Not having clear priorities and expectations when selling online can lead a business to lose a lot of money and even close the blind. This can happen even after a successful period on the internet, if growth is not projected properly.
A few days ago a decoration store with a physical neighborhood store to which we managed advertising on Google and organic visibility (without paying Google) through content explained to us that they were considering closing. Obviously, the Covid-19 pandemic has influenced their billing like that of most businesses, but their mistake came from afar, from not understanding the implications of offering their services on the internet. In fact, since we renewed their website and managed their visibility with advertising, they had two years of many benefits. But from there they made all the wrong decisions.
Hence, we have encouraged ourselves to compile a series of very specific myths and truths about selling on the internet to help you invest in it intelligently, thinking about today, tomorrow and in the past, especially those who think about doing it during the current health crisis, considering it the only salvation for your business.
What is this post talking about?
1. If I can sell on the internet, I will refloat my face-to-face business
This is what happened to these decoration store customers. When the visibility campaign was going well, they reinvested in the wrong way: they expanded the store they had in the neighborhood. This investment made them unable to invest later in what they did need: to work even more on their online visibility. Selling online will not make your business go back to what it was before, it will transform it. If the physical store did not work, it will still not work, no matter how much you expand it. If your decoration store sells more online, you should consider reinvesting in what makes you grow even more online. If your website did not have an online store, you can consider including one, make your own brand of products, make warehouse tasks more efficient, etc. You should only expand your store to the public if this is the one that works.
2. Selling online is cheaper than selling in person
Yes, but there is not much difference, if we really want to sell.
There are companies that are dedicated to online marketing and with this type of claims they attract a lot of customers, but then they end up seeing that it is one thing to have visibility (a web or online store, social networks, appear on Google) and another very different to sell .
Many people think that selling on the internet is to buy a template on the internet (which can cost about 50 euros), give it a design that we like through a developer, put the content that we like and upload it to a hosting, which can be of even 1 euro a month.
A website that generates clients is not worth 50 or 500 euros
The truth is that a website that generates interest and trust, and even that saves us part of the work of managing requests for information or purchases requires a certain investment. It is not worth 500 euros as some developers charge. For example, that it offers the appropriate information so that later it does not have to spend time giving it to users when they contact us, or that in its contact forms it requests the data that helps us determine the priority of a request, or that allows to sell or Making quotes online, etc., or appearing in the first Google results, requires paying professionals with skills.
For these reasons, those developed with platforms such as Wix are not suitable for a business that aspires to increase its turnover with its website. What is going to make your website a “winner”, as they tirelessly say in their YouTube ads, is not being able to design it yourself, no matter how good your taste is. It is knowing what content is appropriate (both texts and images), what functions are best for you to incorporate, etc. And that will not be told by a developer who only dedicates himself to customizing a template or a platform like Wix. An online marketing specialist will tell you. And it will not cost you 500 euros but more.
Hitting the market requires investing in an initial study
Getting the market right the first time also requires investing prior to the development of the web in a market study and specific competition for the internet. This determines factors such as which search keywords in Google have the easiest competition to beat from the beginning, if it is necessary or secondary to invest in translating a website into other languages depending on demand, etc.
Cheap hostings do not work for a professional website
On the other hand, a professional website does not require any kind of hosting. In fact, it is the most important part of our online presence after the web itself and must have certain technical requirements. For example, a website with an online store or in several languages needs a lot of RAM, something that most commercial hosting companies do not usually offer in their packs because it is more expensive. On the other hand, it is common to see cheap hosting offers with a lot of storage that is not usually necessary because a well-developed website takes up almost no hosting space.
A hosting without resources slows down a website. And a slow website (and by slow we mean that it takes more than 2 seconds to load) has a very negative influence on purchase intention and positioning in Google. We are like users accustomed to speed, and we do not have the patience to wait for a website to load, being able to go back with a single click and try the next page on the results page, to see if it will waste less time.
In addition, the choice of the company is important: know if they make backup copies every day or if they allow you to install your website parallel to the main one to be able to make changes without the main website seeing what you are doing . A hosting of this type usually costs about 7 euros per month or more.
Without technical maintenance, your website will not work properly
In addition, a hosting company is not going to take care of something very important, especially on websites with an online store or with a reservation system or with several languages, which is to keep the software used by the website up to date. Quality plugins, which do not pose security problems for the web and which you can get the most out of, are paid. You will have to be aware of paying for each update that they publish so that they do not generate compatibility problems with your website. The template you used is also usually paid, and if not, the one who designed it in the first place probably won’t spend their time keeping it up to date with the other software you can use (multi-language, online store, etc.). You also have to pay for the content manager (which makes it easy for a person who does not know how to program to change the contents of the web). It is important that you hire a technical maintenance service along with a good hosting to have all this covered and that the web does not become obsolete or fail in a short time.
A website that has a multi-language plugin, a store or an online reservation system, a plugin that allows you to easily manage the contents, a platform that collects and sends by mail the forms that users send through the web, etc., it usually costs about 50 euros a month in maintenance, with hosting included. If, in addition, you have many features that were custom developed for that business, additional maintenance needs may arise from time to time, such as reviewing all code for an update and rescheduling as necessary to remain compatible with the custom parts being shipped. developed. All this without counting the percentage that must be paid per sale to the provider of the card payment gateway if we have one.
Attracting users through Google requires a monthly investment
Everything we have explained so far is to set up a website or online store. Then it is necessary, as we said at the beginning, to start selling. If you do not have alternative ways to publicize the web, which is the most common, you will need an advertising campaign and work on organic positioning, that is, uploading positions in Google without paying for it, with regular quality content. Advertising allows you to obtain performance at all times from the web and organic positioning, which takes months to work, is a way that you have a constant flow of visits, without having to pay Google or a social network for the traffic that it comes to you. And that those visits end in the highest possible percentage of requests for information or sales.
You may need to pay for legal advice
So… what total monthly investment does it take to be able to sell online?
In short, apart from the development of the web, you must invest in technical maintenance, advertising and organic positioning to bill thanks to it. This in a professional agency can cost around 350 euros per month without counting the investment in clicks to Google or Facebook, which varies depending on our sector (in this post we talk about what should be invested in Google Ads to achieve results). We also do not count what the card payment gateways will cost you if you have an online store, etc.
The main advantage of selling online, therefore, is not so much its lower price, but rather that it allows us to measure the shares that are generating the most return and enhance them. A customer who enters the store does not usually say how he has known us, nor can we anticipate what he will be interested in to invest in the advertising channels or in the products or services that generate the most benefits for us. With an online strategy we can tell.
3. If I sell on Amazon, I won’t have to invest in a website and it will be easier to sell
Selling on Amazon is not a panacea. In fact, it requires a lot of knowledge, not only to manage the account, which is complex, but also, and especially, of marketing, that if you don’t have it, you will have to hire someone.
To start with, you have to make an investment in some good professional photos , which describe the product to perfection and extol its qualities, with details so that when the user does a search on the platform and a list will appear in which you can choose between many options, choose yours. You also have to master copywriting techniques to include the keywords that the user was looking for and prioritize all those ideas that will connect with their impulse to buy.
On the other hand, on Amazon the results take time to arrive , because it costs users to buy a product that has not yet generated comments, which is what happens at the beginning. It will probably be necessary to carry out a specific advertising campaign within Amazon, which should make a good profit on the investment in clicks you make (these types of platforms are paid either for product views or for clicks), and set very low prices.
In fact, the price of the products is one of the main factors that will make us succeed or not at Amazon. If your competitors offer low prices and have acceptable reviews, you will have a difficult time selling on this platform. Maybe with good images and good texts and good reviews you will attract more users, but in general, if the rest of the factors are acceptable to us, as users we go for the cheapest.
In addition, you must bear in mind that you have to pay a percentage of each sale to Amazon that depends on the dimensions and weight of the package that you will have to distribute and if you want them to take care of storing your stock and make the delivery (essential choice if you want to compete in speed of delivery thanks to Amazon Prime, and in fact many users search only among those that offer them Amazon Prime). It does not usually pay off with bulky products, for example. And to this must be added the investment that must be made in identifying all products with an EAN barcode , mandatory on Amazon.
In short, Amazon requires a considerable investment and hours of dedication.
4. Everything can be sold on the internet
Yes, you can sell everything, but not everything that is sold will make a profit .
In fact, asserting outright that everything can be sold on the internet is misleading, because selling something that is at a loss may not be considered “salable.” We leave aside, obviously, what is legally prohibited to sell online (gasoline, tobacco, some drugs …)
If you have a millionaire and long-term investment at your disposal, maybe you can even end up selling the most difficult thing. But the truth is that there are products and services that, if they try to sell on the internet, ruin whoever tries.
That is why it is important, before developing or renovating a website or online store, to have an online marketing team that carries out a realistic marketing strategy, in phases, and informs you of the opportunities and difficulties it sees. to the product or service.
Products and services that are difficult to sell on the internet
Products or services still unknown
If a product or service is still unknown and does not generate the need to search for it in Google or to be interested in it on social networks, it will require a very high investment, because it will generate many clicks that we will have to pay for but it will cost to convince users that they click that they end up requesting information or buying. For example, a company that is dedicated to offering personalized picnic baskets for tourists in emblematic areas of a city will have a difficult time because it is a service that is not sought after, people often have picnics taking food from home.
Luxury products or services
By definition, luxury products are not a necessity, so to sell them on the internet you have to define a strategy that deepens the generation of emotions such as glamor and exclusivity, difficult to analyze and quantify, of an audience as well. very small, which will therefore be difficult to locate. This implies long hours of work and specific knowledge and contacts that require a high investment.
Products and services with a lot of competition
There are sectors that are already well established on the internet, so finding a gap between them is complicated, it requires a higher investment than competition to achieve it. Some examples are:
- Lawyers: lawyers have been offering their services on the internet for many years, so there is a lot of competition and a very high investment in advertising is necessary to appear in searches. In order to gain a foothold in this market, it is necessary to tend to specialization and innovate as much as possible in the offer of services (online reservations, videoconference meetings, sale of some online services, etc.)
- Agencies: There are more and more agencies that offer their services entirely online, and make large investments so that their platforms are prepared for the activity (uploading of documents, digital identity, visualization of activity, etc.) and offer increasingly adjusted prices as they can download part of the work that they used to do on the same users, so it is difficult to compete with them without a similar investment and the same or better service offer.
- Restaurants: it is practically impossible for your restaurant website to appear in Google in a search, because there are many portals with restaurant directories that will appear before, so we will have to compete with many other establishments. It is, therefore, very difficult for us to carry out customer acquisition campaigns with immediate effect. It is necessary to make a large investment in content to obtain notoriety in the medium and long term through organic positioning in Google (SEO), social networks, etc.
- Removals: you know that a sector generates great interest and at the same time is very competitive on the internet when the comparators of the products or services it offers proliferate. Comparators spend large amounts of money on advertising to appear first in searches, above individual companies. Gaining a niche in the sector is difficult because users tend to prefer comparator websites over corporate ones, because they allow them to differentiate prices and services and contact providers in one go. An alternative to bill more online if you are a moving company is to register with these comparators and pay the commission they ask for attracting potential customers.
- Fashion: fashion is a very particular sector, in which the brand image is more important than the resolution of a need, so entering this market requires large investments in branding and in advertising by sociodemographic segmentation (Facebook, Instagram …) whose calculation of the return on investment is complicated.
Excessively cheap products and services
We have previously explained that to sell on Amazon you have to be able to compete on prices, but there are certain products at a low price that require a percentage of their price so high in advertising to sell that it does not pay off unless we make one first. very ambitious visibility campaign to publicize the brand. For example, if we sell a very original canteen for 9 euros, the initial profit margin we obtain is 4 euros, and it costs us 4 euros to sell it in advertising, it does not make any sense. And this has happened.
Products and services that are more easily sold on the internet
Very specialized products and services
It is easier to sell only teas than it is to sell diet products that include tea, for example. In the case of services, it is easier to be successful online if we are a moving company specialized in offices than a moving company that does everything. Whether we opt for visibility on social networks or on Google, it is easier to sell a specific product than sets of products. Stores or specialized companies generate trust, and respond to a need in a more unique way. For example, through the likes on Facebook, we can know if a user likes tea, and if we offer it, we will have a better chance of success than offering diet products in general, and in Google users usually search for specific products, not product sets.
Industrial and agricultural sector
The agricultural industry (especially the proximity and ecological one), the metallurgical, energy, cement, etc., has a lot of potential on the internet, because it has less competition than the service sector. The audience is smaller, but the profit margins for an investment like another company like the ones we mentioned in the previous section are much higher. That is why they are one of the businesses that work best when they make the leap to the internet.
Companies that manufacture mattresses for hotels or rest stores, those that offer consulting services for companies (for example, food consulting), laboratories, etc., work very well on the internet because they work with higher orders to a price for advertising for each request for information or sale equal to that of a company that sells lower orders to the final consumer.
Start selling online with Sitelabs
Times of crisis such as the emergence of Covid-19 produce a demonic combination of two factors in business: economic difficulties and the need to invest more than ever in advertising. Some clients tell us “I have to reduce the investment in clicks because we have to cut back.” And although we know that it is a very big sacrifice, we must always say that there is no time when you have to invest more than the time when you are losing customers. If not, we will have even less. It is also necessary to rethink the offer of services and products. At Sitelabs we help companies face the Coronavirus crisis by investing in online sales in a smart way.