Information and Resources for Solopreneurs

Three Great Sales Tips from Top Sellers

Written By: Amy Biddle in Sales | April 1, 2015

Three Great Sales Tips from Top Sellers

Have you hit a stuck place growing your online business?

Let’s talk about some top tips to make more sales from your website. I’ll use real-life examples (anonymized) to show you how to identify and fix (or improve) some possible issues. Let’s see if you can get ideas to grow your business from these successful sellers’ solutions.

Tip One: If I Walked Into Your Store…

Recently, someone (let’s call her Colleen) contacted us to talk about her site. She sells sculptures that she makes herself… beautiful pieces that command big bucks at high-end art shows. Colleen’s sculptures guarantee that she has wonderful images to use on her site, so graphics aren’t a problem. In Colleen’s case, she’s set up to sell, but there’s no order to the site. The pieces that are easiest to find are sold out, and site visitors have to dig to find other pieces that aren’t sold out.

Our tip for Colleen is this: organize your pages as if you were organizing your booth at a show. Think of your website is the online representation of an offline show space. What do people see first when they walk into your booth? If that arrangement is working, then do that same setup on your site and see if sales improve. (We think they will)!

Since Colleen is a visual artist, helping her see how to reorganize her pages visually was easy. Her site had other issues as well, so she’s adding more keyword focused content to attract more visitors as well. But as she executes on both of these plans of action, we know she’ll see more visitors at her site and she’ll sell more sculpture there as well.

Tip Two: What’s Obvious, But You’re Tripping Over It?

Lenny called in a panic because he has a site already, gets traffic he’s pretty impressed with, but feels he should be making more sales from his visitors. The trouble is, he just isn’t completely sure what to sell.

He started off monetizing his site with Google AdSense and a couple of ebooks related to his niche (which are affiliate sales for Lenny, but small potatoes compared to what he could be making).

Lenny is interested in rare coins (numismatics) and he could talk about coins and the development of currency all day long (we had a long chat)! Where Lenny got stuck was how to actually make money for himself out of his interest in his hobby.

We talked for a bit, and we did a little brainstorming about what his site visitors ask him. Suddenly Lenny realized that there are all kinds of services he could offer to his site visitors, at various price points, too. Somehow he’d gotten stuck that he had to sell coins (and he’s not willing to sell his collection). But all the while his site visitors were emailing him, asking for tips about coin shops, recommendations about newsletters, coin shows, and coins they had in their own collections.

Lenny is on fire now. He’s planning a series of webinars, an online “tv” talk show that will feature his favorite site visitors and their coins, and he’s going to develop his own series of ebooks and videos for sale based on the new material he creates. Best of all, Lenny gets to keep his own coin collection. 🙂

Tip Three: What Are You Avoiding (And Why)?

Amos is incredibly shy, and he takes the most amazing nature photographs. Initially he built up about 500 pages in his site with beautiful pictures of the places he’s photographed over the past 20 years. His site’s pages are beautiful, too, and they’re just the perfect showcase for the images. Traffic is steady and good, but sales are low.

Amos has a different kind of problem than Lenny or Colleen: Amos can’t talk with people to sell his work. He’s so shy, he just can’t speak with people. So, unlike Colleen, he can’t take his work to shows. And, unlike Lenny, he can’t create interactive products to sell.

Actually, it turns out that Amos has a great situation, because of his perceived limitation. (In fact, some of the greatest ideas ever hatched came out of restrictions like this one). What Amos had wasn’t a limitation at all. What Amos had was pure brilliance.

In order to grow his business, Amos decided he just had to reach more people. He’d always avoided social media because he wasn’t social. As soon as Amos discovered that “social media” is actually built for people like him, the wheels started turning. He devised a way to use just three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (the biggest and loudest online media channels he’d always avoided).

Using these three channels, Amos planned to give away about 30% of his work in the form of images connected with challenges. He set up a Facebook page first (with link back to his site), showing his images one at a time over the span of about 6 months. With each image he invited people to comment, to share their own work, and best of all, to share his images with their own friends.

Pinterest and Twitter set ups were similar, and were easy to start using as well.

By adding social media to his online marketing, Amos was able to begin to exponentially increase traffic to his site. In Amos’s case, even though he had good website traffic to begin with, his particular business model demanded more reach. Reach he did… and he didn’t have to say a word to do it.

Tying It Up with a Bow

Do you see your own business in any of these three stories?

Colleen has her art to sell. She makes a hard good that is shippable. She can only do so many art shows per year and now her site is poised to nearly double her exposure to her market.

Lenny has an enormous amount of information about numismatics. Starting only with information, Lenny was able to build up a following, and then grow relationships with his readers into numerous digital products he can sell at different price points.

Amos needed to create a business so he could make a living in spite of his extreme shyness. By expanding into new platforms he was able to reach people who didn’t even think to look for him at a website. Amos’s work spoke for him, people shared it and made sales for him.

Sometimes just seeing what others have done can give you an idea for your own business growth. Let the ideas flow!

Want more great tips to master your online business? Join SBI! and start your business journey today!

Amy Biddle
Amy Biddle is Director of the Advisor Team for SiteSell. Amy lives in and works in a small RV, and explores marketing frontiers as well as the frontiers in the lower 48 states of the US.
  • Rick Freeland

    Thanks for sharing those case studies, Amy. I’m trying to kickstart my old SBI site, and these monetization tips were a shot in the arm to get my brain going in different directions. I’m pretty shy myself, and would appreciate a more in-depth explanation of Amos’ social media strategy. Thanks again!

    • I’m glad they were helpful, Rick! Sometimes it’s just a new view that does the trick. Good luck with your new ideas!
      -Amy

  • This kind of article is very helpful. It gets the ideas flowing! Great job, Amy. Thank you.

    • Thanks, Michael! There’s lots of inspiration in SBI! owners’ experiences. It’s fun to be a part of it!
      -Amy

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