Are you selling your products or services online? If not, you should be, as retail sales via the internet are expected to soar to almost $4.9 trillion in two years’ time, more than doubling the figure in 2017. You don’t want to miss out on the action, but guess what? Neither does any other savvy businessperson. The competition is going to be fierce, and you have to stand out to attract new clients and keep them coming back no matter what you have on offer.
So how do you go about outdoing the competition in this brave new electronic world? That’s precisely what you’ll find out if you continue reading.
Get Legit with an LLC
First things first: Even if you’re a fledgling operation and a recent COVID-preneur, you need a business structure, and an LLC is an easy entity to form. Many small businesses operate as LLCs due to the protection of personal assets, the tax advantages, and minimal paperwork required during formation and later for filing. LLCs are easy to manage, and they provide the same benefits as a corporation without the complex structure. What’s more, when you register your business, it legitimizes your venture not only in the eyes of the IRS but in the eyes of your customers, too. Online formation services make the process simple and streamlined, and they’re much more affordable than a pricey attorney. These services can also serve as a registered agent on LLC paperwork for your business.
Understand Your Clientele
Ask yourself who your customers are and why they need you. This allows you to craft an effective marketing message and provide a compelling reason to visit your e-store and make a purchase. If you sell knitting supplies, for example, your target is someone looking for a type of yarn for a scarf or sweater, and your website should help them find it, quickly and easily. By zeroing in on your target audience and marketing to them specifically, you can increase brand awareness.
Create an Attractive Website
Imagine walking into a store and seeing total chaos, with products scattered about randomly on the shelves and no discernible system to the aisles. Would you shop there? Of course not, and for the same reason that customers won’t buy anything from a poorly designed online outlet. Many visitors leave websites immediately if they find them unappealing in terms of layout and content. Don’t make that mistake. If your layout looks wonky and you have a number of broken links, you need to address these issues ASAP.
Of course, if you’re going to have a website, you’ll need content. Connecting with your audience through the use of a blog of regular articles will allow your customers — and your potential customers — to engage with you and your content. If writing isn’t your forte, then reach out to an experienced ghostwriting agency like ReillyWriting LLC.
Make Your Platform User-Friendly
Now, imagine customers visiting your online store, drawn in by the promise of finding the perfect gift for a birthday and impressed by the elegant design. However, they can’t find the item they want with ease, as they’re used to doing elsewhere. Guess what happens? They get frustrated and give up, which is why your operation should be simple to navigate with fast loading speeds to bring your target immediately to the page where they enter their credit card details.
Market Through Email
Now, take a step back from your website. As wonderful as it may be, it’s still a mystery to the shopping public if you haven’t told them about it. Email allows you to do that, efficiently and on the cheap. Afterward, you can forge an ongoing relationship with your customers via regular updates on your products. In fact, 91 percent of American adults like getting promotional messages from the businesses they use, according to data from MarketingSherpa.
Take Advantage of Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have opened up avenues for marketing that businesses could only dream of in the past. Do you have a new product to tell your customers about? They’ll find out about it more quickly with a social media post than an email or stumbling upon it by accident
when browsing the internet. What’s more, your name will spread like wildfire through gaining new friends, and you can reach out to them instantly at any time with another post.
Offer Some Sweet Deals
Others have already put these email and social media tactics into effect, but don’t let that stop you — just sweeten the deal you’re offering. One solid promotion could turn the tide toward your website, and the holidays are the right time to do that. Imagine offering a 25 percent discount on heart-shaped anything before Valentine’s Day, and you’ve got the idea.
Incentivize Repeat Shopping
Constant contact through email and social media, combined with exciting updates on discounts and new products, can easily keep customers interested in your online shop, but why not kick things up a notch? E-commerce experts suggest an online chat feature and rewards for customer referrals to drive loyalty.
Are you excited yet? You should be, as you now have the recipe for success in selling online, complete with reliable revenue from repeat business. Don’t wait too long to start cooking, as there are shoppers browsing the internet right now.
Image via Pixabay
About Derek Goodman
Derek Goodman is an entrepreneur and writer who left a cushy job to take business into his own hands, founding Inbizability. Be sure to check out his work!