Top 5 Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Online

Most economists in the mainstream tend to agree that, because of the all-encompassing, come-one, come-all nature of the Internet, the web is one of the few legitimate venues to consistently thrive through economic downturn. This is not a fact lost on the average businessperson looking to create a web presence. Millions of newcomers venture into this realm every year, but over 90% will ultimately fail.

Selling products online is not nearly as easy as big-name stores like Amazon and eBay make it look. It’s quite difficult to sell online, primarily because there are so many potential mistakes a person could be making. In this post I cover some of the top mistakes you should try to avoid when selling online.

1. Targeting the wrong market

In Internet marketing, the “wrong” market is any market outside of the strictest niche you can possibly find. Obviously this would include marketing too broadly. A person’s natural inclination is to market to whomever, through any medium and forum, hoping that someone sees it. But you must market to the most specific niche. For instance, even attempting to sell your weight-loss product to the general weight-loss market is a failing formula. What kind of weight-loss product do you have? Low-carb or a specific food-based product? Pick out the narrowest market and never attempt to sell broadly or to the wrong market.

2. Letting leads dictate the pace of the sale

Whether inducing signups via your main website, social networking pages, email marketing, or through other means, you need to dictate the pace with your leads, not the other way around. In other words, you need to stay on top of your leads, asking the right questions to garner the right information. Transforming leads into legitimate repeat business is the goal. Seek to find specific issues and problems you can address and solve with your leads by acting first. Never make the mistake of allowing your leads to dictate the tone of the exchange.

3. A Lack of research

When selling online, it’s all about the research you’re willing to put in. Not only do you have to research the product and the specific need for that product, but you also have to thoroughly research your market and your direct—and even indirect—competition. By conducting the proper research, you will learn about your market’s needs and desires. You will understand how your competition is catering to the market. You will learn about pricing and advertising options. Missing out on any research leaves you playing catch-up while others are selling.

4. Overeager product promotion

In a perfect world, a product would speak for itself. However, we live in a world where the product acting as a solution is something that must be conveyed to a customer. But there is a fine line here. Zealous promotion may lead to shoddy, false product reviews, false claims of effectiveness, and other information that will turn a customer off. Pushing too hard is a huge mistake in marketing. Convey that your product provides a solution to a problem, back up those claims, add a call to action and introduce a sense of urgency, and then back off.

5. A failure to adapt

The Internet is a living, breathing, evolving medium wherein a product or method well received today may fail tomorrow. Although it’s not on everyone’s top list of mistakes, failing to adapt to the changing market is a great way to collapse a business. When the Internet changes, as in technology or the market or the demand for your product, you have to stay on top of these changes.

Avoiding mistakes in online sales is tricky business. Everyone is going to make mistakes now and again. Your goal should be to ultimately limit your mistakes. Avoid the ones you can and minimize the ones that catch you by surprise.

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Since graduating from Leeds University in 1997, Eddie Yu has been involved in various Entrepreneurial activities throughout his career, and eventually having built up a part time business between 2001-2003, he went full time in 2004 with Lady Luck Media. Before then, he has worked for British Aerospace, FNX and Derivatech, where he consulted for top tier banks such as Bank of America, ABM Amro and Bank of China. Eddie firmly believes that with social entrepreneurship and technological advancements we can create a world without offices and impact climate change for the betterment of our planet.

  • Great summary Eddie. One point I would add is ‘making the
    purchasing process too complicated’. There is lots of research to indicate that
    customer’s abandon the cart if the forms take too long to fill out. The more steps you put between them
    placing an item in their cart and actually paying for it, the more
    opportunities you give them to leave your site without completing their
    purchase. The best forms will only ask for the information they absolutely
    need, splitting the process into manageable chunks. Stalling pages with further
    recommendations is annoying, as is having to type out your whole address when
    postcode finder technology is readily available.