Selling online obeys the general marketing laws: Find your customers, Ask what they need, Satisfy them (FAS). Does this sound easy enough? Well, you need to practice a lot to master the keys.
Find Your Customers
Hey, focus the word “YOUR”. It’s your customers, not other person’s customers. Your customers are equal to the marketing term NICHE. If you already know what niche is, jump to next section.
Niche market is very tricky. If you want to find your niche market, you have to define it firstly. For example, you are a coffee supplier in a small city, and you are only selling to local citizens. Who are your niche? You can choose officers, house wives, or coffee bars. They are different, right? Find the one that fits you best (make sure it’s profitable). Unlike general marketing target, you focus on your niche share, which is more likely to produce cash flows.
Then you will face two questions: 1. where to find customers; 2. what to find out.
Where to. It depends on the type of your business. You may pay attention to these places: club, salon, parties, forum, and mailing list. With the boom of internet, almost every noticeable niche market has a series of websites like blog, forum or mailing list. You can search them, join them and learn in it.
What to. This is critical important. Successful online business relies heavily on customer base. You have to build your customer base in all practical ways. Why? The more customers you have, the more likely you are going to be rich. So far as I know, those promising retails websites have more than 2000 customers. That’s huge to a new business.
How to achieve that? You can build your customer base by your own, like write blogs to attract interested potential customer, or you can rent a list. If you don’t have much money, write blog; if you have some fund, rent a list. Once, you have a list of customers, you are already a rich person even money is not coming out yet.
Ask What Your Customers Need
When you find your customers, ask what they need most, what they need next, how they want to get satisfied. You can call this marketing research. The motivation is to draw a map of customers need.
Remember this, because it’s very important for you to run your business. With this map, you can easily satisfy your customers.
The map should include the following things:
1. Items of customers need
2. Sort order of the items
3. Relations of each item
Are you confused? Let me explain more clearly.
You need to how many kinds of need your customers have, right? So you need “items of customer need”. Write down them one by one until you can not write any new items. Now you have a raw map of customer need.
Do you know what items are the most wanted by customers? Check the how many times you have repeat to write some times. The more times you write, the more important it may be. Sort it out, and you will know the sequence of customers need.
Don’t be thrilled, here’s another master skill you will enjoy most: connect the items to make a Customers Need Network Map. Let’s say, if your customer bought a printer, then you will know he also need ink jet, if he/she bought a baby toddler, you will know his/her baby will also need baby food, clothing, books and toys. I call this Money Mapping. When you have a clear mind of these clues, you can sell easily.
Tell me, are you confident to run a online store now? You know where to find customers, you know what you want to ask from them, and you know what they need mostly and sequentially, WOW! I know you are pretty thrilling now.
Satisfy Your Customers
The two above steps are the fundamentals to run a successful online store, which enables you to dare asking money from your customer. However, you have to make your customers satisfied before you get the money.
This is not easy. Since I am generous today, you can have my secrets. Here are my principles that proved to be working:
1. You know better that your customers
2. You think one step earlier than your customers
3. You give more than your customer expect
Take my business as an example: most of my clients are store owners who does not have enough Zen Cart knowledge or online business skills, I know better than them; before my clients want something, I already called them, like security updates, new add-ons, or site improvement plans, it’s just like a scheduled task; I do a bit more than customer want, like installing certain add-ons for free and giving them the best guidelines to market or manage their sites.
You understand that customers love this, right? Then do it.
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