5 Top Tips to a Successful E-commerce Business

1. Market & promote offline

This is probably the no.1 mistake my clients make. Having a website is simply not enough if you want your business to be successful – you need to market it everywhere, and that includes promoting it offline. Attend trade shows, set up meetings with potential clients/customers and advertise in the local newspaper and in local magazines. After all, customers and clients aren’t robots that live inside computers – they’re out there in real life.

To get the right people to come to your websites (i.e. genuine potential clients and customers and not just friends and family) you need to be seeking them out in places where they might be – don’t just restrict yourself to online. For example, I promote my website in the Web Design Services section of a free weekly advertising magazine that is distributed in local shops. A lot of my work comes from this and so the investment is worth it.

2. Market & promote online

Likewise, you need to market online too, but don’t just put all your eggs in a Facebook basket. Think about sending digital press releases to local magazines and bloggers when you launch a new product or have exciting news. Set up an email marketing campaign. Send sample products to bloggers in exchange for them reviewing it. Have a particular expertise (e.g. food, vintage clothing, art, plants)? Offer to write an article about it on other blogs or online magazines. Get your name and your business’ name out there!

3. Have a social media strategy

We all know social media can be a powerful tool, but to really make the most of it and encourage new ‘likers’ and ‘followers’, you need to think about your strategy (whether this is in your head or written down). For example, the most successful posts on Facebook (those that get the most shares and likes) are photos, not wordy statuses. I know I personally am more likely to share funny photos. A study from 2012 showed that photos get 53% more likes and account for 93% of the most engaging posts on Facebook. They also get 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs on links than text-based posts. Question posts get 100% more comments. [Statistics – source]

Promotions and giveaways encouraging entrants to like and share your page in order to enter are great way of getting new likers. Try sponsored posts on Facebook. This is not as expensive as you might think, and you can target your posts/ads to a specific audience including gender and age group.

4. Use Google Analytics

Make sure Google Analytics is set up for your website (I always do this for my clients) and keep a close eye on what’s working and what’s not.

5. Keep your website up-to-date and refresh it

Keep your website content up-to-date and don’t be afraid to change it if you think it’s not working. Think about what your customers want. Is it the start of spring? Perhaps you could launch a spring offer or spring sale, or a ‘what’s in season’ if you’re in the food or plant industry. New year is the classic time to appeal to people’s desire to get fit, look good, get healthy, make a change or simply get things done, but the same goes for when the sun comes out for me! Advertise new products in stock. Changing content will help encourage people back to the website.