In Module #3 we will discuss how to find your target customer, who they are and where to find them, as well as explore different sales channels to best suit your needs.
Let's talk about who your target customer is. We are going to focus on demographics, actual location, and even timing based on where they are.
These factors are very important to selling online.
Finding your target market will be crucial to your success in eCommerce. Many people try to do things without paying attention to their actual customers. Over the years, I have found that many people in business think they know who their target market is when in reality, they don’t know who their target market is.
Simply said, if you own a pet store selling dog food, you want to target pet owners. Keep in mind that there are different types of pets: dogs, cats, gerbils, fish, and so many other pets that people could have.
You're less likely to sell dog food if you target fish owners. These might sound like simple things,, but they are so easily overlooked a lot of the time. Keep this in mind when it comes to finding your target market and expanding upon it.
When it comes to social media, you might be able to target dog owners based on the brand of food you sell, the type of dog, the variety of things people like about dogs or even outfits that people want to put on their dogs.
Keep in mind this is not a one size fits all approach. You might need to have several different target audiences for your business.
I would say, in most cases, companies have several different target demographics. It is very important to learn and be able to grow with your market over time.
It's essential to plan ahead but don't get lost in selling to the right person that you do it at the wrong time. For instance, in the wintertime, you might be selling something to keep pets warm, and in the summertime, you’re selling items to keep pets cool.
It’s safe to say that by evaluating what you learn and even surveying your customers, you’re going to find a better understanding of what your target market is looking for and when they need it.
Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it. Think about the following factors:
Considering all of the opportunities you have in starting a business, you now need to consider the buyer.
Who they are is very important to your sales in most cases: their age, sex, and even ethnicity. In my business, the age of our buyers runs between 30 and 60 years old. Out of that age group, primarily all of our buyers are women.
Basically, you have to nail down a very large demographic of people first, and then you can get even more granular. Here are a few questions you can ask to get a better idea of your best customer. This only applies when your store is launched and you have made sales, but it's good to think about.
There are so many different attributes that need to be considered when finding your target customer. After that, there are many secondary options that you can use to discover who they are. Do not get bogged down; just keep testing.
Here are some ideas to consider.
It could be as simple as mothers, stay-at-home moms, grandmothers, and people with more than one child. This might be your first approach. It is all about evaluating exactly what makes the best buyers for your product.
This will help you tremendously in building your eCommerce business.
I’d like you to write down five or so different attributes you think your future customers would have. Whether that’s age, demographic, ethnicity, or any specific things you can point to. Once you’ve written all of these different things down, take a few minutes to think about them.
Now that you’ve had a few minutes to think about these different attributes and who the target person is for your business. It’s time to think about how your mission statement or vision for the future of your company can connect with those people.
Did they match up? Do you think the same people you target will get behind your brand? Again this is your perspective; it's just an exercise, so have fun with it.
It’s easy to sell a product, but the customers you should be looking for are the ones that are going to be with you long-term. Successful businesses do not look for an easy sale. Yes, you need sales to be profitable, but for the most part, you’re looking to build relationships and continued support with your customers.
The most successful brands out there have built a relationship with their customers, and they know them and they trust them. These customers will buy from them over and over again regardless of price.
Most companies are focused on only selling a product, which is actually a lot easier if that is the direction you want. Taking that approach and not building a relationship means you’re going to have a business that just sells the products, and not many people can get behind it.
Once you understand who your customer is, you’ll have a better appreciation for how you can communicate with them.
In summary, I hope you give thought to exactly who the people are that are buying from you. It will help you find more of those people and help you generate the revenue you’re looking for long-term.
This might seem obvious to you, but most people don’t understand the concept of finding people and where they are. It’s hard to sell swimsuits in Alaska in the middle of winter. So consider all of the attributes of your target customer.
Now, let’s take the example of the swimsuit. If you’re going to target an audience in the springtime in colder weather areas, you might consider offering items on sale.
That’s not to say you should start running Facebook ads in the middle of January in Minnesota but consider the timeframe. You might consider running ads for bathing suits in March for the new fashions or styles for the year.
This might seem obvious to you, but most people don’t understand the concept of finding people and where they are.It’s hard to sell swimsuits in Alaska in the middle of winter. So consider all of the attributes of your target customer.
u craft an effective strategy. Plan ahead. Start planning to launch any sale or promo a few months before the sale starts. It is even a good practice to start planning for things like Black Friday and Cyber Monday in July.
This gives you the best opportunity to let customers know what’s coming and allows you to plan for issues. Once you have your plan in place, start a drip campaign to get people ready for your sale.
This is a list of a few things that I consider essential when it comes to customers and how they fit together.
In the United States, targeting customers based on their state has been very beneficial in my business. Targeting cities with ads specific to the location is a great way to lower your ad spend cost and help your ROAS.
Certain days of the week have a significant impact on sales; you can also consider the times of the day. Finding out who your customers are and where they are is only part of the battle.
I would say the next most important part of your journey is where they buy.
Finding the best sales channel for your product can take time and effort.
Let’s talk a bit about sales channels.
Of course, everybody knows the big one, Amazon. They can be great for your business if used the right way.
If you are concerned about margins or have a very low-profit margin, Amazon might not be the way to go. Because of their high fees and overall higher costs, businesses with lower margins might not be able to sell on Amazon.
Amazon does have its place if you have good margins on your product. Amazon is a great sales channel to consider as it allows you to get in front of many customers fast. With Amazon, you need reviews as soon as you can, if you want to push your product listing to the top.
Spending a little bit of money on advertising goes a long way when you start getting reviews. As long as you stay consistent and don’t stop spending on ads, you will keep your momentum.
Amazon does have another great advantage that can help an eCommerce business like yours. The opportunity to get in front of many more people gives you the ability to send marketing materials.
If you have a lead product with good margins, you can utilize that product to drive traffic to your site by putting marketing materials in your packaging. This is a perfect strategic way of using Amazon to advertise your website.
Sell on Amazon: https://sell.amazon.com/
Etsy, do you make a product or have something handmade?
Etsy might be the platform you’re looking for. Just like Amazon, they do have high seller fees, but you have the opportunity to get in front of an audience of people looking for handmade products.
Consider all of the costs involved in each sales channel, shipping costs, and seller fees before pricing your product on any platform like Etsy.
To avoid additional shipping fees through Etsy, you can always import your orders into a third-party shipping service such as Pirate Ship. This will allow you to create shipping labels for your Etsy orders without being charged additional "shipping fees", you only pay the cost for the shipping label.
Sell on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/sell
eBay, if you’re selling a product internationally, eBay is not a bad option. It might sound strange but international markets do well with eBay. eBay also has a following in the US. They’ve been around for a very long time, but with eBay, people are looking for deals so keep that in mind.
eBay fees are not as bad as Amazon, but it does cost money for listing and selling products. Depending on your product category, you might not have a listing fee, and in fact, sometimes the seller fee is much lower or close to $0.
Sell on Ebay: https://www.ebay.com/sl/sell
Walmart has taken significant strides over the last several years to be a better sales channel for eCommerce businesses. They were tough to list products on in the beginning, and it took us all day just to list a handful of products.
Fast forward to today, website platforms like Shopify now have connected integrations that make it very easy to list products. I don’t have too many high hopes for Walmart; lots of businesses on the platform are not that successful because there’s an oversaturation of products.
It’s hard to navigate with so many products, so your products might get pushed down or not seen. It’s a great option to diversify the location of where your products are available, though. Sell on Walmart: https://marketplace.walmart.com/
Keep all of that in mind when you’re looking for sales channels. There are plenty of other sales channels that you can get on, such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram, but I will cover those separately.
To finish this up, it seems like new sales channels are popping up all the time. Test small, don’t go big until you know it will work. Sending 10,000 pieces of inventory to Amazon when you haven’t tested the model is not a wise decision. You can go broke with storage fees and all of the other costs associated with Amazon and other fulfillment sales channels.
Think before you leap, and you’ll be fine. Testing sales channels is the best way to get started but start small and then scale.
I have to tell you, that my favorite social media channel or ads channel without paying for ads is Pinterest.
If you have a graphic designer at your disposal or you have the ability to make graphics for Pinterest, you are in good shape. Creating a solid Pinterest board and following other like-minded people will boost your business or your visibility.
In my opinion, this is far greater than anything you can do to promote your business. Keep in mind it takes time; this is a long game.
People use Pinterest for almost everything. From going on vacation, picking out their wardrobe, shopping for the next best pair of shoes, and so much more!
Creating pins that people can use and put on their boards allows you to have your products visible in more places.
There is a downside; though lots of this ability doesn’t always translate to sales, it does give the ability to have a few stand-out options. A few of your pins might do well, which provides you with the ability to at least have some organic traffic without paying a lot of money on ads.
When the traffic starts coming in, you can consider paying for ads with Pinterest. Paying for ads will help you push the pin that had the best conversation or traction to the top. Paying for ads will also help you get in front of potential customers with content people already like.
Keep in mind, that Pinterest can be very pricey when it comes to spending money on ads. You can use up the budget quickly. If your strategy matches, you can try using carousel ads. They can generate some revenue if done right. After you complete all modules, you will find a breakdown of ad types and how they fit.
Facebook ads and Facebook stores are two different things but work hand-in-hand on Facebook.
If you have a Shopify store, you’re going to be able to connect your Facebook account directly to your Facebook store. In minutes, you can create your store on Facebook, where customers shop right on Facebook and now Instagram.
Times of change! Several years ago, spending money on Facebook Ads would give you the most significant return on your investment. Today I would say it’s necessary for remarketing efforts to your audience that visit your website and abandon their carts. They can possibly expand to new customers from people who like your page or who have liked posts. Use Facebook to get a little traffic, but don’t put all your eggs in the Facebook basket. Platforms like TikTok are taking over a lot of eyeballs! People are transitioning into new spaces that Facebook can’t reach.
Instagram has connected to Facebook, but in my opinion, it doesn’t do very well unless you’re an influencer. Running ads as an influencer will help build your audience and hopefully push you to the top of the algorithm.
As an eCommerce business, it doesn’t do anything but destroy your budget, in my opinion! Testing things will be the key to success and learning from what you did.
Six months from now, things might change with Facebook and Instagram, so if this is your best avenue for sales, pay attention. Consider testing, regularly trying new things, and learning what pushes sales or clicks.
We have found running a targeted campaign just for clicks to get a free ebook or giveaway is a great way to get people in your funnel. Getting email addresses is a pretty cheap way to get people to know who you are when you send follow-up emails.
Not all businesses can do this because it takes a lot more planning and forethought; it also requires more content and design.
Our email marketing does the heavy lifting with a quick sign-up form that connects to the email marketing platform we use. This is an excellent way of capturing new leads and marketing to them less expensively.
I would argue that email marketing is the best sales channel for an eCommerce business to get sales. In almost all eCommerce stores, I see, email brings in 30% of a store's revenue, and that's on the low end. We personally use Klaviyo as a company, but there were a few great email service providers.
The biggest thing you need to consider when setting up your business is to succeed in communicating with customers. They visit your website, abandon their carts, and almost every other interaction that you can think of.
Setting up a solid email campaign is one of the best practices. I stress getting started early! Although Shopify does have a CRM option now that you could start with, I would recommend looking into other services before too long.