3 Warning Signs that Your Business is Failing

There are almost always warning signs that your business is failing. Online stores generally don't collapse from one day to the next. If you've been selling online for a while and your business is doing well, there'll likely be plenty of warning if things aren't going well.

Knowing what those warning signs are will enable you to take action before it's too late. As such, you can respond before your business is losing money or you barely have any customers left. You likely won't get to that point if you act decisively.

In this article, we'll discuss three warning signs that your business is failing. We'll talk about how to tackle each of these situations and their potential causes. Let's get to it!

1. Sales Keep Falling Month After Month

Almost anyone that runs an online store will tell you that sales vary depending on the time of the year. Most stores do the bulk of their sales during the Christmas holiday season. In turn, this increased revenue can make up for slower months throughout the year.

A single month with low sales can be just a blip on your radar. However, if you notice that sales keep dipping over time, you're probably looking at a much larger problem.

Some potential causes for sales numbers dropping can include:

  • Focusing on seasonal products. If your store focuses on seasonal products, it stands to reason they'll only sell well during that specific season. Outside of those weeks or months, you're probably looking at low sales across the board.
  • Your prices aren't in line with the competition. In some cases, prices can fall across an entire niche due to new, cheaper products entering the market. If you plan on having a higher price point, you need to justify it with higher product quality.
  • Your product quality is dropping. If your store's products leave consumers unhappy, bad reviews and a lack of return customers will quickly start to affect your sales numbers.
  • There's a problem with your online store. In many cases, low sales can stem from problems with your store, such as long loading times or an overall poor customer experience.

Significant dips in sales can be scary. However, if you pay attention to your store's metrics, you can easily spot when the downward trends begin. Then, you can use that information to figure out the problem (and turn it around).

If your store's sale numbers suddenly fall to zero, that usually points toward a technical issue with whatever ecommerce solution you're using. Having an ecommerce solution that enables you to set up simple, customizable checkout pages (such as Buy Now Plus) can prevent technical failures from happening:

A Buy Now Plus checkout screen

Using an ecommerce solution that you can quickly troubleshoot is essential to running a successful online store. That way, if you encounter technical issues, you'll be able to fix them quickly and not miss out on potential sales.

2. Bad Reviews Are Piling Up

Bad reviews can be catastrophic for an online store. A slew of negative feedback can be enough for sales to take a significant downturn, even if the comments themselves are inaccurate:

Multiple bad reviews can be warning signs that your business is failing.

Getting bad reviews is unavoidable if you run an online store for a long time. However, if you're treating customers correctly and offering outstanding products, negative feedback shouldn't outweigh positive comments.

If you run an ecommerce store, you'll need to track two different sets of reviews. Those are:

  1. On-site product reviews: These are the reviews that customers leave for specific products and services. Negative feedback should tell you which service areas your consumers find lacking.
  2. Reviews on third-party websites: Tracking these reviews can be hard unless your company profile is on platforms such as Google My Business or the Yelp website. However, regularly searching for your business' name should enable you to find out what customers are saying about you around the web.

Paying attention to negative feedback is essential because you can be confident that many potential customers will be reading it. A staggering 91% of consumers actively look for reviews before making a purchase. If they see a lot of negative comments, they may choose not to use your business.

If your reviews include ratings, we recommend that you start paying close attention if those numbers fall below 4.5/5 or the equivalent on a ten-point scale. It's essential that you look for repeating complaints in reviews so you can identify pain points with your services and solve them.

3. You Have No Repeat Customers

For many businesses, repeat customers are the ones that keep the ship afloat. Once you convince a consumer to make that first purchase, the chances that they'll make another one are as high as 60 to 70%. Moreover, retaining existing customers costs significantly less than attracting new ones and marketing to them.

If you've been running an online store for a while and you lack repeat business, that doesn't bode well for the future. In most cases, it means one of a few things:

  • You're not selling products or services that lend themselves to repeat purchases.
  • Customers are not satisfied with the quality that you offer.
  • Your customer service experience is lacking and users don't feel heard.
  • The purchasing or shipping experience is not user friendly.

Paying attention to customer testimonials and reviews should enable you to spot all of these issues well before your company goes bankrupt. Not having repeat business might not mean that your store will go under. Still, in a best-case scenario, it severely limits your growth potential.

Conclusion

There are almost always warning signs that a company might go under. Many store owners only pay attention to profits. While that's not necessarily a bad thing, you might miss obvious warning signs that your business is failing.

Some of the most common warning signs for a failing online business include:

  1. Sales keep falling month after month.
  2. Bad reviews are piling up.
  3. You have no repeat customers.

Do you have any questions about turning a failing business around? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook,Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business

In a world currently driven by eCommerce, now is an excellent time for starting an online business. Learn what you need to know before getting started!

With the world increasingly becoming a digital-first environment, now is an excellent time to consider starting an online business. However, doing so is no easy task, and it's essential to make sure that you're adequately prepared.

Fortunately, doing a solid amount of research and planning can help ensure that your company succeeds. While errors and mistakes are inevitable, you can reduce your missteps and challenges by taking a strategic and careful approach.

In this post, we'll start by discussing the benefits of starting an online business. Then we'll cover five key tips to consider before you get started. Let's jump in!

The Benefits of Starting an Online Business

There are many benefits to starting an online business that can make it a rewarding and lucrative professional path.

Firstly, customers increasingly turn to the internet to find the products and services they need. You can purchase virtually anything you need online, from groceries and clothing to consulting and professional services:

The Amazon homepage.

Another benefit of an online business is reaching a global audience. You aren't limited to the geographical location of your establishment, nor do you have to deal with costs such as office space rental.

Furthermore, starting an online business can be pretty inexpensive once you have your product or service. You only need to account for a domain name, hosting, and web design and development costs. With the right small business tools, these aspects become easier to manage.

This isn't to say that starting an online business is easy. Certain disadvantages can come with it, such as a crowded online space that makes standing out from competitors difficult. Moreover, you'll need to understand digital marketing trends and techniques.

Fortunately, there are ways to prepare yourself to overcome such obstacles with relative ease. Proper research before launching your business can help increase the likelihood of success.

What You Need to Know Before Starting an Online Business (5 Key Tips)

Now that we've covered the benefits of starting an online business, it's time to dig into what you should know before you do. Here are five tips you can use to make it a productive and profitable endeavor!

1. Take the Time to Create a Detailed Business Plan

With any business, it's crucial to dedicate time to market research and developing a sound business plan. Doing so will help you identify concrete goals and determine how to measure your performance and progress as you grow.

There are a variety of elements that your business plan should cover, including:

  • Your target audience and customer personas
  • An executive summary and mission statement
  • A market analysis
  • Financial planning and a budget

You can make the process easier by using a business plan template:

A business plan template.

The more comprehensive and detailed your business plan, the easier it will be to get your company off the ground. Ideally, we recommend starting with a two to five-year plan.

2. Start With a Service Before Moving Onto Products

It usually makes sense for most online businesses to start by selling services, then eventually moving to products. Services tend to require less investment and development.

Once you get your footing, you'll be in a more stable position to expand and scale your business to incorporate products. This approach can also make it easier for you to find and nurture customer relationships to learn about your target buyers and their most important needs.

3. Invest in Website Design and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

When running an online business, your website is of utmost importance. It influences how customers perceive your brand. Your site also affects your engagement and conversion rates.

Therefore, a large portion of your focus should be on developing a high-quality website optimized for users and search engines. It's also a good idea to select a premium WordPress theme to showcase your products and services in a professional, reliable light.

There are plenty of free options available in the WordPress theme directory. You can also use marketplace sites such as Envato:

The Envato website.

However, even the most beautifully designed website won't help drive sales if customers cannot find it. This is why it's also essential to invest in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It's important to make sure your content is correctly optimized for Google best practices and ranking signals. You can do this is by installing a plugin such All In One SEO (AIOSEO):

The AIOSEO WordPress plugin.

You can also use PageSpeed Insights to analyze your site and identify opportunities for improvement. Knowing which tools to use can go a long way in optimizing your website.

4. Focus on Optimizing the Customer Experience

You can't have a successful business without satisfied customers. Therefore, it's crucial to provide a positive User Experience (UX).

This process can include creating a seamless checkout process with plenty of payment gateway options. We also recommend minimizing the number of steps needed for customers to complete their purchases.

One of the best ways to do this is with buy now buttons:

An example of a buy it now button.

You can easily add one of these elements to your site using our Buy Now Plus plugin:

The Buy Now Plus website.

You can quickly design and create your own buy now buttons to use across various channels. Then your visitors can check out immediately, helping to increase revenue.

5. Social and Email Marketing Are Key

Social media and email marketing are powerful, cost-effective solutions for generating brand awareness, driving traffic to your website, and reaching your target audience. It's wise to develop a marketing strategy that incorporates both platforms.

We recommend figuring out which platforms your target audience uses most and focusing your campaigns there.

For example, Facebook Advertisements can be highly effective and affordable:

A DreamHost Facebook ad.

You can even sell directly from social media, whether you have a website or not. Regardless of your strategy, it's crucial to create a strong social media presence that is consistent with your branding.

Social media and email can also be incredibly effective for engaging your customers through targeted messaging. You might consider starting an email newsletter to help promote your brand, expand your reach, and drive traffic to your site.

An easy way to do this is to use a tool such as ActiveCampaign:

The ActiveCampaign logo.

This email and digital marketing platform can help you create and grow your subscriber list. You can also use it to collect leads, track email marketing analytics, and design custom customer experiences across every channel.

Conclusion

In this digital era, now is the perfect time to consider starting an online business. However, knowing where and how to begin can be difficult. Fortunately, all it takes is a little research and planning.

As we discussed in this post, here are five tips to consider before starting an online business:

  1. Spend time creating a detailed business plan.
  2. Start by offering services before moving onto products.
  3. Invest in your website design and SEO.
  4. Focus on optimizing the customer experience and checkout process.
  5. Social media and email marketing are key.

Do you have any questions about starting an online business? Let us know in the comments section below!

5 Things to Stop Doing Now if You Want to Succeed

Running a business is rarely easy. With so much to handle, it can be hard to build a comprehensive strategy. The pressure to make all the correct moves can be overwhelming.

Fortunately, it's not always about getting it right. Sometimes, knowing what you're doing wrong can be the key to success. By understanding where you can boost your performance, you can take your business to the next level.

In this article, we'll walk you through five things that hinder success. We'll also give you a few tips on how you can improve. Let's go!

1. Ignoring the Competition

Let's be honest: no matter how small your niche is, there will always be someone else you need to measure up to. You can't ignore how your competition is doing – no matter how confident you are in your product.

If you discount other companies, you could be losing out on a lot of valuable information. For example, let's say they run a wildly successful campaign. By taking note of what they did right, you can improve your business's performance too.

You can consider Williams Sonoma as an example of this. Since Thanksgiving is a food-centric holiday, many cooking sites are competing for shoppers' attention. However, while most of them just advertise sales, Williams Sonoma improves on that model with cooking tips as well:

An example of a Williams Sonoma ad that improves on the competition.

However, try to remember that this goes both ways. Other companies are probably watching your performance to improve on their own. By paying close attention to what others are doing, you can tune in to the most successful strategies for your niche.

2. Straying Away From Your Brand Identity

Your brand identity is a mix of many things: the tone of your ads, your logo, and even your font choice. Consistent presentation of these elements is crucial to a buyer's ability to recognize your company. Thus, while going in a new direction may be tempting, it can also harm your business.

This is largely because it may confuse your customers. For example, let's say your social media's tone of voice is playful while your blog is serious. This could be off-putting to new visitors, especially if they're already invested in the buyer's journey.

We're not saying that rebranding is a bad move. However, if you're shifting gears without a clear and intentional plan, you could risk losing potential buyers.

We recommend that you put together a style guide for your content. This may include guidance on what type of language you should use or topics you typically cover. That way, you can reference it before publishing anything and ensure that you're staying on track.

3. Focusing All Your Energy on One Channel

With so many ways to communicate in our modern world, it can be hard to keep up with all of them. Your own website, different social media pages, and traditional advertising can be a lot to handle. As such, it's not unusual to feel like you need to focus on a single channel.

Unfortunately, this isn't usually the best plan. Different platforms have different audiences. Thus, putting all of your efforts into one channel could mean you're missing out on opportunities to make more sales.

One way to combat this is with a content calendar. You don't necessarily need to update every account every day – as long as you're spreading your marketing across many channels, you're opening up new ways to reach new customers.

By the same token, you may also want to consider giving your users an easy way to purchase your products across different channels. If you're looking for a tool to help you do so, we recommend our own Buy Now Plus service:

The Buy Now Plus banner.

With Buy Now Plus, you can add buy now buttons almost anywhere – and you don't even need a website to do it. By providing visitors with a secure checkout regardless of how they find you, you can capture more conversions than ever before.

4. Resisting Investments Into Your Business

If you're like most business owners, chances are, you have a budget. This can be especially tight if you're still a relatively small company. However, as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money.

We're not saying that being mindful of your money is a bad thing. Nevertheless, doing so isn't just about saving cash – it's also about knowing where to spend it.

That's why we recommend you invest in resources that can support your business. If your shipping times are struggling, for example, you might want to think about hiring someone to help you out. By the same token, upgrading to a faster web host could dramatically improve the user experience.

If you're not sure which tools are right for you, we recommend that you take full advantage of free trials. That way, you can see how well a certain resource can support your business before you commit to it.

Finally, like most things in business, there's always a chance of failure. You may invest in a tool that doesn't work out for you – and that's okay! Just try to understand why it wasn't a good fit and keep that information in mind for your next investment.

5. Ignoring Your Analytics

Your company's success doesn't have to be a guessing game. Nowadays, analytics are available nearly everywhere, ranging from your social media profiles to your website. If you're ignoring this information, you could also be ignoring a clear path to improvement.

Even if you feel like you understand your performance, getting confirmation never hurts. Additionally, if you find out you're not doing as well as you thought, you can catch the issue early before it really starts affecting your sales.

An easy way to get started with this essential data is through Google Analytics:

A sample Google Analytics dashboard.

Google Analytics can provide you with a broad overview of your audience. You can also zone in on more specific metrics such as demographics, meaning you'll be able to get very specific with your targeted marketing.

If you're not interested in analytics, we highly recommend that you stay in touch with your customers. Ask for feedback and reviews whenever you can. That way, you can stay informed about how your brand is performing.

Conclusion

Success is rarely a straight path. However, that doesn't mean that you can't avoid a few wrong turns along the way. By understanding which actions can harm your performance, you can help your business succeed.

In this article, we covered five things that hinder success:

  1. Ignoring how your competition is performing.
  2. Having an inconsistent or muddled brand identity.
  3. Focusing your efforts on a single channel and ignoring the others.
  4. Being too wary of potentially rewarding investments.
  5. Ignoring the crucial data that analytics can provide.

Do you have any questions about the issues covered in this post? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

A sales page operates as a one-page ad for your product or service. When someone visits this part of your website, they’re already thinking about buying from you – they just need a little push.

Your sales page must emphasize the benefits of your product, answer any misgivings the potential customer might have, and (above all) make it easier for them to commit. Fortunately, this isn’t hard to achieve with a few proven techniques.

In this post, we’ll go through five critical tips for building the perfect sales page. You’ll learn how to create a sales page, how to improve it, and how to get people to take the next step. Let’s get started!

Why It’s Vital to Fine-Tune Your Sales Page

Think about the last time you visited a sales page. It may have been for a piece of software, new technology, clothing, or even furniture. Did you decide to buy the product? Why or why not?

A sales page is important because it is the very end of a sales funnel. All of your marketing efforts are often focused on bringing leads to this key page. Once there, you’ll need to encourage them to take that final step and make a purchase.

An example of a sales page.

While a sales page may often look simple, there’s an art to building one that’s effective. The sales page for the HTC Vive (pictured above) doesn’t just describe the product. It also creates a value proposition (“gifts worth over $100”), makes it easier to buy (“Pre-order”), and addresses potential misgivings (“Get details”).

How to Create a Perfect Sales Page (5 Key Tips)

When optimizing your sales page, it might help to think about it like an ad you’d see in a magazine. It has to be compelling enough to encourage people to read it, and it needs to give them all the information they require to make an educated decision.

Let’s take a look at some tips for doing just that!

1. Punch Up Your Headlines

On the web, most people scan each page in an “F” shape. They read headlines, loosely scan the body, and then look at the conclusion. This behavior has many ramifications, including that it’s a mistake to write your headlines solely for search engine optimization purposes.

Instead, headlines should be written first and foremost for human visitors. They need to be simple, interesting, provocative, and useful. Your goal is to deliver immediate value to the customer, describing what they stand to gain from purchasing the product or service on offer.

For example, this sales page has an obvious value proposition – you can make dinner faster:

An example of a strong headline on a sales page.

You can use tools such as CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer to improve your headlines, making them more evocative, emotional, and transparent.

2. Deliver a Clear Call To Action

A call to action (CTA) tells a customer what to do next. On a given landing page, your primary CTA could be:

  • “Call us for more information!”
  • “Start a live chat!”
  • “Sign up for our email newsletter!”
  • “Buy Now!”

A CTA increases conversion rates because it lets the customer know what the “next step” is. Any time a customer is uncertain, you risk losing the sale. They may get distracted, or they might just not know where to go or what to do.

If you look at the following landing page, you’ll see that the CTA (“Watch Demo”) is as straightforward and visible as possible:

An example of a CTA on a sales page.

On a sales page, your CTA is generally a “buy now” button. This element provides a simple, clear, and effective way to increase conversions.

3. When Possible, Personalize

80% of customers prefer websites that deliver personalized experiences – those that are tailored to each customer. By creating an experience that is more likely to be relevant, you can increase sales.

Some companies personalize their sales pages by tailoring them to each customer’s location. Other websites use tracking cookies to detect the user’s prior behavior (such as products they liked) so they can promote relevant items. The more information you have about a user, the more customized your page can be.

A personalized experience can be as simple as geographically targeting the user’s location, or as complex as tracking their prior purchases. If a user is already logged in to an account, they can also be addressed directly (“Welcome back Kim!”) to make your website feel less impersonal.

4. Add Reviews and Testimonials

Why should a customer trust you? They may have never heard of you or your product before. Fortunately, reviews and testimonials can build trust with a company in a way that other marketing techniques often cannot. When readers relate to a reviewer and their problems, it primes them to see your business as a solution.

For example, this slideshow of testimonials highlights how the product can improve a company’s operations:

An example of testimonials on a sales page.

Rather than just describing how their product can help, this business lets you see the perspective of their existing (happy) customers.

Therefore, it’s smart to consider adding some of your company’s best testimonials to your sales page. As potential customers dig further into information about your product, they’ll see that it has helped customers just like them.

5. Make Sure Your Page Works on Mobile Devices

Mobile sales make up about 73% of all sales today. Still, many companies build their websites on desktop computers or laptops. It’s easy to forget that a sales page doesn’t just need to function on a mobile device – it has to look just as good on small screens as on large ones.

One way to do this is to be deliberate about your “above the fold” content. This is the text, images, and other elements that appear immediately on a user’s screen before they scroll down the page. This content should make your primary value proposition clear, and should be short and simple so it’s immediately viewable to visitors on mobile devices.

It’s also important to test your landing page on all the platforms you can, including on mobile devices. A “responsive” or “mobile-friendly” design will tailor itself automatically to whatever platform is being used, rather than requiring multiple versions of the website for each platform.

Conclusion

Your sales page is an incredibly important stop on the buyer’s journey. It’s the best place to increase conversions, so you need to make sure it’s well designed, clear, and compelling.

You can improve your sales page by following these tips:

  1. Make your value proposition clear through better headlines.
  2. Deliver a clear CTA to encourage the customer to buy.
  3. Personalize your page to increase relevance and engagement.
  4. Add testimonials to build trust and legitimacy.
  5. Ensure that your page works properly across all platforms.

As a customer, what makes you stop at a sales page? What does it take to get you to convert? Comment below and tell us about your favorite tricks of the trade!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Accept Donations Online (Everything Nonprofits Need to Know)

Many people prefer to complete tasks online. From scheduling appointments to paying electric bills, if users can't do it virtually, they might not do it at all. This same mentality can hold true when it comes to making donations.

Fortunately, enabling your nonprofit to accept donations from your website is a simple process. In fact, once you're online, you may find it's easier and more effective than using mailers or in-person events.

In this post, we'll explore why you should consider accepting online donations. Then we'll show you how to receive contributions using Buy Now Plus. Let's get started!

Why You May Want to Accept Online Donations

These days, many people prefer online donations and don't always have cash or checks at hand. If you're not able to accept online contributions, you're making it difficult, if not impossible, for these people to support your organization.

Enabling online donations can also help you to reach a wider audience. Rather than relying on more traditional methods, you can share your website across social media and email campaigns.

You'll also make it easier for your followers to share your information with their own networks:

Austin Pets Alive has several donation buttons on its website.

Finally, handling donations online can cut down on your paper usage. You can reduce or eliminate your reliance on paper mailers, saving you money on postage costs.

Accepting online contributions is also a significant first step for transitioning to paperless bookkeeping. As such, this method can be advantageous for environmentally conscious businesses.

How to Accept Donations Online (In 3 Easy Steps)

Now that we've covered the benefits of accepting online donations, let's look at starting the process with Buy Now Plus.

1. Sign Up for Buy Now Plus

When you sign up for Buy Now Plus, you'll be asked to connect your Stripe account. This step provides you and your donors with a secure payment gateway.

If you don't have a Stripe account, you'll be able to create one during the Buy Now Plus setup process:

Signing up for a Buy Now Plus account.

If you already have a Stripe account but would like to create a new one for donations, you can also handle that at this time.

Buy Now Plus enables you to add more than one Stripe account, which could come in handy for organizing your accounting.

2. Design Your Donate Button

Now that you have your Buy Now Plus account ready, it's time to create your first donation button. Start by logging in to your account and navigating to the Buttons page. Then, click on the Add New button.

Here you can add the basic information about your button. This is also where you'll choose which Stripe account to use with it:

How to create a new button in Buy Now Plus

You may want to set the price to Variable using the dropdown menu. This setting enables your donors to choose how much they'd like to give.

Alternatively, you might create a few buttons with preset amounts to encourage donations:

Changing the price option from fixed to variable.

Under the Advanced tab, you can change the text on your button. You can also set a URL that will direct users to a new page once they complete their donations:

How to change the text on a donation button.

Once you're satisfied with your button, click on the Create button to save it.

3. Share Your Button Everywhere

Finally, you can start sharing your button with your network. Buy Now Plus makes it easy to embed your button anywhere you can add a link.

You may want to start by adding the button in a few places across your website. You might include one in your main navigation menu as well as above the fold on your homepage.

It's also a smart idea to create a landing page dedicated to accepting donations.

You can still share your donation button even if you don't have a website. If you're active on social media, that's a great place to start. You can also include a donation button in your email campaigns.

Regardless of where you'd like to place your button, the process is pretty similar. Simply click on the Share button to the right of your donation button. You'll see a pop up with a link and an embed code:

Embed options for Buy Now Plus.

You can also use the social buttons to go directly to the platforms you'd like to share on.

Conclusion

Accepting donations online can be a smart move for any nonprofit. Your donors will likely appreciate the convenience, and it may even save your organization some time and money. Best of all, it's easy to get set up using Buy Now Plus.

Let's recap the three steps to accepting online donations:

  1. Sign up for Buy Now Plus.
  2. Design your donate button.
  3. Share your button everywhere.

Do you have questions about receiving contributions online? Ask us in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

If you own an ecommerce business, chances are the threat of a data breach is never too far from your mind. This is no surprise, considering how serious the consequences can be when information falls into the wrong hands.

While the possibility of exposing user information is a scary one, you're certainly not powerless to keep your customers safe.

You can significantly lessen the chances of a data breach by processing payments securely and following other safety best practices.

In this post, we'll look at why protecting personal information is so important for ecommerce businesses. Then, we'll share four tips for keeping your customers safe. Let's go!

Why Protecting Customer Information is Crucial

Perhaps now more than ever, data privacy has become a central concern for anyone who spends time online. Unfortunately, this wariness is in response to a rising number of data breaches, which has been trending upwards since 2005.

Ecommerce sites may be especially attractive to bad actors as they're likely to store payment details as well as personal information.

Stolen data is not only a concern for the owners of the information, but it can also have serious consequences for your business.

The financial impact can be especially devastating, as the cost to recover can be pretty high. In 2020, the global average cost per data breach was $3.86 million.

In addition to taking a financial hit, you could lose the trust of your existing customers, who may take their business elsewhere. These customers may also warn their networks against doing business with you, resulting in further losses.

How to Keep Your Ecommerce Customers Safe (4 Tips)

Now that we've discussed the seriousness of a data breach, let's look at a few tips you can use to keep your business and customers safe.

1. Process Payments With Buy Now Plus

Since payment information is especially sensitive, you may want to make protecting it your first priority.

Using a tool like Buy Now Plus will not only make the buying process easier for your customers, but it will also provide additional security as it's built on top of Stripe:

Buy Now Plus uses Stripe to keep payments secure.

Stripe is a very secure payment solution. All transactions processed through it are Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protected to keep data safe while it's being transmitted. Moreover, credit card numbers are encrypted and kept secure in Stripe's data center.

Getting started with Buy Now Plus is quick and easy, even if you don't have a Stripe account yet. To get started, click on the Connect to Stripe button on the Buy Now Plus login page.

Then, you'll be prompted to enter the email associated with your Stripe account. If you don't have one, any email will do:

The login screen for Buy Now Plus.

On the next screen, you'll create a password for your Stripe account. You'll then need to secure your account using a mobile number. Enter the code that you'll receive via text to continue.

At this point, you can either connect to an existing Stripe account or create a new account to use with Buy Now Plus:

Connecting a Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

Next, you'll need to enter some details about your business, as well as some personal information.

When you're ready, you can connect your new Stripe account to Buy Now Plus.

2. Control Access With Strong Passwords

Chances are you protect sensitive information with passwords, so you'll want to be sure they're up to the task. Your best strategy for this is to follow some simple password best practices:

  • Never use the same password for more than one account.
  • Ensure that passwords are both long and complex.
  • Change passwords regularly.
  • Avoid sharing passwords.
  • Never write passwords down.

You might also consider implementing Multi-Factor Authorization (MFA). MFA adds an additional security challenge after an individual has entered this password.

This challenge could be answering a security question, entering a pin, or using a one time password (OTP) provided via text or email.

If you'd like to add this functionality to your WordPress site, you can use a plugin called WP 2FA:

The WP 2FA plugin which adds two factor authorization.

This free plugin is easy to set up and supports several OTP-generating apps. You can also configure it to force users to set up MFA immediately or give them a grace period.

3. Collect Only the Information You Need

Simply put, hackers can't steal information that you don't have. For this reason, it's best that you only collect the information needed to provide an efficient service. Remember that you can always ask for additional details later.

Aside from security concerns, asking for too much data up front can contribute to a poor customer experience. The last thing you want is to be losing customers during your signup or checkout process.

If you've already collected information you don't need, you might want to delete it now.

You'll not only keep your customers safer, but this can also help you comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).

Take the time to carefully consider what information you truly need. You may want to develop guidelines for the collection, storage, and eventual deletion of customer data.

Firm policies are beneficial if you work with a small team to ensure that everyone is on the same page.

4. Keep Your Software Up to Date

Outdated websites and software make desirable targets for hackers. Once word gets out about a vulnerability, it will likely be exploited quickly.

To keep your website safe, it's important to be vigilant about any updates developers release for the software and tools you use.

You'll want to be especially aware of any emergency patches which are often issued in response to a potential threat.

You can be even more proactive about this by regularly checking your software vendors' websites for any updates you may have missed. Ensuring that all of the plugins on your site are updated on a regular basis can help keep your site safe.

Conclusion

As the owner of an ecommerce business, you have an obligation to your customers to keep their private information secure. Fortunately, there are ways to protect both your customers and your company.

Let's recap the four tips we shared for protecting user data:

  • Process secure payments with Buy Now Plus.
  • Control access with strong passwords.
  • Collect only the information you need.
  • Keep your software up to date.

Do you still have questions about keeping your customers safe? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

4 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2022

Let's be honest: the world of ecommerce changes fast. That means running a successful business can come down to sales strategies that adapt.

However, it can be hard to create adaptable strategies when consumer opinions are constantly shifting.

Fortunately, it doesn't have to be a guessing game. By familiarizing yourself with a few likely trends for the coming year, you can prepare to leverage them to your business's advantage.

In this article, we'll cover four ecommerce trends that you might want to keep an eye out for in 2022. We'll also provide you with a few tips on how to account for them in your marketing strategy. Let's begin!

4 Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2022

All eyes forward! Here are four big trends for the coming year that you may want to pay attention to.

1. Personalization Will Remain a Priority

Personalized service has been a crucial part of customer expectations for the past couple of years. Recent data shows that this trend is here to stay: a whopping 90% of customers are willing to share more data for a better brand experience.

This represents a huge opportunity. As you might have guessed, collecting data is crucial to creating a customized experience. That means as users share more information, you'll be more able to produce the tailored content they're looking for.

If you haven't started collecting this information yet, we highly recommend you get started right away. Even basic statistics like age, gender, and location can give you a leg up in marketing – especially if you're a small business that's just starting out.

If this sounds like you, consider investing some time in Google Analytics. While there tends to be a learning curve at first, we think the work is well worth all the actionable results you'll get in return.

One tool we recommend, MonsterInsights, can help simplify Google Analytics for you. And it also lets you view your data right from your WordPress dashboard.

Nevertheless, any tool that can accurately gather data on your users will work.

Once you have this info, make sure it's a core part of your marketing and content. A key factor in this trend is that consumers will be expecting a better experience in return for their info.

If you don't provide one, they may be less willing to share in the future.

2. Social Media Referrals Will Become Essential

Social media has become a constant in most of our lives. Most of your customers are no different. The number of visits to ecommerce sites that come from social media has risen to 21% for tablet users.

There could be a few reasons behind this. Some users may get familiar with your store's social media page and feel comfortable enough to make a purchase. Others may casually see an interesting ad and decide to pay you a visit.

Regardless of how it happens, the implication is the same: social media will be a crucial source of potential conversions. Thus, providing users with easy ways to access your site will be necessary for 2022.

However, you may be worried about losing this opportunity if you don't have a website. Fortunately, you're in luck. Our Buy Now Plus service can help.

The Buy Now Plus banner logo.

Our tool creates an easy way for your customers to make a purchase even without a website. Once you've set it up, all your fans have to do is click the “buy now” button. Then, they'll be able to use a secure Stripe-based checkout.

If you're not on social media yet, this is definitely the time to get started. Consider beginning with Facebook. As the leading social media platform for small business advertising, it's a popular way to start taking advantage of this powerful trend.

3. Customers Will Expect Environmentally Friendly Services

Doing damage to our environment will have devastating effects on our planet. As more people become aware of this truth, the desire for sustainable brands has continues to trend up.

The result is that 81% of people now expect companies to be environmentally aware.

It's worth noting the study's specific language here as well. Consumers don't view earth-friendliness as a nice perk to have – it's a base expectation.

So it's extremely important that you make your efforts toward preserving and protecting the environment clear. It could be a deciding factor for your customers.

That's why we recommend that you start openly advertising your sustainability. If you can do so in the first stage of the buyer's journey, even better.

That early exposure can help consumers directly associate your brand with environmental responsibility.

Consider integrating it into your big sales, too. For example, Patagonia made protecting the environment the foundation of their recent black Friday sale by donating 100% of Black Friday sales revenue to environmental groups.

Patagonia ad highlighting their sustainability.

The company projected sales of around $2 million, but ended up pulling in an incredible $10 million in sales. Their campaign exceeded expectations by five times!

Nevertheless, your approach doesn't have to be as aggressive. Even a small contribution can cement your brand as environmentally conscious in consumers' minds.

The bottom line is that a customers will be more inspired to buy if they know their purchase will contribute to this important cause.

4. Desktop Purchases Will Be the Most Profitable

In our modern age, people can buy things from just about any device. However, that doesn't mean that all of them are used equally.

Despite the huge number of smartphone users, desktop purchases raked in an impressive average purchase of $184.44.

This figure makes desktops the highest-return device for businesses. Mobile purchases took second place at $134.39, with tablets in third at $101.18:

The desktop spending ecommerce trends heading into 2022.

You may also notice from this graph that average desktop purchases jumped nearly $50 in the last year. This suggests that the desktop average will continue to grow into 2022.

This could be a helpful statistic if you're short on time. It can be hard to keep a website's mobile, tablet, and desktop layouts equally maintained. If you're too busy to cover all your bases, you may want to prioritize an attractive desktop site.

However, you may have also noticed that the mobile purchase average rose in the past year as well. As such, disregarding mobile users may not be the most effective approach.

That's why you might want to go the easier route: selling exclusively on social media.

These platforms are already optimized to work on all kinds of devices. By simply integrating the shopping experience into those profiles, you can skip the tech stuff and focus on your sales.

Conclusion

A lot of sales strategy is about offering your customers what they want. However, this task can be next to impossible if you don't know what that is.

Fortunately, you can give yourself a competitive edge by understanding future ecommerce trends. In this article, we covered four ecommerce trends to watch in 2022:

  1. Consumers will be increasingly willing to share data in exchange for personalization.
  2. Social media referrals will remain an essential source of customers.
  3. Environmentally friendly practices will become a prerequisite to purchases.
  4. Desktop purchases will continue to earn the highest average spend across devices.

Do you have any questions about preparing your business for 2022? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

How to Create a High-Converting Facebook Ad (3 Proven Tips)

As one of the world’s biggest social networks, Facebook Ads is the perfect way to connect with new customers and grow your audience. However, you’ll also face some stiff competition – in 2020, ten million advertisers used Facebook to promote their products and services.

Fortunately, there are tried-and-tested techniques that you can use to create high-converting Facebook Ads. By optimizing your advertisements, you should be able to attract the attention of social media users and convince them to interact with your ads. 

In this post, we’ll explore the reasons why so many businesses are investing billions into Facebook advertising campaigns. We’ll then share three tips for crafting show-stopping ads. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Facebook Ads (And Why You May Want to Use Them)

With a built-in community of roughly 2.89 billion monthly active users, Facebook is the biggest social network in the world. Today, countless businesses use Facebook to promote their products and services.

Thanks to services such as Buy Now Plus, it’s even possible to sell on this platform directly, with no website required.

If you really want to drive conversions, then you may want to consider running a Facebook Ad. This is paid content that appears in the desktop or mobile version of the News Feed:

An example of a Facebook Advertisement.

Facebook also displays ads in its right-hand column. If you're a mobile app advertiser, then your ad may even appear outside of Facebook, via the Audience Network

When it comes to crafting the perfect ad, Facebook is a flexible platform. You can include everything from text and photos, to videos, special offers, and even events. This enables you to get creative and craft advertisements that will stop Facebook users in their tracks. 

With a huge audience, Facebook Ads can be very beneficial for new stores who are looking to secure their first sales, but also established businesses who want to grow their audience.

With the average internet user spending 145 minutes on social media every day, Facebook can also help keep your customers engaged over the long term.

As an established social network, Facebook has a wealth of information about all of its users. You can leverage this data to create highly targeted advertising campaigns.

This combination of a huge global user base and powerful targeting options makes Facebook Ads an excellent platform for driving sales. To get started, head over to the Facebook Ads Manager:

The Facebook Ads Manager dashboard

In this dashboard, select Create. Then, simply follow the onscreen instructions to craft your first Facebook Ad. 

How to Create a High-Converting Facebook Advertisement (3 Proven Tips)

The Facebook Ads Manager does a good job of guiding you through creating your first ad. However, if you’re really going to smash your goals, then it helps to have some tricks up your sleeve.

Here are three proven tips for creating high-converting Facebook ads.

1. Run Targeted Campaigns

Your typical Facebook user shares a lot of information. You can put this data to good use by creating targeted ads. This can deliver higher conversions, by only serving ads to people who are likely to make a purchase.

When creating your advertisement, you’ll have the option to target users based on their location, age, and gender. You can also target people based on their interests. This includes everything from sports to vegan food, meditation, and even specific hobbies:

Selecting the interests of your target audience in Facebook ads.

You can also target users based on behavior data. This includes their prior purchases, political views, and whether they have an anniversary coming up in the next 61-90 days:

Facebook's targeted audience settings.

Alternatively, Ads Manager has a Lookalike Audience feature. You can use this to reach individuals who are similar to your most engaged existing customers:

Facebook's Lookalike Audience settings.

Lookalikes can be a powerful way to connect with people who are likely to be interested in your business. When creating your Lookalike Audience, you’ll be asked to choose a source audience. Facebook will then search for people who have similar qualities to the people in the provided source.

You can also choose the size of your Lookalike Audience. Opting for a larger audience increases your potential reach, but may reduce the level of similarity between the Lookalike and your source.

By contrast, choosing a smaller audience will more closely match your source, but it may result in fewer people seeing your ads. 

2. Experiment With the Structure of Your Ad

Many businesses choose to structure their Facebook Ads as a single image or video. However, there are other formats available, including carousel ads and collections: 

A carousel Facebook advertisement.

Carousel combines multiple videos or images into a single ad placement. This is ideal if you want to create a showreel featuring all your best products or most popular services.

You can also use this format to display social proof, including multiple customer testimonials or reviews. This can be an effective way to convince new customers to take a chance on your brand. 

Meanwhile, Facebook Collection is a group of items. This can be a dynamic and engaging way to highlight all the features of a particular product, or for displaying multiple items in a single placement. 

When the user clicks this ad, it will expand into a full-screen, scrollable Instant Experience, formerly called Canvas. This also makes Collection a great tool for encouraging new customers to explore your brand and learn more about what you have to offer.

3. Optimize Your Facebook Advertisement With A/B Testing

Creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement can be a challenge. Every target audience is unique, and it isn’t always easy to predict the kind of content that your customers will respond most positively to.

That’s where A/B testing comes in. This enables you to create variations of the same advertisement:

A/B testing in Facebook

You can then monitor the results, and pinpoint the variation that’s delivering the highest conversion rates. For example, you might experiment with different calls to action (CTAs) to see which one achieves the highest click through rate (CTR). 

Then, you can simply deactivate the under-performing variations and invest all of your time and effort (and advertising budget) into the ad that’s providing the best results. Therefore, A/B testing can remove the element of guesswork associated with designing a successful Facebook Ad.

By testing a large number of variations in quick succession, you can quickly build up a detailed picture of your target audience’s advertising preferences. This is an invaluable insight that you can use to improve your future campaigns.

Conclusion 

It’s impossible to overestimate Facebook’s potential for expanding your reach, building brand awareness, and boosting your bottom line.

If you’re not advertising on Facebook, you’re almost certainly missing out on dozens, or perhaps even hundreds of sales.

Let’s quickly recap three proven tips for creating a high-converting Facebook advertisement:

  1. Run targeted campaigns.
  2. Experiment with the structure of your ad.
  3. Optimize your Facebook advertisement with A/B testing.

Do you have any questions about advertising on Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How to Choose the Right Payment Gateway for Your Online Business

A recent survey shows that 68% of online shoppers abandon their carts. As a business owner, you may be looking for an effective way to encourage more users to complete their orders in your ecommerce store. 

Fortunately, the right payment gateway can help you increase your conversions. By choosing an efficient platform for online transactions, you can provide a better User Experience (UX) and a safer checkout process.

This may, in turn, help reduce your cart abandonment rate.  

In this post, we’ll take a closer look at payment gateways and the different options available. We’ll also cover the key factors to consider when choosing a payment solution for your store. Let’s get started!

An Introduction to Payment Gateways

A payment gateway enables online transactions between shoppers and merchants. Typically, this service requires a user to enter their details to finalize a purchase:

An example of a payment gateway

The gateway then verifies this information and processes the payment. This facilitates the secure transfer of funds from the buyer’s account to the seller’s account.

There are different types of payment gateways available to online sellers. Let’s take a look at the most popular ones. 

Classic vs. Modern Payment Gateways

Some sellers use classic gateways such as Worldpay and Authorize.net to process credit card payments. They tend to have lower transaction fees than other available options. Moreover, they enable buyers to complete a purchase without leaving the merchant’s site.

However, classic gateways normally require store owners to open a merchant account with a bank. They can also be a bit difficult to set up. 

Meanwhile, modern payment gateways such as PayPal provide more efficient service and are very easy to set up. Sellers don’t need to create merchant accounts for these gateways – they can simply integrate them with existing bank accounts.

The downside is that these gateways tend to direct customers to their own platforms, which can harm your conversions.

Moreover, they normally charge higher fees per transaction, so they might not be the most cost-effective choices for larger businesses. 

Hosted vs. Non-Hosted Gateways

As we have seen, a payment gateway can be hosted on a third-party site or integrated into your own store.

A hosted gateway takes care of the entire transaction process. It also has measures in place to prevent fraud and ensure data protection. Thus, it offers both sellers and merchants peace of mind.  

However, some users may be wary of being directed to platforms that they’re not familiar with. This may result in them abandoning their purchases and doing their shopping elsewhere. 

On the other hand, if you enable shoppers to enter their payment details directly on your site, you may experience higher conversions.

A non-hosted gateway can blend seamlessly into your store, projecting a more professional image and helping you build trust with your customers. 

However, using one of these gateways means you’re responsible for protecting your customer’s data. You’ll also need to ensure that all transactions are secure and watch out for fraudulent activities. 

How to Find the Right Payment Gateway for Your Business

Every store has its own needs. However, there are some things that every online seller should consider when choosing a payment gateway for their store.

The first is security. For your own safety and that of your clients, you’ll need to ensure that your chosen payment method follows the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS):

The homepage of the PCI Security Standards Council

Another thing to consider is efficiency. Around 18% of customers who abandon their shopping carts do so due to prolonged and complicated checkout processes. Thus, it’s important to choose a payment gateway that facilitates quick and efficient transactions. 

On the same note, you’ll want to ensure that the payment gateway is accessible and easy to use on different platforms. If most traffic to your site comes from mobile devices, it’s a good idea to choose an option that enables swift transactions. 

For instance, some mobile phone users may feel frustrated if they have to enter their credit card details into multiple small fields. Therefore, you may want to opt for a service that enables customers to complete purchases in just a few clicks. 

Finally, you’ll need to look at the transaction fees. Depending on the size of your business, some solutions may be more cost-effective than others.

For example, classic gateways may be more viable for large companies. Meanwhile, modern gateways might be more suitable for smaller stores. 

3 Popular Payment Gateways

Choosing the right payment gateway for your store can help you reduce your cart abandonment rates and retain your customers. Let’s look at three popular options to consider. 

1. PayPal

PayPal Business homepage

PayPal is one of the most popular payment methods among online shoppers. This platform enables users to purchase using the funds in their digital wallets linked to their bank accounts. 

Pros:

  • It is a secure and trusted platform, which can help you boost conversions.
  • It’s very easy to set up.
  • It supports payments from most countries and currencies.
  • You can use it to set up recurring payments.

Cons:

  • There is limited online support available. 
  • PayPal may freeze or suspend your account if there is suspicious activity.
  • The platform has high chargeback fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction on standard credit card payments. 

2. Amazon Pay

Amazon Pay for Business

Another popular option is Amazon Pay. This service provides a quick transaction process by using data stored in the user’s Amazon account to finalize online orders. 

Pros:

  • It enables seamless payments on different platforms.
  • It stores payment and shipping details to make the transactions simpler.
  • The platform includes Amazon fraud protection.
  • It is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its accessibility is limited to Amazon users.
  • It has a long signup process for merchants.
  • Amazon Pay may shut down your account on suspicion of violating its terms.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30. Fees for international transactions go up to 3.9%.

3. Stripe

Stripe homepage

Stripe is a powerful solution for any type of ecommerce site. Besides enabling merchants to process transactions efficiently, it also offers top-notch security and protects businesses against fraud. 

Moreover, you can use Stripe with our Buy Now Plus plugin to create PayPal-style buy now buttons for your store and customize them to match your branding. Additionally, you can sell products directly on social media – no website required! 

Pros:

  • It has an accessible and helpful customer support team.
  • Stripe gives you access to multiple reports and customer data.
  • The interface is user-friendly.

Cons:

  • Its refunds do not include processing fees.

Transaction fees: 2.9% per transaction, plus an additional $0.30.

Conclusion

Choosing the right payment gateway for your online store can help you increase your conversions and reduce your cart abandonment rate. It’s important to opt for a platform that is secure, cost-effective, and easy to use.

One powerful option for ecommerce businesses is Stripe. This popular payment gateway facilitates efficient and secure credit card payments. It also protects merchants against fraudulent transactions.

Moreover, you can connect your Stripe account with Buy Now Plus to add high-converting buy now buttons to your store and social media pages.

Do you have any questions about finding the right payment gateway for your business? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

How to Sell on Social Media – Even Without a Website

With an audience of over 3.6 billion, social media is a popular platform among online sellers. However, many fall into the trap of assuming that, before you can unlock the true power of social platforms, you need a website.

This is far from true. Today, many business owners sell to customers around the globe, without splashing out on web hosting, a domain name, or any of the costs typically associated with running a successful ecommerce site.

In this post, we’ll look at why Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social platforms are revolutionizing the ecommerce industry. We’ll then share three ways to sell products on social media, with no website required. Let’s get started! 

Why You May Want to Sell Products on Social Media

Social media is a powerful tool for building brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take things one step further and sell products directly on social platforms – even if you don’t have a website. 

There are several reasons to use social media as your primary ecommerce channel. First, you can sign up for all of the major social media platforms for free.

Even if you have zero budget, you can create a Facebook account and promote your products to 2.80 billion active users.

By contrast, launching an online store requires you to purchase a domain name and invest in web hosting. You may even need to enlist the services of professional designers and developers. 

In addition, social platforms often come with built-in analytics and tools. This includes Facebook Audience Insights:

Facebook Insights can help you sell products on social media.

By using these tools to continuously analyze and evaluate key metrics, you can identify the content and activities that deliver the highest conversions. You can then use this data to optimize your future social media strategies and secure even more sales.

When you operate an ecommerce site, you’ll often have to invest time and effort into implementing third-party analytics. For example, many website owners use Google Analytics with their WordPress website:

The Google Analytics dashboard.

This setup requires time and effort. Depending on the tool you choose, you may even need to purchase a license or pay a subscription fee. 

In addition, social media is a time-sensitive platform, which makes it ideal for encouraging impulse purchases.

Someone scanning social media may spot your product and decide to purchase it before it gets lost in their timeline. By tapping into this spur-of-the-moment decision making, you may be able to boost your sales.

How to Sell Products on Social Media (3 Ways)

Social media offers an opportunity for online sellers to make more money. However, it’s not enough to simply publish posts about your products.

To help you make the most of this golden opportunity, here are three effective ways to sell products on social media.

1. Post to Facebook Marketplace 

Facebook Marketplace comes with a built-in audience of one billion customers. You can use this peer-to-peer marketplace to sell your products directly on Facebook:

You can sell products on social media using Facebook Marketplace.

Users will see Marketplace ads in their timeline and in their recently viewed items. This gives you a chance to catch the eye of potential new customers, without relying on them to specifically search for your products or brand. 

There’s no fee for listing items on this platform. This makes Facebook Marketplace one of the most affordable options for selling products on social media.

Facebook Marketplace is far from unique, as there are hundreds of online marketplaces to choose from. However, not every customer will feel comfortable purchasing from strangers on sites such as the Craigslist classified ads site.

Some websites even have a reputation for being filled with scammers and people pretending to be someone they’re not.

Here, Facebook Marketplace has a huge advantage. Each buyer and seller is connected to a personal or business Facebook account. This level of transparency can make even the most suspicious of customers feel comfortable making an online purchase.

2. Join an Affiliate Program

It’s possible to sell products without an inventory. By becoming an affiliate partner, you can promote a merchant’s products to your followers and get a cut of every successful sale. 

A quick search will reveal hundreds of affiliate programs that you can join. The key to generating the maximum revenue is finding the affiliate program that’s the best fit for your target audience

To start, it helps to consider the platform’s general user base. For example, 41% of TikTok users are aged between 16 and 24. If you’re planning to post your affiliate links to TikTok, then you’ll need products that appeal to this demographic.

It’s also important to find products that fit with your established brand. This will make your promotions feel more authentic, which can help drive conversions. 

Most of the big platforms have built-in analytics that you can use to learn more about your followers. For example, you can use Twitter Analytics to explore your audience’s locations and interests:

The Twitter Analytics dashboard.

This information can help you find brands and products that resonate with your followers. After enrolling in a program, your merchant will provide affiliate links.

However, these URLs can be long and complex. To make these links more shareable, you may want to consider using a link cloaking plugin such as Pretty Links

3. Add Buy Now Buttons to Your Social Content

Social media is designed to be a rapid-fire tool, where people discuss events and respond to posts in real time. This time pressure already makes social media a great platform for promoting your products.

However, you can increase this sense of urgency by adding buy now buttons to your posts:

An example of a Buy Now button.

You can use our Buy Now Plus service to create a range of cross-platform, social media-friendly buy now buttons. This service integrates with Stripe, so your followers can fast-track straight to a Stripe-powered checkout and complete their purchase within seconds.

Thanks to this integration, you can even accept credit card payments without a website:

The Stripe checkout.

The complexity of the checkout process can have a huge impact on your cart abandonment rates. In fact, 34% of shoppers will abandon their cart if they’re forced to create an account. By helping you simplify the checkout process, Buy Now Plus can also help you boost your conversion rate. 

Conclusion 

We all know that social media is a powerful tool for raising brand awareness and promoting your products. However, you can take this one step further and complete the sales transaction entirely on your chosen social platform. 

In this post, we looked at three effective ways to sell products directly on social media, without having to set up an online store:

  1. Post to Facebook Marketplace (for free!).
  2. Join an affiliate program and promote products to the right audience.
  3. Add buy now buttons to your social content, using a tool such as Buy Now Plus.

Do you have any questions about how to run a successful ecommerce business without a website? Let us know in the comments section below!

If you liked this post, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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