6 Ways to Sell More Online

December 18, 2011

Homepreneurs and small businesses can greatly expand their sales and marketing channels by employing online strategies.  Many opportunities exist to sell via the Internet including: blogs, websites, etsy, Facebook, eBay and many more.  Homepreneurs has blogged about setting up a Facebook store and using WordPress plugins for sales.  In this post, Rieva Lesonsky covers general information about selling more online.  While mainly geared to websites, Lesonsky’s suggestions are generally applicable to any eCommerce sites.

Consider the number of users on Facebook alone: 800 million.  With more than 97 million active users globally (as of Q2 2011), eBay is the world’s largest online marketplace (1) and according to Quantcast, Etsy.com reaches over 2.2 million people each month in the United States alone.   These numbers are significant and something small and home business owners cannot dismiss.  Naturally, one can still sell their wares locally at stores, trade shows, and art & craft shows.  But even the largest of these shows will have only a hundred thousand buyers or so.

Further, consider the inventory issue: if one sets up a brick and mortar store or display at a show, a large quantity of product is needed.  This is money tied up in made or purchased product; if it doesn’t sell, you’re stuck with it.  Using eCommerce allows one to purchase or make additional product as the market demands.  You’ll certainly want to have a small inventory for online sales of course, but one can always purchase or make additional product as needed.  If the product doesn’t sell, discount it steeply, put it on clearance or stash it for another day.

Homepreneurs and small business owners pay attention: eCommerce is here, growing, reaches hundreds of millions of potential buyers, and is the most cost-effective way to market and sell your product.

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6 Ways to Sell More Online

By Rieva Lesonsky

Is your company selling products or services online? Good for you. Too many small businesses still aren’t taking advantage of ecommerce opportunities. But are you selling as much as you possibly could be? Probably not. Try these tactics to boost your ecommerce sales:

1. Create an appealing site. When a location is well-designed—whether it’s a store or a website—customers will linger, spending more time and money there. Make sure your site is well organized, easy to navigate and fast to load. If your design, colors or images are outdated, it’s time for a makeover.

2. Provide the right information. Your site should answer all the questions customers might have about your product or service. Pay special attention to product descriptions—online, where customers can’t touch the product, descriptions can make or break the sale. Add or link to reviews if you can to help customers make up their minds. Put your phone number, chat links or other way for customers to contact you with questions prominently on every page.

3. Use the power of SEO. What happens when you type your business name or product name into a search engine? If you’re not on the first page of search results, it’s time for some search engine optimization (SEO). You can hire experts to help with your SEO, or learn the ropes yourself by taking a webinar, seminar or class. Check out your local community college’s offerings or contact SCORE or your local Small Business Development Center.

4. Make an offer. Offering discounts, free shipping or buy-one, get-one-free deals are all good ways to encourage customers to buy more—so you make more. Keep tabs on the incentives your key competitors offer and always try to exceed or at least match them.

5. Spread the word. Use email marketing (newsletters and sales announcements), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and shopping comparison sites such as Bizrate.com and Google Shopping to let potential customers know about your website and products.

6. Get personal. Keep customers coming back for more with a personal touch. Send customers emails targeted to what they bought in the past and suggesting related items they might like. You can interact and get feedback from customers by sending them email surveys, using survey tools like Zoomerang.com or SurveyMonkey.com, posting surveys on your Facebook page, or asking questions on Twitter. As a small business, personal interaction with customers differentiates you from bigger companies and can give you a marketing edge.

Article Source:

http://www.networksolutions.com/smallbusiness/2011/04/6-ways-sell-more-online/?channelid=P99C425S627N0B142A1D38E0000V100

Reference

1) http://www.ebayinc.com/who

Homepreneurs.  New Day.  New Opportunities.


6 Ways to Sell More Online

June 19, 2011

June 19, 2011 -

One of the great sales and growth vehicles for your business is via ecommerce.  Yet, many companies either do not take advantage of Internet commerce or are not maximizing its potential.

Rieva Lesonsky’s suggestions for improving online sales range from SEO (search engine optimization) to changing the appeal of a website.  Her 6 tips are simple and easily done at low to no cost.

We strongly urge all that sell online – homepreneurs or small business or entrepreneurs – to review Ms. Lesonsky’s suggestions and make needed changes to improve online sales and grow your business.

——————–

6 Ways to Sell More Online

By Rieva Lesonsky

Is your company selling products or services online? Good for you. Too many small businesses still aren’t taking advantage of ecommerce opportunities. But are you selling as much as you possibly could be? Probably not. Try these tactics to boost your ecommerce sales:

1. Create an appealing site. When a location is well-designed—whether it’s a store or a website—customers will linger, spending more time and money there. Make sure your site is well organized, easy to navigate and fast to load. If your design, colors or images are outdated, it’s time for a makeover.

2. Provide the right information. Your site should answer all the questions customers might have about your product or service. Pay special attention to product descriptions—online, where customers can’t touch the product, descriptions can make or break the sale. Add or link to reviews if you can to help customers make up their minds. Put your phone number, chat links or other way for customers to contact you with questions prominently on every page.

3. Use the power of SEO. What happens when you type your business name or product name into a search engine? If you’re not on the first page of search results, it’s time for some search engine optimization (SEO). You can hire experts to help with your SEO, or learn the ropes yourself by taking a webinar, seminar or class. Check out your local community college’s offerings or contact SCORE or your local Small Business Development Center.

4. Make an offer. Offering discounts, free shipping or buy-one, get-one-free deals are all good ways to encourage customers to buy more—so you make more. Keep tabs on the incentives your key competitors offer and always try to exceed or at least match them.

5. Spread the word. Use email marketing (newsletters and sales announcements), social media (Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter) and shopping comparison sites such as Bizrate.com and Google Shopping to let potential customers know about your website and products.

6. Get personal. Keep customers coming back for more with a personal touch. Send customers emails targeted to what they bought in the past and suggesting related items they might like. You can interact and get feedback from customers by sending them email surveys, using survey tools like Zoomerang.com or SurveyMonkey.com, posting surveys on your Facebook page, or asking questions on Twitter. As a small business, personal interaction with customers differentiates you from bigger companies and can give you a marketing edge.

Source: http://www.networksolutions.com/smallbusiness/2011/04/6-ways-sell-more-online/?channelid=P99C425S627N0B142A1D38E0000V100


Planning My Side Business – Step By Step

May 30, 2011

May 31, 2011 -

As written in the past, I’ve started a small photography business as a part-time job.  I don’t expect significant success or income from this endeavor, but if I can cover expenses and make a little extra, I’ll be more than happy.

This opportunity is certainly not about money; it completes an item on my life’s bucket list.  I am not a professional or especially talented photographer, but seem to have an eye for interesting scenes.   I’ve been fortunate and visited California, New Mexico, Niagara Falls, Austria, Switzerland, and other locations.  Naturally, I took hundreds to thousands of pictures, some of which are unique and interesting.

This blog is all about assisting others in developing businesses for themselves – full or part-time – and fulfilling a dream.  The path to my objective had many steps that I’d like to share with you:

1)   Opportunity:   I noted blank walls in my doctor’s office (artwork was gone) and asked if I could hang my framed photos.  Win-win situation; the walls get covered and my work exposed to the public.

2)   Domain:  I immediately started brainstorming domain names and after several attempts registered SteppingStoneStudios at GoDaddy.com.  I also registered a free email account using gmail.

3)   Team building:  I needed help with this project.  I contacted my accountant for financial guidance, a pro photo framer, and a website designer – things I could do, but had no time.

4)   Product and pricing:  Bulk of the time spent here.  I went through many iterations and researched market prices for possible sizes and used FedEx for shipping rates.

5)   Communication:  Key to this project coming together.  Meeting in person with the framer and virtually (via Skype and email) with the programmer to ensure all understood the end goal.

6)   Publicize:  I created and published a Facebook page for exposure and emailed the link to select friends for their feedback.  I also had business cards printed up with a logo created by the programmer.

Was this project easy?  On a scale of 1-10, about a 5.  More time-intensive than anything.  Rewarding?  Definitely, at least as an accomplishment.  Will the website provide extra income?  Unknown.  Total setup cost is around $400 for the pictures, framing, and programmer.  My time is not calculated.

The major advantages of the site are scalability – ability to add content at will – and virtual infinity.  The site is established, needing ony minor changes from time to time.  Further, the pictures on display will remain indefinitely and seen by hundreds if not thousands of people per month.  Rotating the photos on occasion provides more exposure, increasing the odds that someone will buy.

This is how I put together a very basic, ongoing side business for a few hundred dollars.  I will continue to update this blog about ongoing issues and lessons learned.  Once again, if I can do this, so can you.

By Dion D Shaw

Dion Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs


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