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Ecommerce Blog - Fortune3

Do You Have These Qualities of Successful Online Business Owners?

fortune3-online-business-owner-qualities-imageAnybody who can dress themselves can make money online.

All you do is start up your PC, buy a website, and the money starts rolling in.

No hard work necessary, right?

Of course, you know that’s a lie.

Although, if you believe the internet marketing gurus, you’d think it’s easy as pie.

A decade ago, when no one was doing it, it was easier.

But now, it’s hard, and it gets exponentially harder each minute because more people do it.

Truthfully, anyone with these qualities, or willing to develop them, can make a comfortable living online.

This is what you need to have:

1. You Don’t Mind Being Alone for Long Periods of Time

It sounds obvious, but many people don’t consider how much they’ll be alone working online. You do get some human interaction. But a lot of it comes through e-mail, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Some people say they crave being around others.

Can you spend 8-10 hours per day without any extended conversations with another person, day after day, year after year? Or, can you find other ways to interact with people to satisfy your needs so you don’t go insane?

2. How Much Do You Like to Learn?

With any business, about 80-90% of what you think will work doesn’t actually end up working. That’s the way it goes for everybody.

Then you find those 10-20% of things that do work, and you spend all your time doing that. Do you like to learn that way?

Plus, all kinds of unexpected things happen. Your web developer goes AWOL. Business grinds to a halt out of the blue.

The federal government sends down a regulation that forces you to spend countless hours doing things you don’t like.

Anything can happen at any minute…are you willing to learn brand new things on a whim?

3. Can You Handle Things Not Working Out for Long Periods of Time? 

Speaking of learning – you’ll try, try, and try again. You’ll certainly have plenty of opportunity for creativity!

Since most things you do won’t work out, can you handle that happening repeatedly for months or years at a time?

It’s not really “failing” because you learn what doesn’t work. But it can be difficult to keep a positive, growing mindset during those times.

4. Can You Stay Focused? 

Part of the excitement of business is discovering new things that do work. And when you hit on something and see the results, it’s exhilarating!

It’s tempting to keep trying new things so you find out what does work. But, the downside is you may not stay at one thing long enough to get it working.

So, you spin your wheels and go around in circles, not really making progress.

Can you set daily, weekly, and monthly goals and stick to them? It’s key to your success.

Prepare for an Exciting Journey! 

Business isn’t easy. Your job isn’t easy. Life isn’t easy.

I don’t write these things to turn you off from starting your business.

But, I do want you to know what you’re getting into.

So if you think opening your business is your calling, take the leap, and get ready for a wild ride!

 

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips

5 Ways to Engage Your Customers…After They Check Out

fortune3-happy-customers-imageCha-ching!

Okay…great. Your customer just made a purchase.

Now what you do? Just let them move on to another website?

No way…big mistake!

You know they love you. So now’s a great time to engage them so they stick with you for the long-term.

And it makes good business sense because it costs much less to get existing customers to buy again than it does to attract new ones.

Some  ways to keep the good momentum going:

1. Give Them The Option to Create an Account

On their first purchase, most customers prefer a guest account to creating a new one. But, you can give them the option to create one. Some will, and that will be a nice boost to your business.

2. Use a Customer Loyalty Program

You can be as creative with this as you want. Give customers a 25% discount on their second purchase. Offer them points in return for additional purchases. Give them another discount after their 10th purchase.

Do the math and figure out what would make your customers happiest.

3. Ask Them  to Subscribe to Your Newsletter

The key word here is “ask.” Don’t have a check-box that opts them in by default. In today’s sales climate, and especially online, it’s best to get permission first.

Be sure to remind them what they get as an incentive for subscribing. This could be as simple as “Be the first to get access to our special discounts and savings opportunities!”

4. Customize The “Thank You” Page to Their Purchase

This tip comes from Shopify. Does your default “thank you” page say something plain that applies to everyone, like “Thank you for your purchase! A confirmation e-mail has been sent to blahblahblahblah@gmail.com.”

That’s the first step to an effective “thank you” page. But you can do even better by saying, “Your Keurig is on It’s Way! Make sure you check your e-mail for confirmation because we sent you a surprise you’ll love.” And then that surprise is 25% off their next purchase.

5. Give Your Customers a Surprise Small Gift

Say you sell smartphones. After they buy one, you could give them a free protective case. Or, it could be something else. You, of course, have to give in line with your profit margins.

No matter what you do, it’s going to help your business a lot. People will share this on social media, and you’ll earn more sales.

Business Really is All about Relationships…

Managing them online is much different than in real life.

So if you didn’t know these tips, no sweat.

Now, you’re on the right path. And that’s something to be happy about!

 

 

 

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

5 Free & Low-Cost Ways to Get Traffic Now

fortune3-massive-web-traffic-generation-imagePart of marketing involves showing how you do things differently and give better value than anyone else. And then another part of it is getting your message out through the appropriate channels.

2 different sciences. Each has its own challenges.

Learn how to get free and low-cost traffic to your e-commerce site:

1. Guest Blogging at Popular Industry Blogs

Let’s be honest: This one’s getting increasingly difficult.

Everyone wants to guest blog these days because it’s such a great way to get a good amount of targeted traffic. But if you can land a spot at a popular blog, it’s well worth your time.

The real challenge involves getting in. The best way to do that is to comment on popular blogs so the authors know your name.

Share their stuff on social media – and let them know about it. It takes time, but eventually pays off.

2. Resell on Big Websites, Like Amazon, Ebay, and even Yahoo!

It may be worth it to even sell your item at break even. That’s because, when customers see your product and quality, they get curious about what else you offer.

An article at Entrepreneur says Ebay’s the best site for doing this. But, give them all a try, and see what happens.

3. Participating in Forums

You have to be careful to not be overly promotional. Some forums also don’t let owners of e-commerce sites post a link in their signatures or profiles.

But…if you can find a niche forum that’s related to you product, it’s well worth your time.

People that participate in forums have a strong interest in that forum’s topic. So, they’re much more likely to buy.

And since super-popular forums get so much traffic, they can be a great source of long-term traffic. Plus, your posts can get indexed by Google. That gives even more sales.

A simple technique to make this work: answer people’s questions.

4. Create and Distribute a Free Infographic

You can actually make an infographic for free (they can be expensive if you use a designer). Simply Google “make your own infographic free” to find several providers of this service. A good one to start is Piktochart.com.

5. Make a Facebook Page…and Let Your Interested Friends and Family Know 

The key word here is “interested.” You can send a message to everyone you know once. That’s not too annoying to them. They might share your site with friends of theirs they think have an interest in your products.

Warning: only about 10% of your followers will see your posts. You’ll need to “boost” your posts, which costs $20 – $25 or so for most of your followers to see your posts. You would only boost posts with special offers.

Those are free and easy ways to get traffic to your site now. Once you get that traffic, it’s up to you to make it convert.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

4 Rapid E-mail List Building Techniques The Pros Use

fortune3-mailing-list-imageYour e-mail newsletter? That’s like marketing gold.

Your newsletter subscribers are your best customers. They want what you have and buy from you over and over again for years.

But how do you get them in the first place? And who wants to build a list at a glacial rate that takes years?

You want to grow your e-commerce business. You want to grow it sooner rather than later.

So do this to make that happen:

 1. Use Pop-Ups

Yes, I did actually make this suggestion. But, you want to set a cookie with the user so they only see the popup once, and then never again.

But, you don’t want to just pester them to join your list. Give them something free in return for joining. You can use any number of incentives, like:

• Giving a free guide or resource
• Offering free shipping on their next order
• Giving a 25% discount on an order of $50 or more

Conventional wisdom says not to use popups. But use them right like this, and they can become your greatest marketing asset.

2. Give Your Customers Multiple Opportunities to Sign Up 

If you have a blog, put an e-mail signup in the sidebar. Your “About” page is another great place to capture signups. That’s because people interested enough to go there already like you a lot – and may be willing to give you their e-mail address.

Add another opportunity to sign up at the end of every blog post. You can even add another opportunity to sign up in the middle of your blog posts too.

Ask your customers if they’d like to sign up after they’ve purchased from you. Don’t sign them up by default, though. Most will unsubscribe quickly.

Always give your users an incentive for signing up. And make that incentive clear.

3. Run Facebook Ads

Because of Facebook’s targeting options, you can go after a precise demographic, or even people with specific interests. That ad should then drive people to a landing page on your website to sign up for your newsletter.

To make it work, you need this:

  • An engaging image that stands out on Facebook
  • Copy that commands and drives action
  • A beautifully structured landing page with an obvious call-to-action

4. Twitter Lead Gen Cards

These allow users to subscribe scary fast. In fact, they can do so with just a single click, without even entering their name or e-mail address. Again, you will have to give your customers a freebie in exchange for opting in.

Those are 4 simple ways you can turbocharge your e-mail list growth starting today. And you don’t even have to be an expert to start using them!

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, eMail Marketing, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

How to Write a Marketing Plan That Lands Awesome Customers

fortune3-marketing-plan-imageDoes your small business have a strategic marketing plan that consistently lands you high-value customers?

If not, you’re hardly alone. Shopify recently did a survey and found 2/3 of respondents don’t!

With effective marketing, you can be a small or new player in an established market and gobble up market share right away.

But how do you do that?

Well, this strategy for writing a marketing plan will help you:

1. It All Starts with Your USP

Your unique selling proposition is how you do what you do in a unique way. It gives a fascinating reason for customers to buy from you and no one else. You should be able to state it in 2-3 sentences at most.

Most businesses look at you with blank eyes when you ask them what their USP is. USPs can be things like:

• Free shipping (although this is getting more common, so it’s not as powerful these days)
• Having a funny, lively e-mail newsletter and quirky copy on your website (when appropriate for your audience)
• Satisfaction guaranteed or double your money back

Here’s a helpful guide on developing your USP.

2. What’s Your Value Proposition? 

A “value proposition” is a set of ideas and good reasons for customers to buy from you. Your USP is the most powerful of those ideas.

So if you have quirky copy like Woot, that’s your USP. But to flesh out your value proposition, look at what competitors offer in your niche.

You might offer free shipping because few or no competitors do. You might offer 24×7 live chat support. You may guarantee a response in 30 minutes.

Define your value proposition tightly. And then repeat it in every one of your marketing materials and channels over and over.

3. What’s Your Time and Financial Budget?

This accounts for what  you can actually do. If you don’t have money, no big deal. That simply changes your tactics.

4. Where Do Your Customers Hang Out? 

If you’re going to acquire customers by social media, that’s “strategy.” “Tactics” are the actual techniques you use to drive customers to your website.

When you market, you need to find different techniques, list them, test them, and analyze your results. So if you start on Twitter, note how many times you post per day. Note how much time you spend following people and retweeting content.

5. Set Goals You Want to Meet

Don’t worry about actually meeting them. You don’t know if they’re realistic or not. If you don’t meet them, think about why that might be. Test new steps.

If your marketing plan includes those elements, you’re 5 steps ahead of the competition. And when you “crack the code” of your marketing plan, your business will snatch up plenty of market share.

 

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Online Marketing Strategies

7 High-Margin Products to Resell Online

fortune3-high-margin-productsStuck in a tight place in your business or life?

Need some way to get the cash flowing…now?

Everyone gets into tight spots at one time or another. And we’re here to help you out.

Get your revenues going now with these high-margin products, and then figure out where to go:

1. Laptops & Mobile Phones

There is a bit of a qualifier with these. You do have to have them sourced at prices that work for your profits margins. You’ll want to be able to double the prices.

2. Eyeglass Frames

According to Wisebread.com, these sell with a markup of 800-1000%! And that goes both online and off. TR90 eyeglasses, for example, are durable but don’t cost much to make.

3. Designer Jeans

Some report the margins for these jeans at up to 650%. Another nice thing is, that if you’re running your business out of your home, they store easy.

4. Bottled Water

Some leading brands can be marked up 4,000%! But of course the caveat is you still have to move a lot of volume to make a good profit. And you’ll need plenty of space to store the product.

5. Niches with Lots of Accessories, Like TVs

You may not want to sell TVs themselves. But, they’re not the reason you really sell, because they don’t have great margins.

Instead, you sell them for all the upsales you can make. For example, a $30 HDMI cable may have the same margin as the average TV.

6. Diamonds

Okay, so this one’s a bit of a risk because you’ll need some good cash to actually but one or two. But, you get a great margin and net profit in return.

As your business gains traction, you might buy a couple to quickly boost your revenues.

7. Wine/Champagne

So, these are a little more difficult to sell too. But, they do have nice margins, and you can start at almost any price.

Bonus Tip: Your marketing makes a huge difference. 

Marketing shapes your customer’s perception of your products. You could position yourself as a “quality provider” of many different products.

When customers see your products do have great quality, and they experience your stellar service, they have good reason to buy from you and not anyone else.

Finally: Stay Out of a Niche!

In business, you always hear the term “niche it to success.” That’s a wise idea in most cases. But when you’re initially selling someone else’s products, focus on high-margin products, not a niche.

If you have low margins – less than 50%, all your time gets eaten up running your business. You don’t have enough money to hire quality employees.

You can’t grow. And that makes your business a burden, not something you enjoy. You’ll hate every day of it.

So when you source your products, do it with great care. And don’t hold back when you find high-margin products that sell.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

6 Easy Ways to Boost Sales from Your E-mail Receipts

fortune3-sell-more-imageWhat better to make another sale than by selling to a customer you already know really likes you?

That’s what your customers who just bought from you are saying.

How do you upsell them when they’re hot – when they just purchased?

Some ideas:

1. Sell Related Products and Accessories 

Just sold a smartphone? Great, there’s only about a million accessories you could sell to your customer. On top of that, if you could target your offers based on customer demographic data, you could show more relevant accessories they could buy.

That would increase your conversion rate.

2. Add a Discount Code 

How much does it cost you to acquire a new customer? We don’t know your exact numbers, but it costs astronomically more than upselling your existing customers. It works that way for every business.

So offer your loyal customers a treat for buying from and give them a discount on their next purchases.

3. Add a Survey

What? How does a survey help you sell?

Well, did you know the typical company hears from only 4% of its irritated customers? The other 96% complain on social media or in person to their friends, coworkers, and family members.

When your customers have legitimate complaints and tell you, you should be grateful and ready to act!

Because when you fix what bugs them, they come back and have more loyalty than ever. Plus, you might give additional benefits your competitors don’t.

4. Start a Referral Program

It’s up to you how you structure it, but give your customers the opportunity to earn rewards for referring their friends and family. Maybe they get a 20% discount on orders over $50 for each successful referral.

Or, they get 1 instance of free shipping with each referral.

Great businesses don’t need to do too much marketing or selling because word-of-mouth does it for them.

5. Let Your Customers Share their Successful Purchase on Social Media

Customers are most excited when they just completed their purchase. Let them spread the word about it for you.

This time, you don’t incent the desired behavior. Instead, you just add social media buttons and ask them to take the action.

Free advertising!

6. Ask Customers to Join Your E-mail List

You won’t make sales right away. But your e-mail list represents your very best customers.

Maybe you won’t get a ton of e-mail subscribers. But the ones you do get buy from you repeatedly over the long-term.

And how much does an e-mail cost? An hour or two of your time? Maybe a few bucks each month for the subscription?

You get an awesome ROI with  your e-mail list.

Don’t Forget about Your E-mail Receipts!

The strategy you choose is up to you. But it’s clear: e-mail receipts are a great marketing opportunity.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, eMail Marketing, Online Marketing Strategies

Should You Sell Private Label Products?

private-label-products-fortune3It’s a shortcut for you if you can’t design and produce your own product. You get to sell someone else’s product under your own name.

That being said: should you do it? Is it profitable?

Take a look at some reasons to do (and not do) this for your business:

1. How Fast Do You Need to Grow Your Revenues? 

If you’re just starting out and don’t know what to sell, this can be a great way just to get your revenues going. When you have more money moving, you can invest that into other business processes.

As long as you choose good products, you also look great to your customers because it appears as though you make the product.

2. Help Your Customers Right Away

Let’s say you’ve been hearing from your customers they want a certain type of product. You can develop it on your own and make better profits down the road.

Or you can give it to them now – as long as the product you choose to sell is high-quality.

3. What’s Your Company’s Long-Term Goal?

Do you want to be the most recognized brand in your industry? If that’s the case, you can’t go white-label long-term. However, it could be part of your growth strategy.

At some point, you will have to create enough revenue to build and test your own products.

4. What if Your Private-Label Product Stinks?

Let’s say you thought you had an awesome product – you sell a piece of graphics editing software. You thought it was great.

But then, once you started selling it, you got all sorts of complaints. You’ll have to decide what to do about that.

But, you can’t control the product’s quality. So, you might just have to stop selling your product.

And  you can’t address the complaints for the product. They’ll have to go to the manufacturer, which could cause confusion and distrust for your customers.

5. Selling Your Business Gets Confusing

Buyers understand direct customer relationships best. If you have to explain whose products you sell and why, buyers lose interest.

That won’t necessarily kill your deal. But it’s going to be much harder to get the full value you want for your business.

6. But You Don’t Want to Make Mistakes Others Have Already Made!

Say you think about making your product. Do you know what mistakes other companies made while trying to create the same kind of product?

If you don’t, you’ll spend all sorts of time making those mistakes and fixing them yourself. That’s a waste of both time and money!

So should you sell white label products? It’s up to you. But, they can help you grow your revenues, which creates money for other business purposes. And you can focus on your core competency, rather than product development.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, How To, Online Marketing Strategies

What’s Your Marketing Communicating to Your Customers?

fortune3-e-commerce-understanding-marketing-imageIs marketing really all about links, keywords, rankings, page load times, click-through rate, and all that technical stuff?That part of internet marketing gets most of the attention.

But what about the other part of your marketing?

You know – the messages you say to your customers, and the words you use to say them. What about  you as a company?

How do you solve your customer’s problem uniquely? That part of marketing makes an astronomical impact on your sales rates.

But few people or businesses online talk about it! The conceptual part of marketing, which is only ideas, makes up much of your business success.

Have you thought about these aspects of your marketing:

1. Unique Selling Proposition (USP) In 2-3 sentences, this shows how you offer a unique solution to your customer’s problem. Many companies think being “full service” qualifies as a “USP.”

It doesn’t. That’s because many businesses offer “full service.” A USP for a financial planner would be,”I make investing fun and exciting again.”

Many financial planners talk about sound, fundamental strategies that get results. Can you name one that talks about “excitement” and “results?”

2. What Benefits Do You Offer?

Most companies talk about features – facts about their products. They don’t talk about the solutions those features help customers achieve.

Let’s use the proverbial “Customers don’t want to buy a drill – they want a hole in their wall” as an example. That conventional wisdom isn’t true!

Do you want to sit there looking at a hole in your wall? Ick! I don’t.

Instead, customers really want the good feelings associated with hanging their picture on the wall. They want to “feel happy remembering their wedding day” or “make their house a warm and comfortable home.”

What feelings do your customers get from buying your products? Does something in their lives become easier, faster, or more fun?

Focus on selling the feelings and practical results of your products. And you will blow away even established competitors in your field!

3. Are You Fun and Personable? 

Most online businesses want to bore their customers with their marketing approach. “We have 18 years of experience selling products to…” “Our products are the very best in the industry” and “We have a relentless pursuit of excellence.”

Everyone says those things. So they have no meaning for your customer. And if they have no meaning, your customer has no reason to buy from you instead of someone else.

Keep your conversation lighthearted and fun. Save the serious stuff for your competitors. Tell jokes in your copy. Make witty remarks (in parentheses like this!).

Customers are overloaded with information. If you can entertain and engage, you’ll stand out.

And guess what follows? You’re right – more sales!

Get Your Marketing Right & Good Things Will Happen 

You don’t have to hype your products. But you do want to realistically present how they make your customer feel. Get them to envision your benefits, and you’ll have customers lining up to buy from you over and over again.

Posted in Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, Online Marketing Strategies

The Bootstrapper’s Guide to Getting Your E-Commerce Site Selling Fast

fresh-start-fortune3-e-commerceAre you new to e-commerce? Do you have little money to start?

But you’ve got plenty of time?

Great! Here’s how you’d start marketing and growing revenues right away:

1. First, Have a Professional Design

Design’s actually costly. But that’s only if you hire an agency or independent web designer. Going that route gets you a great design from the start. And if they have e-commerce experience, they may know how to design your website for better sales immediately.

If you don’t have a few grand available for that, then your best bet is a an e-commerce suite. You can pay monthly fees (starting at $10 per month) for many of the basics you need to start, like:

• An easy online store builder

• Shopping cart software

• Payment processing

• PPC marketing

• SSL certificates

It takes hours and more money to get these things going on your own time. That may be your best bet to start.

2. Get Your PPC Campaign Going

Yes, PPC costs money. But you don’t need much to start. Just a few hundred bucks per month will do. And you can spend more if it’s available.

PPC takes just a few days to start. But you need to check your campaign daily. Otherwise, your costs skyrocket out of control. At least you get your revenues going so you can start doing other business activity.

You may want to start with Bing/Yahoo first, as they charge more reasonable fees for their advertising than Google’s Adwords.

PPC Hero is a great website to follow to learn more about PPC.

3. Grow Your E-mail List 

This is the huge key early on. Imagine your a prospector in the Old West in the 1840s, and you finally strike gold. That’s what a big e-mail list is like.

Once people buy from you, they trust you enough to buy again. And they repeatedly buy in the future because they love you.

You must give customers an incentive for signing up. This could be something like getting free shipping with your next order when you sign up. And then maybe a referral incentive too – like free shipping for additional orders or a 25% discount for each friend you refer that signs up.

4. Produce Valuable Content

You don’t have to go crazy with this. But you should do at least a 500-word blog post per week. Aim to be the most useful resource on your products in the industry.

If you sell vacuums, teach people simple maintenance steps for vacuums. If you sell sports apparel, tell people what types of clothing work best to boost their sports performance and why.

That’s enough to get your revenues up and going from the start. From there, it’s up to you to make mistakes, adjust, and grow.

Posted in Blogging for Ecommerce, Ecommerce Essentials & Tips, eMail Marketing, How To, Online Marketing Strategies, SEO for eCommerce