My Personal Roadmap to Online Business Success

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There are a few things that I see in my inbox almost every day.

How can I start an online business before I quit my job?

I don’t have a degree but I want to start an online business. Teach me what to do?

I want to have another stream of income other than my job, what can I do?

I have been asked these questions a lot.

There are many ways to respond to these questions but the true one-word answer to this is “Work”.

Financial freedom is not a distant reality or an impossible dream. It’s just a matter of execution. If you want to start an online business, then you must prepare yourself for execution, doing things and working out on a plan.

One thing I just can’t stand is people asking for help but then just start to procrastinate, delay things and later say, “It’s hard”.

Remember, nothing is hard when you are ready to play your part. Marie Florio rightly puts this as “Everything is figureoutable”.

You may have a deep desire to start an online business, or your personal finances may be all over the place or maybe the financial circumstances say to you to make a six-figure income within a month to survive.

Whatever the reason may be, just take my one advice. Never think that learning a new thing would be hard. It may be lengthy; it may ask you to work, but its possible to be an expert in it.

Here in this article, I am breaking down things into a simple step-by-step guide for you to work on. Just don’t get yourself overwhelmed with items on the menu. Relax and take one step at a time.  Once you have done the reading, you may listen to Jodin Spark. 🙂

Let’s dive in.

Roadmap to Online Business Success

  1. Think of a Product
  2. Think of the Customers
  3. Think About Sourcing
  4. Plan for Payments
  5. Create a Fan Page
  6. Get a Website
  7. Install the Facebook Pixel
  8. Create a Facebook Page
  9. Complete Your Targeting
  10. Create an Enticing Offer
  11. Prepare a Bait
  12. Decide on the Campaign Objective
  13. Plan Your Retargeting Campaign
  14. Come up with a Creative
  15. Run an Engagement Ad
  16. Run a Conversion Ad
  17. Have a Great Customer Services
  18. Entertain the Orders
  19. Prepare A Bigger Gameplan
  20. Scale Up the Business

1. Think of a Product

This is one of the most daunting questions that the new entrepreneurs face when planning their online business.

What can I sell online? What product do people buy? What am I good at in making? What are people interested in? How can I get help from friends and family in connecting me to manufacturers?

That’s not all. There is another breed of questions. These are more linked with marketability.

Are the mobile covers in demand? I’ve heard custom t-shirts are selling well. How about it? Should I sell clothing or women lawn suits? They seem to be in demand?

All the wrong questions.

This is exactly how you plan to fail in your online business endeavours.

Let me share the truthful answer here but a warning alert. People don’t want to hear this truth. That’s mainly because of many reasons that I’ll share in a minute.

So, the real answer to the product search is ‘Find something that you are really passionate about”.

Here, you must feel free to ask me why?

Why to follow passion?

The answer to this ‘why’ is that when you start an online business, there are a many steps and a lot to learn. Whilst you will be going through this all and learning a lot, the last thing you want is to lose your interest in the game.

This is where the passion kicks in. When you are passionate about something, you know exactly what your customers want, what their pain points are, how you can solve a problem and what to offer.

This knowledge of yours in a passionate market will come handy and will assist you in running the business as you wouldn’t have to learn a whole deal about the product at least.

Here is another favourite question of people from Pakistan and India?

Aah! I have never got time in life to be passionate about something!

I have seen this problem numerous of times. People from the subcontinent are the prime people sharing this. See if you also fit within this mindset.

I had a few students who came over to ask whilst searching for a product to sell. They all had the same problem that they felt they were never passionate about anything.

I remember one of them has even gone to the length to say that he has been fulfilling his responsibilities all his life. Listening and following the dreams and wishes of his parents, then playing his role as a provider to his wife and kids and now busy in his day job. He felt he was never passionate about anything.

So, here’s my take on such a mindset.

You are absolutely wrong.

Everyone in this world has a passion and they are passionate about something, including you. It’s just that you have overburdened your mind some much that you are just not thinking about it. So relax a little bit. Take your mind to a zero based thinking level.

Once you are at the zero thinking level, then start thinking about your childhood, growing up and to the stage of your life, you are at right now. What was your hobby and where do you spend your time at now. Think, write and start over on it.

Another way to find your passion is to think what do you like to do in your spare time, or may be at the time when you want some lone time away from the worldly chores. It could be that you like going out with friends and doing some summer BBQ. What’s the role that you like to play there?

Are you the man who advises people how to have the perfect stake at the BBQ? Hang on. So, you like doing BBQ. What about selling BBQ items. Here you go with your passion.

May be you disagree about this and say ‘No Imtinan! That’s not me. I just enjoy eating BBQ and talking to friends about cars”. Well, you have just answered what you are passionate about.

So the point I am making here is that everyone has a passion. It’s just a matter of time when you discover yours.

Another way of finding your passion is to do this exercise for a week. The exercise is damn simple. Keep a diary with you and keep writing about all the things that you actually touch in a single day. I literally mean everything. This list will show you the products that you like, dislike, interested in and passionate about. Bingo.

Let me be honest with you and tell you that I once thought the same. I was trying to discover my passions and said to myself what it is. I realised a couple of things in my life pattern. I don’t value things, although I sell them but I don’t value them. I somehow don’t go crazy about a new iPhone or a pair of shoes. May be its time that I am realising some self-actualisation in my life. More on this some other time.

Whilst thinking what I like or what I am interested in I realised a pattern in my life. I recognised that I don’t value things but I do wear dress shirts that have cuff links. I do have a pair of cuff links in every possible color. I do love pocket squares. I have a hell over four dozens of them. I take very good care of my shades and wallets.

Can you see a pattern! Can you see a passion? What’s yours? Find it out.

There are so many products which you can select and start selling. The products can be of Amazon or any other online e-commerce store.

For selecting any specific product first you need to know the worth of that product among your customers which you are targeting. Each and every product has its own demand. So, search which product will be more beneficial for you to sell.

Search for Ideas

Let’s take an example, I have searched online according to specific category that which electronic product of Amazon sells the most in most of the regions. This helped me find that “Alexa TV Remote” sells the most and you can clearly see in the image that it has a 4 plus star rating .

Here’s another important area that you must never ever neglect. When people find the product to sell, they just overrate the market. You must not do that. You’re doomed when you say to yourself that I love this product, I am sure others will like this too.

Stop living in a hallucination. Wake up in reality & know your numbers.

These are the questions that you need to ask yourself.

Market Big Enough to Sustain a Business

Is there a market for this product? How big is the market? Is this a local market or can I sell this globally? What price are the people willing to pay for this?

You need to have a market big enough to make a sustainable income. It happens that you sometimes find a product that you are passionate about but there isn’t a market big enough for you to sustain a business.

Let me share a few examples here to help you.

Poetry in Pakistan is dying. There are not enough poets in Urdu, unless someone wants to fix it. Now, you might have a passion about it and think of selling a notebook to poets to take their notes whilst thinking of a poetic couplets but there isn’t a market for this.

Likewise, you may want to sell pottery items in India, something you are passionate about but the traditional pottery is almost dead. Best of luck in finding the customers.

The solution to such industries or products is niche. Find the niche you are passionate about and you will find enough customers for it. Poetry and pottery both can have a marvellous amount of customers as far as you sell them in a niche market with a niche style of promotion.

Facebook Audience Insight

Here comes the best thing you can do to find the customers. Log onto Facebook Business and explore the ‘Audience Insight’ tool. This tool will tell you how big your niche is and how many people are interested in it.

Over the years, I have done thousands of experiments in Audience Insight, and I have developed a recipe of success and a market formula whilst finding the market. These formulae will help you in reaching the right market and finding the niche that can serve your business.

This should be your first step towards finding your market in practical terms.

You need to remember that you are going to follow a pattern in Audience Insight to find the market. Studying consumer behaviour and then following pattern should be your next hobby, I must say.

Product Research

When starting an e-commerce store, one thing that you must keep in mind is the customers, because as you know without customers the e-commerce store can’t run. So, in order to have a successful online business, you have to think according to customer’s perspective.

Give the customer what they really want, and to do that, you need to research which products have more demand among various customers.

I have been searching for products according to customers perspective. I selected shoes for the sake of example. Now shoes is a sub-niche of “clothing and wear” so I took the liberty of setting up an e-commerce store which has a variety of shoes in it and started promoting the page. So, always think of the customer.

Now just see the Native Jefferson Slip-On-Sneaker, it has 5 star rating and sold 1,995 products so far and has a positive review in the comment section.

3. Think About Sourcing

Now, you have a passion product and a market big enough that you can sell to, it’s time to find a source.

It’s not wise to think that you must manufacture. In the world today, manufacturing processes are being outsourced. Many nations especially China has established itself as the world’s best factory and they are pretty good in making things. It’s time for you to concentrate on your brand and marketing and let the manufacturing be taken care of by someone else.

Having said that, this is still something set in the future. At this stage, where you are just starting your business, it’s best to create a partnership with a supplier. Don’t think about China or importing at this stage. I have been sourcing container loads from China for many of my products but it didn’t happen overnight.

Look for a supplier in your neighbourhood for the product your selling. You’ll find one. Meet them and tell them that you sell products online and would like to sell their product through your online efforts.

There is a pretty good chance that either the supplier is not selling online or at least they would be interested in cutting you a wholesale deal. So, let’s say if he is retailing the product for $20, and buying at $10, then you may get a wholesale price of $14. This $6 is your straight saving.

 

Here, you may want to question that ‘Imtinan! This is too low for me. How will I become a millionaire?’ Just hold your horses. $6 is awesome as far as two things happen. First, you get 1,000 orders and second if for any reason you get to sell this for $30. You’ll be making $16. That’s 53% profit.

Now you must be saying ‘Imtinan! This is awesome and I am loving it and want to know how, but I don’t think people will buy anything expensive in my country’.

Okay, I agree with you, but you need to listen to this.

People buy all sorts of things in this world. They buy cheap stuff, expensive things, luxury goods, unusual products, used items, unnecessary products, innovative solutions, and also useless inventions.

People don’t buy what they need. They buy what is sold better.

All you need to do is to convince a supplier to provide you with the products at your preferred rates.

Some people say that suppliers are not ready to do this and this is next to impossible. For all such people who are vary of the idea, please log onto Ali Express and chat with any seller, literally any seller and tell them if they can drop ship for you. Once you hear them say ‘yes tell us the address’, then please read the rest of this blog, because you already have your answer.

As far as the supplier is onboard to provide you with the product at the best rates, you are in business. Remember one thing. Most of the suppliers on Ali Express won’t agree on providing you a discount.

This $16 analogy is for local suppliers. In case of Ali Express or other sites, you can make huge chunks in profits on top of the supplier’s selling price.

Solve Problems through Outsourcing

More than 90% online businesses fail because they tend to manage everything by themselves. So, how can business owners focus on completing several equally important tasks at hand? The solution is simple: By outsourcing.

Sales on the web reached $394.86 billion last year, with nearly 12% of all retail purchases coming from online stores.

4. Plan for Payments

This is the most integral part of online business. How are you gonna get paid?

Are the customers going to pay you through Cash on Delivery of the products, or are they going to pay you through debit or credit card onto your website?

I have seen many questions in these areas. When starting an online business, you must plan how you are going to take orders online.

The best method to do is to study which online payment gateway is suitable for you. There are dozens of a payment gateway that you can work with. These payment gateways will charge a set fee for the services and process the payments on your website through the your customer’s bank accounts.

Although, the online payments work universally and all over the globe, however, I can’t ignore the developing markets in this article.

So, let’s talk about them. In India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, there is a huge population that still pays through Cash on Delivery. If your product is something that’s delivered and not a service, then please don’t ignore this market.

I have a decent experience in serving this market, and I can surely say that you must plan for a 10% returns, based on the notion of people not at home when the delivery arrived, incomplete address, and in some cases, the delivery guy being a jerk.

However, still this market is pretty decent in terms of numbers and you must not just do online payments but should also have a cash on delivery mechanism in place, if you are serving such markets.

Here’s a list of salient online payment gateways can you can work with.

 

List of Online Payment Gateways in Pakistan

1. Jazz

2. Easy Pay

3. HBL Internet Payment Gateway

4. MCB E-Gate

5. UBL Internet Merchant

6. 2Checkout

7. International Payment Gateways

8. Stripe

9. Blue Snap

10. Authorize.net

 

Limitations & Issues with Online Payment Gateways in Pakistan

Since local online payment gateways in Pakistan are going through infancy stage of their business, you must expect some turbulences in your discussions with them. There are some payment gateways that are much proactive and appreciate your business, but some of them are simply lethargic.

The best way to mess up your Internet payment gateway application process is to apply through their website. Some of them are so laid back that you won’t hear from them for 3  months at least. Keep at least 3 months in hand if you happen to fill out their application forms online.

HBL will take anywhere between 3 to 5 months from application to integration. Sorry guys! Some personal experiences of mine and my students are being reflected here. UBL is good but they show transaction in Pak Rupees to the end consumer.

Imagine, a US national buying a $30 kitchen accessories from your website and is being told that ‘Your payment of Rs. 4,500 is being paid to XYZ Private Limited, based in Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, Pakistan’. That is certainly something that would raise alarm bells for the native US customer. This is how it is unless UBL fixes this with Eitisalat (UBL’s payment processor) and starts showing transactions in all international currencies.

2Checkout has a stringent application process, pretty simple and sweet but not all applications are approved. If you are doing drop shipping then forget about 2Checkout. They won’t approve your application. However, sky has not fallen and there always solutions. More on it some other time. By the way, this is the only payment gateway of class approved for Shopify if you are based in Pakistan.

BlueSnap is decent gateway that is an underdog to me. Their hosted solutions and API are pretty easy to integrate and you’ll fall in love with the sandbox. However, they might want to squeeze you on commission. Wear your negotiation hats on.

Stripe is my favourite payment gateway so far, because of it’s user interface but your business needs to be incorporated in one of the 20+ countries they serve. Not a barrier through. You may try getting an LLC in the USA but that’s a long shot, so focus on what you have available.

 

Watch Out

Just keep in mind that online payment gateways charge anywhere between 1 – 6% commissions of the sales they process. So, keep this in your accounting threshold.

One more thing that you must note down. People normally don’t talk about it but this is a killer for your online business. Ask these payment gateways about the payment period and negotiate with them at your best. BlueSnap and Authorize.Net may tell you that you’ll receive payments in a 28 payment cycle. So, you tell me can your business survive with such a payment cycle? If it can’t, try negotiating with them and they might agree.

Jazz, HBL and Easy Pay are quite good in this as they pay you the very next day your customer’s online payment is cleared.

 

Online Payment Gateways in India

1. Paypal

2. Checkout

3. DirecPay

4. ICICI Payment Gateway

5. EBS

6. CC Avenue

7. PayUMoney

8. Authorize.Net

9. Blue Snap

10. Stripe

11. Cash Free

12. Brain Tree

13. Citrus

14. Instamojo

15. PayUbiz

 

Some of the payment gateways in India are pretty good in responding to you in time, however, the same dead slow processes are prevalent here too.

I’ll share my experiences of interacting, integrating and selling in India in another post.

Till that time, keep exploring them and start conversations with them. You will definitely learn a lot by doing so.

Let me get back to the topic.

 

5.     Create a Fan Group

This might sound a lengthy process but it’s a time-tested method and works all the time. This method is fairly simple and suitable for people who are Facebook savvy.

You can create a generic passion group for the product you are selling. On this page, you don’t have to run your product posts. Rather, you just create a group of people generically interested in the niche and you post items related to the niche, (not about your product).

Let me share an example.

Let’s say you are selling handmade bed sheets. You can create a fan group in the interiors niche, may be by the name of ‘Great Home Interior Ideas’. With this group, you can invite people or make it public. They key is to have as many people as possible in the group who can be your potential customers.

In this group, you can share various home improvement tips, people can share ideas on room décor and ask questions. Once you have established a rapport within your group, then ask people what do they think of handmade bed sheets.

Then later share designs, then later ask then to suggest a brand name, then slowly and gradually introduce them to the product. You know what I mean. Make it sound their idea that this handmade bed sheet is something that was missing and you created this based on their suggestions. 😉

You must run pre-sales and get the first line of orders from the group.

There are many groups like that in various niches, but please remember, don’t just let such a group over posted with your product posts. The real essence of the group on home décor must not die.

Fact Check

More than 85% of e-commerce pages have a Facebook fan page. Facebook fan page helps you get more customers. Keep on posting random e-commerce products and ask suggestion from your customers to know them better what they actually think about a specific product.

Make sure you interact with them, the more you interact, more sales you will be able to secure.

 

6. Get a Website

Many people consider developing the website as the first step in their online business, whereas, knowing the product, understanding the market, using Facebook Audience Insight are the most significant steps to be taken first.

In your online business, now is the time to develop your website.

There are many ways to develop the website.

You can hire a developer to develop a simple WordPress site for you. If you are pretty new in the game and don’t know the steps for it, then you can take a look at freelancing sites like FreelancerFiverr, or Upwork to get a flare of the website development.

Alternatively, you can use the website builders. These website builders are pretty cheap and are available as software as a service online. These include Wix, Weebly, IM Creator, Shopify, & UCraft, to make a few.

Of this list, Shopify is quite famous among the new entrepreneurs mainly because of it’s unprecedented e-commerce functionality and a wide spread of apps it offers.

However, you must keep in mind that many of these apps are paid. Though, you might be saving yourself from the tech language by developing your site yourself, but you may well be spending more money monthly on these apps.

You may fall in love with Shopify’s ease of use, but there is no harm in checking out a few more options.

Fact Check

For running a successful e-commerce business, you must have a website. Without it your business will not have a good reputation in the market. More 98% e-commerce pages have a website.

Basically, having a website will leave a good impression on the customer. The website should be responsive and SEO friendly, good color scheme makes an awesome impression.

7. Install Facebook Pixel

If you are using Facebook Ads or you are going to use them in future, there’s one key tool you should start using right away to get most out of your social ad budget, “The Facebook Pixel”.

What is a Facebook Pixel?

A Facebook pixel is a code that you place in your website. It will help you track conversions from your Facebook ads, optimise them on the basis of collected data, build targeted audiences for future ads, and helps you retarget your actual audience, who have already taken some kind of action on your website.

Now let’s talk about the working process that how it actually helps you.

The Facebook Pixel allows you to monitor how people interact with your website after seeing your Ad.

You can even track the customers across their devices, which they use to view your ad and can also track those people who view the ad on mobile but before switching to desktop or maybe it’s the other way around.

The collected data can help you refine your ad strategy and calculate your return on investment.

The Facebook Pixel helps you retarget ads to those people who have already visited your site and abandoned a specific product in a shopping cart or added to a wish list on your website.

Facebook Pixel uses its targeting data to help you build a lookalike audience of people who have similar interest, and demographics to people who are already interacting with your website.

Here, a question arises that why you should create a Facebook Pixel even if you’re not using Facebook ads yet.

The answer to this is that you can have the retargeting capabilities from your very first Facebook ad. Isn’t that amazing!

To use Facebook Pixel to track data, there are two different kinds of events: a set of 9 standard events that Facebook has predefined, or a custom event that you can set up yourself. An “event” is simply a specified action that visitor takes on your website.

Learn about the events below, as I can surely say that you will be using them quite often and remember, they are not going anywhere. The Facebook Pixel is something you are going to use everyday and it will be seeing your face every morning, day in day out. So, one word for you at the moment, FOCUS.

Standard events

  • View content: Someone lands on your website
  • Search: Someone uses the search function to look for something on your site
  • Add to cart: Someone adds a product to the shopping cart on your site
  • Add to wishlist: Someone adds a product to a wishlist on your site
  • Initiate checkout: Someone starts the checkout process to buy something from your site
  • Add payment info: Someone enters the payment information in the purchase process on your website
  • Make a purchase: Someone completes a purchase on your website
  • Lead: Someone signs up for a trial or otherwise identifies oneself as a lead on your site
  • Complete registration: Someone completes a registration form on your site, such as for a subscription product

Creating a Facebook Pixel and adding it to your website is quite easy, here are the step by step process of creating and using it:

Step#1: Create Pixel

  1. From the Facebook Ads Manager, click the navigation icon and choose pixels option

  1. Click create a Facebook Pixel

 

  1. Name your pixel whatever you like, accept terms, and click Next. When choosing the pixel’s name, keep in mind that you will get only one pixel for each ad account

Step#2: Adding Pixel code to your website

To put pixel’s code in your website, you need to copy and paste a code in your website or you can use an integration or tag manager

Copy the Code and paste at the backend of the website

Copy the appropriate event code based on actions you want to track, click custom event. Seem daunting. Isn’t it. Don’t worry. It will be done and dusted in a few minutes.

 

Paste event code in the appropriate location on your website, based on the action you want to track. Below the header, tag use it and click next.


Step#3: Confirm your pixel is working on website

Before you start relying on data from your Facebook pixel, you should confirm that it’s working properly.

 

Bingo! You’re all set. Not bad for a non-technical entrepreneur. Hah!

Fact Check

The concept of Facebook Pixel is worldwide implemented as it tracks the user or customer’s activity on your website. So, having a Facebook Pixel installed on an e-commerce website is a must.

When setting up an e-commerce website, try to install it on your website for better results in the future.

8.     Create a Facebook Page

To run a successful e-commerce website, you need to have a Facebook page. I have seen many Facebook pages related to e-commerce, but are left abandoned.

Creating an e-commerce page is not everything, you have to write a short description about it, tell people what’s the purpose of creating this page, paste your website’s URL in bio and then upload some high-quality product pictures & write rich descriptions about it.

For better response, create a fan page. A fan page is not created just to gather audience or likes, the purpose of a fan page is that whenever you are going to advertise a product or a service, there should be an identity that this product or service belongs to whom.

Every Business needs a fan page on Facebook. If you don’t want to have it, you must have one to release your ads. One thing should be kept in mind, don’t buy auto likes to prove your social presence.

To create a Facebook fan page follow these steps:

Once you’re on Facebook.com/pagesclick the green “Create a Page” button in the upper right section. Then select which category of your business is: Local business or place, Company, Organisation or Institution, Brand or Product, Artist, Band or Public Figure, Entertainment, Cause or Community.

After selecting the specific option, you’ll be asked to fill out some information.

This information will be different depending on which category you picked. For example, if you picked “Company, Organisation, or Institution”, you’ll be asked to choose a sub-category and then to type your company name.

When complete, don’t forget to click “I agree to Facebook Pages Terms”, then click the blue “Get Started” button.

Facebook will ask to select a profile picture. Once uploaded, the image will show on your fan page.

Next, you will be asked to fill some basic information about your business. During filling the description box, your information should be simple and relevant to your business.

After pasting your website URL, look for the radio button that is given regarding whether the page represents a real organisation, school or government. Fill it as deem fit for your business, but click yes to save the info and move forward.

Set the address, set the admins of the fan page and complete the necessary information needed.

You’ll want to focus on filling your page with status updates, milestones, images, videos, and other content that shares value with your fans and tells your brand story.

9.     Complete your Targeting

For every business, targeting the right audience is the key to success. Without targeting the right audience, the business could not run even a single day.

Defining a target audience is every business’s best practice. Whenever you are selling something, you go through at least some of the steps in defining a target audience.

Here’s an example. We go through the target audience process even at an early age. Think back to when you were a kid. When you wanted a treat, you went through the target audience process.

You knew that your father probably wouldn’t be the one to approve your request so you went to your mother, and you made sure to catch her in the right mood, Isn’t?

Targeting the right audience can be done by searching for a specific product on the Internet, do research to know at which location the product has more demand in.

Not only just knowing the location, but gender and age also matters. Let us suppose, there is a person who needs some kind of a gaming console, and you are the seller of that gaming console. So, what you do is whenever you run your Facebook Ad related to that gaming product, you set location, gender, and age.

You know when selecting age, your ad should be for those people whose age ranges from 14 to 35 years old. You will not select age above 35 years old, because only 1% of that community plays games on gaming consoles. So, it will be a waste to show ads to those profiles, which have no interest in purchasing that product.

Keep in mind that I am using a very simple analogy here about Facebook ads. Things are much more advance in reality.

There are three type of audiences custom audience, lookalike audiences and saved audience.

Custom Audience:

Connect with the people who have already shown an interest in your business or product with custom audiences. You can create an audience from your customer contacts, website traffic or mobile app.

Lookalike Audience:

Reach new people who are similar to audiences you already care about. You can create a lookalike audience based on people who like your page, conversion pixels or any of your custom audiences.

Saved Audience:

Save your commonly used targeting options for easy reuse.

The best strategy to target the right audience is to run an ad and see how many people engage with your post or which one of them visited your website to see the details of that specific product.

After knowing all of this, try to retarget those people who engaged with your post before and compare current purchases with the previous ad campaign purchases, and see the difference.

Fact Check

More than 70% people create their e-commerce Facebook page for running a successful business. But I have seen so far, many e-commerce pages are left abandoned. This is the worst strategy because you never know by which reference the customer might lead to you. So, having an e-commerce page is a must.

10. Create an Enticing offer

Find ways to boost your sales. Most of the people use business strategies like discount offers or buy one get one free deal etc. How about you create an enticing offer, and do something unique.

Let me define what is an enticing offer.

An enticing offer is like you sell a product, having zero-price and the customer whose willing to buy the product only has to pay for the shipping price. Amazing. Isn’t it?

 

For example, you are selling an android mobile cover, whose price is zero and the customer whose willing to buy that mobile cover needs to pay the shipping price only.

This is just one of many strategies that can be utilised. I am sharing them so that you can start wearing your thinking caps.

Fact Check

I have seen many e-commerce stores use enticing offer strategy to boost their sales. An enticing offer is a concept of marketing in which you try to sell a product with some unbelievable offer that people immediately fall in love with.

 

11. Prepare a bait

To give exposure to your e-commerce page, you need to prepare bait. It means there is a customer who loves to visit your e-commerce page to see different product deals and stays in touch for updates. You can convert those visitors into customers through product bait strategy.

Imagine that your website is your house where guests (visitors) are already knocking on the door. You are very pleased about their visit and you want them to stay as long as possible. Also, you want them to come back often.

This bait technique helps the visitors to enter through the door without hesitation. From there, the bait can turn visitors into leads. The lead is important because it already embodies the possibility that you can later sell them your product or service.

A perfect example for creating a bait technique is “Hub Spot Marketing library”. This is a classic example coming from a company that is a pioneer in digital marketing. Their main product is marketing automation software, but they are also the ones who created the concept of inbound marketing.

Hub Spot regularly publishes e-books, guides, case studies and much more content for marketers, with their digital library counting hundreds of downloads to choose from.

 

12. Decide on the campaign objective

If you go to the Facebook Ads Manger and create a new Facebook ad campaign, the first choice you’ll have to make is selecting the campaign objective.

Your Facebook ad campaign objective determines what optimisation and bidding options you’ll have through the campaign setup process. It’s like you are telling Facebook what you really want to achieve.

To start any campaign, you have a pre-established mindset what you really want to achieve.

Campaign objective is categorised into three perspectives:

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Conversion

Awareness has two further categories, Brand awareness and reach. It’s up to the campaign user what he/she really wants and how he/she wants.

Consideration has six further categories including Traffic, Engagement, App installs, Video views, Lead generation and messages.

A conversion has three further categories Conversions, Catalog sales, and Store visits. All these campaign objectives have their own specific value.

Fact Check

More than 90% of the people, advertise their e-commerce products on Facebook by running Facebook Ad Campaign. Facebook is a huge platform and its growing day by day. Not advertising your products on this platform would be a stupid choice.

 

If you are running an e-commerce page then start using Facebook Ads, start with less budget and see the results.

 

Not only this, see the Monthly active users. Create your first campaign objective and learn, how you can optimise it in future for better conversions.

Here is an example of my ad Campaign

See the campaign name, reach, landing page views, impressions, results, cost per result and amount spend.

13. Plan your retargeting campaign

The retargeting campaign is a marketing strategy that is carried out, after running a specific Facebook ad campaign, which helps the user to know how much purchases occurred through running the very first ad.

This gives you the data about the people who engaged with your ad but didn’t purchase the product. You can again target that audience and see if your sales are increasing or not. The more you retarget, you have a higher chance of getting more purchases.

It’s my personal experience that retargeting increases your conversion rate by 40%. So, take my word and try retargeting.

My Case Study

I personally tested this for you.

I have prepared a detailed case study for you to learn from it and see how I made $3,000 in 3 Days in online business with no investment.

I was selling Swiss watches. I got reach about 19,111, landing page views 337, the result was 20 purchases. And the cost per result Rs542.59 per purchase.

Now I retarget my ad

Focus on the purchases see the difference? Now moving on to retargeting again

Again focus on the purchases, increasing isn’t?

14. Come up with a Creative

To attract customers to have more conversions, you have to make creative content (aka creatives) for your business.

Generally, we refer the term creatives for any art pieces that we use in our advertising. The content text (description) that goes with it is called the copy.

Many online businesses promote their products or services with old-fashioned colours, bad copies and this results in no or low sales.

You must ensure that you have awesome creative that attracts the audience’s attention.

From every experiment, you will get experience in generating sales.

Follow these steps:

  • Use attractive themes for your website
  • Attractive landing pages
  • Create attractive deals on products
  • Create Free giveaway ideas

Fact Check

You might have seen different attractive discounts offers on various e-commerce pages.

The more creative your ad looks, the more chances of conversions would be. So, in order to have more conversions be creative. More than 99% people use creative strategies to make more conversions.

Here’s an example of a creative ad campaign from AdEspresso

 

15. Run an Engagement Ad

The Facebook Page Post Engagement ads help you share information about your business with people. You can use them to extend your page posts beyond your page, and inspire people to take action.

With insights about your page post engagement ads, you can understand the kinds of stories and contents your audience likes so that you can create more of what they love.

 

Fact Check

The Engagement Rate of a campaign is the percentage of people who saw a piece of content or an ad and engaged with it. For example, if one person interacted one time with an ad after it has generated a 100 ad impressions, that will give you an ER of 1%.

Here is an example,

Ad ONE –seen 1,000 times and engaged with 30 times.
Ad TWO – seen 10,000 times and engaged with 275 times. Although Ad TWO has had more engagements, it also had ten times more opportunity for engagements. If you multiply Ad ONE‘s engagements by 10, it actually has more! Hence it isn’t fair to judge ads simply by engagements. Consequently, ER tells you how ads with equal opportunities can perform.

Therefore you can use the ER to compare pieces of content which have different amounts of impressions. Furthermore, for comparison, consider CTR vs clicks.

16. Run a Conversion Ad

The Facebook conversion ad helps you to grow business on your website. Whether you want page visits, sales etc. Website conversion ads encourage people to visit your website.

 

Conversion ad works with a Facebook pixel on your website, so you can reach site visitors who are most likely to take your desired actions and keep track of how many people convert. The growth of the business can be increased by conversion ads.

Fact Check

On an average, across the board in all industries, click-through-rate (CTR) or conversion rate is around 1%. Some of my campaigns average between 2–4% and sometimes more depending on the nature of my product/service.

17. Have a great customer services

The first rule of business is to have great customer services, don’t you think?

Providing customer services can be of any type for example:

  • There is a customer who wants to know some details about the specific product
  • A customer has ordered a specific product but wants to ensure the exact date of delivery
  • A customer is not satisfied with the product, solve his/her issue
  • Guide customers how to purchase

All these factors help you to increase your online business.

Fact Check

Customer services is the key factor to drive more conversions, bad customer services lead to no business.

 

 

82% of customers left a company because of bad customer service

So customer services matter a lot in order to have a successful business. Many successful e-commerce businesses are out there with killer customer services, their customers are satisfied with them.

18. Entertain the Orders

If you are running an online business, and you follow all the above points, then you should now relax a bit and start entertaining orders by giving customers a quick response rate.

Most of the time, customers want to purchase a product but he/she is afraid of losing his/her hard-earned cash, because he/she thinks every other online product is a scam. So, you need to communicate with your customers in a way that he/she feels comfortable buying the product from your website.

Always remember. The customer is the king, and king must always be respected.

Fact Check

Entertaining order means the more you interact with customers, more you are going to have a successful business.

19.  Prepare a bigger game plan

Preparing a bigger game plan can only be done if your business strategies are working out and making a good amount of profit.

The bigger game plan can never work out if you’re already facing failure in your business.

If your online business is generating you good sales then retarget the audience, use a bait strategy, create some amazing deals and gradually scale up your business.

There is a whole lot of technicalities involved once you reach the stage where you feel you need to scale your business.

I have detailed lectures about scaling where i am sharing my success blueprint that you may use when you are ready to take your business to the next level.

 

 

20.  Scale up the business

It’s time to scale up the business and be part of the bigger game now. If you have been carefully listening and following all the above points, then the road ahead is looking all rosy.

Prepare to scale up the business at this stage, but do remember that scaling is not as easy as you may think. There is a lost ROI here, which I have explained in my lectures of Scaling Blueprint. Do listen to them and share your feedback.

 

Conclusion

Let me wrap it up. This was my roadmap to online business success, where each point is explained in detail and I hope you would have enjoyed reading it. if you are quite early into the process and want to gather some ideas, I have discussed about “12 crazy business ideas which you can start online”, in my other article. Do read it and see if you get do something with these ideas.

It’s a new year and a new chance for you to start an online business and create an absolute financial and lifestyle freedom for yourself.  2019 is all about taking action. If you are already running your online business, then make sure you don’t make the mistakes other are making in their online store. Stay away from these troubles.

You have plenty of options to get started with. Don’t wait any longer, and definitely, don’t put it off until next year! Take a few ideas and run with them – by this time of the next year, you should have your own successful and profitable online business!

Just be sure to report back here and let me know your results!

Best of luck!

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Author

Imtinan shares his thoughts through his blog, and vlogs. He shares his teaching & experiences in his online marketing course, available only at SkillGains.com. For speaking engagements, please contact his PR team.

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About Imtinan Ahmad

Imtinan Ahmad is an award winning Entrepreneur. He has built multiple 6 and 7-figure businesses for himself and for his clients, & that's in dollar terms. He has helped over a 1,000 entrepreneurs through private coaching, & still ready to give back. He holds an MSc. degree in Marketing from The University of Manchester, UK, a Chartered Marketer, UK, and he's also an MBA in Marketing. Learn how to sharpen your online business game with him.

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