How To Successfully Market And Sell Online
Marketing and Selling products online is unique and very challenging because if in one hand there are a massive range of potential customers we can reach, in other hand there are also thousands of competitor websites fighting for their attention.
In this competitive field we must do all we can to drive traffic to our website, then deliver great services and products for a good price. The good news is, the overhead cost of selling products online is much lower than opening a physical store, and that online marking, even thought time demanding, can be done at low cost.
1- Market Research And Finding Your Niche
Considering the niche market wanted to be target is vital to the success of any business. Smaller niches will bring less competition, giving a better chance of connecting with the target audience but it will offer a smaller pool of potential customers, being the opposite true for bigger niches.
So it is very important to spend some time carefully thinking about what niche to choose and how to balance the level of competition with the size of the market.
Also when talking about online businesses, you must take in consideration if your goal is to sell physical or digital products and services online, as each one of these two types of businesses are very different from each other requiring different set of expertise, setting up and operational costs as well as marketing and selling strategies.
Businesses offering online services and digital products may often require tech, programming, or even financial expertise (for financial products) among others, specially for product creation and troubleshooting, while business selling physical products in general require a good understanding of logistics, production cost, buying and selling, seasonal trends etc.
Before you start your online business, you will need to a physical or digital service or product to sell. But you definitely don’t want to put the work and money into building an online business only to find out that no one wants to buy what you’re selling.
To avoid this fate, it is much wiser to spend time upfront finding the right market and products to sell. For that you must start by looking for trending products.
2- Trending Products
One way to ensure that you’ll start selling products right out of the gate is to align yourself with products that are currently trending. By getting into a trending niche at the right time, you can ride the wave in the short-term and long-term.
However, you won’t want to jump into a trending market when it’s on the decline. Instead, you want to find a product or a niche for products that are growing in popularity.
To help you not to make such mistake there are tons of different tools you can use to spot trending products and niches.
Here are some of the most common tools:
a)- Google Trends: This Google tool allows us to look into the past and future of certain product keywords. By using the data this tool provides, you’ll be able to see if a market is growing or waning in popularity.
b)- TrendHunter: This site showcases a lot of different niches and products that are currently trending across the globe. Plus, there’s a nifty filter that lets us sort by different industries.
3- Align Your Business With Your Passion
Hopefully, the resources above will point you toward a handful of products or potential niches to consider. To narrow down that list even further, you will need some self-evaluation.
You’ll find much easier to work hard and put effort when actually believing and caring about what you are doing and selling. That is the key to make everything much easier and enjoyable.
You also must consider the following questions to determine if you have what it takes to sustain ourselves in the niche:
a)- Do you care about the market you’ve chosen?
b)- Do you have any preexisting knowledge you can rely on?
c)- Can you see yourself working in this business for 5 years or more?
d)- Do you care about the people that you’re serving?
4- Explore What’s Currently Selling
Once you’ve narrowed down your list of potential products and niches to a group that you actually care about, you must go one step further and validate your ideas in the marketplace.
The most effective ways to do this are using the Amazon product marketplace and a keyword research tool.
To start, let’s head over to the Amazon bestseller list in the product category of your choice. There you’ll spend some time digging through the products to see what kinds of things people are actually buying. Look for product multiples and dig through the reviews to see if there are any glaring issues with the existing products.
After that, let’s check the tool Ubersuggest, which is a free keyword research tool that provides lots of actionable keyword data. After inputting your target keyword, you’ll receive a list of related keywords and their search volume.
This will help you to determine the overall size of the market and maybe even give you a few new ideas of products we could sell.
Key Strategies On Marketing Products Online
5- Content Marketing
Content marketing is a valuable marketing tactic for building up your website’s search engine optimization (SEO), attracting more relevant traffic to your site, and building trust with your target audience.
Content marketing requires a considerable investment of time and some money, but it’s a good way to grow the online influence of your business.
Content marketing can take a number of different forms:
a)- Blog Posts – A blog is usually the go-to starting place for content marketing. Regularly publishing high-value blog posts about topics important to your audience is a great way to raise your profile and demonstrate our trustworthiness.
b)- Longform Content – Longform content like in-depth guides or e-books can be published in your website as a way to build up SEO, or placed behind a form as a lead generation tactic. If you create something valuable enough that your audience is willing to give you their address in return for it, you will be able to quicker build up an email list and identify potential customers.
c)- Videos – In the age of YouTube, video content is one of the main ways many consumers like to get their information. You can create informative or tutorials videos on topics your audience cares about.
d)- Audio Content – In the past few years, podcasts have become a huge part of how people consume information. But they’re still largely underused by brands. Consider if your audience is the podcast-listening type, and whether you can provide value to them in an audio format.
e)- Visual Content – Visual content formats like infographics and high-quality graphics can be a way to either supplement your written content, or provide value on their own.
Although content marketing doesn’t deliver immediate results, it’s a good way to build up an audience of followers that overtime will increase your website ranking on search engines.
If a customer expects to get one e-book for a set price on some topic of interest to them, and instead you offer them an e-book, an online video tutorial or some short reports, all for the same or just a little more, you will have created the perception of a high-value package.
That’s because you not only understood what your customers wanted, but you met and exceeded their expectations on what they thought they could get for their money.
6- Social Media Marketing
Social media can be a great way to increase brand awareness while driving traffic back to your online business, some of the best channels to grow your audience and promote your products are Reddit, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
Instagram and Pinterest are image-driven platforms, so they align well with selling products.
Instagram will give you a way to showcase your products and demonstrate how it’s commonly used. And Pinterest gives you the opportunity to create and share content that’s related to your niche and drive targeted traffic back to your website.
Reddit, Twitter and Facebook are better for growing your community and promoting your content. You can use them to tap into the community that’s talking about your industry, connect with influencers, and directly reach your audience.
You can also get a lot out of community-building tools like Facebook groups and Twitter chats.
In addition, you can monitor social channels to stay on top of what people are saying about your services and products. Negative tweets are useful for learning how to improve your services and products. And positive ones are powerful social proof.
7- Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing has been used to build some wildly successful online stores. It’s the process of reaching out to influencers (most often on social media channels like Instagram) and having them promote your brand and products to their audience.
You have the option of doing paid shout-outs, but you might also be able to find those who will mention your business for free in exchange for your products as a barter exchange. Influencer marketing plays on the idea that these people have already built a huge loyal following, so your product gains exposure and trustworthiness by association.
8- Sales Funnel
Your sales plan should include different ways to harvest the email addresses from your visitors. To then add them into your sales funnel where you can market to them again later on.
Without this initial contact information, later plans won’t generate sufficient sales. Always start by getting the contact information and permission to contact that potential customer later.
A well-planned sales campaign keeps track of visitors and what they are buying. It must also have several email campaigns going at the same time, depending on what group a customer happens to land in demographically.
One email list may be marketing to visitors who have yet to buy something, while another may be marketing to those who are already buyers and another for top buyers. Whatever is your approach, you should have definite categories and demographics of visitors and planned sales campaigns directed at each different group.
One way to do this is to put customers into groups based on the amount of money they tend to spend. Small spenders might be marketed with low-cost product lines, while big spenders are marketed with bigger packages and items.
If a customer starts out small and suddenly buys a large package, you will want to have a system in place that shifts them from a small spenders’ to a big spenders’ campaign immediately.
That way, you won’t lose the opportunity to correctly market to customers or to send them two offers by mistake, one from a big spenders’ list and another from a small spenders’ list.
9- Email Marketing
Email marketing is arguably the best way to turn website visits into potential sales. Every visitor that opts into your email list is telling you that they want to hear from you. It’s an invitation to keep the relationship going, which is a big deal!
Email marketing gives you a good way to keep driving traffic back to your site by promoting new content and sharing company announcements. And it gives you a loyal audience to promote special deals too, as earning new customers and getting them to come back again and again is how you really build a sustainable business.
10- Email Results Tracking
Email result tracking can be a very time consuming work, this is especially true for those that choose to do it by themselves and not automate it with tools and services that provide some sort of feedback on the efficacy of a campaign.
When automating tracking email services, you want to find tools and services that can give open rates and click-through rates on the email campaigns that you send out.
And after, if you notice to have low open rates, you will know that the hooks and headlines are potentially uninteresting. Or if you have low click-through rates, you can concentrate on increasing the immediacy of the promotion to add a sense of urgency to your sales promotions.
There are a number of different things that can be tracked to give you feedback on how you are doing, even before you make a sale.
11- Automate Email Campaigns
It’s important to take advantage of multiple online email marketing tools and services to keep track of your email sales campaign. Those platforms offers a service to manage multiple email campaigns, giving you the opportunity to spend more time planning roll-outs and to feature promotions.
This is all done by the third party, and there are some advantages to this approach as you won’t have to install any special tools and manage everything by yourself on your website. The disadvantages are that you’ll pay for the service monthly and you’ll be subject to their terms and conditions.
However, in comparison, installing your on tools on your website, although more expensive in the short run ,would give you far more control and be less expensive in the long run.
12- Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate programs is another example of scripts and software programs that you can install on your website to drive sales versus using a service.
You can go to third-party websites like WorldMarketAffiliate and just use their programs to create an affiliate offer. The cost though can be very high for someone starting up. However making an affiliate program an integral part of your sales strategy can potentially help to increase sales very quickly.
13- Things You Want To Automate
The email campaigns are definitely an example of an online business activity that you want to automate. Other types of functions might be help desk activity, where the first line of response could be an FAQ or a search box that is specifically set up to look through help content to aid a person in figuring out their own problems.
Don’t forget that other tools exist to centralize your entire business activities, regardless of how many sites you own. This can help us to keep track of what is selling or not across multiple sites. It will also help with affiliate programs that might be available on different sites too.
Other types of functionality that need to be tracked are the results of your affiliate campaigns and sales promotions. If you are putting up multiple websites (as you should be), this type of tracking can be difficult to compare across websites.
Try to centralize the operations of your websites so that you can get a good view of what techniques are more effective than others, regardless of the site you are on.
Search engine optimization is the collection of tactics that increase your website’s authority according to the factors valued by search engine algorithms.
If that definition sounds a bit technical, it just means that SEO is how you increase your chances of showing up on the first page of Google, Bing,Yahoo and other search engines.
SEO consists of doing a few main things:
a)- Keyword research – All of SEO is based on targeting the specific keywords you want your website to rank for, so this is an important step to start with. Use SEO tools to learn what words your audience is commonly searching for.
b)- On-site optimization – This step includes making sure your website works on all the important technical levels, like loading quickly. It also means ensuring that each page is optimized for your chosen keyword.
c)- Content marketing – Content marketing involves creating a lot of content that keeps your website fresh, useful, and gives you the chance to target more keywords. For all those reasons, it helps with SEO.
d)- Link building – The search engine algorithms see links as a measure of how valuable other people see your website. As such, they’re an important ranking factor. Link building involves encouraging other websites to add your links on their articles, photos or other material back to yours.
15- PPC Advertising
All marketing tactics we’ve described so far are useful, but require a significant amount of time and work before you can start seeing results. They’re all about playing the long game.
However, if you want to start driving traffic to your website sooner rather than later, adding paid advertising methods to your list will help you with that.
Pay-per-click advertising, or PPC for short, describes any marketing you do on platforms that charge for ads based on how often people click on them, rather than how many times they’re shown. Most of the ads you see on Google employ this model, as do most social media platforms.
With PPC advertising you can set your budget, target the audiences and keywords most relevant to you, and design your ads with copy and images most likely to appeal to your ideal customer. PPC campaigns produce a lot of data, which will help you to learn what your customers respond to and improve our marketing efforts over time.
Things will probably move slowly as you are first getting started, but the more time and effort you put into creating and promoting your online store, the more sales you will see.
Keep in mind that to build multiple channels for marketing your products such as social media, content, SEO, and paid advertising will take time, requiring tweaking, and couple hours of work every day.
Don’t worry if this sounds overwhelming. You must understand that you will need to gradually invest energy into your business to grow in the beginning until you get to the point where we will mostly focused on up keeping what you built.
16- The Best Selling Strategies For Online Businesses
Visitors to your website or blog tend to have a short attention span, so you will generally have about 10 seconds to grab their attention when they first land on your page. Therefore you must be sure not put any obstacles in their way or make them overthink. Many visitors will leave your site the moment they hit a snag.
Three golden rules are:
a)- Don’t force visitors to register when they first visit your website
b)- Don’t make the navigation on your website or blog to complicated to use.
Put the navigation at the top of the page and keep it consistent.
c)- Don’t make buying process long and don’t try to collect a lot of information from buyers. The more steps and information requested, greater the friction, and the more sales you will lose as potential customers abandon their purchase.
To keep visitors from quickly leaving your website:
a)- Keep your website easy to use
A lot of software, specially on e-Commerce, aren’t easy to use from a customer’s perspective, forcing them to pause and fight their way through to the eventual purchase process.
As a test you should try to buy a product as a prospective customer would do, to know how easy or difficult the process is. If you cannot do it quick and easily without too much thought, you have a big problem.
b)- Offer great customer service
An average of 33% of Americans say they’ll think about switching companies after just one poor service experience. When consumers consider purchasing from a website, they are looking for reassurance before they buy. Help them shop with confidence.
One selling technique, regardless of whether the business is online or brick-and-mortar is to offer a guarantee that if the customer is not satisfied, you will refund them with no questions asked.
Keep in mind that a happy customer, even when lost, can still comeback or refer your business to others, an unhappy one can create a lot of damage, specially to an online business which relies mostly on trust and reviews.
c)- Make sure your site is secure
It is crucial to make sure that your website is secure and verified by trusted third parties certificate authorities. Without it, visitors will receive a message from their browsers telling that your website is not secure and that will make many potential customers to turn away from your website.
Also if you are planning on handling credit card information direct on your website instead of using a third party payment gateway, you will need to be on a secure server and PCI compliant. This takes a lot of work, time, and investment.
A better alternative would be to build your store via an e-commerce platform that securely handles the credit card payments for you without requiring you do anything to your blog or website.
If you sell digital products, the delivery should be automated. If you sell physical products, prompt shipping is important, as is providing the buyer with the ability to track their shipment.
17- Promoting Our Store
Having a great website alone is not enough to bring in traffic and sales. You need to attract people to your store and help them to take the step of making a purchase.
Putting yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes. What will they do? Most likely…
a)- Search on Google for something they are looking for.
b)- Ask for advice on a forum or from other people on social networks like Twitter or Facebook.
c)- Seek recommendations or reviews from other websites or social media.
You will need to invest a considerable amount of time and energy each week to promote your business by writing relevant articles or blog posts on your site, finding guest posting opportunities on other websites that your prospective customers may visit and getting other people to review your products on their websites.
18- Use Analytics To Your Advantage
Using Google Analytics will help you to see which sources bring the most prospective customers and which convert best to sales. If you are selling products online, you can easily connect your website to Google analytics by copying and pasting a single piece of code.
Repeat business is another vital aspect of building a successful online business. Existing customers are your most profitable resource.
Encouraging your customers to regularly visit your website by updating your content regularly, building an email list and consistently sending out relevant information, and freshening up the areas of your website that you feel are under performing are a great way to keep customers coming back to check for new products and services.
19- Features To Monetize Your Traffic Stream
a)- Offers that sells – When you advertise a product or service, add a features to your ad that makes the deal hard to pass on. By that, it’s important to get into the mind of potential customers. Try to create a sense that they might lose out if they don’t take on your offer right away. You can do this by offering a particular product or service for a limited time or in limited quantities.
b)- Incentives – Can you persuade a customer to sign up by offering a free e-book in exchange for subscribing to a free trial membership? Once the trial is over, we’ll bill their credit card. Would you get a better conversion rate if you give new subscribers coupons off of your products and services?
c)- Affiliate Programs – Affiliate programs work like incentives to allow others to sell your products and make a commission on them. This will help you by getting other people to do some sales marketing work for you while you create larger sales flow.
d)- Advertisement Sales – There are all sorts of advertise options to create income in your website. You can sell on your website, banner advertising as well as links to other businesses’ affiliate offers, or even Google AdWords campaigns for those which might be looking for a larger audience in exchange for paying for advertising on your site.
20- Other Ways To Create High Value
Your product line isn’t the only place where you can project an image of high value. Your business processes and customer service will also be important to meet and exceed customer expectations.
If you have someone who buys a piece of software or product from you and then can’t get it installed, or have it working, no matter what great deal they got, they won’t be happy if they can’t get someone to help them troubleshoot the installation.
Keep in mind that you must add some services and business processes that keep the customer in contact with us when they need it so that you can continue to have a great online business reputation.
21- Solicit Feedback And Act On It
There’s no way you can think of everything that a customer might need or demand. That’s why you want to add some functionality to your website that allows customers to submit feedback about their experience buying from you.
You should also have a system in place that categorizes and responds to these issues, whether good or bad so that the customer doesn’t feel like they’re being ignored.
If you listen carefully to what your customers tell you, you can generate ideas for future products or business improvements that will help you to keep exceeding customer expectations.
22- Encourage Social Sharing
Encourage your customers to share a link or two on their social media accounts.
Remember, you’re not just asking them to make a purchase, you’re asking them to share your online store with their network – personal recommendations and endorsements can be extremely valuable and will convert well as a source of new customers.
Our final piece of advice again is to be patient. It takes a lot of time and effort to build up an audience and to build up a business. But don’t give up. It is challenging but rewarding, and you will get back much more that what you put in.
So… here’s the process of how to successfully market and sell online. I hope that you all liked this article and got some good information out of it. Feel free to comment and share this post.
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