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Stuart McKeownDriving 20k Social Actions From A Blog Post In 6 Days

  • Friday, August 7, 2015   - Get post updates via email + a special bonus growth hack here

Back in June, Shopify embarked on one of the most impressive pieces of content marketing I’ve witnessed this year.

The team built an E-Commerce business completely from scratch, generated close to $1,000 of revenue then used Gleam to giveaway the complete business to one lucky person from the Shopify community.

Introduction To Shopify


Shopify are a global e-commerce company on a mission to make it easier for businesses to build online stores, or take physical payments in their store via POS.

They currently power over 175k online stores, which have processed over $10Bn worth of sales since launch in 2006.

E-commerce is a crowded space, but it’s also an area that provdes a lot of hurdles for new busineses wanting to setup shop.

Before Shopify existed users would have to jump through quite a lot of hoops to get up and running:

  • Design their storefront
  • Find a shopping cart vendor
  • Set it up on their own hosting
  • Setup SSL
  • Configure everything
  • Organise fufillment
  • Buy lots of 3rd party plugins
  • Market the Store

A Shopify Store

Shopify has removed a lot of those barriers to entry, allowing you to take your idea from concept to reality much faster and start selling to customers much quicker. They even have a fancy app store that allows you to frictionlessly install thousands of apps or plugins to help you with things like running competitions.

Shopify Epic Matcha Gleam Campaign

Shopify Matcha Case Study

Shopify had one main aim with their campaign, to show the community that it was possible for anyone with a great business idea to launch a store and start generating revenue in just 3 days. Talk about eating your own dog food.

They decided that not only would they document the entire setup of their business from start to finish, but that they’d also let one of the community win the business they created.

To do this they created a huge epic longform blog post which went into excruciating detail on how to come up with your idea, source your products, build the store and market the product.

It all started with a challenge – build an ecommerce business from scratch and see how many sales we could generate in three days.

A key component of the campaign was being able to give the business away to someone from the community in a way that was cohesive and easy. And that’s where Gleam comes in.

Shopify Gleam Campaign

Shopify were able to embed their contest at the bottom of their blog post. The perfect place to allow users to take action after reading such an amazing case study on how to build a business.

The widget was designed using a mix of actions:

  • Getting users on the mailing list was paramount so that came first
  • Using Tweets and Retweets to start spreading word about the blog post and contest
  • Allowing users to refer friends for extra entries
  • Driving social follows across the range of Shopify properties (including the business they were selling)
  • Sending users off the page to engage with some other value pieces content

13.3% of users that read the blog post entered the contest, driving a staggering 20k social actions in the space of just 6 days. Each user completed on average 5.8 of their desired actions inside the contest widget.

5 Key Growth Takeaways

What can you learn from how a business like Shopify does their content marketing and blog posts?

1. Showing Users How To Use Your Product Is Some Of The Best Marketing You Will Ever Do

Show Users How To Use Your Product

Products can be complex and users love to replicate existing success. Shopify’s blog post shows users how to start with their product completely from scratch, it instantly gives you a checklist of actionable things you can start applying with your own idea (or business).

This tactic is something we’ve been focusing on here at Gleam for quite some time now. On the outset we have a fairly flexible product that can be used in lots of different ways – which can overwhelm potential customers.

So to combat this we have invested heavily in content that teaches users the power of our product. Month in, month out this continues to be the content that drives us the highest ROI.

Gleam Examples Page

Gleam Example Campaigns

We get lots of requests from users wanting to know if Gleam could be used to do certain things (like Refer-a-Friend campaigns for example). So we started keeping track of all the requests then I built out fully fledged live examples for each.

You can see below how popular this page has become in such a short period of time, it’s now easily one of our most visited sales pages (and easily has the highest ROI on time spent from a content generation perspective).

Gleam Examples Analytics

Don’t underestimate how many people are looking for inspiration when it comes to using your product

2. Learning What Works For Them

Learning What Works

This wasn’t the first time Shopify have run a campaign with Gleam. In fact this was their 36th campaign using the platform.

The guys have tested so many different types of configuration and incentives to find out what types of campaigns work best with their community. And usually B2B campaigns are much harder to execute than B2C.

Check out some of the submissions into Shopify’s latest #ShopifyPicks Gallery below where they are showcasing some of the best products from their 175k merchants every day.

ShopifyPicks Social Gallery

This particular Gallery is fed images from #hashtags and an competition, built using the Gleam Gallery app.

3. Investing Time Into Evergreen Content

Spending Time On Content Marketing

Evergreen content is simply content that will stand the test of time and continually bring you traffic (i.e. it won’t get old). Our Google Analytics Setup guide would be a good example of this.

Shopify really understand how to mix this with tactical content to drive a more engaging experience for their readers.

Shopify Evergreen Content

An example of Evergreen content might be this article on how to drive sales and traffic from Pinterest. It’s always going to be relevant for as long as Pinterest exists, but will need updated regularly as they roll out or change features.

Whereas more tactical content revolves around shorter term campaigns to promote new product updates, contests or announcements.

Shopify Contest

Notice in this scenario how Shopify promoted their contest in two posts to maximise exposure:

  • Embedded at the bottom of the original article for users to enter
  • They also created a completely dedicated blog post announcing the contest with more details (which performed better)

4. Making Blog Posts Interactive and Actionable

Writing Actionable Content

I am a huge fan of writing blog posts that give you some actionable tips that you can take away and implement.

What made this particular post so engaging for users is that it immersed them in a story. A story they could relate to and think about how to apply the learnings to their own business.

Then, as the user reads further and further down the page they are suddenly greeted with a way to win the business they have just been reading about. Boom! You have the user in a hyper-engaged state and they are ready to start doing whatever it takes to win that prize.

Embedding giveaways at the bottom of actionable blog posts about products is an insane way to drive hyper-engagement

5. Promoting Their App Ecosystem Through Content

Shopify App Promotion

Another great thing that Shopify do, is designing their content to promote App partners. An App partner is a company that redistributes their product in the Shopify App store (you can check out Gleam here).

This gets people using more apps, which drives more engagement, which helps customers achieve better results with their storefront.

There’s plenty of ways you could do something similar with your business:

  • Highlight popular campaigns or customers on social media that you think are great examples

  • Have a showcase of campaigns, sellers, apps or products for different categories
  • Interview your customers and make the content engaging and actionable
  • Build guides geared towards specific demographics and funnel them into different parts of your product (that are most relevant). For example this Exit Intent guide funnels users through to our Capture product.


26k Blog Post Impressions in 6 Days
20,408 Total Actions Completed By Users
3,500 Unique Entrants Completing 5.8 Actions On Average
1500+ Tweets About The Post
3k New Newsletter Subscribers From 1 Blog Post
Create Your Campaign Now

More Ways to Grow Your E-Commerce Store

Stuart McKeown

Stuart McKeown is one of the Co-founders here at Gleam. Shoot a Tweet to @thegyppo if you liked this post ☺

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