How To Grow Shopify Without Ads: Step-by-step Guide

Article last updated on January 29, 2022

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to start selling or growing your business on Shopify. In fact, you don’t need to spend any money on ads at all!

Knowing how to grow Shopify without ads is a gamechanger not only for businesses starting out, but also for those who are already making sales and want to scale their business even further.

Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.
Are you busy or effective?
If your revenue is growing at a snail's pace it's time for a reality check.

You see, when it comes to growing your online store, there’s no better way than through organic traffic.

This means that the more people find your products and services by searching Google or other search engines, the higher your chances of getting new customers.

However, if you’re like most small business owners, you probably aren’t spending much time on SEO (search engine optimization). And while this might be fine, you’ll have to invest more in content marketing efforts in order to get noticed.

In this guide, I will show you how to grow your Shopify store without advertising. I’ll walk you through everything from how you can do it and what tools to use, so you can do this a lot easier.

How to Grow a Business Without Ads

To grow a business without ads, we first need to understand why someone buys in the first place.

The first thing to know about buying online is that it’s not always about price. It’s about convenience, trust, and ease of use.

If you’re looking for something specific, such as an iPhone case, you’ll likely go with the cheaper option because it’s easy to compare prices.

However, if you’re just browsing around to find a solution for a specific problem, you’ll often look online what brands have to offer.

Brand building is the foundation for having trust and loyalty among consumers. They have become synonymous with quality and reliability.

When you buy a product from a trusted brand, you feel safe knowing that they won’t let you down.

This is exactly why you should focus on branding and building trust before anything else.

There are only a handful of ways you can grow a Shopify store without ads the right way, and these are:

  • Content Education
  • SEO
  • Email

I could list a lot more of them, but let’s be real, we want specific solutions that will bring us the best results possible. So, let’s start with the most important and most neglected one…

Content Education

Content education is the key to growth. If you want to make sure that you’re providing value to your audience, then you must create high-quality content.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re writing blog posts, creating videos, or doing live streams; the point is that you need to provide valuable information to your audience.

And the best way to do that is by educating them.

It’s very common for people to think that they need to write tons of articles to gain traction, but this isn’t true.

Instead, you need to create high-quality content that educates your audience on topics related to your niche.

For example, if you sell fitness equipment, you would educate your audience on healthy eating habits, exercise routines, etc.

One of my clients, Gorilla Bow, managed to grow his following (and sales) by educating people on how to use his product and what the benefits are of doing so.

By giving your audience useful information, they’ll learn more about your brand and products than ever before.

Most businesses do content education the wrong way. Instead of focusing on providing value to their audience, they simply try to sell them.

But when you educate your audience, you build trust and credibility. This gives you the opportunity to connect with them and eventually convert them into paying customers.

What you want to build is a community of people that know everything about your brand, products, and everything related to your niche.

And this comes through sharing high-quality content. Don’t forget to share your own experiences too.

Tools for Content Education

Imagine you have a Shopify store, an Instagram page, and a Facebook page. What to do next? How to educate people about your products and problems related to your niche?

It’s simple. We need to write and post relevant images or videos.

You can use your Shopify blog for this purpose and then repurpose it for social media.

To give you an idea, here is what I did with my client in order to educate his audience on how to use his product.

The first step was to create a blog post explaining how to use the product. Then, we used the same blog post, broke it down into 4 content pieces for social media, and got amazing engagement.

Because the foundation is to write content, I would suggest you use Jasper as a writing tool. It is an AI-based writing assistant that will help you as you write your content.

When you have your written content, then you need images and social media content. For that, we can use a free version of Canva. This way, you can easily create awesome-looking content for educational posts.

Now you have a written post, social media posts, and the only thing left to do is to schedule all of this ahead of time. For that, you can use a tool called Buffer.

After all of this, your main job is to continue repeating this process as you see a long-term compound effect of content education.

SEO Designed Specifically for Shopify

As you are writing your educational pieces, we also want to prepare our content for SEO.

Search Engine Optimization is the process of optimizing your website and articles so that you can be visible on Google. This is oversimplified explanation, but basically, that’s it.

I want to say that SEO is an extremely competitive field, so we do not want to waste time trying to rank for some generic terms.

You will just lose time, money, and patience.

So, instead, I recommend focusing on areas where you can dominate. That’s why we have talked first about content education.

SEO specifically for Shopify is a bit different than traditional SEO because you are purely focusing on selling your products.

So that’s why we need to have complimentary content that is relevant to our products.

For example, when someone searches for “best fitness tracker,” we need to have a page explaining what the top 50 fitness trackers are and why they are different.

We also need to have pages explaining how to use our fitness tracker and how to get the best experience.

In addition, we need to have customer stories section where we share success stories and testimonials.

All of this helps us show the potential customers what they’re getting into.

One thing I want to mention as well is that, I’ve seen many small businesses get massive traffic from search engines simply by publishing educational content.

If you think it is not worth it, then you should probably try it. Just remember to laser-focus on your niche.

Tools for SEO

Now, there are many tools that help you optimize your site for search engines, like SEMrush, Ahrefs, etc.

But if you are new to SEO, I highly suggest using free tools first. They give you enough data to see what works and what doesn’t.

If you are looking for a tool that gives you detailed reports, I recommend checking out Ubersuggest. It has tons of features, including keyword research, backlinks analysis, competitor analysis, traffic analysis, etc.

But, if you are looking for something more advanced, check out Ahrefs. This tool allows you to find keywords with high competition, low competition, average competition etc.

It also shows you the exact position of your competitors in SERP (search engine result).

Personally, I use Ahrefs, but most of my clients that are Shopify owners use Ubersuggest simply because it’s easier to understand.

Email Marketing

When you have people on your website, you want them to become customers, but the reality is that up to 90% of your website visitors will never buy anything.

That means that you need to communicate with your potential customers more often.

This is where email marketing comes in.

When people are on your website, you need to have some form of lead magnet. Lead magnets are things like eBooks, cheat sheets, coupons, etc.

These are great ways to capture leads and convert them into paying customers later on.

So, first, you need to create a specific type of lead magnet that your ideal customers would love to have.

Don’t bother creating something generic. Create something that is unique to your brand.

You can do this by asking yourself questions like: “What does my product solve?” What pain points does my product solve?

Then create some kind of mini-version of that solution.

For example, if you are selling a fitness tracker, having a “Top 30 debunked myths about fitness trackers” eBook would be good. Always think of the end goal.

Give this for free in exchange for your email address.

Then the real email marketing starts, and it is all about education and relatability.

Most Shopify and other online businesses try to push people into buying their products.

That behaviour is called “hard sell”. People hate hard sells.

Instead, you need to educate your audience and make them feel as though you care about them. The best way to do this is through storytelling.

Tell stories about how your product helped them overcome challenges they were facing.

And when you’re done telling stories, ask them questions. Questions are always better than statements.

Questions get people talking and sharing their story.

And once you’ve got them talking, you can easily turn them into a customer.

Also, let me tell you a secret – email marketing is one of the most effective ways to build long term relationships with your audience.

Tools for Shopify email marketing

Most of my clients use Klaviyo for their entire email marketing strategy. Klaviyo is an email automation platform that makes it easy to send emails from Shopify.

They offer two plans: Free and Pro. I can confidently say that Klaviyo has made it super easy to manage email campaigns.

You can setup your lead magnet, your email sequence and schedule them automatically.

Klaviyo also offers A/B testing which helps you figure out what works best for your audience, but just remember, do not be too aggressive with your sales.

It is about building trust and rapport.

Bringing It All Together

To give you a complete overview of how to grow Shopify without inversing in ads, you need to combine these three steps together.

  1. Create content that educates your audience about your product.
  2. Optimize content for SEO.
  3. Setup and automate your email marketing.

Your target audience craves authenticity and educational information. They will come back to your site time and again if you keep providing useful content.

Social proof is built up overtime. It is built up by caring about your audience and treating them as humans.

If you treat them well, they’ll reward you by spreading the word about your business to others.

This is why these three strategies work together so well.

First-time buyers will be your loyal customers only if you provide them with great value.

The same goes for your conversion rates. You’ll see people obsessing about their website conversion rate, when in reality they should focus on improving their organic traffic and brand credibility instead.

So, before you worry about your conversion rate, make sure you have a strong foundation. Make sure your audience trusts you and wants to buy from you.

Once you have that, then you can worry about any short-term effort because the only thing that matters is long term compounding result.

All in all, after you grow your Shopify without spending a penny on ads, it will be a lot easier to sell more products and generate more revenue.

Think of your online business as a living, breathing organism. You feed it with quality content, optimized for search engines, and you nurture it with email marketing.

The only you will attract are those who are willing to buy from you.

I hope this was helpful. I wish you all success!

Marko Matijasevic

Marko is performance-based growth strategist, focusing on business growth while maintaining a strong emphasis on authenticity in every individual he works with.