How to have a profitable online shop – from traffic to sales

Have you heard of the expression “hero’s journey”?

In folktales around the world there is a thread, a typical structure that the hero of the story follows to reach the end “they lived happily ever after”.

The White-Hawk is given a mission to set out for the Green Emperor’s court and become his heir. But along the way he encounters evil – the Spaniel Man and the Red Emperor, and is helped by the forces of good – Saint Sunday, the Queen of Bees and others to carry out his tasks.

Sherazade continues a dangerous game and tells magical tales to enchant the Persian king for 1001 nights, for another and another morning to stay alive.

And Harry Potter goes through extraordinary adventures year after year to defeat the One Who Must Not Be Named, alongside Ron and Hermione, under the guidance of his mentor, Albus Dumbledore.

When you have a business, including your client goes through such a hero’s journey.

In sales and marketing we call it Customer Journey.

Or you can call it Sales Funnel.

Your customers feel a calling or receive a mission – they need a product – so they form a purpose. Determination drives them to set out.

Along the way, they are helped by the forces of good – The information and resources you make available, the way your online store looks, your marketing materials. And it faces obstacles and problems, due to internal or external influences (fears, excuses, lack of knowledge, bad UX).

Then follows VICTORY STAGE in which they achieve their goal – they buy what they set out to buy.

Customers are “coming home” to the joy and pride of the community – In other words, they will be appreciated for their decision or for the benefits your products have on their family, friends or acquaintances.

When you see your customers this way and understand the incentives that condition them to act, sales become easier to control.

They become predictable.

So for today I’d like to take a little foray together into the backstory of how to run a profitable online store where your heroes – your customers – have the best chance of getting the happy ending they long for.

What am I talking about? Let’s see.

I’ve mentioned Customer Journey and Sales Funnel before.

Both are different ways to imagine The much more tangled “thread” that the potential customer walks from the moment they get the stimulus that they need something, until after they’ve bought from you.

The easiest way to structure this thread is to use sales funnel.

That is, look at it from your perspective and your goals at every stage, since you have no way of knowing 100% what your customers are thinking.

You can make the funnel concrete on paper or an online document, it’s not something tangible that you take off the shelf from somewhere.

Personally, I recommend the model divided into 3 main blocks:

  • Top of the Funnel – the part where you get traffic and exposure – cold audience
  • Middle of the Funnel – the part where you get leads – warm audience
  • Bottom of the Funnel – the part where you get sales – hot audience

Each block can be broken down into smaller cubes, as granular as you want to go, where you set super specific goals.

For example, when using Social Media you may want to get more direct interactions, or testimonials or general customer content. Just an example.

Let’s take them one at a time.

How to attract quality traffic with profit potential

At the top of the funnel, you interact with cold traffic.

That is, people who are complete strangers, who don’t know about you, or perhaps have heard of the store but have never made purchases before.

Your goal is to get exposure to this audience, so you can start to gain their trust and motivate them to give you their contact information.

How do you do that? The secret is targeting the right audience.

You won’t be able to sell to everyone.

Not all people will buy as soon as they enter your site.

But you can increase your chances of selling immediately or over time if you target a high-volume audience at a time when they are most open to your stimulus.

  • Consolidate realistic customer avatars – Who are your customers? What are they interested in? What problems do they face? What are their habits? Do you have multiple audiences that you should approach differently? Write these details down in individual documents and use the information when targeting.
  • Make sure your online shop is ready to sell – What does the design look like? How easy is it to use? Can customers get to the products they want quickly? Do you have proof of trust (reviews, about us page, testimonials)? Have you removed barriers in the buying flow? Don’t invest money and time in A-grade marketing when your website looks and performs poorly.
  • Improve your product pages, they’re the ones doing the selling for you – every product page is a virtual salesperson in its own right. Are they well prepared? Are they complete? Do they include persuasive elements? Do they include techniques for increasing basket value?

Use brand elements to communicate as one across multiple channels – Whatever techniques you use to attract traffic, make sure your core message is similar across the board and you don’t have conflicting information.

What techniques can you use to attract traffic?

Well, these depend solely on your budget, type of business and preferences.

SEO, PPC ads, blogging, organic posts, affiliate marketing, influencer marketing, physical or virtual events, catalogues and so on. All are methods of attracting traffic.

You’ll just use channels where the potential audience is, because you certainly don’t want to waste your money on people who will never buy.

Alsoit also depends on what stage you’re at with the business.

For example, if you’re just launching, affiliating won’t help you much – because people don’t know you yet and it takes time to gain trust.

In addition, don’t forget that if you want to have a consistent pool of potential customers, you’ll need to go through multiple channels in parallel (most go on Google with SEO and PPC and Social Media with Facebook and Instagram posts and ads).

This is the top of the funnel.

As I mentioned, after you direct channel traffic to your site, you start to want something more from it.


A method of continuing interaction with customers after they leave your site.

And that brings us to block number 2, Middle of the Funnel.

Why you need leads and how you warm them up

According to the Online Marketing Institute, a potential customer needs a minimum of 6-8 points of contact with your store to generate a sale.

In other words, very few people will buy as soon as they enter your website.

It’s quite possible that the person will go out to look for reviews about you. Then maybe he’s distracted by a Facebook notification. Then maybe he has to put the phone down because the boss just walked into the office. Then maybe he forgets about you and comes back in a week, from his laptop this time.

Then maybe he goes out again because he needs a discount coupon. Then maybe he finally goes in to buy, but the card is with the spouse and he doesn’t know his data from memory.

A tangle to get your head around.

This scenario can go on and on, and it’s not even 100% certain that the acquisition will happen.

Unless you intervene along the way.

That’s your goal in Middle of the Funnel. You want to warm up potential customers to increase their affinity for your products.

Prepare and test more materials as a lead magnet. For example, you can offer a discount coupon to get people to leave your email address. Or a guide, a closed access video tutorial, a strong promise, etc.

Avoid asking for a lot of data at first points of contact. Only ask for the email address and, if you have personalization options, the lead’s name.

Invest in remarketing. It’s a type of paid advertising that can remind the user of the existence of your store, the products they’ve viewed or even the ones they’ve abandoned in their shopping cart. Remarketing helps you speed up the number of touchpoints needed to generate the sale.
Sort and consolidate your lead base with email addresses.
The base is holy. You have control over it, as opposed to communicating only through ads or Facebook (where you can be cut off when your world is dearest).

What techniques to use to qualify leads?Once contacts are in your base, don’t let them languish on their own.

Take the initiative and create contexts to keep sending them persuasive messages and incentives.

My recommendation is to start directly with a sequence of emails (+SMS if you managed to get phone numbers) of type onboarding.

Tell the people welcome in your community, showcase your store, top benefits and top most popular products.

Then continue with education newsletters – info on how certain products help, how to choose what’s right for them, how to use various products, news from the store.

Always leave a transaction point for purchasing the products you’re talking about.

If this soft-sell doesn’t work (the man still doesn’t buy), continue with the hard-sell, limited time offer.

An important tip is to adjust the way you communicate with leads based on their reactions and behaviour.

Because the moment you are no longer relevant, unsubscribes and the exit of those leads from the sales funnel, temporarily or permanently, follow.

For lead nurturing you can do other actions that you focus on in Block 3, Bottom of the Funnel.

Sales: the backbone of a successful online store

In business it’s simple: if you don’t make sales, the store closes.

Also, when you understand that there’s a difference between sales and profitable sales, then you can set the stage even better for your business to make the most of it, at least at peak times.

Daily orders are good. But orders with multiple products, in quantity, are even better.

When the lead places an order it’s great. But when the lead turned customer comes back and places multiple orders, that’s great.

In Bottom of the Funnel your goal is to close the sale using specialized techniques to give customers all the information they need to make the decision.

Prepare contexts for the immediate sale. Consumers are put in motion by special offers and benefits, so these are a no-fail formula when you want to stir up the desire to buy. Here I’m referring to discount campaigns around a context: seasonal, personal (store anniversary), personalized (for a specific type of audience).

Make sure you have a landing page optimized for sales, no matter what method of promotion you use.
Prepare objection removal items. People find all sorts of excuses to put off buying, from “♪ expensive, sir, expensive ♪“, to “I need to talk to Mom, Dad, wife, neighbor, cat and piggy first.“. We all find objections, including me. Make sure your website and materials contain text, testimonials and answers that welcome the most common objections your store faces.

Prepare the ground for increase the value of your shopping cart before the purchase decision is made. Do you have suggestions for complementary products on the site? Or product bundles? Do you have advanced recommendations, perhaps in an add to cart popup or a unique offer on the checkout page?

How do you close the sale when you have an online store?

There are a few types of content and techniques that have tremendous selling power when your lead is in the process of qualifying.

Offers, events (including webinars or live sessions)case studies and videos with existing customers, triggers (gift-on-demand, loyalty points and referrals directly from friends), that’s what it’s all about.

These are just a few of the things to try, to see what works for your online store and your type of audience.

The Sales Funnel that you’ve imagined the path your hero – your customers – travels through so far, then transforms depending on the actions you take to build their loyalty and promote them to brand ambassador status.

But that’s a topic for another day.

We each go through a hero’s journey from the perspective of the stores we shop at.

The difference between fairy tale and reality is that this journey has no guaranteed pattern, and not all of us are the heroes of the store that originally targeted us.

If you’re on the other side of the fence – you have an online business and you want profitable sales, the good news is. you can intervene along the way and guide customers to the point of transaction.

Now it’s your turn.

It’s time for action.

Deepen your knowledge through the online courses available to you, apply the techniques and accelerate to the top, where you want to be!

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