So you want to be a millionaire? Well, turns out it’s not as hard as it used to be. Entrepreneurs with niche products like spherical ice cube molds and edible vegan cookie dough are raking in the other kind of dough with thousands of orders rolling in to an online store they built themselves (one of them created in an hour). But having a shoppable site is only part of the equation to success in the wild west of e-commerce.
Just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come (unless of course you’re a Kardashian.) For the rest of the hustling, everyday entrepreneurs sitting on a great idea, you have to build it- promote it- and then they might just land on your online store and shop. The secret recipe to digital success is often in the elusive and mysterious role of marketing.
Here are 5 clever marketing tactics used by digital entrepreneurs on the DIY e-commerce platform Weebly that helped them cross the million dollar threshold last year.
Bulk Sales Bring in Bespoke Sales
Cesar Chu in L.A. wanted to create an easy way to make an ice cube that would chill his whiskey without watering it down. So he invented The Whiskey Ball ice mold, and while he imagined selling it to the most interesting man in the world who reads leather bound books in a dusty study, it was actually corporate event planners seeking customizable items that got his new business off the ground.
“Event planners loved this as a “tchotchke” because it was low cost and so much more exciting than giving away boring pens at trade shows. That was my ah-ha moment,” said Chu. As the revenue stream poured in from corporate clients, he put the Whiskey Ball brand and his website url on every mold to turn those corporate groups into new unique visitors to his online store. “Who can only have one Whiskey Ball in their home?
The products were in our branded boxes and each ice tray had our branding on the bottom so it was an easy way to refer customers to our website.” Those new visitors had the option to join his email newsletter which gave Chu a new audience of interested consumers one click away from a store coupon, holiday sale or new product feature.
Seek Feedback and Innovate
Chu has sold more than 5 million Whiskey Ball molds since he launched the first version of his website on Weebly. Despite the overwhelming success, he constantly asked customers for feedback, seeking to improve the product, figure out what was working and what wasn’t, and innovate on the next great idea.
This led to the release of a new Svere tray that he says he never would have realized customers wanted unless he went through the grunt work of asking them about any frustrations with the current set. The Svere is now driving a new revenue stream for Chu who is already asking his customers for the ice-cold feedback yet again.
#Notsponsored by Instagram Influencers
Jeff and Nakelle Denton knew their vegan edible cookie dough wouldn’t be appealing to everyone, but for those that have dietary restrictions, dairy allergies, or a sweet tooth without wanting to pack on the calories, their product would be a godsend. They decided to zero in on Instagram and the micro-influencers who they felt would love a healthy alternative to mainstream cookie dough options. They decided to eat the costs of sending free product to these fitness and health junkies on Instagram and have them try it for themselves.
If they liked it, maybe they would share it with their followers. It was a gamble they were willing to make. “After we found people who loved our vegan cookie dough as much as we did, we created a coupon code on our Weebly site that they could share with their followers. This generated a lot of traffic, and gives the influencer the ability to make commission on sales generated from their post.
Creating win-win scenarios for everyone involved is key for successful growth,” said Denton.
Automate Abandoned Cart- On All Channels
The abandoned cart statistics are pretty staggering. Shoppers online love to put something in their digital cart and then walk away. But this is an opportunity for online entrepreneurs to put their email marketing on autopilot and land the sale without having to lift a finger. Denton has an abandoned cart emails automatically sent two hours after the shopper left TheLionsPack.com, the optimal time window for a customer to come back and click ‘purchase.’ “We are able to invite them back to our website and potentially offer a discount to give the products a try, or remind them they have fresh products waiting to be made at the click of a button,” said Denton.
He also uses Weebly’s integrated Facebook Ad retargeting tool on Weebly to show shoppers the product they left behind when they visit their Facebook feed. These not-so-subtle reminders have helped Denton’s digital business rake in an extra $10,000 in sales.
Turn Your Happy Customers Into Brand Ambassadors
New York City yoga instructor Raquel Vamos wanted a deeper stretch in her yoga practice so she invented the Dharma Yoga Wheel with her yoga partner, Dov Patel. They’ve sold more than 3 million dollars on the site she initially built her online store in about an hour back in 2015. Now, with fans like Britney Spears, professional athletes and millions of flexible customers rolling out their backs, she’s using her biggest supporters as ambassadors to drive business from hyper local yoga communities back to her website.
And if you’re reading this and think you’re still far away from selling, Weebly’s Product Director, Katie Swett Miller, says that is actually the optimal time to start marketing. “If you create a basic landing page with a great photo, some ‘coming soon’ text, and a lead capture form for all visitors to sign-up for updates, you will have an interested customer base ready to purchase on the day you launch your product.” Imagine that- customers waiting to purchase your product!