It’s been months.
You’ve poured your heart and soul into your business.
And don’t even get me started on that money…
All down the drain.
You read about people’s wins in Facebook groups and start to roll your eyes.
Oh please, those can’t possibly be real. I’ve spent months doing this. Trying and failing. Trying and failing. Trying and failing. And ended up in a worse position than when I started.
It’s time to POP that negativity bubble in your head.
I know it sucks that you haven’t succeeded in your first few months. But the truth is, I started my first online store in 2014 and didn’t have my first successful store until 2016.
Running an online store isn’t about winning the lottery.
It’s about building a long-term, sustainable business.
And you might not get it right your first time… or second… or third.
You can’t fall apart just because you didn’t become an overnight millionaire.
I never became one either.
I know from personal experience that this isn’t easy.
It’s hard. Really hard.
And some obstacles you’ll face will crush you so hard you won’t know how to get back up.
But eventually, you do get back up… because you don’t have any other choice.
You can either be tied to one income stream your whole life or you can build multiple streams of income so you can break free from the rat race.
So, what do you wanna do?
If you’re ready to give this one more shot, let’s change up your approach so you can win.
Remember: this is what you’ve always wanted so it’s worth fighting for.
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6 Things To Do After Months of No Sales
1. Build an Audience
My biggest regret for my most successful online store was stopping the blog after the sales started rolling in. Two years later, blog posts I wrote in those first few months are still bringing in traffic to my website even though I haven’t touched it in years.
Content marketing is one of the greatest marketing tactics you can have for a niche store. If you focus on building out your blog while patiently waiting for sales, you’ll still be building an asset.
Plus, if you’re building blog content for a specific niche, you’ll be attracting the right kind of people to your website. And then one day, if you decide to sell your business, it’s more than just an online store that made sales, it’s also a blog that generates traffic.
When it comes to building out blog content, start small. Go after niche keywords that have up to 5,000 monthly searches. Then after a few months go after niche keywords with up to 25,000 monthly searches. And keep expanding the size of the keywords. And after six months, update your older articles to keep them relevant.
After a couple of years of doing this, you’ll own your niche and your blog will be hitting its best numbers. And your store won’t just be a store. It’ll be a go-to stop for every person in your niche.
The point that I want to emphasize is don’t build a store just to make some passive income, build a store to create an asset. Build for the long-term.
The reality is if you were building out a blog, publishing content twice a week when you first started a few months ago, you’d probably be getting some organic traffic by now that you’d be able to retarget.
Speaking of retargeting…
2. Send Relevant Traffic
When most people talk about how they spent money and ended up with a big fat zero in sales, they’re usually talking about Facebook Ads.
However, Facebook doesn’t know who your target audience is without you telling them.
There are a few tricks to help you send relevant traffic to your store so that Facebook Ads can become more effective at converting the sale.
The first is to do a content marketing trick I did that helped me get a couple of sales when my store was only two days old. I created yoga quotes articles on my store’s blog.
After adding the Facebook Pixel and creating a retargeting ad, I used Twitter to reach out to the yoga influencers whose quotes were featured in the article. Some of those influencers shared the post, bringing in hundreds of relevant yoga lovers to the article.
And with that retargeting ad showing our product, I got to hear my first cha-ching.
The second trick was recommended to me by a Facebook employee I met a couple of weeks ago.
To get your first sale, choose keywords that are as “broad” as possible. For example, if you’re in the yoga space, use an interest such as “yoga” instead of something more specific like “Iyengar yoga.”
Next, include other competitors whose audiences are similar to yours. For example, if you’re in fashion, don’t add a bunch of random fashion pages. But add the fashion brands whose style is similar to yours. For example, if you sell vintage fashion clothing you might add “ModCloth,” “Nasty Gal,” or “Beyond Retro.”
These two tricks will help bring a relevant audience to your ads which will help you better convert that browser into a buyer.
3. Find the Right Product
It’s true that all it takes is one winning product to create a six-figure store. But that one product won’t be popular a year from now. So you’re always on the hunt for trending products.
Most of them won’t convert. But a lucky few do.
The easiest way to inch closer to finding winning products is to sell products found in our what to sell section. We update our product lists regularly so you’ll always find the best products to sell.
We’ve broken down our lists into different categories – here are a few lists you can check out to get started:
- 16 Best-Selling Dropshipping Products Around the World
- 10 Best Summer Products to Sell in 2019
- 10 Best Women’s Clothing to Sell in 2019
- 10 Unique Products to Sell in 2019
And if you want to find products to sell on your own, you can check out our guide on the eight easiest ways to find winning products.
We also have a video on products to avoid dropshipping to prevent you from picking the wrong items.
Ultimately, finding a winning product boils down to experimentation. But it can also come down to luck.
The simplest way to get luck on your side is to spend some time on Facebook and Instagram every day.
Scroll through your newsfeed to find as many ads as you can. Take a look at the engagement. Save the gems. Look for the exact or similar products on Aliexpress.
You can learn a lot from your competitors, so keep your eyes peeled.
4. Join Pinterest Group Boards
To find group boards that you can join, you can search Pinterest, and refine your search by selecting "Boards". You can also check out a few Facebook groups to find group board creators looking for contributors. Keep in mind that you’ll get a ton of rejections when applying for group boards. And by rejections what I really mean is silence. There will be a ton of people who will never get back to you. But every now and then, your hard work will pay off and you’ll be accepted into group boards.
When I apply for group boards, I typically email the person by clicking the link in their Pinterest account. I’ll send a message to let them know why I’d like to join their group and how I’ll be a team player by repinning the posts of others of the group (and I actually do that and you should too).
My message typically reads as…
“Hey [name], I’d love to be a contributor on your [board name] group board. My Pinterest has 1.2 million monthly viewers so I make sure to post high-quality content. I’d be more than happy to support the content of others in the group board by repinning their content. I’ve followed your Pinterest account so I can support more of your posts too!
My Pinterest is: https://www.pinterest.ca/nicolemferreira/
Thank you SO much for considering me for this board. You honestly have no idea how much this means to me.
If you find that no one is letting you into their group boards, I’d be happy to let you in some of my group boards. Just leave a comment in this post if there’s a match between the content on your store and the boards on my Pinterest account.
5. Start Using Instagram Stories
At a recent Facebook event I attended, there was a panel of popular online retailers. The host asked the ultimate question: “Facebook or Instagram?”
Every store owner on the panel not only said Instagram, but they also gave a massive shout-out to Instagram Stories, which have helped them generate a ton of sales.
With Instagram Stories, you can send traffic back to your website with only one swipe.
But to succeed with Stories, you’ll need to get more followers on Instagram. By having more followers, you’ll be able to reach more people with that feature.
If you don’t have a big enough audience yet, you can reach out to popular Instagram fan pages with big audiences.
For example, if you own a pet shop, you might reach out to popular dog breed fan pages to get a shout-out on your store. But if you ask them to do a sponsored Story instead, you might actually be able to generate even more sales than if you were to get a shout-out on a Newsfeed post.
6. Make Your Website Look Professional
Be honest, if you asked an expert to look at your store right now, would they think it was professional?
On multiple occasions, I’ve reviewed online stores only to find stores with neon blue backgrounds or pink fonts.
Just because you can customize your online store in any way you want doesn’t mean that there aren’t any best practices to follow. You might want to check out our store design article or check out the most beautiful Shopify stores if you think this applies to you.
There’s a reason why most online retailers have black fonts, white backgrounds, and professional photos instead of selfies. It converts better.
When you look at your competitors, try to make your store design look like theirs while maintaining your own branding.
Add products that maintain a consistent look so you don’t look like you’re dropshipping. For example, don’t post one product photo as a selfie and another as a professional studio shot. Choose a color palette that matches your niche. Use a text-based logo if your design skills aren’t your best skills. Spend time to find a stock photo for your homepage banner image that matches the tone of your website instead of picking the first one you see.
Most of the time doing what works converts better than trying to stand out.
Lulus’ online store design looks professional with their professionally shot photos, stunning graphic design, navigation layout, filtering options, and more. While their photos don’t remove the background, they maintain a consistent look that helps you recognize that it’s shot by the same person.
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You might’ve been having a rough few months when it comes to sales.
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there.
But the story isn’t over yet… at least it doesn’t have to be.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, get a second opinion on your store to see how you can improve.
Success takes time.
There are no overnight millionaires.
On tough days, take time to reflect on why you started in the first place to keep the fight alive.
You might not be as successful as you want to be today.
But five years from now, you might look back to realize that you did have it in you all along.