Our creative minds regularly conjure up new products that customers may love. While it's possible to create a Kickstarter campaign and rally support to fund your invention, building a profitable and sustainable e-commerce business is an entirely different story. To do so requires an understanding of the best ways to market and promote your product, a customer-first focus, and scalable tactics that can turn your idea into a solid revenue-generating machine. The following are five tips worth remembering every day in order to grow a meaningful online store.
For many entrepreneurs, it's surprising how quickly you can blow through your monthly marketing budget in a matter of hours. Facebook, Google, and every other ad network are more than willing to take your money without walking you through the process of developing the best creatives and copy to drive success. Therefore, you have to test every campaign with a limited budget before launching it full-scale.
"Deep discounts are a warning sign of a brand's desperation," says business expert Firas Kittaneh, CEO and co-founder of One Mall Group, a group of specialty e-commerce brands including Amerisleep, an eco-friendly luxury mattress company. He adds, "To avoid ruining your brand's image, don't make a habit of discounting regularly either." The most successful promotions are ones where your customers least expect it at prices that encourage more discerning shoppers to purchase without attracting bargain hunters who will never fully value your business or offerings.
Gather an Email List
Clients that opt-in to messaging about product promotions will not only come back for more, but they'll also be your biggest brand advocates to everyone they know. Email marketing is, by a wide margin, one of the most effective and profitable marketing channels for businesses. A study by management consultancy McKinsey & Company suggests, "E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media--nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined." With a private channel to connect individually with customers, you manage to stay top of mind and minimize the risk of drowning in the overwhelming noise of social media feeds too.
Offer Endless Customer Support
Even if your customers don't voice complaints, you should make it your mission to go above and beyond to serve them. "A sale does not stop as soon as you charge a client's credit card," explains Fan Bi, CEO and founder of Blank Label, a custom menswear company. A firm commitment to customer happiness fuels referrals and turns your shoppers into your most important marketing assets. Negative customer reviews can discourage prospective buyers from doing business with you, while gushing testimonials may help inbound countless sales you otherwise might not have gotten.
Business owners tend to make the mistake of offering customers everything imaginable. The inherent problem of such a strategy is that you underinvest in the quality of each product available. The fastest-growing e-commerce brands make it a point to perfect their first product before selling anything else. When they are ready to expand their selection, they do so conservatively, adding new products and lines only as long as they can maintain the same high-quality standards for every item produced.