Whether you’re working from home as an affiliate marketer, operating a dropshipping website, or selling your own handmade goods online, one thing holds true – you need to know how to be an effective salesperson.
However, the ideal sales strategy for an online seller differs in many ways from the traditional sales strategies you may have learned in customer-facing roles.
To help you get the most out of your online business, we’ve developed a 6-step strategy you can implement with each of the products or services you offer.
Step 1: Go into detail with descriptions and images
One of the major reasons customers report for aborting online purchases is a lack of certainty that the product will be suitable. As online sellers, we can’t offer customers the opportunity to touch or try on our products (though who knows where technology will take us in the coming years). Still, there are plenty of effective ways to get around this obstacle.
The first and most important step is to go into as much detail as you can about each product or service you’re selling. When we say detail, we don’t mean pointless filler. There should be no wasted words in your descriptions. However, customers love knowing precise details about dimensions, materials used, colors, sizes, customizable options, eco-friendly aspects, and a whole lot more.
As a bonus, these rich and detailed descriptions will do wonders for your search engine optimization (provided you include relevant keywords and format them for SEO). If you’re feeling a growing sense of dread at the idea of all the work this would entail, consider engaging the services of a professional freelance writer to take care of the linguistic leg work for you.
Just as your descriptions need to be packed full of valuable detail, so too do your images. The pictures you include give customers the closest experience they can get to trying your products on for size, so the more you can offer, the better. Market research shows that videos are even more powerful than images in terms of sales conversion, so be sure to include a good mix of both.
Step 2: Make your unique selling points clear
All of this marvellous detail won’t do you much good if you don’t highlight two things:
- How and why your product stands out from others like it
- How this benefits the customer
Online shoppers have such a wealth of options at their fingertips that it can sometimes be paralyzing. The internet is full of abandoned carts and half-completed orders, many of which were the result of the customer having too many choices and too few selling points to pick a clear winner.
This means you need to dedicate as much time as possible to examining what you offer and finding the aspects of it that will truly improve the lives of your target demographic.
Once you understand these factors, you’ll have a clear direction to take with your product descriptions and images.
Step 3: Grow your email list
Though your goal should always be to bring in new customers, it’s also essential to nurture the relationship you have with existing ones. Treat them well, and you’ll create repeat customers for life who are happy to spread the word about your brand.
To achieve this, it’s essential that you have an email list. Include a subscription form on your website, and consider offering an incentive (like a discount code) for those who sign up.
When collecting emails, make sure you request a first name as this will allow you to personalize your correspondence with each customer. Then keep in regular contact with your list via informative newsletters and targeted email marketing campaigns.
Step 4: Create a personalized experience with multiple touchpoints
When you’re operating from home and all your interactions take place digitally, it can be easy to lose the human touch. However, if you fall into this trap, you will miss out on many an opportunity to make a sale.
Even on the web, people love to feel a human connection, and you can conjure this feeling through creative website copy, landing pages, emails, and even your button copy.
Tailor the content of your website to suit the audience you’re looking to target and develop a user experience that makes them feel engaged and understood.
Step 5: Instill a sense of urgency
If you’ve worked in face-to-face sales, this step will be familiar. Urgency is equally important when it comes to online selling. Even if the unique selling points of your product have been made clear, some customers still need a little nudge to push them into the checkout. If they leave their cart to think the purchase over, your chances of winning them back aren’t great.
One of the simplest ways to combat this is to offer a discount with a timer on it. Another option that doesn’t require you to hack into your profits is to place a counter on the product page showing how many items are left in stock (if you’ve ever used a hotel booking site, you’ll have seen this tactic at play).
To add to the urgency, you can include details of how many other customers are viewing the item and whether anyone else has it sitting in their cart (this tactic is employed to great effect by sites like Etsy).
Step 6: Understand the buyer’s journey
Not every visitor to your website is there to make a purchase, and that’s okay. Being a hub for consumer research and “window shopping” is good for you in the long-run.
With this in mind, it’s important that you support customers in every stage of the sales cycle. Doing so will go a long way towards ensuring that, when they are ready to buy, your brand is the first to come to mind.
The aforementioned email list is a great way to ensure you’re getting those all-important touchpoints in (it can take between 7 and 15 touchpoints before a customer commits to a purchase). However, you can also tailor your approach by regularly reviewing your website data and adjusting your offerings and communications to suit.
You should also make it as easy as possible for customers to contact you with questions. Including a Q&A section on product pages where you address commonly asked questions will also provide great value to customers in the research phase of the buying cycle.
Think of online selling as a real-life game
Online selling is an interesting arena that requires a blend of interpersonal skills, data analysis capabilities, and digital prowess. You have many tools at your disposal in crafting your sales strategy, and as you implement it and analyse the results, you will likely feel the same thrill that comes from strategy-based video games.
Embrace this aspect of online selling, and you’ll find your motivation stays high, even if some of your tactics aren’t working. Every failure is valuable as it offers you data that you can use to inform your new and improved approach. Keep the fun alive, and you’re bound to find a winning strategy in no time.
Do you have any questions about online sales strategies? If so, feel free to hit us up in the comments below. We’re always happy to help.