In 2020, people buy everything on the Internet.
Which also means… in 2020, people sell everything on the Internet.
Online sales are practically the crux of our economy. The face-to-face salesperson, while still powerful, has largely been dwarfed by the sheer scale of online marketplaces — and this has provided unprecedented opportunity to people like you or me.
We can now create and sell products in a matter of minutes with e-commerce platforms like Shopify or Magento.
We can record, upload, and market online courses for free with popular websites like Udemy or Skillshare.
It’s truly an amazing time to be an entrepreneur or creator. And an even better time to be a programmer or software engineer.
But with all that said… online sales can be a little tricky. Most people can get a store running no problem, but when it’s time to actually sell their products, they hear nothing but crickets for the first few months.
Luckily, there’s a simple reason why: they’re not taking advantage of a few simple psychological techniques that make online sales a breeze.
In this article, I’ll show you how to get people to buy your product using 4 science-based hacks. Then I’ll link you to simple software that makes them easy to implement.
Leverage Authority and Social Proof
One of the best and most powerful ways to market your product is by having others recommend it. Human beings love following other human beings.
- a tip jar that has already been “planted” with a few dollars is more likely to receive a tip, since it’s implied that tipping is normal.
- you’re more likely to buy software if it has been recommended by a big, well-known company (say Microsoft) than a smaller one
Two of my favorite apps to leverage social proof are ProveSource and UseProof. Both of them create popups at the corner of your screen showing customers who else is looking at or buying your products. This implies popularity and social proof. You can also show reviews, live visitors, and more.
I also highly recommend placing the logos of any established companies you’ve sold or partnered with somewhere on your website. Find the Microsoft of your industry and do whatever it takes to work with them.
We’re evolutionarily primed to respond well to scarcity. Human beings love maximizing their opportunities. We want as many choices as possible, and when a choice is at risk of being taken away from us, we’ll go after it that much harder — even if we initially weren’t planning on making that choice.
You see this in sales constantly. How many times have you seen the following?
- Only Six Remaining!
- Get The Last Item In-Stock!
- Only Ten Minutes Left To Take Advantage Of This Offer!
There are a few apps and plugins that help promote urgency online.
HurryTimer is a Wordpress plugin that creates a small countdown widget on your website. You can put this on checkout pages, product pages, and even your homepage to show how limited a sale is.
Viral Signup is a signup form creator that counts the number of entries, then shows your customers. This is fantastic for heavily implying that customers need to act now to take advantage of your offer.
Focus On Benefits, Not Features
A problem that I see many otherwise good marketers suffer from is focusing more on the features of the product than the benefits.
In most cases, your customer doesn’t care about the capabilities of your gizmo. When they buy, they’re not thinking about your patented three-speed cylinder brush head, or your advanced sixteen-hour battery life. They think about what this means for them.
Don’t focus on the patented three-speed brush head — focus on how quickly they’ll be able to clean their home. Don’t focus on the advanced sixteen-hour battery life — focus on how it conveniently lasts all day before it needs a charge. Frame everything in terms of the consumer.
Why do people give free samples? Simple. It makes them more likely to buy paid samples later on.
The same goes for “free trials”, “free demos”, “try-before-you-buys” and more. You’re doing two things: you’re letting the customer feel your product hands-on, and you’re also trying to invoke reciprocity: the principle by which people feel indebted to those who have given them something valuable.
Taking advantage of effective reciprocity requires no fancy app, yet it is one of the most powerful ways to get people to buy your product.
To do so, ask yourself what kind of product you have. If it’s primarily software, give a free trial. If it’s an information product, send them a free video or PDF. If it’s a physical product, mail them a free (small) sample, or an in-depth video showing how the product works.
Cross Sell and Up Sell
You know the old saying “in for a penny, in for a pound”? A modern, 2020 version would be more like “in for a pound, in for many pounds”.
The best chance you have of selling your product isn’t when customers are browsing your site, or giving you a call. No, it’s simpler than that.
The best chance to sell your product… is right after they’ve already bought from you!
Think about it — you’ve already done all of the legwork building up trust and legitimacy in your product. You’ve already spent the money acquiring the lead and massaging them to the point where they’re ready to purchase.
Instead of letting them buy and then just say good-bye, squeeze a little more juice out of every sale. Direct them to a page that gives them the ability to purchase something else at a significantly reduced price.
Online sales are amazing. To me, they’re practically a miracle. I create a website, store, or profile, place my products, do a little bit of marketing… and then dollar bills start pouring out of my ethernet cable!
They’re actually the main reason I started my Vancouver marketing company. I found such crazy success selling for myself, I figured “how awesome would it be if I could replicate that for other people, too!”.
Here’s hoping you found these tips as helpful as I did when I first started. And if you found what you read valuable, I encourage you to clap and share so more people can enjoy the power and freedom of online sales!