To really succeed, you’re going to need to experiment a lot.
You’ll need to create ads for different products.
Test different copy, formats, and images.
Experimenting with ads is what will eventually bring in customers and drive sales.
Once you’ve created profitable ads you can start experimenting on your website.
Many people focus on improving their website first. However, you don’t know how customers are responding to certain features if you don’t have any yet.
Avoid making assumptions about your customers.
Be open to being wrong about what really works – you won’t know the truth until you look at the data.
It can be tempting to keep any profit you make. However, if you want your business to grow, you’ll need to reinvest money into your business.
Money makes money.
Spend your profit on advertising.
You’ll probably want to create several $5 ads at first to see which product people respond to best.
However, once you’ve found your winning product, you’ll need to spend a lot more than $5 to make the kind of money people dream of.
If your goal is to make $3000 profit each month, you’ll need to spend about $3000 on ads, which will bring in roughly $9000 in revenue
By reinvesting the profit for several months, you give your business a chance to grow and become sustainable.
Eventually, you’ll be able to live off the money you’re making.
When starting a new ecommerce store, you’ll want to follow a consistent schedule so that your customers can know when to check back.
For example, if you add new products each week, you should do it on the same day of the week so people check back on your website on that day every week.
As soon as you become inconsistent, you start to lose your customer loyalty.
As soon as you’ve bought your store domain name, start building out an audience.
You might start with posts on social media to grow a fan base so that when you launch you have an audience ready to buy.
Once your store is launched, you’ll want to start collecting email addresses and building referral traffic.
By doing this from day one, you’ll grow your customer base faster.
By focusing on building out your social media, email list and referral traffic, you’ll likely need to spend less on ads over the long-term.
You’ll be able to promote your content to your audience through your own channels.
It takes a few months to find the best influencers to promote your products and even then it’s not guaranteed.
Finding a great influencer is a lot harder than it looks.
Sometimes an influencer has a high price but it doesn’t convert to sales.
When starting an ecommerce store you’ll want to make sure your customers have access to everything they need to make an informed purchase.
You’ll want to include shipping and return information so that customers are aware of the policies before their purchase.
You’ll always want to make sure you have a visible contact page so that customers can easily contact you should an issue or question arise.
Your entire website should be very visually appealing.
Product pages should have multiple product images showcasing different angles and uses.
Your homepage should have an attention grabbing banner image that allows the customer to picture themselves with the product.
When starting out it’s important to seek a mentor.
However, sometimes having access to successful ecommerce mentor can be hard.
People don’t necessarily want to share their niches, ad templates and answer questions.
You can join communities to seek advice on occasion.
However, the most effective way to succeed is to find an ecommerce brand you aspire to be like and model your brand after them.
You don’t need to copy their niches or style to succeed, you just need to find the patterns you love about a particular online store and apply them.
In the early stages when you only have 15 products it can be tempting to lump all of your products into generic categories.
However, as you grow your store, you’ll want to be a bit more specific in your product categorisation.
Having product categories such as ‘Women,’ ‘Men’ and ‘Children’ don’t do much for SEO purposes and yet they’re common to find on many stores.
What’s worse is that some stores lump all of their women’s fashion under ‘women’ with no subcategories at all.
Most people don’t like browsing an entire collection to find out that they don’t have dresses in their store.
Look at how Amazon organises their product categories. You can find very specific items with ease.
The easier you make it for a customer to find exactly what they’re looking for the more likely they’ll buy from your store.
When it comes to social media, many stores make the mistake of only being on one platform.
For example, some may only post on Instagram and focus their marketing efforts on there through influencer marketing.
Others are exclusively on Facebook as they find Facebook ads works great on their store.
However, using a combination of platforms might be slightly more work but gives you a competitive advantage.
A competitor can see you’re only on Instagram and focus their efforts on a wider range of social platforms which eventually leads to their business out-performing yours.
Being on about 3-4 social networks is often manageable.
Don’t depend on one platform as one day that platform may disappear and you’re left with nothing.
If you’re dropshipping products, odds are you need to find a way to stand out among your competitors.
The easiest way to do this is by creating unique content.
Pumping out blog posts several times a week is a great way to build an audience, educate visitors while keeping your website looking fresh and up to date.
You can also create videos online to build your brand.
Unique content can make your business much more profitable.
It’s important to test free versus paid shipping.
Yet, when you have a new store with a small social following, it’s better to offer free shipping.
People may be weary of paying a company they don’t trust yet so offering free shipping makes it a smaller risk.
About 50% of online stores offer free shipping which puts you at an advantage over the others when you offer it.
With AliExpress, many suppliers offer free shipping or ePacket which is a low cost express shipping service, which allows you to offer affordable shipping without a huge impact on your margins.
Marketing and advertising bring in the money so don’t waste your time on perfecting your store.
You should be actively posting on social media daily, if not several times a day.
Don’t forget to create a budget for advertising.
Writing blog content regularly will help your website rank.
By putting your store out there, you better your odds of finding more customers.
Ads bring in the traffic that converts into customers.
You’ll need to experiment with different products to find your winning ad, however, once you do its smooth sailing.
If your goal is to make $9000 in revenue you’ll need to spend about $3000 in ads.
The startup ad costs will be difficult at first so feel free to start a smaller budget and build up to it.
Remember it takes 3-5 days for an ad to optimise.
If you keep reinvesting your profit into your advertising your business will grow quickly.
Experiment with different abandoned cart apps and email formats.
You won’t be able to recover every cart.
However, even if you can convert between 1-5% of them, you’ll be better off financially.
The abandoned cart rate, on average, falls between 60-80%.
While it may be normal to experience abandoned carts, you shouldn’t stop doing everything you can to make the conversion happen.
You should have the first email sent within six hours of the cart abandonment to better help the conversion.
Consider also sending at least 3 emails afterwards trying to recover it.
You can offer an additional discount to help convert the sale.
You could start with a 10% discount and in your last email offer a 15% discount if they haven’t recovered it yet.
Building relationships with customers is time consuming but really important to do.
A simple thing to do to get better insight into your customers is email them individually.
You can manually email each customer and ask them how they’re enjoying the product they purchased, if there are any other types of products they wish our store had and if there’s any type of blog content they’d like to learn more about in the niche.
You can throw in a VIP discount code as a thank you for their feedback in the first email you send as an extra incentive to provide this information.
Not all people will reply, but the ones that do, will help you better understand your customer’s needs. It also helps you better serve them.
To reduce ad spend while increasing revenue, it’s important to build external backlinks.
You can do this by promoting your products on relevant and popular blogs or magazines or by writing guest posts on blogs.
The more sources you have driving traffic to your website, the less you’ll spend on ads.
For example, even if you write a guest post on another blog, you might not be featuring a specific product but you may get clicks to your website.
Once you’ve gotten clicks to your website you can retarget them with your best selling product which will be a lot cheaper than trying to find new customers.
If you treat your customers right, they’ll keep coming back.
Stay in touch with your customers. Show them that you appreciate them.
You can host a ‘Customer Appreciation Event’ where you give them first access to new products or an additional discount.
Sending them thank you notes letting them know how grateful you are that they’re a customer while giving a small free gift or discount code goes a long way.
Brainstorm things you can do for your customers that’ll make them happy while strengthening your relationship with them.
Whether you’re planning a financial goal or milestone for your store, it’s important to make sure that you have a SMART goal.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timed.
You want to ensure that your goals are well-defined.
Make sure you set timelines to know when your goal should be achieved by You need a goal that is founded in logic and that you have the resources you need to make the goal attainable.
Procrastination is a funny thing because sometimes people don’t even realise they’re doing it.
It’s great to be active in ecommerce communities, read blogs and take the occasional online course.
However, you need to realise that you can’t hide behind your books.
You need to work on your store.
The sales aren’t going to come in if you spend more time “researching” than working.
You’re going to learn so much more by trying something out and Googling the next step when you get stuck.
You’re going to start succeeding after you’ve made a few mistakes.
Mistakes give you clues about what success should really look like.
So figure it out as you go along, bang your head against the wall if you have to and keep working at it until you hit your financial goals.
As a new store owner, experimentation plays a big role.
I highly recommend trying and testing out the free trials of several apps in the Shopify App Store.
Figure out which apps are most useful now before you get even busier running your store.
Of course, you’ll want to ensure that you have traffic and sales coming through to figure out which apps are most effective.
Start with apps that help grow your business like abandoned cart apps.
Getting your first sale can be very exciting.
However, if you have upsell offers on all of your products from day one, you prevent missing out on easy sales.
Customers who already have their debit card out are a lot easier to sell more products to than trying to attract new customers.
Not only will you increase your average order value, but you’ll also make more profit per customer making your ad spend even cheaper.
When someone launches an online store for the first time, they often fail to complete several steps in the process.
The biggest mistake store owners make is having an empty homepage.
Don’t forget to fill in placeholder text with your own copy, logo and add graphics to your homepage.
You’ll also want to make sure you have products categorised properly (such as dresses, skirts, etc) rather than grouping everything together without categories.
Adding contact information, refund policies and shipping details is also important to include on your website.
While it’s amazing how excited you are to start selling, it’s important to make sure your website is optimised to ensure that you land sales.
Having a finished store, will allow your customers to feel confident purchasing from your new store.
There’s a good chance that your ads will be one of your store’s biggest money makers.
But you don’t want to limit yourself to monetising via Facebook, Instagram or Google alone.
Take the time to drive traffic to your ecommerce store through search engine optimisation, pitching your products to blogs and popular magazines, creating content, being active on social media, email marketing and more.
Marketing goes far beyond just creating ads.
The more you put your brand out there, the more sales you’re likely to get.
Build up your organic traffic by optimising pages for keywords.
Create a list of popular publications and blogs within your niche and start contacting them about featuring your products.
Build up your audience on social media by using hashtags, posting multiple times a day and sharing valuable and entertaining content.
Build up your email list and regularly send promotions to your customers.
Create a loyalty program where you offer special discounts to loyal customers.
Retargeting ads are a type of ad that is shown to people who’ve visited your website before.
In your store’s early days you’ll land a few abandoned carts.
By retargeting your add to carts, you can try to win-back lost customers.
It actually converts better than most abandoned cart emails too.
Your retargeting ads will generally have a low cost but it helps convert customers who weren’t ready to buy the first time around.
As you start getting your first few sales, ask your customers to take pictures with your products.
You can also reach out to friends, family or influencers to take pictures with some of the items from your online store.
If you sell apparel or other accessories, getting as many pictures of people using or wearing your products can help give you social proof.
Customers want to see what the actual product looks like received rather than what it looks like in a touched up picture.
Contact your customers and ask them to share their pictures with you on social media.
If you pay influencers for their pictures, you can use them for your ads.
Avoid using your customers’ pictures for ads, but feel free to share them on social media or add them to your website.
Always give your customer credit by tagging them in the photo.
Urgency can help increase your store’s sales.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to add a flash sale section to your store.
In this section, all of your products should have a countdown timer on them.
The products you add should be rotated once a week so that you always have a new selection of products to keep customers coming back for more deals.
You can add a Flash Sale section to your top navigation so that people can easily find your sale products.
Aim to make it the last category in your top navigation as the first and last categories get the highest number of clicks.
For many online shoppers, product price matters.
They’ll use tools and apps to find discount codes to save even more money.
You should always price your products high enough that you can afford to give a discount to customers without taking a loss.
You can submit your discount code to the most popular sites.
This allows customers to land the discount for your site to ensure the sale.
Some stores include an offers page in their top navigation or footer where they include discount codes for their store.
You might also want to have discount codes included on your social media such as ‘FB10’ or ‘INSTA15.’
Customers will be excited that they’re saving money and getting a great product.
And you’ll be landing the sale making it an all-around win.
When it comes to running a business, there will be things you can do better than everyone else and things that everyone else can do better than you.
While being an entrepreneur requires you to be a jack of all trades, there will be some task that you struggle with.
Whether it’s writing great product descriptions, accounting, or marketing, you need to make sure that you’re doing what you’re best at.
Find someone to do the things you’re the worst at.
Collaboration is the secret to success.
Work with others who are strong where you’re weak.
If you stick to what you’re great at, you’ll see a greater return on your business.
If you outsource your weaknesses, you’ll create a balanced and profitable business.
Use ecommerce automation tools to simplify your business.
The more of your business you can automate, the more time you’ll have to focus on generating sales or living a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility.
Be the store owner, not the employee.
You don’t want to be the person running the business as it can eat away at your time.
Be the person who owns the business, makes the money and lives life on their own terms.
Wednesday 20th February, 2019