3 Often Overlooked Points To Succeed In The Online Space
Selling online sounds like a dream come true for most people: You have immediate access to your dream customers and can get rich in ways never seen before. Working in that space for quite some time I have to break it to you: It is not as easy as it seems.
During the Corona crisis, I have seen a lot of new people entering the e-commerce market. Entrepreneurs that have successful, thriving businesses in the offline world read everywhere: Just take your business online – it is super easy!
Let me fill in some of the blanks with this article. I want to help you understand what is really needed to move your business activities online. And what is often the biggest stumbling block. This article may create some hesitations or second thoughts about selling online. But I want to prevent you from blindly running down a path that results in lots of wasted time, frustration, and lost income. Because at Work On Your Business, we want to make sure that you have a thriving business WITHOUT running around in circles.
A Separate Strategy For Online Selling, Patience and Consistency
One of the things you must consider is that offline and online business are in essence very similar but work in praxis very differently. The rough process of acquiring clients online is the same as offline:
- Get your target group to notice you
- Deliver your message while you have their attention
- Draw them into your circle of influence and build a relationship
- Win their trust and provide value
- Pitch and convert them into customers
Sounds easy, right? And, it is. But what most people forget is that it is much more complicated to get attention from strangers in a totally crowded environment. While you can go to in-person networking events and immediately connect with people in a conversation, build trust, share your expertise, this same process takes MUCH longer online. And most people give up too early when results don’t come in. Often, they don’t even try for a month…
My Rocky Beginnings in Online Selling
Once I complained to one of my coaches that this whole posting thing doesn’t do anything. Nobody will read my posts anyways. And he told me: “Mona, you did not even do that for 1 month! I don’t care if nobody reads your posts right now. KEEP DOING IT! PEOPLE WILL READ IT! But it takes usually between six to nine months to really start generating measurable results.” I was not happy to hear that, but I listen to my coaches and I did what they said.
About 2 weeks later, I was at a university get-together. I stayed in touch with some people but most of them I haven’t seen in years. When I arrived, people immediately started asking me about all the business trips I did in the past 2 years and where I am still going to. I was quite surprised. How did they know about it? And they said: Facebook. They never commented or liked anything I posted, but they told me at this meeting that they check every post I publish. But they don’t want to like or comment. Let me be honest: Most of your readers will be passive consumers – but you build your expertise and trust with each post. And sometimes it is one post you do, one last drop it needs, to convert them into paying customers. But pushing them will scare them away.
You need to adapt a different strategy online than offline. It requires persistence, consistency, high value, coming from a serving place instead of trying to cash in immediately.
You Won’t Get Around Technology
When you want to sell your products or services online, you cannot avoid dealing with software solutions. You need to first and foremost collect payments, create invoices, and – depending on your products – deliver a physical product (wrap it, ship it, etc.) or a service (set up and execute meetings etc.). On top, you may have to manage your customer data, you may need an email marketing tool, a website, a shop, maybe an affiliate system, webinar tools, a place to host your data – and I know that many of our readers already start getting headache! And I understand that.
Most people feel like that when they stumble into the online selling space. It sounds so easy but when you don’t know which systems you need, what you want to do – in the short-, medium- and in the long run -, you can fall into a really deep rabbit hole!
There Is An Information Overload – And Some People Take Advantage Of That
I know many of my clients were close to giving up on e-commerce because it was feeling too overwhelming. When they come to me, they usually already dealt with other providers, spent hundreds of hours looking at systems, comparing, but not really knowing what exactly they needed. And many providers only do what you tell them. But if you don’t know what you need, you will buy the wrong thing and suddenly waste money on something you don’t need or doesn’t help reach your goals.
On top of that, many providers won’t tell you what else you need and just let you run right into a knife. Because once you are in it, you are often locked in for a certain time. If you spent 100 hours uploading data to a platform, do you really want to change the system even if it doesn’t match your needs? That’s what I see a lot! And once you are stuck with a system, you don’t need, you’ll start coming up with workarounds for things that make everything even more complicated – usually resulting in more work for you. Because the provider is usually gone by that time…
No, You Don’t Need To Be Online All Day Long To Be Selling Online
This is one of the biggest misperceptions I see. And a big trap that many of my clients fall into. My clients – I love them like crazy – are very easily distracted. Trying to sell online causes them to be online all day long. And as with all people that are easily distracted, all these blinking lights and chat conversation can make days go by VERY fast!
The issue is that most of these perceived necessary activities are actually not needed. Remember back to the “Don’t Make The Burgers” article: You don’t want to be busy doing all the work. Creating posts, doing the artwork, gathering data. You want to focus on what really drives the business forward.
If you want to sell online, you need to master your time management on a whole different level! You need to be focused, plan your activities, and give yourself time limits for your online activities. Yes, you should respond to comments and yes, you should post regularly. But you can prepare your posts and you can set yourself times for responding and engaging with your tribe. At the end of the day, you still want to sell your services and products! Thus, you need time for the delivery, the creation of new products, coming up with new initiatives. But you can’t do that if you are stuck online all day long.
The trap is that you feel good because you sent so many messages and engaged and met people, but what is the bottom line? If you want to use the online space professionally, you must measure your progress VERY CAREFULLY! It is very easy to slide off track.
Also, jumping on each new trend is a very big risk. You can get lost in these trends, participate in challenges, confuse your audience by changing your posting schedule or with differing messages.
Yes, I also get tagged in many challenges. Does this mean I have to pick them up? No! If the topic does not match my topic of influence, I will not respond to it. And definitely I will not start posting about a topic that is not aligned with my core message. This would confuse my tribe.
You need a very solid foundation to build on and make sure you know:
- What you want to achieve
- What you need to do to achieve it
- And how you measure whether you are on the way
And then great things can happen!
To Sum It Up
Selling online is absolutely possible. But it is not an easy road. You have to have a clear strategy, a solid foundation, good time management and the right tools and partners for implementing your vision.
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