So you have a product to sell online, you started your website, and decided how to deliver your products. Your site is ready, your pictures uploaded and your products description polished: now it is time to start making sales!

In this article, we will see how to sell online and cover the following topics:

  1. How to make your first sale.
  2. How to grow your online sales.
  3. How to use paid traffic to sell online.
  4. How to use SEO to get traffic to your site.

Let’s dive into it!

How to sell online: getting quality traffic

Making sales online is not easy: on average, it will take 270 visitors coming to your site before you make your first sale. And close to 2000 visitors to get your first 10 sales.

Overall, you can estimate that 0.5% to 1% of the people who come visit your site will convert to customers. This sounds low? It is true, and the key to increase your sales will indeed be to increase the quality traffic that comes to your site. But before going into this, how can we get those first sales faster, and learn at the same time?

Make your first sales

To get started, the best is actually to try to get somebody you know to buy from you. First, because it will be easier, as they already know you. And second, because it will allow you to polish your processes and make sure that the deliveries are running smoothly.

Indeed, the first time you are booking a courier, or the first time that a courier is visiting your premises, they might arrive late, get lost… As a result, the first couple of dispatches are much more likely to have errors. Friends and family are going to forgive this, and you can also easily get feedback from them. And after that you can expand your reach: it’s a magic thing when you get your first sale from somebody you don’t know!

To get this first sale in, send a broadcast message on WhatsApp, post on Facebook, and maximize your personal social reach. It is a good time to get back to the people you contacted when you researched your product. They might be interested to buy it, now that you are selling! You can also promote it in groups and forums where you are already active.

You can even offer discount coupons to them: you want those people to be your first customers. Indeed, don’t hesitate to offer discounts to drive initial sales, and to over deliver in terms of customer service. People who receive a great customer experience are most likely to come back to order more, recommend your site to their friends, and drive your sales up.

How to grow your online sales

After those first sales, growing your sales will be the key step in making your online shop a success.

As we saw, the volume of sales will be mostly proportional to the volume of quality traffic that comes to your site. So, how to increase your website traffic? We recommend following a two sided approach:  SEO and paid traffic, that you can also see as the tortoise and the hare.

The tortoise is SEO (which stands for Search Engine Optimization). SEO is a long term investment, but will increase your visibility and drive long term traffic. The hare is paid traffic (i.e. traffic driven by Google Ads, Facebook Ads, and the like), that will bring traffic to your site immediately and start driving sales.

When you launch your online store of your business, you will want to put some budget in paid advertisements. This will be key to get some initial traffic and sales, as SEO will take months to show results.

The main options for paid advertisement are Google Ads and Facebook Ads. Facebook Ads tend to be the easiest and to work very well, so this is where we recommend that you put most of your budget. Is it quite easy to get started, you will see!

Using SEO to get more passive traffic and grow your sales

At the same time, you want to work on your SEO and content to build passive traffic that will be here long term.

SEO is the “free” traffic option, but it will take a lot of time to drive significant traffic (think at least 3 to 6 months, and even much more for competitive keywords and products). It also takes a lot of time to implement. You should start working on it, but don’t count on it for generating sales during your first months of operation, it is a long term play.

SEO will include creating content on or about your site (blogs, podcasts, video, ebooks, social media…), as well as website and on page optimization. When done correctly, it will elevate the status of your website, and tell Google that you are relevant and that they should show you on their first page, which will generate traffic for you. These SEO case studies can give you an example of what can be achieved using these techniques.

Here is a detailed article on how to create content on your site that Google will like and want to show on the search results:

In conclusion

Tapping into your network, friends and family is a great way to make your first online sale, and also gives you the opportunity to polish your processes.

After that, paid traffic, typically with Facebook Ads, will be the key lever to start selling more online, while you invest in SEO to create more passive traffic sources!


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