Getting to Grips with Virtual Selling

This has been a challenging year for everyone, with Covid-19 wreaking havoc on people’s lives and livelihoods, and small businesses especially feeling the brunt. With the government urging us to stay home, to stay safe, and physical buildings being closed, there has been a massive shift to online retail. 

Online retail, with the likes of Amazon and eBay, was already a big phenomenon. However, with Covid-19 restricting everyone’s movements and invading our daily lives, small businesses have had to adapt and become tech savvy, shifting the focus to online sales.

I only have one product, a book, so it can be hard to market online, but it is trial and error. Here I will share some of the things I have learnt whilst navigating the cyber minefield.

  1. Advertise. Of course, advertising is essential. It is the number one activity needed to bring exposure to your store or product and draw in sales. But it is also essential to advertise in the right place. Think about your core audience and find Facebook pages and groups that centre around this, to ensure you will get the best reception whilst advertising here. It’s free to advertise on most online groups as they usually have a dedicated day where you can showcase your product or tag it in posts that are asking for requests. Whilst you can pay for advertising, make sure you research the platform first and see if it is the right fit. I made the mistake of paying to advertise on a high profile Instagram page, however it was in America, so my post wasn’t seen at the correct times, and my target audience wasn’t reached as the ad was UK based.  I hadn’t considered this, so it was a wasted venture.
  1. Have a good variety of posts ready to put out at any time. As I only have the one product, it can be difficult to keep marketing, as you may think once its seen, there’s nothing new to show the audience. However, you must remember there will always be new eyes observing, so keep the content fresh, and rehash, restructure and rewrite selling pitches to offer the info in diverse engaging ways. I use a collection of different pictures, posters I have created on Canva and different blurb that I can tailor to a post, so that it resonates with the reader in a relevant way depending on where I am advertising.
  1. Be visible. I have learnt to make sure I post on social media at least once a day to keep my profile active and my online presence up to date. This keeps me in the loop as my page will remain in people’s newsfeeds. It also makes sure my content regularly reaches my audience. The more I post, the more exposure I get. Which can in turn lead to new followers and new potential buyers.

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