How Do You Serve Your Market?


There are many many marketing strategies and techniques when it comes to selling on the internet. The best way to sell online is to think like your customer. Serve your market. This philosophy or way of thinking is a step up or two from what’s in it for me and how can I get all of my customer’s money thinking. If you care, they’ll buy from you repeatedly. I’m not talking about customer service although it’s important. Defining your intention with your market or better yet, their intention and why they are at your site will place you miles ahead of other online sellers.

As a bookseller online you own your own business. Remember that the employee mindset doesn’t transfer well to the internet for a business owner. Let me explain an employee mindset: buy the guru’s blueprint promising to make you thousands on one venue through selling while you sleep if you follow each step (training), tell me what to do and how to do it. Teaching has its place on the internet, after all, you’re a member of this site which gives you all sorts of instruction, but a single business model which teaches you a technique  isn’t always the best strategy for what you want to accomplish. Granted the basics of finding, listing, packing and sending books is a learnable skill but the creativity and placement of how you market is not set in stone. Contrary, there is much room for  imagination and creativity in the market online.

Many times reverse engineering is the best way to find your way. What I mean is find what works for Amazon, for example, analyze their pages and add ons and all you can. Think from the goal each step back until you get to step one.  Be open minded and remember that selling online is a very fluid business model. Go with the flow of the process don’t look for that perfect set in stone method and stay married to that process. You are sure to fail if so.

The wonderful part of being an entrepreneur is that there really is no one correct way to sell books online. The creativity you use to market your books truly is unlimited. My biggest and best recommendation is to get into the head of your buyer. What is the person looking for and why did they land on your site?

So in discussing reverse engineering let’s talk about niches for selling our books. I mentioned the power of selling through niche marketing off and on for several years. A niche is a narrowly defined market (think topic or theme site) where one can sell either goods, electronic information or both.  Looking at Amazon’s seller’s pages you will see they have tons of content from comments, to reviews, to up sells, to cross promotions, and more. This is the goal adding some value to the buying experience. So if I were to sell in the baseball niche I might have several books related to the hobby for a player, a fan,  family members of little league players and wives of baseball players. If I owned a website I’d make it a commerce site selling hard goods, i.e. books, memorabilia, perhaps more. I’d add information to the site to help Google find my site. The search engines are looking for related textual content to the search terms. So adding relevant information is not only a help to your potential customer in receiving great information about his hobby but helps your site rank well. There would be information for free and perhaps some paid for information depending on the market and whether that market lends well to consuming paid electronic information. If I had insight on what teams would do best and how to pick them for a gambler, that information would be worth buying. However, if I had tips on how to keep from getting burned out traveling to all of your kids’ games and practices during baseball season that would be good information and helpful but not valuable enough to the consumer to pay for.

Here’s a spin, however.  If I had a book on how to get the best hits through baseball improvement techniques but noticed there are several of these in print books, I might come up with a special report to add to the listing of how to keep from getting burned out during baseball season FOR FREE. Do you recognize the value of offering this bonus? Because the information is electronic the person will give you their email address and opt in to your list of updates (of course with full disclosure they are doing so…).  You are  top of mind to the customer at this point. They have ordered a book that is coming in a week, but you have sent them information immediately that is relevant to the book’s content. Done correctly this information may result in future sales.  This can be done on other venues besides your website including eBay. However, you can’t send the file electronically through eBay and getting them to opt in to an email list is a bit more tricky. Hint, send them to your About Me page where you are allowed to put them on your email list or have them sign up for your newsletter subscription through eBay. Having a niche with your own personal website is the best case scenario – no rules (outside of spam regulations).

So break out of the mode of the employee mindset where you are instructed in exactly how to do it. Think about why the potential customer is visiting your site and add value to their buying process. I guarantee you will eventually stand head and shoulders above other sellers in your niche market.

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About Julie Schultz

My name is Julie Anna Schultz. I live in rural upstate NY. I have eleven children, one husband, three chickens, a bunny and a dog. Not acquired in that order. :) Since 2002, I’ve been teaching people how to buy and sell children’s collectible books online. Learn More

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