9 Things To Know Before Starting An Amazon Business Or Ecommerce Side Hustle

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With so many successful businesses already operating on selling platforms like Amazon, it can be enticing to join them to share in their success. Once you look at it in more detail, though, you will quickly see that while desire and enthusiasm play a part, it is far from the whole story. If you are going to make your mark as an Amazon seller or even just survive the first few months of an ecommerce venture, then there are other areas you need to look at and perfect before getting the ball rolling. 

With so much to think about in e-commerce, you might find it hard to focus on what really matters and never get started as a result. To avoid this common rookie mistake, you should instead prioritize these nine key areas and work through them to stand the best chance of creating an online Amazon business to be proud of. 

1. Sourcing The Right Products 

When looking for the right products to sell, you need to look a lot deeper than just the goods that you might be interested in purchasing yourself. As your livelihood is likely to depend upon sales, you are going to want to invest in products that are in high demand by customers as well as having a tidy profit margin. To find out what these products are, you will have to spend time looking at and researching different markets. 

When you think that you have found the perfect one (or at least a viable shortlist), you will have to investigate how much it will cost you to purchase, store, and sell, and if you are thinking of selling these items with free shipping, sent to customers. If you can still make a healthy profit on each item after these costs have been removed - you are ready to get your hands on a few to use as a trial. 

2. Product Quality 

It is a good idea to try out a few different suppliers to make sure that the quality of the product is excellent and the same regardless of supplier. This is because if you happen to be selling a product that is of an inferior quality to other competitors you will not hold your customers for long. You will also find that you gain more negative feedback, but more about that key issue a little later on. 

In short, if you would not be happy paying your asking price for the item – you shouldn't expect your customers to either. If you find that the quality is too poor, you may have to find another supplier or move to an entirely different product entirely. 

3. Attracting Customers 

Even just the quickest browse on Amazon will draw your attention to the sheer number of sellers that are already established and making use of this amazingly powerful selling platform. Regardless of what product you choose to sell, it is highly likely that someone is already there, selling and making money from it. This can be a daunting factor for someone who is either new to the whole eCommerce world, or new to selling platforms like Amazon. However, this well-populated marketplace is still one of the most affluent ones to run an eCommerce business from due to the number of customers flocking there every day. 

To make your products more accessible to customers and become a formidable opponent for your competitors, you are going to need a bit of assistance. This help can come in the form of Amazon marketing experts who understand the workings of Amazon as well as how best to market a product on the site. They use tactics and strategies that you may not have even heard of if you are new to selling online and can help you with listing design, those all- important pictures, graphics, and photos to make your products and listings stand out from the crowd. They can also help you in other areas – even if you are currently selling on Amazon - to boost your conversion rates and help you boost your bottom line. 

4. Storage Facilities 

As you start your Amazon business, you will need to also think about the storage options available to you. If you have thought about or are currently storing your merchandise in your home, then you need to realize that tripping over various products waiting to be sold will not do your business momentum or capabilities any good. Nor will it improve your relationships with those you are sharing the household with, even if, at the start, it is perfectly OK. As your business grows, you will soon find it hard to relax in an overly cluttered house, and your loved ones will no doubt share in your frustrations. 

To sidestep this particular pitfall, you will need to research other storage options that are open to you. Renting a self-storage unit could be one of the easiest solutions at first - as you are likely to be paying a monthly fee, so you are not tied into a long and drawn-out contract. However, you will have to make sure you are able to get the amount of access to your stock that you need. This is because some storage companies will specify a day and time you can have access to your locker or storage unit or limit the number of times you can visit. This is no good if you are using it to store products for your business and hoping to sell items stored within it on a daily basis. 

You should also think of the location. Ideally, any storage solution you choose to rent for the purpose of housing your goods should be close to the building where you run your business. This will save you time and gas when you are sorting your products for either storage or shipment. 

5. Shipping Options 

You will also have to work out shipping options as well. At first, you may be happy taking the odd trip down to your local post office with an arm or two of parcels. However, as your business picks up, this may seem less desirable and more of an arm-aching chore. You may find that you need to find the right couriers to make collections directly from your business which will be more cost-effective for you and save you time and energy traveling backward and forward. Then, all you will have to do is make sure that the packages are ready for collection by a certain time. 

Of course, another option that you may find particularly pleasing – especially if you are having difficulty finding a suitable storage solution, is to take advantage of Amazon's FBA service. This is where you will be able to send all of your stock to an Amazon warehouse where they will pick and pack it and send the products straight to your customers on your behalf – leaving you to be able to focus on sourcing and selling your products. 

It is important to note, however, that although you will be selling on Amazon, the FBA service is not free, and you will have to pay for its use. There are also product restrictions on what Amazon will not provide this service for, so it is imperative that you check this service is available to you before working your business around it. 

6. Exclusive Package Deals 

You will also want to make your products a little different from your competitors, so consider putting together some exclusive Amazon packages for your customers. This can boost sales and customer loyalty if done correctly, but you should think about what combinations you can offer. They should be complimentary products such as offering a shampoo and conditioner combo or fine surface filler along with a small filler knife. This way, customers can be reminded about which other products they need (as a kind of upsell), and they won't end up going anywhere else for those items. 

Pricing is vital here as well. By selling two items together, you are likely to save on shipping costs anyway but also offering a discount will attract more sales. It doesn't have to be a huge amount; just 5 or 10% is probably all that is needed to stop a customer going through the trouble of looking at what other sellers have to offer. 

7. Valuing Your Customers 

As you are running an eCommerce business on a selling platform with multiple sellers and competition will be strong, you have to understand that it is all about your customers. Even if you already realize this, keeping them loyal will require hard work and commitment on your part. 

One of the easiest ways to make your customers feel valued is to thank them for their orders, and you can do this by including handwritten "thank you" notes on their packing receipts. If you want to step it up a little more and potentially enhance your sales further, you can also include free samples of other products in the range that you have for sale. If your portfolio consists of one product, then you have the opportunity to use custom or personalized swag items to gain your customer's attention. 

8. Attaining Customer Feedback 

Businesses within selling platforms like Amazon thrive on good, positive feedback, so it is important that you are aware of what your customers are saying about your business, service, and products. Many sales actually hinge on what the reviews say, and customers will go elsewhere if your feedback is negative or gives a less than shiny impression. 

For this reason, you need to focus heavily on your customer experience, ensuring that they are happy with their purchase. This will require a follow-up of some sort and if the result is less than your customer deems fit, you will need to take action to ensure that the issue is worked out amicably and that it doesn't happen again. 

9. Growing Your Amazon business 

It is likely that once you get a grip on all of this, your online shop business will start to grow, and your sales become in line with your goals and expectations. However, you should always look to the future and be aware of how your business can expand in the Amazon marketplace. 

• New Products In The Same Niche – you should continuously be researching other products so that you can bring them under your business roof and offer your customers. Ideally, these should be within the same niche as your current range, and you will then be able to sell to your customers past and present. If your niche is rich with different products to offer your customers your level of growth will be that much easier to ascertain, and your customer base should broaden as a result. 

• Expanding Into New Territories – another way that your business can expand in the future is by moving into new territories. Amazon is a global business and has footings in around 20 countries including the US, UK, India, Japan, and Mexico. This means that there are huge markets available to step into should you wish to take this expansion route. However, it is important that before you do, you research your products are in demand in the country you are thinking of, as different products have different names and meanings in other countries. 

A Few Final Thoughts On Amazon And E-Commerce Businesses

Starting your own Amazon business can be exciting but you need to think practically if it is going to stay that way. Product selection is vital, as quality is of paramount importance if you are going to get a foothold in your chosen niche. Shipping and storage are also key for online stores, as you need to make sure that you have enough products on hand and that they reach the customer on time and in one piece. 

Before you think about e-commerce startup expansion, you should consider customer feedback to see where you can improve your current operation so that any investment is not wasted. This is a lot to think about, but by taking each step in turn and using expert help to get things off the ground, you stand a good chance of turning your new ecom business into a success.

B2B Startup Paid Advertising vs Organic Marketing

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B2B Branding Introduction

If you run a B2B startup, you are familiar with the challenges that come with it from what decision to make to what action to take. It is not easy to be decisive, but that is what is required as a startup founder, CEO, investor, CMO, or marketing manager. You get paid to make the tough decisions, including whether or not to pay for advertising or marketing campaigns.

Build And Market Your Own Online Home Business Here

B2B companies sell products or services to other businesses (and sometimes to consumers, too). Paid marketing at a B2B startup can be more tricky than a B2C startup given end users are usually buying on behalf of the organization. And it gets even more confusing if we are talking branding, marketing, and advertising for a B2B2C organization.

Meaningful Marketing Metrics

B2Bs use a lot of metrics that analyze their target audience before pitching and selling a product to them. B2Bs can attract both inbound (when the customer comes to you) and outbound (when you contact the potential customer lead) by: 

• Defining its target customer 
• Using the appropriate communication channels 
• Maintaining communication  

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B2Bs (business to business companies) first consider the size of their audience before they start marketing and pitching them. They filter by SMB / SME small and medium businesses (0-100 employees), mid-market businesses (100-1000 employees), to enterprise businesses (1,000 employees and above). 

Effective business-to-business marketing depends on the size of the audience as marketing is not a one-size fits all process;  it is not possible to design a strategy that works for every size audience. Without understanding your target audience, marketing strategies will be ineffective. 

All You Need To Know About B2B Marketing 

To make the most of any B2B marketing strategy, it is important to consider the goal you wish to achieve. Is the strategy designed to just create visibility? Is it to drive partnerships and collaborations with other businesses? Or is it just simply to maximize profits? 

B2B startups unlike B2Cs (business to consumer models) focus on strategies that help them to pitch their products and services to businesses that need them. The end goal of doing this is so that they can gain visibility and make profits. 

The primary goal of every business is to maximize revenue and profits. Marketing strategies are used to reach your target market and drive awareness of your brand, product, and service. Strategies used differ from one business to another and are dependent on some basic factors. 

Factors that cause marketing strategies to differ include goals, purchase motivation, purchase purpose, purchase process, content, and the people involved in the purchase. 

Factors Impacting B2B Marketing

1. Marketing Goal

The marketing goal of B2Bs is to acquire and retain (high-value customers) which are other companies. Customers will typically be focused on understanding the business case of using your product, the ROI, efficiency, and expertise. Ensure that your marketing strategies communicate these values to your prospective customers. You will need industry benchmarks and KPI as well to help you reach your marketing goals, even if you run a top crypto forex MLM company

2. Purchase Motivation

Customers are not primarily influenced by emotion in B2B marketing. Instead, they are affected by reason, costs, and ROI - i.e. how companies can make more (financial) gains through their products and services. 

3. Purchase Purpose 

B2Bs tend to retain customers longer than B2Cs. Most times, the engagement with their customers is often long-term because of purchase purpose. Once customers have found what they are looking for, they won’t leave unless they are enticed by a better deal or better value elsewhere. In addition, switching costs in B2B solutions are usually higher than B2C solutions. Constant contact, feedback, and service with your customers is important to ensure client loyalty. 

4. Purchase Process 

Unlike B2Cs, purchases are not made directly. Specific employees in the company may be buyers for different types of B2B products. For instance, a Procurement Manager may negotiate deals for enterprise-wide software whereas a Design Manager may buy design software for their specific team. This way, relationships are enhanced and intensified between both parties. 

5. Content

Creating quality content (that informs and convinces) for B2B marketing is very important. Like direct consumers, the customers also need to be educated about new products and solve their problems. 

6. People Involved

B2B customers are not the sole decision-makers. They are often representatives taking instructions from the decision-makers. Make sure you understand the buying process and the key influencers and decision makers in the process to drive effective marketing and sales. 

Free Forms Of Marketing 

There are many B2B startups on a budget out there as well looking for free advertising avenues. Some top free forms of marketing with potentially no direct costs include: 

• Word of mouth and other referral channels that spread of your brand, products, or services. This is especially important for businesses like restaurants and video games

• Content marketing that leads to organic rank on Google (while “free” this does entail spending time and/or money on building and promoting content. 

• Barter based partnerships with other brands where instead of paying money, you barter on other things like cross-promotions. 

But a lot of these free marketing and advertising options still take time, energy, employees, and maintenance. Remember that time is money, even when it comes to ads and branding.

If you don’t already have such channels set up and working for you, you’ll need to resort to paid marketing to start feeding your top of the sales funnel. 

When B2B Startups Should Resort To Paid Marketing - Pay To Play

There are several strategies that B2B startups can engage to drive sales. While some of these strategies can be free, there will come a time when the need for paid marketing will be very important. Sometime you have to pay to play, and you have to spend money to make money. Some paid marketing strategies that you can engage for your startup include: 

4 Top Paid B2B Marketing Strategies

• Email Marketing:  It was reported by Content Marketing Institute in 2023 that 81% of B2B marketers consider email newsletters as their most used form of content marketing. This means they are tapping into the 3.9 billion daily email users. Email marketing isn't new or glamorous, but it is one of the most dependable channels for scaling and ROI.

• Digital Marketing (SEM):  This is about having a digital presence. Without one, people will wonder what your business is since everyone is present online. Don't be that business that is still stuck in 1999 saying that they don't need a website or online presence in 2023. Get a website and ensure it is SEO-optimized. Search engine optimization is one of the best organic marketing tactics you can use for your business website and brands on Google, Bing, Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, YouTube, and DuckDuckGo. Define your audience and run PPC campaigns if you want to take the paid advertising route. You may want to bid on high volume, high purchase intent keywords that will help your potential users become aware of your service when they are searching for a solution. 

• Social Media Marketing (SMM):  This form of marketing is not quite emphatic for B2Bs as it is for B2Cs. Yet, social media is a powerful tool for creating brand awareness and management. The followers you have might be the key to connecting you with businesses in need of your services. You can focus your paid ad spend on channels like LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Pinterest, Snapchat, and of course Facebook to some extent with expert digital marketing guidance from Appetite Creative

• Content Marketing:  Content available to B2Bs includes blogging, podcasting, newsletters, and even vlogging. Content marketing can drive traffic and convert leads when backed up by analytics. Once you have content ready, promote the content through sponsored channels such as Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Medium, Blogger, WordPress, Soundcloud, Mailchimp, and Google. Leverage social media for further business content growth in 2024.

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Paid Marketing Potential

You could also pay freelancers to carry out these duties or to use their own digital cache to promote your company online. That is a separate or supplemental option of paid marketing and advertising for B2B startups.

Paid marketing is essential for you if speed to market matters to you and leaving things to organic or word-of-mouth growth may drive things too slowly for you to realize the potential of your business. Also, if you have a short timeline of products and services with specific goals and benefits a big paid push may be necessary to maximize exposure to consumers. 

To Pay Or Not To Pay? That Is The Question For B2B Startup Businesses

But before you dive into paid marketing methods, you need to be familiar with your customers' interests and previous interactions. While paid marketing would allow you to target new customers, the old ones might be as new as gold. Again, communication with your clients is key to success. Also ensure that your applications are working correctly for paid and unpaid marketing.

Relying on paid marketing as your sole channel can be dangerous and give you a false sense of achieving product-market fit. Ultimately, you need to track your conversions from these paid channels and ensure that the customers you acquire give you an ROI that more than crosses your cost of acquisition. You also want customers that are a good fit and advocate your brand. 

With paid marketing, you should be concerned about customer retention as much as customer acquisition for your B2B startup business. The right marketing strategies will keep your customers well informed of their needs that your company can meet and profit from. 

B2B Paid Marketing For Startups Conclusion 

Marketing is fundamental to all businesses, be it small or large. Visibility and productivity are largely determined by the quality of marketing strategy that is engaged. B2Bs can make use of paid marketing strategies like email and content marketing to be sure they are reaching their target audience. Keep these tips in mind to determine whether your specific B2B business situation calls for paid marketing or organic marketing strategies. And make sure to read more B2B startup insights right here on Marketing Masterminds!

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