Once you’ve chosen the perfect product to sell and have a website up and running, it’s tempting to just sit back and think that the money will roll right in. Yet if no one knows about your business, you won’t make a penny.
To attract customers, you’ll first need to start marketing yourself online. You’ll also need to keep those customers and turn them into repeat clients to grow your business and make real money. To do this, there are three primary steps that you can take, focusing mainly on your online presence.
1. Show your Personality
Even if you sell the most obscure product that you can think of, from fondue pots to baby sunglasses, you’re going to have fierce online competition. Yet many business owners don’t take the time to make their websites enjoyable to visit. Think about your online business as a brick and mortar shop, and hold events, contests, and special sales to draw in customers just as you would normally. Keeping a blog is a good way to interact with your customers and let them know who you are. This can also draw attention to your products at the same time. You can create forums to spark conversation with visitors, making your website a virtual place where people will want to hang out.
2. Use Social Media Wisely
There’s no shortage of articles and business guides urging small business owners to create social media profiles to promote their services. While this can be a great way to reach out to your customers and sell products online, you don’t want to spam your customer base either. Many people are turned off when they receive a friend request from a business profile they don’t recognize, so it’s a good idea to stick to current customers, friends, and family at first and let others come to you. If you keep a Twitter account, be sure to use it to broadcast information that you think your customers will find interesting, rather than just dry facts about your services. The more creative you can be, and the more fun that you can have, the better your results will be.
3. Keep it Simple
Choosing a few marketing strategies and sticking to them will give your bid for new customers a more focused approach than sending half-hearted emails to everyone under the sun. The most attention should be paid to your own website. Be sure that when your customers want to buy something, they can find it on your site and purchase it without fuss. Smooth navigation can make or break a website, because online shopping is all about convenience. If something is too hard to find, shoppers will be likely to leave and find the product elsewhere.
Finally, don’t try to do everything all at once. It takes time for any new business to grow. Roll out your marketing plan in stages and think each step through carefully, so that you can stay true to your brand.
Image: Stuart Miles