Our goal here is to show how we have built our small business online here, so that you can learn some of our techniques and hopefully employ them on your own sites or build your own online business. I can tell you if I can do this then anyone can. We started with one person and know we have over 4 full time guys and two part timers. It has been a wild ride for us and challenging in running our automotive online site.
We Need to Re-Focus on Sales and Marketing for 2015
We did well for 2014, we broke all of our past records and increased our sales by 14% and also increased our profit margin by at least 4% and significantly reduced expenses. This has helped us recover from a significant reduction in revenue from our Heavy Duty Equipment side of the business.
So in order to remain focused on increasing our sales we need to redouble our efforts this year in doing two things, one is to increase our overall revenue by 20% and two, is to reduce our cost of goods to increase our profit margins. So to do this we had a meeting to discuss our upcoming sales and marketing plan for the year 2015.
First we took stock of what we had:
- 3 eBay selling accounts
- 2 Amazon selling accounts
- 2 eCommerce stores one retail and one for dealers
- 2 Local Business websites
- 13 landing page URLs
- 3 sales phone numbers
Second we asked ourselves a lot of questions:
- Are we focused on the right things? Do we have a laser beam focus?
- Are we doing what we need to do? Or are we going through the motions?
- Do we have the right kind of structure in place? Do changes need to be made?
- Do we all work together? Or are people just doing things they think they need to?
- Are we doing things out of habit or things we dont need to do? Are there things we can alleviate?
- What are the roadblocks we have to our success?
- Do we prioritize our work? Do we all work together towards our goal? Do we stick with things?
Third and last we decided what we are going to do:
- Increase our listings by a significant amount across our eBay and Amazon stores. Our goal is to increase our listings by over 5000 over the 5 venues.
- Recheck all current listings to make sure they are selling well. Remove all non-sellers to website or Amazon where there are not listing fees, update pricing and shipping costs to increase sales, and develop new products from existing inventory.
- Increase our Amazon fulfillment inventory. This is inventory we send to Amazon and they fulfill and sell for us.
- Setup or Dealer site so people can order directly through it and drop ship items from it.
- Setup a comprehensive email program even if we have to spend money to do this. We plan on marketing this way in the year of 2015 in a major way. Also we plan on making better use of automatic emailing programs and also contact each person who orders from us on both assisted selling site and websites. We want to concentrate on these areas in email marketing.
- Send a thank you email to everyone who places and order on any of our venues, we will then thank them for their order, offer them a future discount, special offers, and give them a way to contact us with numerous customer service call to actions.
- Send another email with a thanks you and offers for other products at great prices. Setup special order pages and offers just for these customers.
- Create a form letter for some easy responses.
- Google seems to be pushing us more and more to Adwords through its Google Penguin and Panda updates so we are going to stop fighting it and finally give in. Our goal will be to funnel all Adword campaigns to our one eCommerce web store and to do a bunch of different ad campaigns to figure out which one will work best. Hopefully we will be able to better test the ROI for each dollar we spend on Adwords as of right now it is very hard for us to tell.
- We will be focusing quite a bit of time renewing and setting up ads at a local classified advertising site. This site was setup by a local news station and it does really well for us. It has multiple categories, is well known and advertised, and gets a lot of traffic. Currently we do get quite a bit of sales for our two walk in business that are local retail style companies. Our goal is to maximize this exposure, renew each ad as often as we can to get them pushed to the top, and maybe do some featured ads.
- We want to increase our Domain Authority since it seems Google Page Rank is not a good measure of how many quality inbound links you have. We have used a site called MOZ that lets you look up some basic information for free.
- Finally and somewhat most important, because we have not done a whole lot with this in the past, is to concentrate a lot more with social media. Our 2015 is going to be in constant contact with our customers. Either through email or social media. We will be setting up some new accounts on Instagram and focusing most of our efforts on Facebook, Instagram, AND Pinterest.
So what is the conclusion?
Our goal is pretty lofty, we want to increase our monthly sales by about $40K per month by the end of the year. That is quite a ways to go but that is what we are going for. We wanted to focus on developing sales through more contact with our customer through either email or social media and by increasing our footprint on assisted selling sites. One of our most important questions we had to answer above was do we give things up to easily. So we wanted a simple plan we could concentrate on and fulfill and see some success early on. So here we go to tackle 2015!