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Beginner's handbook

How to Sell to People Who Have Never Heard of You

By on October 6th, 2020 Reading Time: 6 minutes

This blog article is based on a Printful Threads presentation. Watch the entire presentation on our YouTube channel, and subscribe to stay updated!

So, you’ve done it. You’ve taken the leap and decided to create an ecommerce store! You’ve got lots of exciting things ahead, but also some big challenges. One of the biggest hurdles to be successful in ecommerce is making your very first sale.

If you’re stumped about how to do this—don’t worry, here are some recommendations for you, and I’m confident the hard work you’ll put into getting sales will pay off.

Consider your future customers when setting up your store

When a new customer finds you, they probably don’t know who you are or what your products are worth. Their attention spans are also very limited. If you want to make sales, you’ll need to introduce yourself to your customers and earn their trust, and you’ll need to do it fast. Let’s talk through a few things you’ll need to keep in mind as you set up your store.

Screenshot of the ASOS homepage
ASOS encourages its customers to “shop now.”

1. Think through your design

Your site should have a streamlined design that tells your customers exactly why they’re on your site and what they need to do (shop now). This will make sure you appear professional and trustworthy. Be clear and make sure your web design is optimized for mobile as well as for desktop. Most of your customers will probably be shopping on their mobile devices.

2. Make contact information available

Customers will be more likely to trust you when you make it easy for them to get in touch with you. When they do get in touch, make sure you respond quickly. I’ll talk about this more later in the article.

100% Pure website
Source: 100% Pure

3. Introduce yourself

Creating your About page isn’t a menial task to cross off your list when starting your store. Instead, it’s a great opportunity for you to tell your story in your own words and share your personality. Just be yourself! People love getting to know the person behind the store. They’ll be more likely to purchase if they can relate to you on a human level.

4. Answer your customers’ questions

Create an FAQ page that answers any questions that may arise. Step into your customers’ shoes and address any concerns they might have with your store.

Write answers that are easy to understand without using complicated terms. Make sure the information is accurate and up to date. You’ll need to revisit your content every now and then as your store grows.

5. Optimize for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) is all about helping Google answer a shopper’s question. The bulk of your SEO work happens during set-up, but you can always come back to it, and you’ll need to keep it in mind when you add products or new features to your store.

Here are a few things you can do to improve your SEO game:

  • Do keyword research with the goal of goal finding keywords with high search volume, low keyword difficulty and relevance to your products and content
  • Optimize product listings to make sure your products stay visible on search engines.
  • Create both SEO and user-friendly content. Oversaturating a page with keywords often results in a Google penalty that could tear down your organic traffic.
  • Promote your site through social media and asking other sites to link to your store. 
Source: Google and Mystic Candle

Mystic Candle is one of my favorite brands to buy from, and as you can see in this image, they do a great job optimizing for search engines.

Show (and tell) your customers about your amazing products

I’m sure you’re planning on creating beautiful products for your store, but you also need to think about promoting them. Sing their praises to your future customers through this variety of methods:

1. Create enticing product images

When you go to a brick-and-mortar store, you can touch and feel products and try on apparel, but none of this is possible in the ecommerce world. This is why it’s important to provide your customers with excellent product pictures and detailed descriptions to help them make decisions about what to buy.

Show off all angles of your products as well as their scale by placing objects next to them. Consider phones or other things they’ll know the size of. Give customers all the information and details they need in your product descriptions.

Source: Free People

2. Show social proof

Publishing testimonials or product reviews from your customers on your website is a great way to build trust. Customers may not believe you when you talk about how amazing your products are, but if they hear it from people they can relate to, they will be more likely to buy from you.

Be honest and gather this content from real customers, even if they’re just your family and friends in the beginning. Don’t try to write these yourself. Visitors will see through any inauthenticity. 

3. Advertise online

Placing ads in key locations will drive traffic directly to key pages of your website. Depending on your audience, I suggest investing in advertising with either Facebook or Google. Google is more about the intent of the shopper. Your message there should be: “Buy this t-shirt.” On Facebook, you’ll rely more on eye-catching visuals and an aspirational message like, “Look great in this t-shirt.”

Your ad doesn’t have to be perfect. The advertising platforms can optimize your ad for you during the setup process, and you can use the platform’s automatic optimization options. Play around to see what works. Keep trying, keep improving, and when you find something that works, run with it and double down on your investment.

Retargeting ads are also extremely effective. They appear for customers who have performed a specific action on your store, like purchasing a product or adding products to their cart. Retargeting ads appear on Facebook or Google and require you to add a pixel, or a specific code snippet, to your store. The order checkout is an ideal place to put your pixel. 

4. Work together with influencers

Working with the right influencer can help you make sales in your sleep.

You don’t have to work with a famous celebrity. Small influencers can be incredibly effective when it comes to making sales because they usually have closer relationships with their audiences and are seen as trustworthy.

When you decide who to work with, prepare a contract. Most influencers are familiar with this process. They know where and how to best promote your products to make sure you get what you pay for. If results are good, this is another good opportunity to double your investment. 

Speak to your customers directly

Communication is key. Here are a few ways I recommend sharing information with your customers.

1. Send strategic emails

Email is a great way to communicate with your future customers, but how do you do that if you don’t have any contacts?

  • Send emails from your business account so they’ll begin to recognize your brand
  • Grow your email list by offering your future customers a coupon
  • Only send emails when you have something exciting to offer them

As always, it’s important to reevaluate your email strategy from time to time to make sure it’s effective. This is especially important as your store grows over time. Analyze your performance through the data in your email client to understand what worked, what failed, and why. You can also ask your customers directly.

2. Chat with your customers

Customers love individual attention. Specifically, some may enjoy chatting with you on your storefront if they have questions, so consider enabling a chat feature on your store. Studies show that chatting directly with your customers can increase the conversion rate of your store.

41% of customers expect live chat on a website, and customers may be more likely to buy from you if you chat with them. On the other hand, not answering your chat messages can turn customers off from buying from you, so make sure you have someone assigned to answer chat messages during open hours.

3. Offer coupons

Special offers motivate people to buy. Most online shoppers are familiar with coupons and use them regularly. Common types of coupons include:

  • Percent discount: “Get 15% off your order”
  • Price discount: “Get $10 off your order”
  • Free shipping or Conditional free shipping: “Get free shipping for orders over $50”
  • Seasonal discounts: Offering a discount on a seasonal collection can help you drive sales, clear you any inventory you may have on hand, and make room for new products

Customers expect coupons these days. Offer them regularly, especially around the holidays. This is another great way to build your customers’ trust and make sure they’re buying from you instead of just browsing your website.

4. Recover abandoned carts

Abandoned carts are very common in ecommerce—up to 80% of carts are never actually purchased. You’re probably familiar with emails telling you that you’ve left something in your cart. These are usually automatic emails, and—good news—they work. Just make sure the links are correct and the emails are optimized for mobile because that’s where most of your customers are shopping.

Rothy's email screenshot
Source: Rothy’s

Get busy selling

I hope this article made you feel more confident in your abilities to grow your customer base. With a little bit of hard work, getting those first sales is totally possible. I believe that if you continue to improve your store, you’ll quickly turn those first-time customers into loyal ones for life!

Learn more about selling on any ecommerce platform in this guide.

Head of Marketing at Wix Stores

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