How to Start a Successful Online Store: The 4 Steps It Takes

Building businesses from the ground up takes a lot of hard work and elbow grease. From planning to launch, every step is its own carefully looked at the process. The very same can and should be said for creating an eCommerce store. However, what’s the best way to go about starting that process? How exactly do we plan from the ground up when the store itself exists online? How to start a successful online store becomes a little easier when you’ve got a step-by-step process to follow, and luckily, we’ve got the expert on the topic.

Maxwell Finn, a Facebook ads expert, teaches entrepreneurs how to start a successful online store in just under a year! Building a six-figure store can seem a little daunting especially since your experience might be slim to none, but we’ve got all the best tips and tricks you’ll need to know when dipping your toes into the waters of eCommerce and successfully becoming a business owner online.

how to start a successful online store

How to Start a Successful Online Store and The CLICK Technique: “C” For Curiosity and Cultivate

Before we get into the details of how to start a successful online store, however, we cannot forget to talk about The CLICK Technique! A five day crash course in online marketing, The CLICK Technique aims to help you generate the traffic and leads you’ve been looking for, while giving you an easy to follow, step by step process that outlines and highlights the things you must be doing. Each letter in the word “CLICK” stands for something different, and when combined, you’ll find the results you’re looking for!

In the case of how to start a successful online store, we’ll be focusing on both C’s in the word “CLICK”—the first standing for “curiosity”. In order to get people interested in what you’ve got to offer, you need to find a way to appear on their radar. You need to appeal to their interests and pique their curiosity—anything to get them back towards your website.

The second C stands for “cultivate”, which is important follow up after you’ve gotten their information. You need to make sure you’re building long lasting relationships with your clients and nurturing them in a way that makes them feel important and wanted is essential in making sure they stay around.

Starting an eCommerce store requires a healthy dose of curiosity and cultivation, if you ask me. You can’t generate a successful online store without first getting customers interested and curious in what you’ve got to offer. However, once they are interested, you need to work hard to maintain that professional relationship, and cultivating those customers—especially the first few you get—is essential to your long term success and value.

How to Start a Successful Online Store: 4 Steps For Guaranteed Results

So where do we go from here? How to start an successful online store becomes an easier question to answer when you put your focus in the right place from the beginning. Too many people are focused on starting eCommerce stores to get a lot of money. With the way eCommerce is building—and has been building over the years—it’s getting too expensive, difficult, and competitive to dive in for the sake of money. You need something more.

Before you do anything, you need to have a brand. You need a reason to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing; if you don’t have that when you start? Maybe you should question why you want to start a store to begin with. It’s about selling a brand, a story.

Think about it as if you’re opening a physical business. You wouldn’t just jump into it without months of planning, looking at all the angles, and investing time and money into it, right? You should have this same thought process when creating your eCommerce store—just because it’s easier to put up a website doesn’t mean that you should treat it any differently. Being serious from the start is your best bet. Also, consider making the common e-commerce marketing mistakes every new seller makes. 

Step 1: Understand Your “Why” and Your Brand

The first step in how to start a successful online store relies on that exact train of thought: you need to understand that you’re not just selling products, you’re building a brand. It’s more difficult to attract a cold customer if you’re not pitching a story or a commonality that’ll lead to a genuine relationship with a prospect before selling a product.

Specifically, we look to a popular business model created by Ezra Firestone. Ezra states that you start with a story. You start with content upfront for your cold traffic; you don’t just give into it and pitch your product to a cold audience. That’s not profitable for you or your business. After all, 98% of people who visit your website for the first time don’t convert.

The first advertisements you create that are geared toward cold traffic should be based on sharing content that is agitating a problem that your product solves. Instead of pitching a solution, you’re pitching the problem, and this earns you two separate wins. First, you’re getting the larger audience to self-identify that they’re the right fit for the product and that this is a problem they can relate to.

Second, with agitating the problem, the people that relate are reinforced about why the product is such a big deal. It hits on reasons they might not have thought of, and when the solution is pitched again during the soft sale phase, they’re much more likely to engage and convert because they’ve already been nurtured.

From there, you’ve already begun to sow seeds of a relationship. You want to build something that’s more than just superficial brand that cares about you upfront but cares about your money more. That’s something you need to keep in mind in terms of how to start a successful online store.

Step 2: Know Your Content

After you’ve figured out the message you want to be sending, you need to focus on the content you’ll be sharing in order to gain an audience. When it comes to how to start a successful online store, you need to understand that at each point of the process, there are going to be people who fall out of the funnel, and that’s okay. You need to be okay with the fact that you’re going to lose people and “trim the fat” the further you go into retargeting. Through these methods, however, you’ll be able to find your ideal customer: someone who’s going to engage at a high level with everything you produce.

The first content you share—whether it’s a video, a blog post, or a mix of the two—sets the thresholds of engagement that trigger the next step in the sequence. So how do you go about defining the people you want to engage? It’s up to you! For example, if you share a video on Facebook, you can create an audience through that site based on how many people watch a certain percentage of the video. Those people then go onto the next step in the sequence, generating quality leads from the beginning!

Of course, once you start to get more traffic, you can increase the bar of what triggers that certain jump to make the audience more qualified. These qualities can vary based on a multitude of factors. As long as you’ve got a sequence set up, you’re on your way on how to start a successful online store.

Step 3: Offer Micro Commitments

Once you’ve engaged your potential audience and pushed them through to the next sequence, you want to offer them a micro commitment. What this means is that you’re meeting them in the middle on something that’s not a full agreement to buy the product, but it’s enough where you’re beginning to build that relationship. It’s the start of developing more trust while also gaining more ways to communicate with the client in a much more cost-effective manner.

In the case of how to start a successful online store, a micro commitment might be signing up for an email list for a free download or offering something of value in exchange for messenger services. This is an important step to think about when trying to cultivate your relationships with potential prospects!

Customer service is where you can really shine against the competition. With competition out there like the behemoth of Amazon, it’s hard to compete on their level. However, while you can’t beat them on price, speed, or efficiency quite yet, you can challenge them on the brand, storytelling, and customer service that you provide. Building a community, customer experience, and making sure the customer always comes first is what sets small start-ups apart from the rest. That’s an essential step in how to start a successful online store.

Step 4: Soft Selling and Utilizing Messenger

Once you’ve garnered your audience, you’re ready for the next—and final—step. When it comes to how to start a successful online business, you need to be ready for the soft sell and the pitch of your product. When introducing the product, you offer the solution to the problems you agitated in your first step. This is the “who”, “what”, and “why” of the product, and making sure the product looks its best during its debut is very important. The creative asset is necessary, after all, to give people an idea of what they’ll be buying.

When it comes to Facebook ads, you want to make sure you’ve got high quality content you can use, whether it be a video clip or high resolution images. If you don’t have these things, it’s worth investing a little bit to acquire some, especially through customers! Sending out product to customers and getting user generated content is a great place to start when you’re launching for the first time.

How to start a successful online store comes full circle with the first pitch, which should be a hybrid between a micro commitment and engaging with customers. To start this kind of engagement, you could run an ad with the product in it but also include something like a contest! This gets people who might not be ready to buy anything a chance for a micro commitment, and you can give them extra nurturing in a channel that doesn’t cost the business extra money.

From there, you can get into more personal channels—say, ManyChat, for example. ManyChat allows you to subscribe people to the chat box if they comment on a post you make. From there, they can follow up in Facebook messenger. The key with messenger, however, relies on your strength to not be dependent on broadcasts. Messenger is great with automation, and if you’re going to put people into a messenger sequence, you should already have a sequence built out that—ideally—can time out, down to the hour, when they’re getting messages.

In messenger, you can also rely on constantly get micro commitments. Instead of every message being a big pitch or an entire tip, you could ask a quick short question. This gives the people who would normally unsubscribe a chance to say ‘no’ to seeing certain kinds of content, instead. This also allows you to continue building out the profile on your users so you can tailor messages to them; this’ll give you a lot more successful and less overall drop off.

How to Start a Successful Online Store: Stay Focused and You’ll Succeed

In the end, how to start a successful online store relies entirely on you and what you’re willing to put in to make your business work. Make sure that you’re focused on building the brand and building lasting relationships with customers and potential prospects. Being genuine and forthright is what will set you apart from the very beginning, and extra care is something everyone should be willing to do.

On top of that, make sure you’re using your ads for cold traffic and that you’re identifying the traffic in order to build these important relationships. If you spend more time focusing on how to increase the average order value and how to maximize customer lifetime value, you’ll find more success. Making the process as smooth and successful for your customer as possible can and should be your number one priority. With that in mind, it’s easy to see that how to start a successful online store starts—and ends—with you and your hard work!