Have you tried to create an online store and failed? Or maybe you want to but don’t know where to start. Well this article ‘how to build an online store that sells’ should help you to do just that.
When it comes to building an online store, Wix is my number one recommendation. Start your free trial to get rid of all the hassles and get straight into the building.
The most important thing when you start an online store is your marketing strategy. It’s true. The way you market your store will determine how much you can make.
You’ll see the sales begin to come in when you do it correctly. You’ll have a tedious hobby if you do it wrong. In this post, I will show you how to market your online store and earn good money.
Table of Contents
How to Start an Online Store
Six steps are required to market, build, and optimize your online store.
- Pick your marketing strategy
- Choose the right product niche
- Choose a name to represent your brand
- Your online store
- Do a 60-day marketing burst
- Your marketing flywheel
You can identify the trends that are most important to your market if you get started as soon as possible.
Step 1: Pick Your Marketing Strategy
Your online store should have a solid marketing strategy. It should be the foundation of everything else.
For now, you can ignore all other things. This is the most important step to make your online store a success. Your marketing strategy is essential. This is not an easy decision, but you must make it carefully and in advance.
Most online shops use one or more of these marketing strategies:
- Paid marketing
- Marketing via platforms
Let’s take a look at each.
SEO for Online Stores
Find keywords that describe the products you offer and then rank your website in Google for those keywords. This strategy can work in your favor and make you a lot of money from your online business.
SEO offers a few advantages that are perfect for businesses:
- Traffic streams are reliable, which can mean dependable revenue for your business.
- Search traffic is the most popular traffic source.
- Search traffic can still be extremely profitable even at scale.
- It’s reliable, profitable, and high volume. It has everything you could need.
SEO doesn’t bring immediate results. It can take up to 3-6 months for your site to appear on the first or second page of search results when you are pursuing a product type without many competitors.
Traffic volume will drop until your page ranks in the top 3 to 5 positions for a keyword. It can take years to reach that level if your category is even slightly competitive.
SEO is the best marketing strategy for your online shop. It will focus on three things:
- Optimize your product pages to include product keywords
- Create engaging and useful content for keywords other than product keywords. This will help your product pages rank.
- Make your content so great that people link to it as a resource.
SEO is a game that focuses on content and linking.
Paid marketing for Online Stores
Paid marketing is a powerful tool for online retailers. This includes paid results in Google searches and sponsored posts on Instagram. It is when you place ads that you purchase.
Instagram Paid Ecommerce Ad
Is paid marketing the right option for your business? If your product could be displayed in a mall, then paid marketing can be a good option.
Instagram and Facebook are the most popular paid marketing channels. In the past few years, Instagram has become popular for online stores.
Think about the mindset that someone might have while scrolling through an Instagram or Facebook feed. They are able to relax for a while, look at some photos, and send quick messages to a few of their friends.
They are having fun. This is a lot like shopping at a mall. While some people may be looking for specific items, many people visit the mall just to have fun. This has been known for many years about malls, and shops have developed their shopping experience around it.
A paid advertisement on Facebook or Instagram can also help products that sell well in a shopping mall. These products are:
Products for consumers: These channels are more difficult for business products.
High-quality and visually appealing: This is why apparel businesses do well in malls, and also why apparel companies are so aggressive on Instagram in recent years.
It is easy to understand within three seconds. People will scroll past your ad if you offer a complicated sales process that requires additional explanations. People will quickly forget about your advertisement if the price is too high.
You should seriously consider paying for paid marketing if your product meets these requirements.
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is an exception to this rule. You can bid on keywords in Google to get people who are actively looking for the product to see your ads.
It will work well as long as there is enough search volume for the keyword and that the ad bids don’t seem too high-end.
Paid marketing has one major drawback. You will need to invest large amounts of money upfront before you can determine if you can make a profit. Many people don’t have the money to invest in paid marketing without any guarantee of earning it back.
Paid campaigns rarely turn a profit immediately. They often require a lot more work and iteration before they make you a profit. Professional paid marketers typically need to run campaigns for 3-6 months before they become profitable.
You can also consider other marketing options if you don’t have enough cash.
Platform Marketing for Online Stores
This is a totally different direction from the other methods.
Instead of starting your own shop and using marketing techniques to get traffic, you can leverage one of the major e-commerce platforms.
- Not On The High Street (UK)
- Folksy (UK)
You can be successful in any one of these five. I recommend that you go after Amazon. Amazon has a larger audience which can give you more upside. Also, almost every product niche is already available on Amazon.
You can only sell your craft products to people if you are running a business. Etsy, Folksy or Not On The High Street would be a better choice in this case, since your audience is more craft-oriented.
If you do a lot of buying and selling, eBay is still a great option. If you produce the same items over and over, your chances of being featured on Amazon are much greater.
Whatever platform you choose to be your marketing channel, it should be treated as such. You’ll first create a store on the platform and list your products. You’ll also optimize your store so that the platform will feature your products.
Two areas are important for optimizing your store:
- You should target your product pages to certain terms that are frequently searched on the platform.
- Get as many 5-star reviews as possible for your products.
You can increase the number of people who see your products via search terms and reviews. This will result in more sales.
There is a mistake I have made many times. Over a few years of experience in online marketing, I have noticed one thing: people who are great at one type of marketing are often terrible at the other.
Why is this possible?
There are a few reasons it is difficult to excel at multiple types of marketing.
Each marketing channel is unique. Although some marketing principles are universally applicable across channels, it is important to master all tactics. You will be slower if you keep trying to learn more channels.
Online marketing channels are constantly changing. What works now may not work 12 months later. Even though I have spent several years learning SEO, it still feels like I am constantly learning new things every year. Focusing on one marketing channel will make it easier to keep up.
Online marketing channels are power laws. This means that most profits go to the few major players and everyone else is fighting for scraps. You won’t make much if you aren’t one of the winners.
Sticking with one marketing channel will make it easier to get through the learning curve. Your online store will be able to make real money faster if you unlock it quickly.
Step one is complete. Although it was a lengthy one, it is important to spend some time on it. It will be the foundation for all other decisions you make when setting up your online store.
Step 2: Choose the Right Product Niche for Your Online Store
Picking your product niche after choosing your marketing strategy is the most important decision you will make.
One tip: Do not jump into product categories. Building a business is possible by being passionate about the product category. It’s easy to fall for it.
It is possible to choose a category that doesn’t support a successful business. It doesn’t really matter how much effort and time you put into the business. The business will fail if there isn’t enough demand.
These are the things that I look for when selecting a product category for my online store.
- Avoid picking a niche category.
Differentiating yourself is a common marketing best practice. This is a powerful piece of advice that can be a big advantage.
It can be difficult to identify a way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the market. Although there are many ways to differentiate a product, only a few actually work.
Is it necessary for Amazon’s top-rated toothbrush holder to be unique and unusual? Not at all! It should be affordable, reliable, and usable. There must also be a lot of Amazon reviews. That’s all.
Instead of trying to differentiate from all other products in your category, look for a category that has competitors who aren’t dominating the marketing channel.
Are Amazon reviews low on all top products? Are the SEO results low-quality? Is there no company that invests serious money in a product’s SEO? If yes, then you have the opportunity to out-compete them in marketing.
- It is important to keep the price low.
A good rule of thumb: Do not purchase any product in a category that is too expensive.
Even if you make $1 per sale, that’s still enough to sustain you for the year. This will give you $50-60K per annum to live on after taxes and overhead.
Selling 100,000 units of any product is hard work. It is not an easy task.
Let’s say you sell something for $80 and make $40 per sale. You will only need to sell 2,500 products each year to make $100,000. This is much easier.
You also need to avoid selling products at too high prices. Price changes affect buying behavior. Prospects may demand more proof.
How many people buy cars and never test drive them? Many people don’t. Before making such a big purchase, they want to be able to view the car and speak to someone. Because cars are more expensive, it takes extra effort and sales skills to sell them effectively.
I recommend that you choose a product that you can sell for prices ranging between $50 and $100. This is high enough to ensure that your sales will increase quickly. It is also low enough to ensure that the buying process is straightforward.
Finally, ensure there is demand.
Doing some research with the marketing channel you prefer will help you determine if there is demand.
Google Ads offers a Keyword Planner which tells you how often a keyword is searched on Google each month. It’s unlikely that the keyword for your product is getting more than 1,000 searches each month.
Today, I would rather choose a category in which I have no experience but is highly sought after. This is much better than finding out later that a passion of mine has no demand.
Step 3: Choose a Name for Your Brand
Finding a great name is 100% worth it. It will pay off.
Here is the naming list I use:
- It is easy to spell. When people try to find my site, I don’t want any friction.
- It doesn’t have to be longer than 3 words. It should be as short and simple as possible to make it easier to remember. I prefer to use just two words, but 3 is fine.
- Pass the Bar Test. I should be able to say the name in noisy bars without having to repeat it. This is a good sign that the name is easy to understand. This is a huge advantage for word-of-mouth marketing.
Here is a detailed guide to choosing and purchasing a domain name.
Once you’ve chosen your name, register the domain with your domain registrar. If you are buying the domain directly from the seller, transfer it to the domain registrar you wish to use long-term.
Step 4: Open Your Online Store
This is an important step if you are pursuing an SEO strategy or paid marketing strategy.
Why? Simply put: How much of your traffic converts into buyers depends on the quality of your website.
Wix is a great tool to ensure you create the best e-commerce site possible.
- It offers a 14-day trial for no cost
- It uses a Drag and Drop Site Builder
- It provides payment integration
- It offers 500+ e-commerce templates
- Wix is available for free
While there are many tools available, such as Bigcommerce and Shopify, none compare to Wix. It is extremely easy to use, packed with all the features you need, and comes at an affordable price.
However, there are some exceptions. You should use the platform that you already know if you have a popular blog. WooCommerce is an option in this instance.
Second, you may already use platforms such as Instagram or Facebook to great effect in order to sell products. If this is the case, you can just keep going.
Wix is the best alternative.
Step 5: Do a 60-day Marketing Burst
You’ll likely start small when you open an online shop.
Even though you will experience growing pains, just a little bit of momentum can make a big difference.
It’s life-changing to be the first person to review your site, rank your page in Google, and make your first purchase using a paid advertisement.
Don’t stress about scaling, systems, or how to make things work efficiently at this stage. Instead, focus on momentum, regardless of how much outreach you do or how much personal work you do.
It takes a lot of effort and determination to succeed, even if it means doing things you don’t think are sustainable for the long-term.
Do some research about your marketing channel to come up with 50 ideas you could implement yourself. Next, prioritize your ideas and create a 60-day Marketing Burst. You should send as many ideas as possible within the 60-day period.
These are the times when people work long hours, drink too many coffees, and push themselves to the limit. But, you need to do your best and not burn out.
You’ll be able to show that some of your marketing strategies have been successful by the end of the 60-day Marketing burst. Because you have only one marketing channel, you will see a steady stream of sales. This steady stream of sales is enough to get your marketing flywheel rolling.
Step 6: Create your Marketing Flywheel
Once you’ve established some momentum, you can start to build the marketing flywheel to grow your business without having to do every task yourself.
What is a flywheel? A flywheel is a large wheel that drives an engine and helps to create and conserve energy. To create huge growth, you’ll apply the same concept to your marketing plans.
You will need to ask for many product reviews in the beginning days of Amazon. This is not sustainable. Instead, you should look for marketing strategies that will help you get Amazon reviews without you asking. These repeatable marketing flywheels are worth looking for.
Can you hire someone to create content instead of writing it yourself? You could have a lot more content to help your SEO marketing strategy win. This is a flywheel.
Can you delegate optimizing paid ads instead of doing it yourself? You can buy more customers with less capital if your conversion rates are improving and your cost per customer is decreasing. This will help you grow your business without requiring any personal effort. Another flywheel!
The key to your marketing channel is your core. Once you have mastered that channel, create a marketing flywheel that will grow your online store without much effort. This is Key to opening a profitable online store, driving sales quickly, and speeding up its growth.