Promoting your business "On-Line"

  wee eddie 10:46 13 Mar 2008

I am gathering the knowledge together to launch a Specialist (one man operated, relatively low turnover expected) Shop "on-line" and I would welcome all advice on how I might promote it's website.

There are still quite a few steps to go before Launch which may not be until next year as i haven't solved the packaging problem yet.

Please forget the usual line-up of buzz words and keep it fairly simple. I'm no wizard and may need to do all the Development work myself!

  Forum Editor 19:33 13 Mar 2008

can be a nightmare if you don't have any previous experience, and not surprisingly many people soon give up in despair.

Before worrying about how to attract customers, your priority should be to familiarise yourself with some key aspects of online selling:

1. Identify your market - the internet is a global communications network, and customers may come to your site from all over the world. If you are happy to supply your goods/services to someone in Kyoto or Alice springs, fair enough, but if you're not you must make sure people know it.

2. Online consumers expect instant service, so plan accordingly; if people will have to wait four weeks for delivery be prepared to tell them so, loud and clear, on the site.

3. Everyone wants to use a credit card - they've been told it's the safest way to shop online, and unless you have some arrangement for accepting card payments you may as well not bother.

4. There are laws - lots of them - relating to online trading; make sure you know about them, and comply with them.

5. Think about meeting demand. If you are inundated with orders will you be able to cope? Being inundated is a relative term - to a sculptor five orders may be a daunting prospect, whereas it may take 5000 orders to swamp someone who sells packs of playing cards.

When you're ready, ask more specific questions, and we'll take them one by one.

  Chris the Ancient 12:30 14 Mar 2008

There are lots of 'agencies' out there who offer to get your website well up in the listings. I can't say that any of them seemed to offer that much help at what I would call a reasonable price.

Some time ago, I did have a website for a business that I used to run, and I did manage to get myself well up in search listings.

I thought of the things that people might put into google as a search phrase to find my sort of business and made a list of them.

Now comes a bit of technobabble I'm afraid!... These phrases, extracts of phrases and keywords were included in my 'home page' as metatags. This did make my site pop up higher in the listings than similar business. It also saved the expense of paying someone else to do the promotional work for me.

So, if you are going to get someone else to compose your website, make sure that you discuss metatags (that you have thought through and listed) with them. If you are going to do it yourself, there are various ways of finding out how to make and include them by searching thorough google, and then include them in the preamble of the html coding for your home page.

If that is all too much for you, you can PM me and I will send you an extract of my no longer extant home page preamble to see what is happening. (BTW, I will be away over the weekend!)

It isn't the 'be all and end all' method of promoting your website, but it does help.

Thinking back to those heady days, a lot of 'local' hosts offered to include a link to my site on their 'local' sites - at a cost, of course - and I did use a couple of them. In my case, not one enquiry came to my website because of those links! Mind you, I am going back 3 - 4 years and things in that league might have changed - a little.


  wee eddie 13:41 14 Mar 2008

As I said, there is a long way to go yet.

I'm currently doing Sample Postings of various types of packaging, because if it will not go through the letter box the idea is dead in the water.

  Chris the Ancient 15:15 14 Mar 2008

Good luck with your idea.

But keep us in touch with how it's going.


  wee eddie 16:50 14 Mar 2008

I nearly launched it in 2001 but the cost of setting up small ticket Credit Card Sales was too high to make it feasible.

  Forum Editor 17:26 14 Mar 2008

using PayPal for your card transaction agent. Many small to medium sized online businesses do it this way, and I know from experience that it works very well - I have set up six or seven e-commerce sites for small online traders using Paypal as the transaction handler, and it hasn't caused any problems so far.

  wee eddie 17:36 14 Mar 2008

The expected average size of transaction, as opposed to the number of transactions.

The Business Plan expects 300 to 400 transactions (after several months) per week but the average transaction value will be in the region of only £3.00 which, at the time, was not regarded by the Credit Card Companies as potentially profitable without loading the amount they charged me.

  wee eddie 17:38 14 Mar 2008

Which is why I'm now working on the packaging.

  Forum Editor 23:52 14 Mar 2008

that's based on your previous month's total - it's on a sliding scale that starts at 3.4% and decreases to 1.9% when you reach £55,000. In addition each transaction is charged 20p.

Those figures are for transactions on UK card accounts - you'll pay slightly more for cross-border transactions.

  wee eddie 06:40 15 Mar 2008

Unless I bump the margin by a couple of 100%, there would be little in it.

With the higher margin I reckon I would still get sales to the Cognoscenti, but would loose the Casual Purchaser, who would make up a high proportion of my First Time Buyers.

Incidentally, that's a great improvement on the Low Turnover Transaction Charges at the turn of the Millennium.

Thank you very much for the firm detail, that's more or less what I expected. I shall have to see if I can develop a Business Model for the Product that has an Average Sale that exceeds £6.00. Trouble is that the last one I did would have won the Booker Prize! If I'm going to invest in Packaging Machinery etc, I need a reasonable chance of success.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

iMac Pro review

See iconic duo Smith and Foulkes' epic animation for the BBC's Winter Olympics coverage

iMac Pro review

Idées cadeaux pour geeks et tech addicts