Gone are the days of brick-and-mortar stores (ok, not really). Running an eStore is something that’s been covered numerous times, with countless tips plastered all over the Internet. Unfortunately, you get a lot of non-essential elements tied into some really good information. Sifting through it all can become a headache. You’ve got your site up and running, you’re starting to get a small flow of traffic. Now what? Here’s what every successful eStore has in common. Follow them to the pot of gold.
Get Good At Marketing
Being a good marketer is a somewhat obvious requirement, so let’s be a bit more specific. Not much has changed since the days of Claude Hopkins. Claude who? Hopkins, as in one of the most famous forgotten advertisers who ever lived. Ninety-nine percent of all of the noise on the Internet is siphoned from the original “ad man” himself.
You can save yourself a lot of time and money by downloading his book for free on the Internet. It’s called “Scientific Advertising,” and it’s everywhere. The concepts are still applicable today, even though the mediums have changed.
For example, Hopkins talks about using images for good effect. Back in his day, pictures were expensive to reprint in newspapers. Today, images are cheap and can be thrown up on a blog. They’re still expensive in one way though: they can cost you valuable readers when the images are meaningless. To quote Hopkins: “Pictures should not be used merely because they are interesting. Or to attract attention. Or to decorate an ad.”
This applies to the Internet even though the Internet wasn’t even thought of when Hopkins was alive. You see, the Internet isn’t anything magical in regards to advertising. It’s just another medium like a newspaper, magazine, or television. The same principles that applied back then, apply now. In fact, you’ve probably heard Hopkins’ words echoed on popular sites like Copyblogger and didn’t even know it.
Once you’ve studied “Scientific Advertising,” the only learning curve is in using the various ad platforms. Google Adwords can be tricky to use, for example, but there’s almost no new principles to learn about advertising there that weren’t known almost 100 years ago. What you have to learn is how to apply those principles to new advertising mediums – blogs, social networking sites, pay-per-click platforms, etc.
Pay Attention To Industry Trends
No doubt your industry changes over time. New technologies, new processes, and even new web platforms emerge. Those changes will alter how you conduct business, do fulfillment, and manage customer expectations. Hopefully, all change is an improvement, but you know that’s not how reality works. Sometimes, change ends up being for worse.
Trends in your industry help you grow. Use them. For example, content is a big issue right now for eStores. Most places are trying to have articles written up that go more in-depth than shallow product descriptions. Beat your competitors to the punch by offering video demonstrations of your products. That’s where the content trend is headed anyway.
Follow The Metrics
Metrics like product turnover and profit margins are what drive your business. You might need customized software to manage this. If so, don’t hesitate to purchase and install it (or have it installed for you). One of the things that’s often overlooked in the need for in-depth analytics on the right metrics – things like total sales, inventory turnover rates, and profit margins. It seems obvious that metrics are important, but many webmasters get so focused on traffic and conversion that they forget about other numbers that are at least as important.
Last, but definitely not least, you need to outsource. You can’t manage everything. Successful eStores outsource the day-to-day work as soon as it is feasible. Once your sales are steady, consider doing this. It lessens the headache of working in your business so that you can work on your business – coming up with the “next big thing” that will further differentiate your company from everyone else. Over the long-term, this differentiation is what will keep you in business and successful.
Guy Ascher is a website business consultant. He enjoys sharing his insights and knowledge on various business blogs. Visit the Lenstore.co.uk to see what has contributed to the success of their eStore.