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Digital and social selling are quickly becoming the norm for many consumers across the globe. With such an influx of individuals making purchases online, it’s vital that brands and service providers are equipped with a digital strategy that allows them to sell products online with ease.
However, digital marketers are aware that the online purchasing process begins long before a prospect turns into a customer. Social outreach paired with high-quality content and trustworthy branding are critical for companies looking to make it in our online world. According to Retailing Today, 81% of consumers conduct some type of online research before making any major purchase.
Why You Need a Digital Selling Strategy
In 2018, the total amount of internet users passed the 4 billion people mark, as found in a report completed by Hootsuite and We Are Social. For most of us, our smartphones or tablets are almost always within reach. Whether we’re on the bus commuting to work or having a lazy Sunday at home, we’re in near constant connection to the internet, and in turn, the products and services that are available to us. Over the years, more and more companies have taken advantage of this connected society by investing time and money in their digital selling strategy.
With 67% of a buyer’s journey taking place online, it only makes sense that businesses evolve accordingly. Gone are the days of only offline marketing strategies. To be successful in today’s market, companies must create a sales process that aligns with the needs of online consumers. However, the key to developing a best-in-class digital selling strategy doesn’t just involve having an online presence, but a well-rounded digital brand that connects with target consumers in a meaningful way.
If you’re wondering how to sell products online and level-up your digital selling strategy, you must first recognize the essentials of what makes digital and social selling successful. Before you start brainstorming and developing your next digital strategy, develop a clear understanding of these three essential elements of a profitable and meaningful endeavour:
1. Optimize Your Online Sales Funnel
An online sales funnel is a term used by digital sellers and marketers which describes the journey of a consumer from initial introduction to a brand all the way through to the point of purchase. Understanding your brand’s online sales funnel is a major part of a successful digital selling strategy, as it will provide insights that demonstrate how your ideal customer’s decision making process.
Moving prospects through your sales funnel involves multiple steps: engaging prospects, converting into customers, completing a sale, and producing loyal repeat customers. For digital selling purposes, the optimal sales funnel will be able to engage with customers at the top of the online sales funnel and keep them actively connected to a brand until they decide to make a purchase.
Good digital selling strategists will be able to keep a prospect’s attention through the sales funnel, while a great digital selling strategist will keep them aligned with the brand in a way that feels natural.
2. Create Content That Spans the Online Sales Funnel
When it comes to developing a successful digital selling strategy for your service or product, content can either make or break your venture. Modern consumers aren’t looking for cheesy sales-like content that simply states the features of your product or service. Rather, they seek actionable information about how your brand can help better their lifestyle in some capacity. High-quality content tells the story of your brand and paints a picture of how a prospect can relate to your brand image.
When it’s done well, digital content keeps a prospect engaged throughout the entire online sales funnel; from first awareness to building loyal repeat customers. The most valuable content to leads is content that provides an actionable step and solves a problem that they may be experiencing. Educational content positions you and your brand as thought leaders in your given industry while demonstrating that you’re invested in helping your customers do and be better. There are multiple types of high-value content that can be developed as part of a digital selling strategy, including:
- Blogs: When HubSpot asked marketers what their top inbound marketing priority is for their digital selling strategy, 53% of marketers reported blog content creation as being their top choice. Why? Because content that is frequently posted, is relevant to a reader and contains valuable information can help increase website traffic, search engine rankings, and social media profile hits. Not only does regular blogging help leads engage with your brand, but it helps show that you’re a dedicated business or brand with an active online presence.
- Online webinars and events: Simply put, webinars are online tutorials or conference-like speaking events that provide educational content for prospects. These can be one-day events or readily available content on your website where you can demonstrate your expertise in your given industry. When you develop a webinar or host an online event, prospects can put a “face” to your brand and further establish their connection with the service or product you’re providing. Often, online events and webinars will focus on a key topic or issue that is relevant to the interests of your ideal prospect. Having trouble coming up with a webinar topic? Take advantage of your social media platforms and create a quick survey asking your followers what topic they would be most interested in learning more about during a live or taped online event.
- Case studies and testimonials: Whether they’re long-form or a short paragraph, case studies are an incredible tool in helping prospects understand your brand better. Often, a case study will demonstrate an issue that a previous client was having, and how yourself or your business helped provide actionable solutions.
- Email marketing tactics: Digital selling doesn’t stop once a user has provided their email to you via a contact form on your website. According to the Email Statistics Report, 2017-2021 completed by The Radicati Group, there were 3.7 billion email users globally in 2017. With such a wide user count, email marketing maintains its ability to be an effective way to reach and connect with targeted prospects. With many cost-effective providers of email newsletter distribution, sending regular branded emails and newsletters to communicate updates, promotions, and events with your audience help to keep them engaged and connected with your brand. Limitus found that 47% of email opens occur on mobile, with 36% on webmail and 17% on desktop devices. This ability to access emails on varying devices is a bonus for digital sellers, as this provides an increased opportunity for recipient click-through to attached links.
- Social media content: For many brands, creative and well-curated social media content has been the most important part of their digital selling strategy. With over 1.13 billion users on Facebook daily in 2016 as found by Statistica, the ability to create first impressions with leads, generate high-potential prospects, and drive them through the sales funnel is made more accessible with a well-rounded social media presence. The content that is shared on varying social media platforms is critical for a successful digital selling strategy. Before sharing any content, do your research and find out on what platform the majority of your target audience spends their time. If you’re a wedding photographer, you may find that an Instagram feed is more beneficial for building brand awareness than Twitter would be. The content you share on social media should be actionable, valuable, and relevant to the needs of your target audience. For example, share links to both new and previous blogs, case studies, and well-curated third-party content that demonstrates your understanding of your audience’s needs and interests. To connect in a more meaningful way with your social media content, take the time to regularly review the comments, answer any customer queries in a timely fashion, and listen to follower’s when they say they want to see more content on a specific topic.
3. Utilize Data and Analytics to Optimize Your Digital Selling Performance
Digital sellers and marketers are experiencing a massive shift in how they interpret the online actions of their target audience. With an influx in available data from platforms like Google Analytics and the “business” profile option on many social media platforms, people are gaining more insight into brand engagement and the needs of prospects than ever before.
Making use of this available data can help create a successful digital selling strategy. When you’re aware of where prospects are leaving your sales funnel, you can analyze and optimize your online sales funnel to improve your brand connection. The most successful digital sellers are harnessing the power of this data using intelligence tools to understand how prospects are spending their online time, driving productivity and streamlining how they can sell their brand in a meaningful way.
A successful digital selling strategy starts with a clear understanding of your ideal customers’ needs, wants, and online habits. By utilizing data analysis tools and social media platforms to develop a well-rounded online sales funnel, you can optimize your digital selling methods to reach prospects and drive profitable action.