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Welcome to the first installment of our series on how to sell online successfully. Over the course of this series, we’ll be exploring common selling strategies, the benefits of taking your product-based business online, and creative ways to start selling digitally.

But first up, let’s look at why online selling is so powerful.

How to Sell Online Successfully: The Potential

In the world we live in, ecommerce makes a lot of sense.

It’s estimated that there are 3.7 billion active Internet users in the world. That means, if you market your business the smart way, you could be exposing your products to 3.7 billion people. Those figures are immense. You’d never come close to matching that as a bricks-and-mortar business, no matter your location.

As small business owners, it’s not really practical to target that many people, but there’s still a lot of potential. Implementing a few smart marketing strategies can help you start expanding that online customer base:

    • Creating some sort of free digital content is a super effective way to start building a tribe of loyal fans. This could be blog posts, podcast episodes or video content.
    • Engaging in real time is the most impactful way to strengthen these connections. Try using social media (and live streaming if you’re brave enough) to interact with your peeps. If you do this, don’t forget to add a link to your online store in your bio.
  • Ask for feedback from previous customers, and use that social proof to show how great your products are. Get creative, and ask for visuals of your products in use, or video testimonials. These pieces of user-generated content can then be shared across social media.

How to Sell Online Successfully: The Price Tag

Setting up a real-world shop is expensive. You don’t just have your inventory and staffing costs to worry about. You have a space to rent, maintenance and utilities to pay for, and possibly licenses to buy. With an online business, your setup costs are minimal.

If you’re wondering how to sell online and how much selling online will cost, you’re in the right place. You need access to the internet, and some device to get you there. You need a website (which can be free), an email marketing system (which can be free), and a payment system (which may have a minimal cost).

Obviously, as you start to make money, you can invest more in your marketing, or in expanding your product line, but you can do the basics for next to nothing.

How to Sell Online Successfully: The Freedom

The idea of a laptop lifestyle is very attractive to most of us. This dream of being able to run a business from a patisserie in Paris or a beach in Bali can actually be a reality if the entirety of your business is managed online.

Admittedly, for most of us, it will be managed from the coffee shop down the road, but that possibility of being in charge of your own future is still there.

How to Sell Online Successfully: The Hours

If you are selling your products online, there are no out of office hours. You can continue to sell your products at all times of the day and night – perfect if you’re hoping to target international audiences without developing a dangerous caffeine addiction.

This means that, assuming you can keep up with the demand if you sell handmade products, you have the potential to make a lot of money even while you sleep.

Selling online can have an amazing impact on your life and career if you’re willing to put in the work.

In the next installment of this “How to Sell Online” series, we’ll be looking at a few really popular strategies for selling, and how you can make them work for your biz.

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About the author

Jo Gifford

Jo Gifford

A widely read contributor to Huffington Post, Selz, Regus, Prowess, YFS Magazine and many more interwebz rabbit holes, Jo is a respected UK voice on life as a pocket-sized enterprise owner.

Jo’s background – a seasoned blogger, copywriter, podcaster, and graphic designer with an MA and research interest in creative thinking for small business – makes for an eclectic and colourful killer content approach.