50 Ways to Earn Your First $5K in Ecommerce Sales

If you’re just getting started in ecommerce, it’s good to set personal goals and making your first $5k in sales is a good one. There are a number of free and paid strategies for driving shoppers to your storefront, and Volusion is here to help you understand how to leverage each one.

Want more in-depth information? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll have a Marketing expert respond.

1. Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social media platform out there. Post about your products on your Facebook page and let people know your store is open for business. Want to give your posts an extra boost? Facebook ads can be useful for finding new customers! Are you having trouble finding new customers? Create a lookalike audience through Facebook Ads Manager to target people with similar interests and shopping patterns as customers you already have! Learn more about engaging on Facebook with our on-demand video!

Research popular, relevant hashtags through Instagram Search and incorporate them into your weekly or daily posts.

2. Instagram
With over 700 million monthly active users, Instagram is one of the fastest growing social networks today. Instagram is one of the best social platforms for brand awareness and discovery. As organic post reach decreases on Facebook, Instagram is quickly becoming a great place for new brands to be discovered. Research popular, relevant hashtags through Instagram Search and incorporate them into your weekly or daily posts. From there, people actively searching those hashtags have a better chance of finding your brand, and your products. Want to boost your visibility even more? Instagram uses Facebook’s robust advertising system, so you can also create paid ads to drive people to your website and hopefully make a purchase. Learn more about finding new customers on Instagram with our instructional video!

3. YouTube
Second to Google, YouTube is one of the largest search engines in the world. Not only do people use this platform to post funny videos, they also use it for video blogs, product reviews, behind-the-scenes footage, how to’s and more. The future for marketing is video, so creating a YouTube channel where you discuss new product launches or showcase how to videos will assist in drumming up interest for your brand. Read about how to succeed on YouTube on our blog!

4. Pinterest
If you’re in an industry where shoppers and audience respond better to visuals, Pinterest is probably another great option for your brand. Save your products to Pinterest and create keyword-savvy captions so people can find your products. After all, Pinterest is also a visual search engine. Want to give your products a bit of an advantage in the Pinterest Feed? Install Rich Pins so your items look more attractive. Rich Pins pull price, product name and availability information right from your store! Want to take it a step further? Try promoting some of your pins to a targeted audience to cast a wider net and capture new potential customers. Watch our video to learn more about how to get new customers using Pinterest.

Twitter isn’t necessarily the best place to post about your products, but it’s a great place to post blogger reviews, videos or your own written content.

5. Twitter
If you create a TON of good content, you want to be on Twitter. Share your blog posts and your video content on twitter. Use relevant hashtags in each tweet to gain organic visibility and attract relevant followers. Twitter isn’t necessarily the best place to post about your products, but it’s a great place to post blogger reviews, videos or your own written content. Plus, it can also act as a great customer service tool! Watch our video for tips on marketing your brand on Twitter!

6. LinkedIn
If you’re a B2B site, you definitely want to consider creating a LinkedIn company page to represent your brand. From here, you can share any noteworthy press or company updates that may attract leads.

7. PPC
Search engine real estate is becoming more and more valuable, and one of the tried and true ways of reaching your audience is through PPC – pay-per-click advertising. Easily control your ad copy and list promotions through unique, creative ad copy while directing buyers to specifically-prepared landing pages. You can even take PPC to the next level and employ remarketing strategies to reach visitors who’ve already been to your site. What’s better than turning that past visitor into a future purchaser? Solid keyword research is the first step to a successful PPC campaign, but if your aren’t interested in diy, talk to a marketing advisor about our PPC services.

8. Google Shopping
The act of window-shopping has been digitized with the rise of Google Shopping, their image-based advertising platform. You can see an example of Google shopping results below at the very top of the search results for “red ruffle dress.”

9. Your Friends & Family
They love you. Go ahead and sell them something. They may also provide valuable market research. Have them like/follow your social media accounts to provide those first, loyal users to help you build your audience.

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Using this network, your products will be showcased at the top of the search result page of the most actively used website in the world. Google Shopping shows your product image and price on the top of the result page, prominently displaying to customers who are actively searching for products in your market, rather than retroactively, a huge benefit for quick conversions. Want to start Google Shopping Feeds, read our Shopping Feed 101 Guide, check out our free school or talk to a marketing advisor about our shopping feeds service.

10. Comparison Shopping Engines
Comparison Shopping Engines take the concept of Google Shopping and help spread the wealth to new markets across the web. From general, multi-use shopping engines like Connexity and Pricegrabber to specialized engines like WineZap, you can expand your reach by advertising in niche markets and get in front of more qualified audiences.

Affiliate marketing is an especially effective method for niche industries that have a lot of community engagement.

11. Affiliate Networks
Affiliate marketing is a way of using online influencers to spread your brand/product reach and give the influencer (affiliate) a commission for any sales they refer to your website. This is done through banners and text links on their websites that point back to yours. It’s an especially effective method for niche industries that have a lot of community engagement, such as fitness or lifestyle brands, but you should only consider it if you have the budget to pay out commissions and a recognizable brand. The most successful affiliate marketing campaigns include coupons or special discounts the affiliate can use to attract traffic for you.

12. Organic Search
Showing up in search results is key to helping new customers find your store! Read our DIY SEO ebook to learn how to perform keyword research, optimize title tags and meta descriptions and make sure your site shows up for the right searches. If DIY isn’t your thing, talk to a marketing advisor about our SEO services.

13. Local SEO
If you have a brick and mortar store, local SEO should be an important part of your marketing strategy. Make sure your Name, Address and local Phone Number (aka NAP) are the same across all major local directories, like Google My Business, Bing Local, Yelp, Foursquare, etc. Also make sure you’re involved with local events and the community!

14. Have a Website that Really Sells
All the shopping traffic in the world is meaningless if you don’t convert those visitors to sales. First and foremost, you should have beautiful design. Choose a theme that reflects your industry and never underestimate the power of beautiful images.

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Your website should also have a logical structure, with products grouped into categories that reflect how shoppers think through a purchase. Ask yourself, “how would a shopper logically find the product they are looking for through my navigation? Which categories or subcategories should this product display under?” Next, boost conversion with enhanced trust. Equip your store with an SSL and relevant quality badges (for example, the Better Business Bureau or association memberships that are important in your industry.) Lastly, make it easy to buy with thorough product descriptions, [multiple product images](https://www.volusion.com/blog/product-image-importance/), and an array of payment options. Give them everything they need to make the purchase decision then and there, without hesitation.

15. Provide Your Phone Number
Some customers want to speak to a real person, especially for large or complex purchases. If this fits your situation, have a large prominent phone number in your header. Boost your credibility with your own 1800 number.

16. Forums
Forums offer a great opportunity for you to communicate directly with your potential customers. The most popular forum at this time is Reddit. Find a way to soft-sell your brand while providing useful information. If members of the forum are engaging with your brand, offer them a coupon code!

Have a sign-up list at your booth so that shoppers can choose to hear more about your products in the future.

17. Events
Define your target market and identify the events they attend. Be a sponsor or have a booth. Chat with potential customers (promote and research) and network with other business - you might find some good partners to co-promote with in the future! Events are also a great way to build your email list. Have a sign-up list at your booth so that shoppers can choose to hear more about your products in the future.
Quick tip: Ask for a link to your store from the event website - perhaps couple it with an exclusive coupon!

18. Strategic Partnerships
There may be complementary business that you can co-promote with. Offer their customers exclusive discounts and personalized content.
Quick tip - Explore “official partnerships” and affiliate linking.

19. Resource Library Content
Create a library of content that answers customers’ questions related to what you sell. For example, if you sell products that help athletes recover from injuries, you could have a resource library devoted to best practices for healing from each injury that affects athletes. This content can get your brand and website in front of people who need your products!

Awareness-oriented marketing such as print and radio can be strategically used to drive additional search engine traffic.

20. Traditional Media
Digital advertising is a must, but more traditional mediums might also provide solid ROI. It will depend on your target market(s) and industry, but awareness-oriented marketing such as print and radio can be strategically used to drive additional search engine traffic. The trick is being mindful of the words you use. Make your domain explicitly clear and use the phrases they would need to use to find you should your name slip their memory.

21. Leverage a Social Media Star (AKA Influencer Marketing)
Your brand needs a face, and when it comes to ecommerce, nothing is better than obtaining user-generated content of your products being used in real life scenarios. Search Instagram or Twitter for influential bloggers and users that fit your brand image. Offer them some free products in exchange for posting about your brand on their social channels. After all, most consumers trust people they know or bloggers to tell them about new products or brands they love. Influencer marketing is one of the best ways to find new customers and increase conversions on social.

22. Word of Mouth
This type of marketing is incredibly powerful because not only is it free, but it comes with a built in review. People are more inclined to purchase when they have a referral directly from people they encounter day-to-day.

23. Email Marketing
This lead list is highly effective because customers have willingly opted into receiving this type of communication from your brand. Provide content that is beneficial to the customer segment, and you’ll be sure to have a successful campaign.

24. Start Your Own Blog
Are you an authority in your industry? Of course you are! Share that knowledge and build trust with your customers by providing custom content through a blog. This resource should link back to your site to encourage sales, so make sure to include a call-to-action.

25. Get a Booth at a Community Event or Farmers Market
Community events and markets can be a great way to show your products to a new group of people and get people excited about what you sell! Set up a booth and bring a few of your favorite products along to show off and send home with your new customers.

26. Print stickers promoting your business and hand them out
Everyone likes a free sticker. Create a neat sticker for your business and make sure to include your URL, and people may put the sticker on their car, notebook, water bottle or anywhere else that gets a lot of eyeballs. That publicity can help you earn new customers. One of our favorite sites for creating your own stickers is https://www.stickermule.com/.

27. Put a giant decal with your URL on your car
Drum up some local curiosity by adding a large decal with your store’s URL to your car. If it’s not immediately clear what you sell from your URL, consider adding a tagline next to the URL that says what you sell. Someone may see your business and find that you have exactly what they’re looking for.

Creating your own filter is easy-peasy and it's a quick way to get you noticed if you're hosting an event in a particular area or you want to attract local business.

28. Snapchat Filter
Get the word out about your business in a geographic area with a branded Snapchat geofilter. Be sure to include your URL so people know how to get to your store. Creating your own filter is easy-peasy and it's a quick way to get you noticed if you're hosting an event in a particular area or you want to attract local business. Just head on over here, submit your artwork and specify a time, date and location, and your filter is ready to help you earn new customers!

29. Sell wholesale to other retailers
Cast to a wider net of customers by dominating other areas of real estate. This allows visibility to a new target audience that has loyalty to those brands. Having them carry your products gives an implied stamp of approval from an established company.

Whether you sell supplies for cookie decorating, painting supplies or any other tools for a fun skill, you can set up a local class or meetup to share your skills.

30. Put together a class/webinar/meetup
If your products help with a hobby, this tip is for you! Whether you sell supplies for cookie decorating, painting supplies or any other tools for a fun skill, you can set up a local class or meetup (or even offer a class digitally as a webinar!) to share your skills and help potential customers brush up on theirs. Use your products and offer them for sale after class, and make sure to send everyone home with information about your store.

31. Leverage Marketplaces
Marketplaces like Etsy, Amazon and Ebay can be a great way to get your products in front of more shoppers and increase your sales. Add your products to these marketplaces in addition to your store, and reap the benefits of increased traffic.

32. Relentlessly Network
Just like in life, networking can lead to success in ecommerce. Talk to other business owners, bloggers, people in your target audience — everyone! They may be able to help drive customers your way.

A Live Chat feature can make it easy for customers to get the information they’re looking for.

33. Add Live Chat or Intercom to Your Site
Help answer customer questions in real time to ensure that more people who land on your site decide to make a purchase. A Live Chat feature can make it easy for customers to get the information they’re looking for so they’ll feel confident in their purchase decision.

34. Write Thorough, Unique Product Descriptions
You know your business — and your products — best. So who better than you to write your own product descriptions? Even if you aren’t the next Shakespeare, writing your own content can lend a personalized feel to your store that big box chains can’t match.

35. Send Shopping Cart Abandonment Emails
The global average for shopping cart abandonment is 77.24%. Give shoppers that extra reminder to buy can increase your sales and profitability, making shopping cart abandonment emails well worth the time they take to send!

Make it easier for people to decide to spend money with you by offering a discount for new customers.

36. Offer a Discount for First Time Purchases
Shopping on a new website can be intimidating — it’s so much easier to shop on a site you’ve already been to and have had success with in the past. Make it easier for people to decide to spend money with you by offering a discount for new customers. It doesn’t have to be a massive discount, but something small can help wavering customers decide to make that purchase.

37. Find Your Online Community
Post on forums and establish yourself as an expert. You can answer questions on Quora/Yahoo Answers/Reddit or even start a Facebook Group for your Industry

38. Join Forces with Other Complementary Retailers and Cross-Promote Your Products
If you have a blog, consider finding retailers who sell complementary products and featuring their products on your blog, while working with them to feature your products on their site. With this strategy, both stores can benefit from the shared publicity, and your customers can enjoy finding new, useful products, too.

39. Run a Contest or Giveaway
Contests are a great way to fire up people’s sense of competition and get them to pay attention to your brand. You can also use contests to get customers to share your name with others: for example, you can give people additional entries for the more people they get to enter. Plus you can give away lots of “door” prizes like stickers or other small items to keep your branding out there!

40. Have a Responsive Website
Shopping on smartphones has reached a new high, with 62% of smartphone owners making an online purchase using their smartphones in the last six months. This trend makes it vital that you have a website that looks good and shows the same information on every device, and responsive design can make that happen.

41. Write a Guest Blog Post
Find blogs that your customers read, and offer to write a guest post. While you can connect what you’re writing to your products, make sure you’re not being too sales-y, as this can be a big turnoff to readers and to the person running the blog.

42. Send Free Samples to Influencers
Look for people your target audience follows on social media and reach out to them to send samples of your products for free. If they like your product enough, they may feature it in a blog post or social media post, introducing tons of people to your product!

43. Connect with local and national magazines to get your products featured
Contact media who might be interested in featuring your products for their readers. You can look into local magazines who are often interested in featuring local entrepreneurs or national magazines with readers who would love to buy your products!

You can test the waters and get face-to-face feedback immediately from your customers, so you know what they’re looking for.

44. Launch a Pop Up Shop
Many retailers are exploring launching pop-up shops. These can help your brand get exposure and create demand for your products. You can also test the waters and get face-to-face feedback immediately from your customers, so you know what they’re looking for and which products resonate with them. These can be low-cost and help you connect with others in your community!

45. Use Quality Images on Your Site
Quality images can make the difference between a site that shoppers trust and one that leads to quick bounces. Look at sites like Pexels and Unsplash for free, beautiful stock photos that don’t look like every other site out there.

46. Utilize Color Theory for Your Add to Cart Buttons
Use color to help your add to cart buttons stand out and increase conversions on your site. Ideally, your add to cart button will be a contrasting color from your site’s background and theme so it catches users’ attention. Read more about color theory for ecommerce on our blog.

Let people know exactly what they’ll pay when they look at your product so they don’t get any surprises at checkout.

47. Offer Free Shipping
According to a recent study by AlixPartners, 36% of people abandon carts because the cost of shipping is too high. Let people know exactly what they’ll pay when they look at your product so they don’t get any surprises at checkout, and your store is bound to see a boost in the number of visitors who turn into customers.

48. Offer a Discount for Referring a Friend
You’ve probably heard the phrase “birds of a feather flock together.” For ecommerce, this means your shoppers probably have friends who are great potential customers, too. Offering your customers a “refer a friend and you each get $10 off your next order” discount can be a great way to spread the word about your business and get new, loyal customers!

49. Run a User Test to Fix Conversion and Usability Issues
Are you getting plenty of visitors, but not many conversions? You may have something stopping users from making a purchase. Get unbiased opinions to help spot conversion and usability issues through a user testing service such as UserTesting or UserBob.

50. Have a Social Mission
What’s better than buying new things? Buying new things and supporting a good cause. Donate a portion of your sales to a charity to do more for others and impress your customers at the same time. Additionally, when you give money to charity, you may qualify for some handy tax deductions. Not sure where to give your money? Here’s a handy guide to get you started!

If you have any questions about this post, leave us a comment and we'll get back to you!