Posted Apr 26, 2016 by Lina Vashurina, Ecwid Team

7 Ways to Make Your First Sale Online

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

Successful eCommerce retailers don’t just launch and hope everything goes well–they have multiple marketing initiatives running that are getting 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 seven 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 eCommerce 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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 eCommerce business.

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.