-day view):
You can start to gain valuable information about your site from these reports. For example, in the report above, although Facebook sends me more traffic. Pinterest sends me more new visitors. And although I have social traffic from a lot of sources, those two send the majority of both new and returning traffic. So I'm wise to spend my time on them.
Create A "What I Know About My Website" Journal
Begin to dig into Google Analytics and document your lessons - things you discover about your website. Make a journal of "Things I know About My Website". This will be incredibly valuable to you over the months and years to come. You can refer back to it - so you remind yourself what you've already learned from the data.
Shopify Apps To Explore
The other opportunity you have is to explore new and Apps that can help you boost engagement and increase Average Order Value. Let's list those so can begin researching them and decide whether they are right for you:
Apps To Boost Your Engagement:
- Loyalty App (should be installed prior to site launch)
- Product Review App (should be installed prior to site launch)
- Translation Into Other Languages
Apps To Boost Average Order Value:
You'll find that over time you become more aware of revenue opportunities and how specific Apps can help you with those specific opportunities. Like many things, it will come down to a question about the Return-On-Investment. In other words, how much does it cost to set up the App and use it each month - and how much will it generate in revenue.
Now that your site has been live for almost two weeks, you can start to evaluate your product strategy with a bit of perspective. You'll naturally be wondering about things like,
- Are your products selling well?
- If not, is it a traffic problem or a conversion problem? (hat tip to Brett Bartlett)
- Are there any surprises (either good or bad) that give you new insights?
Building A Product Pipeline
One thing you'll begin to realize as an E-commerce seller, is that adding new products gives you a natural topic of conversation. You can use new product launches to get people to visit your site, upsell older items, and generally refresh the look and feel of your homepage. So building a product pipeline becomes incredibly valuable. The product pipeline will be different for every type of e-commerce seller.
- Some companies can launch a new product each day.
- Some can launch a new product one time a week.
- Some can launch a new product once a month.
- Some can launch new products just a few times a year.
Think hard about your ability to create a product pipeline and how you can begin to manage it. At first, it might simply be you figuring out what products should be added, how to source it, and how to get photos and copywriting done so it can be added to the site. But over time, if you grow carefully, you'll be able to add staff to help you with this effort.
Mastering The Integrated Product Stack
Remember products don't have to just be physical items. In fact, you might discover that your customers want (and will readily buy) nonphysical items. They are generally much easier to create and sell - and with zero cost of goods - they represent some of the highest margin products you can sell. Consider "how-to" type information products and clubs, groups, or classes that create community.
If you've followed this guide then now you've run several contests and you've started to discover what will (and won't) work with your audience. Keep learning. Keep experimenting.
Building Your 12 Month Promotional Calendar
Take a few hours and a notebook and plan out your next 12 months worth of promotions. Here are a set of action steps to consider:
- Clarify your plan for each promotion, your goal, and the cost involved.
- Pay special attention to any holidays and consider how you can create special promotional campaigns around them. One of our most popular promotional campaigns each year is what we call our 12 Days Of Christmas Campaign. It focuses on the traditional 12 days of Christmas and we treat it like a 12-day marathon of contests, polls, freebies, and just generally having fun.
- Take into account any seasonality to your sales - and plan special promotions and activities to counter-act those slow times.
- Plan your product launches and begin organizing the promotional strategy for them.
- Continuously revisit your plan, modify it, refine it, and learn as you go!
If you've followed this guide, then you've been emailing your list regularly.
Identifying The Challenges
After a few weeks of sending newsletters, you've probably also come to realize how challenging a discipline consistent emailing is to develop. Evaluate what barriers exist to enable you to do it. Faithful emailing is the cornerstone of successful online selling.
Evaluate Your Ethical Bribe
You've probably also identified whether your list building strategies are working well or not. If not, consider coming up with a new ethical bribe. Or, evaluate the title and look and feel of your existing ethical bribe. Maybe it's the right free gift, but it's not packaged properly. Work through those challenges.
Create A Communication Calendar
Like with the 12 Month Promotional Calendar, create a 12-month communication calendar.
At a minimum, just plan to send a newsletter in support of each promotional campaign you launch. In that way - your communication plan becomes very simple.
But you can also begin brainstorming content ideas to fill-up your "normal" newsletters with engaging information. What systems and patterns can you develop that make your newsletters come together in a systematic way? Begin creating a method to your madness and a system that allows you to generate newsletters quickly.
It might feel like an enormous effort to put together a newsletter and hit send, but over time you become accustomed to the stress - and it gets easier, faster, and more systematic.
Refine & Enhance As You Go
Take time to reflect on your communications. Go back and read your newsletters after a few weeks. Watch to see which ones get responses. Getting customer responses to your newsletters is a sign that you've hit a nerve. Hit it again. Become tuned-in to what your customers want to hear about - and give it to them.
Launching a Shopify site is hard work. I hope this guide has given you both the practical steps, and the encouragement to take them. One thing is for sure - you'll never hit a goal you don't aim at - and you'll never have a successful Shopify site if you don't launch it.
I hope this article has been helpful in getting you one step closer to that goal. It's an honor to be part of your Shopify journey!
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