If you are thinking about building an online store in any time soon this tutorial will help you a lot. And if you already have an idea about what you are going to sell than it’s even better.
But before I get into it, let me tell you why this is more advantageous than a physical store.
- First: lower start-up cost. For me this is the biggest advantage of this model, because if in one case you need thousands of dollars to get started, when creating an online store you will only need a few bucks. It’s not even a fair comparison.
- The second reason is the flexibility. And this is related to a lot of aspects. You can change the design of your site in a matter of minutes, you can add new products with just a few clicks; you can use different marketing strategies to see which one performs better, and the list goes on and on.
- The third reason is about the potential reach. And this is huge because depending on your promotion strategy you can literally reach thousands of visitors a day from people all around the world. With a physical store you will be selling only to customers from a particular city and this can reduce your revenue considerably.
- And last but not least, you can track everything on your online store. You can evaluate how long people stay on your site, what pages are popular, which products sell the most, the conversion of a particular landing page and also you can learn the value of each visitor which is a critical metric.
Selling online can be a great opportunity for people willing to increase their income from home but you should know, this is a real business so you have to follow certain steps in order to be successful.
Now let me tell you how you can get started.
Choosing a Niche
There are several ways of choosing a niche but in my opinion, one of the best methods for this is focusing on niches that you have some level of competence.
It all comes down to your commitment and I can say by experience, that is really hard to commit to something that you know nothing about or you simply don’t care.
Choosing a niche considering only how big the audience is, in all likelihood tends to be a big mistake.
Ok, you still have to find a decent sized audience to promote a product but you also have to get involved. You will have to create content, a website, landing pages, and provide customer support.
The second point is about your audience. You have to know your audience. I learned this a long time ago but it’s still valuable. You have to choose the people you will be selling to because you will be dealing with them on a regular basis. It’s hard to be happy when you don’t like your audience.
So, don’t over complicate this phase!
Choose a niche you have some sort of expertise and also pick an audience with nice people. You can learn their behavior on forums or blogs. If you don’t like what you see, pick another niche.
Picking the right products can be the difference between success and failure but first we need to know what kind of offer we are going to use. The first decision would be about physical and digital products but we also need to know where to find those products. Here are some options:
- Affiliate marketing: You pick a product, create an affiliate link, then add that link to your site and collect commissions. It works for physical or digital offers and the most popular sites are Amazon and Clickbank.
- Drop shipping: This is maybe the best option when it comes to selling physical products, but unfortunately it’s not that easy to find big drop shipping websites. Usually you have to do a lot of digging to find great opportunities.
- Selling your own products. You can create an online course teaching something you are good at. You can write a book, an e-book or even create a membership site offering new content on a regular basis. You can even ask others to promote your product for you. This has a great potential.
Now that we have established how to find products it’s time to think about promoting them. And for that I will focus on the two giants: Google and Facebook.
The approach can vary a lot from one platform to another. But I will show you the difference.
Web Promotion – Google vs Facebook
Let’s start with Google!
With Google you have to focus on keyword research. That is the main part.
And doesn’t matter if you will be using SEO (organic traffic) or Google Adwords in both cases you need good keywords.
There are so many different strategies to find good keywords but here I will focus only on one method.
To get started you need to identify 3 to 5 competitors.
Once you have those websites you will use a tool called SEMRush. On this site, just add your competitor and take a look at the organic or paid keywords they are using. This is the best place to get started. This is what I do every time I need to start a project from scratch.
You will need only a couple of good keywords for SEO and a little more for PPC. And that is enough for Google.
Now let’s check Facebook!
If you are considering Facebook ads to promote your site you also have to focus on finding good competitors but at this time you will ignore their keywords. You only need their Facebook page.
That is the big difference. And although a Fan Page is not as specific as a keyword, Facebook is a lot more flexible when it comes to landing pages so you can achieve higher conversions using Facebook Ads.
There are pros and cons on both platforms and you have to do some testing so see what works for you.
Using the Right Ecommerce Platform
Ok, I told you about choosing a niche, a little bit about picking products and also some tips about how you can promote those products using Google or Facebook. But something important is missing.
You have to create an online store so you can sell those products. You need to be able to easily add products to your store; collect payments and manage each transaction. In most cases you need some basic features such as:
- Flexible design.
- Inventory management.
- Multiple shipping options for physical products.
- Multiple payment methods.
- Attractive landing pages
Once you define your marketing strategy you can start building your online store right away. And although there are some good services you can use as an ecommerce platform, most of them are not cheap and sometimes this can hold a lot of people back.
Considering this, I always think it’s great when you can start the process for free. And you should know, there are a variety of free and low-cost platforms out there like Spaces that offer quality ecommerce solutions to help you during the early stages and beyond.
These are the foundation you need in order to build your online store.
I also told you about web promotion using Google and Facebook and here some things to have in mind:
- Product name keywords are great for Google. They are really effective but unfortunately it’s not that easy to find these types of phrases with a big volume. So you have to do a lot of digging.
- The next option would be keywords that solve a problem. Both strategies work for SEO or Google Adwords. For SEO you have to focus on natural link building and for PPC you need to set aside a budget to do some testing.
- For Facebook: research your competitors, select a good amount of Facebook pages and start focusing on this. But remember, on Facebook you will be selling indirectly. Don’t try to push products when using Facebook Ads. It’s a social network. You have to be social! And to brainstorm ideas about how to do this, always look at your competition and check what they are doing.
Ok, that is the end of this brief tutorial and if you like it, please don’t forget to share this page with your friends. Thanks!
Felipe Kurpiel is an internet marketer passionate about SEO, blogging, affiliate marketing and building new online businesses. And during this particular post he mentioned SEMRush as the tool for keyword research and GoSpaces as the ecommerce solution. Feel free to get in touch with the author using the Google+ profile provided above.