By: Catherine Perry
New to ecommerce then you will want to take note of these 5 helpful tips to get your first sale!
Getting your first sale on your ecommerce business is a very special occasion. When you have your first sale, especially from a stranger, you’re so excited that you feel like having a special treat or blowing horns or something to celebrate it! It’s special because a stranger actually found you and trusted you enough to give you their hard-earned money to purchase an item you are offering, and it breaks the invisible wall between you and the customers shopping on the internet.
As a new ecommerce business owner you need to keep in mind it does take time, energy, hard work and patience to get your business “off the ground”, but you should not let this stop you. As it is SO rewarding when you receive that first order! Kissmetrics.com reports that 21% of small business owners in 2014 said getting new customers is a challenge for them, making it the #1 challenge among small businesses. So, if you have a new ecommerce site and are having trouble getting customers, take solace that you are not alone and recognize this is a major challenge in the land of small businesses.
So, how do you get your website noticed? How do you get traffic on your website? And, traffic is what you really want because getting traffic will more than likely get you customers.
Just as you would do if you had a brick-and-mortar (B-A-M) store, you need to market your business. In the case of a B-A-M store, you might run a “Grand Opening” sale and advertise in local publications. You basically want to do the same for your ecommerce business, except that your marketing for a sale and advertising take on different venues being that it is on the internet.
In this article, we’ll give you 5 tips that will help you get your first sale. The key is to implement these tips consistently and don’t get discouraged! Getting your first sale may take a while, and that is OK. This is especially true if it is a new site. Don’t fall into the trap of constantly tweaking your website to get it “just right.” What you want is traffic. When you have people visiting your site, you then have more information about pricing and inventory to make informative decisions in those areas. So, the key is traffic, traffic, TRAFFIC!
Tip #1: Post on Social Media
Because of its popularity and diverse user base, Facebook is a great way of getting the word out for your business. But, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter are also effective venues for showing your website and branding. The social media venue that you choose should reflect who your target market is. It is important for you to be clear on the kind of users you want to reach, as well as the tools the platform provides for you to reach them.
Here are some ideas for developing marketing campaigns and advertising sales on social media:
Create interesting, entertaining, informative posts that catch people’s attention.
Put pictures of your products in the posts. This is a must! It gives your potential customer a visual to “grab” their attention to learn more about the product!
Have call-to-action incentives with sales prices for just Facebook friends or Instagram followers.
Create limited or scarcity either using product or time (for example, “sale ends at 5:00 today” or “only 10 items left”).
Tell your followers what makes this product good, how they can use it in their lives or even pose a question to them to “start a conversation” with them.
Use video to mix up the message. Entertaining videos get many more views that static posts.
Use special holidays and shopping days as reasons for sales (for example, Valentine’s Day).
Tip #2: Find Social Media Communities for Targeted Outreach
As you know there are a vast number of internet users and as a result many community websites have formed. These communities offer a group of like-minded or interested people to communicate and share information about those common interests. By doing a little research, you can find groups that may have an interest in the products you sell. There are communities on Facebook, Reddit, and lots of blogs and forums.
A Facebook Community could be a great way to target the consumer if your products fit a specific audience. For instance, if you have a pet store and have items related to Dachsunds, you might find some FB communities for “Dachsund pet owners.” Search for communities that would have an interest in your products and then find out who the group administrators are for those communities. You can private message them with special incentives that are exclusive and only for their community.
RELATED ARTICLE: Helpful Tips for Ecommerce Business Owners – How You Can Do It All
Tip #3: Post on Forums
Posting on forums is another opportunity to target specific groups of people who have organized themselves online around specific interests. Search for forums that are relevant to your website. In addition to posting and commenting, joining these forums is important for you to stay “in the know” and get your name visible in your industry and business area. Eventually, you can develop links through your relationships in forums. As you become more “known” on a forum, you should put a link to your website with a discount code periodically. However, you do not want to present yourself as too “salesy” in the beginning, this will turn people off. Build a relationship with others in the forum to provide advise, tips or ask questions to others about your industry. It is a great way to see what your target market thinks about and cares about, this will also help you in other aspects of marketing your business. This is a very good way of staying visible in your target market community.
Tip #4: Advertise Online using Google, Facebook, Instagram
Paid advertising is very effective in exposing your ecommerce business, especially at first. You know the old saying, “You have to spend money, to make money”. Well, this rings true. Advertising through these platforms—Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc – is a great way to reach customers as you are building your business. Facebook is very diverse so it lends itself to a wide range of brands being able to target age, gender, location and interests. For instance, you can use the pages that people have liked on FB as a basis to build profiles that determine who your ads reach.
Google AdWords is important because many people use Google to search when they want to buy something. AdWords offers a few different options including text ads and shopping ads in a more purchasing-friendly format. Before going “live” with the ads, you need to do keyword research. Doing your keyword research is critical in order to see how much search volume there is for terms that your customers are searching for. No matter where you advertise it is important to create a budget – daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly. You should also not be afraid to try different outlets, measure your results, update your strategy and continue advertising your business to reach customers.
RELATED ARTICLE: 12 Experts Ecommerce Business Owners Need to Follow
Tip #5: Friends, Family and “Guerilla” Marketing
Of course, connect with your friends and close relationships about your ecommerce business. That almost seems like a “no-brainer,” but sometimes it is easy to forget the simplest of things to do.
Additionally, Guerilla Marketing is a very popular option for ecommerce businesses to build their brands. Guerilla Marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost, unconventional tactics to create buzz. Such things as videos that are entertaining and go viral and pop-up physical storefronts can get your brand recognized quickly.
For example, the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS was an example of guerilla marketing. It was fun and effective because people named other people to join in and that is how it went viral. Now everyone knows something about ALS through the Ice Bucket Challenge.
Be creative and bold in coming up with entertaining stories or activities that can be passed through social media channels, but keep in mind you should not offend. Getting “likes” is the key, however, the worst thing you could do is turn people off from your business and create a “bad taste” for your business. People will share and like what their connections share and like. And so on it will go. We challenge you to come up with a guerilla marketing video in the next 30 days that can include one of your products, but doesn’t have to. It does need to be significant regarding your brand.
Another way of branding that is gaining popularity is creating a “pop-up” shop. You can rent a booth at a local flea market or gallery and display some of your inventory. A “pop-up” shop gives you visibility in your geographic area, exposing your website and therefore can be a great way to start a foothold in building a customer base.
We hope you have found these 5 tips helpful and easy to implement. Be consistent and persistent. It will pay off in getting your first sale with many more to follow!