Last week’s post: Autoresponders, Broadcasts Part 1
List Subscribers and Customer Sales: How They Work Together (Part 2)
In part one of this series, we talked about Autoresponders and Broadcasts, how they gather data about people interested in your products and services, and how you can market to and manage those subscribers with emails. Please make sure that you have a Pink Spoon in place that aligns with your services to help grow your list. Unsure of what a Pink Spoon is? Click here to read a past blog post that I wrote.
Now that you have a list(s) to which you can market to, you need a means to walk them through your virtual cash register to get paid! Since you’re not a retail store with a cash register, you process a payment via a program called an “ online shopping cart.”
Let’s go over the online checkout process as a review…
- Customer visits your website.
- Customer reads copy, decides that you rock and wants to purchase what you are offering so they click on your “Buy Now” button.
- The product is added to their virtual cart.
- The customer is ready to checkout and pay the virtual cashier so they head to the “checkout”.
- Once there the customer reviews their items and enters their personal and financial information which is recorded via a secure form on a SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) Page.
- Their information is submitted from what they entered into the form on the checkout page and is transmitted to a payment gateway service (this is a separate service from the shopping cart, read ahead). The payment gateway securely routes the financial information through the relevant financial networks.
- After the information is reviewed and the transaction is successful, the customer’s credit card will be debited the amount of the purchase and your merchant account is credited. Yay, you get paid!
You are asking yourself how-in-the-hell do you get your website to do that, huh!?
Similar to the autoresponder, you are gathering names and building a list in your shopping cart application. You are also building your inventory and collecting customer payments. For every item you sell, you give it a name, unique identifier and price. The program also allows you to specify if shipping should be collected and how much, if tax needs to be charged, and other information to make sure the payment is processed accurately and the product/service is delivered.
The most common errors I end up fixing for clients who’ve attempted to do this on their own are (a) figuring out why a payment was received but the product/service was not delivered and (b) why the payment wasn’t processed at all. Customers can become jittery when they buy something in that they want it NOW and if they don’t get it NOW they will start emailing, calling and notifying the world.
In order to accept payments with your shopping cart program, you will need to have a merchant account/payment processing service and a payment gateway. You will connect this with your shopping cart program to complete the ecommerce experience on your website. The merchant account enables you to get paid using the payment gateway to accept credit cards and debit cards on your website in a seamless process.
With your shopping cart in place, you can now see the entire cycle of what makes selling on the internet. In a nutshell, here’s how it goes:
- Visitors come to your site/blog and request information via an autoresponder “opt in” form.
- They are added to your subscriber list.
- You market to these subscribers – sharing information with them while also telling them about other products/services you have to offer.
- Someone opts to buy your product/service and makes their payment via a “shopping cart” feature on your website.
- The shopping cart processes the payments and either sends out the product or lets you know what service has been purchased.
Once you see the entire listing building/customer sales process in action on your site/blog, it really becomes addictive. You’ll find you’ll want to offer even more information to prospects to get them to join your list and that your sales will continue to climb.