Near the bottom of Google s homepage is a big number in small print. This number represents the total number of webpages searched, indexed and ready to instantly respond to any online query submitted.
So, how can your website stand out in such an overwhelming crowd? This article covers key points every ecommerce newcomer should know - each vital to getting your website noticed and increasing online sales.
Find a Niche
Pick a corner of the market and focus on it. Flourishing online businesses concentrate on a small corner of a large market and specialize in it.
Take music for example, instead of trying to dominate sales in such a broad business, find your favorite corner and focus on it - such as selling pan flutes or pan flute music. Find out exactly what pan flute lovers want, offer it on your website and most importantly, do it with flair.
Offer Something Different
You face stiff competition selling on the internet and developing distinctive selling schemes will help you succeed. You could offer unusual incentives, a less-expensive service or product, unparalleled quality, a unique guarantee or even special knowledge that no one else offers.
For example, a website that sells harmonicas would attract more attention if it also offered a harmonica repair service - something you can t get from the harmonica manufacturer or even music stores. If your site offers something competitors don t have, customers will not only find you, but also advertise for you by spreading the word.
Form a Plan
A business plan is a key player for any company s success and website businesses are no exception. To make a business plan, you need to do the following:
- Identify how you are going to make a profit
- Decide what you want your business to look like in the future - one, two or even five years down the road
- Estimate the time and money you ll need to invest, then break those needs down into reasonable, measurable goals
- Join a web forum and talk to entrepreneurs and web marketers - learning everything you can about the art of business planning
Also, give yourself the time needed to research and test your ideas; trial and error is always an option, but it takes time and money to learn as you go.
Much of the appeal of marketing your goods online is the ease of putting together custom-tailored advertising. Consumers often resent telemarketing calls and ignore junk mail because their arrivals are during inconvenient or ineffective times. Conversely, an advertisement for hand tools that appears on a building plans website is expected and often welcomed.
In a nutshell, effective online marketing is determining exactly who makes up your target market, learning where they spend time online and targeting your advertising there. eCommerce services that offer marketing plans can be a good asset for beginners trying to identifying and reach their potential customers. Many of these services teach you about online marketing tools, like shopping carts, but be careful, as web advertising adds up fast and overshooting your budget is easy to do.
Check out your competitors - who are they and how do they succeed? Occasionally, buy products from your competitors to evaluate their customer service quality, and to get an inside look at their website sales tool.
Many potential customers abandon full shopping carts at the gate because buying is intimidating or confusing. Confusion is a great excuse to exit. Make sure your checkout process is smooth and reassuring - so that after all your effort in getting them there, your customers will not only stick around, but also come back again and again.