The better way to sell online

How to create a clear marketing strategy

As small business owners, we often hope our products will be able to sell themselves. While ShopFactory stores are optimized to show highly in search results, it’s still essential to have a clear marketing/sales vision and strategy.


The online market is becoming ever more saturated, and with trends shifting like sand, developing a strategy and brand identity will help you stay firm footed.

Here are three elements which should form the core of your strategy (and which don’t require you to be an expert!).

1. Understand your brand.

Understanding your product and who it could be of interest to is the foundation of a good strategy.

It seems like a simple enough question, but understanding how you want to present yourself to the world is key for long term success. You need to understand your product, identify who you want to sell it to, and pick a personality, or brand, for your company which marries the two.

For instance, there are many ways to promote office tools:

  1. Office tools for serious professionals.
  2. Office tools for young people just starting in their roles.
  3. Office tools which inject fun into the mundane.
  4. Office tools which showcase the personalities of those wielding them.
  5. Office tools which result in zero waste.

Because of these promotional decisions, businesses which sell similar products often end up having completely different customers (from shoes to consulting services, how you communicate your offer hugely impacts who will buy). This is essential to remember, and thinking critically about it could help you carve out your own niche and local customers even when you have existing competitors.

Once you’ve decided on the what for the who, you need to think about the how:

  1. Eco friendly?
  2. Sustainable?
  3. Affordable?
  4. Durable?

What things might your target demographic be looking for?

Those who are well into their careers might be looking for high quality, durable products, whereas recent graduates might be more focused on individualization and sustainability.

Here’s a quick checklist to help you start brainstorming:

  1. What am I selling?
  2. Who am I selling to?
  3. Why is this person more interested in my product than competitors?
  4. How can I develop my online store and persona to inform them of this?

2. Optimize your website for your audience.

Understanding customer interests will impact not just which ShopFactory template you use, but which of our inbuilt fonts, colour schemes, and layouts will best communicate your message to your customers.

There are many ways you can optimize your ShopFactory website for future customers:

1. Plan above the fold.

What do your customers see when they launch your website (both on Mobile and Desktop), without needing to scroll? The name for anything which is shown before an action is taken is ‘above the fold’, or above the scroll down needed to see more! You should focus on having a clear message in this space, of what your product is and who it is for, and have a call to action which prompts visitors to learn more or purchase.

2. Create quality photos of your products, and relevant descriptions.

The imagery you use should represent the mood of your company, whether that’s pragmatic, silly, serious, professional, friendly, or something else altogether. How can you showcase your products in a way which represents the final buyer, and which makes it clear what they are? You’ll also want to ensure the product descriptions you use feature language which suits your buyer, and which explain all the need to knows and key features of what you’re selling.

3. Plan a strategy to increase traffic to your online store.

Social media can be a great way to direct people to your website. There are multiple channels available, such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Once you’ve decided who your target demographic is, you can research which one of these sites they use the most. Then, you can create communications tailored to the platform in order to create a digital sign post leading people to your store.

3. Develop a narrative for your products.

Developing a narrative for your products will help you in every part of your sales story. This requires you going above and beyond deciding what you want to sell to who, and how you’ll communicate it - it’s all about the why.

Historically, businesses would place products as the heroes in the story: solving a problem to save the user. In more modern times however, businesses recognize that the user is the hero, and the product is a tool they can wield to improve their lives.

You know you want to sell, for instance, personalized office equipment for young professionals. You know they might be interested in sustainable products, and you’re marketing the tools as ‘sustainable customizable tools for recent graduates’.

A narrative will go a level deeper and explain which benefits these products will wield to the user. This doesn’t mean describing in depth the amount of ink a pen can hold, but rather how the tool will make the user look and feel. Having monogrammed notepads might make people feel more confident, and as a result appear more professional in meetings. It might make them feel more legitimate starting out in new roles. It might solve the problem of all office supplied equipment looking identical, and accidental swaps occurring.

It might even proactively solve some common problems people have with existing tools, which you might uncover using market research. It could be that young people prefer more open writing space in notepads than people did in the past (here this is pure conjecture).

But knowing these things means you can create the narrative of a young graduate feeling overwhelmed, but wielding your tools in order to feel more in control, become more organized, and appear more professional.

Following this narrative means that every graduate who feels that way will feel drawn to your products: a powerful strategy for eCommerce sales.


You don’t need to be a seasoned sales or marketing expert to improve your business strategy. By developing a brand, thinking critically about website layout, and discovering a narrative you can already be better placed to sell. Which strategies are you finding effective?

- Lena Klein

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