Top 3 things to build and market an eCommerce site

In this episode I talk about the top 3 things to build and market an eCommerce site. In such a saturated market, it would be wise to do your due diligence before spending time and money on an eCommerce site. Follow my 3 tips to avoid mistakes!

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And here’s the transcript from the podcast, please excuse typos!

In today’s episode I want to tell you the top three things you can do to market your new ecommerce website. Now I know a lot of people in the past year because of the pandemic decided this is the year, they’re going to make an e commerce website and sell products whether t shirts or you know whatever idea they came up with. And the first thing I want to say before I get into the top three tips is everybody’s doing it. Everyone’s starting ecommerce websites. Everyone’s been doing it for years. It’s a very saturated market. So it’s going to be a really tough journey for you and you’re going to face a lot of challenges. So I would say before you start an e commerce website.

Follow these three tips before you actually do anything. Tip number one validate your market. That means you have to make sure whatever it is you’re selling whatever product you found that you think is going to sell like hotcakes validate that market. Before you can validate it you have to target and identify the market so let’s just give an example. Let’s say you decided you want to sell plastic water bottles. Okay. So who is selling plastic water bottles, what kind of water bottles are they are they BPA free so people like the ones that are non toxic. You know how big they are, how small they are, what colors they are, their custom with logos on them. I mean there’s so many different varieties of water bottles. So your job is to visit all of the websites out there, whether it’s Amazon or Ebay or other e commerce sites and see what water bottles are being sold. How much competition Do you have? Do you think you can actually beat the competition? The answer is probably going to be no. So again, you have to identify a market. So what are bottles might not be, because you realize oh my god there are like a zillion water bottle companies out there and people are selling them everywhere. So let’s find a different idea, find a different product that you can sell. Maybe it’s something that goes along with water bottles. And so once you find that product. You don’t want to just start buying inventory from Alibaba or some other wholesaler and start selling them on your ecommerce site because you still have to advertise the site you still have to buy the product you’re going to spend a lot of money and time doing that. So what do you do instead?

Okay, well, maybe you should consider drop shipping, which means you’re selling products that you don’t actually have in stock. So as you’re taking in orders, the company that has the product is shipping them out for you and you don’t have to actually do the work. Of course you make less money doing this. But again, you haven’t even validated your market yet, so you don’t know if it’s worth buying inventory to lower your costs. So, how do you validate your market. So you do your research right and you figure out what product you want to sell. You found a product that is not saturated that much. Maybe it’s organic chapstick, you know, maybe it’s something that you notice people are buying a lot of but there’s not a lot of sellers. That’s the kind of product you want to focus on something that a lot of not a lot of people are selling, but a lot of people are buying. And that’s where you can kind of sneak in, or you find a product that people are selling, but you sell a better version of it, or you figure out a way to get a better quality version of it and people realize that they’re like oh I want this better quality. And then you want to find out from those people if they would in fact pay for it. Now, how do you do that? The first thing you can do is find Facebook groups of people who like this product or that industry. So let’s say you’re selling a new kind of yoga mat and your yoga mat is made from recycled fiber and biodegradable foam, and you realize that there is a need for a yoga mat of this type of quality. So you reach out to these people, these Facebook groups you post some surveys, maybe a free gift card, answer my survey, get a free gift card and get some answers from people to find out if they would be number one, buy your yoga mat. Number two, how much would they pay for a yoga mat. So by doing this. What did you do well? You found people who actually want to buy your product and you found out how much they’re willing to pay for it. So that’s two things you need to know. You haven’t even bought any yoga mats, you haven’t even made a website yet. So once you figure out who’s willing to pay. How much for your product, that’s when you can start to think about, okay, maybe now I can sell this product.

Well, here’s the thing. You don’t need a whole ecommerce website, just to sell one product. So maybe what you can do is find a company that can manufacture the product you need, by giving you a sample. Maybe 10 units of what it is you need, get a sample first or find a company in another country or even in the US, that is selling a product similar to what you need and they’re willing to white label it which means they’re willing to put your branding and your logo on it. Okay, so now you can again. Get a handful of units 10 maybe even 100, try to sell those units on Etsy eBay, Amazon Craigslist Facebook marketplace, you name it, there’s a lot of places you can even post some Instagram stories and try to sell it through Instagram. Either way, you need to sell the product first on a bunch of different platforms, before you go ahead and spend the time and the money needed to build an e commerce website and market it. So let’s say that you did all these steps, you validated your idea, you found the market, and you sold 100 units. Now you can potentially use your own e commerce website. And here’s the reason why you want to do that. Most people do the e commerce websites because they’re saving a ton of money.

But it costs money to build a site right. Yes, but you’re keeping all the profit. See when you sell through all these platforms, maybe not Facebook, but when you sell on eBay and Amazon for example, you’re losing a large chunk of the profit they’re taking like 30%. So by selling everything on your e-commerce website, you are in fact in charge of everything, you have to buy the product, sell the product and ship the product. Take the orders, but you get all the money too. So there’s a big, there’s a lot of pros and a couple of cons. But in the end, building your e commerce website which by the way you probably want to do with WordPress and WooCommerce, that’s probably the best way to do it using PayPal as your payment mechanism. Once you do this, you now have to advertise this e commerce website, because you don’t have the luxury of selling on eBay and Amazon where they do all their own advertising, and they have lots of sellers, you have to bring the sellers to your website. So how do you do that?

Well, by now you should have some sort of content marketing strategy, which means you should have Instagram stories and Facebook posts, Craigslist posts website posts you should have all sorts of articles ready for your blog, and even a press release, saying that this new e commerce website opened up selling this amazing new product, but of course you want to send it to your friends or your family, anybody who needs the product can buy it from you instead of buying it from Amazon to help a small business owner, but the content marketing strategy has to do with tapping into trending topics online, finding the people that are in your industry and tagging them in your posts on Twitter and Instagram. So if it’s yoga it’s a yoga mat, find all the people that are into yoga right these are either yoga trainers or yoga enthusiasts. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook and everywhere else tik tok is a good one too because there’s a lot of people on there with video, so you might want to send them a mat on a yoga mat for free, to try and review, post a video on YouTube or something, and advertise it to their followers. They don’t have to pay for the mat. All they have to do is review your mat, telling you how great it is. And then they’ll share with their followers. This is a great way to get your product out there but also to get their followers to see your product, and hopefully it turns into customers. Another way of doing it is to saturate the internet with product reviews of your product. So this means any kind of blogs, forums people on Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, people talking about your products, you need to submit your product into other websites that allow products to be placed where you can create a post on medium for example that talks about yoga poses and yoga health and why Yoga is good for your body. And then at the very bottom you can put. If you’d like a biodegradable, you know, sustainability type yoga mat, you can buy one here, and send them to your website.

So they’re going to learn some stuff from your content, and then maybe purchase something from you as well. So content is king, videos are even better so if you can make a one minute, and a three minute video because one minute is for Twitter and Instagram and three minutes for Facebook, make a video showing that your mat is so much better than the others. So maybe what you can do is buy a bunch of different yoga mats from Amazon. Buy some really bad ones maybe buy some okay ones. And then compare them with yours, show them why your mat is better than theirs. And then maybe have one or two people, showing how these different mats work and why they like yours better. Some testimonial videos are very powerful. So I would definitely suggest using those. And the third thing you can do is post ads. Now, how do you actually post ads correctly. Well, by figuring out your target market right you validated the people that want to buy your products. You should by now know their age range, where they live, their demographics, like, who they are, what they purchase, what groups they go to. And you can run Facebook ads Twitter ads, YouTube ads Instagram ads, because by now you have content, you have videos, you have thumbnails you have graphics, you have testimonials, you have all these different things that you did in the first two steps to help make your ads, a lot better. Right, so you want to make sure that when you run these ads. You don’t spend too much money at first, I want to say maybe somewhere in the 20 to $50 range, run a couple of these small amounts of money ads, just to see if you get any bites. Once you see that you’re getting bites, people are actually buying your product, figure out which one of the ads was the one that got you those sales double down on that one and forget about the other ones, just run that ad that did really well and double it. See if the sales keep coming in. If the sales keep coming in and you’re doing well, keep putting money into that ad.

Eventually you won’t really need to because you’ll start to generate what’s called the network effect or organic growth from all the other things that you posted. But that’s how you kind of get started is by finding which ad works the best. What message Did you post, what video Did you post, what graphic Did you post, what made people click on it? What was their demographic? Then start going into the groups of the people in that demographic so if you’re noticing it’s people within the age of say 24 to 35. Find groups of that age group in other parts of the world that are into yoga that are into the same types of things that those people are into, and then start targeting them as well. So that’s really the top three things I would do for content marketing for your ecommerce website. But remember, it’s a saturated market, there’s a lot of e-commerce websites out there so differentiating yourself from other ones is very difficult. But once you start to sell a certain product, you can add other products to your arsenal as well, but don’t add too much at once because then it’s gonna seem like one of those wish websites where there’s millions of products for sale, and people, you know they’re not sure exactly what it is you sell because you sell so many things, try to find a niche market first, so if it’s a yoga mat, then maybe do resistance bands, maybe do a yoga ball, you know, like, kind of start finding items that are around the same type of product that you’re already selling this way, as someone comes in and buys your yoga mat they say oh I also need a foam roller, or I also need these exercise gloves or these resistance bands. Maybe then you could sell the water bottles. Right. Maybe you can put your brand on all of them and create a brand, and you can have exercise videos and showing them how to do the exercises to make it a brand, you know. So, these are some of the things you have to think about when you create an e-commerce website, and how to make yourself stand out from the rest of the pack. And hopefully these tips help you if you have any other questions, feel free to leave me a comment and I’ll see you in next week’s episode.



Jason Sherman