When it comes to selling online, and particularly during the holiday season, we are usually bombarded by so many ads from a variety of sources that we are overloaded with products everywhere. Whether it’s online, in print, via TV, radio, mobile phone, the list goes on and on. How can you break through the noise and get YOUR product in front of the right people?
Times have Changed!
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It’s a tough question and why it will take a little time to dissect the selling and advertising process. Selling online has definitely changed from years ago to what it has become today, and many online sales specialists will say exactly the same. Even Facebook Ads and Google Ads aren’t working like they used to. Maybe you used to receive a lot of phone calls, visits to the store, and hits to your website, but their effectiveness has trailed off. With search engine algorithm changes and increased awareness of privacy, a lot has changed on the World Wide Web and what used to work before no longer works as well today.
If you keep in mind there is no magic bullet, or a single tool that will always drive the traffic you need, you won’t be let down by your efforts. A strong website and a web presence aren’t sufficient anymore. Online consumers have fundamentally changed the way they buy products. Instead of buying the same things they used to buy, it is easier for shoppers to discover new products or alternatives that offer better quality, better pricing, or ones that even provide a sense of purpose.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve seen the changes on your TV, and with the influx of more and more videos, everything online has changed. Consumers are busier, more distracted, they have more material goods and comforts, and are in search of items that just work or that fit into their current lives without a second thought. That doesn’t always translate to something better, but as a savvy online marketer, you can try!
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Whether you’re trying to get the attention of a new buyer trying to review your latest fitness video series that will help them lose stubborn belly fat, or to sell a unique back massager that relieves tight muscles, or even sell a seasonal wreath to add to their home decor, how do you get the right person or people to walk into your store and make a purchase or visit your website?
Evaluate what works and replicate on other platforms
The answer lies in looking objectively at everything you are doing for your current customers and how you find new ones. Not everything works all the time — some things may work sometimes and others at other times. That may sound cliché, but it really is true.
Sales is not for the faint hearted or impatient. It’s a tough market right now because it’s not easy to promote your products through so much noise. You’ll have to be innovative. Look for ways to get creative in your selling process. Reach out to current customers and ask them how they found you and why they bought from you. If they are happy customers, encourage them to write about you and your company, their experience and why they like the products or services that they purchased. Don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to close the deal on new sales. Stick to your guns and try many avenues and experiment with different methods of outreach.
Remember there are lots of ways and not just ONE way to sell your product(s), and that you should be bold and try new methods, even against the odds. If you really want to know if a product can sell, try selling it on existing platforms, such as eBay, Amazon, Etsy and Yelp, among others. Your products don’t all have to be bundled together on a website, especially if you can try selling on another platform that won’t break the bank.
If a particular item is selling well at your store and you have lots of that product to sell, try selling it in a variety of ways, keeping in mind that your store is just one way. When selling your products online via new platforms, find an influencer. An influencer could even be your children or grandkids on TikTok or Instagram. Family members who consume today’s social media can provide you with ideas about how to make a video that draws their attention. Done right, for the right audience, both your video and your product could go viral. Ask them to help you create the videos. It might seem awkward at first, but it also will be a joint learning opportunity. It takes time to learn a new online platform, but once you get the hang of using just one of these new tools, it will get easier and you’ll know if it’s something you want to continue learning.
Once you have your products selling on different platforms, create blog posts about how your product works, how it makes your customers happy and why the reader should find out more. Next, focus on the advertising tools within the same platform to attract more customers, such as promoted listings in eBay and Ads in Etsy. Use existing tools within each platform to boost your products to the top of the page. Even if people don’t click on them, they have seen the item, and branding goes a long way. If your budget allows, try your hand at advertising, as both unpaid traffic visitors (using blogs, FAQ, products pages to get visitors) and paid cost-per-click traffic are most successful when they go hand-in-hand.
Look at your competition. Take an objective look (or ask a family or friend to be honest with you) and learn what your competitors do well and do better. Also, be honest with yourself when evaluating what isn’t working, or selling. Don’t waste precious time and resources when you’re really just spinning the tires without going anywhere.
Learn how advertising on these platforms works a few months before you want your products to go viral so you will have a better handle on the sales and advertising processes, and you will know how to use the tools. Establish a timeframe and a budget, even if it’s as little as $30-$50 per month. Remember, even though you have created ads, campaigns and you have a web presence, and done search engine optimization, ultimately word-of-mouth advertising is always highly effective. While your eyes are focused on the monitor and your hands on the keyboard, do not ignore the legwork it takes to promote your business locally.
Even online businesses such as Amazon started as an in-person bookstore selling at trade show venues while the World Wide Web was in its infancy. The company launched its web presence, and grew more sophisticated with advertising and describing their products and then started to cross-sell their products.
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If you are better at advertising your products in-person, use an in-person model for your ongoing sales, and contact others to help you when it comes to the online sales. Reach out to other entrepreneurs, small businesses from whom you buy products and ask them how they started their businesses, what made them successful and why. Most started with one small idea, service or product that grew into something bigger. With the right mix of an excellent product that people want combined with effective online and traditional marketing, success is within your reach.
Roxy Turner is the founder and CEO of MARZ Strategies, a website, social media and online advertising consultancy that provides clients personalized assistance and training in the Internet advertising world. She founded several blogs with millions of visitors and hundreds of thousands of fans. The services she provides help build brand recognition and increase sales for clients. Often called the “Web Doctor,” she provides insight and analysis for websites, social media sites and how to drive increased traffic via proven digital marketing strategies.
Roxy is an English native that arrived in West Virginia via an exchange program with Marshall University. She is married to Matt and together they live in Hurricane, WV., with their two teenage children. She has significant national and international experience in online advertising and branding, marketing and social media.
Roxy has presented workshops on digital marketing strategies, such as Facebook and Google ads and search engine optimization techniques to a variety of businesses, organizations and communities. She previously worked as a corporate trainer, with clients such as Whirlpool Corp., Kellogg’s, FMC, Quest Communications, Hatfield-McCoy Trails, REMAX, as well as hundreds of other local, national and international clients. She is a world traveler, having visited more than 50 countries.