Opportunities are ahead of people who want to start or boost their e-commerce business in 2018. Many people will use these opportunities to open up their own business. Thus, competition will ubiquitous, meaning that you will have to make sure your brand stands out.
Here are the best tips to grow your business in 2018.
Email Marketing — Really Important Now
So last January, I gave a big tip to people that were starting off on Shopify. I was saying that email marketing is going to be crucial because as advertising gets more expensive we have to leverage our email. We have to leverage our existing customers and we have to build both data and custom audiences off all of the emails. We also have to leverage it in times of advertising fluctuation so we’re able to adapt and bring down the cost of acquisition.
Email marketing is a powerful tool because you can dip into your customers that have already bought from you and if you have done business the right way your customers are going to buy from you again.
It’s crucial that you build your email list. If you haven’t started, starting in January 2018 is a great time to start. There are great ways to build your list, you can do quizzes, free giveaways, free shipping, etc. People may say free shipping is dead, but if you acquire the customer and you give them a good upsell and you’re able to facilitate a sequence of emails to build your brand, then you’re enticing them to buy and eventually you’re going to get them to purchase.
So that is the goal: email marketing. Focus on it and write it down as a goal. You should be looking for about 20-30% of your monthly revenue to come from email. Right now I’m at about 20% of my revenue is coming from email marketing.
It takes time, but once it snowballs, it becomes an amazing asset because in times where your Facebook ads are not converting, you can rely on email to take up the slack. If gets your sales curve going nicely instead of all the up and down spikes.
Branding is Still Important for your Business in 2018
If you are not branding your store right now, I encourage you guys to do that. Branding is powerful because not only does it increase the perceived value of what you’re selling, but it also allows the customer to make a better decision on whether or not they can trust you. So the perceived value and the trust of your website. If you ever decide to sell your website, that’s the first thing a potential investor is going to look at: how well you branded your store and how well you know your customer. Why do they resonate with you as a company?
Video Content is Powerful
Video continues to be the number one way, in my opinion, to convert customers and to get your cost per acquisition down, and get you the cheapest cost per click. It gets you the cheapest CPM because essentially, Facebook wants their users to have the best possible experience on Facebook. When you do video in the right way, including content marketing, your costs decrease dramatically.
A lot of people are using static images and slideshows. I encourage you guys to invest in video. If you have a winning product, I definitely recommend you to do a professional video. You can buy videos. Camcorders online now can be purchased for next to nothing. You can get green screens you can even hire someone on Upwork to do a quick 30 to 60 second video on your product.
Video is going to remain a powerful tool and I’ve been using it in all my ads and it always returns the best possible ROI.
Scout for New Products
To develop your business in 2018, you need to find unique products. So over the past year or two, the market has been flooded with new e-commerce entrepreneurs and essentially it’s been a crazy ride for everyone because there’s so much money to be made in e-commerce, but as competition rises, those companies that aren’t adapting get fizzled.
What I’m seeing a lot of people do right now is using spy tools and they’re taking the easy way out. They’re looking for the products that are selling and they are using the same ads and the same terminology and same pricing structure. They’re following in the footsteps of the person who was first in the market who had the competitive advantage.
Remember, if you follow someone you’re always going to be one step behind them. I encourage everyone to be unique in the marketplace. Go out there and find products, go to trade shows, find great suppliers and make a connection with your suppliers so that you are first to be known about a new product. When you build a business relationship with that supplier, he’s going to reach out to you and tell you that they have a new product coming out that will compliment your store.
Even though spy tools can help sometimes, you’re always going to be one step behind. You’ll always be competing with someone who’s got a more powerful website based off their ads. I prefer to be innovative and creative and put my own stamp on a product. That’s what investors look for– uniqueness in your brand and why customers should buy from you over someone else.
Build a Solid Team
There is going to be more competition so you’re going to have to bring in more people to your business in 2018 in order to scale. As entrepreneurs, our job is not to do all the day-to-day work.
We need to delegate and direct people on exactly how these tasks should be done. I tell people to hire people in the Philippines, South America, and even in America. We can hire apprentices that want to get knowledge about e-commerce. There are so many different ways people are looking for opportunities.
If you are an industry leader and own a business in 2018, you can hire all these people. They’re willing to work with you in exchange for mentorship. Build a strong team so that you have an expert in email marketing, an expert in product research, an expert in video creation, an expert on Facebook ads and essentially you’re combining the talents of each individual to give you a competitive advantage. This will allow you to test more products, scale more products, and you yourself can get educated on other aspects of e-commerce.
You can fly to events, you can fly out and connect with other e-commerce entrepreneurs and get the latest and greatest tips and tricks. So don’t try and do this on your own– guys, you will get eaten up if you don’t build a solid team for your Business in 2018!
Taking a Long-term Approach
Some ways that I think we’ll be connecting with our customers will be through chatbots and through various APIs and artificial intelligence. Even though email is important, I think that we’re moving towards a more instant connection with the customer: SMS for targeting, messenger, chatbots that have high open rates.
A customer goes to your site and they click the “add to cart” button but they don’t make a purchase but through this messenger app, you can send that person a direct message to their Facebook and say “Hey, did life get in the way? We still have your product available, here’s 15% off to buy it now before we run out.” There’s more of a chance of the customer looking at that messenger over opening an email, and that’s what I’ve been using on my stores is a messenger chatbot.
Keep a positive mind, and always keep focused on what it is you’re trying to achieve because if you don’t actually know where you want to take the business, you’re going to get frustrated and you’re going to get in a situation where there’s mornings when you wake up and you don’t know what to do.
I would encourage everyone to put in place a strategy for your Business in 2018. Determine where you want to go. Do you want to make $100 a day do you want to make $1000 a day; do you want to hit 6 figures for the first time? These are all goals you have to determine. You have to speak it into existence. When you speak it into existence, it will happen.
A lot of people wake up in the morning and they don’t have any direction. They don’t have any planning, no calendar, there’s no meetings. If you don’t write it down, if you don’t focus on exactly what you’re trying to achieve, it is never going to happen. It’s the same way Olympic athletes or professional football players– they all have a strategy. They all have a goal in mind, they know what food they’re eating, they know what the diet they need and essentially as E-commerce entrepreneurs, we need to know the same thing.
What is your cycle for launching new products? How often do you check your ads? How often do you hold team meetings? How often do you check what your employee’s value (time, money, family etc.)? You will need to be plan, organize, and control for your business in 2018.
Remember– you are an entrepreneur –your job is to build these systems and then hands off! Hands off and then delegate to each individual person. That’s how you grow a mega-brand, that’s how you build systems, and that’s how you are able to work less. That’s the whole point why we became entrepreneurs so that we don’t have to be doing everything ourselves.
So to summarize, 2018 is going to be a great year for e-commerce! More and more people are buying online and more and more people are talking about e-commerce.
Therefore, competition is going to increase in the marketplace so you’ve got to be innovative, you have to find new products, leverage your email list, leverage your existing customer audience, you have to step back from the business, outsource and delegate. You have to go to events, mastermind with people, map out your strategy, map out where you want to go and what are the steps with weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly goals. I promise you, once you identify these it makes it a lot easier.
Once you have a solid team of people that are committed to achieving this timeline of revenue, you’re going to have a lot less stress and a lot less to worry about because you have already done your due diligence in your timeline mapping, your teamwork, and your product research.
I want you to be inspired to become entrepreneurs. We’re in a digital age right now guys and anything is possible. Don’t give up!