Dropshipping is a hot way to make some extra money because it doesn’t require much in the way of start-up costs. But you need to take advantage of free traffic sources for your Shopify store if you want to run a successful business on a tight budget.
You can easily open a Shopify dropshipping store and import products from AliExpress and wait for the sales to start coming in. The problem? Those sales might never come unless you’re promoting your store in the right way.
SEO and SMO are the joint keys to driving free traffic to your Shopify store.
- SEO is short for search engine optimization and helps to rank your website on sites like Google.
- SMO stands for social media optimization and relates to using sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to promote your brand and products.
- You can use both of these methods for free. Use a social media management app like Socialpublish to save time with SMO.
A brief introduction to SEO
It’s important to know the basics of SEO if you want to drive free traffic to your website. There are some things you must do and some things you definitely shouldn’t be doing. Google rewards you for playing the game right and punishes you for trying to break the rules.
Social media optimization (SMO) is also important, but we’ll get into that later.
Keywords are the most basic element of SEO. You should research keywords using specialized tools to see what people are searching for on Google and other search engines. You can then use these keywords on your site, in your content, and on social media to drive free traffic to your store.
Great free keyword tools
Another important element of SEO is backlinks to other sites. This is where you include links to authoritative sites from yours and get other sites to do the same for you. Think of it as connecting the spider’s web without your site in the middle. The more websites connected to yours, the more trustworthy your site looks.
Producing content that provides meaning to the reader is the best way to drive free traffic to your store. People like it when you take the time to give them something. This also makes your site look more trustworthy.
Learn more about SEO
There are many SEO tips to go through and I don’t have time to lay them all out here. Use these resources to get a better understanding of how it works.
- Google SEO support
- Google Fundamentals of Digital Marketing course (free)
- Google SEO Starter Guide
What NOT to do
There used to be all sorts of tricks to fool Google into ranking your website higher. These are referred to as Black Hat SEO tricks. Google has caught on and you’ll be pushed down in the rankings if you try these dodgy techniques.
- Don’t stuff as many keywords as you can in – this is called Keyword Stuffing
- Don’t pay to have packages of backlinks put into your site
- In fact, never pay for SEO – it means you’re breaking the rules
- Don’t copy other people’s content – Google won’t index your page if you do this
10 free traffic sources to boost engagement for your Shopify store
Now that you understand a little bit about SEO, we can get into using free traffic sources to boost engagement with your Shopify store. Dropshipping stores often rely on free traffic and whether you can bring it in or not will determine whether your store succeeds or fails.
Before you get started, there are also eCommerce statistics and trends to know more about. With these statistics, you can even get more effective traffic sources to enhance your eCommerce business.
Social media optimization (SMO) is paramount in building a successful Shopify dropshipping store. There are few better ways to drive free traffic to your website than by building a successful presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
You should be using social media before you even launch your business. It’s a great way to research your niche and gather a following prior to breaking into the market.
You need to be active on social media to make it work for your business. Like, really active. Make sure you’re regularly putting out meaningful content like blogs, videos, Q&A sessions, and even just interviews with random people in the street. Anything that people will engage with and share.
Use several platforms
You should be using Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and others to reach as many people as possible. You can use a social media management Shopify app like Socialpublish to post on all of your accounts at once and schedule future posts to save you time.
Pinterest is a particularly good and often overlooked platform for driving free traffic to your dropshipping store. The photo-sharing platform is used by more than 335 million users – 71% of whom are women.
Reward shares with discounts
Incentivize people to share your content by offering them a discount code in return. You can use all sorts of rewards to get people to boost engagement with your brand and pull in more free traffic.
Post on Quora and Reddit
The question & answer platform Quora has 300 million active users. Reddit has 330 million. These two platforms are a potential goldmine for driving free traffic to your Shopify dropshipping store.
- Type in a question related to your niche on Quora and start answering while linking back to your site or content.
- Join a discussion on Reddit and link it back to your blog content and let people find their way to your product pages from there. Don’t SPAM! Just post where it fits naturally and don’t try and sell anything or you’ll likely be banned from the platform.
- Be active on Reddit and Quora before you launch your dropshipping store to gain more kudos on the platforms. This way people will respect your posts more and be more likely to follow any links you drop.
If you can break into YouTube then you’ll be able to drive massive free traffic to your site. Make a channel or partner with an existing one in your niche so you can help each other out.
Create meaningful videos that provide solutions to problems your target customers experience. Learn a little about animation- or hire someone – to make a good intro to your videos. A little production effort goes a long way in shares!
Upload one video a week, or consider making a video series to educate people about your niche. You can throw in the occasional link in the video description to bring in free traffic, or just tell people to visit your site in the video itself.
Blogging on Medium
You should have a blog on your Shopify store – that’s the first thing. But blogging on sites like Medium and backlinking to your dropshipping store is another great way to bring free traffic to your website.
Use the same tactics I said for the YouTube videos: meaningful content that provides solutions or educates the reader and links back to your store or Shopify blog.
Use guest bloggers
Having professional bloggers produce content for your blog is a great way to create backlinks and bring in more free traffic. You’ll have to give the guest blogger something in return for their services, but once the blog is published they’ll put it on their own site and social media accounts which will inevitably increase traffic and boost engagement on your site.
Write an eBook to educate your customers and gain free traffic to your Shopify store for it
Don’t worry, no one is expecting you to win a Pulitzer Prize out of this, but having a 30-page free eBook is a great way to provide real value, boost your credibility, and convince visitors to convert into paying customers.
Your eBook can be about something related to your niche, for example, Insider Secrets of the SKincare Industry That Will Make Yur Skin Glow. You can send the free eBook to your email list to increase the chances they’ll open the email and turn it into a conversion.
The key? Provide value.
Email marketing is old but gold in driving free traffic for your dropshipping business
Email marketing is one of the oldest and most effective ways to bring in free traffic sources to your Shopify store. Having an offer or an eBook to reward people for opening the email is going to boost the effectiveness of this ancient marketing strategy.
Collect emails from your website by offering something valuable in return like a promo code or the eBook, then stick to a consistent schedule and remember to always make your emails punchy and valuable.
- Use powerful words in your email copy
- Keep it short and sweet
- Give the reader something for their time
- DON’T SPAM
Social bookmarking is an often-overlooked SEO technique that can direct free traffic to your Shopify store on a passive basis without any real effort from you.
Basically, social bookmarking is when you add a page from your site to an online directory like Mix (formerly StumbleUpon), Dribble, Pinterest, Reddit, and even Twitter. It means the content is also posted there and people can find it when searching on the social bookmarking platform.
The point of social bookmarking is that the content you post is kept on the site for years to come and can be rediscovered by users.
Use long-tail keywords to better define your niche and drive more traffic to your Shopify shop for free
We’ve talked about search engine optimization (SEO) already, but this deserves its own mention. As a small or medium-sized business, you’re competing against major companies with huge marketing budgets on Google.
These businesses will always rank above you for short-tail keywords like ‘skincare products’. You’ll be much more likely to rank on Google with long-tail keywords like ‘Korean skincare products with vitamin C’.
- Long-tail keywords use more words and are more specific. They have lower search volumes but you’re more likely to rank when using them.
- Short-tail keywords are one or two words and are broad. They have massive search volume and are often impossible for small businesses to rank with.
Using long-tail keywords is a great way to bring in more free traffic sources to your Shopify dropshipping store. They’re especially useful if you’re selling products in an uncommon niche.
Encourage reviews to boost engagement for your Shopify store
Reviews are essential for building trust in your brand, but they’re also a goldmine for SEO. People use a lot of juicy keywords in reviews and then share them around the web. You can post reviews on social media, use them as testimonials on your landing pages, and show them on your product pages.
Use a Shopify app to chase customers for reviews and make sure you publish them on Facebook and other platforms using a social media marketing app like Socialpublish.
The research on customer reviews is clear – three in four people trust recommendations from strangers as much as they do their own friends. Reviews are essential for engagement and for driving free traffic to your site. Don’t overlook them.
The competition to rank on search engines is fierce and no amount of SEO tricks will help you if you’re not committed to providing value for your customers. One thing you’ll quickly realize is that free techniques aren’t really free – they require a large investment of your time.
Do you value time as much as money? If you do, then it might be worth skipping over some of the techniques mentioned and just buying up some Facebook and Google ads. But blogging, sending out eBooks, and creating content on social media are the way to go if you really want to give value to your customers.
If you successfully employ these tactics, you will boost engagement and direct free traffic sources to your Shopify dropshipping store. Onwards and upwards!