Attention small business owners who rely on brick and mortar/ craft market/ in-person sales: it’s time to start selling online NOW!
Businesses across the country are being impacted by Covid-19/ Coronavirus and there’s no time like the present to start transitioning some of those in-person sales into online sales. My goal here to to help you weather the storm so when this passes you and your products will still be here. As an introvert who’s been selling 100% online for two years now (I can count on one hand the number of craft markets I’ve vended at, they all sucked by the way). Online is my jam.
Here are my top tips that you can start implementing today.
Update your website! Make sure your website is up to date and easily shop-able. Replace your banner image with something fresh, reorganize your product listings, update your blog.
Are all your products listed? Are there multiple views of the product? If you’re not selling clothes you don’t need a human model to take new pictures of your product. It’s totally fine to use a new model iPhone to snaps some photos of your product and get it on the site (photographers may kill me, but you’ve got to make this work on a shoestring budget and in a hurry). Make sure all the photos are the same size and shape (Shopify for example only wants square images).
Product descriptions should be typo free and well written. Prices should be listed. Be sure to include how the product feels, how to style it, how to use it, how it smells (if applicable), what it’s made of, etc. Remember you’re replacing the in real life experience with the website so you’ve got to anticipate all the potential questions a shopper may have. The language you use to describe the product should be super descriptive.
Make sure on your site theres a size chart (if applicable), a shipping policy, a return policy, a general inquiry email address where people can send questions, a note about when they’ll receive the item (is it made to order or shipping right away?) Also, be sure to create a list of FAQs. This content should all be easily accessible. You want to make this as smooth as possible for people. It should be a painless, easy, enjoyable experience for your customer!
Something to keep in mind. On average, conversion rates are about 1% so that means on any given day you need 100 visitors on your site to make ONE sale. So don’t get discouraged if you’re getting traffic but no sales, this is normal.
Email. Email. Email.
Email marketing is the #1 way to get your product in front of your people. Don’t have an email list? Get started right now. Go to mailchimp. Open a FREE account. Start collecting addresses using their popup form or embed it on your site. Post to all your social media channels and ask your fans to sign up! Email is the only form of communication you have that isn’t owned by someone else. Use it! And don’t worry, you’re not “bothering” people. In your emails share what you’re up to, share new products or best sellers. Make it easy for folks to make a purchase from you.
Aim to send out emails 2x a week. A “good” open email rate is around 20% so don’t beat yourself up if your first few emails don’t get a lot of opens—it’s super normal for folks to not open emails. Keep sending them! It’s also wise here to use whatever content your posting about on social media to share in your email— repurpose your content!
Social media. Depending on the age of your audience its going to affect which platforms you should be using most (Instagram skews younger, Facebook skews older). But in times like these it makes the most sense to go all out on each. For Facebook use their publishing tools to batch publish posts. Don’t know what to post? Go to google and search for news articles related to your brand/ product. For example, if you sell candles and you want your community to prioritize self care find some recent self care articles, add your own commentary and schedule the posts. On Facebook aim to post 4-5 times a day from your business page. On Instagram you’re posting once a day to the grid and 10X+ to your stories. Sprinkle in posts related to your own products. On social media the rule of thumb is 80% of your content is NOT selling a product, 20% is product specific/ ask specific.
On Instagram spend your time in stories. Stories get way more engagement than the grid. Use the tools in stories like polls and questions to increase engagement. Answer all DMs you receive even if it’s just double tapping to show you like it. All of these actions count towards increased engagement. Increased engagement = more visibility = more clicks on your website = more sales.
People buy when they know, trust and like you AND when they are READY. Your goal with email marketing and social media is building that trust—it’s what’s called BRAND AWARENESS. So that when your customer is READY to purchase, you and your brand are top of mind.
Selling online is a long game, but I’m confident that if you implement all of the above consistently you’ll be on your way in no time replacing that in-person, brick and mortar income. And better yet, when folks return to brick and mortar shopping you’ll have TWO reliable sources of sales, both online and in real life.
The key here is BETTER DONE THAN PERFECT. Time is of the essence. Now get to work! You’ve got this! Got a question about selling online/ on social media? Let me know!