I often think about and research why so many businesses struggle to make sales online. While purchasing behavior is continuing to change rapidly with more and more people beginning their product search online, it's now a necessity for businesses of all types, to have an online sales and marketing strategy.
However, the reality is that most businesses struggle when it comes to making online sales. One of the main reasons for this is that they don’t target and attract customers who are ready to buy.
The Buying Cycle
There are quite a few steps involved in the buying cycle, especially with a higher-priced product. From the moment a person starts to think they might need something, to research, to actual purchase, can take quite some time. However, you can shorten the process by being where the people in your niche are, to help position your products and services as viable solutions worth considering in their quest to solve their problems. Do some primary research into where your current customers spend the most of their time online. Most likely, you will find that they spend a lot of time on social media. Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.
Know Your Prospects’ Pain Points
Whenever you are considering starting a new business or creating a new product or service, do enough research to know what your target audience really wants and needs. The easiest way to do this is to understand their pain points - that is, problems they are having related to your niche. If you offer genuine solutions for a competitive price, you are sure to gain customers.
This will help position you as an authority in your niche as well, which can generate trust and loyalty. Trust and loyalty mean that when customers are ready to buy, you will be in the running. Your chance of selling will increase even more through positive word-of-mouth marketing.
People have been offering advice and suggestions for centuries about what really can solve your problems, based on their own personal experience. These days, most word-of-mouth marketing is done online, particularly through social media. Branding your business can help put you in front of people who are looking to buy. The main issue, however, is that it can take a good deal of branding activity in order for prospects to start recognizing your business and what it does.
Social Media Marketing
This is the most common way to connect with prospects easily. In fact, certain social networks such as Pinterest can actually stimulate sales. More than half of Pinterest users have made a purchase, with an average spend of around $50. Now, since 85% percent of Pinterest users are women, if this is the type of audience you wish to attract, Pinterest is the best place to tap into this market.
Similiar statistics can be found for almost every social media platform. What changes the most though is the demographic profile of the average user on each platform and the type of content that is most suitable on each platform. For example, while 12-second live videos tend to do really well on Instagram, that kind of short-form video content would probably be a flop on YouTube.
Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Ads
These will appear when a person is doing research and shopping online, and are an easy way to tap into people ready to buy - as long as you use the right keywords. PPC ads are fairly inexpensive and can be targeted in a highly dynamic way. Find an experienced digital advertiser and give it a shot. You might be astounded with the results you get.
Partnering with Others in Your Niche
A lot of business owners are frightened of competition, but if your niche is a thriving and healthy one, there should be plenty of money to go around. This being the case, you can make the most of what others have to offer in order to increase your own profits.
The easiest and lowest-risk way is to become an affiliate. You can sell products and services for other companies, in exchange for a commission. In this way, you can expand your range of offerings rapidly (compared to trying to create a full range of niche-related products yourself from scratch) and attract more customers ready to buy.
You can also form partnerships with people in your niche who are not direct competitors, to tap into each other’s customer lists and mutually expand each other’s product catalogs.
Offer a Superior Customer Experience
The secret of success is to get repeat customers. This will mean that when your target audience is thinking about buying something new, you will already be in the front of their minds. Trust and loyalty will boost sales and word of mouth. Pay attention to customer service, feedback, complaint and suggestions. Build relationships and sales will follow.
Good customer service will also mean enhanced reputation throughout your niche. Offer real value, and they will buy from you over and over again.