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12 Tips for Increasing Your Online Sales

Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber

Although online businesses are booming, many successful transactions still happen away from computers. But if you're really business savvy, why not have both? We asked 12 entrepreneurs from Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) how to go about increasing online sales for a predominantly offline business:

1. Focus on the Sales Process

A sales process is critical to expanding sales online. You need to define how people go from prospect to customer. If sales happen offline because customers need to speak to someone, then you don't have a sales process that works autonomously. Video tutorials, live chat and webinars are great ways to educate your customers on how to buy from you. Walk them through purchasing in steps. Tweet This TipMark Cenicola,

2. Create Preference

The Internet has become the biggest source of commoditization in the world. It's easy for people to jump from one site to the next to compare and look for alternatives. Be sure to immediately become the most credible, authoritative and useful source of information to create preference to your brand. Make the experience enjoyable, easy and personal. Tweet This Tip - Charles Gaudet, Predictable Profits

3. Limit Distractions During Checkout

If you aren't generating many sales online, you might be losing customers somewhere in your funnel. Limit distractions when customers are checking out or signing up. Hitting them with advertising or other noise before they make the transaction could be a big factor in not closing new valuable customers. Tweet This Tip - Matt Ehrlichman, Porch

4. Create Social Media Accounts

Online optimization is an industry in itself. However, a good starting place for any company is to create and maintain social media accounts, claim local listings on Yelp or Google+, create a blog, update regularly and make sure your website contains an enticing, well-placed call to action. For a comprehensive online campaign, look into hiring an online marketing consultant. Tweet This Tip - Phil Laboon, Eyeflow Internet Marketing

5. Use Your Secret Sauce

First, you're going to need to get customers to your website -- I use SEO, PPC and social media -- but that's just half the battle. Next, address visitors' wants, needs and fears of buying. Figure out what it takes to make a sale offline, and incorporate that into all your online content. It will take some tinkering at first, but it will be worth it. Make it your secret sauce. Tweet This Tip - Robert De Los Santos, Sky High Party Rentals

6. Create Killer Content

Launch a blog. Social media is essential, but you need wider platforms behind it. A few dozen blog posts will do wonders for both SEO and branding. Tweet This Tip - Sam Saxton, Salter Spiral Stair and Mylen Stairs

Related: 14 Resources to Reference When Writing a Blog Post

7. Make Buying Effortless

Make your product so easy to understand that people will get it in less than two minutes. Make sure buying it online is simpler and faster than paying for an Uber ride. Increasing online sales is about radically decreasing time-to-value for customers, and then making the buying experience absolutely effortless and friction free. Tweet This Tip - Kasper Hulthin, Podio

8. Create an Online Marketing Machine

Start by capturing all their digital contact information when they make a purchase offline. Ask for their email, phone number and Twitter handle. When marketing to them digitally, include links to your e-commerce pages. Then, consider offering a discount that is only available to customers making a purchase online (i.e., save 10 percent online) to encourage online shopping behavior. Tweet This Tip - Janis Krums, OPPRTUNITY

9. Test AdWords

Create a landing page, drive traffic to it and use AdWords to capture emails. If you are able to capture emails with AdWords, you should ultimately get sales, as well. Tweet This Tip - Josh Weiss, Bluegala

10. Have an Online Sales Team

Being able to make sales online while you're asleep with no or minimal offline staff wages would be great, but is it best for your business? We spend more than $1 million in AdWords per year, but without our highly trained sales teams handling inquiries about our website, answering questions, following up and using their human sales skills, we wouldn't blow the online competitions' sales numbers out of the water. Tweet This Tip - Jürgen Himmelmann, The Global Work & Travel Co.

11. Make the Transition Easy

If your customers are used to buying from you offline, make the transition to buying online feel as similar as possible to the offline process. Think through each step that occurs. What questions do they ask? How can you make sure those questions are answered clearly during the online sales process? Consider how you can begin to build trust online from what you've built offline. Tweet This Tip - Sarah Schupp, UniversityParent

12. Build Your Online Credibility

First, acknowledge that customers buying online might be very different than those who buy offline. Approach the online channel with a diligent and analytical testing agenda. Start with the value prop that worked offline, but test the packaging, pricing and branding as if it's a new product. Irrespective, I recommend building credibility using content marketing (e.g., blogs, articles and infographics). Tweet This Tip - Ashish Rangnekar, BenchPrep

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Scott Gerber
Scott Gerber Member
Scott Gerber is the founder of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses. Gerber is also a serial entrepreneur, regular TV commentator and author of the book Never Get a “Real” Job.