Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Self Employed | What To Do Now That You Have An Online Shop

Hopefully you're well on the way to running your own shop. Maybe you've had a shop for a while now, or maybe you've been following our posts on how to get started -

What To Think About Before You Sell Online 
Professional Photographs of Your Own Products
Setting Up Your Online Shop

Either way, the work doesn't stop here. Now you have a shop full of beautiful products it's time to keep those cogs turning smoothly. Here are some tips!

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | What To Do Now That You Have An Online Shop

Once You Are Up and Running

It's time to get super organised. Everybody has their own way of doing it, whether it's an excel spreadsheet or a physical folder of beautifully designed order tracking sheets, it's a must for any seller! Here are a few things you need to keep track of on a daily basis -
  • For each order, you should save the customer name and address, items they've bought, date of order and price.
  • Next to each order you should have 2 sections to tick off - dispatched and alert customer of dispatch.
  • Everything you spend on the business should be recorded, this is really important as this can be offset against your tax. Stationery, jiffy bags, ink cartridges, whatever you use, pop it on your list and keep the receipt.
Social Media & Promotion 

Social media is the most important way to maximise sales – either paid or organic. Don't jump straight into it, creating accounts for every single social channel. Here are a few social channels that you must have, anything extra depends on how much time you have available to spend on it.
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
Daily updates are the best way to get your posts in front of your audience, but if you're struggling for content ideas, do not fall into the trap of posting the first thing you think of. A bad image on Instagram can mean the loss of customers, a last minute post on Facebook can mean a drop in engagement which actually has a knock on effect on every post that follows.

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | What To Do Now That You Have An Online Shop

Social media content strategies take just as much time as branding your whole company. Everything you post, whether it's written content or images, should be in line with your branding. Here are a few tips to get started.
  • Create a content plan and calendar for each social channel.
  • Plan your content a week ahead of schedule.
  • Set targets and goals for specific dates.
  • Be aware of all national holidays and create content that fits in with that - Christmas, Mother's Day, Easter etc.
  • Create templates and guidelines for content style.
Social media is a great way to find like minded individuals. Don't be afraid to interact with other sellers, and potential buyers. Be kind and share other people's work too - just as long as they're not a direct competitor. Make friends and get involved in online selling communities like your local Etsy group.

Email Marketing

Think about how many shops email you every day. How many of those emails do you click through, even when you weren't planning on buying anything?
The thing with individual sellers is people who buy from you can be much more loyal with you than they are with big companies. Why? Because they know who made the item, they know how much love and care you've put into each item, and most importantly they want to support you! Here are a few tips to get started with email marketing - 
  • Set up an account with Mailchimp or Active Campaign.
  • Spend a few hours designing the perfect template that you can drop information, images and links in to easily.
  • After every sale, message your customer with a link to join your mailing list.
  • Have an option to join your mailing list on your seller page.
  • Remind people on social that they can join your mailing list.
  • Send regular emails, whether they're weekly or monthly.
  • Like Social Media, don't rush into posting emails, plan the best content possible so you don't lose subscribers!
Emails are the best way to push your items infront of people who have already bought an item from you, or are considering doing in the future. 

Ma Bicyclette: Self Employed | What To Do Now That You Have An Online Shop - Project Black

If you need help with Social Media or Email Marketing, well you're in luck! Nicola runs her own company - Project Black - which is affordable and will help take a big weight off your shoulders so you can concentrate on your products and customers!

Customer Service

Even once your customer has handed over their money, it is still important to keep them happy! Returning customers is the ideal. A happy customer is a lot more likely to Tweet or Instagram their purchase. Their feedback is also important to distill trust for future buyers. Here are a few tips to create the best after sale experience for your customer -
  • Reply to emails and questions promptly, be friendly but professional.
  • Package nicely and carefully. It shows that you really care about your business. Make sure everything is safe from clumsy postmen.
  • Follow up after a sale to see if they're happy.
  • Search for hashtags and keep an eye on any posts they've tagged your shop in. Whether positive or negative, always reply. Be visible!

We hope this helps you on your way to online selling success! If you have any questions about setting up shop, don't be afraid to tweet the Bicyclette Gang! If you're interested in hearing more about how Nicola can help you with Social Media, drop her an email at nicola@projectblack.co

Steph H, Steph B & Nicola

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