Starting an Ecommerce business? You need to read this first…
Starting an E-commerce business has never been so popular. Widely romanticised as an ‘easy’ way to make money online – all you need to do is get yourself a website, create an Instagram page and Bob’s yer uncle, right?
But it’s not right. Its fundamentally wrong, and the end result is thousands of disillusioned (and now rather skint) would-be entrepreneurs with unrealistic expectations, realising six months down the line that sales do not in fact, grow on trees, like the YouTube Guru’s implied. In fact, they’ve only had one sale a month since they launched – and one of those was from their Mum!
If you’re starting an E-commerce business, or have already started – PLEASE read this article. It will help you – I promise.
1. You need to buy traffic
I’m going to say it again, but in bold – YOU NEED TO BUY TRAFFIC.
I can absolutely guarantee you, that as a new website, you unless you’re Kim Kardashian, then you will not have ANYWHERE NEAR enough organic traffic to make a living for at least 1-2 years. And that’s assuming you’re working your ass off with the SEO, email marketing, social media, content creation… to build those organic traffic sources. And even then it won’t be enough. You might get 200 hits a month organically, after a year. At a 2% average conversion rate, that’s 4 organic sales a month. It probably isn’t even going to cover your basic overheads, let alone provide you with a wage.
2. Your Facebook / Instagram is not enough
I must see 20+ posts a week in Facebook business groups of the same nature, “I recently launched a website selling XXXXX, but I just don’t seem to get any sales. I’m posting regularly on Facebook and Instagram, but I get maybe 2 or 3 sales a month. I’m ready for giving up!”
Let’s go through the maths of digital marketing for a moment.
An organic Facebook post typically reaches 5-20% of your page.
But you only have 200 followers. So on a really good day, you might reach 40 people.
The typical CTR (Click Through Rate) is around 4%. So of the 40 people who see your post 1.6 people will visit your website.
With a typical website conversion rate of 2%, you would achieve 0.032 sales from each Facebook post.
You would need to publish ONE HUNDRED organic Facebook posts, to achieve 3.2 sales.
That’s a hell of a lot of effort, for not much return.
It’s a good idea to work on growing your page, but it’s going to be years before your page is big enough to have any impact – when you reach say, 5000 followers, the maths looks a bit better – you reach 1000 people, at a 4% CTR, 40 people click to your website and at a 2% conversion rate there’s a good chance you may get 1 sale for every post you publish – suddenly, it’s starting to stack up.
But it’ll take you months / years of hard slog before your page is that size, so you need something else in the meantime to bring traffic.
3. You cannot do it without a budget
If you’ve budgeted for a website, budgeted for a logo, budgeted for stock, but NOT budgeted for buying any traffic then STOP. Let me tell you what is going to happen…
You’re going to launch your shiny beautiful new website, which took you weeks/months of agony to get it right, you changed the shade of pink on the banner 17 times, you agonised over the font, and you pulled together every penny you could get hold of to develop it. Launch day comes, and the site goes live.
But nothing happens. You’ve had 5 website visits. A month later, you’ve now had 11 website visits. No sales.
Now you’ve discovered why the first point, YOU NEED TO BUY TRAFFIC, is so important – but now you’ve got no money left. You spent it all on the shiny new website and logo, you’ve earned nothing for three months, your partner is nagging you to ‘get a real job’ and you’re starting to think maybe this was a terrible idea.
In some instances, the business owner has even gone and taken out a Start-up loan – they’ve realised they need another loan to buy traffic, but they can’t get another loan, they’re all out of cash – they end up winding up the business and get a PAYE job, and for the next 5 years they have £150 a month to pay out of their personal earnings for the loan.
This is my advice – a website does not need to be expensive. You can do perfectly well with a simple Shopify website, or a basic WooCommerce – you can upgrade it later, for now, save your money for BUYING TRAFFIC!!!
4. You NEED to understand E-commerce
As we’ve already touched upon – Ecommerce is a numbers game.
If you have no sales, it’s for one of two reasons:
You have no traffic
You have traffic, but your conversion rate is below average.
Conversion rates vary across industries, for low RRP impulse purchases they might easily be 5-10%, but for high-consideration, high RRP, highly competitive items they may be as low as 0.5%. But on average, you’re looking at 1-2%.
This means that for every 100 people who visit your website, you can expect 1 or 2 sales.
How many sales do you need? 100? 1000? Let’s say you need 100 a month. at a 2% conversion rate, you’re going to need 5,000 website visits per month to achieve your sales target.
Again we come back to. YOU NEED TO BUY TRAFFIC, because as a new website, there’s not a hope in hell you’re going to get this volume of traffic from organic SEO, email marketing, or organic social media unless you’re a celebrity / influencer or unless you just landed a huge piece of PR in a national tabloid.
5. I get it. I need to buy traffic. But where do you buy traffic from?
There are two main ways of buying traffic – Facebook/Instagram ads and Google Ads (although other methods such as TikTok Ads, LinkedIn, Pinterest might also be considered) and the biggest challenge you’re then going to have, is that you either:
Need to figure out how to run those ads yourself or
Pay an expert to run them for you. And that’s going to cost you £300+ a month just in management fees, plus the actual cost of the ads.
If you have the time to do so, your best bet is learning how to run ads yourself – and you can check out our Online Facebook Advertising Course, which is unlike any other course (and believe me, I’ve bought them all!) As someone with over 12 years of experience running ads, and probably in that time, over £10million spent on ads, I know that it is impossible for any course to cover every aspect of ads, or to be positioned at the right expertise level for everyone from a beginner to an advanced marketer. Which is why we offer a couple of unique things:
Our Facebook Advertising Course comes with monthly live Zoom calls with me, every month. They’re in a group and you can ask questions or even show me your ads and get specific help and advice. There’s no time limit on it, as the Course has a lifetime licence (minimum 3 years)
If you become fairly good at ads and need to learn advanced strategies like scaling, and find you need the Advanced Ads Course – we automatically deduct the cost of the Intermediate Course from the price of the Advanced one if you already bought that one first!
If you’ve read to the end of this article, then I’m also giving you a 20% discount code which can be used on any course – type READIT20 in the checkout ;-)
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