How to Scale an E-Commerce Store from $0 to $50,000 per Month
So you want to start an e-commerce store – awesome! Or maybe you’ve just set one up, but you’re not sure where to go next. In either scenario, you’re probably wondering how on earth you’re going to build a customer base and start bringing in the dough.
There’s no one magic formula that will create instant success. However, there are plenty of tried-and-tried techniques you can use to up your odds. Building a thriving e-commerce store takes some effort and time, but if you approach it carefully you can scale your revenue quicker than you might expect.
In this post, I’ll look at four tips for taking your brand new e-commerce store and scaling it from $0 to $50,000 per month (or more). Let’s get to work!
1. Build a Top-Quality E-Commerce Website
Naturally, your e-commerce success begins with your actual online storefront. In other words, it’s your website – the place customers will go to purchase your products or services.
First and foremost, you’ll need a dedicated website. While you can list your products on existing marketplaces like Amazon, this really isn’t a smart approach. Your own website gives you complete control over branding, pricing, and the purchasing experience, just to name a few perks.
There are a lot of things that go into building and maintaining an e-commerce website that gets results. You’ll want to choose a platform that provides you with a lot of customization options (WordPress + WooCommerce or Shopify is a great pick), optimize your site’s performance, and so on.
Perhaps most importantly, though, you’ll want your site to have a design that draws people in and encourages them to take the plunge. This means:
- Designing your website with User Experience (UX) as a top priority. It needs to be easy for visitors to navigate around, find what they need, and check out.
- Giving your site a clean and professional look. You want to demonstrate that you’re serious and trustworthy, which requires taking your time with the design process rather than slapping something together too quickly.
- Creating dedicated landing pages. A strong landing page is one of your best tools for converting visitors into customers.
- Using high-quality images and other media. That’s especially important when showing off your products.
- Incorporating ‘social proof’, such as testimonials, user reviews, and the like. There are plenty of affordable tools that can help you do this, such as Fomo and Stamped.
- Making it obvious what you bring to the table. Put your top benefits and best features front and center, both on the home page and on individual product/service pages.
The more time you invest in your website upfront, the easier it should be to grow your customer base quickly. You don’t want people who visit your site for the first time to be scared off by poor design or slow pages – you want them to say “Wow!”
2. Be Present on Social Media
It’s easy to assume that social media matters more for blogs and content-focused business. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Having a strong social media presence is absolutely vital for any e-commerce venture.
Social media does a lot of things for your e-commerce store. It can:
- Spread the word about your business, helping you reach new potential customers.
- Get your branding out there and improve your visibility.
- Provide a way for current and potential customers to engage with your business, making them more invested in it.
- Offer a vehicle for providing quick and efficient customer support.
- Give you a free and easy way to market your products, services, and deals.
Social media is generally free to get started with – all it requires is time and research. You’ll want to get started by selecting a few platforms to focus on. That means looking closely at your target market, and figuring out what platforms they like. (Hint: If your potential customers are young, go for Instagram rather than Facebook.)
Then it’s a matter of setting up accounts on those platforms, incorporating your branding, and posting content! Make sure to post regularly, and have someone monitoring each account. People expect prompt responses from brands on social media, so you don’t want to miss any replies.
3. Give Search Engine Optimization (SEO) the Attention It Deserves
So you’ve got a fantastic e-commerce store – but nobody knows about it yet. No matter how professional and user-friendly your site is, that won’t do you a bit of good if you can’t attract any visitors.
That means digging in deep when it comes to Search Engine Optimization (SEO). If you’re new to the term, it’s a catchall phrase for a bunch of techniques designed to make sure your content shows up on the first page in search results on Google (and other search engines too, naturally).
Search engines like Google play a huge role in determining who stumbles across your e-commerce store. SEO means learning a little about what Google prioritizes, and using that know-how to create content that ranks highly.
Effective SEO isn’t something you can learn in a day. But some of the best places to start include:
- Keywords. A major aspect of SEO success is choosing keywords that people are already searching for, and incorporating them into your content in a natural way.
- Link building. This involves linking strategically to your own content, and also encouraging other people to link back to your stuff.
- Meta tags. You can use meta tags to customize what potential customers see in search results, making it a whole lot easier to grab their attention.
It’s also important to remember that SEO isn’t just for your website. It’s important there, but it also matters elsewhere – in your social media profiles, ads, and other marketing channels. The more smart SEO you use, the more customers you can bring into your store.
SEO can be pretty intimidating – it’s a big field, and it’s always changing. So this is a great place to reach out if you need a little help. We can help you create data-driven SEO campaigns that really work – don’t hesitate to get in touch!
4. Choose Your Marketing Channels Carefully (And Diversify!)
SEO is fantastic for bringing in organic traffic. Over time, it can build up a steady customer base for your e-commerce store.
However, if you’re looking to scale up quickly, SEO alone won’t do the job. You’ll also need to invest in direct advertising. While e-commerce is unique in many ways, it’s still business, and it’s still all about attracting customers. In other words, you need to get the word out there.
By the same token, a single marketing channel usually isn’t enough. On the flip side, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, especially at the beginning when you probably have a tight budget.
So you’ll need to find a balance. Our suggestion is to invest in a few strong marketing channels upfront – pick two to three options that are within your budget and that you can keep up with over the long term.
Not sure where to start? Let’s look at a couple of the best marketing channels for new e-commerce stores. Each one of these is pretty easy to get started with and won’t break the bank, but can help you get closer to that golden $50,000 per month mark.
This is an excellent place to begin when marketing your e-commerce store, no matter what niche you’re in. Email marketing requires a minimal upfront investment, but can have impressive returns over time.
In a nutshell, email marketing involves:
- Collecting email addresses from current and potential customers
- Adding those addresses to a central list
- Sending out emails to your list periodically
The first step to getting started with this technique is picking out an email marketing platform. This makes the process quick and simple. For example, ActiveCampaign is a solid pick:
This platform is pretty low-cost, and gives you everything you need to build a list and market to it. You can even automate your email campaigns.
Once you’ve got your platform in hand, you’ll want to place some sign-up forms on your website and start gathering addresses. You can also promote your email list via social media, and anywhere else you have a presence online.
Then you can start designing and sending out emails! How you approach that part is totally up to you, but here are a few tips:
- Create a ‘welcome email’ for new subscribers.
- Use your campaigns to spread the word about new products and services, promote deals, and share useful information.
- Personalize your messages as much as possible.
- ‘Segment’ your email list, so you can send specially-designed emails to different groups (past vs. prospective customers, for example).
- Keep an eye on your metrics, so you can see what types of emails, headlines, and sending times work best.
Email marketing takes some patience to master, but the results are well worth it. This is one of your best options for building loyal repeat customers, and keeping your business at the forefront of your target audience’s mind.
What about direct advertising? In today’s world of social media and SEO, are ads even necessary anymore?
The short answer is yes – ads can still offer an excellent Return on Investment (ROI). There’s still no substitute for getting out there and saying “Here are my awesome products, check them out!”
Plus, online advertising doesn’t have to be expensive. You just need to choose the right platforms to get started with. Let’s look at two, starting with Google Ads:
Google has a massive reach (obviously), so advertising with them is a no-brainer. You’ll be able to get your ads in front of a huge potential audience. Plus, Google Ads are very customizable. You can set whatever budget you like, target your ads to very specific types of users, and get a lot of control over their design.
Plus, using Google Ads also gives you access to Google Shopping. This is kind of like Google’s own version of Amazon. Users will go searching for products like yours, and if you play your cards right, you can get your items to show up in the results.
Just like Google, Facebook has a long arm. That makes it another natural vehicle for reaching your target audience, whoever they might happen to be.
Facebook Ads are simple to get started with, even for beginners. You can create targeted campaigns, set a specific budget, and run ads in multiple formats. Those ads can include images or videos, and they’ll be highly-responsive to mobile devices.
Plus, you’ll get access to tracking data that can help you create more effective ads over time. This is vital for scaling your e-commerce business.
Just remember that when it comes to online ads – Google, Facebook, or otherwise – you don’t want to start out too big. It’s important to focus on profitability first and foremost.
That means setting a small budget to start with, running some campaigns, and making whatever changes are necessary so that you’re seeing a decent ROI. Then, once you have a few successes under your belt, you can start scaling up your budget and campaigns into the stratosphere.
When you’re just starting out, scaling your e-commerce store from $0 to $50,000 per month (or more) can seem like a pipe dream. Many have done it before you, though – and you can do the same. It just takes the right combination of techniques, tools, and expert support.
Remember these four keys to scaling your e-commerce business quickly:
- Build a top-quality e-commerce website.
- Be present on social media.
- Give Search Engine Optimization (SEO) the attention it deserves.
- Choose your marketing channels carefully (and diversify!).
Do you have any questions about how to succeed as an online business? Ask away in the comments section below!