Thanks to the explosion of e-commerce, anyone can hop online and start building a business from their home. From reselling on eBay to print-on-demand products, it’s easy for side gigs to replace your 9-to-5 salary. But when it comes time to scale your business, you might not know the next steps. Most guides online walk you through the process of getting set up, but they never give you the inside scoop on what it takes to achieve sustainable growth. Marketing trends change even faster than consumers’ tastes, so it’s important to know when and how to reach your target audience. When you’re ready to take your business to the next level, here are some strategies that can help you build a roadmap for success.
Create Your Strategy
Being spontaneous is great when you’re in love but when it comes to your business, it usually doesn’t work out so well. To reach your ideal customer, you need a strategy. Getting just one customer is difficult in today’s market, so you need a targeted strategy to reach more consumers for less cost. Regardless of where you’re at with your business, every great strategy starts with research. If you know who your ideal customer is, that’s great. But is that the same person currently buying from your business? If you’ve made some sales, what information have you gleaned from those consumers? Do you have any measures in place to learn more about them?
There are a few ways you can do this without spending a fortune on expensive analysis services. Small surveys, online polls and even local pop-up events where you conduct face-to-face interviews are a great way to get to know your customers. The goal is aligning your products and marketing strategy with not just your ideal consumer but the people who are actually interested in your product. They aren’t always one in the same.
Target Your Audience
Identifying your audience isn’t the same as marketing to them. In addition to knowing their likes, dislikes and lifestyle choices, you also need to know where to find them. Since different age demographics spend their time on different social media channels, you want to target those who have the highest lifetime value. Flash sales are great, but you really want to target consumers who are more likely to make repeat purchases.
Think about where your target audience spends their time. Even though some social media platforms are geared towards a younger audience, it’s not uncommon to see a variety of age groups using them. For instance, TikTok was originally tailored for users ages 15 through 21. Now, you’re more likely to see users of all ages, even as old as their 70s, on the platform. TikTok is also a great platform to utilize for free traffic. Short video snippets can be repurposed and pushed on Instagram or Pinterest as well.
Go where your audience is, but don’t be afraid to branch out. A little experimentation on social media can pay off big time, and it doesn’t cost anything to make some Instagram Reels or TikTok clips. Find unique ways to tie the latest trends with your products or services.
Build Buyer Personas
Once you’ve defined your audience, it’s time to create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a detailed description of who you want to do business with. It’s important to note that you will have more than one buyer persona to create, so don’t let that dissuade you. Break each persona down by gender, age and occupation. Think about how they live, what they look for in a business, and what they want to achieve. How does your brand fill in the gap?
If you’re not familiar with marketing, getting to this point can feel overwhelming. That’s why you should consider furthering your education in both business management and marketing. Getting a degree in one or both fields will give you an edge when it comes to running your business. You can apply for Earnest private student loans to cover the cost of your degree as well. This will allow you to balance the cost of tuition with the revenue from your e-commerce store. Private student loans are usually less expensive than loans you obtain from a bank or the federal government. The interest rates are also considerably lower, which makes repayment much easier.
The key to success is truly understanding how consumers think and their behavior. Knowing this prior to investing money in advertising will spare you hundreds or thousands of dollars in marketing campaigns that fall short. If you don’t possess the right skill sets now, furthering your education is something to consider.
Think About Acquisition Costs
In between marketing campaigns and daily business processes, it’s easy to overlook or even forget how much money you’re spending on advertising. But without an airtight grasp on how much it costs to acquire and keep your customers, you could be losing a lot of money. When it comes down to cost, it’s more expensive to acquire than to retain customers. Think about the different types of costs associated with acquiring customers, like online advertising, influencer marketing and inventory costs. Use this final figure as a guide to keep costs in check and optimize your budget.
Learn How to Upsell
Once your business starts taking off, you need to learn the fine art of upselling. Upselling involves showing customers products they’ve already looked at or products that complement what’s in their cart. This marketing usually works best when executed right before checkout. You can also enable mobile marketing, which will remind people who abandoned their cart and also suggest new products before they checkout. Upselling works best when done in a non-intrusive manner. Bombarding customers with things they need to purchase is never a good idea. Focus on gentle persuasion rather than in-your-face offers. People are much more likely to engage with something tempting in their peripheral than anything thrust in their face.