How to Sell Online: Advice Everyone Needs to Hear

Starting an online store is a great step if you're building a business, creating products or just looking to monetize a creative new idea.

But how do you find the right customers? And once you find them, how do you sell to them? Here are six quick bits of advice for selling online:

  1. Implement Google Analytics. The first key to selling online is to know who's browsing and buying in the first place. As an eCommerce entrepreneur, your best tool for that is Google Analytics. Spend time optimizing Google Analytics on your website and you'll find out not only who's visiting and buying, but how they get to you and where on your site they visit before heading to storefront. Key metrics you'll want to pay attention to include the "bounce rate," which tells you what percentage visitors leave your site after viewing a single page, and the "time spent" on each page. Combined, they'll give you good information about which products and services are most intriguing to your audience — knowledge you can use to sell more online.

  2. Engage on social media. Tracking customers can be helpful, but only if you're willing to also engage with visitors while they're still prospects. Spending time on social media to answer questions relevant to your expertise takes little effort and generally costs nothing — a nice combo for small businesses and eCommerce solopreneurs. Don't forget to schedule blog posts to publish to Facebook and Twitter. For more advanced options and associated analytics, add social sharing buttons to your store offerings and other content at your site. It can help you increase reach, find fans you didn't know you had and sell more online.

  3. Stay in contact. Sometimes you'll get a prospect a couple of clicks short of the buy button. Give them a chance to tell you why they didn't go the distance by including clickable contact information. And then be sure you read and respond to every piece of feedback, negative comments included. Also, use the data! You can configure your store to send emails to visitors who abandon shopping carts. Also try giving shoppers the option to comment via a more detailed feedback form.

  4. Solve first, then sell. Including user reviews on your product pages shows confidence in your offer and gives customers and prospects a voice. Listen when they speak. Feedback gives you an opportunity to understand and empathize with problems your prospects and customers may be facing before you try to sell to them. Answer questions directly and then compile your insights into other forms of media. Whether it's a blog post, podcast or live Q&A on social media, every heartfelt attempt you make to solve problems will help you find the people who actually need your assistance.

  5. Listen without fear. Odds are a good portion of the feedback you'll get is negative. You know what? That's good. Every time a customer or prospect tells you what they don't want, they've given you a clue to what it is they really need. Listen without fear and you just might be able to transform detractors into fans and buyers into customers for life. Embedding live chat or a help desk app at your Weebly site can make it easier to engage buyers the moment they most need service.

  6. Build for the future. Finally, when you've got a complete picture of what your ideal shopper looks like and what it is they need, consider creating an entirely unique look and feel for your product pages, using a theme that delivers on your customer service promise. Use your updated website to show off what's unique about your offer and how customers can best use and benefit from your products. Your website visitors will remember you more easily, which increases the odds they'll come back for more — boosting online sales and profits in the process. (Check out these five themes that tend to work well for members of the Weebly community.)

Feeling inspired? Ready to make more selling online? Share your story in the comments and let us know what's working, and what isn't.