5 Effective Ways to Generate Your First Online Sales

Online Sales

After spending months or even years behind product development and market research, you’d expect sales to start flooding in once your online business is up and running. Sigh! Only if it were that easy. Soon after starting your online business, you might realize that setting up an online marketplace is merely the beginning of your entrepreneurial journey.

Whether you own a brick and mortar store or an e-commerce website, sales are one of the most crucial aspects of running a business. And for a new business, the first few sales are especially important. As an e-commerce website ourselves, we understand this struggle all too well.

That’s why we have prepared a list of marketing tips to help fellow online businesses bring in those essential first sales:

1. Send Free Samples to Influencers and Thought Leaders

One of the best ways to get your business noticed is by having a notable personality mention it. There are numerous bloggers, vloggers, and industry experts who have a massive following on social media and many loyal website visitors. By sending them a free sample, you can get an opportunity to be mentioned on their sites or platforms.

If your brand gets a seal of approval from these influencers, it will reflect on your website traffic, and you’ll see a spike in your social media followers. This may eventually bring in sales and your brand will develop a favorable image in the minds of your potential consumers.

2. Set Up Social Channels

This one seems fairly obvious since pretty much everyone and their grandmothers are now on one social channel or the other. As a new business, increasing brand awareness should be one of your top goals and social media is one of the most cost-effective ways to do it. It also gives you a chance to introduce your brand and keep a track of what is being said about it.

On websites like Facebook and Twitter, powerful targeting options are available. Using them, you can reach the people who match your buyer ’s persona. In addition, social media helps you direct traffic to your website, generate loyalty, understand your customers, and help them with any queries they may have about your product or service.

While being on various social channels can be overwhelming, as an e-commerce brand, you can’t afford not to be on:

● Facebook (2.2 billion monthly active users)
● YouTube (1.57 billion monthly active users)
● Instagram (800 million monthly active users)
● Twitter (330 million monthly active users)
● LinkedIn (250 million monthly active users)
● Pinterest (175 million monthly active users)
(Source: Omnicore)

While your marketing strategy for each social channel should be different, the formula for success on any of these platforms is posting great content on a regular basis. Social media can also be used to hold contests. This will exponentially increase your brand’s visibility and help you gain the traction needed to kickstart sales.

3. Start Content Marketing

Content marketing is an excellent inbound marketing tool that has limitless potential. Through content marketing, you can reach and engage quality leads over time, and develop your brand as a trustworthy source of valuable information. One of the simplest and highly effective ways to begin content marketing is to start a blog.

If you don’t know what you can blog about, a good place to start would be listing down the starting-point queries that your customers may have about your products or industry. Then, use these queries as individual articles on your brand’s blog. This will give your potential customers the information they need to make an informed purchase. In addition, it will also improve your search engine rankings – further enhancing your reach.

Another vital content marketing avenue is the use of video. If you think that video marketing may be too expensive for your brand, then consider this:

● After watching a branded social video, 64% of consumers make a purchase.
● Videos on social media get 1200% more shares than text and images combined.
● Videos offer 157% increase in organic traffic from search results.

While making videos can be pricey, the results make it worth the marketing dollars spent.

4. Use Paid Ads

When it comes to reaching your audience precisely at the moment they search for the products or services you offer, pay-per-click advertising (PPC) or search engine marketing (SEM) is your best bet. PPC is an internet marketing model where an advertiser pays a fee every time their ad is clicked.

PPC advertising brings your website to the top (or near the top) of the search engine results page (SERP) when someone enters a search query containing one or more of the predefined keywords related to your business. If run effectively, a PPC ad campaign can bring a large amount of traffic to your website.

Google AdWords is the most popular PPC advertising network in the world. It offers advertisers a massive reach and allows them to place ads on Google’s SERPs, YouTube videos, and partner websites. If you want to start a PPC campaign on AdWords, this tutorial by Google will help you get familiarized with the platform.

In addition to the SERPs, you can also place ads on social media websites. One of the greatest advantages of social media advertising is the ability to efficiently target your prospects. With Facebook Ads, for example, you can run targeted campaigns to help you make sales, gain likes, and promote your brand. You can also retarget the prospects who have previously clicked on your ad or intimated interest in your product or service.

If you have a limited budget and wish to use social media advertising only on the platforms that will offer the best results, here are the findings from a survey by Simply Measured:
Since visual content works best on social media, you will get the best traction from your social media ads if you use exciting pictures and a clear call-to-action.

5. Use Promotional Giveaways

For new businesses, promotional products are a great way to find new leads and increase sales. When you give away a promotional item imprinted with your brand’s logo, it generates interest among everyone who sees the product. And the best part – they are inexpensive, highly versatile, and people love them.

According to the 2017 Promotional Products Fact Sheet,
● 79% of consumers who have received promotional giveaway researched the brand and 83% are more likely to do business with them.
● 82% of consumers have a more favorable impression of a brand they receive a promotional giveaway from.
● 81% of consumers keep the product for over a year and 41% for up to 5 years.

Promotional products can complement your marketing strategy and offer excellent results regardless of your goal. Simply make sure that you use giveaways that are useful to your target audience and relevant to your business.
At Promo Direct, we offer a wide range of promotional products for your every marketing need. Simply give us a call on 1-800-748-6150 to speak to our rep and we will customize the best giveaways with your logo and message.
Remember, the first few sales are extremely important as they provide the momentum a new business needs. Be sure to try different strategies to learn what your target audience responds to. You should also consider giving discounts to get the initial traction. We hope that these marketing tips will help you through the crucial period.

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Gary Taylr
Gary Taylr is a marketing consultant at Promo Direct. He works with the creative team to drive web-based marketing campaigns. He shares his marketing insights at blog.promodirect.com and is a regular participant in forums and discussions related to business and marketing. You can follow Gary on Google+ and Twitter.