Women earning extra (or sole) income as independent sales representatives isn’t a new trend of the 21st century. There have been “Avon Ladies” for decades, and your own mom probably attended or hosted her fair share of Tupperware parties.
Of course, the main difference these days is technology. Leveraging social media to host virtual sales parties is an extremely popular way for independent reps to make sales and to reach customers beyond their own group of friends.
If you’ve seen any of the oddly mesmerizing live “pearl reveal” videos on Facebook, you’ll understand the pivotal role social media plays in marketing, especially in the hands of clever independent reps.
But is social media the be all and end all of marketing your independent sales or consulting agency?
Independent sales reps do themselves a disservice to only build a following on Facebook. Although it’s an excellent way to cultivate a dedicated group of customers, there are other avenues in which to make sales. Don’t forget the good old-fashioned in-person sales parties, for example.
But the main sales channel I want to talk about today is a website. Yes, you can do it yourself and no, it does not have to be expensive or complicated.
Advantages of a Website
A website gives you a chance to present information in a different way, a way that simply isn’t possible with Facebook pages or groups. You can have a store front, a blog, an “About” page, a photo gallery … anything and everything you need to convince someone to buy from you.
Websites also make it possible for you to show up easily in Google search results. Facebook pages and groups sometimes show up as well, but with a website you can target specific keywords. For example, if you are a Lularoe consultant in Atlanta and want people to know you’re available for local sales parties, you’d want your website to show up in results for search terms like “Lularoe Atlanta” or “Lularoe parties Atlanta.” Search engine optimization is one of the best reasons to create a website for your sales.
Finally, you can keep your inventory available for sale at all times. Why wait to throw a party on Facebook when you can make a sale at any time of the day?
First Things First: Choosing a Host
Ready to start up a website? Choosing a web host is the first major decision you’ll have to make. Some hosts provide drag-and-drop web design platforms that make it easy for beginners to build a sleek website, but the main role of a host is to rent you space on their server. In return, you get customer service and some additional perks, like a certain amount of storage (important for all the pictures you’ll want to share!) and a certain number of email accounts, etc. Host Gator and Bluehost are just two examples of host sites. Weebly and Wix are examples of hosts with beginner-friendly drag-and-drop design platforms. If you want something more sophisticated than drag-and-drop, there should be an option for you to integrate with WordPress after signing up with your host.
Choosing a Domain Name
Once you have decided on a host, the first thing they’ll want to know is which domain name you’d like to register with them. There are some important things to keep in mind while choosing a domain name in order to make it effective. For independent sales or consulting reps, be careful about putting the brand name in your website domain name; check any company guidelines to make sure you are not breaching copyright.
The best domain names:
- Are short
- Have no dashes or numbers
- Have no unusual spellings
- Give an immediate and correct impression of the website’s purpose
Most domains also end in the generic top level domain (gTLD) .com, but since 2016 there have been hundreds of new options available to consumers. Check out some of the new gTLDs of the world to see if one makes sense for your business.
Choosing a Theme
Now for the really fun part: choosing a theme for your website. The drag-and-drop design platforms make it easy to customize different areas of the site, but for a truly professional look, I recommend using WordPress and browsing the WordPress marketplace for a theme. You do need to pay a fee to use a theme from the WordPress marketplace, but a polished look gives your site credibility. If you want visitors to know you mean business, make sure it looks like you have invested in the website.
Setting up a WordPress site and learning how to use it can have a learning curve. I highly recommend hiring a web developer to help you set it up and to make adjustments as needed. It will save you hours of pulling your hair out and watching YouTube videos late into the night!
Populating the Site
Finally, once the site is set up, all you have to do is populate it with some content and, of course, your shop inventory. Don’t forget to use SEO keywords and to share your website on your social media accounts. Your site won’t take off overnight, but it should end up paying for itself within a few months if you actively promote it among your followers. Have some fun and make it uniquely yours!
Cathy Habas is a professional writer who caters to the up-and-coming businessmen and women of the world.