You know I’ve had my fair share of sales calls over the years and I often had a prospect on the other end of the line who just really needs to find a simple way to drum-up some new business for themselves without breaking the bank.
They come to me hoping that I can help them do that with their website and I tell them that yes there is a way they can use their website to make more money. Start with the people you know.
Now I didn’t come up with that – I got that from Ali Brown, but it’s true. The easiest way to drum-up new business is to start selling your products to your existing customers, directly on your site. Not on Etsy or Ebay or Fiverr, but on YOUR website.
It’s quite easy actually. Most businesses rarely go after a second sale from their existing customers which in some cases could mean you could be leaving as much as 20% of your sales on the table. Ouch!
But if you added something as simple as a shopping cart to your website – not a page somewhere else but on your website, you could be bringing in sales in no time.
I’ve had clients, who’ve been in business for years, make a few hundred extra dollars by simply announcing via an email (one email) that they now could take orders on their site.
They made $500 in a matter of a few days from that one email – from customers who already knew them, loved their product and now had a convenient way to buy from them again. That’s a win win situation!
Now many people shy away from this whole “shopping cart thing” because – they think, ‘Oh no! This is way too complicated.’, but it’s actually easier than you think and well worth the effort. You don’t even have to make too many changes to your website and you can get things up and running fairly quickly.
So how do you start? Well, you basically have two options here. You can either add a shopping cart to your existing site or if you want to go “gangbusters” you can build a full blown e-commerce site. Now I would not recommend the second option unless you have a lot of products and a lot of time on your hands because that is a big undertaking.
But if you’re only looking to get your feet wet right now, here are a few tools that I would recommend.
Shopify has grown leaps and bounds in the last few years. If you have a physical shop, this could be the best option for you as they offer a wide variety of ways to sell, both online and off. They’ve partnered with Amazon, Pinterest and Facebook to let your visitors, pay via Pins, Facebook’s Messenger or through Amazon’s marketplace.
You can even embed products or “buy now” buttons right inside of a page or post without having to navigate through a shopping cart.
They also offer a plugin that you can use on your WordPress, Squarespace or Wix site if you don’t want to change your site over entirely. You can learn about all the different options and details here.
If you’re only looking to just sell a few things online then you may want to take a gander at WooCommerce’s shopping cart plugin. This free plugin was developed to work with just about any WordPress theme, but they also have ecommerce themes with the shopping carts built right in.
That doesn’t mean that the plugin isn’t robust, in fact it’s just the opposite. WooCommerce works not only with payment providers like Square, PayPal and Stripe – it also integrates well with more traditional merchant accounts, like Authorize.Net and First Data.
The list of partners they work with is massive – you can see if your bank, shipping carrier or inventory management software is compatible with them on their “Extensions” page.
WooCommerce is also one of the few reliable free “shopping cart” plugins that allow you to set-up subscriptions and sell digital products as well. I’ve personally used this plugin with my WordPress clients as it gives you all the bells and whistles you need without having to abandon your existing website.
Easy Digital Downloads
If you want to sell digital products like music, ebooks or courses you may want to consider Easy Digital Downloads. As their name implies they specialize in “downloadable digital products”.
This is another plugin that was designed to use with any WordPress theme (which I would suggest) or you can buy one of their themes. Coaches and trainers are using membership sites and plugins like these to scale their businesses and reach new audiences in ways they simply could not have done before.
I like this product because #1 it’s affordable and #2 it is built around a free “open-source” CMS like WordPress. Why do we need to be concerned about this? Well unlike site builders like Shopify and Big Commerce – YOU own your site because you host it.
If you use a site builder like Shopify or Big Commerce or even choose an ecommerce theme from Squarespace or Wix – you’re basically “renting” that site for a fee.
Now there is nothing wrong with this except that software companies are notorious for selling, merging and disappearing altogether. That is why I’m a stickler for not relying too heavily on a software company that has been around for less than 5 years. I actually prefer 10 but who’s counting.
My point is if Shopify goes out of business you don’t have a site anymore. If you host your own CMS site like WordPress or Joomla on GoDaddy or on WP Engine or Blue Host – you can rest a little better. The chances of these companies going under are very slim and they’ve been around for quite a long time.
It’s like the old saying goes, ‘Why rent when you can own?’. Just some food for thought.
Kajabi and Teachable
Now if you have a pretty healthy coaching business and you don’t want to bother with trying to “patch” something together or “hack” into your current website – you may want to take a look at Kajabi and Teachable.
Both of these companies offer complete software packages to allow you to market, manage and sell your online courses and digital products to your members without the hassle. Again, you’re only renting this space but it gives you the freedom and the ability to focus more on your members or students instead of trying to figure all the “techie” stuff out.
So that’s the long and the short of it. If I had to choose one I would choose WooCommerce, but again it really depends on how much time you have, your needs and your budget. That’s it for me this week, but now it’s your turn.
Question: How are you currently selling your products or services to your customers? Is there a way that you could sell to them through your website? Share your questions and comments below.
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