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25 Ways to Make Your First Online Sale

As an online merchant, making your first sale is as symbolic as it is necessary.

Completing the first sale sounds straightforward enough, yet the optimism and reassurance it brings can make it the biggest turning point in the life of your business.

However, don’t let the simple concept of a first sale mislead you. Obtaining that first customer can sometimes be a long, arduous battle.

To make the battle easier to win, below are 25 sure-fire ways to make your first sale, and then some.

1. Send Free Samples to Influencers

The Internet is packed with influential bloggers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and vloggers from a wide range of industries and niches.

Many of them have large followings on social media and loyal audiences on their websites.

Sending a free sample of your product to such influencers, who are either within your industry or related to it in some way, gives you an opportunity to let them know you appreciate their work with a small gift. Also, hopefully, you will get a mention on one of their sites or platforms.

Not only will this provide you with a spike in traffic and social media followers, but you’ll also have a seal of approval from industry experts. These influencers will provide you with measurable results following a potential share or shout out, and you’ll likely raise the status of your product in the eyes of potential customers.

A useful resource regarding influencers is KISSmetrics’s definitive guide to influencer targeting, which tells you everything you need to know about getting your brand under relevant, important noses.

2. Start Blogging

If you aren’t already running a blog associated with your store or product, then you’re missing out on the limitless potential of content marketing.

By producing free, valuable content, you will create trust in your brand and keep people informed. Blogging also gives you something to share on social media and helps you rank in search engines.

A simple yet highly effective way to get started with content marketing for your business is to think of all the starting-point queries people have about your products and industry. Using your blog, you can answer these queries as individual articles.

As an example, visitors to the Shopify blog are interested in learning about e-commerce and drop shipping among many other topics. Because of this, we created content that ranks for terms like “how to sell online” and “how to drop ship.”

how to dropship

Additionally, you can use your blog to offer tips, tutorials, and resources related to your products and the lifestyle around your products.

If you can create epic content on a fairly regular basis, you’ll begin to see the power of content marketing via social media shares, search engines, and so forth. All of this is covered under KISSmetrics’s guide to content marketing.

3. Build an Email List

Building up an email list for marketing purposes is absolutely essential.

In fact, according to research by MarketingSherpa, 60% of marketers polled found that email marketing produced an ROI for their company (32% believe it will eventually produce an ROI). When asked what the estimated ROI from email marketing programs for the company were – the overall group reported 119% – a figure that’s tough for any online store owner to ignore.

Having a list of emails from previous and potential customers means you can get your information, products, and content into their personal mailboxes. In contrast, updates made to your Facebook page and Twitter handle will almost never be able to reach your entire following, due to time zone differences and other factors.

Start building your email list today by including an email subscription form somewhere noticeable on your website. Here’s a clever way to convince visitors to sign up for your list. Instead of simply saying “Join our Newsletter,” offer an incentive or some type of value for signing up. Skinny Teatox offers the chance to win a free product every week, so they showcase that offering to encourage people to join.

free 14 day teatox

If you need some more advice on how to get started, KISSmetrics offers the perfect beginner’s guide to email marketing.

4. Sponsor an Event

In some cases, sponsoring an event can work wonders. In other cases, it can be an immense waste of time and resources. To avoid the latter, you’ll need to do your research.

First, you should ensure that you select the right event to sponsor. Search for events where attendees actually will be interested in your products, and then find out how many consumers will be in attendance.

Once you get a rough idea about the different event types and sizes, you can begin sorting them by cost.

It’s also important to avoid sending just a small convoy of marketers to simply set up a table and hand out flyers. If there are potential customers attending, you’ll need to be more creative than that in order to build relationships.

Demonstrate some of your most interesting products to tell your story, get people talking, and provide on-the-spot rewards like coupons and free stickers in return for email list subscriptions and social media follows.

Here are some tips from Inc to help you maximize your return when sponsoring an event.

5. Interview Industry Influencers

Remember the importance of content marketing I mentioned earlier? Well, interviewing an industry influencer is a prime example of how to create epic content.

Interviews work because they are win-win situations. The interviewee gets more exposure, while the interviewer gets their hands on some hot content for their publication, which in this case, is your blog.

Make the most of the interview by asking relevant questions surrounding not only their lives and careers, but also the industry as a whole. This will ensure that fans of the influencer get a taste of their personality, while others will value their expert advice.

A great example of this is 500px’s interview with Elena Shumilova. As a popular name in the world of photography, her interview made perfect content for the online photo vendor.

6. Pull a PR Stunt

If you want that first sale fast, pulling a PR stunt could do the trick.

Much like viral videos, which are based on the same concept, a PR stunt has the potential to propel your brand into fame. If executed well, you’ll be swapping conventional time-consuming brand marketing with instant publicity, gaining you loyal followers and customers in the process.

Essentially, a PR stunt consists of doing something unusual, outrageous, hilarious, or remarkable enough to be worthy of media attention.

If done correctly, your store could benefit from tons of links from authority news sources, which is great for both traffic in the short term and SEO in the long term.

No company pulls a better PR stunt than Virgin. Their founder, Richard Branson, has dressed up like a wedding bride, jumped off a casino roof, posed as a zulu warrior, driven a tank down Fifth Avenue in NYC, and flown a balloon around the world, among many other newsworthy things.

To get your creative juices flowing, take a look at Entrepreneur’s list of top 10 successful marketing stunts. They’ve covered everything from outrageous tattoos to left-handed burgers. Remember, a good PR stunt doesn’t require tons of cash or a big brand to pull it off. It just requires creativity.

7. Experiment with AdWords

AdWords is Google’s hugely popular pay-per-click advertising network that allows online retailers to place advertisements on nearly every Google search results page, YouTube video, and partner website. Who wouldn’t want to rank in the top three of a search query that drives sales? Here’s what shows up when you type “Samsung TV” into Google. Note that the first result is a paid ad from Samsung.

google adwords

The beauty of AdWords lies in its speed and massive reach. In as little as a few minutes, you can set up and launch an advertising campaign which gets your text, image, or even video ads seen by browsers all over the web.

Using the AdWords campaign options, you can create targeted ads which are triggered and displayed alongside Google searches when Internet browsers search for predefined keywords. Additionally, your ads also will appear on websites and articles which contain similar keywords.

To get started with your advertising campaigns, check out The Next Web’s informative Google AdWords beginner’s guide, where you’ll learn how to build and launch a successful AdWords campaign.

8. Share the Load with Affiliate Marketing

Trying to sell your products alone can be a difficult task, so why not share the load with others?

Affiliate marketing is when you let other people market your products and send you website traffic. In return, you pay them a percentage of any sales that originate from their efforts. Their marketing efforts can be kept track of by giving them unique hyperlinks (which they can post on their website) containing an ID code at the end of the link, just for them.

For example, a website owner may post your affiliate link for a blue sweater that is for sale on your website. If one of his website visitors clicks the link and then buys the blue sweater, you’ll have made a sale, and as an affiliate, the website owner will be entitled to a percentage of that sale.

The success of affiliate marketing schemes depends greatly on the types of products you sell, as well as the commission percentage you reward your affiliate partner.

To get started, check out this explanatory affiliate marketing guide from QuickSprout, which goes into great detail about the different facts, figures, and methods you’ll need to know.

9. Sell Wholesale to Other Retailers

Selling to consumers is fine, but there’s nothing wrong with selling wholesale to other retailers, too, especially if the consumers aren’t biting as often as you’d like them to.

One of the main advantages of selling wholesale is the obvious increase in cash flow. You may be selling with a finer profit margin, but you’ll be shifting products in quantity.

Additionally, if you’re selling your own products, you’re essentially enabling other companies and resellers to market for you, spreading the word about your merchandise as they buy it themselves. In other words, selling wholesale could indirectly boost your consumer sales.

For a crash course on the basics of selling wholesale, check out Entrepreneur’s guide to starting a wholesale distribution business.

10. Publish a Press Release

Lots of new online stores push out press releases in order to attract media attention, but fail.

It goes without saying that to get ignored by every single news outlet when distributing a new press release is demoralizing and often a huge waste of resources.

The secret to getting noticed is simple. Don’t publish a lousy press release!!!

First of all, make sure your news actually is news worthy. Don’t expect a massive response unless you’re giving the public something seriously interesting to read about. Also, a press release should be presented in a way that is concise and professional, without being too monotonous.

Copyblogger has pieced together six ways to write a killer press release, explaining everything from avoiding jargon to creating a magnetic headline.

11. Pay Attention to Stats

Reviewing and acting upon website analytics is paramount. The behavior of every website visitor from entry to exit helps you understand why you are selling, and more importantly, why you aren’t.

Your website stats (or analytics) will show you what your customers are doing on your site, including which web pages they enter, the time they spend on particular pages, and the route they take to leave your site. Occasionally, some tools will display additional information, for instance how frequently a customer visits your site.

It won’t cost you a penny, either. Google Analytics is a completely free service, allowing you to measure your traffic in more ways than you can think of.

Here’s an example from Miracle Berry. You can see steady traffic up until early January when there is a huge jump. They looked at their data and saw that the jump came from StumbleUpon, which could be a good indicator that the social channel is worth pursuing further, either organically or via paid placement.


After you launch your online store and while you’re fighting for your first sale, it’s extremely important to spend time analyzing your traffic in Google Analytics. You never know what you’re going to learn.

If you need a hand getting a grip on the world of analytics, Simply Business offers a comprehensive Google Analytics guide, covering everything you need to know.

12. Run a Survey

Learning about the common pain points and desires of consumers can help you make all the right moves going forward.

Consumer surveys are an ideal tool for obtaining honest feedback. Unlike your friends and family, consumers have no qualms about hurting your feelings by picking at your web design or your marketing material.

To run your very own survey, you can make use of online apps like Survey Monkey and Qualaroo to create online surveys.

Econsultancy has picked up on some important practices to be used when conducting e-commerce consumer surveys, which can help you get the most out of your feedback.

13. Network on Forums

Online discussion forums are great places to give out industry tips and advice, answer questions, and acquire a customer or two.

Use Google to search out some active forums that may directly relate to your niche. When you post, ensure you aren’t breaking any forum rules when you promote your brand or products. Get to know the limits and restrictions of the forum, and stick to them. Using your forum avatar, signature, and profile page to promote your brand are usually well within the rules.

You may feel the temptation to post and promote wildly, but keep it professional. No forum will tolerate constant promotion or posts full of links to your website. Bedsides, acting in such a way online will damage your brand in the eyes of other forum users. So, keep it simple by posting just enough for people to notice your activity, but not enough to constitute spam.

Two popular business focused forums worth getting active on are Digital Point and Warrior Forum, both of which have thriving, helpful communities.

14. Set up a Cartel

Sometimes it’s nice to have some support. A small online cartel could be just the trick.

Find a group of complementary (but not competitive) retailers and agree to promote and support each other. It’s a brilliantly simple way to gain traction in a variety of ways.

For example, if you run an online clothing store, ideal cartel candidates might include jewelry and footwear outlets. Essentially, the stores you would partner with are similar enough to be able to cross-promote and share advice, but not similar enough to create a conflict of interest.

You can opt for a completely private setup, keeping things small and tight-knit, or you can branch out and publicize your online cartel in order to attract more members to help build a supportive community of online merchants.

Take The ecommerce Group for example. Operating via a Facebook group, they have over 2,500 members sharing advice, giving feedback, and providing a helping hand whenever possible.

15. Build the Right Relationships

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Building the right relationships, both online and offline, can act as your portal to success.

No matter what type of product you sell or which industry you work within, there always are like-minded businesses out there, and you need to befriend them.

The trick is to build relationships with others that are closely aligned to your business but not direct competitors.

For example, suppliers, blogs, and websites that focus on your industry would be ideal, as they can help provide you with consumer feedback and offer promotional deals, without stepping on your digital toes.

To learn more about how to build a positive relationship with your supplier, All Business offers a great relationship building tutorial.

16. Offer a Contest or Giveaway

Everybody loves free stuff, and if you’re looking to build up some trust while launching your sales efforts, a contest or giveaway could help you do just that.

Not only can contests and giveaways help you build valuable inbound links, they also are a great way to show potential customers that you can be trusted and that your brand means business.

It’s important to remember you don’t have to start big. Tease Tea is a new online tea store running a simple contest on their Facebook page.

tease tea

This contest costs no money to run and likely took only a few minutes to put together.

Online services like ViralSweep and Gleam allow you to run such contests and giveaways online, helping you to keep things simple and professional without all the added work.

Get started by checking out Stoked SEO’s brilliant tutorial on how to get a ton of eCommerce traffic via giveaways.

17. Begin Tweeting on Twitter

Twitter’s beautiful simplicity is what makes it one of the most effective ways to engage with your target market. An excellent method for finding potential customers is to proactively search for people tweeting questions about your industry and reach out to them in a helpful way.

The idea is not to pitch or even mention your products – just be helpful. For example, when Gary Vaynerchuk was running Wine Library, he would search “Chardonnay” on Twitter and find people asking related questions. All he did was offer advice; he never pitched.

tweet gary vaynerchuk

As a result, people would be grateful and naturally look further into who he was, and ultimately discover his business on their own. This is just one of many Twitter strategies that can work wonders for your sales figures.

If you need some real life examples of how to nail Twitter marketing, take a look at the Twitter profile of online jewelry store Lola Rose, which could teach you a thing or two.

18. Make Connections on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the office block of the Internet. Within it, you’ll find professionals and executives of all types, boasting about their abilities and connecting with others. It’s an online resume so to speak.

After you set up your e-commerce business profile, you can begin doing the same for yourself (if you haven’t already). You may not make many direct sales through LinkedIn, but you’ll discover an array of opportunities with other companies, suppliers, related websites, and more.

LinkedIn Groups also are a stellar way to engage with other business owners in your industry. There are vast amounts of public and private groups set up for specific niches, allowing you to post questions and converse with other members.

To find some relevant Groups, check out Practical Ecommerce’s top ten LinkedIn Groups for ecommerce.

19. Go Visual with Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine

When it comes to representing personality and creativity via social media, the three big visual platforms do it best.

Pinterest, Instagram, and most recently Vine, all allow you to take a slightly different approach to engaging with consumers.

These platforms are the perfect place to present the creativity and passion that goes into your business behind the scenes. Snap pictures of your products, take videos of the manufacturing process, tell a story with images. Always aim for beauty if possible. People love beauty.

Need some visual inspiration? Melt Cosmetics is a new brand that already has over 150,000 followers on Instagram.

melt cosmetics

They are doing a great job of Instagram marketing, building up a brand image and a following with their beautiful photographs.

20. Don’t Forget Facebook

It may not be what it once was, but make no mistake, Facebook still is a social media powerhouse.

Leverage your personal Facebook profile and your business page to engage with friends, family, and acquaintances and to get people talking about your products. Get creative with status updates and interact on public groups and fan pages relevant to your niche.

It’s also important to keep Facebook Ads in mind. Much like with AdWords, you can create targeted campaigns to attract Likes, make sales, and promote your brand.

A popular blow drying salon in Toronto called Drybar has an extremely engaged Facebook community of over 80,000 who talk all things blow drying.

If you’re fresh out of ideas for your Facebook business page, check out Shopify’s ten ways ecommerce brands can increase traffic and sales with Facebook.

21. Beat the Competition on Comparison Shopping Engines

Many, if not all, consumers like to shop around before making a purchase, and that includes a visit to comparison shopping engines.

Popular engines include Google Shopping, Nextag, and a range of others, all with thousands of products and stores being simultaneously compared.

Here’s an example from The Find where I’m searching for a price comparison on my favorite hot sauce.

the bomb hot sauce

To get noticed, you need to play by the rules of each engine, stay competitive in terms of price, and play the waiting game while you experiment to find out which engine suits you the best and gives you the best ROI.

PC Pro has put together a detailed guide on how to get noticed on Google Shopping, and Shopify has a list of the 10 most popular comparison shopping engines with a brief explanation of each one.

22. Create an Infographic

An infographic is exactly what the name implies, a graph of information, or a visual representation of facts and statistics in a form that is easy to digest.

Although they aren’t entirely easy to create, infographics are gold when it comes to social shares and search engine traffic.

In fact, according to UnBounce, which has created an inspiring and detailed guide to marketing with infographics, people are searching for infographics like you wouldn’t believe, with Google seeing an 800% increase in such searches in the last two years.

If you aren’t a visual genius, there’s no need to worry, plenty of firms like Column Five Media offer infographic creation services, leaving you to focus on content.

23. Design your Store to Look the Part

First impressions are everything, and when it comes to selling online, first impressions rely heavily on web design.

Based entirely on your website design, visitors need to be able to grasp your brand and products without too much scrolling or exploring. Furthermore, navigating through your catalog should be easy, if not enjoyable.

Additionally, making your store responsive to mobile devices is nothing short of vital. Perhaps more so than having a website built for standard PCs and Laptops. Internet Retailer recently reported that 55% of all online shopping occurred via mobile devices in June 2013 compared with just 45% from desktops and laptops. We’re seeing similar numbers with our stores at Shopify. So, looking the part on all devices is an absolute must.

To get some creative ideas about your own store’s design, have a look at Smashing Magazine’s list of 35 beautiful ecommerce websites and Inspired Magazine’s roundup of 40 stunning online stores.

24. Hold a Pop-up Store

Just because your store began online, it doesn’t mean it has to stay online. A pop-up store could be just what you need to compliment your online presence.

Unlike traditional bricks-and-mortar premises, a pop-up store is far less of a financial burden, thanks to its temporary nature.

Like most kinds of physical stores, a pop-up store is all about location. You can open a pop-up store at farmers markets, art fairs, shopping malls, galleries, and any other place people gather. Just make sure you’re set up in an area that is clearly visible and where your target market will be wandering.

A pop-up store also can act as a great offline marketing outpost. You can use your store to hand out coupons to be used via your online store, and you can collect email subscriptions and social media followers.

For some ideas on how to get your pop-up store going, Business Insider has compiled no less than eighteen creative pop-up store ideas to get you thinking.

25. Document your Launch on Reddit

Reddit is a socially powered news and entertainment website where registered users submit content. Also, and more importantly, Reddit is a place where you can attract a large number of dedicated followers and customers.

Using the r/entrepreneur subreddit in particular, you can introduce your brand, gain feedback from consumers, and learn lessons, while also promoting your own products.

The process has to be one of give and take, though. Walk those entrepreneurial redditors through your journey, take them behind the scenes, detail your mistakes and expose some personality in order to gain not just customers, but fans, too.

A brilliant example of using Reddit to promote an online store is what the guys at Beardbrand did. The beard grooming specialists documented their launch on the r/entrepreneur subreddit, deriving valuable advice from subscribers and customers, while giving back to them via regular updates and inside information.

Here’s the founder posting an update to the r/entrepreneur community.


Note how many upvotes and comments this post received. Reddit can be an extremely powerful tool, not only for gaining valuable educational resources to help you start your business, but also for helping you make your first sale.

It’s In Your Hands

The 25 strategies listed above are stellar ways to kick-start sales for your online store. Also, check out a guide I wrote with Sean Work of KISSmetrics titled 50 Ways to Make Your First Sale. It’s a free, in-depth guide on how new online entrepreneurs can make their first sale.

With the right approach, you will need only a handful of the strategies listed above to make the first of many sales.

So, what are you waiting for?

About the Author: Mark Hayes, the Head of Communications at Shopify, the author of The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping, and an expert in marketing, communications, social media, hot sauce, and pinball.

  1. So useful. While building my store I used quite a few of these tips and they worked quite well. Nice article!

    • Emma – Thanks so much, I’m glad you find these strategies useful. :-)

    • hi emma, im starting an online business myself, i know this may be a crazy question, but I dont know how to do this. How can i get create a buy one get one 50% off engine, i dont know how to set that up for my business. I only know how to place a check out cart.

  2. Divine Rizardo Feb 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    That seems like a lot of work for a first sale. This is only for my case, at least. All 25 tips are very useful but I wouldn’t go to the lengths of doing each and every one of them,.Instead I’d pick just the top 10 and focus on those ways in order to get my first online sale.

  3. Emmanuel Rosani Feb 11, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    How about word of mouth from colleagues and friends as another way/strategy to get first online sale? Just my 2 cents…


    • Emmanuel – Word of mouth is extremely important when promoting a brand new online store. I especially like to utilize word-of-mouth via personal social accounts (Facebook, IG, Twitter, etc..) Great suggestions.

  4. Rose Wilkerson Feb 11, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Great tips on how to make your first online sale. Some of them I’m doing myself. I’m working on a few of the others. I’m definitely sharing this on my social media accounts. Thanks for the post.

  5. It’s an complete and huge guide. Thank you Mark for share with us.As Google showing dance each month now we should aware of branding. So blogging and social media play the big role for this.

    • Rifat – I’m glad you enjoyed my article. I also wrote an even MORE comprehensive guide entitled “50 Ways to Make Your First Online Sale” which you can check out – there’s a link in the last paragraph of this article.

      And regarding Google’s dance, yes, I completely agree. Same goes w/ sites like Facebook who are constantly changing their algorithm. These changes can greatly affect a site’s ability to get traffic and sales from them. It’s not good to relay 100% on any one sales channel.

  6. Absolutely Beautiful!!

  7. You hit the nail on the head with this one. Every business should be doing all of these things. Especially this day and age by getting this amazing like from media and so forth. It is a sure fire way to create a successful campaign.

  8. That is one awesome article!! I have now shared this article with everyone in my network! Thank you heaps!! Luv reading articles on KissMetrics!

    • Jay – Thanks for sharing with everyone in your network! I really appreciate that. I too love the articles KISSmetrics publishes – it’s an awesome blog!

  9. Eddie Kremanis Feb 13, 2014 at 2:52 am

    Spot on! For some one just starting out I would definitely advice to pick 5 or 10 of these to begin with and then gradually apply all of these tactics at a later stage.

    I think what’s more important: is to come up with a way to measure each of the tactics and then put the effort in ones that work best.

    • Eddie – I agree, I think tackling all 25 in one go would be excessive.

      And you’re very right about the importance of measuring each tactic. I wrote this guide to help people get their *first sale* so the measurement is pretty easy – did the tactic get you a sale or not. But, as sales continue measurement because extremely important. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Eddie!

  10. Wonderful and helpful. This is a very comprehensive guide for online marketing – readily informative, understandable, and workable. You mentioned content marketing and implied about social media marketing; these are the trendiest today.

    Online marketing is a tricky business really. For one thing, you are given the illusion of ease because of the connectivity of the medium which is the internet. While this is true and a push in itself, still there are others aspects of this which needs considering too, not least of which is the amount of competition you have to go against because of the vastness of the playing field. Then, along with that illusion of ease, you may have to face the challenge of threats – hacking is probably the best example. But then, you are also gifted with the idea of the world being at the tip of your fingers in this venture.

    You have put up some really fine tips here. They are sound and doable. And with this range of tactics to choose from, any marketer will be able to find a handful which will work for his business in the long run, while helping him get his first online sale to get things rolling for him.

    Thanks, Mark, this is one awesome article for anyone in the online marketing business. You have the most helpful tips to be tried out. Great post!

    • Vanessa – I’m so glad you found my article informative, understandable and workable… totally the best things I could hope to hear in terms of feedback. I appreciate you taking the time to comment.

      With regard to content marketing and social media marketing and their illusion of ease – I understand what you’re saying. I think the best advice to store owners would be to engage people in their industry and create and share relevant content. If you sell t-shirts, you should have a blog and social accounts that cover everything that t-shirt consumers would find interesting.

      Thanks again for reading & commenting Vanessa.

    • Sorry i must confess i am new to all of this. blo, content marketing and all that. i just opened a new online sale company e-commerce in Nigeria,easylife, where we sell products ranging from household item to buying material, but we actually don’t have all of this product so we rely on vendors who are registered to our platform to sell, but right now the company is not making any sales, and we have spend a lot of money building website paying staffs e.t.c, and nothing its coming forth. so am trying to read stuffs online that can help, i guess this is one of it, i will be very greatful if there is anyway you can help me, as regard the discussion. thank you

  11. Henry Matlock Feb 13, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Good suggestions, especially the popup store. Depending on your niche and where you’re located, that can be a great source of traffic that I never would have considered. You’ve got my mental wheels turning. Thanks for the post.

    • Henry – Pop-up stores can be an incredibly powerful sales (and research) channel for online merchants. Of course you expect sales from selling in-person but the most underrated benefit is the communication between merchant and customer. Online store owners so rarely get to interact w/ their potential customers, but at a pop-up store they get to see how many people stop to see their products, what type of people are interested, how they pick the object up, questions they ask, and so much more. I can’t encourage ecommerce store owners enough to try getting involved in a pop-up shop. Insanely valuable. Thanks for reading and commenting Henry!

  12. Solid list – thanks.

    Fire sales and competitions can be pretty effective as well.

  13. Hey Mark, thanks for the mention – awesome article & list of actionable tactics :)

  14. According to me you need to be where they are which means figuring out where your ideal customers and clients hang out online and this is the most important bit where they might be looking for you and what you offer.

  15. Nicole Carter Apr 05, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Nicely written Mark! What I would however add is that first time entrepreneurs should first start with the above recommended points that do not require too much of an investment.

    I’ve seen people burn money with Adwords for example jumping on PPC thinking it’s as easy as it sounds. PPC is a whole new game (very competitive) and sites need to be optimised for best possible conversion, visitors should be tracked to further tweak their main ”exit pages”, to understand money making keywords, to do follow-ups to try and re-convert visitors and so on. This should also be GEO optimised, as not the same aggressive approach to sell something to someone from the US will work for customers from the UK.

    What people can also do these days is take affiliate marketing offline. This is all very simple and probably more networks do this nowadays but Paydot for example, they offer their merchants an option to pass on an additional ”voucher” variable to track sales by individual vouchers. This means that no cookies, no IP’s are required for network to track the sales, allowing affiliates to bring this offline via the help of leaflet advertising, local newspaper adverts, radio, city stands, you name it! In general, I think there are way too many uneducated merchants when it comes to affiliate marketing and many simply don’t understand how beneficial it can actually be. A lot of this we’ve learned through Paydot’s merchant interface but most of the marketing techniques we employ today, we’ve picked up by bloggers as yourself, so thanks for sharing such a list, there are a few customer channels we’re yet to try and explore which we will do.

  16. Thanks for the awesome tips. I recently launched my new online store selling handcrafted and hand painted ceramic wares and arts.

    To be honest, I’m very overwhelmed. Too many social media channels, blogging, newsletter, email list building, ads via fb and google, outreach to bloggers and magazine editors, SEO….

    I sometimes wonder in lost what I’m supposed to do now.

    Hopefully I can figure out things as I run my biz.

    • Hanna, just take it slow and learn along the way. As you scale your biz you’ll find you’re learning at the same rate :)

  17. Fairly useful piece of writing, cheers! Especially when it comes to setting up a new online business, optimism (okay; works with positive start) will also require to be embedded with such effective steps as displayed over here. It is what market has proven with successful track records. Branding your service onto the right online platform with the right marketing strategies is your next move upwards.

    Free samples (mainly product offers) do bring in more eyeballs back onto your store and a talk-of-the town charm. Social media optimization through a gradual and smart presentation of (blogs, PR or content management on social medial websites) – what you offer is surely a way back for many of your viewers. Email, event marketing works wonders too. Apart from an organic way of earning an online traffic, there are some paid options that also convey good results, if being combined cleverly (through SEO) with each other!

  18. Just remember most companies are not similar. I have been in business 3 years now and I can tell you 90% of what I have read over the years was not useful in making us money. Rather these articles should be read from afar and pull tiny bits of info from them. This article is heavily geared toward male audience. It would absolutely not work for most female genre.

  19. Mark,
    I’m starting a brand new business (selling home decor) and looking to find a marketing company to do these things for me. However, I’m only interested in paying a percentage and finding a company based on sales they generate. Where can I find a solid, reputable company to get my business off and running. If paying based on a percentage isn’t realistic, what is realistic to spend. I spoke to one company that wanted an exorbitant monthly flat fee.

  20. too lengthy tips..i would prefer following some important points only…still very nice and useful article

  21. Thanks for the suggestions. Cant wait to use some these for my new shop!

    – Harlee

  22. I don’t understand all this. Please help someone who is completely lost and doesn’t truly even know where to start AT ALL! Please I don’t know the first thing on how to start any of these ideas.

    • Relax bro! It looks like you got a heavy dose of “Information Overload.” I can see where you just want a simple straight up answer for how to make your first sale online. Am I right?

  23. Well written article, few good pointers I will try to implement. Thank You.
    I have designed our online store by myself and Currently we are working on setting a standard uniform packaging for all of our products. We were so focused on delivering the quality and making sure that all of our items are organic and natural. One think we forgot is the presentation of the products. We have top quality , made in UK bath products however i feel like they need better packaging and branding. What is the best place to hold an online focus group? I want people to decide how my brand will look.
    Is that a good idea or should I stay away from that ?

  24. For me I get my first sale online from my email list. I have built lists using social media and forums

  25. Wow this is REALLY helpful and informative!

  26. Frank Di Silvestro Feb 12, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I have a product I want to market over the internet. Can you help me do this and create a web site for the product?

  27. This was really thorough! I have done a few of the things you have mentioned but I never paid attention to the rest. Guess it’s time I should.

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