I published an article here on July 15th. It was about running an online business. In that article, I talked about the different conditions one can have to run an online business. One of the conditions is when you have a product to see online. In this article, I am going to assume that you already have a product or service that can be promoted and sold online. What are the first steps you have to take to sell your product or service online?
The first question is that can you promote any kind of product online?
The answer is yes. It doesn’t matter what kind of products you have. You can promote them online. The Internet helps you find customers. In fact, it helps the customers find you.
You can be a writer who has written some books. You can either sell the hard copy or create digital copies of your books and sell them through the Internet. You can be a car dealer, a real estate agent, a singer, a tailor, a… . Whatever your product or service is, it can be offered online too.
Therefore, I don’t care what product you have. I tell you how to promote it online.
There are two kinds of products and services. One group is the products or services that have to be offered locally. For example, you are a real estate agent in Chicago. Your service can only be offered to that city. The second group is the products or services that can be offered worldwide. For example, you are a SEO (search engine optimizer), you are a writer and you have some e-books that can be sold and downloaded online.
There are several common things between these two groups that you have to do to promote them online. However, there are several extra things that you have to do when your product or service is offered locally.
I will have some separate articles for those who have a local product or service. In this article, we talk a little about the common things that you have to do for both groups.
Here is the first steps you have to take to start selling your products online:
1. Create a Website:
The first and most important thing you have to do to promote your product online, is designing a website. You have to register a domain first and buy a hosting. You can register a domain for $10 and a hosting package for $50 per years. That is enough for the beginning. As your website will not have a lot of traffic at the beginning or the first year, then a primary hosting package is enough. Later, when your website grows and attracts a lot of traffic, you can even have a dedicated server for your site.
Some people pay a lot of money to web designers and developers. This is wrong. You don’t have to spend a dime on this. After registering the domain and buying the hosting, you can launch the website in less than few minutes. Nowadays, all hosting packages come with ready-made platforms like WordPress, that can be installed from your hosting control panel, within a few minutes. These platforms come with several free themes or templates that can be activated after the installation.
It is as easy as that. You can run your site within few minutes.
After launching your site, you have to promote it and build the traffic. A zero kilometer site has no traffic, because nobody knows it and it is not ranked in any search engine. These are the things you have to do after creating your site:
- Add content to your site. You have to create several pages talking about your product, its features, pricing, and… . The content has to be unique. I mean you can not copy the texts from the other sites and paste it to your site, otherwise your site will never get ranked on the search engines. You can have a blog in your site, and publish articles about your products and services. The whole site can be a blog by itself too. When you install the WordPress platform on your site, you will have a weblog or blog indeed.
- Optimize your website pages for the search engines. You have to know the related keywords and key phrases related to your products or services, and then you optimize your website or weblog pages and articles for those key phrases. This helps your site to get ranked and receive free organic traffic from the search engines. Be careful not to over-optimize your site, otherwise it will be penalized or even banned by the search engines like Google.
2. Create a FaceBook Page:
Social media marketing is very important. You can receive a lot of free traffic from the social media sites like FaceBook. You can create a “page” for your site or product, and ask people to “like” it. Then you can post to your page and inform people about your products, weblog recent posts and… .
3. Create a YouTube Channel:
YouTube is the most famous social media site with some special and different features. Yes, YouTube is indeed a social media site, not a video directory. You can receive a lot of free traffic from YouTube too. You should create a channel in YouTube, create videos, and upload them to your channel. You can optimize the video page, so that it will receive from the search engines and also the YouTube search itself.
4. Run an Affiliate Program for Your Product or Service:
You can pay commissions to those who refer people to your site and generate sales. This is not too hard to do at all. If you have a digital product, you can run your affiliate program through ClickBank in less than a day. ClickBank will take care of everything, the pay checks, commission and… and you only collect your money.
Running an affiliate program helps your product or website to be promoted by hundreds or thousands of bloggers and webmasters.
5. Free Advertising:
- Guest Blogging:
Currently, this is one of the best and most effective free advertising method. Whatever your product or service is, you should find some niche blogs, communicate and come to an agreement with the owner to publish some articles. You can place a link to your site/blog from your article, and so, you will receive a lot of free traffic, as well as one way links that are important for your blog search engine ranking. Of course, it seems those links are not as effective as they were used to be for your search engine ranking, but guest blogging is still a good way to promote your site/blog for free.
- Article Advertising:
There are too many article directories. You can write articles and submit them to those article directories. You will link to your site/blog from your articles, so that you will receive clicks from your articles. You can choose a few of the most popular article directories that can drive traffic to your site/blog. Don’t waste your time with the other directories.You have to write unique articles that are properly optimized for the related key phrases, so that they get ranked by the search engines.
There are some other free advertising methods, but the above two methods are the best.
6. Paid Advertising:
There are several paid advertising methods that you can use:
- Pay Per Click Advertising:
You can use this method to promote your site and product. Google Adwords is the most famous pay per click advertising method. However, it is too expensive. Before using the pay per click advertising, you have to make sure that it will be profitable for you. You can spend thousands of dollars on pay per click advertising without having any sales. So be careful.You can use the other pay per click advertising services like FaceBook. It is much cheaper, but it is not as targeted as Google Adwords, which means its conversion rate (the number of visitors that turn to customers) is very low.
- Paid Directory Submission:
It was used to work in the past, but not anymore. So don’t waste your money on it.
- Banner and Text Link Advertising:
This one is a good advertising method, however you have to find a suitable website, blog, or discussion board to advertise. You can not do it on any website. It has to be from the same niche. For example, if you are a programmer, and so your product is a PHP script, or a software, then you should advertise on programming related sites, blogs, and discussion boards.
- Press Release:
That is another why that not only generates links to your site/blog which is important for your search engine ranking, it can also generate traffic too. I have tried this method long time ago, but I believe it is not that effective anymore.
That was some general tips about taking the first steps to promote and sell your products and services online. So take the first step now, and register a domain and buy a hosting package for your site. This is the most important step.