Updated: Dec 7, 2021
Online Selling – Georgie Gaines
Online selling is now an essential part to our shopping experience and it’s important to know what you are doing when it comes to selling online.
It’s important to recognise it’s still very much a consumer experience – as more people are getting used to this way of shopping and more importantly confident in making bigger purchase decisions through the use of virtual squares. In the past consumers would shy away from making such large expenditures as it wasn’t familiar and thought not to be a safe experience. This is now not the case!! So, it’s a brilliant opportunity for small businesses to get on board.
So, If you are looking to enhance your online sales here is some useful information I have gathered from my own knowledge and online sales experience and those who also who are expertise in the field to give a framework of what to discuss.
Selling your benefit!
Understanding why someone may be interested in purchasing your product is essential in your offering’s development and marketing.
People buy from BENEFITS not your product! This means you need to ask yourself what are the benefits of your products!
Understanding this and looking at your products and listing their benefits will help you talk about it and what it offers your customer! Then when you go to sell online all these benefits need to be talked about and shown! This could be from a social media post, a customer review, or ensuring when you list your products you are including all the information you know your customer wants to hear!
Find Your Tribe (I’m sorry I hate the time tribe sounds really wankie in my opinion but it’s the new marketing slang! For Find your Audience!)
Finding your tribe! Means you find like-minded people who share the same values and more importantly the same BENEFITS! – Finding your tribe is finding you ideal customer! For the purpose of the let’s give them a name! Naming your customer or customers! As no doubt you have more than one customer can help you think about how you will speak to them better targeting them with your benefits in their language. Think about the language you use i.e., if your selling high end products you might want to ensure spell check is on and you don’t use words like Wankie! Think about similar interest of themes that you know your customers love. By doing this will help you GROW your tribe and ultimately sell!
Here is a little example of Jane & Frank who both Love Candles (I’m sticking with the theme of candles)
Once you have got these things in place and noted down – then it’s to look at where online do you sell online and how!
This can all be determined by your budget and time!
Budget! – one of the biggest obstacles in a start- up is having a budget! The very fortunate advantage of today, is that there are some incredible platforms - Facebook and Instagram which are FREE! Other creative places are Pinterest, Tik Tok and I am sure another one is in the making (if in doubt always ask a 13-year-old) and for businesses that serve a service Linked In is a brilliant tool too!
For the purpose of this – we will talk about Facebook and Instagram!
People often ask which one of the 2 is better! In my experience it's BOTH – Yes you get 2 different audiences but they both work as well as each other and they also work together!
SO, if you don’t have one or the other do so. HAVE BOTH! You can then link them together and when posting from Instagram – go to your settings and get it linked to a FB page! So, when you post from Insta it feeds straight onto Facebook! Saving you time and keeping things consistent.
Selling your Soul………
This is the bit which you all know is coming and what I find with this, you either go 100% and don’t even think twice about it or you totally over think and then never end up doing it!! And by this, I mean SHOWING YOUR FACE!
The way we are purchasing is always changing but right now people want to buy from people! They don’t want to buy from Amazon (but they do as it's easy and convenient) but they really want to buy from YOU!
Think of it as your shop counter! If someone walked into your shop you wouldn’t run and hide in the back room or dive under the counter and then expect them to part with their well-earned cash? This applies to you and your online business! People WANT to buy from people – this isn’t about selling your soul and definitely don’t go down the road of looking and comparing ourselves to others (I went there and it nearly stopped me from running my own business) Note to selves!!! We are only on this planet once and Mother Earth gave you that beautiful face to shine to the world, so DO IT!! Tell your customers your story! Tell them why you do what you do, show them a video of you talking about your products and the BENEFITS it will provide and tell them about YOU. Don’t be afraid to ask questions back– these people are your tribe don’t forget!! And they will let you know if they like something or not!
(In my next post I will talk more in depth of social media and how to gain interaction and more customers but for now just the framework of the online world)
Adding a shop to your Facebook that then links to your Instagram is a brilliant way of capturing instant purchases!! (If you haven’t set one up or want to know more leave a comment and we can also discuss this)
A brilliant way of doing this is not just posting the item picture with item specifics but (still sticking with candle) having the Candle in situ! For example, lit in some gorgeous vegan friendly trendy home that entices Jane and Frank who we both know - love interiors, eating and being Vegan!! And then Jane says to Frank “I definitely want one of those candles! Click on the post and you are taken straight to purchasing your item!!!
We also must note that customers' buying habits are definitely changing and ensuring you have a good social media platform is essential. So much online purchasing is done through these funnels (another wanky word!) What is wrong with channels? I don't know) what I mean by this. People don’t go directly to websites – yes, they might go for things that are necessary i.e., food, televisions, washing machines etc – but for us makers, getting a sharp on social media platform which then directs your customer to your website is what’s important!! (Websites can be another subject if you would like me to help give me top tips for sharpening your site) as once in your site you need to capture your buyer and keep them there and keep them coming back briefly using things like promotional codes for first orders, repeat orders and sign-up newsletters are an excellent start to capturing data! And your customer!
Once your customer has found your online shop the benefits it provides are amazing!
You can always be open 7 days a week! (don’t be afraid though when you need a break or off on holibobs to let your customers know! Say you are still taking orders, but items and queries will be dealt with on your return) This keeps sales turning over – even when you sleep!
You can reach every point on the Globe! (Well to the areas that have internet) offering a huge customer potential! Note Shipping costs will vary and something to ensure before agreeing to everywhere!
And you can work from anywhere! Lots of the web platforms that are available now have downloadable apps to our mobile phones ensuring that we can work from any point in the Globe.
Getting your website found is huge to online selling – the focus is customers finding you amongst every other online seller!
The tricks are to build your tribe through social media – there you have your audience already sitting there waiting for you! You just need to talk to them!
Once online and customers have found your site, creating newsletters – capturing people's details as they land on your page! These people are your tribe too! Newsletters are one of the most powerful forms of online selling and often missed and overlooked! It’s not even about people opening the email when they see it ping up in an inbox! It creates a brand re-enforcing moment! As they see that name ping up time and time again! And the day they think gosh I need a candle!! You will be the first candle company that comes to mind as you have been right there! They are also brilliant for gaining that customer loyalty as you can offer exclusive discounts, let those who sign up know what’s going on first, latest offers - the list is endless, but they help grow that strength between the products, the brand and the customer and I can rate them highly enough!!
If you want, I will go into more detail on advice on websites and the importance of a good site - but for now some key points to getting your site ranked – leading to good online sales.
Ensure it's listed in Google! Once listed in google you can then upload your products to google too! This is an excellent way for customers who are searching for something specific to find you! Ensure when you list your item you are using as many good descriptive words that you think your ideal customer would use when searching for a product! (Google feed of words, not images!) and you are searching for your tribe!
Ensure your website is fully optimised (all the keywords are filled out and updated) this is an ongoing process and will change when your products change – most self-build sites offer a step-by-step guide on how to complete this! And definitely use it!!
List your website as many places as possible the more clicks it gets the more your website moves up the page on google the more likely to get in seen! This is called “organic” ranking and unfortunately was how the internet worked before Google monopolised it! It is still definitely worth doing especially for small niche products.
Make sure your website is 100% mobile friendly!!! This is essential as lots of hits to your site will be coming directly from social media which is 95% of the time be used by a mobile device!!!
Ask your friends and family to go to your site and ask how easy it was to navigate? Think of websites which you have used, and thought was a nice and easy experience that was! And use their methods! You only have a short window in time to capture your audience as when a website isn’t working properly or hard to navigate, they will move on!!!
Get Blogging or a Guest Blog – I can talk more about this too! Blogs are a brilliant way of getting Key words (what google looks for) into your site and also keeps your site moving as it’s something new and something to shout about to your customers! If you’re not a writer don’t worry! Its more about using the right words in an article and you can always reach out and hire a blogger! When thinking about what topics to write about – think back to Jane and Frank and their interests! The blog doesn’t have to be about your products! For Example, we know Jane likes vegan food! So have a blog about vegan food – the words used in the blog will then be put into the ethos and when searching vegan! Your site may pop up and you’re leading more Janes to your site (building your like-minded tribe) equaling in sales and ultimately returning customers.
Online selling with a budget!
Questions I get asked, is paying for promotions or clicks on google worth it! It's hard and it really depends on the budget you have! -
Paid Social Media posts can initially be fantastic! As Facebook has, I imagine one of the world’s largest sophisticated data bases there is! We only need to know that – when you search something up on Google, moments later you are getting related products appear on your Facebook Ads! So, when you select a campaign and ask them to target specific audiences you could not get more accurate! You just have to think about what it is that you want to promote and why! And go for it. Also, it’s been noted that lots of other small businesses who have used this tool – they pay for a post get a really big hit, then afterwards a huge dip! (it’s been agreed that these social media sites are being naughty and ensuring once you have paid you keep on paying!) However, don’t dismiss them, just be selective about what you want to promote and they still can benefit your online sales as they help increase your tribe.
Google! Paying for going straight to the top!! This is pricier and unfortunately in the making community you will be up against companies that have huge budgets and pay to be there – note when you google an item! The top 3 or 4 are paid ads (its subtle Ad on the left) and then the right related! If what you are selling is specific and you know you are in a niche market and it's within your budget it's worth considering.
Some great online selling ideas!
Blogging – invite a guest Blogger to your site and someone that you can talk about through your social media – someone that is within your tribe's audience that would capture your tribe’s attention! There are 100’s of incredible influencers online that either work on exchange of your goods or for not a huge amount of fee!
Get Involved! When you get networking, get involved with local events and other businesses, having your name and website shouted about through other avenues and others! it's brilliant for building your brand! And brilliant to attracting your tribe (and the bigger the tribe the bigger the sales)
Create a loyalty system within your site! Give your tribe exclusive discounts or points for spending! A good start is a discount code on all future orders.
Use social media – launch products in a live stream or a big countdown to generate anticipation and hooking your followers in! “Something not to be missed!!!!”
To summarise effective online marketing -I would advise you to know your BENEFITS, KNOW YOUR TRIBE, invest time into great content and enticing social media based on your tribe and get a website that captures data and is slick to navigate!
Would love all feedback good and bad on this and if anyone reading this has more input on other suggestions and knowledge please share! This is what this space is all about!!