So you have your ShopFactory 9 online store up and running. You have submitted it to search engines and sit there waiting for the sales to come in. Now what?
I hate to burst your bubble but it is not that simple. Building an online business just doesn't happen overnight. It is like any other off-line business. You have to put in the time to promote it, advertise it and rework your marketing to make it successful.
There are four basic rules of marketing: Product, Price, Placement, Promotion.
These four rules are arguably missing something though. There is a fifth 'P' you need to really succeed. If you are missing it, your business will never grow: 'People'.
When you started your online business you most likely took care of the first three P's of marketing. You built your site to appeal to visitors and added the products at a competitive price. Then you put your business online. You did the research to make sure those three issues were taken care of. Unfortunately many online merchants still struggle with the issue of promotion.
Promotion is an ongoing process
Promotion is the process of making people aware of your business and the products you sell. It is still the single most neglected marketing activity which leads to failure for online business. Working on getting top rankings on search engines can take years in some cases. But many online merchants get fixated on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), writing content and trying to build links with other websites to get traffic.
People are your biggest source of spreading the word about your business. They are also the most overlooked resource you will ever have for feedback. Listening to their comments, good and bad, will provide you with insights you never thought of while planning and working on your online store. They will give you instant critical information. Researching online will only give you biased data on somewhat related business issues.
The most important rule for promotion is to not rely on only your website to work for you. You absolutely must get out and promote your business online and off-line.
The most successful online businesses use all the tools available to them including doing trade shows, budgeting for low cost print and Internet advertising, and knocking on doors or doing cold calls. They search out and find all the opportunities that exist to them like doing guest radio spots on local public broadcast radio and TV shows. They also offer up written articles to related blogs and information based websites for trade links. Of course these successful online businesses also take the time to work on social media. This increases their overall brand awareness as an online business.
The idea of promotion is undeniably tied to people.
Word of mouth, networking, talking to both customers and suppliers, will lead to more sales. With-out people, all the properties of promotion can be time consuming and tedious. It can also lead to fatigue and be cost draining for start-up businesses with little capital and tight budgets.
Word of mouth does not cost anything if your business is worth it in the eyes of people. Talking to people will provide you with valuable insight into what you do well and what you do not do well. The amount of information you gain from talking to people will also energize you far more than actually getting sales — whether online or off-line. If people are talking to you and about you to others, promotion will be a very low cost expense for your business.
People are picky. You yourself should have been consciously aware of this when you started building your website. Obviously you wanted it to be perfect. Didn't you?