Cross-border e-commerce start-up from scratch complete guide (9) – How to make your first sale

Guide to making your first sale as a cross-border e-commerce start-up

1. Social Media

I would recommend using Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for marketing. If your product or content is related to food, crafts, or art, you can also consider using Pinterest.

The way you post on each platform may be different, but we don’t need to spend a lot of time creating completely different posts for each platform.

In fact, we only need to optimize the information based on the characteristics of each platform.

Reusing Marketing Messages on Social Media

First, create a strong “content” that conveys your product information based on what you want to sell, focusing on the “reasons” behind the product.

It is recommended to use some purely non-promotional stories.

For example, if you offer products or services for small businesses, health instruments, or help artists create, it is difficult to show the products or services through pictures. What you need to do is to adapt the post into a message suitable for posting on other social media platforms.

Here’s a tweet from Zapier on Twitter, where the picture is just a simple sentence with a suitable link to a page that improves efficiency. Short and practical.

But the same content is derived on Facebook in this way. The text content on Facebook is longer, the expression on the picture is more abundant, and more detailed information can be included in the link description.

You can refer to the following methods to adjust the content according to different channels:

Facebook – Ask questions and attract readers. Encourage feedback, likes, comments, and shares.

Twitter – Short and simple, post the same thing all day but use different expressions, including some hashtags.

Instagram – Showcase beautiful pictures, add filters, include many hashtags, and include links in the information.

Pinterest – Add text to pictures! Pinterest is basically all about pictures, pictures, pictures!

Find effective methods and do more things.

The best secret to successfully promoting e-commerce sales on social media is to test and improve. Don’t waste time on other ineffective tools.

First, find all the posts you have published in the past. Use Twitter Analytics or Facebook Insight to determine which ones are effective and which ones are not.

If the strategy is ineffective, abandon it mercilessly. If it is effective (meaning there are more retweets, comments, clicks, or sales), do more similar operations.

Look for patterns in these successful posts, such as:

• Asking questions

• Posting popular products

• Tweets promoting product use tips

• Content on operation methods or instructions

• Attractive product pictures

Regularly analyze and find the most effective methods, and find ways to execute them more frequently.

By studying social media once a month, not only can you make initial sales, but you can also convert lifelong customers.

Find the best hashtags

If you want to search for and accurately target your customers, you can use hashtags.

When people search for popular topics, if you use currently popular hashtags, they are more likely to find you. This mechanism is similar to “riding the wave of popularity” in China’s Weibo platform.

To better ride the wave of popularity, you can use the tool Hashtagify. It displays hashtags related to your topic and provides more suggestions for you.

Assuming you sell jewelry and want to see what Etsy jewelry sellers are using. Search for #etsyjewelry, and you will see the top 10 suggestions that are most relevant to this tag.

From the graph, we can see that more customers are considering tags like #handmade, #shopping, or #handmadejewelry.


Who do you think would like to buy from a mysterious, never-seen company?

No one!

Instead, tell your story on social media. Tell stories and show the real story behind the store. Candid photos of your work, handling inventory, or tinkering with shipping supplies can add a level of humanity to your store and make you stand out.

Conveying Brand Values

The most successful e-commerce stores don’t just promote products on social media, but the causes they believe in.

Take outdoor product retailer REI’s #OptOutside advertising campaign for example: they refuse to sell products on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Who would do that?

Clearly, this is a company that truly loves outdoor activities. The campaign was successful because REI put their customers above short-term profits.

Offering Freebies

E-commerce has a special advantage in the social media world – you can offer products or freebies for free.

Of course, this comes at a cost. But the potential product sales value generated by this practice may be a significant sum for you.

For example, if you give away a $50-priced product as a freebie, you might get several hundred new email subscribers and perhaps 10 loyal customers.

However, the cost of acquiring these customers is not just $5 each, since the cost of the product may be only $30 – the actual cost per customer is $3. This is a good way to balance profits and attract new customers.

Attracting Customers through Special Deals and Discounts

If you want to promote sales through discounts, then social media is the place to go.

These types of promotional offers can spread quickly, as your customers share with their friends, who then purchase from you as well.

Create some coupon codes and release them first to your social media followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Here is an example of Diamond Candles’ holiday sale promotion for Independence Day.

Two: Getting Traffic from Search Engine Optimization

Today, the internet is dominated by search engines like Google.

If your ecommerce store can appear on the first page of Google, you will find a lot of new traffic and attract many customers. The process of getting better rankings through search engines is called search engine optimization or SEO.

This is how you can start bringing in a lot of traffic for your store using Google SEO.

Attracting Customers through Content Writing

The best way to use SEO is to attract customers through the content you write.

This content can be articles that answer questions (and cleverly promote what you offer), or lifestyle articles that your customers are interested in.

But don’t expect it to be easy. According to Ascend2, creating excellent content is the most effective and most difficult SEO technique.

The Honest blog is a great example of associating useful content for parents with their all-natural products. Instead of talking about clothes, printable coloring pages are offered, as done in this article.

Association? The same superheroes on their training pants are also linked to corresponding product pages.

It can help parents while promoting their products.

Providing content to customers is not the only way to get high rankings on Google.

When other websites link to you, it’s like casting a vote for your content. This means that when people search for questions related to the products you sell, Google will prioritize your page.

Google values backlinks almost above all other factors, so how do you know which of these most impactful backlinks are?

One of the most effective techniques is actually to observe your competitors.

Suppose you sell women’s activewear. You can look at Lululemon, a popular brand in this area.

By entering their address in tools like Majestic, you can search for their backlinks and see a list of links like this.

But Majestic comes with a cost. If you want to use free tools, consider using Monitor Backlinks. This way, you can check one site per week.

Once you know who is linking to your competitors, you can target them as link opportunities.

For example, if a popular fitness blog often links to Lululemon, you can send them free samples and ask for a review. The more authoritative websites that link to your backlinks, the higher your ranking on Google can be.

Mobile-Friendly Interface

Google and other search engines are increasingly prioritizing mobile search. This means you need to ensure that your website can run on mobile devices. The easiest way is to use a responsive template that varies according to screen size. Most of Shopify’s website templates already support mobile responsiveness.

UK clothing retailer Spoiled Brat has a large visual appearance on its desktop website.

The appearance of the tablet is similar, but the view is smaller.

Smartphone has a different layout and menu as well as cropped images.

Three Leveraging the Power of Content Marketing

How does content marketing work? Several different media can be used. The most common for e-commerce online stores is a blog, but you can also create videos and even host podcasts.

The secret to doing this work is to keep the content theme consistent and create valuable content for users.

You can use the following three methods to make the three main types of content (text, video, and audio) work for marketing.

Write Great Articles and Update Them Timely

And you need to constantly update the content.

My secret is to use older posts, update them, and then republish them as new content. This has two benefits: one is that it can save a lot of time, and the other is that because this content has already received user feedback, re-publishing it can attract more people.

Use Live Video

Do you want to start recording videos, but don’t have time to build a home studio or buy professional equipment? Don’t worry!

The solution is to use live streaming videos. This method has some advantages.

First of all, because it is live, no one expects it to be perfect. You don’t need professional equipment, or even a high-quality camera.

Secondly, you can create live videos and establish archives.

Currently, several well-known domestic e-commerce companies, such as gearbest and shein, have started selling products through Facebook Live.

Facebook also stated that people watch Facebook Live videos three times longer than non-live videos!

Four, Using Paid Advertising

The quickest way to make the first few sales in an e-commerce store may be through paid advertising, including Google Ads and Facebook Ads.

It is difficult to achieve 100% accuracy on the first try, and it is not always possible to get a lot of traffic. However, if you need to promote brand awareness in the market, this is the fastest way.

Facebook Ads are the most commonly used advertising type in online stores.

First, you need to accurately understand your target audience and then target them based on Facebook Ad audience characteristics.

Next, you need to ensure that the advertising materials are attractive enough to sell the products. But be sure to ensure that your product attributes are suitable for this advertising platform.

If you want to learn more ways, you can refer to our previous article on 32 ways to drive traffic to an independent site.

Five, Conclusion

There are actually thousands of ways to get your first order. You can promote it on social media and get traffic from search engines. You can use content marketing to generate interest and sponsor ads to attract people to your store. You can conduct offline events, start public relations activities, or attract members.

They are all good strategies and all have potential.

But all of the above are missing one thing – action.

Choose one or two strategies and stick to them until you get your first order or know that the current strategy is not working.

If a strategy is working, continue to use it until it is no longer effective. However, if the strategy you are currently using does not seem to be giving you the expected returns, continue to try different strategies.

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