E-Commerce Marketing Tips: How To Grow Your E-Commerce Sales
About The Author
Hi, my name is Mark Johnson. I am the owner of Think Traffic and I just love internet marketing and web dev.
I started my career by learning to write HTML and PHP, since then I have fallen in love data and traffic analysis and learning to understand how and why users interact with the web. I enjoy working with small businesses too.
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Setting up an e-commerce website is a great way to start a business. It’s a brilliant personal challenge and one of the cheaper ways to start up. But many entrepreneurs, in their excitement to get set-up, forget to actually think about marketing their website and getting those critical sales.
Like it or not, when you are selling products online, at least 50% of your time (or someone else’s) needs to be spent attracting customers and that means becoming a marketer.
There are a lot of different ways to market an online store and doing them all right from the outset will be a big challenge, so we recommend that you just pick the options which suit your business best. Here are a few ideas in-case you are struggling:
Learn Some SEO
When done right, SEO can be very effective for an e-commerce business. The best strategy depends a lot on how many products you sell and what level of demand there is in the search engines.
Some businesses find that optimizing category pages works best, but if you have a fairly small number of products, you could focus on the product pages themselves. If you have a lot of products it may still be viable to SEO your product pages, but this is a big technical challenge, so be prepared for some hard work.
The downside to SEO is that it takes time. If you can afford the investment it is well worth considering taking on an SEO company. Paying for SEO almost invariably produces a better ROI compared to paid advertising such as PPC, but it won’t bring immediate results.
Email is perhaps the most under-utilised way to build sales. This is a shame, because starting an e-commerce mailing list is almost certainly one of the best ways to grow your business rapidly.
The Power Of Email
Say your new business makes 5 sales a day; after 6 months you will have acquired 900 customers! If you can convince just 10% of your customers to return to you, and each of those customers makes a purchase once every 3 months, you can make an extra 30 sales every month.
That means that by using email, you could increase your sales by 66% right away! Email is free and the focus is on retaining existing customers, which is always easier than gaining new ones.
The Critical Things To Do Are:
Make sure you add every new customer to your mailing list. Keep all the information you can, so that you know what each customer has bought, how much they have spent etc. Make sure you follow any anti spam laws in your country of course.
Make it easy for yourself to email your customers. Look around for a simple email solution and make it routine for yourself. The easier it is to email your customers, the more often you will do it.
Selling On eBay
If you are currently selling stuff exclusively via your website, why not try eBay? To get started, just pick one or two products that you can purchase pretty cheaply. To make sales on eBay you may need to offer some products at less than you usually would, possibly even at cost; so eBay may not be very profitable… That’s fine though.
Unless you are buying very cheap, you might not make much profit on eBay, but if you take a long term view, eBay is a great way to find new customers.
Every sale you make on eBay is an extra person on your mailing list and you might find you can quickly grow your customer base this way. Focus on selling small products and keeping your losses to a minimum – if you lose a few pence per sale, just consider that the cost of acquiring a customer.
Of course if you can actually make a profit by selling on eBay, that’s even better! Whatever the case though, make sure you get that email marketing campaign up and running!
Offering a voucher code is a really great way to draw in repeat customers. If you are sending out email marketing regularly, why not offer special discounts to your loyal customers. Your cost of sale will be lower to these customers, so you can offer discounts and still make a good profit.
This strategy can be really effective if you manage to get onto one of the larger voucher code websites. This isn’t always easy to do, but it can send you a lot of traffic if you pull it off.
If you sell a popular type of product and can afford to offer a discount, working with an affiliate network can be very effective. Affiliate networks have databases of affiliates who have large mailing lists and can provide a lot of traffic to your site.
You will have to pay a commission on every sale made by these affiliates, but you can plan your prices accordingly. To make these programs work you will often have to provide a discount code, so that the affiliates can entice their readers to click on their link to your site.
What About The Margin?
Because the risk is lower, and depending on the product, you may find your profit margin is slim (or none) after paying your commission, but if you can keep that customer and make more sales in the future, you can make it work. A good affiliate campaign can bring you a lot of customers.
For this reason, it is important that you have a strategy in place to maximize each customer’s lifetime value… Again, I’m talking about email marketing of course.
Up Sell And Cross Sell!
All of the suggestions above are focused on finding more customers, or getting your customers to come back. Why not also try to get your customers to buy more when they are buying?
Start by gradually increasing the number of complimentary products you have, so that you can sell related items. You know how every time you view a product on Amazon you see “what other people bought”? Well you want to be able to do that, so have a think about what other products you can sell.
Make It Easy To Buy More
Take a look at your website and think about how you can make it better at cross selling. When a customer adds a product to their cart, get it to suggest other products.
You could even consider offering product bundles at a discount. Offering free postage on multiple items is also a great way to get people to buy more.
When you are selling stuff online, the biggest part of your job is marketing. It is really important that you try to put systems in place so that your basic logistics process is as simple as possible – try to get your business working smoothly so that you can free up your time for all of these little bits that make the biggest difference.
Pay It Forward!
Did you enjoy this post? We hope you did, and we hope it will help you to grow your sales. If you have found any of these tips helpful, please share this post with your friends on Facebook or Twitter and help us to help more people.
If you don’t have anyone who you can share it with, we’ll settle for a comment. Let us know what you think (good or bad) and if you have anything helpful to add, we may even update the post and credit you!
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