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[Demystified] Why eCom Stores & Online Coaches Keep Failing In The $4.9 Trillion Industry

Written by: Silvia Myers, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

With over 2 billion people likely to make an online purchase in 2021 and the industry estimates indicating it to grow to $7.3 trillion by 2025, how is it possible that eCommerce stores, coaches and other online businesses still struggle to convert online traffic into sales?

“It could be because I’m a new business and people don’t trust me yet”, I hear so many of them say…


But the post-pandemic statistics speak for themselves and have shown that almost 60% of consumers are willing to buy from a brand new business they have never heard of before.


So If you’ve got an online business, whether it’s an eCommerce store or a coaching program and struggle to generate profits consistently and predictably, I’d like you to be honest with me here for a moment.


A moment of honesty: From gambling to analysis paralysis


Have you ever opened up your website back end, Facebook ads manager or some other marketing tool and saw a bunch of numbers that didn’t really tell you anything and hence you ended up shutting it down?


Or perhaps you’re a numbers enthusiast and you opened it up and thought that it did make sense and perhaps you even took a magnifying glass and started to closely watch each click, each visitor, and each move only to end up in analysis paralysis unable to move forward from there?


If you’re like me, chances are that you’ve done both at some point and you’re definitely not alone.


Not that long ago, I used to look at my Facebook and Google ads managers, email marketing tools, website analytics and either get desperate and close it down or end up tracing every single visitor around the website making conclusions that ended up paralysing me let alone helping me take the next step in my entrepreneurial journey.


As a result, my online sales weren’t going anywhere and neither was my business with big goals and small budgets.


Yes, I was great at networking, talking to people, selling in person and even learned how to sell over the phone, but those online sales and Facebook ads…, I struggled with it so much that it ended up consuming my entire time, resources and all of the energy I had left.


I was gambling and I didn’t even know it


The worst part was that I started my business because I wanted to be free. Free from nine to five, financially free, free to have more time to do what I want to do. Free to visit my family who live on the other side of the world.


I had big plans to run a successful online business and I didn’t plan on wasting my time, money, and energy on failing and forever struggling to turn that traffic into sales.


And I thought I’d done the right thing; I watched YouTube videos, googled different topics, learned about landing pages, sales funnels, online offers, paid ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and I even learned email marketing and SEO but still, it wasn’t enough. I was struggling to get anywhere.


After many hours of hard work, sleepless nights, and money spent on marketing, still nothing happened. Nothing. Literally not one sale.


Before you know it, I was in huge debt with just $2,000 left in my bank account. And I thought that that was it... I felt crushed and defeated and I was desperate. I knew that this was my last chance.


So I pulled myself together and set myself up in the corner of our living room and got to work. I had to go back to every single step I’ve taken along the way and carefully had to put it together step by step, evaluating each step of the way what worked and why and what didn’t work and why. And I just kept going with this, step by step by step.


And in the early hours in the morning, drinking yet another coffee and my heart racing so much I thought I was going to explode, suddenly; I looked at all of the learnings that were on the wall and I stepped back and then, it finally hit me….


I was not making any sales because I had no system, no method, no structured process or framework. I was not running a business. I was gambling.


I may as well have gone to the casino and put everything on red. It would have been faster and maybe less painful. I was following all of these bits and pieces of advice and information I got along the way, but there was no system to it and therefore there was nothing I could adapt specifically to my business and therefore it didn’t work.

[Spoiler Alert] There’s no magic wand to generate online sales. But the magic is in the method


That realisation was a few years ago now. And that very moment also led me to realise that in fact, I was not the only person who was not using a system. That there are countless online businesses out there that either struggle to generate enough online sales or they’re leaving a ton of money on the table and are not even aware of it.


And it was this experience that led me to finally understand that when it comes to generating sales through Facebook ads, there’s no real magic in there.


But the magic is in the method. A simple structure telling you how much of what you need to use and to generate not just predictable revenue but actual money with your online business whether it’s a retail store or a service-based business.


Kind of like having a recipe for a delicious chocolate cake telling you what ingredients you need to put in and how you need to cook it and check it during the process so that you can enjoy the cake with your coffee afterwards.


And the more I kept searching the more I realised that there was lots of information, knowledge, and expertise out there but that there was no specific method or a system. Leaving online entrepreneurs just like me in the dark when working on growing their businesses.


And hence I created my own system following a few simple steps of logic. I had to break everything down, reverse engineer, dig deep into different types of information and online algorithms only to realise that I have to dig even deeper.


But in the end, I got there and my online system has since generated amazing results not just for myself but also for hundreds of other online businesses in over 35 countries around the world.


So if you’re struggling with what I used to struggle with and sometimes feel like you’re gambling, don’t expect this to be resolved with a magic wand, because those exist only in fairy tales but do start working on a system that’s going to work for you.


And if I was doing this all over again, I’d be making sure straight from the beginning that I’m including the right elements into my system to make it sturdy and future proof and that will ultimately drive the business results and the impact any business can end up making.

Where to click changes, how to set up your strategy doesn’t?


Whatever system you use, be sure that it tells you step-by-step what to look out for when it comes to traffic. You need the volume first before you can generate the value.

If the number of quality visitors to your business isn’t growing, neither will your sales. The keyword here is quality visitors. Just because you pay 10c per click, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a quality click.


So when it comes to setting up your system, your traffic component needs to take into consideration the type of audience you’re targeting or in other words your ideal avatar, the possible creative angles you need to attract this audience and of course, it also needs to incorporate best practices for each of the platforms whether you’re using Facebook or Google ads to generate traffic.


95% of online entrepreneurs don’t understand their customers


Searching for the right audiences, or traffic as we call it in digital marketing is by far the most important part. Approximately 95% of online entrepreneurs I speak to have a gap in understanding who their ideal customer is.


And I’m not talking about what age they are or where they are located, but who they really are as people. What frustrates them, what they struggle with and what is it that they really want.


If a marketer is not crystal clear on who these people are, how can they expect them to create an irresistible offer for them and have them click on their ad or a post and convert them to a sale?


The answer is they can’t.


So no matter what stage of online entrepreneurship you’re at, please do revisit your customer avatar. Every click from the wrong person is a wasted opportunity to convert so there’s lots of money on the table here.


It’s not who you include, but who you exclude


Polarisation works. Because of the smaller advertising budgets, it’s the small businesses and solo entrepreneurs in particular who need to be super clear on who they’re speaking to and who they want to attract.


Some struggling businesses want to remain vague in their branding and messaging not to exclude or upset anyone with the thinking that the more people their product or service is for, the better.


In reality, though, every platform user is being bombarded with a new ad roughly every five to ten seconds and consumers have never had more choice. So why would consumers go for someone who is not exactly what they’re looking for or not exactly who they resonate with?


Typically consumers don’t and if this is your problem you’ll see it reflected in a poor conversion rate whether it’s for a retail store or an opt-in landing page. So don’t be afraid to polarise your audience with something specific or even shocking and be clear of who you are here to serve and who you are not.


You Need A Traffic Light Telling You When To Go, Slow Down Or Stop


So you already know that there’s no magic in online marketing but that there’s magic in it if you set it up methodically. And each method implies some sort of guidance based on certain steps or certain indicators.


It’s kind of like crossing a road at a traffic light. No matter where in the world you are, you know you can cross the road when the light turns green. And your online system needs to have the indicators too.


So when it comes to driving online traffic to your store, you also want to start watching for the lights and understand when it means to stop and when it says go.


The two most important indicators you want to start watching out for are the cost of your audience and how engaged this audience is with what you’ve put in front of them. The third crucial indicator is essentially the combination of the first two. It’s the cost you pay for each quality click to your offer.


Each business is slightly different but as a general guide, to make the system work for you, you should not be paying more than $1-2 for each click or an equivalent of that in different world markets. For those who have experience with Facebook ads, the cost of your audience is reflected in your CPM, how engaged your audience is in CTR link click through % and the $ CPC link tells you the rest.


The hard part isn’t in generating sales online; it’s in making money online


No small business can afford to make online sales without actually making money, that’s just how it is. There are no angel investors, no wealthy aunties, and uncles and no patient shareholders feeding cash into the pipeline. Just bare livelihood and big dreams to find that ticket to freedom.


And yet, no one can help it but get super excited when they get the first few sales from their Facebook Ads regardless of whether it ended up making money in the end or not. It’s like a rush coming through the body indicating success and hopes for the future. But this rush can be misleading and totally lead to gambling.


Unfortunately, this is the part I had to learn the hard way. When I finally started to make sales online, I had to start putting in more hours. All of a sudden, there were payments to be processed, queries to be answered, customer promises to be fulfilled.


By then, I thought I had a system in place (little did I know that the system wasn’t quite bulletproof just yet), so I thought that if I just get more sales in, I will have more money to get someone to help me and the problem will disappear.


So I did what most marketers do in that instance - I increased my advertising budget. And that was a big mistake that didn’t just cost me a ton of money but almost ended up costing me my sanity too.


Scaling my Facebook ads didn’t just cost me my money but also my sanity


So I increased my Facebook ads budget and I thought I was being so clever. Horizontal and vertical scaling was my new Facebook ads lingo and I thought I had it all figured out. My newly established ticket to freedom had just arrived, so I thought.


But there were just so many things I never thought of. Like what my actual fixed business expenses were and how much more help would I need to get at what price.


Another thing that caught me by surprise was the fact that the Facebook ads algorithm performs differently on a higher budget. So there I was, running my Facebook ads already on super thin margins, hoping to make more money with more sales only to find out that the more sales I was making, the more I was losing.


On top of that, I also wasn’t prepared for the fact that every online business no matter what industry they’re in has to deal with failed payments, refunds, and disputes, or the fact that any website information has to be updated on a regular basis or even that some low spending customers might require the attention of the higher spending ones. None of this was stuff I was prepared for.


And there I was stuck in a rut once again. I was making more sales, but that was the only thing that I had more of. Most certainly, I had less sleep starting before 7 am only to be finishing up by 11 pm to do it all over again the next day. My days were stressed and my nights were restless. And I still wasn’t making any money.


It’s not a surprise that I wasn’t happy, I hated my business and others hated having to deal with me. I hated that my responsibility kept growing but the money wasn’t. Not even by a cent.


I felt like I had nothing more to give. This wasn’t how scaling Facebook ads were supposed to work.


In my mind, scaling Facebook Ads was supposed to be about growing my business, making a bigger impact, making more money, and having a better life. It wasn’t supposed to be about losing my sanity.


And all of this could have been avoided if I understood what Facebook ads were actually all about and what made them tick. This leaves me with just one word - ROAS.


Facebook Ads ROAS Is NOT The Flour, Sugar Or Butter - It’s The Cake


I almost lost my sanity, because I completely misunderstood ROAS (return on ad spend). It’s such a big buzzword in the Facebook ads world yet most online businesses completely miss the point of it.


Yes, it’s obvious that the higher the Facebook ads ROAS (return on ad spend), the more profitable the sales. But the big mistake is in treating ROAS as something that can be changed with a click of a button.


As if ROAS was an ingredient in a recipe for a cake. But it’s not. ROAS is the cake.


And just like a cake, different ingredients go into it in specific quantities, just like flour, sugar or butter. And once the ingredients have been measured and combined, there is an oven baking process that needs some settings like a certain temperature.


And I didn’t know how important these Facebook Ads ROAS ingredients were or even what they were and I didn’t understand the settings of the process and hence the first few attempts at scaling my Facebook ads and actually making money with my business were a total disaster.


So after I made my Facebook ads finally work, I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that success didn’t come easy to me but I’ve earned it.


So if I were to do this all over again, I would make sure straight from the beginning that my system gives me the clarity on what are the actual ingredients feeding into ROAS and how can I control the right ingredients, with the right amount going through the right process. So that I scale my Facebook ads not just consistently and predictably but most importantly profitably.


Starting With A Facebook Ads Benchmark Is The Key To Success


To start with, I would start looking at what my current Facebook Ads ROAS benchmark is. What do the break-even numbers look like for me and how often had I hit those figures in my Facebook ads campaigns.


That break-even point is something most online entrepreneurs overlook and don’t understand in detail but without understanding what the minimum baseline needs to be, it’s very hard to double, triple or quadruple it.


To get this right, I would set up a simple template outlining all of the business costs associated with every sale including product costs and a typical ad spend required to make a sale and match it up with an average order value or an average customer lifetime value. That figure divided by the ad spend is your break-even point.


Elaborating on that Facebook ads benchmark, I would start looking at what the best business performance to date looks like for me and hence what is an actual realistic goal that I can aim to achieve.


Following A Recipe And Making A Small Tweak To It Is Much Easier Than Throwing Things Into A Pot And Gambling


For me personally, online sales didn’t come easy unfortunately I ended up gambling lots of my hard-earned money away and made it really hard for myself.


But it didn’t have to be that way if I had a methodical system and understood that online sales are not that different from baking. You need the right amount of the right ingredients and apply the right baking process to it.


And just like baking once you’ve tried a great recipe a few times, you can start experimenting and it comes out amazing almost every time.


With over 2 billion people likely to make an online purchase in 2021 and the industry reaching $4.9 trillion just in 2021, keep in mind that you’re in the right industry and the right place, just might need to do a few little tweaks here and there to get that traffic turning into sales consistently and predictably without having to worry about where the next sale will be coming from.


[FREE GIFT] If you would like to learn how to convert online traffic into sales consistently and predictably with Facebook Ads go silviamyers.co/free-training .


For more info, follow Silvia on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and visit her website!

 

Silvia Myers, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Silvia Myers is co-founder of Traffic Ninjas, teaching product makers and brand builders how to sell their incredible products online without having to discount or spend their hard-earned cash on things that don’t work. Together with her husband and co-founder, Kristen, Traffic Ninjas equip eCommerce stores with an underground Ninja method specifically designed for small business owners, teaching them how to be profitable and sustainable and actually earn an income from selling their products.

The Traffic Ninjas community has grown from Sydney, Australia to 35+ countries around the world with small business owners achieving amazing results.

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