E-commerce Tools & Best Practices

4 Must-Try Strategies For Selling More Online

By: Deanna deBara | February 13, 2020

Story Highlights:

• Valentine’s Day beckons—are you doing all you can to drive sales?

• Only 2 percent of website visitors will convert on the first visit, which means you need a follow-up strategy to stay on their radar and close the sale

• A strong POD can mean the difference between being another flash in the pan or really connecting with your audience 

• There are opportunities to drive holiday sales throughout most of the year

The Story:

There are plenty of things that go into a thriving online business, from product development, to web design, customer service and more. But it doesn’t matter if you have all your business ducks in a row—without the right marketing strategy, none of those things (the product, the website, the killer customer service) will get the exposure deserved.

Finding creative ways to market yourself is a must to be able to:

  • Stand out in today’s increasingly competitive digital landscape
  • Grab customers’ attention
  • Increase sales

But how, exactly, do you do all of that?

In honor of Valentine’s Day this Friday, here are four must-try marketing tips you’ll be sure to adore (especially when you see how they can seriously help boost sales).

1. Don’t Take No For an Answer

Only 2 percent of people make a purchase the first time they visit a website. That means a whopping 98 percent of your website visitors won’t convert the first time around.

Which is why, if you want to increase sales, you can’t take no for an answer.

With the right follow-up strategy, you can stay top of mind with the prospects who visit your website without making a purchase and continue to market to them, effectively nudging them from “prospect” to “paying customer.”

There are a variety of ways to follow up with would-be customers and entice them to make a purchase, including:

• Retargeting ads. If someone is scoping out a product on your website, you want to make sure it stays on their radar—and a retargeted ad that features the product is a great way to do it. Retargeting is a strategy that allows you to serve relevant ads to your website visitors after they’ve visited your website, and not only is it a powerful way to remind them of what they’re missing, it’s also extremely effective—particularly on social media. 

• Cart abandonment emails. A lot of shoppers go through the entire process of building a cart, filling out all of their information, and then abandoning it at the last minute. If you’ve captured their information (and, in particular, their email address), there’s still ample opportunity to get them to complete the purchase. Sending follow up emails that remind the shopper of what was in their cart and highlight why they need those products can be just the nudge they need to go back and finish the purchase. 

• Additional incentives. Retargeting ads and cart abandonment emails are effective strategies on their own. But if you really want to up your conversion rate, try adding extra incentive. Everyone loves a deal, so including a discount code in your follow up emails or a discounted price in your ad image can be a great way to drive traffic back to your website—and convert that traffic once they get there.

2. Establish a Strong POD

Competition in the e-commerce world is fierce. No matter who you are or what you’re selling, there are a ton of competitors fighting for your customers.

If you want to thrive in the world of e-commerce, you need to break through the clutter, grab your target audience’s attention, and show them that you’re the company they should do business with. 

And in order to do that? You need a strong point of difference.

Think of your point of difference (POD) as your brand’s “special sauce;” it’s what makes you unique, different, and special—and, ultimately, will help you connect with ideal customers. If you look at the most popular brands on the market, all of them have a strong POD. Take LUSH Cosmetics as an example. While there’s no denying they have stand-out products, what’s really made them stand out is their commitment to reducing waste; 35 percent of their products (like their innovative shampoo bars) are sold without any packaging, while the rest are bottled or packaged in 100 percent post consumer plastic. 

This POD has not only helped them stand out in the over-saturated beauty market and build buzz around their brand, it’s also helped them develop a cult following of environmentally conscious shoppers committed to shopping sustainably. 

If you’re not sure what your POD is, it’s time to do a little brand soul searching. Dig deep and ask yourself questions to get to the root of who you are and what makes you stand out, like:

• If we could describe our brand in three words, what would they be?

• What do we do better than other brands on the market?

• Why do our customers choose to do business with us over our competitors?

The more you can dig deep on what makes your brand special, the more you can use that to connect with your ideal customers—and drive online sales in the process.

3. Make The Most of All Holiday Seasons

Obviously, the holiday season (aka November/December) is a crucial time to boost sales. But if the end of the year is the only time you’re leveraging a holiday sales strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your customers and increase sales year-round.

Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween…there are tons of special moments throughout the year—and you can leverage all of them to drive sales.

Some of the best ways to make the most of every holiday season include:

• Holiday promotions. People tend to ramp up their shopping around the holidays—and offering a special holiday discount or promotion (like “Buy one, get one free”) can be a great way to entice them to do their shopping with you.

• Branded holiday products. According to the scarcity principle (which we touched on in a recent article on the mindset behind shopping), people are more likely to make a purchase when they believe there is a limited opportunity to secure an item. So creating branded holiday products—and only selling them for the holiday—can be a great way to leverage the scarcity principle and boost your sales.

• Last-minute shipping. Many of us don’t even think about buying holiday gifts or products until the last minute. By offering easy, affordable, and hassle-free last-minute shipping, you can capitalize on those last minute shoppers—and differentiate yourself from other SMBs with longer ship times.

Holiday or no holiday, offering last-minute shipping to your customers can get pricey. Shippo helps empower merchants with an affordable, and convenient shipping solution. It’s a win-win; your customers get their last-minute holiday gift when they need it—and you get to ship it without breaking the bank.

4. Connect with Content

A lot of marketing strategies are focused on selling. But building a relationship and fostering trust with your customers is a must in order to drive sales—so before you start pushing sales, you need to focus on building that relationship and trust.

That’s where content comes in. 

The right content strategy can help you become a subject matter expert in your industry. And once you’re a trusted resource for your customers, the sales will follow.

There’s are many different content formats you can leverage to connect with your audience—and the content type that’s going to be most effective will depend on your end goal. 

For example, do you want to build a more personal connection with your audience? Hop on Facebook Live and do a live Q+A session to answer their biggest questions about your brand or products. Do you want to add real value to your audience? Publish a series of blog posts that dig deep into a topic they’re interested in or provide key insights into how to solve one of their hot-button problems. Want to increase visibility and appeal to new potential customers? Try establishing a presence on Quora, and start posting and answering industry-related questions.

The point is, content is about building relationships. The more relevant content you create, the more your audience will trust you—and the more likely they’ll be to buy from you as a result.

Build a Marketing Strategy That Fits Your Business

With the right marketing strategy, you can break through the e-commerce clutter, grab your ideal customers’ attention, and show them that you’re the brand they want to do business with. And while you’re at it, explore Shippo for your shipping and logistics needs.

Deanna deBara

Deanna deBara is a freelance writer based in Portland, who specializes in business, marketing, and productivity topics. When she's not busy writing, you can find her hiking the PNW with her husband and rescue dog, Bennett. Learn more about Deanna at deannadebara.com/content-marketing. 

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