When we talk about selling online, we often think of products. A vision of an online store with hundreds of products come to mind. During my time online I was one to think of the same thing. Till I really understood the meaning behind eCommerce and the fact that, yes, I had already been selling online for some time.
I Was Selling My Services
Selling your services online is a broad area and covers a large percentage of all business websites. Selling your services on your site can be direct, indirect or a mix of both.
Indirect – This is what most business sites do. We use our websites to promote and pull in customers. Our sites are built to entice new clients with our promises and our brand.
Direct – This is when your services can be bought directly online and many times the service itself is online. For example, online coaching or consulting. You may charge for one-hour consults, giving clients an opportunity to book and pay, then providing the consult via Skype or another online service.
Both – Many of you will have a mix of both. Your consultations can be online, but your services, such as in-depth coaching, may need to be booked and paid for in person.
Keep It Simple
When people are purchasing your services online, make it as simple as possible. But at the same time, make sure to clarify what it is you are offering. If necessary, ask questions, possibly via a form or questionnaire. And always give them an easy way to ask you more questions if they are still on the fence.
What Should I Use on My Site to Sell My Services?
As with most ways of monetizing your site, it really depends on your needs.
Some of the more advanced contact form plugins allow you to connect forms with specific gateway payments. So someone can fill out a form, answer the questions you need to know and pay you now. Gravity Forms and Ninja Forms are examples of this. Both give you the options for add-ons that you can use to tie into payment gateways on PayPal and Stripe.
There are lots of eCommerce plugins out there. Most of them might be overkill if you are simply selling a single service or two on your site. In fact, there are several free widgets that work with PayPal that you can use for this.
If you are thinking of growing the eCommerce part of your site, you may need a larger, more extensive eCommerce plugin, like WooComWooCommercemerce. In the instances where you want something more packaged, without having to pick and choose add-ons or deal with additional costs for payment gateways. Whatever the case, take some time to evaluate your current and future needs and decide what will work best for you.
If you have a PayPal account, it’s fairly easy to set up a payment button within your account and simply paste the code into a page or post. It’s that ugly, but well-known yellow button. There are also free widgets that will connect PayPal to your site to take simple donations. Or you might consider using a plugin like Simple Pay Pro.
And a Lot More
As you can see, it’s not always just a matter of installing some plugin and starting to sell online. A lot of people have done their selling in-person, over the phone or simply through a lot of handshaking. Moving your services online can bring its own challenges and you need to make sure you are doing this for the right reason, and not just because it’s convenient. Do your research, ask colleagues for advice and most of all, create a plan.
An Extra Tip for You
Over the years, when I was selling my services online, I found little ways of helping myself make sales even easier when it came to selling my services. Here is one of them.
I suggest making a catch-all payment page: a place to send people when they were ready and eager to pay.
When I was offering coaching, not everything fell into a neat package or price. Sometimes I would be talking with a potential client online or via email. They would explain what they needed and I would give them a quote then and there. Many times what came next was, “How do I pay you?”
I created a page that gave options of several payment amounts for retainers.
The result? The payments came through faster. Isn’t that what we all want?
Again, if you are selling your services online, the most important thing is to make it easy for you clients.
One Last Thought – Sales Taxes
Whether you are just thinking of starting to sell your services online or have been doing it awhile, you will also want to make sure that you are charging sales tax if you need to. It really depends on several variables. To learn more about this, check out this podcast: eCommerce Sales Tax Series: Charging Sales Taxes on Your Services.