There’s three main ways you can sell your products online. Through social media, your own website or an established marketplace like Amazon or eBay. Before I start explaining all the mediums, note the following -- it can be overwhelming if you’re trying to market your products on all platforms. Instead, you should experiment and try the different platforms and stick to the ones where you are seeing the most return on investment of your time and efforts.
Social Media Marketing
Social Media is great for promoting products because they’re addictive in nature. Images and videos make the product really compelling for customers -- it’s like window shopping. Also, you can target your customers through Facebook & Instagram ads based on their interests. Social media is particularly powerful because you can reach many of your customers quite easily.
Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform and it should be a top priority for most product marketers. However, it should be noted that competition is quite high. Things that you share on Facebook have to be quite unique to get the kind of response that would get you success overnight. Key points to note:
- Share images and articles that are unique and very relevant to your target audience. Something you cannot resist clicking.
- Share videos that demonstrate your product and have some educational or entertainment value.
Facebook rewards good content by giving it organic reach. Good content benefits Facebook because it keeps users coming back. Advertising with amazing content even helps lower your ad costs. The cost of reaching a user is significantly lower because the content is interesting and is of great value to Facebook’s users.
Instagram is owned by Facebook. The unique thing about Instagram is that it is only images and videos. Most users grow their Instagram following by liking and commenting on other user’s posts. So, you can network with peers in your industry and you exchange each other's audiences. Thing of it this way -- you’re opening your store next to another successful store. Both of you will draw customers and benefit mutually. Instagram ads are linked with Facebook ads so when advertising on Facebook, just have your Instagram account linked.
Another way of Instagram marketing is called influencer marketing. Let’s say you are selling jewelry or makeup. You can find a popular account using jewelry or makeup hashtags and direct message them to feature your product. Influencer marketing is a paid service and can start from as low as $100 depending on the value of the account’s audience. It usually has very high return on ad spend.
Pinterest is like an online board for your ideas. What you have to understand about social media is that they have discovery options. Just like Facebook and Instagram, they want to show you content that you might be interested in. So, here’s how you market on Pinterest:
- Create boards and repin posts in your industry/niche.
- Comment and reach out to other users in your niche.
Over time, other users will discover your products. Pinterest may not be as popular as other platforms but it’s user base is very active. Going viral on any one platform is enough to rocket your sales.
Video is a lot more engaging than images and YouTube is the main platform for promoting videos. There’s entire channels dedicated to product reviews. Before making a purchase, many buyers look to research the product. This where YouTube comes in handy. Showing your product through video builds trust.
The only caveat with video is that it is time-consuming to create. But, it is important to remember that, videos do not necessarily have to be of extremely professional quality. Plus, the videos you create can also be shared on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. When posting your videos on YouTube, make sure to include good title and descriptions so that it shows up easily on searches. Search for other content creators in your niche to get some ideas.
Having a presence on platforms like Snapchat is important particularly to market to millennials and eventually the rest of the demographics who will follow. Marketing on Snapchat is quite similar to Instagram. You have to post content showcasing your product and reach out to influencers. One way of finding Snapchat influencers is by searching for independent blogs in your niche and see if they link to a Snapchat.
Twitter and Reddit have niche audiences so they may not be a fit for all product types. However, they are still powerful platforms to get your products discovered. Google indexes content from Twitter and Reddit so it is worth a shot to see how your products perform on Twitter and Reddit. As always, make sure you are engaging with other users in your niche in a meaningful way.
Marketplaces like eBay and Amazon are a great way to sell products online because users go on those sites for the sole purpose of making a purchase. They also promote products to their customers based on their interests. Sellers are also able to earn reviews and rating which builds trust and credibility. Over time, having a very successful seller account on just one marketplace is enough to sustain a big business.
eBay and Amazon support payment gateways like Paypal which make receiving payments effortless. They also have services like Fullfillment -- which means, you ship all your products to their warehouse and they handle all the packaging and shipping. All you focus on is selling and improving your product offering.
Another great way of selling products online is to setup your own website. There’s two ways of doing it. You can either purchase hosting and hire a developer or you can use a service like Shopify. Shopify enables you to get an online store running in just a few clicks. Services like Shopify offer pre-built themes and options, like payment processing and integration with other platforms -- like Facebook.
Shopify is not the best option if you want greater control over your operations. Starting an eCommerce site with WordPress and WooCommerce will give you a lot more technical flexibility. You can do things like conditional promotions. Let’s say a user has browsed your site and is about to leave -- you can prompt them with a discount offer before they leave. Or, you can capture email addresses and entice them with a offer and keep promoting to them subsequently.
Whatever means you choose to sell your products online, it will definitely help to build out a strategy to minimize costs. Many sellers go the route of making mistakes and finding out for themselves. In many cases, it’d be more cost-effective to hire an expert and learn as much as you can from them. It minimizes your costs and you see success sooner. What is more precious to you -- time or money?
All said and considered, we offer free consulting. Reach out to us at any time with any questions and concerns.