More and more, people are starting to realize that the corporate world is not for them. Sit in traffic, punch a time clock, take lunch specifically between 12 and 1, report to management, and on it goes. For some, the corporate world is what they love and they are very good at being players in it. For others, it is exhausting and results in nothing more than a treadmill which can't be stopped. If you are looking for stage left in the corporate world and want to be your own boss, you might be looking to online selling as an avenue of business. Below are ten basic things you should know about getting started in selling products digitally. While each product type has even more specific tips, these tips are general and apply to any online business.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Have you ever heard the phrase "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail"? In this case, it's absolutely true. You must plan ahead and know what you'll be selling, where you want to sell it, who your target audience is, what your budget is, how you will mail inventory, if need be, how you'll track your customers, and so on. You don't have to have an MBA to run your own business, but you must plan out the basics before you start.
Find Your Niche
You sell handmade soap? Great, so do a thousand other people. You sell T-shirts, that's wonderful, but the product in and of itself is not unique. So how do you stand out? You find a niche. If you sell handmade soap specifically for those with sensitive skin and you make them with home-grown herbs...well then, you have a niche! If you sell T-shirts specifically for charity events and 5% goes toward the charity for which the T-shirts are ordered...then you have something! Find a niche within your product market and focus on it; you will be glad you did!
Know Your Competition
This may go without saying, but oftentimes, people get so excited about selling their product that they don't pay attention to who else is selling a similar product. You must find out what your competition is doing, not so that you can copy them, but so that you know what others are looking at and you can differentiate yourself.
Before you choose which online marketplaces you want to sell on (or which website providers to use), read some reviews on the pros and cons for each. Sometimes, there are hidden fees or downfalls that only those who have used the site to sell are aware of.
Keep Business With Business
Set up a separate account for your business, as far as your finances go. While you will likely live off your profits if you do this full time, you still want to have a business account which you fund solely with those monies that are to be utilized for supplies, website costs, etc. That way, when tax time comes around, you have an all-in-one spot to turn to for your expenditures and income instead of hunting through the groceries and shopping transactions, too.
Know Your Audience
If you're selling wedding jewelry, market to brides. If you sell running clothes, market to runners. This might seem like common knowledge, but you would be surprised at the number of wedding jewelers with websites that look more like a teenage girl's blog. Just because hot pink is your favorite color, doesn't mean your website needs to be pink. Think about the most professional design, and that which will reflect your business, not just you. They'll get to know you when they become your customer. Draw them in first.
While it's good to be conservative in your setup expenses, you do want to have enough inventory to sell, if that is what your business does. Many times, individuals set up their e-commerce sites thinking that they will only sell a few items, and it absolutely takes off. While that's great, it can be very stressful if you don't have the inventory!
Know your organizational system ahead of time. Obviously, as you grow with your online business you will make adjustments for things you couldn't have anticipated. However, if you get organized in advance, it will be helpful. For instance, set up your shipping station if you ship items. Have your finances set up. This goes into planning, as well, but being extremely organized will help you immensely.
If you just asked "SE what?" you should start now. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, and it is basically a fancy term for "put keywords on your website that will allow your site to be found in online searches". Books could be, and have been, written on SEO, so for the purposes of this article, you should Google search SEO and proceed accordingly.
Know Where To Advertise
You must advertise. As much as we would all like to think that "build it and they will come" applies to online business just as much as baseball fields in fictional movies, it's not true. You may get some customers just by existing, but you need to scout and utilize advertising outlets, online and otherwise.
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Lina Stakauskaite works at Click2Sell (www.click2sell.eu) Affiliate Programs Network. Sell digital products online and run your affiliate program. Accept payments via PayPal, Google Checkout or direct credit card payments. Get paid instantly, provide easy payment options for customers, recruit and manage affiliates successfully. Visit Click2sell.EU
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