So you’re interested in selling stuff online, eh?
Perhaps you have dreams of quitting the rat-race to start your own online, Jumia or konga business (which obviously involves waking up at 10am, working in your pajamas, taking long weekends whenever you like, and answering to nobody because you’re the boss…)
Or maybe you just want a few extra bucks in your back pocket.
Whatever your reason for wanting to start selling online, eCommerce offers huge opportunities for anyone with an internet connection.
Of all the ways of making money online, it’s perhaps one of the easiest to understand and get started with.
Our ten-minute guide to the world of online selling will show you where to start, and how to do it right! You can also order for the ebook.
Let’s jump right in!
1. Send Free Samples to Influencers
The Internet is packed with influential bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and vloggers from a wide range of industries and niches.
Many of them have large followings on social media and loyal audiences on their websites.
Sending a free sample of your product to such influencers, who are either within your industry or related to it in some way, gives you an opportunity to let them know you appreciate their work with a small gift. Also, hopefully, you will get a mention on one of their sites or platforms.
Not only will this provide you with a spike in traffic and social media followers, but you’ll also have a seal of approval from industry experts. These influencers will provide you with measurable results following a potential share or shout out, and you’ll likely raise the status of your product in the eyes of potential customers.
2. Start Blogging
If you aren’t already running a blog associated with your store or product, then you’re missing out on the limitless potential of content marketing.
By producing free, valuable content, you will create trust in your brand and keep people informed. Blogging also gives you something to share on social media and helps you rank in search engines.
A simple yet highly effective way to get started with content marketing for your business is to think of all the starting-point queries people have about your products and industry. Using your blog, you can answer these queries as individual articles.
Additionally, you can use your blog to offer tips, tutorials, and resources related to your products and the lifestyle around your products.
If you can create epic content on a fairly regular basis, you’ll begin to see the power of content marketing via social media shares, search engines, and so forth. To create a blog: Click Here
3. Share the Load with Affiliate Marketing
Trying to sell your products alone can be a difficult task, so why not share the load with others?
Affiliate marketing is when you let other people market your products and send you website traffic. In return, you pay them a percentage of any sales that originate from their efforts. Their marketing efforts can be kept track of by giving them unique hyperlinks (which they can post on their website) containing an ID code at the end of the link, just for them.
For example, a website owner may post your affiliate link for a blue sweater that is for sale on your website. If one of his website visitors clicks the link and then buys the blue sweater, you’ll have made a sale, and as an affiliate, the website owner will be entitled to a percentage of that sale.
The success of affiliate marketing schemes depends greatly on the types of products you sell, as well as the commission percentage you reward your affiliate partner.
4. Network on Forums
Online discussion forums are great places to give out industry tips and advice, answer questions, and acquire a customer or two.
Use Google to search out some active forums that may directly relate to your niche. When you post, ensure you aren’t breaking any forum rules when you promote your brand or products. Get to know the limits and restrictions of the forum, and stick to them. Using your forum avatar, signature, and profile page to promote your brand are usually well within the rules.
You may feel the temptation to post and promote wildly, but keep it professional. No forum will tolerate constant promotion or posts full of links to your website. Bedsides, acting in such a way online will damage your brand in the eyes of other forum users. So, keep it simple by posting just enough for people to notice your activity, but not enough to constitute spam.
5. Set up a Cartel
Sometimes it’s nice to have some support. A small online cartel could be just the trick.
Find a group of complementary (but not competitive) retailers and agree to promote and support each other. It’s a brilliantly simple way to gain traction in a variety of ways.
For example, if you run an online clothing store, ideal cartel candidates might include jewelry and footwear outlets. Essentially, the stores you would partner with are similar enough to be able to cross-promote and share advice, but not similar enough to create a conflict of interest.
You can opt for a completely private setup, keeping things small and tight-knit, or you can branch out and publicize your online cartel in order to attract more members to help build a supportive community of online merchants.
6. Build the Right Relationships
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Building the right relationships, both online and offline, can act as your portal to success.
No matter what type of product you sell or which industry you work within, there always are like-minded businesses out there, and you need to befriend them.
The trick is to build relationships with others that are closely aligned to your business but not direct competitors.
For example, suppliers, blogs, and websites that focus on your industry would be ideal, as they can help provide you with consumer feedback and offer promotional deals, without stepping on your digital toes.
7. Offer a Contest or Giveaway
Everybody loves free stuff, and if you’re looking to build up some trust while launching your sales efforts, a contest or giveaway could help you do just that.
Not only can contests and giveaways help you build valuable inbound links, they also are a great way to show potential customers that you can be trusted and that your brand means business.
It’s important to remember you don’t have to start big.
8. Begin Tweeting on Twitter
Twitter’s beautiful simplicity is what makes it one of the most effective ways to engage with your target market. An excellent method for finding potential customers is to proactively search for people tweeting questions about your industry and reach out to them in a helpful way.
If you need some real life examples of how to nail Twitter marketing, take a look at iTechnology Twitter profile, which could teach you a thing or two.
9. Make Connections on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the office block of the Internet. Within it, you’ll find professionals and executives of all types, boasting about their abilities and connecting with others. It’s an online resume so to speak.
After you set up your e-commerce business profile, you can begin doing the same for yourself (if you haven’t already). You may not make many direct sales through LinkedIn, but you’ll discover an array of opportunities with other companies, suppliers, related websites, and more.
LinkedIn Groups also are a stellar way to engage with other business owners in your industry. There are vast amounts of public and private groups set up for specific niches, allowing you to post questions and converse with other members.
10. Go Visual with Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine
When it comes to representing personality and creativity via social media, the three big visual platforms do it best.
Pinterest, Instagram, and most recently Vine, all allow you to take a slightly different approach to engaging with consumers.
These platforms are the perfect place to present the creativity and passion that goes into your business behind the scenes. Snap pictures of your products, take videos of the manufacturing process, tell a story with images. Always aim for beauty if possible. People love beauty.
11. Don’t Forget Facebook
It may not be what it once was, but make no mistake, Facebook still is a social media powerhouse.
Leverage your personal Facebook profile and your business page to engage with friends, family, and acquaintances and to get people talking about your products. Get creative with status updates and interact on public groups and fan pages relevant to your niche.
12. Design your Store to Look the Part
First impressions are everything, and when it comes to selling online, first impressions rely heavily on web design.
Based entirely on your website design, visitors need to be able to grasp your brand and products without too much scrolling or exploring. Furthermore, navigating through your catalog should be easy, if not enjoyable.
It’s In Your Hands
The strategies listed above are stellar ways to kick-start sales for your online store.
With the right approach, you will need only a handful of the strategies listed above to make the first of many sales.
So, what are you waiting for? You can also order for the ebook, or drop your comment below.