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We Quintupled Our Online Sales in Two Months With These Steps, and So Can You

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I've been in a number of businesses, but am now only involved in my first consumer product company -- which has been both highly educational, but also tests my patience. We've been operating BottleKeeper as a direct-to-consumer ecommerce platform and have been fortunate to have some great success over the past 10 short months. But it wasn't until recently that I discovered the power of Facebook video advertising, and I must say, BottleKeeper will never be the same.

It’s important to note that the steps I’m about to lay out, as to how we accomplished increasing our online sales by more than 500 percent in 60 days, may seem basic for those of you that have companies with departments or divisions built around social media and/or online customer acquisition. This article, and the included steps, is tailored to those that run smaller startup businesses and those that may be unsure how to put the necessary tools in place to capture substantial revenue growth via an online platform. 

Related: Strategies to Drive Shoppers to Your Online Store

First, let’s set the foundation.

Make checkout simple.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of articles and books written on ecommerce and the importance of having your potential customer click as few buttons and see as few pages as possible between the point at which they’re interested to the point they’ve completed a transaction. For BottleKeeper, we use WooCommerce as our built-in shop and use a number of plugins that allow us to shorten the steps between decision and purchase.

One of those plugins is called “Direct Checkout” and has the customer skip the cart page and go directly to checkout when they select a product or quantity they’re interested in. By eliminating the “cart” page and shortening the process, we decreased our "abandoned carts" rate by more than 10 percent -- which means we’re closing more sales.

Capture your audience.

If you’re going to spend money on getting potential customers to your site, you’d better figure out how to both keep them there and entice them to engage -- note that there are varying levels of engagement, from joining your email list to a full blown transaction.

Yes, you’ll need to have captivating visuals and a clear message with great content, which you can read all about in the aforementioned dozens or hundreds of books and articles on ecommerce. Once that’s in place, use an entry/exit intent pop-up that incentivizes the person to engage.

At BottleKeeper, we use a plugin called “PopupAlly,” that allows us to get the consumer’s attention as they enter the site by offering them a 10 or 20 percent top-secret discount code for joining the email list, which they could then immediately use to make a purchase. We also use an “exit intent” popup, which knows when a customer is going to leave the page and reminds them of the “top-secret discount code” they’re about to miss.

Related: How to Get People to Stop Ditching Their Online Shopping Cart

The combination of entry and exit intent popups resulted in a 32 percent increase in our conversion rate and more than tripled our email database in two months.

Use videos, not pictures.

So now that you’re all set up to capture the potential customers that end up at your website, let’s figure out how to send some your way. For BottleKeeper, we used Facebook and took full advantage of its recent priority on video content for advertising. What I mean is that, recently Facebook launched video ads for business and they’re putting an enormous focus on promoting these ads over standard image-based ads -- so now’s the time to take advantage.

First, use your creative genius to shoot a video of your product or service in action -- yes, you can pay to have it done but we didn’t and instead just used a DSLR to capture some video and iMovie to edit. If possible, create a couple of videos to test side by side.

Next, create an ad campaign with your business Facebook account, while targeting your ideal consumers. When deciding whether to target customers on "interests" or "behaviors," know that the latter is based on users that have taken actionable steps while interacting with the market you’re targeting -- which means they’re much more likely to actively engage with your brand. Now launch your campaigns with small amounts of money to test the response -- essentially $10 to $20 per day for five days -- then iterate them and re-test.

As your response to the ads improves and more people end up at your online shop, you can begin to scale up the spend to drive more customers to your shop and hopefully gain some virality -- like we did -- that will allow you to increase sales by over 500 percent in two months.

Related: How to Make Your Facebook Ads More Enticing