Launching your online store should be an exciting time. Congratulations for coming this far! You have a product, a way to sell it and now just need to start making sales. Have you considered your launch and sales strategy?
It’s quite common to get bogged down with the details of developing of your product, and building a website. Businesses often end up just doing a soft launch (or essentially just making the website live but not really TELLING anyone about it). Then shortly after…crickets. No sales, very few visitors. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your product or website. It just means that more people need to know about!
Here are some steps to creating an exciting online store launch that leads to sales.
Connect with your Target Market on Social
Social media is a great, cost-effective way to reach SO many people. Your business should already have at a minimum 2 social media accounts. Make sure they are business accounts (so you can run advertisements or sponsored content and importantly measure results). Which social media you choose really depends on your product and target market, but find out where they hang out. Facebook has the biggest volume of users, so lets just assume for instance that you are using Facebook. Run some ads, focus on the solution your product provides (to whatever pain point your target consumers have). Create engaging content, don’t just splash your brand all over your social accounts. If you really aren’t sure, then engage help. You don’t need to do everything yourself. It might cost some money upfront, but with a good social media manager those costs should pay themselves back.
Think about what your target market will find engaging. Some examples might be asking questions, creating competitions, use video content, give them sneak peeks at new products, provide information about topics your target market are interested in (it doesn’t always need to be directly related to your product).
Social Media is also great for connecting with groups. Find out where your target consumers are hanging out and be there. Again, don’t simply splash your business name all over groups. Engage with them, don’t try and directly sell to them. Soon enough they might need your product, and they will remember that business owner who helped them out.
Prepare Blog Content
Create a blog for your website. It’s a great way to improve SEO, but also provide free value to your consumers and visitors to your site. Again it’s about providing VALUE. Products can be purchased elsewhere, but if you provide additional value and consumers feel connected to your brand, website or even you as a person, it will make a bigger impact and create loyalty. You want to create loyal consumers who come back time and time again, and are also happy to refer your product/service to others.
Connect with other Business Owners
Are you a part of any business networking groups? If not, why not? They can be a great way to get support, whether you have questions or need help spreading the word about your launch. It’s also a great place to find like-minded collaborators. For example, if you sell a beauty product, and connect with a fellow business owner who sells gift hampers. Perhaps you can look to include your product samples in some hampers.
Sometimes it takes a few goes to find a group you can really connect with. So don’t give up if the first one is a disaster! Most groups I’ve been a part of are extremely supportive. Even if there has been no business opportunities from it, I’ve been able to learn so much from other business owners.
Have a launch party!
If it’s possible to have a physical launch party somewhere, do it! It’s a great way for you to celebrate your success and share your hard work with those around you. If you can’t engage a PR specialist, you’ll need to DIY. Having family and friends is a must, and then look at influencers. Who would be valuable to have there because they have influence over your target market.
If you can’t have a physical launch party, then think about other ways to celebrate. Offer promotional codes to “Celebrate the Launch”, or have and online launch party where you have a period of time (say 6 hours one evening) where everything is X% off, or has a free gift with purchase etc. Or you could create a “Launch Party Group” on Facebook. It’s a great way to make consumers feel like they are part of an exclusive club and you have a way to connect to a very specific target audience!
Be available to your customers
Ensure you have a sufficient contact system on your website and social media accounts. Reply to consumers promptly. Consider also having a telephone number they can call if they are really stuck.
Not being contactable or being too slow to deal with customer issues can really burn a business!
AMAZING Customer Service to create repeat business and referrals
Once you have a few sales, blow them away with your customer service! Respond to enquiries quickly, ship the product fast, include something extra, like a small gift (and don’t tell them so that they get a lovely surprise). Make the consumer feel appreciated. Include a handwritten note to personally say thank you. Tell them you’d love to get feedback and provide a personal email address so that they feel compelled to actually give you feedback (testimonials are awesome to have for future marketing). Or alternatively follow up with an email a few days after they receive the product to see what they think.
Collect your customer information
If there is one thing you need to do right, it’s collecting customer information. Create a database of people who have bought from you at least once. Ensure your website captures contact details or use some sort of CRM system which integrates with your website. Being able to offer this exclusive group of people (who’ve already tried your product) future promotions and sneak peeks at new products they might be interested in is so important.
Hopefully you’ve now got some great ideas buzzing in your mind for your online launch and sales strategy. I’d love to know how you created anticipation and excitement around your online launch!