How to Sell Products Online
Digital marketing has transformed how to sell products online. Selling products from home and making money from selling online is now a huge and increasingly sophisticated business. The good news is that you can learn what you need to know without a huge amount of effort and you can learn by doing, refining your marketing as you figure out what works best for you. Using digital marketing can turn a side business into a real money maker.
The Benefits of Using Digital Marketing to Sell Products Online
Deciding What to Sell
You have many options for deciding what to sell online and how to go to market. The five most common ways to sell products online are:
Put Outbound Marketing to Work Selling Products from Home
Whatever you decide to sell, you will need to make outbound marketing work for you. Outbound marketing is how you find potential customers, get their attention, and motivate them to make a purchase. Outbound marketing was time-consuming and expensive when it meant advertising, manning tables at fairs, and hitting the phones. And you never really knew what was working. Digital marketing is the best way to reach more customers with the least time or effort. You can easily measure what works and keep refining, getting more efficient all the time. The Digital Marketing School is ready to help you master these key skills and best learn how to sell products online.
Put Outbound Marketing to Work Selling Products from Home
Your website functions as your storefront as well as a place where you can interact with and help customers with articles and multi-media that answers their questions, gives them tips and ideas, provides advice and overall enhances their experiences.
Your first step is to choose a platform. Old-fashioned HTML websites built from scratch by coders have been replaced by easy, nearly do-it-yourself “content management system” options like WordPress. With the use of ecommerce “plug-ins” like Magento and WooCommerce, you have the ability to customize your store. You can also create sites on ecommerce platforms like Shopify, BigCommerce, and Squarespace.
You next big decision is to figure out how you will accept payment. The easiest way to handle this is with a third-party payment processor. PayPal is one of the best known examples, where customers go to PayPal to complete the transaction. If you want to take payment directly, you need to set up a merchant account and a payment gateway. Things to consider are the fees your payment provider charges, how long it takes to get the money, how easy it is to integrate their solution into your web site, and if the solution meets security standards that safeguard you and your customer’s identities and financial information.
When designing your site, you need to make it super easy for customers to find what they want and pay you. You also may want the ability to suggest other things they can purchase, evaluate options, and learn more. The experience matters, so ensure that shoppers enjoy the process equally well on a desktop, tablet and phone.
Search engine optimization—SEO basics
Search engine optimization has evolved since the days of filling a website with keywords and farming links on list websites. Search engines use complex algorithms to find to most relevant results. Some of the factors that Google and competitors use to track and rank sites are:
Social Media: Marketing, Advertising and Social Selling
Social media marketing is using social media to find and engage potential customers. Creating an account on one of the popular platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter is all it takes to get started. Resist the temptation of opening accounts everywhere. Social media only works if you are social on it. You have to start and maintain conversations. It is not a place to constantly push product. If you do that, people will avoid you like the plague. Focus instead on the needs and interests of your audience and use pictures. Look for likes, comments, and shares. If all you are doing is posting, you are wasting your time. Pick one platform and do it well before opening another account somewhere else.
Social media advertising is much more obviously commercial. The average post on Facebook is only seen by 2% of your followers—assuming you have followers! To actually reach people in volume on any of the social media platforms, you have to pay. All of the social media platforms offer different kinds of programs in a range of prices and payment structures. Hootsuite has an excellent overview of social media advertising options here.
Social Selling is a new buzzword for using social media to sell—finding, connecting with, understanding, and selling prospects. Social selling is a set of relationship-building strategies used on one or several social media accounts. Pushing product is counter-productive. They key part of social selling is listening to your prospects and providing solutions, tips, and ideas at the right time. You need to be personally, actually involved. If your social media program is a bunch of robots just posting content, you are just a spam machine. Listen to what people are saying about problems your product addresses and pay particular attention to requests for help and recommendations. Then provide value—something personal and relevant that directly answers their question.
How to Sell Online with Email Marketing
Here we are going to cover the essentials of how to sell online with email marketing. Using email to develop relationships with customers and sell products is a proven tactic. It is one place where you can finely target your audience and provide highly relevant content to them.
It all begins with the list. You need a pool of people to send email to. Regulations meant to curb spam mean you can’t email total strangers. You need people to “opt in” and give you permission to send them email. Your initial list is likely small; friends, family and early customers are the best place to start. Going for big numbers by sending to people who haven’t given you permission will get you in a world of hurt, from being kicked off an email platform to getting fined. You can build your list by asking people to sign up on your web site and by asking customers if they would like to get email. You can also ask people to sign up on social media. Give people a specific reason and incentive to sign up.
When you have a list, then you need to create emails to send. Start with your audience. What are their needs and interests that you can address in an email? Then figure out what you want to achieve with each mailing. What are your goals? With these two things in mind, you are ready to write. The key components are:
Make sure your messages work on mobile devices—over 55% of email is now read on mobile devices. Check how your email looks on different devices and email platforms with Litmus or Email on Acid. Don’t overload them with design, which makes them slow to load—and they look spammy to email filters. Put the most important information in the top left quadrant of the email and arrange content in the order you want it read. The call to action should be in the preview window, not the very bottom of a long email. Consider several calls to action spread throughout the email copy. And always remember to include an easy unsubscribe link.
Segment your list and send the most targeted messages possible. Test an A and B version at least (and maybe a C and D version) to see which messages, designs, and calls to action work best. Personalizing email is one easy way to dramatically impact success.
Sending the email is only the first step. Watch performance statistics like a hawk and follow up when warranted. If you find a recipient who has opened the email, especially if they opened it more than once, you might want to follow up with a call. You can also track if people share the email with others—call them as well. And if people respond to the call to action, answer back as quickly as possible.
Link Building—Establishing Credibility and Attracting Relevant Visitors
One of the best ways to get traffic to your site is by earning links to your content from influential personalities and brands online. They mention you and link to your content. Those links help you in two ways:
To learn more about the value of links, read Google’s article Search Quality Rater Guidelines. They cover the concept of E-A-T: Expert, Authoritative, Trustworthy content. When you are writing, creating infographics, adding photos, or hosting video, think of these ideas for creating worthy, linkable, high ranking material.
Not all links are good links. When a quality site or person links to you, you get value in terms of your content being seen as worthwhile—that’s “link juice.” If the site linking to you is of low quality, such as pages of lists of links called a link farm, you get zero link juice, and in fact may be penalized. It is about the company you keep. Good sites have subject matter worth in terms of Domain Authority, specific content value as Page Authority, and integrity as measured by their Spam Score. You have several ways to get links:
Because links are so important, it is natural that people have tried to manipulate them. Some bad practices are out there that will actually hurt your site and ranking. Avoid these “black hat” link practices:
Inbound links—links from other sites—are not the only links worth your attention. Sending your visitors to quality, relevant material from links on your site is also valued by search engines and readers. You can do this through embedded links in content. You’ll see we have done this right in this article. You can also create resource pages and curated lists. If you want to find quality, relevant content, you can discover options to link to through the advanced Google operators tool.
Engage the Power of Digital Marketing
When exploring how to sell products online, digital marketing cannot be beat. We hope these tips inspire you to raising your game when selling products from home and making money from selling online. We’ve just scratched the surface, and there is quite a bit you’ll need to know about each tactic. The important thing is to get started. Learning by doing is not only more effective, you can earn money while doing it. Stay connected to the Digital Marketing School to perfect your skills and ramp up your results.