How to increase online sales
Do you want to increase your online sales? Make sure that you have the basics in place to offer a great customer experience. Marketing is about building and fostering strong and productive relationships.
Let’s look at and unpack the building blocks to make that happen.
Basic Building blocks
- Problem statement
- Marketing Channels
- A user-friendly Website
- Outstanding Customer Service
- Offers and Promotions
What do you mean by problem statement?
Before you start a business you should ask yourself two very important questions: “what problem(s) do I want to solve?” and “who has these problems / who will be my customer(s)?” This feeds into the value proposition that will help set you up for success and identify your target customers. If you know your audience well and can solve a problem for them, it will be easier to market to them.
As an example, here is a sample value proposition for make it local.
Vision: make it local is an online directory for Australian small businesses, that provides a local focus and reflects the personality of listed business owners on the directory as well as on social media.
Problem statement: there are a number of directories, but how do I find the guy baking and delivering cakes locally? Is there an authenticity check?
Problems to solve for your target audience:
1. I am a local, does anyone bake and deliver handmade cakes locally and how can I find them?
2. I bake custom cakes and deliver them locally, how can I find and attract more customers in my area?
Mission: the role that make it local will play is a business directory for small businesses, where people can find locals such as the guy who bakes and delivers cakes all around the Lower North Shore, get an idea of his personality and buy delicious, freshly baked custom-made cakes.
Outcome: more exposure for local sole traders and small businesses.
What are Marketing channels?
A marketing channel is a network of interdependent organisations, people, platforms, and activities that connect your products and services with your target audience.
To diversify, you should use a mix of 2-3 of the channels below:
- Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn – research and pick the social media platform that is typically used by your target audience, i.e. use Instagram or Tik Tok for a young target audience.
- Email marketing with Mailchimp or HubSpot – both of these have free plans that help you automate, stay within legal constraints (privacy laws etc.), and they have good analytics to gauge effectiveness of your campaigns.
- Advertising – promotions, referrals, word of mouth.
- SEO (search engine optimisation) – TIP: google a business similar to yours and look at the top search results that have an Ad. These businesses pay to get the best keywords to attract customers, so you should take note of the keywords and meta descriptions they use.
- Market places such as Amazon, UberEats, or Etsy.
- Directories such as Yelp or make-it-local.
How can I make my website user-friendly?
Firstly, you need to map out the user journey. This means that you step in the shoes of a visitor to your website, to check that it:
- is easy to navigate and makes it easy for the customer to move through.
- has a unique value proposition that is clear and succinct (can be read and understood in 5 seconds).
- shows clearly what it is about.
- has calls to action (CTAs) that are valuable to the customer and noticeable, i.e. by using coloured click-through buttons. Examples of CTAs are events such as a webinar or cooking class your customer can register for, or a promotion.
- has an attractive design. You can achieve this by using big bold images, not crowding in too much text, and using white space.
Wow your customer
If you know your customer, you can focus on them and provide a great user experience. You can document customer journeys on fun apps such as UXPressia (the free version has enough functionality to start with). In any case take time to get to know your customers and follow-up on their queries consistently. It is also a good idea to touch base every month or two to check if they have any problems or queries you can help with. You can reach out via email marketing campaigns, offering free content or advertising promotions.
How can I promote my business online with Google?
There are four ways to promote your business with Google:
- Google Ads
- to appear at the top of search results. Appearing at the top depends on your keyword choice and pay per click (PPC) investment. It can be costly, so gauge your return on investment (ROI).
- you pay per click, not views, and you can set a daily budget limit (i.e. $5.00 per day).
- Google Shopping – this is for products, and similar to Google Ads.
- Google My Business – this is free, look it up! It can help people find your store and has reviews. Google My Business is especially relevant for brick and mortar stores.
- Organic Search Results – it takes time to figure out how to get to the top of results. If your website is part of a directory such as make-it-local, google is more likely to point to this as they often rank well for SEO (search engine optimisation). SEO also increases chances of your business showing up on the first page of google for relevant keywords or key phrases.
In summary, there are many ways you can drive more traffic to your website and increase sales, and for tracking traffic you could use Google Analytics and many other platforms. We will address metrics, SEO and email marketing in other articles.