This is the concluding part of the 10 practicable tips to selling online as an entrepreneur. In the previous part, we made effort to explain the first five tips to selling online. Taking a cue from the previous part, this part focuses on the remaining five. Thus, reader are strongly advised to read the first part for proper understanding.
#6. Develop a Social Media Strategy
The ultimate goal of being on social media is to build a community of loyal customers through sharing of contents that educates, inspires, and entertains. To achieve this, there is a need to develop a social media strategy. A social media strategy focuses on the “hows” of how to achieve the social media goal.
When developing a social media strategy, it is advisable to design a plan that highlights what content to post, when to post, where to post, and how often to post. For instance, for us at GGDC, we have a 7 days mapped out social media strategy that outline what content to post throughout the week, when to post, and where to post.
#7. Get a Customizable Website
The need for website is inevitable when it comes to selling online. When you don’t have a website, it’s more or less like running a business without an office. Website is your online identity; your digital shop or office, so to speak. It’s where people go to when they need you online.
You can imagine how hard it is running a business without an office or a designated place to transact. For one thing, people won’t take you serious and you will have to go through hell trying to convince a prospect to choose you.
This is exactly what will happen to you online if you don’t get a website for your business. People won’t trust you or take you seriously online. Website gives your business credibility online. Not only that, it also gives you accessibility, visibility, and global awareness.
#8. Build a Community
Community is central to selling online. There is no two ways about it. It’s either you build a robust community online and sell crazily, or you don’t build a community at all and record zero or near zero sales.
But we need to be clear on what a community is. What makes a community community? What is a community? There are three distinguishing features to look out for to separate the sheep from the goat. So when you see these three features, you can be sure it’s a community.
Firstly, interaction. Or better still, engagement. Imagine you are in a local community of 1000 people where nobody talks to anybody; where everyone goes about their selfish business without socially interacting with their next neighbour. Can that type of community work? Certainly not. That’s not even a community in the first place. The essence of every community is social bonding and interaction. This is also true with online community. There should be engagement. Users should interact. When a community discussion is initiated, people should react. When a blog post is published on a blog, users should comment and like the post. When there is an action, there should be a reaction.
Secondly, trust. In every community, trust is a commodity everyone trades. Sometimes you buy it, sometimes you sell it. When you need someone to trust you or what you do, you are buying it. But when that person needs you to deliver on your promise, you are selling it. Trust is the backbone of every community. The moment a community loses trust, it loses its essence.
In the absence of trust, there is no community. Trust is the main reason why people buy a product or part way with their hard earned money. If i don’t trust that your product or service will address my specific problem, why then should I buy it? So the essence of building a community is to instill trust. And trust puts money on the table – it helps you sell well.
Thirdly, value. I think this is self-explanatory enough. People join community because they expect value from it; they expect to gain from it whether in terms of knowledge, money or whatever. Your community must be seen to add value. And the value must be such that it outweighs the resources expended in acquiring it else people will leave. Suffice to say that value sustains community. Therefore, when interaction, trust, and value are present, you have a community you can call your own.
It is also important to emphasise that there are different ways of building community. Since our focus is on selling online, we will be limited to how to build online communities. To mention just a few, here are ways to build online community:
- By creating a Facebook business page suitable for your kind of business.
- By creating a Facebook group that adds value.
- By building an email list
- Create Instagram business account and build a fan base of passionate followers.
- Create a WhatsApp business account and build a fan base of highly targeted status viewers or create a WhatsApp group community.
- Create a Telegram channel or group.
#9. Build a Unique Brand
When it comes to selling online, perception is everything. The opinion or perception people have about your business goes a long way in determining whether they can trust you enough to deliver on the value you promised or even meet their expectations. For you to sell anything online especially now that attention scarcity is at its all-time high, you need to be able to overpromise and overdeliver at the same time which is what branding is about. Else, you can kiss bye bye to your business.
But the good news here is that branding can be modified. Perception can be shaped to fit your unique agenda. That’s exactly what branding is all about – trying to influence people’s perception about your business. In short, branding should do two things to your business: firstly, it should represent the ideals and identity your business carries. Secondly, communicate those ideals and identity in a way that influences people’s perception about your business.
However, to build a unique brand, entrepreneurs must find a point of uniformity around the followings: business logo, brand colour, brand identity, and brand content. In essence, therefore, brand building boils down to creating a perception that is uniform and consistent.
#10. Define Your Customer Avatar
Customer avatar implies the category or group your customer falls into. Customer avatar is characterised by a unique need and identity of which only your group of customer has. It focuses on who the customer is and grouping him along that identity.
To further explain what customer avatar means, let’s consider a digital marketing agency. To a digital marketing agency, customer avatar could include: entrepreneurs who wants to set up digital marketing campaigns to acquire customers online and position their businesses for growth, career professionals who wants to learn digital marketing skills so as to become a certified digital marketer and become hot cakes in the labour market, or aspiring digital marketers who only wants to learn digital marketing with a view to building a digital marketing agency. So to a digital marketing agency, customer avatar includes entrepreneurs, career professionals, and aspiring digital marketers.
Someone may ask, why the need to define customer avatar? Why the need to know who your customer is? For a fact, you cannot sell to someone you don’t know. To sell to someone, you need to know the person to some extent. The logic goes like this: the more you know your customer, the better your chance of selling to him.
But then how can a business define its customer avatar? Your best bet is to randomly pick one or more (the more the better) of your existing customers (or prospects if you don’t have any customer yet) and ask questions like: who are you, what do you do for a living, what are your interests, what are your unique problems, and how can your business best solve those problems? Answering these questions will help you greatly in defining your customer avatar.
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