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How to make first sale online
Posted Apr 26, 2017 by Lina Vashurina, Ecwid Team

12 Ways to Make Your First Sale Online

Once you have an e-сommerce store up and running, the next step is, of course, to focus on driving sales.

Successful e-сommerce retailers don’t just launch and hope everything goes well — they have multiple marketing initiatives up and running that get their stores in front of new audiences, and ultimately driving sales, at all times.

If you’re a little short on ideas for making your first sale online, we’ve put together a list of twelve methods you can test right away. Let’s jump right in.

1. Start an Email Newsletter

Collecting email addresses for your email newsletter allows you to stay in touch with potential or past customers on an on-going basis. The ROI is significant, too: According to data from Campaign Monitor, you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email than a Tweet.

So how can you start gathering email addresses? Think about:

  • Including an opt-in on your e-сommerce site
  • Asking customers to opt-in during the checkout process
  • Using a lead generator (like a 10% off coupon) for those who sign up
  • Including an opt-in link in your email signature

Motivate people to subscribe to your newsletter: offer some kind of value for signing up. For example, it can be a chance to win a free product every month or week.

These are just a few ways you can get started–but as your list of subscribers begins to grow, you’ll be able to stay top-of-mind with shoppers who end up coming back to your online store over and over.

Learn more: 10 Smart Ways to Grow Your Newsletter List

2. Create a Blog

blog is a place for you not only to promote new products and to share sale information, but it can help you build a relationship with customers by giving your audience a behind-the-scenes view of your online operation. Show your processes for shipping orders, talk about how you come up with new ideas for products, and let customers come to know you as the face behind the business.

Need an example? Online retailer Ugmonk wrote a blog that showed a product being made from start to finish.

how to make first sale online

3. Assemble a Lookbook

If you have a physical product that is associated with a lifestyle brand (think clothing, accessories, shoes, etc.), a lookbook that showcases your product in an aesthetically pleasing context helps buyers imagine themselves owning and using your products.

It’s a step beyond the standard product shot, and it gives shoppers an opportunity to see your products in action, too. Need an example? Check out L.K. Bennett’s online lookbook.

how to make first sale online

Learn more: Where to Find Models for Your Fashion Brand

4. Partner with an Influencer

Think about who your audience looks to for advice about your type of product–is it a blogger, a podcaster, a news outlet, or something/someone else? Outline some potential partners and reach out to propose a contest, giveaway, or product spotlight that can get your online store in front of a new, interested audience.

Not only is this a form of social proof that helps validate your online offerings, but it takes some of the slimey-feeling sales pitch out of the customer acquisition equation. Essentially, you’re letting someone else sing your praises–and that’s a great way to make sales online.

Bloggers Emma and Elsie at A Beautiful Mess partner with clothing stores to do “Sister Style” posts, which show them wearing products they’ve been given as part of a paid advertisement. In these posts, they link out to the stores that provided the items–which makes it easy for their blog readers to purchase them, too.

Make first sale online: influencer marketing

Send free samples to influencers within your industry or a related industry. When they review your product, you’ll get more traffic and followers as well as approval from experts in your industry.

You can also ask industry influencers for an interview. This way you may get content for your blog and gain new followers.

Also: How to Use Micro-Influencers on Instagram to Boost E-Commerce Sales

5. Test Facebook & Instagram ads

Facebook (which now owns Instagram) makes advertising simple–and allows you to determine your budget, run time, target audience, and ad design. Not many other advertising enable so much customization, and the nice thing about ads here is that you can stop them at any time.

Plus, with Facebook’s built-in analytics, you can see real, tangible results for your efforts to discover what makes an effective ad. And since Instagram is now under the Facebook, including your ads in this network is just a matter of clicking a checkbox, as seen below.

make first sale online: Kokosina Ad on Facebook

Create Facebook ads that speak to your target audience and have a compelling CTA for customers–and then watch the sales roll in.

Read more:

6. Become a Source on HARO

HARO, AKA Help a Reporter Out, is a place where journalists and writers go to find sources for their articles. By becoming a source there, you can find opportunities not only to be quoted online and in print, but you can also share your expertise and build up authority as an expert in your field.

HARO sends out queries three times a day to source inboxes, and then you have the opportunity to respond with your best pitch. Over time, your successful responses will help you get your brand in front of new audiences–and you’ll have some positive SEO benefits from that as well.

Need more proof? Browse their success stories.

7. Participate in the Spaces Where Your Customers Spend Time

This last suggestion is a big one, because it’s how you’ll organically build relationships with customers. Find out where your target market spends time (is it a Reddit thread? A Twitter chat?) and participate there without making a sales pitch. Be resourceful, be kind, and strive to make friends in these spaces.

It’s what Gary Vaynerchuk did to grow his online wine business–which is now a multi-million dollar company. He spent time sharing his expertise, and people grew to trust him as a resource within his niche.

This is a lesson straight out of Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Over time, people will come to know who you are and what you do–and they’ll take action without you having to ask them to. You’ll earn sales and referrals, which is good news for your e-commerce business.

Also, check out trade shows or even local flea markets and farmers’ markets. This way you can sell directly to your potential customers. Prepare discount coupons or stickers to give away for subscribing to your email newsletter or social media pages.

Learn more: How to Find the Best Place for Your Pop-Up Store

8. Throw a Contest or a Giveaway

Contests and giveaways are great for promoting your business. You may catch the interest of potential customers and gain new subscribers. Choose a prize worth joining the competition, for example, a gift card or a collection of products. Make sure the rules are clear and simple to follow. Promote your contest or giveaway on all your social platforms, even if it’s just Instagram-based, for example.

Explain or show your subscribers how you chose the winner. If it’s a contest — explain the criteria you based your decision on. If you use a randomizer app, make a video of the process. This way you ensure your followers’ trust.

make first sale online: contest

Giveaways are popular on Instagram — you can throw them for any occasion you like (Image: @insidecrochet)

Also read: 25 Proven Contest Ideas to Promote Your Online Business

9. Master Your Networking Skills

Business networking is vital for attracting new customers or partners and understanding the market. It helps to make your business more visible and gain valuable contacts. You can network both offline (at conferences, business meetings, coworking spaces) and online. Social media is called “social” for a reason: join Facebook groups relevant to your niche, or participate in discussions on forums.

However, networking is not about handing out your business cards at events and subscribing to experts in your industry. It’s about cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with people who can be helpful to your business.

Check out our detailed guide to business networking and make your first step, or listen to this episode of the Ecwid E-Commerce Show, where two Ecwid merchants share how contacts helped them to manufacture their unique product from scratch:

10. Explore Pinterest

50% of people bought a product after they saw a promoted pin and 93% of pinners use Pinterest to plan their purchases. So don’t miss the chance to expand your audience. First, start a business account (it’s free), customize your profile with board covers and titles, and make sure your bio is SEO-friendly.

Pay attention to Rich Pins — they provide more information directly on a pin. There are four types of them, and your choice is a Product Pin. It shows the price and where to buy your product. Learn how to add rich pins here.

make first sale online: pinterest

The pin shows the price and informs pinners that the item is out of stock

Learn more: How to Use Pinterest to Understand Your Niche

11. Work With Google Shopping Ads

Google Shopping Ads uses targeting, bidding, and keywords to help you expand your audience and create advertising campaigns. It seems to be quite profitable: for every $1.6 businesses spent on Google Ads, they make an average of $3 in revenue.

The good news is that Google Shopping is integrated with Ecwid. You can run automatically optimized Google Shopping Ads even if you’ve never dealt with it before. All you have to do is follow three simple steps: choose your target audience, choose products, and start your campaign.

make your first sale: google shopping

This is what a Google Shopping Ad looks like to a potential customer

Also read: How to Sell on Google Shopping: A Beginner’s Guide

12. Consider Affiliate Marketing

81% of brands use affiliate marketing. It allows earning commissions for marketing another company’s products. In other words, you pay someone for every visitor or customer brought to your website by the affiliate’s own marketing efforts.

You may partner with bloggers or other companies from your industry. For example, you can provide your partners with special banners that link to your store. They can even place your entire store on their websites. The advantage is that you promote your products only to interested people and pay only when you get results.

make first sale online: affiliate marketing

GiftIdeaGeek is an Amazon affiliate website. It uses humorous descriptions and focuses on geeky and pop culture products that match their niche

Also: How to Set Up an Affiliate Program for Your Ecwid Store

Make Your First Sale Online: Try New Methods

If you’re not already executing some of the strategies outlined here, today is the day to start. In no time, you’ll be well past your first online sale and busy packaging up orders.

If you’re past this point in your business, what are some of the ways you made your first sale?

About the author
Lina is a content creator at Ecwid. She writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce. She loves to travel and runs marathons.
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