There is the magic formula for any business.
Get people interested in your brand, get them to visit your website / sales pages, get them to hit the buy button and convert, and Boom you have your sale.
Here’s the mistake I think a lot of businesses (particularly online) make, including me in the past.
We focus on generating leads, building our list, building social media presences, creating communities etc (all crucial by the way), but we don’t have a solid sales funnel on the backend.
We either don’t have a business as in we have nothing to sell, nothing to offer, nothing to monetise our efforts. Or we have products and services but no clue how to actually sell them.
How long can we keep building leads and engagement when we have no money coming in to fund our efforts.
Years ago I heard Ryan Deiss from Digital Marketer say, traffic is not a problem. Everyone thinks that traffic is their problem, but they’re wrong.
I didn’t understand it at the time, but now I truly do.
If you can buy a visit or a lead at less than that visit or lead makes you then you can buy traffic all day long.
For example, if it costs say $100 to buy 100 new leads vis FB Ads and out of those 100 leads, 5 people buy my product at say $50, I’ve just made $250 revenue and it cost me $100.
That’s a $150 profit. So I can now go and spend $100 every day to make $250 back.
The key however is ensuring out of 100 leads 5 people buy.
That’s called ‘conversion’. That’s the turning someone from a visitor or a lead into a sale.
This is the part which eludes so many businesses, the part so many are scared of (for goodness sake don’t sell anything you might scare people off) and that my friends is currently where my new ecommerce site is dying a death and where all my focus is.
So welcome to our new ecommerce store.
I set this up just before Christmas and to date we’ve had 50 sales totalling an income of $906.17.
Most of our current traffic comes from contests we run weekly and recipes that we post on our Facebook page.
We spend around $10 a day attracting people to our posts and have an email follow up system which right now is having no effect whatsoever!
Our conversion rate is at 0.06%. So out of the 3552 visitors we had this week, we only had 2 purchases.
But also I can see why.
We have no verified reviews on our site. No decent testimonials or video testimonials. We have no product demonstrations, the home page is a bit overwhelming and there are too many decision to make on the site.
Do I enter the contest, sign up to the club, get the free ebook or make a purchase?
The great thing is I got it going. Now I need to get it right.
How to Build an Ecommerce Site From the Ground Up
The beauty of selling on Amazon is that they’ve already done much of the heavy lifting of building an online brand for you.
They’ve built the trust, the credibility, the authority. They’ve built the market presence and they’ve built the database of buyers.
So when selling a product on Amazon, your key focus is on getting your product seen first by their customers and then convincing their customers yours is indeed the best of the bunch.
You just need to be better than your competitors on Amazon.
Still challenging, but infinitely easier than starting from zero with your own branded site.
But hey who ever said I didn’t like a challenge.
So my goal this year is to take my new ecommerce site from zero to 7 figures. (Did I say that out loud?)
And here’s how I’m going to do it;
1. Focus on conversion rate first.
As I said traffic is not an issue. When I can get a regular purchase conversion rate of 2% – 5% going on my site, I can buy as much traffic as I can get my hands on, provided I can buy it profitably.
By the way my current conversion rate from visitor to sale is 0.06%. Yikes!
2. Attract as much user generated content as possible.
Via reviews, testimonials, images, videos, featured posts etc. My goal by the end of the year is to have almost all the content on the site user generated. This will solve the credibility and trust issues I currently have with an unknown brand.
3. Master SEO.
I’ve never been an SEO girl. The whole process seems laborious, long winded and ultimately destroyed every time google make an algorithm change, however, our products have a very low profit margin so any traffic I can attract organically is going to help!
4. Grow Our Brand via Content Marketing
This is a strategy I actually see scoffed at in some ecommerce circles. Just create profitable traffic to your listings and away you go. No need for all this fluffy ‘trust marketing’ stuff.
I think nothing could be further from the truth. We are living in an age of trust & transparency. People want to get to know a brand, to like it, to create an affinity with it and then not only buy from it themselves but recommend to friends and family.
That’s achieved via ‘trust marketing’, a.k.a, publish great content that is useful and solves problems and you will build a community of advocates who will become customers and sales people alike!
5. Email Marketing
Oh yes, list building, lead generation and good old fashioned email marketing will play a big hand in the success of the site. The whole point of creating our own property online is to build a database of our own customers. It’s far easier & cheaper to sell something to a current customer than to generate a new one.
Where We Are Now
As I said, so far we’ve had around 50 sales over the course of two and a half months so we have a long way to go to hit my initial goal of 10 sales a day.
One of the biggest issues with the site is lack of trust so that’s really where I’m starting. I need to show the products in action and generate a ton of great reviews.
This past week, I hired a film crew here in Phuket Thailand and an American lady to stand in our kitchen and demonstrate all the products.
It was loads of fun and I think the fact that people will be able to actually see the products on action when they visit the site will help tremendously in the purchasing decision.
Of course the results remain to be seen when I add the videos!
We also changed all the product images to make them look a bit sexier and I sat down with the team to hash out a social media strategy which we haven’t finished yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to share with you next week.
So my main goals for this coming week are;
- Add a review platform like Yotpo or Trustport to the site and begin my campaign for user generated reviews.
- Simplify the site.
- Create some FREE + Shipping campaigns
- Some minor changes on the site, including the free shipping bar wording, only discounting a small amount of products rather than all, changing join the club to get 10% off right now etc.
I actually had a Skype meeting with a representative from Yotpo this week and although the platform has a ton of features that would help with my goal of user generated content, it’s incredibly expensive. So I’m meeting with a rep from Trustport this week which looks like it has some similar features but at the fraction of the price so we’ll see how that goes.
Find a way for people to access the content we’re publishing easily without clogging up the sales element of the site.
When they visit the store there’s really only one thing we want them to do and that’s to buy. So we need to create trust, credibility & authority in such a way that it leads to the store and a sale, rather than taking them around in circles on the site.
There are a multitude of promotions you can run to your products and services. %OFF, $OFF, %OFF when you spend X, Giveaways etc.
I intend to try them all, but this week I want to try a FREE + Shipping campaign where we hope to cover our costs with the initial purchase but encourage people to buy multiple products when they get to the site or create further purchases from the email follow up campaign.
This will be an ongoing trial over the next few weeks so I’ll update as we go.
Other goals for the coming weeks are to;
- Finish off the social media & content strategy and execute that effectively.
- Encourage & incentivise more reviews, video testimonials and user generated content
- Make changes to the product & cart pages, to make them sexier.
- Add more payment options
- Find an SEO person to manage that side of the business
- Create more effective email marketing strategies
- Increase the product lines & add T-shirts etc.
And I’m sure I’ll think of plenty more as I go.
Back in 2010 when I first started dipping my toes into Internet Marketing, I decided to educate myself on the ins and outs of Facebook Pages and over the course of about 18 months really became the go to girl for Facebook pages (in my small community) before I was swiftly engulfed by people far cleverer than I!
I felt like I was back there again when we started with Amazon and I feel like I’m back there again learning an entirely new skill in the world of ecommerce on our own platform.
You never stop learning!
There are many people far more experienced than I in this field and I look forward to sharing their knowledge coupled with my own discoveries, experiments and learnings with you along the journey.
In the meantime if you want to know more about how we got started with Amazon and would like to explore that business model further, grab my free ebook…