Starting up a new website is easier now than ever before. You sign up with a service, choose a template, and start adding features like eCommerce. This is great for first-time entrepreneurs or people that are starting from scratch. However, this can be a trap for more experienced business owners that have an existing website. In this case, there is a better and easier approach. If you’ve already invested in your website, then you can quickly update it and start selling online. A complete restart is unnecessary and often ill-advised!
The idea of a fresh start is usually an enticing one. Of course, it’s going to depend a lot on the context. In general, most of us aren’t afraid to start something fresh when given the chance. A lot of small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with this when it comes to their businesses or websites. Entrepreneurship involves a lot of trial and error and risk taking. Additionally, a lot of us would prefer to sweep our mistakes under the rug and start from scratch.
Keeping your current customer base when you start selling online
It’s tempting to start fresh with a new website, but there is a lot to lose. If you decide to build a website from scratch you need to know the risks involved.
- A new domain name means adding redirects. This harms the user experience and possibly breaks many external links if handled incorrectly.
- If you’ve already invested resources into your website then you should make the most of your investment. Instead of throwing it away, build on your creation.
- Building a website can take a lot of time. This is especially true if there’s nothing particularly wrong with your current website. It is a waste of time and money to build a new site just for the sake of change.
- Changing underlying functionality improves the customer experience more cost-effectively than a design overhaul.
- Your solutions provider will likely be able to add eCommerce functionality to your website for a relatively low cost
The last thing you want is to upset your customers by proposing a wild change. Major overhauls, such as rebuilding your website or rebranding, rarely end well. It takes your website down for a while and subjects your audience to large changes that make them uncomfortable. It’s not effective at attracting new customers and it frustrates your existing audience. It’s a lose-lose situation.
The only time we recommend investing in a new website is if you haven’t already invested resources into your website. For example, if you literally just registered your company name or are still in the planning stages of your business. It’s acceptable to go from your current mockups and cheap template websites to a fully-fledged custom-designed website. However, if you already have a website, there are quick ways to improve it and start selling online.
Updating your website to be eCommerce ready
It’s surprisingly easy and quick to update your website so that you can start selling online.
Most solutions providers will likely have some kind of additional service that can add eCommerce functionality to your website. It doesn’t require a complete overhaul of your website and it likely doesn’t cost much to add. It’s worth contacting your solutions provider or web host. Many provide a service that allows you to add eCommerce functions with their guidance.
Do keep in mind that you may need to change your subscription tier to gain access to eCommerce features. This isn’t the case for every website solutions provider, but some do consider it a premium feature. For some providers, it’s as simple as turning on a few settings in your dashboard to enable eCommerce support.
Speaking to your solutions provider
Support can vary from service to service. Due to this, it is best to speak directly to your solutions provider. There also third-party tools that can add eCommerce features to your website, but they vary from platform to platform. One benefit of these simple solutions is that they don’t require you to restructure your website into an eCommerce model.
Simple solutions are not normally the most scalable options. They’re good for handling a few basic online purchases every month. If you want additional features, such as stock management, then a full-fledged eCommerce system is a must.
Preparing your website for eCommerce success
Let’s now take a look at a couple of ways that you can prepare your website for success. This section is about the practical changes you can make to your website to start selling online. Following these step helps sell products better and generate more profits for you.
1. Do your technical research before you start selling online
To operate a successful eCommerce website, you need to be more aware of the data. Understanding data points you in the right direction. A great example of this is looking at the search volume for products that you plan to sell. This will help you understand the amount of demand there is for that product. From there you can decide if it’s something worth adding to your store. If there isn’t enough interest in a product, then it’s probably not worth your time, effort, and money.
Technical research will help simplify your decision making processes. Running your business is easier when you have statistics and reliable sets of data at your disposal.
2. Understanding the difference between paid and organic advertising
We use a range of digital marketing strategies to get our businesses in the minds of our audiences. The best way to categorize these is to split them into paid and organic advertising strategies.
Paid advertising refers to anything that costs money to purchase. This could be advertising space on a website, shoutouts on social media, or pay-per-click advertising. Paid advertising is much quicker when it comes to producing results. Additionally, it often attracts high-quality prospects when done properly. It’s very easy to scale as you can invest in ads on multiple websites, search engines, and social media platforms.
Unfortunately, paid advertising costs often exceed returns when poorly managed. If you’re competing with larger brands or attracting the wrong audience your cost-per-conversion can soar out of control.
Organic advertising doesn’t necessarily have to be free. However, it does need to focus on creating a long-term plan for your exposure instead of essentially buying it. Organic marketing is usually much cheaper, often to the point of being free. It tends to have much higher conversion rates because you’re creating content that targets specific audiences.
Organic advertising also provides more value to your customers. This added value makes them more likely to come back in the future and share your website and products.
The goal is to mix both paid and organic marketing strategies. In doing so, you get the most out of your business. First, paid advertising should establish your online presence and create a solid foundation. Next, developing organic advertising supplements your paid ads and also reduces their cost in many cases. Organic advertising, including SEO, aims to provide value-oriented content to users. Additionally, it attracts higher-quality leads that are more likely to stick with your brand.
3. Creating content that provides marketing value
Next, it’s a good idea to focus on creating content that provides marketing value. This could be virtually anything from business blog posts to uploading videos on YouTube to increasing social media interactions. This name of this tactic is content marketing. It can be tricky to grasp but the gist if simple. It’s about creating content that provides value to your customers. Good content convinces them to visit your website and ultimately converts them into potential leads.
Good content comes in many forms. Articles or videos describing how your products work and explaining their inner workings are usually successful. Creating an informative knowledge base that covers the customer concerns and questions is another great example.
4. Making your products pop
It’s also important to revise how you display your products on your website. This will depend on what you have available, but here are a couple of suggestions:
- Take flattering pictures of your products to show them off
- Then use lifestyle pictures to showcase what the product can be used for
- Incorporate the use of human models when appropriate to describe more about the product
- Keep descriptions short and sweet to avoid boring your users when they come to browse your wares
Whenever you set up a new product, it’s important to go through these steps to make it stand out. This is especially important for eCommerce sites that use stock photographs provided by the manufacturer.
Next steps after you start selling online
These tips should help you start selling online and begin your journey into the world of eCommerce. However, it’s difficult to describe how to take the next steps for your business. Everyone has different goals for their company. What you want to achieve greatly changes the approach you take.
Some companies would prefer to specialize further in their industry. Doing so potentially carves them a niche that can attract more loyal customers. Others prefer to branch out, utilizing their newfound marketing prowess to diversify their operations and reach into new audiences. Both of these options can work. It simply depends on the type of approach you want to take as the a business owner.
Need help updating your website to start selling online? Contact us today!
Need help updating your website to make it eCommerce ready? Then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Karges Media today. After all, we are digital marketing experts. We’ll use these techniques and more to enhance your site’s functionality. In doing so, we’ll help you dive into the world, and profits, of online sales!